There are so many different ways to interpret Charlotte Mason’s words. Many have chosen to rely on someone else’s ideas and follow them, more or less, in an attempt to try something that they see as valuable, even when they don’t have the time to truly invest in it. Charlotte Mason’s volumes are definitely worth investing in, but how do you navigate the waters when you’re just starting out? After all, her words are rich and need time to settle.
I have spent the past several years reading through resources and finding what works for me. Here are my favorite Charlotte Mason resources from across the web. I hope that they help you as you work through your homeschool journey.
1. A Delectable Education
I just started listening to this podcast this year, after a time of serious prayer and searching for our homeschool direction. I have not been disappointed. The women who gather to talk about all things Charlotte Mason come with such a humble, gracious attitude that is infectious. If you’re just starting out with Charlotte Mason, or if you want to check out where they’re coming from, I highly recommend their Charlotte Mason 101 episodes. This podcast has been my most encouraging resource so far!
2. Ambleside Online
I love that Ambleside Online has been in use for years and has thousands of high school graduates. That being said, I do differ from their suggested history curriculum in deference to the suggestions from A Delectable Education. However, as a bare bones curriculum (meaning that they do provide a booklist as well as suggestions for what weeks to read them but not a teacher’s manual, per se) it definitely works. The women who have spent hours tweaking and writing and proofreading have also included Charlotte Mason’s volumes online for free, including a version in more modern English (and lots of notes to help you navigate some of the ideas she had that have been proven ineffective). Curious as to how I use it? I’ll share how in my next post!
3. Charlotte Mason Soiree
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always feel like I fit in with the Charlotte Mason Soiree. They approach Charlotte Mason as a definitive authority on education and child rearing while I tend to use her methods without prescribing my children to them completely. (I’m a rebel that way!) But the community that they have online has helped me to define my own position on Charlotte Mason. And, as they say, if you go “whole hog,” you have not reached perfection but are merely taking each day as it comes, trying to implement Miss Mason’s methods one at a time. Their Facebook group is also full of ideas and questions that can help you to refine your own ideas!
4. Exploring Nature with Children
This curriculum is heavily influenced by Charlotte Mason, although it acts more like a unit study than Charlotte Mason probably intended. However, it’s wonderful for getting ideas for your own nature journaling. It also provides several activity ideas and living books to help your children understand more about the world around them. (I’m even using one of their recommended books instead of Ambleside Online’s Burgess Bird Book suggestion for our nature study topic this term!) I also love the collection of fine art prints that she suggests in the curriculum. They’re just lovely! Right now, it’s only available as a PDF download, so if you’d like to print and bind, it will cost a little more. Exploring Nature with Children is well worth the $15, as you can use it over several years.
5. My Local Charlotte Mason Group!
If you do follow Charlotte Mason Soiree, you can check out their Facebook page and see a listing of Charlotte Mason groups. There may be one in your area! If not, you can always ask in a local homeschool group. A couple of months ago, one woman from Chicago asked if there was a CM group in my area. Several people replied, and now we have a real CM group in my county! It’s worth asking and even worth starting. We just started up, but it was so good to meet other families who also follow Charlotte Mason’s principles! Even though it looks differently in each of our families, the camaraderie was good for my soul.
What are your favorite Charlotte Mason resources? Do you have a group nearby? Let me know in the comments! I’ll read and respond to each one!