All righty. When I started the curriculum series I had no idea my hubby was about to be offered a job on the other side of the country. Naturally my post on Charlotte Mason curricula got shoved to the back burner when we decided to up-end our entire lives. But I haven’t forgotten. So let’s talk about Miss Mason.
Perhaps you’ve read her amazing books. (Her writing is dense, not easy, but worth the effort. Take her slow. Read a passage a day and take time to ponder.)
(Oh! Oh! I just had the best idea. Someone should do a Charlotte Mason blog. Like the Blog of Henry David Thoreau, which offers a selection from Thoreau’s journal almost every day. All of Charlotte Mason’s works are online*, in the public domain. Some devoted blogger out there could choose a passage every day and post it for the enjoyment and edification of all the rest of us. I am tempted, tempted…but no. Really, very much no. PLATE ALREADY FULL. :::tells self sternly::: Overflowing, even. So: brilliant idea up for grabs.) *Updated to add: Ask and ye shall receive. Or I shall, at least. The Blog of Charlotte Mason has begun!
*Enormous thanks to the diligent folks who volunteered their time to type out CM’s books for all of us to enjoy!
This post is not a primer on Charlotte Mason education. Much excellent material has been written in that vein already. This is simply a look at some of the places you can go to find materials to support your efforts to educate your children a la Miss Mason.
There are two free Charlotte Mason-inspired programs of study available at a click of your mouse: Ambleside Online and Mater Amabilis. Both websites offer thorough and detailed schedules for a curriculum steeped in literature, history, narration, geography, and nature study. Many of the books recommended for use in both programs are available as free online texts.
Ambleside is Protestant in orientation; Mater Amabilis is Catholic. Both sites contain a wealth of useful articles in addition to the schedules and booklists. Each has its own email discussion groups where you can ask questions and get advice from real parents using the programs. It is truly amazing that such comprehensive resources are being offered at no cost whatsoever; the women behind the two programs (in the case of Ambleside, a collaborative board of homeschooling parents, and for Mater Amabilis, homeschooling mothers Michele Quigley and Kathryn Faulkner) have poured hours of effort into these curricula purely out of a desire to share their knowledge of Charlotte Mason’s methods with others.
For more schedules and syllabi, see the Simply Charlotte Mason link below.
And then! There are the 4Real Learning discussion boards, home of naturalist MacBeth Derham and Elizabeth Foss where hundreds of mothers (and a few fathers) share ideas, books, and philosophical questions connected to home education. See especially the artist study and composer study threads—generous volunteers have already assembled links to many months’ worth of paintings.
Other websites of interest:
UPDATED to add: Charlotte’s Daughters, Learning from Charlotte Mason and the Parents’ National Education Union, a compilation of syllabi from several Parents’ Union School terms.
Mozart and Mudpies: See how one mother applies Charlotte Mason methods in her peaceful home. (Broken link now fixed.) Want more glimpses into CM households? Visit the many inspiring blogs in the Ambleside Online/House of Education webring. Some of my favorites are Higher Up and Further In and Dewey’s Treehouse.
Looking for many of the living books treasured by CM devotees? Try the Baldwin Project for free downloadable texts (with illustrations), or inexpensive hard copies.
Charlotte Mason Research & Supply Company: the website of well-known author Karen Andreola (The Charlotte Mason Companion, Pocketful of Pinecones). Not much practical info here; Karen’s put all that in her books. (I dip into my CM Companion at least once a month for refreshment of spirit, and found I was lending it out so often that several years back I bought a second copy just to circulate among my friends.) The website contains information about Karen’s books and the Original Charlotte Mason Series.
Author Penny Gardner‘s site does contain several interesting articles in addition to ordering info for her useful book, The Charlotte Mason Study Guide, and her highly recommended italic handwriting and recorder instructional materials.
If you did not already click on the links embedded in the “not a primer” paragraph above, you’ll want to check them out:
The Deputy Headmistress’s Charlotte Mason tutorial.
I have many more links to add here (you should see my list: nature study, picture study, Shakespeare, other stuff, all these lovely bookmarks begging to be cut and pasted), but this is enough to get you started. I’ll post a notice whenever I update, and do be sure to share your favorite CM resources with me.
“Some Breezy Open Wherein It Seemeth Always Afternoon”
And Then There’s “Classical Unschooling”
Sometimes the postscript is longer than the post.
Charlotte Mason on Nourishing the Mind
Talking about Unschooling