Who was Charlotte Mason?

Charlotte Mason (1842–1923) was a British educator who dedicated her life to improving the quality of children’s education. She envisioned a generous and broad curriculum for all children, regardless of social class. She wrote six volumes on education: Home Education, Parents and Children, School Education, Ourselves, Formation of Character, and Towards a Philosophy of Education. She also wrote books of poetry entitled Savior of the World, which are written on the gospels. From her initial volume and lectures the Parent’s Educational Union was formed and the periodical the “Parents’ Review” was birthed to keep in touch with members. In 1891 she formed the House of Education to train governesses and other children’s workers. The PEU became the PNEU or Parents’ National Educational Union and the Parents’ Union Schools were formed in which children from all backgrounds were taught publicly. These schools taught children using Miss Mason’s philosophies and methods. Eventually the graduates of her schools supplied teachers for the PUS schools that were thriving throughout England. She spent her later years overseeing the schools that had sprung up from her vision to give each child the education he was due. In her time over 40,000 students were trained using her philosophy worldwide.

The Charlotte Mason method of education thrived until the decrease of godly values in public education. In the 1980’s Karen and Dean Andreola brought her volumes from England to the United States, where they have been reprinted. Since the release of Miss Mason’s Volumes and also the release of the book, “For the Children’s Sake" by Susan Macauley Schaeffer, there has been a growing movement of the Charlotte Mason method in homeschool and schools around the world. Macauley’s book is a gentle overview of Miss Mason's method and principles. We highly recommend reading this book if you are new to the Charlotte Mason method.

The Charlotte Mason Method

Our educational philosophy is that which was founded by Charlotte Mason, also called a living education. Her method is based on the knowledge that God created each child in His own image and is due a full education.

The Charlotte Mason method of education uses rich literature called “living books” rather than dry textbooks.  This offers children the opportunity to make relationships with the subjects they study.  One of the major premises of a Charlotte Mason education is that “education is the science of relationships”.... relationships with their Creator, His universe and with people of the past and present.

Habits of excellent execution and focused attention are taught by keeping lessons short in the younger years (about 10-20 minutes) and increasing the length as they mature.  Most formal lessons are done in the morning with time for play and learning based on children’s interests in the afternoon.

Much of their work comes in the form of narration (telling back in your own words) and composition rather than worksheets and pointed questions. After a single reading, the child narrates (either orally or written depending on ability) and lessons are discussed to increase understanding.  There is no traditional homework, busywork or extra seatwork.

There is a “wide feast” of studies such as:

  •          The core academic studies of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic
  •          Nature Walks and Nature Study (observational science)
  •          Experimental Science, History, Citizenship
  •          Art and Music appreciation
  •          Handicrafts (purposeful projects rather than “glitter and glue” projects)
  •          Singing and Exercise
  •          Map, compass work and scouting
  •          Habit and moral training
  •          Much outdoor time

By utilizing children's natural learning ability and presenting a generous curriculum, the child is allowed to digest what is appropriate for him or her at the appropriate stage.  This leads to a well-rounded individual and is fitting for the busy boy, gifted child, and delayed student.

The Charlotte Mason method is a method that nurtures a love for learning and reinforces good life long habits, rather than just presenting a body of information.  It grows a person, rather than fills a bucket.