Design Your Charlotte Mason / Living Books Approach

You love Charlotte Mason's philosophy and wondering how to create a homeschooling approach which incorporates her ideas? 

So glad you've joined me here as the content below is written as a guide to help you follow Charlotte Mason'’s methodology as you make your own curriculum.

living books charlotte mason

My aim is to help you move through these steps:

Step 1. Have you written your Educational Goals?

Step 2. What does Charlotte Mason mean by saying, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life?"

Step 3. What is the scope of the Charlotte Mason Curriculum and how can it be applied today? Here, I have summarized parts of Miss Mason’s own writing from The Original Home Schooling Series, Volume 6, A Philosophy of Education and suggested application for today.

Step 4. What methods does Charlotte Mason propose to use?

Step 5. What does it mean for you?

Design-Your-Own Charlotte Mason Approach

As I attempt to guide you to design your own Charlotte Mason Approach, I am giving you information to help you do it yourself.

Teaching in a Charlotte Mason or Living Books Approach means that you do not need to buy a set of workbooks or textbooks or bought curriculum. Rather, it means you are in charge of choices.

The main books you will be buying will be exciting, interesting, living books. The exciting thing about following this type of educational approach is that the books you buy will be enjoyed forever. Who ever looks back on an used textbook or workbook? They do not hold the value that an exciting, living biography, novel, or information book has.

This is Charlotte Mason.

Let me guide you through the process:

Step 1: Educational Goals

Remember, you are in charge!

Firstly, remember that you are in charge.

As for all the approaches, you, as parents, make the decisions. You need to determine what is important for your family, the focus you will have, the importance you will place on certain subjects and the time you will spend. You need to spend some time working through these educational goals if you have not done so already.

Step 2:  Instruments of Education

The only means a teacher may use to educate children are the child's natural environment, the training of good habits and exposure to living ideas and concepts. This is what CM's motto "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" means.

If we can't use suggestion, affection or influence to motivate children to learn, what can we use? Three things--atmosphere, discipline and life. That may sound limiting, but those three things are more vast than we suppose!

  1. Education is an atmosphere.
  2. Education is a Discipline
  3. Education is a Life

Three Instruments of Education are summarized here by Leslie Laurio.

Step 3:  A Charlotte Mason Curriculum

Here you will find a summary of Charlotte Mason's curriculum from Volume 6: A Philosophy of Education and suggestions on how this can be applied when designing your own Charlotte Mason/Living Books approach and methodology.

Miss Mason divided the school years into Forms. 
Form 1 (age 6-8), Form 2(ages 9-11);Form 3(ages 12-13); Form 4(ages 14-15); Form 5(ages 15-16); Form 6(ages 17-18).
I will describe her curriculum and subsequent ways to design your own approach in four stages – Years 1-3; Years 4-6; Years 7-9; Years 10-12.

Under each subject heading, I will include ideas of how a CM curriculum can be developed with materials and resources we have today.

Charlotte Mason Curriculum - Summary and Application
The Knowledge of God 
The Knowledge of Man

  1. History
  2. Literature
  3. Morals and Economics
  4. Composition
  5. Languages
  6. Art

The Knowledge of the Universe

  1. Science
  2. Geography
  3. Maths
  4. Physical Development, Handcrafts

Step 4:  Apply Charlotte Mason Methodology

A list of some of the methods employed by C. Mason, can be seen at the Charlotte Mason Approach page

What does it look like in practice? This is how we apply Charlotte Mason’s methodology in our home. Hopefully some of these suggestions will give you food for thought and may spur you on to read her own words, explaining the richness of her comprehensive, thorough living education.

Step 5:  Design your Charlotte Mason Approach

Whose Education program are you writing and developing?
Yours! Your family! Keep your eyes on that truth!
Yes, Charlotte Mason Curriculum can sound liberating, living, exciting, and thorough - but now - make it fit your plan, your goals and your family.

Do you remember the goals you set for your family? How can a Charlotte Mason approach help you achieve these goals?

This is the challenge which I will leave you with.

Where to from here?