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Need advice for new homeschooler interested in Charlotte Mason style curriculum.

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I have a friend who is looking into home educating her youngest who is now 3 or 4yo. She's interested in a Charlotte Mason style education for him. While I did look into it with my kids when they were very young, we ended up veering away from it, so I have no idea what is out there for Charlotte Mason curriculum other than Ambleside Online. I did a quick google search and found Simply Charlotte Mason. Has anyone used that and have an opinion on it?

The family lives in Spain, so her access to curriculum is very limited. She can't check for copies in her local library or ask around at her local homeschool group.

I'm going to give her my very old copies of Charlotte Mason Companion and Educating the Whole Hearted Child, which have been sitting on my shelf for almost 20 years. (How does time pass so quickly?!) Any other suggestions for her?


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For children that young, I didn’t need curriculum. Just lots of living books. TWTM has great book lists for each grade. We read, narrated and sometimes drew pictures. 

We did lots of hands on math and science. The only texts I used before grade five were math books. I personally liked Singapore Math. 

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Typically, Charlotte Mason educators don't start lessons until the child is 6 years old. The preschool years, which includes 5 year olds in Charlotte Mason philosophies, are a time for reading in mother's lap and exploring nature. Lots of unadulterated play, preferably outside, and answering the child's questions as they ask them. All that said, this would be a perfect time for your friend to read all she can about Charlotte Mason, perhaps even reading Charlotte Mason's own writing on her philosophy. She can find these online for free at Ambleside Online here

If she wants pure Charlotte Mason, or as pure as one can get these days, Ambleside Online will be her best bet.

There is also Mater Amabilis which says it is Charlotte Mason style curriculum for Catholics but many non-Catholics use the curriculum without issue by just substituting their own religious books when necessary. One of the things people like about Mater Amabilis is that it uses both older and newer books rather than all Victorian era books like Ambleside uses for the main curriculum books.

A newer curriculum, and the one I am using with my youngest child who is 6, is Wildwood Curriculum. It is a Charlotte Mason style curriculum that aims to be secular for those who either are not religious or simply do not want to incorporate religion into their school lessons. It could also work for someone who wants to add their own religion into the school lessons without having to weed out someone else's religious beliefs first. It uses Charlotte Mason's ideas but focuses on an American child rather than a British child. For example, in Ambleside Online, 6 year olds listen to "The Story of Us" which focuses on British history and folk stories because that is what Charlotte Mason used with her students in Britain. Wildwood has 6 year olds listening to American tall tales and American history stories since Charlotte Mason advocated that young children first learn about their home country before exploring other countries. While the suggested material is for an American child since that is the intended audience, I believe there are also suggestions from others for books they used for their home country.

Lastly, there are Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum such as My Father's World, Build Your Library, Simply Charlotte MasonA Gentle Feast and many others who just use some of Charlotte Mason's key ideas such as narration and nature study, but don't necessarily try to recreate a complete Charlotte Mason style curriculum.

Some books and blogs I would suggest if someone asked me....

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason by Laurie Bestvater

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart (not purely Charlotte Mason, though she does incorporate and was somewhat inspired by CM if I remember correctly but I think any Charlotte Mason homeschooler could glean some ideas and inspiration from this book)

A Humble Place - The particular page I linked to on this blog is a kindergarten CM-inspired booklist

Joy in the Home - another blog with lots of practical CM insight and advice

Charlotte Mason Says - haven't read the blog yet but it's on my to do list

Stone Chats - a round table discussion podcast about Charlotte Mason related things 

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We use the Alveary, which is put out by Charlotte Mason Institute

The Charlotte Mason Institute also has a "Supporter" or something membership which gives access to in depth resources for growing as a Mason educator, if I remember correctly. That might be a good way for someone who is eager to do something to start delving in without getting overloaded.

The various Mason groups around the web have very different feelings. I never felt comfortable at Ambleside or on their forum, but connected with the more academic (it was started by a professor) CMI approach. SCM is more of a multi-age homeschooling + CM blend. I think it is great for some people, but it didn't fit us.


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