Homeschool Curriculum: Who Is Charlotte Mason?


If you’re new to homeschooling, you’ve probably heard the name Charlotte Mason floating around. Who was Charlotte Mason? What’s her curriculum like? Here are the basics:

  • Charlotte Mason was a British educator who sought to change the utilitarian education system of the 19th century to a system which sought to educate a child as a whole person. Her efforts led to a major shift in British education. Today, there are numerous Charlotte Mason schools and her ideas are used widely within the homeschool community.
  • Mason believed that children were born people (which was a surprisingly uncommon idea back in her day) and that their education should revolve around treating them as such. Her motto was: “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
  • Teaching methods involved include the use of living books. Living books are not textbooks, but books generally written by a single author who has a real passion for the subject. So books that aren’t dumbed down and boring, but truly engaging.
  • Mason also believed in good habit training, short and focused lessons, arts, and narration. Narration involves students explaining what they have learned either in writing or orally. This was meant to reinforce the information and increase comprehension by forcing students to organize and synthesize the information.

Charlotte Mason’s efforts to begin teaching students as whole people, building a foundation for the rest of their lives. It’s easy to see just why her curriculum and ideas appeal to so many.

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