. This post contains affiliate links. Read our affiliate disclosure here.
Like many things in life, we get out of it what we put in.
I’ve found that when I take the time to read inspirational books, I feel more inspired to pour out beautiful thoughts and ideas into our home. A good Charlotte Mason reading list is a key way to do that.
“Education is a life, nourished upon ideas; and education is an atmosphere––that is, the child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives.” – Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, p. 247
I’m Too Busy to Read
First off, let me start by saying I have very little time in my life to sit down and read a book. That said, I’ve been on a child development neuroscience kick lately and am devouring books on said subject. So how in the world have I read all of these books, managed to stay sane, and still have time for homeschooling??
I can’t guarantee the sane part, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve for getting some reading time in.
How to Fit in Reading Time as a Mom
One option is to set aside a measly 15 minutes a day to get some reading time in. Short reading times fit in well with the Charlotte Mason method anyway. I know some moms who spend 10-15 minutes reading an educational book after their devotional every morning. Sometimes we’ll have family “quiet time” where my oldest will read a chapter book, the toddler naps, and I take a minute to myself to read or crochet.
My Secret Weapon
Listening to books is my big (not so) secret. I often travel a lot for work, so I’ll play a book on audible on my phone while I drive. You can also listen to books while doing chores around the house or going out for a walk. The car is my biggest book “reading” time though, since my little ones can’t survive for 20 whole seconds at home without talking to me.
It’s kind of like the bathroom rule.
The kids can be happily playing but as soon as you sneak off to the bathroom they know. And they will find you.
Charlotte Mason talks about education as an atmosphere and a life. When we can model enjoying a good book for our kids, that becomes part of their atmosphere and encourages the habit of reading. Sadly I’ve seen all too many households that neglect the self-led reading that feeds the mind. There are so many good ideas to learn from books that we’ll never meet if we don’t give them the chance.
My Favorite Charlotte Mason Education Books for Moms
Not all of these books are written from a Charlotte Mason perspective, but they add to the discussion in a meaningful way. As you sift through them keep the ideas that fit your family and leave the rest. So much of the Charlotte Mason method is common sense and arises from how children naturally learn and behave.
Books that complement these ideals are a natural fit and can be easily incorporated into our overall educational philosophy.
These books are in no particular order, since they’re all my favorites right now.
#1 In Vital Harmony
I’m on my second round through this one on Audible. It’s one of those books I wanted to savor and mull over a bit because it’s so packed with helpful information. Charlotte Mason introduced her 20 principles of education, and In Vital Harmony tackles the task of explaining them. The chapters break down her 20 principles in an easy to understand way, and flushes out her ideals.
Spoiler alert: the two main principles that all the other principles hinge on and expound from are 1: Education is the science of relations and 2: Children are born persons. Veteran CM homeschoolier Karen Glass does a superb job of delving into the heart behind the Charlotte Mason method.
In Vital Harmony: Charlotte Mason and the Natural Laws of Education by Karen Glass – get it on Audible, Kindle or paperback
#2 The Call of the Wild and Free
While not strictly Charlotte Mason, this book is a breath of fresh air to the education world. It encompasses the overlapping similarities of methods like Waldorf, Montessori, Unschooling, and Charlotte Mason. The underlying idea is that children are born to be free thinkers, creators, and full of imagination. Our job as parents is to cultivate that wonder, not stifle it.
This leads to a lifetime of self-led learning and mature, free-thinking adults. I can’t rave enough about how much I love this book!
From the publisher:
“Allow your children to experience the adventure, freedom, and wonder of childhood with this practical guide that provides all the information, inspiration, and advice you need for creating a modern, quality homeschool education.”
The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education by Ainsley Arment – get it on Kindle, Audible, Print or CD here.
#3 When Less Becomes More
As a busy mom it can be SO easy to feel burnout. To try and do all. the. things. When we rush through life at breakneck speed trying to cram everything in, we end up missing out on so much. What I love about this book is that it’s practical and comes from a working mom, not yet another male guru that doesn’t have to worry about teaching his child and getting the laundry done.
Emily shares practical tips for how to say yes to what’s good, while saying no to what’s not beneficial in our current stage of life.
If you need to learn how to reclaim your sanity and peace while still getting the important things done, then run, don’t walk to get this book. Or click the button on your phone, same difference.
When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good by Emily Ley – get it on Audible, Kindle, Free on Kindle Unlimited, Print, or Audio CD
#4 Adventuring Together
This book has the flavor of unschooling, but still fits in well with Charlotte Mason’s love of nature. Greta takes us on her harrowing adventures, exploring nature trails and space stations with her four little ones. Sometimes as moms we forget about the wonder of childhood and forget to just be with our kids. Adventuring Together has practical ideas and riveting stories for how we can get out and enjoy nature and real life experiences on this homeschool journey.
Adventuring Together How to Create Connections and Make Lasting Memories with Your Kids by Greta Eskridge – Get it on Kindle, print, Audible or Audio CD here.
#5 The Importance of Being Little
I feel like fist pumping and jumping up and down when I read this book. Ok, maybe not the jumping part because that would lead to an emergency bathroom trip. But every parent of a preschooler/kindergartner needs to read this book.
Scientists have pointed to the unique benefits of play based learning for young learners for years, yet many school programs ignore it. Workpages, cutsey art projects, and scripted lessons not only don’t contribute anything meaningful, but they can have long lasting negative consequences on a child’s development.
Them’s fightin’ words, but read this book and you’ll see what I mean.
Yale early childhood expert Erika Christakis takes the reader on a journey through the preschool classroom, revealing how young children really learn. Through their atmosphere, quality literature, and real life experiences.
The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grownups by Erika Christakis – Get it on Kindle, Audible, print, or MP3 here.
Did I leave out one of your favorites? Leave a comment and let us know what books we should be reading next!