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Before Curriculum: Using Charlotte Mason’s Educational Tools in the Home

As I’ve slowly worked my way through Charlotte Mason’s volumes, I’ve become convinced of one thing: her philosophy is for us, now, regardless of the ages of our children or the stage of our homeschooling. Because Charlotte Mason gave us foundational principles, rather than specific prescriptions, we can apply her wisdom whether we are in the early years, deschooling, homeschooling highschoolers, or continuing our own education.

When we base our homeschooling on principles, we find freedom. Freedom from comparison to other home educators, freedom to make a curriculum work for us, freedom to make choices that respect our children’s individuality. Crucially, though, we have to get to grips with the principles in order to use them effectively. As Charlotte Mason herself warns us:

I feel strongly that to attempt to work this method without a firm adherence to the few principles laid down would be not only idle but disastrous. “Oh, we could do anything with books like those,” said a master; he tried the books and failed conspicuously because he ignored the principles.

Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education

How to Start Using the Charlotte Mason Philosophy

If studying and understanding Charlotte Mason’s entire educational philosophy sounds overwhelming, I completely understand. She wrote six books and countless articles developing and explaining her philosophy. There is a lot to get your head around.

However, I think that there is a really great place to start. It is simple, action-oriented, and will help you start using the philosophy in your own context. That place is in her motto:

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.

Atmosphere, discipline, and life are the tools of a Charlotte Mason education, and if we want to reap the rewards of a Charlotte Mason homeschool, we need to use these tools to the best of our ability.

This motto doesn’t make up the whole of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, but understanding and applying these principles will get you started in the right direction as you are learning more.

Get Started with Atmosphere, Discipline, and Life in your Homeschool

If you want to dig into Charlotte Mason’s motto and start applying her philosophy in your home, I have two things for you to do.

  1. Pop over to my info page on my book, Before Curriculum. It’s an action-oriented guide to get you started on the Charlotte Mason Way, whether your child is sixteen months or sixteen years. Then…
  2. Register for the 2019 Charlotte Mason Online Conference! The conference took place in June, but you can still get lifetime access to all of the replays. I was part of a really fabulous lineup of speakers and veteran homeschooling, Charlotte Mason moms. In my session, I talk all about using atmosphere, discipline and life in our homes.

(Thanks in advance for using my referral link – I’ll earn a small commission if you register after clicking through. I hope to see you next week )

You don't need a curriculum to get started with the Charlotte Mason method. However, you do need an understanding of a few, simple principles. Find out where to start.

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