Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series
When I first learned about Charlotte Mason, I was a little too overwhelmed by information to dive right into her original writings. Let's be honest - it's not easy reading, and there's a lot of it!
Instead, I started with For The Children's Sake by Susan Schaefer McCaullay. It was simple, beautiful, and a perfect introduction to the type of education I want to create for my girls! But it isn't a how-to and it isn't a curriculum. It's a "hey... what if education looked like this..." and it paints a picture of home education, in a Charlotte Mason framework.
After reading and listening to many other sources that weren't Charlotte Mason herself, it took a local group of moms to encourage me into reading the real stuff! The group is reading through Start Here by one of my favorite CM bloggers and podcasters, Brandy Vencel. She put together a reading plan that works through each of Charlotte's 20 principles. The reading plan assigns parts of For The Children's Sake, Charlotte Mason's original writings, and even includes supplementary articles from blogs or sources around the web that discuss the topic at hand. It has been a wealth of information!
Charlotte Mason's writing is all available online via Ambleside Online for free - BUT - it's so hard to read that much online. That is a lot of screen time, first of all. But it is also tricky to refer back to notes you make (and you will make notes). It was really hindering me. It was time to get the real thing!
Let's See The Books!
I chose the Simply Charlotte Mason version of the books because they're created as books for study - and study I will! The margins are huge in order to accommodate lots of note-taking. When I got them in the mail I had regrets because they're SO big! They're heavy, and you really need to lay them on a table or your lap to read them. But once I started reading them with a pen in hand, I found myself hunched over the book at the table, emphatically underlining and note taking as I went.
They're that good. I need those margins.
Miss Mason’s writings are rich with big ideas, even some that may completely change the way you parent, the way you look back on your own education, and how you approach educating your children in the future. She will change the way you look at the books on your shelves, the way you speak to your children, the movies you show them, the activities presented at library story time, the way other people speak to your children, the way you schedule your days… I could go on.
I underline important points. I mark quotes I want to save and copy into my Commonplace Book. I even write questions I have and note areas where I maybe do not agree with her or want to research a topic further. I read more closely, with intention and care, when I approach it this way. Rather than beautiful shelf decor, I dig into these books as if they’re my own personal journals with Miss Mason’s words within.
A final word of warning: you can't un-read Charlotte Mason's ideas. You might be forever changed!