Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival – Education is a Discipline

Welcome to the March 20th edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!Christian literature-based homeschooling curriculum using Charlotte Mason methods

If you are new here, you will want to carve a little time out of your day, grab a cup of coffee or tea and spend some time perusing the articles  from homeschooling moms who use Charlotte Mason’s methodology in their home schools. Expect to learn, be inspired and encouraged!

This edition’s theme is “Education is a Discipline,” but there are always posts that relate to other areas of Miss Mason’s philosophy included in the carnival. And we usually squeeze in a few posts on the last edition’s topic as well. :-)

I hope those of you who are in ‘cold country’ especially, will enjoy the photos! Your flowers will come soon, I promise.

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, Education is a Discipline

Parenting = Teaching and Training

The parent who believes that the possibilities of virtuous training are unlimited will set to work with cheerful confidence, will forego the twaddle about ‘Nature,’ whether as lovely in itself or as an irresistible force, and will perceive that the first function of the parent is that function of discipline … — Volume 2, p. 65

Nancy, from Sage Parnassus, posts Parents as Rulers, Inspirers, and Revealers – Charlotte Mason on Thoughtful Parenting, wherein she suggests that Miss Mason had much to offer not only the educator, but also the parent.  Melissa also shares her thoughts and ruminations on our topic from her blog, Educating Mother: Education is a Discipline {chewing on a couple of things}.  Barb at Harmony Art Mom offers us food for thought with her post entitled Homeschooling for Life and Not a Lifestyle. I agree that Charlotte would have wanted to see her charges develop a lifelong love for learning.

Editor’s Note:  Due to a technical problem, this is a post that is being added a few hours after the publishing of this issue:

Here is Erin’s post, Education is a Discipline, from her blog, Seven Little Australians and Counting.

A very clear presentation of how Sarah instills morning habits in her children, Discipline and the Two R’s,  is posted on her blog, All That’s Good. I love these concrete examples, don’t you?  Another beneficial post along these lines is by Tammy, who chronicles her experience Curing the Habit of Frustration, presented on her blog, Aut-2B-Homeincarolina.

Why Homeschool? Retaining Sibling Relationships, is a thoughtful post by Kelly at The Homeschool Co-op. You will not only enjoy the post – the photos of her kids are too cute!  Nadene also talks about her children, and transparently shares a current struggle  implementing the ‘perfect’ Charlotte Mason home school.  Read her post, Stresses and Struggles, on her blog, Practical Pages.

Daily Lesson Plans for Charlotte Mason homeschoolingPoetry Study

Here are a few posts that either didn’t make it into the last edition of the carnival or were included after it was initially published: Laura shares her first experiences sharing poetry with her son at her blog, Windy Hill Home School in her post entitled Poetry.  At the other end of the homeschooling spectrum, here is an inspiring poem with suggestions for middle and high school lesson plans included on the Epi Kardia Blog, Poetry Study: Anne Bradstreet: Puritan Poet.  Additionally, Amy from Fisher Academy International shares her very useful post on how to analyze poetry For Novel Poetry Analysts…Like Me!.

Nature Study & the Arts

The Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival would not be complete without celebrating nature and all we may learn there, especially during the delightful Spring season! Barb at her Handbook of Nature Study blog shares her informative and visually cheerful post, Early Spring Flowers – Nature Study and Art Project. After Barb’s post, head over to Hodgepodge where Trish offers us 10 Easter and Spring Arts and Crafts activities to enjoy.   Jimmie at Jimmies Collage then features her Georgia O’Keeffe  Artist Study (along with the display of her daughter’s beautiful work!) Thanks to all three ladies for the lesson plans and photos of gorgeous art work to inspire us.

Even if you are not quite ready for the art studies, Melissa’s post Snippets from Charlotte on Being Outdoors will encourage you to carve out the time to regularly leave your four walls and go outside (with your children!) on her blog, Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys in the Yard.

Living Math

In her post at Jimmie’s Collage, Jimmie describes how she incorporates principles of “living” math along with a textbook curriculum in Using Teaching Textbooks in a Living Math Approach.

Scripture Prayer Calendar

Charlotte Mason Education is a Discipline

And, finally, a lovely gift to us of a downloadable Scripture Prayer Calendar from Nadene of Practical Pages. Thank you, Nadene, for the helpful photos and clear directions for creating our own calendars, as well as for the reminder of the need to be lifting up our children in prayer.


Thank you to all of the authors for their useful entries and to our readers for taking the time to read and comment on our posts!




The next Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival on April 3rd will be hosted by Jimmie at Jimmie’s Collage. The theme will be Living Books –  (definition of, why we use them, our favorites, choosing books, etc.)
* PR article to read for background: Schoolbooks and How They Make for Education.

Editor’s Note: if you would like to have one of your posts included in the next edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, please send the following to instead of using the blog carnival form:

  • the name of and link to your blog
  • the title of and link to your post
  • any remarks you would like to make about your post


Christian literature based homeschool curriclum


P.S. Reminder to those interested in entering a no-strings-attached give-away of a year of Charlotte Mason curricula : click here to see how to enter. The random drawing will tomorrow, March 21st.







Charlotte Mason Mondays – CM blog carnival!

The more I have experienced  the Charlotte Mason philosophy of homeschooling, the more I believe in it.  I am discouraged talking with public and private school teachers  when they invariably reply, “No, I am not,” when I ask  if they are familiar with her teaching methods. Their eyes even glaze when I tell them how well it works! Our homeschooling students actually do learn and the majority even like school, I say of most of the homeschooling families I know.

I’m so thankful for Charlotte Mason!  I’m thankful for the learning lifestyle we have implemented in our home, I’m thankful for all of the resources we have in the larger Charlotte Mason community (that is you!) and I’m very thankful for the opportunity of having stayed home with my children!  What precious relationships have resulted!

Not only are we thankful – our kids are thankful, too.  They are thankful that school is not so boring.  That they are able to be outdoors.  That they can listen to music and paint as well as do their math.  That we learn by discussion instead of just by worksheets.  They don’t always tell us they are thankful, of course… but they will, eventually.  :-)

So let us remember our blessings this week!

Without further ado, this is the Thanksgiving ’10 edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival.  I just received the last entry – enjoy!

A Charlotte Mason Education

We are beginning with Amy in Peru’s thoughtful post:  reflections on a Charlotte Mason education. posted at Fisher Academy International ~ Teaching Home. In case you don’t know –  Amy, her husband, Micah and their five kids are a homeschooling family serving as missionaries in Peru.  Micah regularly travels down the river to visit remote villages, facing all of the kinds of things you can imagine he would in the jungle, where God has used him mightily. Reading their blog will give you and your children a detailed look at what jungle missionaries do. Micah often includes videos as well.  Take a look! You will be blessed!

Living Books

While we are on the subject of being thankful this week, Dawn presents this helpful post listing her favorite books for Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Books? posted at my4sweetums.

Having the opportunity to teach and learn from living books is my favorite aspect of a Charlotte Mason education!  Thankful for growing up in a home that prized books, Erin presents Emersion in Quality Literature posted at Seven Little Australians Plus One.

Teaching from living books gets more and more fun as your children age, in my opinion.  When you have high schoolers you get to dive into rich vocabulary, wrestle with themes and symbolism and identify plots and subplots.  What could be more fun that that?  Nancy presents her meaty post entitled Mistaken Identities and Mistaken Assessments posted at Sage Parnassus. In it she describes teaching Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors and all she learned about the play while teaching it.  Great stuff!

Narration and Copy Work

For the younger set, things are a little less complicated! Jennifer in MamaLand presents how she uses narration in her article: Naomi’s Parsha Narration: Vayeitzei posted at Adventures in Mama-Land. On the left is Naomi’s narration.  (Jennifer, it is wonderful and brings back precious memories of when our kids were that age!)

Queen of Carrots presents her creative post using graph boards for copy work.  Not only is it innovative – it is also inexpensive and sustainable.  Read her post, Copywork with Graphboards, which is located at her blog Introducing the World. I often think that homeschooling moms are about the most creative people on earth.  :-)

Picture and Nature Study

Two other favorite parts of a Charlotte Mason Education are Picture and Nature Study. Tricia Hodges’ Nana taught a pastel lesson with trees, water and reflection…with a bonus lesson from one of the students :)  described in Pastels Tutorial: Tree Reflection posted at Hodgepodge. You can reproduce the same lesson for your kids by following Tricia’s step-by-step directions – including pictures!

On a similar topic, Sheri presents Artist Study: John James Audubon posted at A Charlotte Mason Homeschool Sampler. I can’t read the name “John James Audubon” without remembering an incident from our early homeschooling years.  We were attending our first symphony performance as a family, and the conductor had just announced they would be playing the James Bond movie theme when my then eight year old excitedly and quite loudly piped up, “MOM!  DID HE JUST SAY JOHN JAMES AUDUBON?!”  Michael had never heard of James Bond, but he knew all about John James Audubon!

In this blog carnival Sheri also presents a second and very helpful article titled Nature Study: Ideas for a study book also posted at her blog A Charlotte Mason Homeschool Sampler. Take a look at her excellent ideas!

Masterly Inactivity

I am ending this post with Ritsumei’s article called Just Swinging posted at Baby Steps, reminding us the value of including downtime in our schedules.  Hoping you will take the time to relax with your family sometime during this busy week and count your blessings.  Enjoy!

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Dana's signature

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival-Nature Edition

Good Morning!

We have some lovely entries to this edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!  Because so many of the entries relate to nature and the outdoors, we are dedicating this edition to Nature Study.

“We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.”

We are fortunate enough to live near the Atlantic Ocean - so of course we had to study Marine Biology! Studying the tides, netting and studying various creatures and their habitats first hand has been a marvelous experience.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom and family give us a insightful example of studying cattails through the fall, winter, spring and summer as suggested in the classic Handbook of Nature Study in her post  The End of Our Year-Long Cattail Study posted at her gorgeous blog,     Handbook of Nature Study.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom presents a second article recounting her trials and insights in Planning Astronomy Gives Me a Good Thump on the Head posted at her second blog, Harmony Art Mom.

Tricia Hodges exhorts us to enjoy learning with our children her post Deliberate Delight – Nature Study about their summer natures studies posted at Habits for a Happy Home.

Horseshoe crab washing up in the surf.

Tricia also shares with us a second article this edition called Butterfly – A Pastels Tutorial posted at her other blog Hodgepodge.

(I don’t know about the rest of you all, but I am impressed and a little intimidated by people who can keep up with more than one blog.) :-)

Taking a closer look.

Pamela presents a photo essay of her family’s trip to  Mission San Miguel as they study California history, posted at Blah, Blah, Blog.

Charlotte Mason Discussion

Jennifer Lavender welcomes the Charlotte Mason community to take part in discussing her writings in her article How to Use This Blog posted at Charlotte Mason Series.

Nancy presents Enigmas on the Prairie, her reflections after attending the recent Living Education Weekend retreat, posted at Sage Parnassus.

a horseshoe crab from the inside

Books and Tea Time

Melissa presents a book list…decisions, decisions! posted at Bugs, Knights, and Turkeys in the Yard.

Chi-ann Rajah offers an inside look into one of her family’s  favorite habits in her article Teatime Tuesday posted at A Pilgrim’s Heart.

Amy in Peru lets us take a peek at her Book of Centuries and Timelines Galore posted at Fisher Academy International ~ Teaching Home.

our backyard hydrangeas

A Call for Creativity

Jamie offers this insightful post Creative Capacity at her blog See Jamie Blog.  Allow some time to watch the video – the insights it offers to our current educational system will give you plenty to think about!

Thank you for visiting this edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!  Come again!

Charlotte Mason Methods and Non-traditional Learning

How Do Your Children Learn Best?

Last time we discussed Nature study as perhaps the most obvious of Charlotte Mason’s suggested activities that utilizes many senses, hence appealing more to non-traditional learners. Of course, we are talking about being outside and actually observing nature first hand, rather than studying nature from books alone.  If you missed it, read that post here. Thankfully, Charlotte Mason’s educational methods dovetail with non-traditional learning in many other ways as well!

Train up a Child in the Way HE Should Go…

Many of the public school classrooms that most of us languished in only allowed for the traditional (auditory-sequential) learner to use her gifts. Hear a lecture, read a book, and then write a report on it.  Ho hum.

But if you have homeschooled for a while, you have probably noticed that all of your students do not learn in the same ways and they are not motivated by the same type of assignments. (Is that an understatement, or what?)  As we have mentioned before, as they become older, children begin to exhibit preferences for the way they like to learn.  Some like learning things out loud, perhaps to music, or maybe they like to discuss ideas orally.  There are others who need to read to learn, and are totally distracted by little brother’s humming and toe-tapping. Some think and remember best if information is presented in picture, chart or graph formats. Still others need to move around to maximize their learning.

Pay attention to these details and study your children in order to give them the opportunity to let them do their best work. Give them that opportunity by letting them use as many of their senses as possible, especially until you have identified which one they use the most.  Then maximize it by incorporating it into their assignments regularly.  They will be more engaged and cooperative when assigned work they enjoy and feel good about their ability to do!


Students Benefit by Hands on Learning

Activities that are hands on in nature generally benefit ALL types of learners, but especially those who are more ‘right-brained,’ which includes many non-traditional learners. So by giving your students the opportunity to do more hands on activities, you are maximizing all of your kids’ abilities to learn, but you are especially giving your non-traditional learners the chance to shine.  So continue to use those ‘living books’ in your schooling and have your students orally narrate.  But in addition, make sure students are not just reading and hearing; they also need to be seeing and doing.

For example:

  • Have your students work on a project such as hooking a rug or dipping candles while you are reading to them about colonial times.
  • Incorporate field trips into your school as often as possible – don’t just read about a farm, go visit one!  Let your students produce a photo essay of the trip instead of a written report.
  • Let your children draw pictures while you are reading to them. Let your student narrate afterward, using his pictures.
  • Create mini-books/lapbooks, Power-point presentations, or create video “TV commercials”  instead of writing traditional reports.
  • Create African costumes and cook authentic African food while reading about Africa.
  • Research and plan to have an evening of Olympic Games while reading about Ancient Greece.

Other Narration Ideas

As you know, one of those foundational beliefs of Ms. Mason’s was that information was not truly absorbed until it was reproduced in some way, usually through verbal narration.  But there are many ways to reproduce information.  I would not slight that method, however; especially if your children are younger and just starting out to ‘tell back’ that which they have read or have had read to them.  But as children become older, it is especially helpful for the non-traditional learner to be able to narrate in her own way, using her own natural bents.

  • Let your very visual child actually take ‘notes’ in pictures while you are reading or teaching him.
  • Allow more ‘hands on’ narration, in addition to the above suggestion, such as producing a dramatization, painting a picture, or creating a poem to ‘narrate’ what has been read.

Picture and Music Study

By their very nature, Picture and Music study appeal to the senses and should not be neglected. Some children are reached by art and/or music in a way that can’t be touched by reading.  Read about picture study here.  Books about period music and artists, as well as CD suggestions are included in every unit of our complete programs.

I’m so thankful that our kids have the opportunity to be taught the way that best suits them, rather than the way that best suits the school system!  If you have non-traditional learners at home, I would love to hear how YOU have incorporated Charlotte Mason’s methodology into your homeschool!   Please consider leaving a comment below.

Gratefully His,

Do Charlotte Mason Methods Work with Non-traditional Learners?

Recent question: Can I homeschool my [non-traditional learners] Charlotte Mason style?

Answer: Of course!

As we discuss in our parent manual, parents teach and children learn in a variety of ways.  Some prefer to absorb information by what they see, for example, reading a book, watching a movie or viewing a live demonstration.  Some learn best by what they hear, such as when listening to a lecture, verbal instructions or an audio book. Some prefer to learn through what they do, or retain more by moving around as they are taking in information through another venue.  For example, making candles instead of reading about how they are made, or doing jumping jacks while practicing multiplication tables.   Most people utilize all of these learning methods to some degree, but  prefer one over the others.

Traditional school seems to be notoriously crafted to benefit the type of learners who like to sit still, learn things in a logical progression, and read about rather than experience what they are learning about, to the detriment of the others who don’t fit that mold! What a blessing it is that we are able to craft our learning opportunities to fit our children’s natural bents!

Charlotte Mason understood children. Many of her teaching methods and principles already incorporate a variety of learning methods.

Nature Study

Advocating as much time outside as possible, Ms. Mason suggested children experience nature first hand.

Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of the bee, ant, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of larger growth comes in their way.

Rather than spending up to six hours outside every suitably-weathered day as Ms. Mason suggested, many homeschoolers satisfy their outdoor longings by taking at least one nature ‘walk’ per week, identifying and recording the different trees, flowers, insects and birds that come across their path.  (Some of our favorite books to use for these activities are below.)

Observing nature incorporates all the senses:  watching a bumblebee extract nectar from a flower while listening to its low buzz…feeling the gentle wind flow through your hair while listening to the leaves rustle…feeling the rough outer layer of a seashell and the smooth-as-glass inside, then holding it to your ear and listening to the ‘ocean’…

We help our children hone their powers of observation as they study their subjects, write about them and make detailed drawings in their nature notebooks, all while using visual, auditory and kinesthetic modes of learning.

Next week we will talk about other aspects of Charlotte Mason’s methods of learning in conjunction with learning styles.

Have a great week!


P.S.  These are some of our favorite books for aiding our nature studies. Check them out!
Handbook of Nature Study
Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America (Peterson Field Guide Series)
Peterson Field Guides; Rocks and Minerals
Peterson Field Guides; Wildflowers
Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of N.A.

P.P.S.  Read about one way to incorporate hands on (also known as tactile or kinesthetic) learning in this post called, Make a Lapbook!