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 fret or worry.  You really don’t have to throw out your entire curriculum or all of those expensive 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 over the course of the year.


  • Oral narrations only to begin with (written narrations come much later and never completely replace oral narration)
  • No corrections / no questions

Book Choice

  • Living books
  • Twaddle-free (not dumbed-down for kids)
  • Read aloud
  • Whole books (the entirety of what the author wrote)

Nature Study 

  • 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)

51BlGAcUHnL(Excerpted and adapted with permission from A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Timeless Educational Ideas.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Deborah Taylor-Hough is a long-time homeschooling mother of three (now adult) children as well as a freelance writer and the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets cookbook series and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide to Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity.  Visit Debi on Facebook.

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

Other Articles of Interest:


One response to “Where to Begin?

  1. makinghermama

    I love that you added a parent assignment!!! Great list of books, many I haven’t come across before. I’ve read several of Karen Andreolas and look forward to checking out yours!!! I also blog about Charlotte Mason – especially nature study. Come take a look! I’d love your input 🙂

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