Are you new to Charlotte Mason and not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re new to homeschooling in general. Either way, welcome to the club! I started Pine Cones and Primers as a way for busy moms to get encouragement, tips, and helpful info. In this quick start guide, you’ll find practical resources to get you started on your CM homeschool journey!
Getting Started with Charlotte Mason Homeschooling
The homeschool laws in your area will help form what your homeschool looks like, so it’s important to be familiar with them. Some states are stricter than others, but it’s always doable. I encourage you to connect with homeschool leaders in your community through their website or social media accounts for more details.
- Homeschool laws by state
- What is Charlotte Mason? Read more about the CM method and the lady behind it here.
Reading for Beginner Homeschooler Mamas
There are so many good education books out there, and unfortunately just as many bad ones. Homeschooling is a mindset shift from the traditional education system. We don’t have to do all of the same exact subjects or use the same curriculum as the local public schools. Our children aren’t chained to their desks for hours on end with little to no time for challenging their teaching or outside exploration.
We get to reinvent what education means for our children. Or some would say go back to its roots. Here are some resources that explain what a CM education can look like. Some of these are CM specific, while others have a broader view but fit in with the principles of CM.
- The Myth that Americans Were Poorly Educated Before Mass Government Schooling – Fee
- The New Preschool is Crushing Kids – The Atlantic
- The Importance of Being Little – Erika Christakis
- How Public Education Cripples our Kids – John Taylor Gatto
- Dumbing us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling – John Taylor Gatto
- The Call of the Wild and Free – Ainsley Armont
- The Original Charlotte Mason Home Education Series – print version or read free online
- A Charlotte Mason Companion
CM Podcasts and Videos
These how-to videos and podcasts are good for both newbies and seasoned CM homeschoolers alike. They stay true to the original CM method and cover a wide variety of CM subjects and topics. I recommend starting with Simply Charlotte Mason and A Delectable Education if you’re brand new to CM.
- Simply Charlotte Mason videos
- A Delectable Education podcast
- The New Mason Jar podcast
- Charlotte Mason Says podcast
- Ambleside Flourish Podcast
Finding a Charlotte Mason Curriculum
You don’t have to have a made for you curriculum, but it’s especially nice for beginning homeschoolers. Here are my favorite CM curriculums, some free, some paid. Many of these curriculums combine certain subjects, like Bible, history, and literature for all your children so you’re not juggling a different schedule for every child.
“We hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above.” – Charlotte Mason
- Wildwood – free and secular CM curriculum. Add in your own bible and religious studies.
- Ambleside Online – Free and Christian
- A Modern Charlotte Mason – Paid and Christian. This one incorporates more modern books, although the formatting isn’t my favorite.
- Simply Charlotte Mason – Paid and Christian.
- Alveary – Paid membership for the curriculum, teacher training, and resources.
- A Gentle Feast – Paid
Charlotte Mason Preschool
Miss Mason didn’t do the conventional preschool that we see today, but instead encouraged more organic learning. This “quiet growing time” focused on developing foundational habits, immersive learning, and lots of time in nature. If you need a little more guidance and structure for your day, or your stay requires compulsory education before age 6, then here are some options.
- Idea Nest for the Early Years (preschool and Kindergarten)
- Simple Charlotte Mason preschool guide
- A Modern Charlotte Mason the Early Years Curriculum
“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
“When we say that education is an atmosphere we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a ‘child environment’ specially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere both as regards persons and things and should let him live freely among his proper conditions” – Charlotte Mason
The Charlotte Mason method is more than just a curriculum, it’s a lifestyle. The atmosphere in our home contributes just as much to training our children as their schoolbooks do. For us, that means cultivating respect, good habits, and a peaceful, happy, well-ordered home life. If I’m stressed, worn out, and anxious, my kids become that way too.
That doesn’t mean I don’t still have messy counters and unmade beds more often than I like, but these are the goals we have as a family. Here are some resources for how to cultivate the atmosphere of your home.
- Charlotte Mason toys and activities for kids of all ages
- Laying Down the Rails – Handbook for habit training
- Screen time in a CM home