Homeschool Methods 101: The Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

Are you looking for an education method that really puts your children’s growth first? While there are many different homeschool methods to choose from (including the classical method, eclectic homeschooling, traditional homeschooling, the Montessori method, and even the unschooling method), the Charlotte Mason homeschool method might be the perfect fit for your family! With a combination of literature-based learning and plenty of hands-on activities, this approach will allow your child to gain an understanding of the world around them in a way that no other method can.

Exploring the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

Let’s dive into how this method works. We will explore the best parts of the method and how different learning styles can excel using the Charlotte Mason homeschool method and why it could be the best fit for your family!

What is the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method?

The Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling is an educational philosophy and pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject) that was developed in late 19th century England. This method emphasizes the role of living books, experiences in nature, and child-directed learning in the educational process with a solid foundation of charter training as well. It promotes a student-centered approach over a traditional homeschooling method or practices of education, such as rote memorization, math drills, and textbook learning.

Charlotte Mason (1842–1923) was a British educator who wrote extensively on children’s education and created the Charlotte Mason Home School Series. Ms. Mason did not have any formal education credentials when she started her teaching career; however, her work with children has revolutionized modern education ideas and practices even more than one hundred years later an is a popular homeschooling style today.

The characteristics of a Charlotte Mason–style homeschool include:

  • An emphasis on short but frequent lessons focusing on great books in their entirety rather than excerpts or topics.
  • A focus on self–directed activities under close guidance from adults.
  • A study of nature as a method of scientific exploration.
  • Activities are arranged according to developmental stage rather than age or grade level group.
  • Projects and activities that make use of outside resources such as libraries, museums, and other engaging places or materials.
  • Encouraging students to think for themselves via narration activities that ask students to recount information they have read in their own words.
  • Attending performances such as plays, concerts, or hands-on workshops to extend learning beyond texts through sensory experiences.
  • Fostering a lifelong love of reading and learning rather than temporary knowledge acquisition only for tests.
  • Each day begins with thoughtful reflections inspired by passages from great literature or poetry which underscore the day’s lessons throughout various subjects.

In summary, the Charlotte Mason method is a holistic approach that includes structured routines without tightly constraining curriculum goals thereby allowing for individual expression beyond textbooks alone. 

This program is a great way for younger children, those in middle school, high school students, and even those with special needs to explore the many different ways of learning. It encourages a childhood joy in learning creative problem–solving skills through pleasing experiences so students gain a deep understanding whether it be in academic or non–academic pursuits.

Core Principles of the Charlotte Mason Method

Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy is based on the belief that children should be nurtured, rather than merely taught.

The Charlotte Mason Method combines the best of classical education methods with a more relaxed, natural approach to learning, which relaxed homeschoolers love. At its core, this method emphasizes instilling a love for learning in children through hands-on activities as well as emphasizing indirect instruction through reading great literature and living books instead of relying heavily on textbooks.

The Charlotte Mason homeschooling method also promotes integration and encourages exploring multiple subjects and teaching them in context. This approach to learning emphasizes making connections between subjects and how they relate to real-life situations. New homeschoolers may enjoy unit studies that support the Charlotte Mason method, in order to get a feel for routine and schedules, especially with older children.

The method follows some core principles including:

  • Habits: Encouraging good habits and character traits such as enthusiasm for knowledge, respect for adults, obedience, courtesy, and reverence.
  • Emphasis on Nature: Utilizing the outdoors through nature study as a source of observation, reflection, analysis, and stories.
  • Art Appreciation: Studying works of art to help develop an appreciation of beauty in all its forms.
  • Use of living books: Selecting literature that truly inspires children by using quality reading materials chosen carefully by homeschool parents instead of relying heavily on textbooks or workbooks.
  • Narration: Using narration as a way to explore topics in more depth by having students explain what they have learned or experienced with their own words after listening to stories or reading material from living books or magazines.

Benefits of Homeschooling with the Charlotte Mason Method

The Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling reflects the founder’s commitment to providing a well-rounded education for children. This method encourages independent thinking, imagination, creativity, and community involvement. Homeschool families using this method strive to foster a love of learning in their children while teaching them how to think deeply, discuss rationally, and record accurately what they learn.

Charlotte Mason believed that the point of education is not simply to acquire knowledge but to form lasting habits of character and values. According to this philosophy, habits are formed by daily practice over a period of time – not just through memorization or lectures. Parents who practice the Charlotte Mason approach focus on exposing their children to quality books and activities that cultivate good habits without overburdening them with excessive amounts of material.

Additionally, parents using the Charlotte Mason method are encouraged to get outdoors regularly. Exploring nature and engaging in outdoor activities can help students understand more deeply the subjects they are learning as well as develop skills such as problem-solving and observation. Charlotte Mason also believed that engaging with nature improves physical health by providing opportunities for physical activity and fresh air.

Through its emphasis on:

  • developing good habits of character, 
  • fostering natural curiosity through quality works of literature and art, 
  • incorporating nature into learning experiences, 
  • encouraging imaginative play and creative expression through art activities

 – all while pacing work according to each student’s individual needs – the Charlotte Mason approach can be an effective way for homeschoolers to create an inspiring learning environment for their children.

Preparing to Implement the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

Preparing to implement the Charlotte Mason Method of homeschooling requires some knowledge of this unique educational approach. A Charlotte Mason education is based on the idea that learning should be creative, meaningful, and enjoyable for children. It emphasizes nature study, living books, and engaging activities that draw out the natural abilities of the student.

In order to give your children an experience with this method of learning, there are three critical areas for you as a parent to prepare for: study materials, scheduling, and environment.

  • Study Materials: The foundation of the Charlotte Mason approach lies in carefully crafted experiences with living books including classics in literature, science, history, geography, and more. Deliberate exposure to a variety of poems and paintings are also part of the language arts plan. Parents will want to be familiar with mastering material selection or using Charlotte Mason-based homeschool curriculum resources to implement this method at home.
  • Scheduling: Understanding how time is spent as a family while also creating individual time for creative experiences is an important element when incorporating this method into your homeschool routine. It allows students space for observation and discovery paired with reflection through narrations so they can internalize their learning in meaningful ways.
  • Environment: Creating a space conducive to learning where students feel safe pursuing knowledge independently yet having the opportunity for meaningful connections with other learners is paramount when practicing this style of education at home or away from traditional classrooms (field studies and field trips). Connecting nature study with other subject areas helps bring relevance to learning across disciplines. Exploration can look very different from one family to another depending on the location or resources available for gathering around topics being studied.

Applying the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method in Everyday Life

During an age of industrial revolution and technology exploration, Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) proposed a method of education that drew heavily from the classical tradition, but with a growing emphasis on the role of nature study, the arts, and literature. Her philosophy is popular among homeschoolers because it puts heavy emphasis on play, nature study, and imagination.

The Charlotte Mason approach proposes that children should be exposed to quality literature to help foster their ability to think critically as well as stimulate their creativity. Learning should not be limited to textbooks and workbooks or by, but should include books about history, science, and art. In addition to reading for pleasure, students can engage in narration—a retelling of what has been read—to help them remember key facts and ideas from the text.

The Charlotte Mason method incorporates time spent outdoors observing nature and other forms of art such as music or painting. These activities are used to emphasize how vital hands-on exploration is in learning by helping students gain first-hand experience with the world around them. Creative expression helps shape students’ understanding of new concepts while engaging their imaginations in a fun way.

In addition to expanding knowledge through books and activities beyond the traditional classroom walls, Charlotte Mason advocated for the regular use of narration in teaching children life lessons that incorporate moral values. Through this technique, students practice expressing themselves verbally as well as conceptualizing messages found in stories that have meaning for them personally.

Overall, the primary goal of Charlotte Mason’s educational model is to provide an environment that encourages self-discipline while allowing each child’s natural interests and capabilities to develop at their own pace. Applying this method focuses on instruction that is meaningful through language taught naturally through the use of quality literature rather than rote teaching techniques typically found in traditional classrooms or textbooks used by many homeschoolers today.

Overcoming Challenges with the Charlotte Mason Method

The Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling utilizes an approach that is anchored in living books, nature study, and art to create an environment that develops a student’s curiosity and encourages self-learning. While this approach can result in remarkable growth and enriching experiences for the learner, it may also present a set of challenges that can feel daunting without the right guidance.

Choosing the right curriculum:

One challenge with Charlotte Mason homeschooling is choosing the right curriculum material. Books selected must be engaging and encouraging of children’s innate sense of wonder so that students remain engaged with what they are reading and learning from it. Too often parents become side-tracked in purchasing the wrong type of book or lesson plan materials that will not benefit their child’s needs or interests.

Some of Homeschool Planet’s Top Picks of Charlotte Mason lesson plans and resources to make curriculum selection quick and easy are: Music in Our Homeschool, Institute for Excellence in Writing, Life of Fred, and Beautiful Feet Books (coming SOON!). 

Staying Organized:

Another challenge is staying organized while using this type of curriculum. With such an expansive range of materials available, as well as uncovering creative ways to apply these elements to everyday learning activities, having a plan ensures the successful integration of materials into lessons without feeling overwhelmed in the process. Curricula available in the Marketplace will provide what you need to keep planning streamlined and organized.  You can even create notes for yourself to prepare in advance for upcoming lessons.

Subject Pacing:

Finally, pacing one’s time throughout the year should be carefully considered to ensure that all subjects have enough coverage without sacrificing quality instruction or enforced memorization methods within each subject area. Homeschool Planet can help you balance each unit’s requirements while providing you the flexibility for thoughtful consideration on the variety of subjects you want to have while still instilling structure into a daily schedule of classes. Homeschool Planet will help you organize and set up subject plans for larger projects so all necessary components will come together at just the right time for successful completion.

Resources for Homeschoolers Using the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method

The Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling is a unique method that focuses on a balanced approach that emphasizes the importance of learning from living books, undertaking nature walks and other outdoor activities, learning music and art, and having copious amounts of free play. Parents who choose this approach to educate their children are often looking for resources to assist them in enriching their lessons and providing the best possible education for their children.


Charlotte Mason wrote several books herself that teach her educational philosophy. Parents can choose to read her books such as Home Education, The Story of Charlotte Mason, Ourselves, School Education: Developing a Curriculum Upon Principles of Authority and Freedom, and Parents and Children to guide them in setting up their lessons. Other titles such as Modern Miss Mason provide further guidance on practical homeschooling topics for our modern era.


Charlotte Mason-inspired websites abound online that provide both practical support for parents implementing the CM method with their children as well as inspiring stories from experienced parents. A quick search can bring up sites ranging from blogs about tips for scheduling studies to finding more living books to weekly newsletters about how others are following the Charlotte Mason teaching method with their students at home. These sites can be an immense source of help for those delving into this educational path or just seeking advice or encouragement.

Online Groups

Facebook has made it possible to come together with other parents worldwide following Charlotte Mason’s educational methods through an online platform at home support groups or forums located on various websites intended specifically for those choosing this path in raising the next generation. Sharing experiences, questions, and discussions around home education topics can help reinforce one’s understanding of the CM philosophy while also providing comfort in knowing they’re not alone along this journey!

Reflections on Homeschooling with the Charlotte Mason Method

The Charlotte Mason homeschool method is an educational philosophy that emphasizes providing a rich, liberal education while using methods that engage a child’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm. This approach also places an emphasis on creating an environment in which children feel safe, secure, and respected. The ultimate goal of this style of teaching is to provide a child’s education that is holistic: one that not only prepares students for academic success but also focuses on their emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.

By homeschooling with the Charlotte Mason method, parents can foster independence, creativity, and critical thinking skills in their children. This method encourages children to explore their own interests through hands-on activities and projects in order to gain knowledge. Another key component of this style of teaching is using wonderful literature to introduce students to the world around them. Charlotte Mason regularly quoted poetry, passages from famous books, stories, and biographies as part of her classroom practice. Today, homeschoolers using the Charlotte Mason method generally start their day with Circle Time or Morning Time.

Homeschooled students can succeed within the Charlotte Mason approach. It requires great commitment from both the parent-educator as well as the student; however, it can also be incredibly rewarding for both parties involved! Through implementing the practices of:

  • narration (oral retelling)
  • short lessons (teaching concepts through reading aloud)
  • “Living Books” (stories with depth)
  • nature study (exploring outdoors)
  • artist appreciation (learn about various artists over time)

homeschoolers can create an environment filled with exciting learning opportunities for everyone!