7 Ways to Incorporate the Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method

Even if you’ve only just started homeschooling, you’ve likely already heard about the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method. Charlotte Mason was an educator in 19th century England who believed that true education happens in an environment that encourages a lifetime of learning. Homeschoolers have embraced her methods to teach their children with a style that is lovely and engaging while still producing great academic results. 

But how do you actually go about implementing the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method? If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to find time to sift through volumes of work to find practical, bite-size steps. I’m here to help! Here are 7 simple ways that my own family has expanded on what we were already doing to incorporate Charlotte Mason practices into our eclectic homeschool. Note that I’m not a CM purist and don’t intend to be. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 🙂 

7 Ways to Incorporate the Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method

Wondering how to do the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method? Here are 7 simple ways to incorporate it into whatever you already have going on in your homeschool.

Focus on Habits and Character

Godly character and building good habits for life and learning are foundational to Charlotte Mason. Although our family has always focused on these things, and we view it as essential to their education. Habits and character are not only important in effective day-to-day homeschooling, but they are essential in order to raise children who can thrive in life once they leave the nest. We do this by teaching our children chores and daily responsibilities, helpful personal habits, and teaching them about Godly character such as obedience and self-control. I build instruction and review into our lessons just like any other subject! 

Use Living Books

Rather than using textbooks or workbooks, the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method relies on living books – high quality fiction and non-fiction that teaches the topic in an engaging way. Living books can be used for any subject but we most often use them for history, science, and the fine arts. Living books can include first hand accounts, biographies, great literature, scripture, poetry, and more. For example, we often read the missionary biographies together as a family and then use them to study godly character, geography, history, culture, science, and so on. 

Begin Simple Nature Studies

Playing outside and learning from nature is one of the more fun aspects of Charlotte Mason! Nature studies don’t have to be complicated (thank goodness). We make this happen by practicing the habits and skills of nature observation (“oh look at that caterpillar! Check out those hairs all over his body! I wonder…”).

Then we try to set aside some time each week to do “nature observation.” This could be touring the backyard or some corner of the neighborhood together, going to a nearby nature park with friends, or heading to a playground in a wooded area. Sometimes a child will take a journal with them but otherwise we break them out when we get home to draw and describe (orally or written) something they observed, or use pages from our NaturExplorer nature study packs. We keep it simple! If you aren’t ready for full nature studies consider trying 100+ Easy and Fun Nature Walks to get started. 

Practice Narration 

Narration is a simple and helpful tool to evaluate what your kids learn and practice the skills for future writing assignments. It is basically the re-telling of what they heard or learned. There are a few different ways we use narration.

When I’m reading aloud from the Bible, literature, or a living book for some topic, I’ll pause at key points and ask a child to tell me in their own words what they heard. It teaches them listening and oral composition skills. The older kids do a “reading challenge” of 40 minutes each day and when they’re done they narrate to me what they read about. When they seem ready for the challenge, we add in notebooking to work in to a form of written narration. 

Use Copywork and Dictation

Once our kids have gone through a basic instruction on letter formation and handwriting, we begin copywork. First a word, then a sentence, and up to a paragraph. They copy text from scripture, poetry, their reading selections, interesting quotes, etc. It helps them practice their handwriting, observe good spelling and grammar, and introduces them to great ideas. One they are able to do copywork with accuracy most of the time, we transition them to dictation, writing down what I read aloud. We generally use the same types of selections as for copywork. 

Bring Fine Arts Into the Mix

For some reason this was a huge challenge for me. Getting through our core subjects was hard enough let alone working in music, art, poetry, etc! Keeping it simple is the key. What has ended up working for us is finding some good books and curriculum on these subjects and doing just one activity a day in the morning after breakfast. It could be reading from a poetry anthology, studying an art print, listening to music and learning some facts about the composer, etc.

We’ve enjoyed using Enrichment Studies and Music in Our Homeschool so far for these activities and I’m looking into Masterpiece Studio for the coming year. 

Play With Handicrafts

Our newest effort has been to work in handicrafts, which are activities that help the child create something useful, teaching them to be industrious, careful, and diligent to finish their work. Examples are wood carving, embroidery, photography, beading, etc.

We’re slowly introducing this for our older kids (8 and 10) and doing fun simple arts and crafts with the littles. I’m excited about this part of our homeschool! It will be a huge stretch for this domestically challenged mama, though. 😉 

Get a Peek Into Our Homeschool and Our Own Transition to More CM


 

 

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This Post Has 96 Comments

  1. looks like a lot of great books.I like the fungus one, but my kids would love birds, thanks for the giveaway

  2. I would love to have the “Charlotte Mason Homeschooling in 18 easy lessons “, or “Creative Nature Walks”.

  3. I have looked at these before and I would definitely want the Rain one! My son and I love to sit on our porch and watch the rain together.

  4. I really want to try the Living Math resource and many others of the science resources.

  5. Thanks for making me aware of these resources!

  6. I really want to try Loving Living Math and Incredible Creeks.

  7. We are working to add more CM components to our year. We’re going to develop them this summer so they are routine by the start of school.

  8. Beautiful Birds!

  9. Thank you for this post! Starting out is so overwhelming and having it broken down like this makes it feel much more doable! I love the idea of the Nature Walks!

    1. You’re welcome Tracy! I’m so glad it was helpful 🙂

  10. I am most interested in the nature studies like Deciduous Trees and Creeks and well I would use any of them. 🙂

  11. This is so very good! We have homeschooled for 3 years, but God keeps bringing me back to CM style teaching over and over for next year! Can not wait to incorporate this ideas.

    I love living books and now have my eye on the Living Math book from the link! Math is my dryest subject, and would love a CM spin.

  12. Fungus Among Us and Animal Tracks!!

  13. I would love the book called Love Living Math!! Thank you so much for this chance. I would LOVE to find out more about CM. I’ve been drawn to her ideas for 10+ years, but an trying to do more.

  14. Loving Living Math looks interesting!

  15. Hard as a Rock is the Nature Explorer that I am interested in.

  16. The e book Beautiful Birds looks really interesting.

  17. I would love ANY of these charlotte mason resources!! The nature walks or living math would be fantastic!!

  18. This is a great post. My friends, who implement the CM method, have tried to get me to jump right in to the CM world. I have even bought the CM e-books and they still sit there on my kindle waiting for me to read. This post helped me to “realize” I can take little steps introducing CM into our homeschool journey. Thank you for your post and recommendations for bringing CM into my homeschool world. I’m excited to read, CM homeschooling in 18 easy lessons. I need easy.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! Sounds like we are similar. 🙂 I’m glad it was helpful to you!

  19. I’m new to homeschooling this year with my 5 kids and would love to learn more about Charlotte Mason and how to implement her methods into our day! Thanks for this opportunity!

  20. Thanks for sharing! I’m new to homeschooling in general (starting with my older son after he hits preschool age this year), and the curriculum I chose has a lot of CM influence. I think the nature studies in the shop you shared look very interesting!

  21. I like the looks of Captivating Clouds, Beautiful Birds & Hard As a Rock.

  22. I like the looks of Captivating Clouds, Beautiful Birds & Hard As a Rock.

  23. I am interested in Loving Living Math and Fruits and Nuts. We are planning on growing a garden soon, and I’d love to have some scientific studies to do with our garden hands on.

  24. The CM in 18 lessons looks interesting as well as the Nature Guides…. Fungus, trees, birds,, weather or flowers.

  25. The Birds and the Butterflies resources look wonderful to me!

  26. Beautiful Birds, Wonderful Wildflowers, and Ever Changing Erosion would be my top 3 picks 🙂

  27. Would live a break down of “how to”, love CM idea but not great at implementing. Naturw books look super too, and living language.

  28. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! I’m definitely most interested in the nature studies; ;th;ey all look good but the butterflies and rocks are 2 I think my kids would love!

  29. I’m just starting to explore the Charlotte Manson method, so I’m looking forward to the step-by-step guide.

  30. I’m interested in several of the nature studies. It will be hard to decide if I win. I like the ones on birds, butterflies, erosion, rocks, and wildflowers.

  31. Those Nature Studies look great! I would love to give them a try!

  32. Loving Living Math

  33. I’d love to check out either of the Preschool Nature By the Season!

  34. I’m most interested in the Living Literature Grammar Pack and the Loving LIving Math!

  35. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  36. I am most interested in the NaturExplorers Curriculum from Our Journey Westward! Thank you for offering the giveaway 🙂

  37. I’d love any of the nature studies but the Hard as a Rock study might be my first choice.

  38. The nature studies look great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. I’d love to have any number of those nature studies! The rocks- my kids are avid rock collectors, the clouds- you could do it anywhere!, birds- we would like to learn more about birds in our area. Very cool choices!

  40. I loved this post and the simple incorporating of Charlotte Mason principles. I definitely want the Charlotte Mason crash course book and need to brush up in habit training. Habit training and Nature Study are the two areas I really would like to focus on as I gear up my 5 year old to begin formal schooling next year.

  41. It’s hard to decide on one of all those beautiful books, but I guess I’d go for the ‘Beautiful Birds’ one.

  42. This would be great! We’ve started adding some Charlotte Mason methods this year as well, but this would give us something else new to add.

    1. Oops! We would start with A Fungus Among Us, Animal Signs, and Fruits and Nuts.

  43. First time visitor, very interested in the Wonderful Wildflowers book from Our Journey Westward.

  44. I love all the nature studies available. The kids are interested in Animal signs and the bird books.

  45. I’m interested in the overview of CM homeschooling. I’ve been reading about this philosophy and am wanting to implement many of her ideas in our schooling. However, there are so many good ideas and methods. It seems a little overwhelming to know where to start.

  46. Great ideas! Would love the Beautiful Birds, Animal Signs, and Wonderful Wildflowers!

  47. I’m most interested in Preschool Nature By the Season: Spring because I have two boys who are pre-schoolers and it’s conveniently the spring season.

  48. I would love Frogs and Toads, a Fungus Among Us, and Constant Conifers. Thanks!

  49. I’m interested in peaceful ponds

  50. I’m most interested in Flying Creatures of the Night.

  51. I would love to own Loving Living Math! This resource looks GREAT!

  52. Incredible creeks

  53. Wow, all of her resources look great. The math one has especially caught my eye.

  54. Wonderful information! I’ve been wanting to learn more about the CM method and this was very helpful.

  55. My daughter was just talking about how she wanted to know more about fungus and what types you can and can not eat. She would be so excited to get the nature study on it!

  56. It is our second year of homeschooling, but God keeps bringing me back to CM. I would love to know more and thank you for your 7 steps! I’m going to try to implement them and see if our journey is getting better.
    Is this open to residents outside of America? We live in South Africa and I struggle to find good info on CM here. But I do appreciate your info and advice. Thank you for a wonderful article.

    1. Yes it is! They are all digital products. You’re welcome!

  57. Thanks for this post! I love hearing how other homeschoolers incorporate CM methods into their home schools. We are trying to do that here as well. I would love to try the Living Math or any of the Natural studies. And the handbook would be great too!

  58. There looks like so many fun Nature Studies. I would love to win Snow and Ice, Beautiful Birds, and Animal Signs for my kiddos.

  59. Oh my goodness I can hardly choose just one! I would love to have them all! I would definitely start with the Charlotte mason homeschooling in 18 steps and the loving living math.

  60. I’ve had my eye on a number of these nature study books, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to win some, thank you! If I had a smartphone I would enter via Instagram and Twitter, my Flintstone phone just doesn’t have the capability!

  61. So I forgot to mention the 3 I was most interested in, duh! They would be A Fungus Among Us, Constant Conifers, and Frogs & Toads. So many great titles to choose from, it was a little tough. Thanks again!

  62. I would like beautiful birds.

  63. They all look amazing. I’ve only bought one before- Nature Studies thru the Holidays and we loved it. The Creative Nature Walks looks cool. I would love to try all of them!

  64. Very fun resources! Love Living Math caught my eye, as well as the Creative Nature Walks. And what little boy doesn’t want to learn about the spiders in Daddy’s garden?

  65. I would love to start the cm way with my girls. Especially learning about birds and different animal footprints. We have lots of critters that cross on our new land.

  66. So many great choices! Trees, birds or butterflies would probably be our top choice!

  67. Charlotte Mason is our homeschool style, too! I love learning with my kids and seeing them grow each day. Thank you for the advice!

  68. This looks like an awesome giveaway! I’ve been interested in CM, but it can be intimidating.

  69. A Fungus Among Us, Fruits and Nuts, and Wonderful Wildflowers would orobably be our first choice. They all look great. Thanks for introducing us.

  70. Thanks so much for this! My boys would love the birds study, especially since we have a bird’s nest with eggs on our back deck!

  71. I have learned so much from this. I am inspired and refreshed to start a new way of homeschooling. My crew and I would love this! It’s so hard to choose though. Animal Signs, Peaceful Ponds, and Hard As Rocks is what we would love to win! Thank you for the opportunity.

    1. I’m so glad it was helpful! Inspired and refreshed is exactly what I hoped for. 🙂

  72. I hadn’t heard of this CM nature study resource, but am encouraged! Nature Walks are tough without me knowing a bit to go off of. Great resource for our CM homeschools. I think our family would start with the Rocks study.

  73. i like the preschool nature buy the season series, it’s an area i struggle with.

  74. I’m interested in the Wonderful Wildflowers and Loving Living Math resources.

  75. The Charlotte Mason in 18 easy steps or any of the nature studies. My kiddos love being outside.

  76. I honestly cannot choose between Loving Living Math and any of the NaturExplorers books. I have the 100 Nature Walks that we will be using soon but I’d love a deeper dive into specific subjects. I’m beginning to think through my 3rd child’s education and am super interested in going a living math direction with him with a lot more hands on activities and BOOKS. Love Our Journey Westward!

  77. Thank you so much, Tauna. Reading this has already inspired me. A lot. I’d like to check it out and to incorporate into our homeschooling.

    1. The homeschooling guide, lesson plans and the Nature Explorer series definitely are the love of our heart. We would like to win that. Thank you.

    2. You’re welcome! 🙂

  78. Oh besides, is this giveaway open worldwide or only to the US?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi! They’re digital products so worldwide is fine. 🙂

  79. Thank you so much for your blog that helps moms like myself that are on a growth path in our homeschooling! I’d love to read Charlotte Mason in 18 Easy Steps and begin to implement a more CM approach to learning in our homeschool.

  80. My son is huge into bats right now, so Flying Creatures of the Night would be right up our alley! We are just starting our homeschool journey; there has been so many good things to learn.

  81. Her Nature Studies are amazing! I can’t choose between the erosion, rocks and wildflowers!

  82. WOW! I really want them all. Fungus looks Fun! Night Flying creatures looks great too. Also, spiders. Love information on Spiders.
    Hard to pick just one since they all look great.

  83. Thanks for.posting This! We are cpming.to a close on our first year of CM inspired schooling and it’s been surprisingly lovely. In do many ways, it’s refined what is important.to learn and focused me, the distracted mommy. The nature studies look marvelous! One thing that has made a huge difference for us is Morning Basket for all those beautiful and true parts of school that are easy to miss.

  84. I am interested in the butterflies and birds study.
    Marion

  85. I would love to own all of the Nature Guides! Currently I think my kids would enjoy the ones about rocks, creeks, and ponds

  86. Planning do more natures studies next year. These books would be great!

  87. I really loved your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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