Tag Archives: charlotte mason

Easing into a Charlotte Mason Education

51uk2Mqo09L__SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Many years ago, I attended a Charlotte Mason support group led by Catherine Levison, author of A Charlotte Mason Education. I already believed that Charlotte Mason’s ideas held great benefit, but there were very few resources available at the time. This was a long time ago. Almost 30 years.  Levison’s book was really the first how-to resource at the time, so it was a tremendous honor to be able to be part of her early support group while she was still formulating the content of the book.

At every meeting, I would go home with one specific technique or idea I was going to add into our home school. One month, it was taking a weekly nature walk. Another month, we added in weekly art appreciation. Over the course of a year, I had switched our family to a Charlotte Mason home school. It was easy and painless using this step-by-step approach.

If you’re interested in Charlotte Mason’s methods and ideas but feel overwhelmed with all the choices and voices out there on the topic, can I suggest you first try dipping your toe in the water rather than switching over in one huge step?

For now, keep on doing whatever you’re doing. Textbooks, unschooling, whatever. Set aside a little bit of time in the afternoon, maybe half an hour, and try these things:

(5-10 minutes) Pick a book off the shelf and read for ten minutes (or five if your children are younger). The book can be something fun and simple like a Frog and Toad book for younger children, or Aesop’s Fables for older kids. Need ideas? Check out my Twaddle-Free Book List organized by grade level. I wouldn’t be surprised if you already have some of these books on your shelf, and if not, start this whole reading process with an afternoon trip to the local library.

(5 minutes) After your short reading, ask a couple of easy open-ended questions to get the conversation started. Don’t worry (yet) about having it be official Narration. You just want to get your students used to the idea of talking about their reading afterward. What do you remember about Toad from the story? Why do you think Lucy went into the wardrobe? How and why questions are especially good preparation for narrating.

(5 minutes) Grab a print of a piece of art. You can download a favorite and print it out from the internet. Fine art calendars work especially well for art appreciation. To begin with (eventually this process will be done differently), sit together and look at the art. What do you see? Have them point out just the content of the painting, not technical aspects. Just find the main points. People, animals, buildings, furniture. Then have them look at the background and see what’s there. After you’ve spent a couple of minutes looking at it, put it away, and then see how much you each remember without looking.

(10-20 minutes) Go outside (in a yard, a park, even a city sidewalk) and look for some natural object of interest. A pinecone, a flower, a pigeon, a stick, a rock. Observe the object carefully, much like you did with the artwork. If the object is something you can bring back home (like a rock or stick, not a pigeon) 😉 grab a pencil and paper and attempt to draw it by paying attention to the details of what you see. Each person can have their own object to draw or everyone can share the same one.

If you have naptime or quiet time after lunch, play some quiet classical music in the background. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was a favorite of my children.

Find a collection of family poetry and read a poem out loud at the lunch table every day.

If you’re looking to start implementing these things beyond just a one day trial, I’d recommended adding in the reading and discussion time every day, and also the music and lunchtime poem.  The art appreciation would be only once a week, and the nature walk/drawing would be once or twice a week.

If you find you’ve successfully integrated these easy steps into your home school, find a list of Charlotte Mason’s techniques and start adding one more idea every month or two.  Charlotte Mason in a Nutshell is a good place to start.  They say it takes about six to eight weeks to develop a new habit, so if you start using a new idea every month and a half, you could easily have eight to ten new techniques added to your homeschooling with very little stress or tears.


Poem: The Outdoor Life of Children

I’ve been playing around quite a bit lately with erasure and found poetry.  Today I constructed a cento (a collage poem) made from words/phrases found in The Outdoor Life of Children by Charlotte Mason.

The Outdoor Life of Children

A child has a natural interest in living things
some children are born naturalists
a very prophet of nature
communing with the larger Mother
unbounded interest and delight
capers about in endless ecstasy
drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child
make full use of opportunities
watching the ways of sparrows
infuse into them
a seed of sympathy
a love of investigation
the sense of beauty comes from early contact with nature
a boudoir full of shells and fossils
flowers and seaweeds
the movements of the bird, cloud, lamb, child
unspeakable awe and delight
he is in bliss
the sad child-life from which bees and birds and flowers
are shut out
let him work with things
not with signs
the things of Nature in their own places
meadow and hedgerow
woods and shore
cherish in each child
their capacity of being pleased
children are storing up memories
of a happy childhood
every hour spent in the open air
is clear gain

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

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


Charlotte Mason eMagazine – Late February 2016

charlotte mason portrait (2)The following are excerpts from the latest issue of the Charlotte Mason eMagazine. Be sure to visit the magazine’s website and sign up for email notifications so you’ll never miss an issue! Subscribe here:

A Charlotte Mason Education in High School

“I ran across this wonderful quote recently while rereading Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake: ‘Also, it would be wrong not to equip our children with ‘passports’ to our society. Th…”

A Field Trip ~ Exploring Nature With Children

“Firstly, I apologise for the misleading nature of the title of the post! If you are following along with Exploring Nature With Children, you will know that this week is field trip week. We are quit…”

Nature Study On Periscope With Leah Boden

 “I am really excited to let you know about a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Charlotte Mason method of nature study. My lovely friend Leah will be doing a live periscope event tomorrow…”

Keeping a Nature Journal

“Nature journaling is an immensely rewarding pursuit for both parent and child. In Charlotte Mason’s own words: Consider, too, what an unequaled mental training the child-naturalist is getting for …”

The Beauty Of Earth And Heavens

The Beauty Of Earth And Heavens – Posted on February 20, 2016 by raisinglittleshoots – “They must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heave…”

University of Derby: Children in Touch With Nature Do Better on Tests

University of Derby: Children in Touch With Nature Do Better on Tests Derby Telegraph – February 26, 2016 | By Zena Hawley | In the News “CHILDREN who are in touch with nature achieve better results…”

A Twaddle-Free Education

51BlGAcUHnLA Twaddle-free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Timeless Educational Ideas

Author: Deborah Taylor-Hough
Released: April 23rd, 2015
Paperback: 148 pages
ISBN-10: 0692431284
ISBN-13: 978-0692431283
Publisher: Simple Pleasures Press
List Price: $11.99  Reduced! $6.99

To order your copy of A Twaddle-Free Education via Amazon.com, simply click on the book cover’s image or click here.


Are you disappointed with dumbed-down reading material (“twaddle”) written for children? Do you wish for your children to feast their hearts and minds on noble ideas, fine art, and great literature? Are you hoping your children gain an appreciation of nature and a deep understanding of natural sciences? Most importantly, do you want your children to develop a lifetime love of learning? If you answered “yes,” you may discover a Charlotte Mason-inspired twaddle-free education is just what you’ve been looking for.

Charlotte Mason was British educator from the last century whose ideas are currently experiencing a renewal among home schools and private schools throughout the world.  This book is one mother’s experiences and thoughts on applying a Charlotte Mason-style education in a modern American home school setting.


In the mid-1990’s, Deborah Taylor-Hough set up one of the first Charlotte Mason homeschooling websites and edited The Charlotte Mason Monthly newsletter. Debi currently edits The Charlotte Mason eMagazine and blogs at CharlotteMasonHome.com


  • My Introduction to Charlotte Mason
  • Charlotte Mason in a Nutshell
  • Narration Tips
  • Natural Nature Learning
  • Homeschooling with a Rock Bottom Budget (excerpt)
  • Scheduling a Charlotte Mason-style Homeschooling Day
  • Twaddle-Free Literature by Grade Level
  • Frugal Family Field Trips
  • Twaddle-Free Holidays
  • Interview with the Author
  • Are All Homeschooling Methods Created Equal?

… and more!


  • “This was my first Charlotte Mason read and I found it so practical and refreshing. It’s filled with simple explanations and ideas of how to implement a CM approach to your homeschool. I will definitely include this on my list of recommended resources for moms interested in exploring CM homeschooling.” – Mama Rhody
  • “I am enjoying this book. My child is a little older so this is more for younger children. Wish I had started homeschooling earlier!” – Victoria M.
  • “I just started homeschooling last year. Out of all the styles out there Charlotte Mason’s methods looked like the best fit for my family. I have spent quite a bit of time reading over The Original Homeschool Series books, and this book is a lot easier to read and is full of great ideas. Thank you so much Deborah.” – Erin
  • “When I began my journey into homeschooling, I researched many methods, but kept coming back to Charlotte Mason’s ideas. They really resonate with me and my personal beliefs and are a good fit for our family school. The writing style of this book is easy to read, and there are many references to Charlotte’s extensive writings. I always appreciate reading about other homeschooling moms’ experiences; it helps me to stay on track and keep a long term perspective. I look forward to finishing this book, and will definitely recommend it to others who are curious about The CM method and how to implement it in their own family schools.” – Gina E.

A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Timeless Educational Ideas by Deborah Taylor-Hough is available in both paperback and Kindle ebook formats.

If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle app at Amazon to use to read Kindle books on your personal computer, tablet, or smart phone.  If you purchase a paperback edition of the book from Amazon, you’ll be eligible for a free Kindle version, as well. 2-for-1!

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