Going Straight to the Source

by Catherine Levison

I needed a very powerful reason to write a second book because I still feel strongly that reading Charlotte Mason’s books would be the most beneficial use of your time.

However, with both books I’ve tried to help home schooling parents and other educators with the practical, daily, “how-to’s” of this incredibly valuable method. My intention was to give you enough information so that you could actually implement the method in your home. Then, you could read and reread Charlotte Mason’s books at your leisure, hopefully without so much pressure to interpret her meaning in order to start application.

Some people find Charlotte Mason’s six-volume set to be difficult reading and many have found it to be a four to five year long project. I don’t mean to discourage you from trying to read it, on the contrary I want to help you to succeed at it. You can read from the set if you’re not able to read through it. I’m providing my advice as to how to tackle the six-volumes because I can’t even count the number of people who have told me that they own the set, they’ve attempted to read it, but they neither enjoy nor understand it. Let me reassure you — you can read Charlotte Mason’s books.

1) ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES

When possible, go to Charlotte Mason’s materials directly. People have — and will continue to — misconstrue her ideas. We all approach this method with our own thoughts and biases on education. As we read, we tend to take an idea and make it our own for our children. If you know what Charlotte Mason said, you’ll be able to recognize when an author has applied Charlotte’s writings verbatim or adapted her ideas.

2) TAKE NOTES WHEN YOU READ

Keep a notepad with your books and do not neglect to write down ideas or examples. (Do this enough and you’ll be writing your own book on the Charlotte Mason method!)

3) GET ALONE IN A QUIET PLACE

As many of you have found, this is not light reading. Prepare to concentrate and think. Countless times I could have taken Charlotte’s meaning the wrong way. It truly takes concentration.

4) PRIORITIZE YOUR READING

If time is a limitation, concentrate your efforts on the three volumes that end in the word “education” — Home Education, School Education and Philosophy of Education.

5) EXPECT TO REREAD

This includes sentences, paragraphs and entire books in the series. Even if you’ve developed the ability to grasp written content in one reading, Charlotte Mason has so much to say about so many things that it can be difficult to grasp it all in one reading. Plus, as we and our children grow older the potential for seeing her teachings in a whole new way expands at each plateau.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Levison — long-time homeschooling mother of five and popular conference speaker to parenting and educational audiences throughout the USA and Canada — is the author of several books on Charlotte Mason-style home education.  Visit Catherine Levison’s Amazon Author page here:  Levison on Amazon

You can order Levison’s books online at:

  1. A Charlotte Mason Education: A How-to Manual
  2. More Charlotte Mason Education
  3. A Literary Education: An Annotated Book List

NOTE: Stop by and “Like” Charlotte Mason Home Education on Facebook!  :-)


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