Books and Things Seminar 4-DVD set and Seminar Notebook

The Books & Things Seminar on DVD

Available in Video DVD


The The Books & Things Seminar on DVD has been discontinued. Our new Learning and Living: Homeschooling the Charlotte Mason Way 12-DVD set replaces it with updated and expanded material.

The The Books & Things Seminar workshop notebooks are still available for those who already have the DVDs and want to host a group seminar or watch with friends.

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Product Description

Simplify your homeschool while saving time and money!

Note: The Books & Things Seminar 4-disc set is being phased out of stock and will be available only while supplies last. This original resource has served its purpose well; but we felt it was time to update it and expand it along with new material, in order to make it even more helpful. We’re excited about the new Learning and Living: Homeschooling the Charlotte Mason Way 12-disc set that will take its place!

Homeschooling does not have to be complicated or expensive.

Charlotte Mason taught that children can be most fitly educated on books and things. Good living books and the things around us help our children form personal relations and emotional bonds. And those bonds are what makes learning stick.

Join Sonya Shafer for a look at this simple, yet effective, approach to homeschooling. The Books & Things Seminar was recorded live, complete with questions and comments from the audience.

Enjoy your own copy of the seminar on DVD in the comfort of your home. You can watch it as you have time and refer to its helpful explanations again and again.

Books & Things works well as a stand-alone seminar or as a great follow-up to our All-Day Charlotte Mason Seminar on DVD.

DVD 1: Introduction and Choosing Books

Gain confidence in selecting good living books that will work for your family. Learn how to find the best books that will be a great investment in your child’s Charlotte Mason education. (Approx. 45 minutes)

DVD 2: Using Books

Discover how Charlotte said to use living books. What should the teacher do, and what should the student do? Get an idea of how many books to use by looking at Charlotte’s schedule. We’ll even talk about how many pages her students averaged per day. (Approx. 60 minutes)

DVD 3: Using Things

See the things around you in a different light as you learn how they can be part of your child’s Charlotte Mason education. Charlotte specifically mentioned five types of things we should incorporate. (Approx. 60 minutes)

DVD 4: Four Ways to Destroy Your Child’s Desire for Knowledge

Know for certain what can destroy your child’s natural love for learning and find out how to steer clear of those pitfalls with an education based on books and things. (Approx. 30 minutes)

Seminar Notebook

This attractive 60-page seminar book outlines the main points for all four sessions with plenty of room to take notes on the details. The back of the book is filled with many helpful examples that are used during the seminar sessions.

One notebook is included with each DVD set. Additional notebooks are available if you want to host a group seminar or just watch your DVDs with a friend or two.

Additional Information

Weight .35 lbs
Dimensions 11 x 8.5 x 0.69 in
Media Type

Video DVD

Suggested Grades

Parent resource


Sonya Shafer

12 reviews for The Books & Things Seminar on DVD

  1. :

    I’m curious if this course is applicable to younger students, or students of all ages. My son just turned 13 and he’s in the 7th grade.


    • :

      Kate, Books & Things is really meant to be a parent resource to help you put together your children’s education. However, older students who take an active role in planning their own studies might also be interested.

      • :

        Well, the price is extremely reasonable. I’m ordering now! Thank you – it looks like a great product.

  2. :

    Is this different from the original all day seminar and book?

  3. :

    The clip looked great, can’t wait to hear more! The DVD set will still be available after the 19th for $34.95 correct?

    • :

      Yes, that’s correct, Kim.

  4. :

    do you actually give a booklist on this “books and things seminar”?

    • :

      We talk about how to select good living books and the characteristics of them, but you can find the books we like on our SCM Curriculum Guide and in our CM Bookfinder here on our site.

  5. :

    Sonya shows the simplicity of the method and the complements of books & things. After taking in the seminar I can easily be started on the right track without great expense or complication. And I can watch segments again or re-read the straight-forward notes of the handbook. Thank you!

  6. :

    I must ask about the number of books and number of pages per age/grade. Did Charlotte Mason continue the unfinished books in the next term or did she read books filled with shorter stories such as “50 Famous Stories?” This detail has been bugging me. Some of the living books I picked have 200 pages and would not be finished in a term and possibly not in a year. So then how do we lay the banquet?

    I loved this seminar, by the way, and have recommended it to others. I just wanted to find out more about this point. Thank you!

    • :

      Great question, Cori. Your first thought was correct; Charlotte often continued longer books across terms and years. She advocated reading the whole book in sequence but in small and spread-out portions, so some books took a while to finish.

  7. :

    Hello! Just wandering if this series would benefit homeschoolers with older children who are just starting out with CM methods. (or is it for best for those beginning with the younger ages) I have a 13, 12 and 9 yo. I was thinking this would be great for our co-op and wanted to be able to inform others with this same question.

    Looks terrific!


    • :

      Yes, this would be beneficial to anybody wanting to know how to use books and other resources in the Charlotte Mason method. It’s not specific to any grades but rather focused on the methods used.

  8. :

    I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this seminar. I feel so much better about diving into 1st grade using CM methods after watching this. Sonya’s presentation style and real life examples really help me “get” the methods I’ve read about. Thanks for all of your fabulous resources!

  9. :

    Thanks so much for allowing me to contact you. I came across this video clip on the Simply Charlotte Mason channel on You Tube. I decided to check out your bookstore for more information. I sort of understand what this resourse is, but was wondering if you have a link to see some of the pages in the book. I was just wondering what is contained in the workbook. Thanks so much.

    • :

      Hi, Helen. The Books & Things notebook contains outlines of the sessions with space for you to take notes as you watch the DVD, as well as supplemental material that is referenced in the sessions. In particular, this notebook contains one of the daily schedule charts from Charlotte’s timetables, a sample of twaddle, a sample of an 1883 textbook, a sample of a living book (that is used for a narration exercise during the seminar), a sample of an oral lesson, and a programme of book titles and other information from one of Charlotte’s terms in her school. The notebook is included in the price of the seminar.

  10. :

    This is so practical and useful and interesting – three things that one can rarely say in the same sentence about a seminar! I have been homeschooling since 1990 (with a few breaks between children), and I only wish that someone could have made this method more clear to me all those years ago so that I could have used it with my older children. But my youngest and my grandchildren will certainly benefit! And, by the way, my ten year old has enjoyed watching the seminar along with me, and has been instructing her dolls in the method! I wish I’d ordered it sooner. We’re going to watch the All Day Charlotte Mason next!

  11. :

    I want to host the All-Day Charlotte Mason and Books and Things seminars at my home. Some of my friends are not necessarily CM home schoolers but are very interested in the Laying Down the Rails DVD. If I host an event on two separate days, which would you recommend that I show first?

    • :

      I don’t think it really matters which order you use, but it might be a good idea to show the shorter (Rails) one first. Then the attendees can decide if they’re intrigued by the lifestyle CM concepts presented there and maybe feel drawn to dig deeper into her methods for school too.

  12. :

    Over the past few years, I’ve purchased and worked through several of your seminars on dvd. They have all been very helpful, and I’m grateful for the resources and services you provide at SCM. Thank you so much!

    This particular one (Books and Things) is the seminar that finally made it “click” for me, probably because it includes examples on book and subject scheduling (pg 22-24). My biggest challenge has always been how to get everything covered… without doing school until 6pm everyday! It was such an “ah-ha!” moment for me to see how Charlotte planned her classes. I was familiar with the general idea of “short lessons,” but seeing exactly how she did that for various ages (even older students), and how much she changed everything up (no two days were exactly alike!) was an eye-opener. Those points, along with the realization that she didn’t always finish every book within a year, really helped put things into perspective for me.

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