Homeschooling Curriculum: Charlotte Mason

As part of my effort to supplement Aristotle’s home education and to create a curriculum for Hercules, I have been look at different curricula to get ideas that I can implement. Yesterday, I looked at the Sidney Ledson Program. Today, we’re looking at the Charlotte Mason Method. Most of my information on the Charlotte Mason Method is from Simply Charlotte Mason which is an excellent website providing information and resources.

Features of the Charlotte Mason Method that I liked:

  • The method focuses on the whole child, not just the mind.
  • The purpose of education is to give children living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts.
  • That we should avoid twaddle. Although there is no specific definition for twaddle, there are two aspects of it that I have taken to heart – don’t talk down to children and don’t “dumb down” their books. Ever since Aristotle was little, I have never been afraid to use “big” words in his presence. If a child can make sense of speech just by listening to people talking, he can learn to understand the meaning of any word. Although we do read “simple” books, I also like Aristotle to listen to full-texts so he can experience the richness of the written language.
  • The use of living books to teach subjects. ‘Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.”’ Aristotle is quite particular about the subjects he chooses to learn so it can be quite difficult to teach him a subject he isn’t interested in. However, he loves listening to stories and never tires of it, so it is my hope that exposure to living books might interest him in subjects he ordinarily would not want to know about.
  • The encouragement to teach all your children together for many subjects. Being the sole-caregiver for both my sons, it has been very difficult ever since Hercules was born to find a balance between the two of them and to make sure they both get enough of my individual attention without too many interruptions from the other child. I also find that both are usually more curious about the subject matter being taught to the other child to concentrate on their own materials so if they are both doing the same thing, they will be able to concentrate better.

Once again, I don’t intend to adopt the entire curriculum, but I will be implementing certain aspects such as the use of living books to teach specific subjects. Simply Charlotte Mason has a Book Finder that is very helpful for searching for living book titles on just about any subject and by grade. They also have a curriculum guide to help plan your own homeschooling curriculum for your child. Watch the video for more:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

5 thoughts on “Homeschooling Curriculum: Charlotte Mason

  1. I love using the Charlotte Mason style “living books” to help us in learning– especially for history studies. We just finished a really wonderful book about music composers, and are currently reading a book about the history of the Romans, called The Story of the Romans, by H.A. Guerber. This Roman history book is probably best for kids who are around 10-12 or older, since they have some violent and gruesome things in some of the stories. But I’ve found it to be OK for my son (12 yrs); H. A. Guerber has written a whole series of history stories, for children. We read the one about the Greeks last year. These are not just telling facts; they are written in a story format, and each separate chapter is very short. We usually read two chapters at a time.

    Back to the music composers book . . . here is a link to a review of this book, on my blog:


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