An Ode to Miss Charlotte Mason

I found this recently while browsing through an older notebook of mine.  Thought I’d share it with you all.  Not my greatest writing, but definitely heartfelt.

charlotte masonAn Ode to Miss Charlotte M. Mason

Charlotte.  May I call you Charlotte?
Is it appropriate
to be so familiar
with someone so profound?

You are not my friend.
You are my hero.
My mentor.
My inspiration.

You voice continues, even now, to speak
for the children’s sake,
for the future’s sake,
for Heaven’s sake.



Sneaking in a Little Nature Study

517doMN-H7LTwo little girls who come to my neighborhood to visit their grandma frequently come visit me so they can play with my cats and rabbits, and to draw and color.  I have lots of art supplies left from when my own children were still at home.

The other day, the girls were coloring pictures of birds.  The older was telling the younger that there were all sorts of Jays.  Blue jays, red jays, purple jays, green jays.  Rather than chiming in with corrections or further information on jays, I pulled Birds of North America off my shelf and showed them the pages about various Jays.

Then I left them alone to continue coloring.

They  were so excited to see the real colors of various species of jays and proceeded to use the color plates in the book as models for coloring their own birds.

They’ve never been exposed to nature study, so it was fun to sneak a little in on them.  😉



Home Educators and Copyright Infringment

Strong Opinion/Rant About Legal Issues

UntitledAs a traditionally published book author, I am concerned about many home educators’ tendency toward copyright infringement. I think it’s done innocently without realizing they’re infringing upon someone’s legally protected intellectual property.  They’re usually just trying to help out a friend. But, for example, when sending someone a complete pdf copy of an ebook you’ve paid for, unless it says to feel free to share with others, you are committing copyright infringement. By emailing or sharing the entire text of a currently copyrighted work, you’re stealing from the person who put in the hard work to do the writing and research.  (This doesn’t apply if you’re passing along printed copies of books you’re finished with.)

Many of the homeschooling resources available online have been produced by other home educators who are most likely living on a single income and just trying to make a little extra money to help their families. Most book authors don’t make a ton of money, believe me, luckily there are services online where they can get in depth advice from, so they manage to live on.

Think about it: Would you go into someone’s bank account and steal money from them, even if you’re struggling financially? I bet everyone would say, “No! Of course not! I’m an honest person!” Well, essentially that’s what you’re doing when you breach copyright. You’re stealing from another person’s bank account.

Set a good example for your children. Pay for the resources you use if they’re copyrighted. Teach your children to respect the hard work of others. It’s a question of integrity. (Not to mention it’s also a crime.)

There is such a thing as “fair use” but that only means sharing a quote or maybe a paragraph when writing about the work in question or writing a review. Fair use doesn’t cover sharing the entire book (or ebook).  Just because something’s published online or in a digital format doesn’t make it Public Domain.

For more information on copyright laws:  Copyright & Fair Use

End of rant.

~Debi (who was a financially strapped home educator constantly on the lookout for a bargain or freebies … but I was always cognizant of copyright issues and would never intentionally steal another’s intellectual property, even if I was flat broke and struggling financially)

Charlotte Mason-related Workshops

A Twaddle-Free EducationAnyone out there looking for a Charlotte Mason speaker for your homeschooling conference or convention? Now that I’m finished with Grad school, I have the time to be involved in speaking again.

So far this year, I’ve been a Featured Speaker at the Washington Homeschool Organization’s large convention (four featured workshops) and I also presented an introductory CM workshop at the Oregon Home Educator Network (OHEN) conference in the Portland area.

Now’s the time to begin looking ahead to the upcoming school year and to get started on next year’s convention planning.

I’m also willing to do an all-day Charlotte Mason presentation for your support group or organization. Looking forward to seeing if we can match my expertise with your group’s needs this year. 🙂

For more info, go to:


Information for 2016 W.H.O. Convention attendees (and others)

I was a Featured Speaker at the Washington Homeschool Organization‘s annual convention this past weekend.  During and after my sessions, a number of people asked about specific resources.

I promised I’d provide the requested information here on my blog.

So here you go. 😀

Free Scope-and-Sequence
World Book Typical Course of Study

  • World Book encyclopedia has a free scope-and-sequence for each grade level (Preschool thru 12th) on their website.  I’ve discovered occasionally they move things around on their site.  I’m going to give you the link to the current location, but if you find at a later time that it takes you to some other page on their site or gives you a “Page Not Found” message, just search for “Typical Course of Study” on their site.

Non-test Assessment Service by Mail (Washington State residents)
Family Learning Organization (FLO) Testing Services

  • When we were still home educating (my children are all grown), I frequently used the FLO non-test assessment to meet the Washington State yearly testing requirement. I personally didn’t care for the idea of standardized testing.  The people at FLO were wonderful and can work with you, no matter what your style of home education might look like: Classical, textbooks, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, Waldorf, etc.

My weekly chore lists we talked about during Coping Strategies workshop
Debi’s Weekly Chore Lists

  • When I think about all the chores that need to be done to keep a home functioning, and then think about applying Charlotte Mason’s ideas about habit formation to every single one of those chores, my brain cramps up and I don’t do anything at all.  But I found by making a checklist of daily/weekly chores, I only had to build in ONE habit–the habit of checking the chore list each day.  It worked for me (and nothing worked for me).  That’s why I have a blog called I’m NOT Susie Homemaker.  😉

My homeschooling checklist
Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Day

  • You’ll find a description of the check list and also a link to the list’s pdf so you can download and print it out for use in your home if you think this idea might work for you. It worked for me! (You may have noticed a theme here … I like checklists. They work for me. Your mileage may vary.) 🙂

A quick overview of how to start using Charlotte Mason methods
Where to Begin with CM?

  • There are rigorous ways of applying Charlotte Mason methods in a homeschool setting, but there are also a number of people who have chosen to use her methods in combination with other ideas, as well. I’ve always been one of the more laid back, less rigorous Charlotte Mason-style home educators. I personally feel a great way to get started exploring Mason’s ideas is by easing into it, even combining her methods with other curriculum you already use, etc. That was actually how I started out. Each month, I’d add in one more method or idea, until eventually we were doing almost 100% Charlotte Mason-style homeschooling.

The following were books people repeatedly asked me about throughout the convention as they furiously scribbled titles and authors:

And I’d sold out of a number of titles at my book table so I promised I’d provide links so people could order those books on Amazon:

If I forgot to answer anyone’s direct question from the conference, please feel free to ask your question again in the comment section below.

I had such a great time at the W.H.O. Convention this year! Such a wonderful cross-section of friendly homeschoolers in attendance. You all made my week! I’m still smiling. Thanks so much for being such a great group. 😀