Highfalutin Charlotte Masoners

I love, love, love homeschooling using the Charlotte Mason method. And I feel like I've just scratched the surface into what that means!

But a CM homeschool can seem...a little stuffy or highfalutin (for my southern friends; that's a southern word, no?)
Littlest "helping" in Circle Time. *swoon*

I'm sometimes careful who I talk to and what I say about our homeschool because I never want to come across Holier Than Thou. But it's not easy to do that when you tell someone you're doing Composer Study with your 6 year old. (In my opinion, it shouldn't seem stuffy, but in this culture and time, it just does sometimes. And if I'm honest, if I'm surrounded by CM'ers, online or in real life, I sometimes feel like the odd man out. I didn't even go to college for crying out loud!)

Even so, a Charlotte Mason education IS attainable for EVERYONE. (Read: if I can do it, you can do it.)

Some things we do in our school week:
- Shakespeare
- Poetry
- Nature Study
- Composer Study
- Artist Study
- Literature readings

Sounds pretty lofty doesn't it? Let me break it down for you. *does running man dance*

-:- For Shakespeare, we read a couple of paragraphs from Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare (or the Bruce Coville's Shakespeare books -- highly recommend those for 8 and under!). Then I might ask what my kids think of it. The end.

-:- For Composer Study, we listen to classical music by a composer once or twice a week. The end. 

-:- For Artist Study we look at a painting by a particular artist once or twice a week. We may talk about what we like and try to describe the painting to each other. The end. 

-:- Nature Study? We draw something we see in Nature. A pine-cone. Or a tree. Or a snowflake. Or a caterpillarThe end.

Of course, it's a leetle more complicated than that, but not much! We are just giving our children beautiful things to think about (Mason refers to it as a "feast") and letting them take from them what they will. The mom (or teacher) stays out of the way as much as possible.

Obviously it really helps to know the "Why" behind having your 6 year old listen to classical music in the car on the way to gymnastics. So I highly recommend reading Mason's books if you're interested. (read them HERE for free!)

But you can just start with one thing. It doesn't have to be complicated. Find an artist you like, print a picture and put it where your kids can see it. You don't even have to talk about it, except to say, "Monet painted that. Cool, eh?" Easy peasy.

We do Reading, Writing and 'Rithmetic as well. But by offering more than just those things, we hope to grow an awareness of a bigger world than the one we see out our front porch, while appreciating the world we see out our front porch. More importantly, learning, no matter how it's done, is just giving us a glimpse of our Creator. 

For the record, we do not sit around with white gloves and hats on, sipping tea and eating crumpets whilst I wax eloquent about The Bard of Avon, dahling.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Ahem. 

(have you seen this book, though?)

Quite honestly, if you were a fly on the wall in my house, it would probably look pretty similar to yours. It might be louder though.

We don't just listen to classical music (we love Josh Garrels), we don't sit around and stare at beautiful paintings all day (we watch movies like Big Hero 6), we don't only read great literature. (Tacky, anyone?)

But we do include those things because they are good and beautiful things. And they are a reflection of who God is. :)

This post from My Peace in the Puzzle spurred me to write this post. She's much more eloquent, so go read hers! From her post:

Yes, we do composer study, but again it’s not a bunch of memorizing of dates or places or events.  No tests.  No quizzes.  No worksheets.  We spend time just listening to and appreciating the music.  This year we are studying medieval history so our composer for this term is Hildegard of Bingen.  Now, calm down.  Don’t feel dumb if you’ve never heard of her.  I hadn’t either.

Of course, every mother chooses what is best for her family. I'm just telling you what we think is best for ours and hopefully, if any of you have thought me Too Big for My Britches for doing a CM homeschool, your thoughts have changed! :)

Read Why We Love Charlotte Mason (or Part 2) HERE.
And here is a sort of Part 3.


  1. Thanks for this Catie! It is so helpful to see what others are doing in their homeschool. And I think CM is such a breath of fresh air!
    Catherine in Ks

    1. Thanks, Catherine! :) Like I said, *I* love "doing" Charlotte Mason with my children! I agree, that it is a breath of fresh air--especially in these times. :( I'm so, so thankful Amy introduced me to Charlotte a few years back! But I can see how to some, it would seem highfalutin. (I just. love. that. word.) ;o)

  2. I busted a gut when you said, "does the running man dance"...I expect an IRL demo of that, please. ;)

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYpRasK4c9k :D

    1. BAHAHA!! you know it, girl! I'm totally gonna bust it OUT!

  4. This one made me laugh! I agree. And each of these little things makes a difference because we do them regularly and consistently over time.

    1. ha! :) I try not to take myself too seriously. life is too short! :)

      And I agree with you as well! Slow and steady!

  5. I *love* this - and we're right there with ya in your highfalutin ways, lol! We listen to Vivaldi, right alongside Polly-wolly-doodle. Guess which ones my kids belt out? And that Japanese ditty they love to sing is a lot less impressive once you realize they're singing a toothbrushing song... complete with sound effects!

    1. LOL! It's so true! I think it's SO IMPORTANT to offer our children all of the beautiful things in life (hence the CM education) but it's also *so* ok to watch a Pixar movie! ;o)

  6. Great post. And SO true-- a couple of years ago a friend and her husband were asking about homeschooling plans and I mentioned Shakespeare and realized it sounded so uppity. ;) I tried to describe what we do and make it seem more approachable, but I knew I'd lost them.

    1. I know *exactly* what you mean! I've been there, too. I, too, usually end up trying to talk my way out of it... which doesn't work that well! HA! It's so hard sometimes to make it seem approachable. But, of course, it totally is!

  7. So very fun over here!
    I try not to worry about sounding too uppity, what our culture is suffering from is a race to the bottom, it helps if you mention to people outside the CM/classical stream, that what we are trying to do is recover the type of education that completely prevalent until the 60's and 70's. Ask anyone over 65, many of them took Latin or Greek in high school and studied Shakespeare and the classics. We are attempting to recover this education for our children and people need to be reminded of what was done in the past. Once upon a time, this was the norm. Or at least more normal for education. Great post, love the *dahling* bit. :)

    1. Thanks, Heather Dahling! Nice to see you here! :)

      "a race to the bottom." I LOVE THAT. Sounds like you need to write a post about it too! That is such a good way to look at it - that we are trying to RECOVER this education. Too true, too true!

  8. CM sounds too good to be true but I love the idea! What about high school? I have been homeschooling all along & my 5 kids range in age from 2 to 14. Curious to know if we can do CM or is it too late for my older kiddos?


Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's encouraging!