The weekly Simply Charlotte Mason homeschooling audio podcast with Sonya Shafer
Here's the Latest Episode from Simply Charlotte Mason Homeschooling:
I think at some time or other, all of us homeschool mamas have felt like giving up. “I just want to quit.” It’s a great question to discuss today, and Laura Pitney is here joining me: “What keeps you going when you want to quit?” Laura: That’s a very good question, as always. Sonya: Yes, […]
Your Questions Answered: When You Want to Quit Homeschooling originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I’m going to venture to say that most of us did not grow up with Shakespeare as a regular part of our education. In my school years, I had only one Shakespeare play introduced to me and that was a last-minute, “Here, let’s watch this movie,” by a substitute teacher. But Charlotte Mason believed that […]
Today we want to dive into a few questions that we’ve received from different home educating parents who have questions about Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation. If you’re not familiar with that wonderful method for teaching children spelling, then take a look at that post, How to Do Dictation. The corresponding video will walk you […]
Your Questions Answered: Questions about Dictation originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
On my bookshelf I have a copy of a book from the early 1900s that was used in Charlotte Mason’s schools. Many books like this contain an introduction full of helpful comments, but the introduction to this book is so refreshing that I want to share a portion of it with you. Of course, it […]
Today, we want to tackle a fun topic: school supplies for a Charlotte Mason education. We already talked about what we consider back-to-school essentials for the mom, and those are more the attitudes that set the atmosphere of your home. But today we want to get down and practical with “What are some school supplies?”—some […]
Today we want to discuss how Charlotte Mason taught English grammar. Grammar analyzes the system and the structure of a language. That’s a heavy concept that requires abstract thinking, so Charlotte did not start formal grammar lessons until the student was about 10 years old. When we talk about grammar lessons, we’re basically talking about […]
Today we want to discuss a mind-set that could be robbing you of some of the richness involved in nature study the Charlotte Mason way. We want to talk about whether your mind-set is a checklist (“Yep, just do that.”) or a relationship in nature study. And here to join me is my friend and […]
Some of you have asked about notebooking and whether that is a Charlotte Mason method. It’s a good question, and the answer all depends on what you’re thinking of when you think “notebooking.” For some people, notebooking is like scrapbooking. You tuck postcards and maps, stickers and photographs, pamphlets and articles from magazines on the […]
Today we want to talk about a question that I think most of us have heard at some time or other in our homeschool career. “I don’t like doing (whatever the subject is).” What about when my child doesn’t like to do a certain subject? Here to join me is my friend and coworker, Laura […]
Your Questions Answered: When Your Child Doesn’t “Like” a Subject originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I want to introduce to you a wonderful tool that Charlotte Mason used to help her students see where everything fit in history. It’s called a Book of Centuries. What You Will Need A Book of Centuries is basically a timeline in a book. Every two-page spread covers one hundred years—a century—that’s why it’s called […]
Imagine a scenario with me. You are teaching your child how to write. So, as Charlotte Mason detailed, you set before that child a model of the handwriting you want him to copy. Now let me ask you a question: What does that model look like? Imagine giving your child a printout of the mistakes […]
Today is a special post for those who are diving into homeschooling this year, maybe for the first time, and are looking for some simple ways to incorporate more than just the basic academics. I want to share with you three simple ways to enrich your homeschool experience. These are three short, enjoyable methods that […]
This time of year, it seems like no matter which store you go into, there are lists and lists of back-to-school supplies: these are the things the students will need to get into the school days ahead. But what about the homeschool mama? What will she need for the school days ahead? We’re going to […]
Your Questions Answered: Back-to-School Essentials for Mom originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Today we want to talk about how to do formal spelling lessons in a Charlotte Mason way: dictation. If you have been following the previous articles in this How To series, you will have seen how Charlotte included some spelling components in both copywork and transcription. (And even in beginning reading lessons.) Those preparatory practices […]
Today I’d like to walk through two different ways to schedule a school day. Both are viable options. Use the one that fits best during this season of life. Over the years—or even during different terms of a single year—you might find that one of these works better at that moment. Feel free to switch […]
Today we’re going to do some slicing and dicing. Not in my kitchen. We’re going to slice and dice a calendar. I want to show you four different ways that you could schedule your school year. Most of us were raised with a traditional nine-month school year: nine months of school and three months off […]
I just pulled a notebook off my little reading table and opened to the first page. And I can’t stop smiling at the diversity of wisdom and wit recorded there. First is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “I decided to accept the fact that a man must be what he is, life must be lived […]
Getting Started with a Book of Mottoes, or Commonplace Book originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Today I want to explain a practice that will help your student develop handwriting fluency, practice beautiful penmanship, encourage correct spelling, and feed your child’s mind with worthy ideas. It’s a simple practice, but it can yield big results. That practice is transcription. Here’s how to do it. What You Will Need Just as with […]
In a Charlotte Mason education, it’s the books that shine. They are the teachers, and a lot depends on them. That’s why we are selective when it comes to the books we recommend in our curriculum at Simply Charlotte Mason. If you look at the SCM curriculum pages on our website, you can see all […]
Many times we focus on the mom in a Charlotte Mason homeschool. We usually focus on the moms, because they’re often the ones doing the bulk of the teaching in a homeschool. But homeschooling affects both parents. And we thought you might like to hear one dad’s story about the Charlotte Mason home school in […]
Perhaps you have heard the term “copywork” and wondered what exactly it is. Copywork is a method that Charlotte Mason used to help children learn letter formation. Let’s walk through what that looks like. What You Will Need Basically you need two things: something to copy and something to write with. The “something to copy” […]
In the spring and summer, many of us turn our thoughts to evaluating our home schools. How are things going? What changes might we want to make? Some states or provinces require that you write some kind of end-of-the-school-year assessment. And even if it’s not required legally, it’s a good idea to pause every once […]
Modern Times (about 1850 to present day) is a jam-packed era in history. So many things were happening all around the world; and thanks to improved technology, we have access to more details than any other time period. The thing we need to be careful of is overload. You cannot teach your child all about […]
Favorite Modern Times History Books for Grades 10–12 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Many of you know that Charlotte Mason was a big advocate of taking nature walks and doing nature study. She scheduled her students to get out into the fields one half-day every week, and Charlotte herself did a nature walk every day. But Charlotte lived in a beautiful, rural setting in the picturesque lake district […]
Usually when people describe the Charlotte Mason approach, the one thing they almost always mention is nature study. Time in nature is an integral part of the Charlotte Mason Method. So let’s walk through how to do a nature study. What You Will Need You will need a blank sketchbook for each person and something […]
I think almost all of us who use the Charlotte Mason Method have a desire to see our children love to read. We know how much richness good books can add to our thoughts and our lives, and we want our children to experience that too. So on one hand, when we see one of […]
Today I want to share my top picks for living history books on modern times. These are the books that I recommend for grades 7–9, and in some cases, all the way through twelfth grade. I’ll explain more about that in an upcoming post. We will be looking at books for both American history and […]
Favorite Modern Times History Books for Grades 7–9 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Let’s talk about screen time and technology in your homeschool. Obviously, Charlotte Mason didn’t say anything about the use of computers or other electronic screens in homeschooling. Yet screen time is a real concern for many homeschoolers. And we get questions about that topic regularly. So I asked my friend, and co-founder of Simply Charlotte […]
If your experience with poetry during your own school years was anything like my experience, you’re going to find Charlotte Mason’s approach to be a breath of fresh air. Let’s walk through how to do poet study. It’s going to be easier, and probably more enjoyable, than you might expect. What You Will Need Just […]
Today I’ve asked two friends to join me: Laura Pitney and Jenn Faas. We’re going to be talking about the unique challenges of home schooling, Charlotte Mason style with a large family. Sonya: So between all of us, we’ve got 14 kids? Jenn: Sounds right. Laura: Four, six, and four. Yep, good job. Sonya: Jenn […]
Your Questions Answered: Charlotte Mason with a Large Family originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
All right, I just have to say that I’m going to miss seeing you in person! I was really looking forward to getting together with you at homeschool conventions this spring. Now that many of them are canceled, we will have to wait for those hugs and pictures and fun. But it’s good to know […]
I love sharing great book recommendations with other homeschoolers. Today I’ll be sharing my top picks for grades 4–6 who are studying modern times, about 1850 to the present. I already reviewed books that will give an overview of that time period for the whole family to enjoy together. Today I want to zero in […]
Favorite Modern Times History Books for Grades 4–6 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I have four daughters, no sons. So sometimes I get asked whether a Charlotte Mason approach works with boys. The answer is “Yes, absolutely it does,” but don’t just take my word for it. Today we’re going to talk with one of the co-founders of Simply Charlotte Mason, my friend and mother of three boys, […]
Today I want to walk you through how to do music study, or composer study. Charlotte Mason believed that “music is a necessary part of education.” It can also be a simple part of your home school. Here’s how. What You Will Need You will need access to music, whether it is on vinyl, or […]
Welcome to another installment of Your Questions Answered. As usual, my friend and co-worker, Laura Pitney is joining me. Here’s the question we’re going to discuss today: For elementary students, how do you balance all the subjects and still give them plenty of time to play together? Laura: That’s a good question. Sonya: I think […]
There are a lot of books available on modern history (about 1850 to present day). The trick is to find the good ones, the ones that are appropriate for those younger grades mentally and emotionally. Some very difficult events occurred in modern times, and because of advancing technology, we are more aware of some quite […]
Favorite Modern Times History Books for Grades 1–3 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
There’s a question that seems to come up regularly in homeschooling discussions. In fact, it might be niggling in the back of your mind right now. So let’s take a few minutes to turn around and address that question head on. Let’s get it out in the open and talk about it. The question I […]
Picture study is one of the easiest things to add to your schoolwork and one of the most enriching. Let’s walk through how to do it. What You Will Need You will need to select an artist and have a good-sized picture by that artist for your picture study lesson. How To All right, let’s […]
Recently, Sonya Shafer and Laura Pitney and Karen Smith sat down to discuss this question: What are one or two (or three, four, whichever we get to) common homeschool mistakes that get in the way of success with the Charlotte Mason methods? Laura: I think we’ve all been there, right? Sonya: We have made mistakes—at […]
Your Questions Answered: Common CM Homeschool Mistakes originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I must admit that I’m somewhat partial to old books. But when you’re teaching modern history, you have to find some new favorites. And I’m happy to tell you about some real gems that I’ve found and can heartily recommend for the whole family. Good living books make it simple to teach your whole family […]
Favorite Modern Times History Books for the Family originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I don’t know about you, but usually when I think about nature study I picture a beautiful spring day with a lovely breeze and gorgeous sunshine—really nice weather. We’re all happily walking down a lovely path, smiling at the flowers and the trees, and the little bunny rabbits are frisking about . . . . […]
Let’s walk through a foundational method used in many Charlotte Mason-style lessons: narration. You will be using this method for history, geography, Bible, science, and other subjects, so let’s make sure you understand it and feel confident using it. What You Will Need Really all that you need to do a narration lesson is a […]
It seems like more and more people are traveling and expanding their horizons around the world. We often get asked for advice and practical tips from families who are planning to live and homeschool overseas. The Charlotte Mason Method can present some unique challenges and some uniquely enriching opportunities when you’re homeschooling in a different […]
Homeschooling Overseas with the Charlotte Mason Method originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We’ve spent several blog posts talking about the way of the will and how to strengthen the will so it will be able to choose to do what is right, even when it’s hard. I’ve really enjoyed these weeks of addressing your questions and giving practical ideas about disciplining the will and developing willpower. Today […]
I remember my high school history books. They were nothing like these beauties! My history textbooks were full of summaries and facts. These are full of ideas and people and fascinating narratives that make the events of the past come alive! Today I want to share with you my favorite history books for high school […]
Favorite Early Modern History Books for Grades 10–12 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
This morning my alarm went off as scheduled. I squinted my eyes part-way open and took in the dark room and the cold rain pattering against the window. It was a dreary day, but it was warm and cozy under the covers. As I reached out my finger to turn off the alarm, a faint […]
A well-rounded Charlotte Mason education involves living ideas from great books, the discipline of good habits, and the atmosphere of our homes. We’d like to focus on that third aspect today. My friend and co-worker Laura Pitney is here to talk about creating a delightful atmosphere during the Christmas season. Now, I know not all […]
My friend Pam Barnhill stopped by today and she sat down to have a little chat with us. Some of you might know her from her popular podcast, Homeschool Solutions. Sonya: Pam, thanks so much for joining us today. Pam: Thank you so much for having me, Sonya. It’s great to be here. Sonya: Would […]
I love being surrounded by great books! My father recently made me two more bookcases, so I’ve been happily reshuffling and reorganizing my collection of history and literature books. That’s one of my favorite tasks: handling and organizing my books. As I hold each one, it’s like looking into the face of an old friend. […]
Right off the bat, some of you may be thinking, “Strengthen my child’s will? I don’t need to strengthen it. He’s a strong-willed child already!” And that may be the case, but don’t jump to any conclusions. You might want to read the other posts about the Will to make sure you know what we’re […]
My friend and co-worker Laura Pitney is joining me to talk about all of those wonderful enrichment subjects. Here’s the question to discuss today: “There are so many enriching subjects in a Charlotte Mason approach: picture study, music study, nature study, poetry, handicrafts, art instruction, Shakespeare, hymn singing, and more. It seems like so much […]
Your Questions Answered: Fitting in the Good Stuff originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
A good field guide can be a very helpful tool when you’re doing nature walks or nature study. Let’s talk about what to look for when you’re choosing them and how to use them. Joining me today is my longtime friend and co-creator of Simply Charlotte Mason, Karen Smith. Karen is my go-to person for […]
The Early Modern time period includes many fascinating people and events. And what better way to study them than through living books—books that make them come alive in your child’s mind; books that touch their emotions and fire their imaginations; books that are well written and brimming with ideas, not just dry facts. Today I […]
A few weeks ago I did a post on the Way of the Will as a little refresher course on how Charlotte Mason explained the will and how it works. Many of you responded with requests for more on that subject. So today we’re going to touch on another aspect of the will, and I […]
Today my friend and co-worker Laura Pitney is with me to share some of our favorite moments using the Charlotte Mason method. Sonya: I’m thinking back on it, now that I’ve graduated three out of my four kids, and I can see a lot more, I wouldn’t necessarily say, you know, “top moments,” but there […]
When I was a little girl, I would go visit my grandparents once or twice a year. I quickly figured out that things at my grandparents’ house were different from my own house. They had different-looking furniture; they watched different TV shows and played different games; they had different toys for me to play with; […]
Today I’d like to share some of my favorite living books for early elementary students, those in grades 1–3, covering history during the years of 1550–1850 or so. I’m going to share titles for both American history and world history during that era, often called Early Modern. I think it’s helpful to study American history […]
In a Charlotte Mason Homeschool, we know we should do nature study once a week, or is that a nature walk once a week? What’s the difference, anyway? Let’s figure this out. Joining me today is my longtime friend and co-creator of Simply Charlotte Mason, Karen Smith. Karen is my go-to person for anything nature […]
Today I’m joined by my friend and co-worker, Laura Pitney, to do another installment of Your Questions Answered. The question for today is quite interesting: “You say not to repeat yourself, but I’m wondering how you teach this? I have a five year old. Let’s say I get her attention, look directly into her eyes, […]
I was recently talking with a group of parents, and in the course of our time together, I mentioned how important it is to make sure our young adults know how the will works. Well, all of the parents in that group wanted a refresher course on the way of the will, as Charlotte Mason […]
Today I’m sharing some great books that will guide your whole family through the time in history that we call Early Modern, about 1550 through 1850 or so. It’s an exciting time period with a lot happening all around the world, including a fledgling country that we now know as the United States. I think […]
My friend and coworker, Laura Pitney is with me today for another episode of Your Questions Answered. Today’s question is What is the place of audiobooks in a Charlotte Mason home school? Laura: That is a great question for sure. Sonya: Let’s talk about benefits first, how they can be very helpful to a homeschool […]
Your Questions Answered: Audiobooks in a Charlotte Mason Home School originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Planning for your home school can sometimes seem overwhelming. But let me encourage you that the more you do it, the easier it gets. And today I want to share with you a quick and simple trick I use when I’m trying to lay out a weekly schedule and a daily schedule. I’ve been using […]
Using Subject Cards to Plan Your Homeschool Schedule originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
It’s that time of year again — the season when many of us get the itch to plan our next school year. Whether you’re just starting out or have been doing this for decades, here are five friendly reminders—just five ideas to keep in mind as you plan for your Charlotte Mason homeschool this coming […]
5 Things to Remember When Planning Your Charlotte Mason Homeschool originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Today my friend and coworker, Laura Pitney, is with me to discuss a question that we received about narration: “With more than one child in the phase of doing oral narration, how do I have them each do a narration on what we read together without them just copying the child that goes first? At […]
Your Questions Answered: Narration with Multiple Children originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
DIY—Do It Yourself. For some of you, those initials generate great excitement! Images of potential projects arise in your imagination and you can hardly wait to dive into a new one. Others of you get tired just looking at those initials. To you, DIY stands for a pile of decisions and precious time that you […]
5 Steps to Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
In this post I want to show you a little technique that I use to help me think through, adjust, and fine tune our history cycle to fit different family situations. We’re going to answer this question: Why do you have a six-year history cycle and how can I use it with multiple children? So […]
We talked last time about how the summer months can be a great time to give focused effort in habit-training, even if you’re taking that time off from schoolwork. Especially if you’re taking that time off from schoolwork! When you don’t have lessons to prepare and complete, you can invest your time and energy in […]
When I was a girl, I took piano lessons. I would practice diligently during the school year, but my teacher always gave her students the summer off. So I got used to not practicing during the summer months. Later, in high school, I switched to a different teacher, and she had a completely different mind-set. […]
One of the biggest challenges a homeschool mom faces is trying to get schoolwork done with preschoolers in the mix. My friends Jenn Faas and Laura Pitney are here to help me discuss this today. Sonya: Between all of us, we’ve had 13 preschool kids. And you have one currently and a baby, right, Jenn? […]
Your Questions Answered: Homeschooling with Preschoolers in the Mix originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Charlotte Mason believed that music is a necessary part of education. And not just haphazard music; she encouraged us to “Let the young people hear good music as often as possible, and that under instruction” (Formation of Character, p. 235). Now, maybe you’re not a musician and aren’t quite sure how to make that happen. […]
Today I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite picture books for 3 to 5 year olds. These are picture books that you will want to read to your child again and again. These are books that, if your preschooler grabs one off the shelf again (!) and brings it to you to read again (!), […]
Do a quick search on Amazon for picture books, and you are suddenly faced with more than 60,000 titles. Think of it: 60,000 picture books to choose from. That’s a lot of books! In fact, if you could stack all of those picture books one on top of the other, the stack would reach to […]
I talk to mamas all over the country who are feeling pressure with their preschoolers. They’re being pressured to push academics, to focus on reading and writing and math facts with their three-, four-, and five-year-olds. Perhaps you’re the mother of a young child and you have felt that pressure. Let me reassure you that […]
The biggest job that a preschool child has is to explore his surroundings and make sense of the world around him. As he uses his five senses, he’s forming crucial connections in his brain. And those connections will help him be prepared for later challenges like formal school work. But pushing the school work first […]
Young children spend the first five or six years of their lives busily making sense out of life around them. Their brains are on overdrive: observing, categorizing, comparing, discriminating, problem solving, experimenting, testing, assimilating. For example, let’s say you hand your child a spherical object and tell him that it is a ball. Over the […]
We’ve been sharing our favorite books for studying the Middle Ages and Renaissance, telling a little about each title and breaking it down by age range. So far we’ve covered grades 1–3, grades 4–6, grades 7–9, and grades 10–12. What’s left? Well, today I want to give you some titles that are great for all […]
Favorite Middle Ages and Renaissance Books for the Whole Family originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I just spent a weekend at a conference with some wonderful homeschooling mamas: some who are new to homeschooling and some who are veterans. As I was chatting with one mama who is just in the midst of her first year, she told me something that made me pause and ponder. This mama explained that […]
This is part 2 of a series talking about exams in a Charlotte Mason home school. Last time we talked about what those exams should sound like—what kinds of questions we should use. If you haven’t read that post yet, I encourage you to do that first. This post is all about what exams should […]
What Exam Week Looks Like in a Charlotte Mason Home School originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I’m not sure where this notion got started, but somehow there’s an idea floating around that Charlotte Mason “didn’t do tests.” Let’s set the record straight: Charlotte Mason gave exams at the end of every twelve-week term. In fact, she devoted an entire week to those exams three times a year. And there are many […]
What Exam Week Sounds Like in a Charlotte Mason Home School originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I’ve been sharing some of my top picks for Middle Ages and Renaissance books for different age groups. Today I want to talk about my favorite books for grades 10 through 12. Now, remember, these are not the typical high school textbooks that you probably used during your own school years. These are living books—books […]
Favorite Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation Books for Grades 10–12 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
As the mother of a special needs child, I appreciate those who are able to look past the differences and see the similarities. Yes, some children have special needs, but all children have many needs that are the same no matter their skill levels. Though a child may seem to withdraw into her own little […]
My friend and co-worker, Laura Pitney, is joining me again today. We want to discuss another great question that you have asked: “What about little boys and girls who can’t or won’t sit still? What do you do then?” We hope you enjoy our discussion and receive some ideas that might be helpful. Sonya: First, […]
Your Questions Answered: Children Who Won’t Sit Still originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We all want to instill good habits in our children, from the time they are toddlers through the time they move out to start their own households. We often think of habit training as something we do on the side. We work on kindness alongside all of the activities of the day. We work on […]
5 Life Habits Built Into a Charlotte Mason Education originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
There are so many great books set in the Middle Ages and Renaissance! I’ve been sharing some of my favorites for the different age groups, and today I want to share my top picks for grades 7 through 9. These are living books—books that will make the time period come alive for your student. As […]
Favorite Middle Ages and Renaissance Books for Grades 7–9 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I’ve been working on an interesting project the last few weeks. It all started when I was looking at some old pamphlets and programmes in the Charlotte Mason digital archives (which is a fabulous resource, by the way). The programmes detail the work that students were to do each term and the books that they […]
My friend and co-worker Laura Pitney joins me again as we answer another of your questions. This time, we’re talking about how to have a smooth morning of lessons. Here’s the question that we want to discuss today: I would love to see some ideas of how to practically get lessons done in the morning, […]
Your Questions Answered: A Smooth Morning of Lessons originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
When you drive a long distance, it’s reassuring to have signs along the route that tell you when to turn or that your exit is coming up. Well, the same holds true when you’re teaching your child to read. There are signposts along that road. Let’s talk through the five steps involved in teaching your […]
Signposts for Reading Lessons in the Charlotte Mason Method originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Today I want to share more of my top picks for living books on the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The titles I’m sharing today are appropriate for fourth through sixth graders. At that age, the students should be transitioning to reading their school books for themselves, and all of these titles can be used as independent […]
Favorite Middle Ages & Renaissance Books for Grades 4–6 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Homeschooling comes with its own set of blessings and challenges. One of the challenges is figuring out what one child can do while you’re busy helping a different child. A home school is very much like a one-room schoolhouse. You’re managing several children across several grade levels—with only one teacher. It’s a fact of life […]
My friend and co-worker, Laura Pitney, has joined us today, and we’re going to share some ideas on organizing your Charlotte Mason homeschool. Laura has a real heart to encourage and help other homeschool mamas, plus she’s very organized! So I’m glad that she can join us for this discussion. You’re going to love her […]
Your Questions Answered: Organizing Your Home School originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Have you ever had the experience where things just come together? You have a discussion with someone, and that person brings up a great point that causes you to ponder. You form some ideas in your head and tuck them away for the time being. Then just a few days later, someone else mentions that […]
I recently did an article called Productive Afternoons, and in it I mentioned that in Charlotte Mason’s schools formal lessons were done by lunch. Well, we received many questions about how lessons could be done by lunch, so I want to do a couple of things in this article. First, I want to show you […]
Today we are excited to announce that The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic, Book 2, is now available!You are sure to enjoy these simple, lively lessons that will help your student gain a firm footing in addition, subtraction, and multiplication up to 1,000. He will solidify and learn the addition tables up to 10 + 10 […]
The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic Series, Book 2 Is Here! originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
If there is one thing Charlotte Mason homeschoolers love to do, it’s talk about our favorite books. I think every Charlotte Mason meeting I’ve ever attended had at least one conversation going on about “What books do you suggest for this time period and these grades?” or “Got any new favorite read-alouds?” I love to […]
7 Favorite Middle Ages & Renaissance Books for Grades 1–3 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Many years ago my family discovered a wonderful little system to help us with Scripture memory. With this simple tool, we consistently learn new verses, plus we review every verse we’ve ever learned every month. And it takes only five minutes a day. Thousands of families are now using the Scripture Memory System in their…
Recently I made a trip to the rolling hills of Virginia to meet up with some friends of mine. You might know them as the ladies from A Delectable Education, a popular Charlotte Mason method podcast: Nicole Williams and Liz Cottrill and Emily Kiser. We sat down at the Living Books Library to chat, because I […]
Let’s talk about living books. Now, I can almost hear you saying, “Living books? Again? We talk about them all the time!” And that just proves my point. In a Charlotte Mason home school we spend a lot of time talking about living books: what they are, how to spot them, where to find them, […]
About twenty-five years ago, when I started homeschooling, I didn’t have the Internet. (I’ll pause here for a minute to let that sink in.) . . . I heard about Charlotte Mason at a state homeschool conference and immediately went looking for any books I could find about her methods. One of the first books […]
Reading aloud to your children is a gift that you can give them all year round. If you set up a habit of reading together just one chapter from a good literature book every day, you’ll be giving your children a precious gift. In fact, you might not realize just how valuable that gift is. […]
Have you ever watched a play or a movie in which the actors weren’t that great? They just didn’t do a very good job of delivering their lines or communicating what was happening inside and outside their characters. The actors didn’t write the play or the movie, yet they had an important role in making […]
I can’t state this better than Charlotte Mason already did— “Children must have books, living books; the best are not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough” (Parents and Children, p. 279). Living books are a hallmark of a Charlotte Mason education. They are not used in every subject, […]
Today was one of “those” days. It took a Herculean effort just to make sure we accomplished all that needed to be done: meals, vitamins, exercises, beginning reading, copywork, math, groceries, Bible, literature, Scripture memory. Not to mention conference calls, e-mails, writing, and scheduling.I’m sure your to-do list looked just as full and loomed just […]
In Charlotte Mason circles, we talk a lot about habits: how God made our brains to form habits automatically through repetition; what kinds of motivation work best; how long it takes to form a good habit; how to replace a bad habit with a good habit. All of this is important, because good habits give […]
We talk a lot about your school schedule and how to make it work for you and your students. But what about that block of time before school starts? That part of your morning can have a big impact on your school day. If breakfast is pleasant, chores get done, and the children gather in […]
For many years now I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect location at which to hold a gathering of all of us, my Charlotte Mason friends (and I count you as one of those friends) and I. Because I wanted this get-together to be very special, I had a long list of requirements for […]
Joan wanted a garden. In her mind this garden would provide colorful, fresh, healthful vegetables for her family. She could picture the lovely yellow peppers, delicious sweet onions, and bright red tomatoes. In fact, she could almost taste the fresh salsa! But Joan was new to this whole gardening thing. She knew it involved putting […]
Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Is Not One-Size-Fits-All originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Using Language Well, Book 3, focuses the spotlight on analyzing sentences. We recommend it for grades 7 and 8, and it is available now! Learning how to analyze sentences is an important skill for your student to have in order to continue to grow in her ability to communicate well. When she analyzes a sentence, […]
A smartphone is a tool. It isn’t good or bad in and of itself. It’s just a tool; it’s up to you how you use it. I encourage you to make sure that you use technology in a way that reinforces the knowledge and the habits that you are trying to instill in your child’s […]
10 Smartphone Hacks for Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Narration is such a powerful tool when done correctly. The foundational way is simply to retell what you read or heard in your own words. If you’re just getting started with narration, you may need to start with reading only a paragraph or one page in order to retain all of that information, process it, […]
A slip of paper. That’s all. A slip of paper. I find it very interesting that the word schedule comes from the Latin for “a slip of paper.” Can you imagine? When Charlotte Mason homeschoolers talk about schedules, somehow it takes on much more significance than a slip of paper. We read books about how […]
I love how, with the Charlotte Mason approach, you’re done with lessons by lunch time. Younger students in her schools were done by 11:30, middle students by 12:00, and older students by 1:00. It’s so refreshing to focus head-down for a few hours and then relax. The variety of subjects covered during those hours helps […]
Productive Afternoons in Charlotte Mason Homeschooling originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I am so happy to announce that the 2019 calendar journal is available, because it combines four things that I like to keep near me during the year. In some ways the year seems to fly by; but in other ways, there is a lot of time and life that passes between January and December. […]
2019 Calendar Journal Now Available: Hope for Tomorrow originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
If you’re switching from an unschooling approach to the Charlotte Mason Method, here’s a little advice to keep in mind. If you’re not sure what “unschooling” is, it might help to take a moment and watch the video, Five Flavors of Homeschooling. But if you know what unschooling is, you’ve had first-hand experience with unschooling, […]
Some people think that a Charlotte Mason approach is a unit study approach. But there are some key differences between the two methods. And if you’re making the change from unit studies to Charlotte Mason in your homeschool, you need to understand those differences. Let’s take a look at them by first exploring three tendencies […]
I’m often asked, “Is Charlotte Mason classical?” Homeschoolers can debate that question all day. Here’s my take on it: If by “classical” you mean appreciating and using classic literature; cultivating good character; focusing on what is good, true, noble, and beautiful; and spreading a wide feast that includes art and music and poetry and Shakespeare […]
We all come to Charlotte Mason from different backgrounds. Perhaps your homeschool background has been mainly using traditional methods and materials like textbooks and workbooks, study guides and worksheets. If that’s the case, you may find that you have a tendency to think about education in certain ways, and those thoughts might trip you up […]
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about tendencies and tips for those who are making the transition to using a Charlotte Mason approach in their home schools. We all come from different backgrounds and those backgrounds can act like magnets. It seems like they constantly try to pull our thoughts back in that […]
We’ve been talking about making the transition to using Charlotte Mason methods in your homeschool. All of us come from different backgrounds and those backgrounds influence our thinking. That’s only natural. In the next few articles, I’d like to walk through some of those background scenarios and offer you some ideas that might help you […]
We’ve been talking about how to make the transition to the Charlotte Mason method in your homeschool. Some people are ready to dive in with both feet; others feel more comfortable easing into it step by step. So I’ve been outlining a way to make that transition in five stages. I hope you feel free […]
A Mental Shift—How to Switch to Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Part 6 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Over the past few weeks we have been walking through how you can make a transition to the Charlotte Mason approach in your home school in stages, getting comfortable at each stage before you move on to the next one. If you haven’t read the posts for Stages 1–4, I encourage you to do that […]
Add More Variety—How to Switch to Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Stage 5 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We’ve been talking about how to make the transition to the Charlotte Mason method in your homeschool, easing into it little by little. We’ve talked already about Stages 1–3: The Basics, Once a Week, and Everyday Subjects. I recommend that you read those posts if you haven’t already. Today we want to do Stage 4. […]
The Right Stuff—How to Switch to Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Stage 4 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We’ve been discussing how to make the transition to the Charlotte Mason method in five stages. We’ve already talked about Stage 1: The Basics and Stage 2: things you will do just Once a Week. Today, let’s look at Stage 3, which is two things that I want you to start doing every day. Literature […]
Daily Mind Food—How to Switch to Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Stage 3 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We’ve been talking about how to make the transition to the Charlotte Mason method in five stages. Last time we talked about Stage 1: The Basics. Today let’s move on to Stage 2: Once a Week. The Once-a-Week stage is comprised of five subjects that are not hard to do, and you do each one […]
Simple Weekly Subjects—How to Switch to Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Stage 2 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Today I’d like to discuss a question that I hear frequently. It goes something like this: “The more I hear about the Charlotte Mason method, the more I become convinced that this is the method that’s going to fit my family best. This is what I want to do. Currently, I’m doing ____. How do […]
How to Switch to Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Stage 1 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
When my children were younger, we would always run out of time to do hands-on projects. By the time we got out all the materials and cleared a space for the activity, we had about ten minutes to work on it before we had to begin cleaning up. How frustrating! It became easier and easier […]
As we wrap up our series on nature study, I thought you might enjoy a highlights list of do’s and don’ts from Charlotte’s counsel to parents. Some of these tidbits of wisdom we have already covered in the series, but there are a few others that may be new to you. I’m not going to […]
During the past few weeks we have been sharing that there is more to nature study than just spending time outside. The well-rounded science education that Charlotte Mason described for her students included outdoor field work, living science books, natural object lessons, and special nature projects—all documented in each child’s personal nature notebook. Today we […]
Nature study is such a great way to help our children (and ourselves) develop a personal relation with God’s creation around us. Some children take to it quite naturally; others appreciate a little guidance and encouragement. That’s where object lessons can help. When Charlotte encouraged us to use object lessons to supplement nature study, she […]
I hope you have been enjoying our series on nature study. We have talked about why Charlotte Mason included nature study in the curriculum line-up, when we should do nature study, the big picture of what it looks like, and some specifics on creating a nature notebook. Today we’re going to discuss what we need […]
“Where do I find a nature notebook?” “What does it look like?” “How do we go about creating a nature notebook? Is there a template somewhere?” Questions like these cross my desk regularly. So let’s reveal the secret of the mysterious nature notebook. The secret is: it’s empty. That’s right. When you first get a […]
So far in this series we’ve talked about all the great benefits that we and our children can gain from doing nature study. We’ve also addressed Charlotte Mason’s encouragement to get outside one half-day per week, all year round. That all sounds great, but sometimes there is confusion about what to do once you step […]
Have you ever noticed that the question When? has many facets? For example, if a person asked, “When should we go to the park?,” the reply could be any number of things. The person asking might be a mama who has an older soccer player and a newborn in her household. She might be addressing […]
If you had asked me, “Why do nature study?” when my children were young, I would have replied, “To get them outside and burn up some of that energy” (that we all wish we could tap into now at our ages). If you had asked the same question when they got a little older, I […]
On a recent conference trip to the Seattle, Washington, area, we had a couple of free hours on Thursday morning before we had to set up our booth. The weather was beautiful that day: high 70s and sunny. (We found out that those days are rare; and it was a good thing we took advantage […]
227,000. That’s a lot of homeschoolers. When you see that many home educators reading one particular blog post series, you take notice. Which series is everyone reading? Subject by Subject the Charlotte Mason Way. I wrote that series because it would have been helpful for me when I started homeschooling more than 20 years ago—a […]
New Free Book: Subject by Subject the Charlotte Mason Way originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We have received several questions recently about history streams in our curriculum. So we wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our streams and why we chose them. For those of you who may not be familiar with that term, streams, in an educational context, it is how we describe the practice of offering […]
We talked last time about how learning is a continuous process. It’s something that should happen your whole life. And if you use six Charlotte Mason methods, you can educate yourself on many, many things without depending on a teacher or a class. You can and should self-educate. But sadly, for some adults self-education holds […]
What’s your dream? Chances are if you have a dream, you will need to learn some things to get you there. Brittney has a dream to give her children a rich and enjoyable home education that will launch them into adult life well prepared. She wants to learn more about Charlotte Mason homeschooling. Geoff would […]
As I type these words, I am having a problem. It’s not that I’m struggling with the content; I have a good handle on what we’re going to discuss in this post. It’s not an issue with the skills required; I know quite well how to type and how to work my computer. No, the […]
Setting Your Child Up for Success in His Surroundings originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I enjoy watching The Great British Baking Show. The challenges, the creativity, and the camaraderie all combine to make it a pleasant diversion. But I have to be careful, because sometimes I get carried away with the success of some of the bakers. I look at their beautiful creations and, without batting an eye, start […]
No matter what curriculum you use, it is never going to fit every child perfectly. That’s when you have a choice to make: you can either choose to teach the curriculum or to teach the child. I often compare that decision to cooking. Let’s say you find a recipe for chili that 734 people love […]
I was chatting with a young mom today about habit training, and she asked a great question. We had talked about how important it is to have living examples for our children to see and spend time with as they form good habits. She had also made the connection that parents are, of necessity, one […]
We are excited to announce that this year’s personal calendar journal is written by Karen Andreola. Many of you know Karen as the beloved author of A Charlotte Mason Companion. Her gentle and practical wisdom has lighted the way for thousands to enter into Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and enjoyable methods. Karen has written twelve encouraging […]
New 2018–19 Calendar by Karen Andreola: Hope for Tomorrow originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
When we lived near Chicago, my husband John rode his bike for long treks in all kinds of weather. He liked to take the roads that led out of our suburb and into relatively undeveloped country, because they were less traveled. The upside of those roads was less traffic. The downside was that they had […]
Most of the time I like to focus on the positive and think about what I should do. But sometimes it can be just as helpful to turn that around and consider what not to do. Flipping things over sometimes helps bring to light a concept that we haven’t noticed before. So just for a […]
10 Mistakes Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers Should Avoid originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
(The Naturalist’s Notebook: An Observation Guide and 5-Year Calendar-Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World Around You by Nathaniel T. Wheelwright and Bernd Heinrich, Storey Publishing, 2017.) I’ve discovered something about nature study. It’s not a static activity. By that I mean, it’s not just one-dimensional: go outside, observe, record in your nature notebook. […]
We’ve all seen those looks: the glazed-over eyes, the dulled expressions, the partly-concealed yawns. Let’s face it, sometimes our children just “check out” during the school day. What is a homeschool parent to do? Charlotte Mason gave great advice for those situations. “When a child grows stupid over a lesson, it is time to put […]
Certainly one of the biggest challenges facing a homeschool mom or dad is trying to teach with little ones underfoot. You might have laid out the best plans in the world, but those plans might never become a reality if you fail to consider the preschoolers in your home. They can be quite distracting to […]
Near the end of Jane Austen’s classic book, Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy makes a startling statement that sums up why he struggled so much in winning Elizabeth Bennet’s regard. It is startling because he puts his finger on a practice that many parents might inadvertently be doing today. “I was given good principles,” Darcy […]
I recently watched a rehearsal for a folk dancing group. There were only five ladies on the floor, but the dances were quite involved. Each lady held half of a hula hoop in an arch over her head as they all stepped in time to a lulling waltz, forming intricate designs that gently changed into […]
Starting Charlotte Mason Homeschooling in High School originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Of all of the questions we received on homeschooling through high school with the Charlotte Mason Method, the area that raised the most concerns, by far, was composition. I find that fact interesting . . . and a bit ironic. Think about it. Most of us were given the traditional and typical separate classes focused […]
Narration and Composition in the High School Years originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
(We asked Karen Andreola to share some of her thoughts and experiences with Charlotte Mason graduates and how they get on in college and in life. I feel certain you’ll enjoy what she has to say.) A couple summers ago my daughter and son-in-law were between churches. They moved an hour from where they used […]
Last week a friend recommended a book. After she told me about it, I looked it up online and read the summary and the publisher’s description. They looked good. From everything so far, it seemed to be a great book. But I wanted to do one more thing before buying in: read some reviews from […]
How Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Prepares a Student for College and Life originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
When my husband John has a big job to do around the house, he doesn’t just pull out a hammer and start banging away, expecting it to do everything. He has a whole five-gallon bucket full of carefully selected and arranged tools that he keeps near at hand (and more in his tool cart in […]
My mother makes the best potato salad. Every time we have a family cookout, she politely asks what she can bring, knowing full well what the answer will be. “You bring the potato salad, please, Mom.” But if you ask her for the recipe, she will hesitate. It’s not that she doesn’t want to share […]
As homeschoolers, educating a child through the high school years is going to look different from a typical high school classroom situation. Most high schools are concerned with one thing: getting the course work done. But a Charlotte Mason-style home school looks at the whole person and has a broader goal. We looked last time […]
Ask any parent of a high school student how much they spend on groceries and you will be reminded of a young adult’s healthy appetite. Teens require food and lots of it. Their bodies are growing at a phenomenal rate, and they need plenty of nutritious food to fuel that growth. High school students also […]
Once upon a time, a traveler was passing through a town. He was tired and thirsty, so he thought he would stop and rest a bit by the fountain in the town square. He was just enjoying the last drops of a drink of cool water, when he caught sight of three stone masons across […]
You want to give your student interesting and specific narration prompts for each chapter he reads, but sometimes you just don’t have time to pre-read all of the books on the schedule. Or maybe you have time but you’re not quite sure how to raise the bar on the types of narrations you are asking […]
If you have a student who is old enough to be doing written narrations, you may have run into this dilemma: “I want my student to spell names and places and events correctly in his narration, but I’m reluctant to allow him to look back at the chapter to make sure of those spellings. It […]
Narration Notecards: A Fabulous Written Narration Idea originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
For many years we have longed for a truly Charlotte Mason math curriculum. But since none was available, we settled for finding programs that at least included some CM components. So you can imagine how excited we are to announce The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic Series! The name holds much history and significance. The—Author Richele […]
Announcing The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic Series originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We’re hearing so many good things about Charlotte Mason’s way of teaching math! Parents tell us about improved attitudes, renewed interest and excitement, plus a solid understanding of arithmetic. Min Hwang’s experience is especially encouraging. Here is her Happy Results math story. Tears of frustration, rote memorization, tedium and dread—these were what filled our math […]
It is 9:30 A.M. and my daughter is sitting in a brown chair in my office. She is ready for our school time. Though she is 19 now, we still home school, for she enjoys it—as witnessed by the fact that she is sitting in that chair waiting for me. And part of our work […]
(Here is another great post from Richele Baburina, author of the Charlotte Mason math handbook, Mathematics: An Instrument for Living Teaching, and its corresponding DVD set, Charlotte Mason’s Living Math: A Guided Journey.) I picked up my car from the airport’s long-term parking lot and, anxious to see my family, determined to take an unfamiliar […]
Everyday Objects in the Charlotte Mason Math Lesson originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
(We are pleased to present the following post by Richele Baburina, author of Mathematics: An Instrument for Living Teaching and its corresponding DVD set, Charlotte Mason’s Living Math: A Guided Journey.) Charlotte Mason elementary arithmetic lessons are primarily oral. Rather than being worksheet driven—with a child working a page of exercises—the actual writing of numbers […]
Just for a moment, throw out all of your memories of math lessons from your school days. Set aside the images and promotional explanations from that math curriculum you were recently researching online. And let’s start from scratch. If we were to design math lessons that would be an ideal fit for a young learner, […]
My husband and I used to ride tandem bicycles around Chicagoland. We would throw on our biking clothes and go for miles on the Rails to Trails paths. During our bicycling days, I learned two very important lessons. First, I’m most apt to lose my balance when I’m riding uphill. Those climbs can throw off […]
It’s exciting to talk to more and more homeschoolers who are educating their children through high school. Those high school years can be very rewarding and challenging at the same time, and Charlotte Mason’s methods give a great balance between discipline and enjoyment in high school. But those same parents with older students often confide […]
Your Questions about High School the Charlotte Mason Way originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Many homeschool moms, as they learn more about Charlotte Mason’s methods, get a funny look on their faces and say something like, “That’s what I’ve been trying to do all along, because . . . well, it just makes sense. You mean, that has a name?” It’s so rewarding to watch faces light up, burdens […]
Happy Results: Jill C’s Journey to Charlotte Mason originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
My youngest has been traveling to conventions with us over the past few months. Amid the different locations and changing venues, she has held tightly to one constant: on every trip she brings a classic children’s literature book. These books are her old friends: Little House in the Big Woods; Charlotte’s Web; Winnie-the-Pooh; Farmer Boy; […]
Joey sits in his room and plays video games hour after hour, sulking anytime he is asked to do anything else. Samantha pitches a fit when she is told she may not have a cookie right now. Alex stares out the window instead of doing his math lesson. Cassie quits halfway through washing the car, […]
Four-year-old Susie sits at a little table in a plain room, listening intently. “Susie, which do you like better: one marshmallow or two marshmallows?” the nice lady asks as she points to the sweet treats sitting on paper plates on the tabletop. Susie’s face lights up. “Two marshmallows,” she confides with a smile, casting a […]
It’s so much fun explaining the Scripture Memory System to people when I speak at conventions around the country. When they realize that their whole family can memorize new Bible passages plus review all the verses they have learned in just 5–10 minutes per day, it’s like a light comes on. They get it! But […]
For many years we have encouraged families to memorize Scripture with a simple and effective system. In just five or ten minutes a day you can continually learn new passages plus review every verse you’ve learned. Many of you have let us know how much that system means to you and how the habit of […]
For several months now we have been busily working behind the scenes on an update to the CM Organizer, and today we’re thrilled to announce the exciting news: the CM Organizer has an attractive new look! It’s still the same great online planner and record-keeper that helps you save time and stay organized; we’ve just […]
You have, no doubt, heard of the 3 Rs when it comes to education: reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. (Why writing is considered an R, I don’t know, but let’s just keep going.) Those three Rs make it simple to summarize what the teacher is focused on giving the students. Well, we came up with 3 […]
Today we are pleased to announce four new artists have been added to our collection of Picture Study Portfolios. You may recognize some of their names: Raphael, Cassatt, Rubens, and Homer. Raphael is known for his portrayals of cherubic angels and peaceful Madonnas, but there is more to his work than that. He also composed […]
Announcing Four Wonderful New Picture Study Portfolios originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Picture study is a simple Charlotte Mason method, taking only a few minutes each week. Yet that practice can yield wonderful results. Lingering with one artist and allowing the students to look closely and carefully at his work—to look for themselves—is the key. When children are allowed to do that, they are free to form […]
We’re not talking about blueprints and square footage today. Rather, the question, How large is your student’s room?, refers to a powerful passage that Charlotte Mason wrote in School Education. It’s not about architecture; it’s about curriculum. Let me explain. Picture a toddler who is learning about this world. That toddler wants to explore everything […]
Charlotte Mason’s original six-volume series is a wealth of ideas, encouragement, and good humor. The books are not easy reading, but they are rich reading. You will gain much insight and confidence if you spend even ten minutes a day reading and then narrating to yourself what you have read. I often get asked, “Which […]
Inside the 6 Volumes of the Original Home Schooling Series originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I’ve had two constant companions over the 20 years that I’ve been homeschooling: my husband John and my pink six-volume set of The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason. Several years ago we had the privilege of getting to know Dean and Karen Andreola. Such wonderful people! One of the first things we did […]
Of the many gifts that we can give our children, one of the greatest is a love of nature. And the sooner we encourage that relationship, the more time they will have to develop it and enjoy its benefits. Charlotte Mason described such a gift like this: “A love of Nature, implanted so early that […]
Once upon a time there was a little village nestled at the foot of snow-capped mountains. Its greatest treasure was a sparkling, life-giving stream that flowed right down the center. The people who lived near that stream were happy and vibrant. One day the Town Council gathered to go over the budget, and they came […]
Balance is a needful, but often elusive, state. We yearn for it, yet often we don’t consciously think about it until it’s gone. When life is humming along smoothly, we don’t usually focus on possible tweaks and changes we may need to make. It’s when we lose our balance and things get wobbly, or come […]
If you have ever sat on a three-legged stool, you know how important the three legs are to keeping your balance. Take away any of the legs and the stool becomes unstable. It’s the same with a Charlotte Mason education. Charlotte described her philosophy of education in three words—three legs of a stool, if you […]
You Need All Three: Atmosphere, Discipline, and Life originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I have a little saying that sums up my goals for my children’s Bible lessons: Get the Word in your children and your children in the Word. The first part of that goal—get the Word in your children—is done through short, daily Scripture Memory. The second part of that goal—get your children in the Word—reflects […]
We at SCM are committed to continue to grow and improve the resources that we offer. As our name suggests, our goal is to make it simple for you to give your children an enjoyable, quality Charlotte Mason education. Today we are pleased to announce three updated and revised lesson plan books: Middle Ages, Renaissance, […]
New Lesson Plan Books from the Middle Ages through Modern Times originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Children need food to grow. Nutritionists tell us that the best way to feed our children for physical growth is to regularly provide good portions of a variety of healthful foods several times a day. Charlotte Mason believed that the same principles hold true for feeding your child knowledge. “He needs knowledge as much as […]
Maybe you are new to Charlotte Mason’s methods and are on the fence about whether to use them in your home school. Or perhaps you aren’t sure that CM methods would work with your boys. Well, take some encouragement from Amanda L.’s experience with her two sons. Here is her Happy Results story. I have […]
My daughter just sent me a sweet side-by-side picture that shows my granddaughter at five days old and at one year old in front of the same blossoming apple tree. Children grow so much that first year! It has been especially fun to watch that little one become mobile. She has wanted to move and […]
We are so excited to announce a new living history book for the whole family: A Castle with Many Rooms: The Story of the Middle Ages! Now you and your children can follow the fascinating story of the Middle Ages from the Fall of Rome to the Renaissance, Reformation, and Scientific Revolution. From Europe to […]
We hear a lot about nature study as one of Charlotte Mason’s key methods. And it is a key activity for learning. The question is sometimes asked, though: Is nature study all you do for science? Let’s talk a bit about how nature study and science fit into a Charlotte Mason education. Charlotte taught her […]
Charlotte Mason was sure that even young students could enjoy Shakespeare. She reported, “Their power to understand, visualise, and ‘tell’ a play of Shakespeare from nine years old and onwards is very surprising” (Vol. 6, p. 182). Michelle F. recently witnessed the same thing when she introduced Shakespeare to her nine-year-old. Here is her Happy […]
There’s something about looking closely and carefully at a historical object that makes that era become more real in your mind. Taking your time to observe in detail the treasures that people of the past created seems to help you form a stronger relation with them and the time period in which they lived. The […]
We are thrilled to announce that the much-anticipated Visits to Asia geography notebook is now available! This gentle weekly study walks you through an exploration of the countries of Asia with captivating photography, a traveler’s firsthand accounts, delightful living books, and step-by-step work with maps. Your children will especially enjoy the guided readings from two […]
Many of you are in the midst of planning for your home schools, so I thought it might be helpful to share a quick explanation of how I plan my weekly schedule. I’ve been using this 1-2-3 method of planning a weekly schedule for about 15 years now, so you know two things: first, it’s […]
I recently read this wonderful reminder of what it is we are endeavoring to do when we give our children a Charlotte Mason education: I desire my children to form relations with what they study—not to know meagerly “about” something but to really know something by establishing a relationship with it (A Charlotte Mason Companion […]
Thanks for coming along on this little study that caught my attention. This whole idea of self-educating seems clearer now. We’ve looked at six tools that facilitate self-education: Read or hear literary books. Put it in your own words (narrate). Observe closely and carefully. Record your discoveries in personal notebooks. Memorize and recite. Create something […]
Use Powerful Combinations: 6 Tools for Self-Education, Part 7 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
When my children were young we had a designated Craft Box. Into this box went empty paper towel tubes, clean styrofoam trays, sheets of felt on clearance at the fabric store, empty cereal boxes, paper that had been printed on one side and was no longer needed, plastic bottle caps, pictures from greeting cards, and […]
Create Something of Your Own: 6 Tools for Self-Education, Part 6 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I was talking with a mother recently whose daughter had memorized a poem. The mother shared how some relatives had stopped by, and the mother had taken advantage of their visit to encourage her daughter to recite the poem for them. At first the girl was hesitant, but she took courage, stood before them, and […]
Keep It and Give It Away: 6 Tools for Self-Education, Part 5 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Write it down. That was the instruction at the end of the first chapter in the book I was reading. The chapter had been full of ideas and possibilities. So much so that my head was spinning with different images and options. But when I read those words, encouraging me to take a little time […]
Record Your Discoveries: 6 Tools for Self-Education, Part 4 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Most of you are familiar with the illustrious fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. He is famous for solving mysteries by paying close attention to details. One scenario sticks out in my mind, because it sums up the Holmes character in a nutshell. In the scene Holmes instructs Watson on the difference between seeing and observing. “When I hear you […]
Observe Closely and Carefully: 6 Tools for Self-Education, Part 3 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
“So where shall we meet?” I was arranging to have lunch with a friend, and we were trying to answer one of the most difficult questions that can ever be posed to two or more people: Where do you want to eat? I had spotted a pizza place recently that looked promising, so I suggested […]
Put It in Your Own Words: 6 Tools for Self-Education, Part 2 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
It struck me the other day how much time and effort we homeschooling parents put into teaching. We spend hours discussing strategies, learning techniques, and evaluating materials, striving to improve our presentations as teachers. All of that is good. We should be dedicated to doing the best job we possibly can in this calling to […]
Don’t you love it when you finally reach a goal that you have had your eye on for many years? Well, the year 2017 reflects just such a milestone goal for SCM. We are excited to announce that Free Shipping will now be available every day all year round for contiguous U.S. orders over $75! […]
When we think of habits to be formed, we often think of tasks that will make our homes run smoother. We may look at a new year and decide to help our children focus on picking up toys, brushing teeth, putting away shoes, or wiping off kitchen counters. But there is one habit that can […]
I like to ponder this poem that Charlotte Mason and her student teachers pondered every Christmas season. Take joy home, And make a place in thy great heart for her, And give her time to grow, and cherish her! Then will She come and often sing to thee When thou art working in the furrows; […]
Music is such a gift! And it doesn’t take a lot to give that gift to your children. Simply focusing on one composer for several weeks, listening to his works and enjoying them together, can have a large impact. Zelena O. had the privilege of seeing how much her boys have gleaned from the gift […]
Thousands of you have enjoyed our free video resource, SCM Answers Your Questions. We’re glad those short, informal recordings have been encouraging. And we thought it might be helpful to add some more videos to the series, answering more of your questions. So we recently invited you to send in questions about homeschooling with the […]
“Something old and something new.” Isn’t that how the rhyme goes? I know it is usually used in a wedding context, but those phrases keep coming to mind because we have two exciting announcements to make. Both of which will save you money. First, something old. We’re bringing back an old friend for the month […]
Today I am happy to introduce a guest post from Doug Smith. Doug and his wife Karen are no strangers to many of you. They are co-creators of Simply Charlotte Mason, and you may have met them working the SCM booth at a convention near you. Around here Doug holds the working title of “webmaster […]
The other day I heard someone describe Shakespeare’s plays as the “sitcoms of the 16th and 17th centuries.” At first I thought that was a trivial comparison; but the more I ponder it, the more sense it makes. Shakespeare’s plays were the entertainment of the day. They were the TV and movies back then, if […]
New Shakespeare in Three Steps: Twelfth Night and Macbeth originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Nature study is such a wonderful opportunity for learning no matter where you live. The main thing is to keep your ears and eyes open to the natural world around you and be willing to explore where it takes you. Bek M. recently did just that. Here is her story. We were in our school […]
I have a new favorite book about loving and educating a child with autism: Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant. I want to get copies for everyone in my extended family. I want to make it required reading for anyone who comes in contact with my child. This gentleman […]
I love Charlotte Mason’s “permission” to simply enjoy poetry. The weekly happy opportunities to read a poem with my children have enriched my own spirit. There is something refreshing about having the freedom to make my own relations with the poems, to notice for myself certain lines and turns of phrases that speak to my […]
Charlotte Mason’s idea of keeping a timeline in a book is brilliant. Each time you read about a person or an event in history, you turn to the appropriate century in the book and make an entry. But the real genius of the method is revealed when you go to enter another person and you […]
Happy Results: Katherine R’s Book of Centuries Story originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
“Why do the leaves fall?” My mind raced as her little face turned toward me with that so-familiar quizzical expression. OK. Science. Think! You learned this, didn’t you? Elementary school. Come on, come on, she’s waiting. Say something. Say anything, but sound wise! “Because that’s how the trees get ready for winter, dear,” I replied […]
One of my favorite literary quotes is from Anne of Green Gables. (Some of you already know what it is, for you have hugged that quote to your own hearts too. Feel free to recite it along with me.) “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it […]
It’s always encouraging to hear stories of how Charlotte Mason’s methods work in real home schools. There’s something about listening to others’ successful experiences that bolsters your confidence and fuels your enthusiasm to keep spreading the feast for your own children. Charlotte knew that people like to be told whether her approach works. And she […]
Confession time: Today I didn’t want to be the parent. I didn’t want to do schoolwork. My daughter was willing and eager, but when she sat down in her favorite school-time chair my heart sank. Why do I have to do this again? Another child sought my counsel on an issue she is facing. Now, […]
Picture study is such a simple way to give our children beauty in the midst of life and to cultivate their tastes for what is worthy and good. It adds so much to our week to take just five or ten minutes on Monday or Tuesday (or Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, for that matter) and […]
As we discussed last time, storing God’s Word in our hearts makes sure that His ideas are always right at hand, no matter what situations we encounter. When you have memorized Scripture, the Holy Spirit can readily reach into that supply and pull out exactly the guidance, comfort, and encouragement that you need. So how […]
This morning as we did schoolwork, we started memorizing a new Bible verse. It’s not the first verse we’ve learned. Not by a long shot. We have been including Scripture memorization in our daily routine for about 15 years now and have committed hundreds of passages to memory. How about you? Are you faithfully memorizing […]
One of the things I love about the Charlotte Mason Method is that I get to keep learning—as an adult! Just this past year I’ve been challenged by Joseph Haydn’s daily creativity, encouraged by Oliver Wendell Holmes’s contentment at home, and stirred by Jan Vermeer’s attention to quality and detail. But in addition to partaking […]
Do you remember what a “gandy dancer” is? Way back in the first post of this series we mentioned that “gandy dancer” was the nickname that was given to early railroad workers who laid and maintained the tracks. Parents are gandy dancers. It is the parent’s business to lay down and maintain the rails of […]
One of the best gifts you can give your child is to help him become a person of excellent character. That is what habit-training can do: mold a child’s character. “ ‘Sow a habit, reap a character’; that is, the formation of habits is one of the chief means whereby we modify the original hereditary […]
Parents Ease the Transition: Habit-Training, part 8 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
One of the great things about a Charlotte Mason education is the wide variety of subjects the students get to enjoy: history, geography, Bible, science, math, and language arts; plus music study, art, nature study, picture study, handicrafts, singing, poetry, foreign language, and those wonderful family read-alouds. The challenge with presenting all of those great […]
Three composers. One had to think up brand new music every single day for years. One wrote one of his best pieces ever when he was a teenager. One could put anything in writing to music . . . or so his friends thought. Three men. One had to endure a nagging, scolding wife in […]
Over the years since Delightful Reading first came out, we have seen many faces light up as parents discover Charlotte Mason’s brilliant method of teaching children to read. Her techniques work with both new readers and reluctant readers and have helped many a student enter the wonderful world of reading with confidence! As many of […]
The good habits you instill in your child’s life are an endowment. There is a subtle difference between an endowment and an investment. Habit-training yourself is an investment with a large return. An investment is something you usually do for yourself; you put in the capital. An endowment is like an inheritance; someone else supplies […]
All of the things we have discussed over the past few weeks on habit-training—taking on the effort of decision, spotlighting the trigger, and adjusting the consequences—are ways to help support your child’s Will. Habit-training yourself depends on a strong Will that can make the right choices even when it’s hard. You have to decide which […]
Habits have consequences. It is a fact of life that we witness every day. If you have a habit of doing the laundry regularly, you will have clean clothes to wear. If you have a habit of saving money from every paycheck, you will acquire a buffer for unexpected or future purchases. On the flip […]
Parents Adjust the Consequences: Habit-Training, part 5 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
We talked last time about the importance of having a trigger that will prompt you to do the desired habit every time. Adults usually have to come up with triggers for themselves, but parents can help their children by spotlighting triggers for them. The trick is to not become your child’s trigger. This is where […]
Whether you are instilling a new habit in your own life or in your child’s life, you need to make the initial decisions about which habit you want to work on, what it will look like, whether you need to break it down into smaller more manageable stops along the way, when you are going […]
Parents Spotlight the Trigger: Habit-Training, part 3 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
As we discussed last week, in many ways your job of cultivating good habits in your child is just like cultivating them in your own life. Most of the principles and practical steps are similar. But there are also some differences between laying down the rails in your child’s life and laying them down for […]
Parents Take On the Effort of Decision: Habit-Training, part 2 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Have you ever heard of a gandy dancer? I just discovered that term and am enjoying the whimsy and rhythm of it. It’s the nickname that was given to early railroad workers who laid and maintained railroad tracks in the years before the work was done by machines. My husband recalled that it referred to […]
Recently someone asked me a question about end-of-term exams. In a Charlotte Mason school, end-of-term exams are given by asking the student narration questions over the books that he was reading during the term (12 weeks). It’s a great way to assess long-term retention. I wonder if perhaps other Charlotte Mason homeschoolers might have the […]
We hope the Subject-by-Subject series has been helpful to you. Once you know Charlotte Mason’s methods, the next step is to get a plan and gather the resources to put the methods into practice. If you would prefer to draft your own plan, our free SCM Curriculum Guide will walk you through the process and […]
(I am so pleased to welcome a guest writer who excels at presenting an insightful summary of math the Charlotte Mason way. Richele Baburina has extensively researched Charlotte Mason’s approach to math and compiled her findings in her excellent book, Mathematics: An Instrument for Living Teaching, and helpful DVD series, Charlotte Mason’s Living Math: A […]
Most of you were probably taught English grammar the same way I was. In first grade we were told, “A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea. Circle the nouns in these five sentences.” Then in second grade we were told, “A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, […]
When we talk about writing, we usually have one or both of these aspects in mind: handwriting and composition. Let’s look at each one and outline how Charlotte Mason approached them. Handwriting Charlotte taught handwriting through the method of copywork. Copywork is pretty much what the name implies: the student copies something. In a Charlotte […]
Sometimes I read a book that grips my heart and challenges me to change. As I’m reading I think, Oh, this makes so much sense; I’ll always remember what it says. And for a little while I recall poignant passages and mull over meaningful phrases from the book in my mind. But then I read […]
2016–17 Calendar Journal: Laying Down the Rails for Yourself originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
I’m a list person. As I sit at my desk and type these words, I’ve lost count of how many items I’ve added to my to-do list already today. Lists can be effective tools for many things. But when it comes to spelling, Charlotte Mason showed us that lists are not the most effective way […]
When my oldest child was a little one, the thought of teaching her how to read hovered in my mind as a huge challenge. I don’t remember waking up at night, wondering if I would be able to teach her to tie her shoes or to drive a car; but I do remember staring at […]
Teaching Beginning Reading: Subject by Subject, Part 13 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
Charlotte Mason used a two-faceted approach to teaching science that was very effective: systematic studies and spontaneous discovery. The systematic studies were accomplished through reading and narrating living science books. The spontaneous facet was added through doing nature study. Living Science Books & Narration Just as with teaching history, living books and narration provide many […]
Thousands of families have benefited from Charlotte Mason’s wonderful counsel on habit-training children. The timeless strategies she outlined continue to change homes around the world. Yet, as I travel and speak on habit-training, parents often approach me with this concern: “I want to cultivate good habits in my children, but how can I do that […]
Most homeschool parents I talk to get a funny look on their faces when I mention poetry. That’s because their own schooling experience with poetry consisted of dissecting a poem to bits at the teacher’s insistence. Such over-analysis and examination steals all the joy from the beautiful words. Charlotte Mason’s approach is vastly different. Good […]
Charlotte recognized that not every student would become a virtuoso, but she understood that beauty and enjoyment can be added to life by appreciating good music, singing, and learning the basics of playing music. Here’s how to approach music in a Charlotte Mason way. Music Appreciation Simply choose one composer and play his or her […]
I’ve been cleaning off my bookshelves these past couple of weeks, trying to cull out duplicates. Now, usually duplicate copies of a title are not a problem in a household of readers, but when the shelves are full and you need more space . . . sacrifices must be made. Most of the duplicates in […]
If you had graduated from one of Charlotte Mason’s schools, you would have studied several different foreign languages: French, German, Italian, and Latin. And not just studied, but used and understood those languages quite well. In fact, her students were so fluent in French that they could read or listen to a reading in that […]
Teaching Foreign Language: Subject by Subject, Part 8 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
The more time you spend around the Charlotte Mason Method, the more you come to realize what a nicely balanced approach it is. CM is not all books and narration; Charlotte also recognized the importance of working with your hands. There is much to be learned in working with one’s hands to create something of […]
It seems that many schools either sprinkle a little art into the curriculum here and there as an afterthought or ignore it all together because of time constraints. Neither approach reflects the goal of a generous curriculum. Charlotte Mason approached art in a balanced way, regularly scheduling time for her students to both appreciate others’ […]
Of all the subjects we include in our children’s education, the most important should be their Bible lessons. When Charlotte Mason talked about the knowledge that is important to give our children, she cited, “First and chiefest is the knowledge of God, to be got at most directly through the Bible” (Vol. 6, p. 254). […]
If you had mentioned geography to me twenty years ago, when I started homeschooling, my mind would have immediately visualized dusty maps with puzzling colored shapes and lists of imports, exports, and natural resources. Oh, and currency types. And sometimes a line-up of flags around the border. But today my concept of geography has changed […]
When I graduated from “the school of the yellow bus,” I knew next to nothing about history. Yes, I had made good grades, but very little about history had stuck. There was no reason to retain that mental list of events and dates past the test day, because I had no personal relation with those […]
When I was taking piano lessons, my teacher started with some basic, foundational points: keep your fingers curved; sit tall on the bench with both feet on the floor; listen to your playing. No matter what piece I was working on—from Row, Row, Row Your Boat to Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata—those principles remained constant. If I […]
Three Basic CM Principles: Subject by Subject, Part 2 originally appeared on Simply Charlotte Mason.
As mothers we know that children grow best on generous portions. Meagre meals can stunt a child’s physical growth, but a generous diet of food gives that growing body lots of nutrients to draw from. It’s the same emotionally; child need a generous supply of pure love to grow secure and happy and loving, themselves. […]