Homeschool Methods: Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived around 1900. Her methodology of teaching focused on teaching the whole child – not just with academic facts, but also with habits and character development, living books, experiences in nature, communication, artists and composers, handwriting practice with a purpose, and more.

Homeschool Methods: Charlotte Mason

Boy Reading Under Tree on Shutterstock

This method is a parent-led approach that aims to fill a child with ideas as opposed to facts and data. Some of the key features of an education with this method are:

  • Nature Study – getting close to examine the natural world around them
  • Outside Time – as much outside time as possible, no matter the weather
  • Living Books – quality fiction and non-fiction literature that bring things (like history) to life
  • Habit Training – working on developing quality habits for everyday life
  • Copywriting – handwriting practice from pieces of quality literature
  • Short Lessons – allowing for better focus and variety in a day

One of her most popular quotes is, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”

Curious about a day in the life of a Charlotte Mason homeschooling family?


Charlotte Mason Benefits

  • It focuses on the development of the whole child.
  • Using living books really helps children relate to what they are learning.
  • It allows for lots of childhood free time and exploration of personal interests.
  • Outside time and nature study are naturally built-in.
  • It can be a very relaxed, child-centred learning experience.

Charlotte Mason Disadvantages

  • It is a lot of reading – since it uses books for every subject and topic.
  • It can feel outdated since her methodology is from 100 years ago.
  • Being outside in all weather can be a con for some – inclement weather can make for uncomfortable outside time.
  • It can be a lot of parent-involvement, through read-alouds, listening to narration, providing explanations, etc.
  • Books can be costly and take up a lot of room, if you don’t have library access or would rather buy them to keep

Examples of Charlotte Mason Curriculum

Recommended Resources

Where to Buy Charlotte Mason Curriculum in Canada


Charlotte Mason Blogs


Wondering about other homeschooling methods? Follow along in this 10-day series.

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