But are you REALLY a Charlotte Mason Method follower?

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It all starts with something that draws you in. Maybe a quote? A picture someone posted with the hashtag, #charottemason? A book like, For The Children’s Sake? The living books concept? The possibilities are endless! What originally drew me to a Charlotte Mason education was the basic principal of a living education. Not just studying a textbook and taking a test on it, but a deliberate and purposeful way of life that incorporated a whole system of valuing learning. And this is where I met Miss Mason.

Charlotte Mason did something that I think we have forgotten, she saw a need in her society, addressed it, and then revolutionized the way of thinking. A simple quotation would be from her first book, Home Education, where she asserted, “children are born person’s; neither good or bad” (paraphrased). Can we just pause on that for a moment? As a Christian, I immediately think of the verse that says, “no one is righteous, no not one.” BUT, let us really think about what Miss Mason is saying here. Do we not live in a society of “terrible twos,” “awful teenagers”, “hormone centered tweens”, and so on and so forth. There is some basis of truth, I accept that, BUT, why do we use these labels to DEFINE children! It is as if we are saying, “I expect this of you”. Miss Mason was saying that you mold the character of your child. You help them be the better version of them-self. And I think this, right here, is where we start seeing a shift in what we call, A Charlotte Mason Method.

When you look at what a Charlotte Mason Education looks like, you see things like, picture study, handicrafts, nature study and walks, and hymn study, Shakespeare, Plutarch, and oh my goodness–PAUSE! Look at the times! LOOK! All of these things are great! YES! But sigh not so, but let them go and be you blithe and bonny! Converting all your sounds of woe, into hey nonny! Nonny! (hint: Shakespeare). LOOK AT THE JOY! Cultivate your child. Make him a better version of himself. Does he really need to know how to chicken scratch in order to have a full Charlotte Mason education? Must Minecraft be banned because it does not fit within a classical atmosphere? (Um, well, I could argue that one but that is my OWN personal opinion). Do you even understand WHY we read Plutarch? Just because it has a modern aspect to it, doesn’t mean we should discard it. And just because it has a vintage charm to it, doesn’t mean we need to embrace it.

“But the educator has to deal with a self-acting, self-developing being, and his business is to guide, and assist in, the production of the latent good in that being, the dissipation of the latent evil, the preparation of the child to take his place in the world at his best, with every capacity for good that is in him developed into power.” Charlotte Mason, Home Education, page 9.














So many home educators are wanting to transition (my word and terminology) into a more simple method. We are burnt out and pocket-book empty. It sounds delicious and freeing. Like the “haunting wistful fragrant of violets”! Do you know what else we want? A formula! Add 1 cup of love, 1/2 cup of discipline, dash of Shakespeare, 1/4 cup of nature study; mix with Bible, living book, and bake with a twaddle-free literature. Out pops a successful child. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. Do not mistake me, there are some highly successful adults out there that have followed a CM method. And there are successful adults that attended a public school and received the Pulitzer prize! And even more drastic, we had a president that only had about a year’s worth of education from all his combined years. Not only a president but a highly respected and well-known man. (Hint: Abraham Lincoln).

Let us get back to a basic Charlotte Mason Method. Let us get back to cultivating the child to be the best version of self. If they want to grow up and be computer scientists, then encourage that! However, a completely self-centered child that can only think about computer games is not helping that child become the best version of them-self. Don’t play God, but do the job that God has given you!










So, I guess a huge question that is still hanging in the air is, do I follow the Charlotte Mason Method? (and she talks about method over system in her first book, and even within the first dozen pages.) YES. I am following the Charlotte Mason Method, AS I READ her words, narrate her works so that I understand what she is saying and why, and then learning to apply everything, in an effort to move closer and closer to an education that teaches the hearts of my children. Will this happen in the first school year? No. But, just like the Proverbs 31 woman was not attained in the first season of her married life, neither will the first school year look like the finishing year of my children’s education. Yes, I am applying her methods. Yes, I will be encouraging the out door life or in the words of Miss Mason, I will be “taking, not sending” them into the out door life. But this is not going to happen all at once. It is a journey. If you are looking at my videos and my life as a perfect example of following the Charlotte Mason Method, then you will be disappointed. Your life is not the same as mine. Your circumstances are different, and even your family goals are different. Break it down to the basic bite size instructions, we follow the same path. Start being more specific, then we start breaking off and going on ways. We may still be in a field doing nature study but I may be learning about the local reptiles and you are studying rabbits and ticks. It also means that our children are unique, will attain their education in the field in which they are passionate about, and will learn what a person must do/be to be a good member of society. And in the ultimate end, an instrument for the glory of God.

Thank you, Miss Charlotte Mason, for seeing the potential in children, rather than robots to program.

6 thoughts on “But are you REALLY a Charlotte Mason Method follower?

  1. Jennifer

    Hi Challice! I’d love to see videos on habit training using Charlotte Mason method.

    I truly enjoy your authenticity and candid thoughts.

  2. Tanya Montgomery

    Thanks for such a well written post. I feel like every since we found the Charlotte Mason method we have felt pressured to be a some family living out in the country, raising chickens, taking long walks in nature, reading only the best living books and spending our afternoon singing hymns and reciting poetry. The reality…. We live in a small town. There is a small patch of trees in our backyard that my children are afraid to enter because of the bears that roam the neighborhood in spring. Our walks are done on paved streets with nature at a distance. My children sit for very short periods of time. Not nearly long enough to even finish a chapter (we’ve been reading the same read aloud for around 5 months and aren’t yet half way through). When faced with library and book store shelves my childrens eyes are drawn to Lego books, minecraft books, and anything with zombies or unicorns. (I have to mention that I have at least found a minecraft devotional so we can mix what they want with what they need). Our afternoons we lay about the house in exhaustion from hours of chasing the 2 & 3 year old around and straightening their chaos. Some seasons of life turn into pure survival. But my kids are still young. And as wiggly as they are I know that everything we are doing will help them grow into wonderful people. I read a verse in Ecclesiastes that said “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” How true that is. The end goal is worth the starting struggle and having the patience to see it through us better than having the pride you are doing it right.

    1. Challice Post author

      Well written! And remember another Charlotte Mason nugget of wisdom, “short lessons” 😉 Be on the same book for a year if that is what it takes. 🙂 Isn’t it a good thing that they are reading? 🙂 Do what you can and like you said, to everything there is a season.

  3. Ashley

    Beautiful. I just watched your video on CM for Beginners yesterday, and this fits it hand in glove. I almost didn’t watch that one, since I don’t think of myself as a “beginner,” but I’m so glad I did. It (and this) were/are so beautifully inspiring and challenging. It’s not the things. It’s not the system. It’s so much more. It’s a life!

    Also, I enjoyed how you waxed rather rhapsodic and dreamy-eyed explaining it, in said video. It’s nice to know people who wouldn’t think me a loon for how I do the same! I’m pretty sure my husband is tired of everything being related to Charlotte, though he thinks it sounds great. Sorry, honey! Science of relations! 😉

    It’s not a cult if we’re right… right? 😀

    I should be careful joking like that, because it does seem like some people DO rather idolize her. I am madly devoted, and a “purist,” you could say, but her ideas MUST be subservient to the Word of God. I appreciated you discussing the children born persons vs. sin nature issue. It isn’t addressed enough. I do think she had a Biblical worldview, but we must still examine her teachings and make sure it is so, like the Bereans did even of apostle’s teachings! (Juuuuust for the record, I adore Charlotte, but she is hardly an apostle.) 🙂

    But I still think my cult joke is funny. 😉

    Do you listen to the Delectable Education podcast? Love those gals! Charlotte nerds extraordinaire!

    Are you part of any local or online CM reading group?

    Blessings on your school day today!

    ♡ Ashley

    1. Challice Post author

      LOL! Love the cult joke. I am not a purist. I am working my way towards a more CM lifestyle but I am also making it fit our family best. I cannot do 6 hours outside every day… at this time. 😉 I have listened to Delectable Education! I also really enjoy the Mason Jar Podcast.


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