What is the Charlotte Mason method? Is it just a philosophy or a detailed schedule or a curriculum? If you have been looking for a program or style of homeschooling that follows both the child’s individual development but also gives a detailed guide of how to encourage their growth, then this method might be for you.
The question you may be asking yourself is where you should start. Or how you can implement the multiple different parts of the entire method.
Using the Charlotte Mason method can be as strict or free as your family needs. You can follow detailed schedules that lay out the entire program, missing nothing. But you can just as easily pick and choose what works for you and your family.
There are so many Charlotte Mason resources that can be found on the web both free and with a price, big or small. I’ve separated them into different categories for easy searching. And I’ve starred my favorites.
This is by no means the definitive list. I’m still finding more and newer blogs, podcasts, and other resources every year. But it will get you started on your own journey.
If you are just starting out and wish to know more about Charlotte Mason, the expectations, and how so many other families are putting it into practice, I recommend reading a few blogs. Most of these are written by homeschool moms, just like you, that have been doing just that. From beginners just finding their way to seasoned mothers of multiple kids (most of whom have “graduated”), you should be able to find one that speaks to your needs.
You are reading this one right now. This blog is written from the perspective of homeschooling multiple children using the Ambleside curriculum but tweaking it to fit the needs of bilingual children in a country that is becoming more and more hostile to homeschooling. Especially when it doesn’t follow the state-sanctioned program.
If you are looking to learn more about Charlotte Mason, and even wish to dive into her own writings, look no further than A Charlotte Mason Plenary. With a wide range of articles about the different philosophies employed by Charlotte Mason, my favorite thing by far about this blog are the annotated books. Currently available are Home Education and A Philosophy of Education in annotated format. Keeping the full, unabridged text of Mason’s original books, she has added annotations to provide context to references and definitions to more obscure words. Truly a wonderful tool if you are just digging into Mason’s works. Honestly, they’re great even if you’ve already read them.
A wonderful blog that is written from a seasoned homeschool mom. She gives tips and insights into using the philosophy of Charlotte Mason in your homeschool. Hosts also the popular podcast Scholé Sisters and is on the Auxiliary Board of Ambleside Online. Also creator of Teaching Reading with Bob Books website.
This blog with its accompanying Facebook page offers wonderful resources about books. Gives help to those homeschooling down under.
A blog that is written by a mom trained in the Charlotte Mason philosophy. Mostly about how to use Charlotte Mason for littles aged 0-6 years old. Offers resources.
This newer blog is best known for its resources to help in teaching the arts in a Charlotte Mason homeschool. Following closely the Ambleside Online curriculum, free artist studies are available for each term. Also available are explanations of how she has used Ambleside Online for her children, grades Kindergarten through Second Grade.
A great blog which offers resources to a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool. She also has a wonderful list of curriculum that can be found here.
One of my favorite resources for nature study can be found here. Exploring Nature with Children is a program for a year-long nature study that includes poetry, lists of living books to read alongside, and references the bible of nature study, The Handbook of Nature Study by Edith Comstock.
This blog with the same name as the ultimate nature study guide also hosts monthly nature challenges to help you stay intentional in your study of nature.
This blog has some of the best explanations of the different aspects of the Charlotte Mason method. It also offers an example of a weekly schedule that you can use in your home.
A blog that offers just that, help with your implementation of the Charlotte Mason method. Some free curriculum is available.
While not specifically Charlotte Mason, this blog offers tools and resources to help teach your child character. Or another way to explain the habits that Charlotte Mason recommends for successful learning.
This is a blog in French that offers support for Charlotte Mason homeschooling (and just homeschooling in general). Only available in French.
This blog also boasts a podcast and membership. It is not explicitly about Charlotte Mason homeschooling. However, since its main focus is reading (and more specifically reading aloud as a family) it is a great resource for implementing the vast amounts of reading required using this method. Sarah Mackenzie is also the author of Teaching from Rest which was extremely helpful to me in maintaining my sanity when I first started out.
Most well-known for the Your Morning Basket resource. Charlotte Mason did not specifically mention morning time or morning basket but I like to think she would jump on this idea. Homeschooling multiple ages at once can seem daunting. But by implementing something like Your Morning Basket, you can still do it all by creating time each day where all the children are learning together. She is also part of the Scholé Sisters podcast.
This blog offers The Gentle + Classical Education programs for both Preschool and Kindergarten ages. Certain aspects can be downloaded for free but to get the entire program, you need to purchase it for a very reasonable price. This is another blog that is not entirely Charlotte Mason. But many of the articles and resources align wonderfully with the method.
This blog is run by Mystie Winkler, another of the Scholé Sisters podcast. Her website is also not specifically about Charlotte Mason homeschooling but rather about home management and homeschooling. She also has a podcast of her own called the Simply Convivial Audio Blog.
Closely related to the blog, but great for those mamas who just don’t find time to read all that’s out there, are podcasts. This is a great way to learn more about Charlotte Mason, how to implement certain of her methods, or just listen to great stories from mamas who have been there, done that. Especially because it can be done while folding laundry, doing dishes, or just about any other chore we always seem to be busy doing.
Podcast run by three seasoned Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. They also offer teacher resources like schedule cards and curriculum templates.
Run by the Circe Institute, this podcast focuses on Charlotte Mason and how her method aligns with the Classical Education approach. The Circe Institute also hosts many other podcasts and publishes the Forma magazine (which I love), all of which are helpful in learning more about homeschooling classically.
Hosted by Catherine Levison (who has written some wonderful guides to help use the Charlotte Mason method) and Diana Waring. This is also a website. Her book A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-To Manual is what I used to get me started and interested in following this method.
A great podcast hosted by a group of Charlotte Mason homeschoolers that give tips and insights to the method. Created by Pam Barnhill, Brandy Vencel, and Mystie Winkler (mentioned above). They also have a free (and paid) membership of like-minded women if you are just looking to connect with other mamas around the world. The membership is called Scholé Sistership.
This is a free curriculum that offers detailed schedules for teaching using the Charlotte Mason method. Though they do not always provide the actual books or resources, there are links to help you find the recommended resources. Most of these books can be found for free online and are often available in your local library. This is my preferred curriculum. I’ve been using it successfully since I began homeschooling my oldest in 2016.
This a curriculum that closely follows the Charlotte Mason. The website also boasts a blog with tips as well as a YouTube Channel to help explain some of the parts of the method that get the most questions, like narration. There is also an audio podcast version.
Includes programs for grades 1-12 as well as daily lesson plans, the living library, and term exams. The $199 fee covers the entire family for one full year.
A curriculum for K-8 based on Charlotte Mason. Proceeds are used to fund their educational projects in Africa. The average price is between $100-$250 approximately for the bundles for each grade and between $10-100 approximately for individual books.
Known as Charlotte Mason-inspired because it does not follow the method 100%, this curriculum is available for Preschool to High School and has a Biblical focus. Packages for yearly studies are around $400 with individual lessons or books around $20-$30.
Like My Father’s World, it is Charlotte Mason-inspired and Christian. Packages are available for Preschool to High School and average between $50-$100 per package.
A free online curriculum for Preschool to 8th Grade. It is Charlotte Mason style for Catholics.
Like Ambleside Online but using more modern living books and resources, this website offers products to help with homeschooling averaging $10-$85. Also available are free booklists for Forms 1-4.
This is not a curriculum per se. Instead, it offers a directory of free homeschool curricula, literature, and textbooks. Very helpful if you are trying to create your own program as cheaply as possible.
The Charlotte Mason in a Box curriculum is available for Kindergarten to 12th Grade costing around $200 each. Individual products average $20. The Christian content is in line with KJV Baptist teachings.
– You can purchase done-for-you lesson plans, high school helps, or unit programs. The Unit Programs cost around $68 for each grade level (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) and help you create your own curriculum. The Lesson Plans are 35 weeks of daily lesson plans for 1st Grade through Middle School. The price for these plans is between $20-250. The Christian Literature-based High School lessons average $40.
The full curriculum averages around $200 and does not ship outside the United States (but you can purchase the digital version). You can also purchase used books directly from their site.
A Charlotte Mason-inspired curriculum for Preschool to High School. You can receive a free book list of over 650 living books for all reading levels.
Mostly history and literature curriculum with teacher’s guides for grades K-12. The average price is around $200 for each pack.
Freebies are offered when you sign up for the newsletter. The curriculum includes American Literature and Geography, Lessons Through Literature (English, Handwriting, & Reading), Wayfarers History, and more.
Books & Other Learning Resources
If you know anything about the Charlotte Mason method, you are aware of how many books your child (and you) will be reading each year. And unless you can afford to purchase an entire library, it can get expensive.
Of course, the fact that all of your children will eventually read the same books helps the budget. You will only need to buy each one once. But if you are just starting out and have multiple children, I highly recommend using as many free versions as possible.
Even better, having an e-reader of some sort can be quite helpful. In fact, I am learning to love this option, especially for children just beginning to read.
I have purchased a Kindle Paperwhite for each of my children once they have finished their reading lesson (How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) and begin to show an aptitude for reading alone. This way, when I am reading An Island Story out loud, she can follow along with the exact same copy as me. We have even been known to take turns reading, paragraph by paragraph.
And if you are following Ambleside Online, or are using some of the suggestions from some of the more classical leaning blogs, you will find a few places where you can get free copies of books in e-reader format.
Here are a few of the more well-known.
While the site itself does not have copies of these books, they do link to the different places you can either download for free or purchase. Additionally, there is a section where you can find and download poetry and lyrics to many of the folk songs and hymns.
These two websites offer many of the classic children’s books free online. I have used the Burgess Bird Book quite successfully with my kids because the print version I purchased did not have any illustrations but the online version had the originals. It came in handy when my daughters wanted to visualize the birds from the story.
This is a non-profit online library that makes old and copyright-free books, music, television, movies, and more available for download. It works in conjunction with Project Gutenberg.
Here is where I find most of my books for free. In fact, I can often find the mobi version for free that I can put directly on our Kindles. Some of the more hands-on resource books I will download in PDF and print in booklet format.
As the name suggests, you can often find all the poetry you could imagine on this website.
I’ve mentioned this one before in my blog post Top 10 French Resources. This is THE best website for finding folk songs from other countries, no matter how obscure.
I have not personally used this website. Yet. But it looks quite promising with many of the Christian classics available for download.
As its name suggests, you can find copyright-free books online. For free.
If you wish to create your own Charlotte Mason curriculum, check out this course by Jamie Jarecki. She teaches you everything you need to know. Disclosure: I have not taken this course. But based on what I have seen and through other testimonies, it may be just what you are looking for.
This wonderful company has taken many of the classical books that are out of print (or in print but abridged) and reprinted them in affordable formats. You can also purchase their bundle of books in e-book format. Also in association with the Baldwin Project and Gateway to the Classics which both offer access to free online books.
Formally known as NotebookingPages.com, this website offers a whole slew of notebooking pages for just about every subject. And if you can’t find what you are looking for, you can create your own. I love using this resource to give my fidgety children something to do with their hands while I’m reading a story. Or for writing their written narrations. There are both free and pay options.
This website offers free copywork pages. But even better is the lifetime membership which is both affordable and offers access to all current and future copywork pages. Multiple subjects are available.
While not specifically Charlotte Mason, this website offers access to many of the old French school books used for teaching reading or math. Many of these resources are closely aligned with the Mason philosophy of using living books. This is where I found the Mico, mon petit ours books that I printed in PDF format to teach my girls to read in French.
Not everything available on this website is Charlotte Mason aligned. But you can find resources and links to other resources that could be helpful. I love the newsletter, which sends weekly links to the latest free resources on the web that are particularly helpful to homeschoolers. Both in the schoolroom and without.
By far my favorite resources for learning about herbs and nature for kids. This set of books and board game have been instrumental in creating a love for plants in all my children. And the non-competitive nature of the game means no fighting when they play. Most of the time.
Free audiobooks of copyright-free books. Most are read by volunteers. I’m sure a lot of them are homeschoolers. Wink. Wink. If you are feeling brave, you can read your own books for recording on Librivox.
Again, one of my favorite resources for more recent books. Mentioned in my article How to Homeschool on a Budget. For only $8.99 per month, we can read most books online that still have copyrights so that I don’t need to purchase everything we want to read. Has saved me literally thousands since I joined.
If you have yet to read any of Charlotte Mason’s written works, I highly recommend starting. You get the entirety of her beautiful method straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. If you struggle with her language or frequent references to things we may know nothing about, The Charlotte Mason Plenary offers annotated versions of both volume 1 & 6. Also available from The Plenary are annotated versions of Plutarch. Yay!
This is a new quarterly magazine released by a team of Charlotte Mason homeschoolers which discusses different aspects of Charlotte Mason homeschooling. They are often in themes. For example, one of the magazines last year was all about habits. Something that Charlotte discusses and gives quite an importance.
Charlotte Mason homeschooling has seen a revival in recent years all over the world. As more and more people are discovering her philosophy, we are blessed to receive more and more resources.
But with more choices, overwhelm is not far behind. I recommend choosing only one or two resources from each category to start that fits your individual family needs. And you will be well on your way to successfully implementing the Charlotte Mason method in your homeschool.
What about you? Do you have any favorite Charlotte Mason resources? I would love to hear about them. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know. And I’ll add them to this list.