Where to Begin?

To-begin-begin-WordsworthIf you’ve only just recently been introduced to Charlotte Mason’s ideas but have already purchased this year’s books or curriculum, don’t worry.  You really don’t have to throw out your curriculum or textbooks (at least not yet). 😉

Just try adding one or two new ideas or methods at a time.  Work on building these ideas into your home school as new habits.


  • Be sure to do only oral narrations to begin with (written narrations come much later)
  • No corrections / no questions.  Just let them tell you what they know or remember.

Book Choice

  • Living books
  • Twaddle-free
  • Read aloud
  • Whole books (the entirety of what the author wrote)

Nature Study (it’s autumn now – the perfect time to start!)

  • Nature walks (not nature talks)
  • Nature notebooks
  • Leaf collections
  • Bird watching
    • Bird feeder
    • Bird book

Short Lessons

  • Ten minutes to fifteen minutes per subject
  • Alternate subject matter – heavy vs. light topics / mental vs. physical effort

Free-time in the afternoons

  • Finish academics before lunch
  • Work on arts and crafts
  • Go outside for a walk, or as Charlotte Mason might say, “have a scamper on the lawn”

Parent Assignment:

Read one of the following books:

As you read, write out a one or two paragraph narration after each chapter.  Don’t look at your notes or flip back through the book while writing. Just tell what you remember.  Or narrate orally what you’ve been reading to your spouse, to a friend, or to an older child/student.

NOTE:  If you’d like to print-out copies of this list for personal use or to share with your local homeschool group, there’s now a PDF available for easy printing/downloading.

Where to Begin (PDF file download)

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

Other Articles of Interest:


7 responses to “Where to Begin?

  1. I keep trying to pin some of your posts, like this one, but the images don’t seem to be working. Wondering if the problem is on my end or yours…would love to be able to find these posts when I need them. They’re perfect for passing along to the CM newbies in my life! (And they’re good reminders for myself.) Thanks!

    • Hm … I’m not sure why it’s not working for you. Have you tried clicking on the Pinterest button at the bottom of the post? I find that sometimes works better than trying to pin by entering the URL at Pinterest.

  2. Thank you! I just posted about self education and Catherine’s book today. I’m loving learning about this approach!

    • Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you found Catherine’s book. It’s a good introduction and great for learning to practically apply Charlotte Mason’s methods.

  3. Hi! I just wanted you to know that I’ve been appreciating this series. 🙂

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