"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Friday, November 18, 2011

How We Implemented the Charlotte Mason Method


Before I tell you how I implemented the Charlotte Mason method into our homeschool, I will tell you what I have learned about her. I could never exhaust her entire philosophy on this blog because there's just too much; six volumes have been written about her. But I can explain to you what I have learned in the past 4 months of research.

Charlotte Mason was an English educator born in 1842, and died in 1923. She had a very high view of children in a day in which children were not even allowed to ask questions.

Her basic philosophy was that, most importantly, children should love to learn. This basic philosophy included doing “regular school” plus the humanities (music, art, and crafts). She also believed that parents should schedule as little time as an hour per day in the morning to do serious academics (with that time increasing as the child gets older), and then the parents and child going out into nature and doing nature sketching.

She believed that children should have lots of time to pursue their own interests. She believed that “education is an atmosphere, a way of life, a discipline.”

She believed that parents should frequently read aloud to their children. And then have the children “narrate” to their parents, telling them what they have learned.

She believed in exposing children to poetry, keeping nature journals, enforcing good habits, and doing dictation.

She believed that children should read “living” books, which means that books that have real-life characters in them; someone with whom the child can connect.

There's so much more, but here's how I have implemented what I have learned so far...

After a Bible lesson to start the day, I read aloud to the children. We are currently reading “Johnny Tremain” and “Everyday Graces”. The children love to be read to and it's a very relaxing way to start the day.

After read alouds, we do copywork, which is penmanship. I write a quote on the marker board and the children copy it into their Noble Thoughts notebook in their very best handwriting. The quotes are from the Bible, a historical figure, or a line of poetry. The children love this, too! At this time (twice each week) we recite poetry. Recitation is a great way to sharpen public speaking skills.

After copywork, each of the four older children have their silent reading time. They are not allowed to read “twaddle” (dumbed-down children's literature) anymore. Only living classics for us now. I am slowly removing all twaddle from our home and I'm amazed at the sheer amount of it! I am happy to say that all twaddle is being replaced with the best literary works available. After they each read one chapter, they narrate it to me...or, tell me everything they can remember about what they read. Narration can be oral, written (for the older ones), play-acting, painting, drawing, etc. Narration is a favorite of the children. While the older four are reading, I do reading lessons with my 4-yr.old.

For History, we are studying American History together. I read the lesson and the children narrate, usually orally. We also do History Pockets (the Civil War) once a week. On Fridays, we do our Book of Centuries, which is essentially a timeline in a notebook.

Then we do Apologia Physical Science. Again, I read the lesson. They narrate orally and we discuss it. And we usually have 1 – 2 experiments each week, so even my four-year-old already  loves Science. Every Tuesday, we do Nature Journals. We take a walk or hike, then come home and sketch what we saw. It can be anything from leaves to trees to birds or any object found in its natural setting. This is also a favorite activity of the children.

For music, we are studying Johann Sebastian Bach, and for Art appreciation we are studying Leonardo da Vinci one day a week. The children love this, too, and I am pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy looking at the art and listening to classical music. I downloaded classical music on my computer and it's our background music during lesson time so they hear alot of it.

Instead of a spelling book , we use Spelling Wisdom books. I bought them from the Simply Charlotte Mason website found below. Once again, the children love this. It's so much better than the typical spelling textbook!

Next is Math. We use Saxon Math, and again, oral lessons (done individually). The children do have math problems to work, but I shorten the lessons according to age.

For English (done individually), we do oral lessons, shortened according to age.

It might look like a long day, but it isn't. The children are excited about school and the day passes quickly.

We don't do many tests. Tests only focus on what the child doesn't know, instead of what they do know. But we do lots of narration, and from that alone, I can tell that my children are learning. And they are learning a lot. And they love learning and are eager to get started each and every morning. So the battle is over.

I am thankful to know that I wasn't the cause of my children not liking school. It wasn't me after all....it was my method.

For more info on the Charlotte Mason approach to home education, visit Silvia, @ http://educandoenelhogar.blogspot.com

And these websites are wonderful resources, too...

So, there you have it. If you have any questions or feedback, I'd love to hear from you. :)   And in my next post, you will hear from my children about what they like about the our “new” way of homeschooling.

Happy homeschooling!

Have a blessed day,


linked up at The Carnival of Homeschooling @ www.momschool.net/2011/11/22/carnival-of-homeschooling/


  1. I wish I could homeschool my kids. I am trying to encourage my sister to homeschool her three. Love this blog and will direct her to it for guidance.

  2. Lisa. I'm rejoicing with you and looking forward to hearing from your own kids.
    Thanks for mentioning my blogs, I hope I have enough there to gently guide people to the places they need.
    Your post reflects a total CM spirit. I'm amazed at the simplicity yet the richness of your days. That's something I can give proof of, it sounds like a lot, it's not that much, yet it is a lot. Let me explain, it may sound too loaded on the mom, but the fact that the children love it and we too, makes it lovely to plan for it, then once you do it it's not that much, it can have moments, and you know to slow down or put a bit more brio in it, and lastly, since it is the 'real' think, children learn a lot and then you realize it means much to the children.
    I'm truly inspired by you, and this only shows that CM's principles, which are based on things that have existed since the beginning and which she summarized and discerned so clearly, are based on human truths about how, why, when, and what we learn.


  3. Very interesting! Thank you for the time and effort put into this post. I'll be looking into the links you've provided as well. :) Thanks!


  4. Please consider submitting something about homeschooling to the Carnival of Homeschooling. If you are interested, here are the instructions.

    If this week is bad for you, you are always welcome to submit to future carnivals.

    If a "blog carnival" is a new term, this might help.

    Here is the archive of previous carnivals

    Participating in a blog carnvial is a good way to get more exposure for your blog.

    Thank you for your consideration.

  5. Thank you for sharing how you implement this method. We swtiched to the Charlotte Mason method this year, and I truly love it. But sometimes, especially lately, I lose sight of the emphasis on a love of learning.

  6. Very insightful post! Thanks for sharing!! I am looking forward to hearing what your kids think :0)

    (frugal mom of many)

  7. You have managed to implement so much in such a short time! I love CM's approach and find plenty to grow into as my children mature. Her principles and approach is so deep, rich and wide. Blessings as you journey in this.

  8. We love CM and doing things her way definitely makes our school days more enjoyable. Blessings to you and yours!

  9. Ugh. Twaddle. I never buy any, but my MIL thinks if it's in book form, it's just awesome, so we have shelves full of twaddle. I like a lot of children's books, but most of what passes for children's books is just mind-junk. Guess that's the trouble with cheap publishing--anybody can call himself an author. ;0)

  10. I love reading wonderful books aloud to my kids, too, and I do it even with my 20-year-old. We narrate some but not so much that the story gets bogged down.
    I enjoyed reading about how you've implemented CM. It's wonderful to hear about what a difference it made in the attitude of your children.


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