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Teaching Approaches
Living Books Approach
Charlotte Mason Method

The Living Books Approach is based on the writings of Charlotte Mason. One of the marks of the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method is teaching children through the love of books, nature and art.

Miss Mason was a turn-of-the-century British educator and became appalled by several tendencies she noticed in modern education: (1) the tendency to treat children as containers to be filled with predigested information instead of as human beings; (2) the tendency to break down knowledge into thousands of isolated bits of information to be fed into “container” children; and (3) the tendency to engineer artificial learning experiences.

Mason believed in respecting children as persons, in involving them in real-life situations, and in allowing them to read really good books instead of what she called “twaddle”—worthless, inferior teaching material. She considered education a failure when it produced children able to “do harder sums and read harder books” who lacked “moral and intellectual power.” Children were to be taught good habits, to be involved in a broad spectrum of real-life situations, and given ample time to play, reflect, and create.

Mason's approach to academics was to teach basic reading, writing, and math skills, then expose children to the best sources of knowledge for all other subjects. This meant giving children experiences like nature walks, observing and collecting wildlife; visiting art museums; and reading real books with “living ideas.” She called such books “living books” because they made the subject "come alive" unlike textbooks that tend to be dry and dull and assume the reader cannot think for him/herself.

Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Maria Shaw Mason
Born January 1, 1842
Died January 16, 1923
Residence: Ambleside, England (from 1891)

The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason
The online version of Charlotte Mason's six-volume book series

A Short Summary of Charlotte Mason's Methods

Charlotte Mason's Approach to Habit Formation

!!! Free Ebook !!!
Free E-Book:  Getting Started Homeschooling
Getting Started
in Homeschooling

by Sonya Shafer
Simply Charlotte Mason




Homeschool Curriculums that follow the
Living Books or Charlotte Mason Approach
Comments & Reviews
Living Books Curriculum

Grades K - 8


Ambleside Online
A free curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own PNEU schools. The goal is to be true to Charlotte Mason's high literary standards. Ambleside Online uses the highest quality books and costs no more than the cost of texts. The curriculum uses as many free online books as possible, and there is no cost to use this information or join the email support group.
Grades K - 12

Support Groups (Yahoo)
* Ambleside Online

* Year 0 - This is a support group for parents planning to use Ambleside Online's Charlotte Mason curriculum whose children are not yet ready for Year 1, but all parents wanting to apply Charlotte Mason's principles in the preschool years are welcome as well. Discussion will focus on implementing these principles in a gentle way before children begin formal schooling somewhere around age 6.

* Year 1


Mater Amibilis
A free online Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculum
A Christian company specializing in literature-based homeschool curriculum programs. We provide complete curriculum packages and individual resources and materials so you can build the preschool or K-12 homeschool curriculum that best meets your family's needs.

Grades K-12

* They basically have a list of living books in each "core" package with a scheduling guide which makes it easy to follow.
* You have flexibility with subjects like Science and Math and can buy packages separately through Sonlight, or use another curriculum.
* The curriculum packages are expensive, but if you price-shop the individual books in each package, then Sonlight is the better deal.
* They have a Sonlight Chat Forum which provides great support for Sonlight homeschoolers



Additional Resources

Charlotte Mason Help
Practical ways to apply the lofty ideas of Charlotte Mason in your home and school.

Penny Gardner
Books and resources for the Charlotte Mason Approach to Education

Simply Charlotte Mason - Free information on how to get started, book lists, planners, and curriculum guides

* Early Years Guide - Age 3-5
* Grade 1-12 Curriculum Guide
An outline of subject areas for each grade level, and links to resources.

* Education Is... An Atmosphere, A Discipline, and A Life - Free e-book by Sonya Shafer
* Book Finder Search Tool to find Living Books

Bright Kids
Twaddle-free Children's Literature and Living Books by Grade Level
Narration Cubes
Great ideas to make narration fun for everyone.
* An idea to help with narrating
* Narration Cube (Penny Gardner)
42598: When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason"s Philosophy for Today When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today
By Edited by Elaine Cooper / Crossway Books & Bibles

Designed to complement Susan Schaeffer Macaulay's book For the Children's Sake, this delightful tome offers answers to some of the most common questions about Charlotte Mason's methodology such as "What are living books?", "What does a Charlotte Mason education look like in this country?" and more. Emphasizing the Hebrew model of education, the practical and biblical emphasis of her methodology is explored. Both the ideals of Charlotte Mason, with her pillars of learning, plus the practical, applicational aspects are included. 254 pages, softcover, indexed.
Sage Parnassus
Home Education
Charlotte Mason
Kindle Edition ($1.99)
  Parents and Children
Charlotte Mason
Kindle Edition ($1.99)




Last Update: May 19, 2014



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A child has not begun his education until he has acquired the habit of reading to himself,
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