What’s So Great About The Charlotte Mason Living Book Method?

charlotte mason method of schooling

When I was homeschooling, I found that my children learned better from living life than from reading a textbook, especially my son. I used a variety of methods in my teaching but living books were the center of most of it. I graduated my youngest seven years ago now. So, I bring to you a current teacher to explain why the Charlotte Mason method is so effective. Meet Samantha Lysle, a British educator who can help you get started with your homeschool plan.

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When I was a kid, I was a big reader. Reading wasn’t a chore. It wasn’t something that I had to do so that I could go and play later. It was play for me.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Storytelling and play are, after all, closely linked together. When kids play, they often tell stories. They imagine what their toys are doing – what the person they are pretending to be is doing. They picture the challenges or problems that they face and then how they overcome them. In the process, they make sense of the world around them and their place in that world.

In short, they learn.

Stories are intrinsically a fun, exciting, and incredibly inspiring way to learn – for anybody of any age – but particularly for young learners.

Who Was Charlotte Mason?

I’m most definitely not the first person to realize that stories can inspire kids to learn. Nor will I be the last. In fact, respected British educator Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) got there way before I did.

#homeschool #charlottemasonCharlotte Mason was concerned to see too many kids utterly uninspired by their studies Click To Tweet

Charlotte Mason was concerned to see too many kids utterly uninspired by their studies. In large part, she attributed this lack of enthusiasm to the ‘miserable textbooks’ (as she called them) used to teach.

Dry and dull, these textbooks did nothing to spark the imagination. What’s more, they bogged children down with facts and figures which meant nothing to them if they didn’t have some kind of context to relate them to.

To educate a child effectively, she believed educators needed to toss aside boring textbooks in favor of ‘living books’.

A book about a traveler to study geography.

A book narrating the life story of an important historical figure for studying history.

Living books are human-centered, narrative-driven books that serve the dual purpose of fascinating young minds while introducing a new topic of study.

Does Charlotte Mason’s Method Work?

Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling
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Today, Charlotte Mason’s method is extremely popular with home-schooling families all over the world – and one that I, as an educator, also find extremely inspiring.

After many years of working as a teacher, I immediately took a liking to Charlotte Mason’s ideas.

In part, if I’m being totally honest with you, I was influenced by the fact that Charlotte Mason was born in a part of Britain (Wales) where I went to high school.

I was also probably more inclined to like her due to the strong Christian faith she displayed everywhere in her educational writings – a faith that I too share.

The Charlotte Mason Method Just Makes Sense

But, most importantly, her ideas just made sense to me: both as a former student and an educator. (I had already seen first-hand how powerful storytelling could be in teaching)

In my own case, an early love of reading stories impelled me to take quite the learning journey of my own: via Oxford University to a career igniting that same love in my own students. And it is this belief that is at the foundation of my education website Living Book Home School. In my first course – The Anne of Green Gables Living Book History Course – I use L.M. Montgomery’s timeless tale as a window into how childhood was changing during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I’m now working on some free educational resources which explore Victorian Christmas traditions through Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

Want To Find Out More About Charlotte Mason?

If you too are inspired by Charlotte Mason’s methods but don’t know where to begin finding out more, here are a few useful links to help you on your way:

– Charlotte Mason’s books on education can be found here: https://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html – Simply Charlotte Mason is a website dedicated to helping home-schooling parents navigate the Charlotte Mason method

– You can find my resources here: livingbookhomeschool.com

Samantha Lisle – Bio

Samantha Lisle

Samantha is a British teacher with many years of experience inspiring young people with a love for their schoolwork online. The world of online learning is an exciting frontier for educators worldwide. Having taught hundreds of students online after graduating from Oxford University, I know what works and what doesn’t work with this new medium. And now, I’m excited to be working on a Charlotte-Mason-inspired passion project that I really believe in: Living Book Home School.

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About Mandy Farmer

Pastor's Wife (retired) &  Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.

View all posts by Mandy Farmer

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