The Charlotte Mason philosophy is so rich in ideas and suggestions that if you're hoping to learn about it, you might not know where to start. I put this list of 100 benefits together to show you why I think this philosophy is so good, right, and true for children and their families. I've included links to help you learn more about the different areas.
- The idea that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate teacher takes pressure off of moms and educators! My podcast co-hostess and I talked about this here.
- Charlotte Mason's first principle, "Children are born persons" will shape how you view and interact with your children. See a great article that explains what this idea does and doesn't mean from Amy at Around The Thicket called, "Understanding Your Child as a Whole Person."
- Since children are respected as they are, this philosophy is a good approach for children with different abilities. See the article Myth: CM Doesn't Work for Those With Learning Disabilities on Afterthoughts Blog.
- The view that all authority comes from God frees parents from making lots of arbitrary rules. Listen to our podcast episode about authority.
- Children are motivated to learn through living books and inspirational ideas, not external motivations. This will help create lifelong learners!
- Parents begin to understand that all areas of a child's well-being affect their education.
- Children understand the difference between "I want" and "I ought". You can get a free eBook explaining the Charlotte Mason motto (I am, I can, I ought, I will) from Lady Dusk.
- Working on positive habits helps make days go more smoothly. There's a great resource with printables and Charlotte Mason quotes at Wonder and Wildness.
- You'll learn to view misbehavior as poor habits rather than defiance.
- Habit training takes tension out of the home because there is a tangible action to help solve problems. I wrote about how habit training works in this post.
- Cultivating the habit of attention solves many of the typical problems that children have in school.
- Working on the habit of attention from infancy allows this to be well-established before formal lessons begin.
- Encouraging perfect execution in handwriting and other areas teaches children to always put forth their best effort.
- Habit formation is guided by Biblical truths and inspirational ideas, giving children a worthy reason to work on improving character.
- Encouraging plenty of exercise and healthy eating, as Charlotte Mason recommended, helps children grow to be healthy.
- You don't have to "wait out" bad behaviors because a child is too young. Instead, you can address them immediately through habit training.Check out my early years habit training book/ journal here.
- The habit of obedience is viewed as a child's duty, rather than something that is optional.
- You won't have to get into battles of explaining the reasons behind your directions, because you have the authority and the duty to uphold what is right, regardless of your child's opinion.
- Children love reading living books that encourage them to use their imaginations.
- You can read books that don’t drive you crazy (find them through the Charlotte Mason Bookfinder)
- Your homeschool library is stocked with classics that can be read again, and not pop-culture books that will be forgotten in a few years.
- Living books allow children to experience foreign places and times in history. We have an amazing podcast episode with Erika Alicea where we discussed multi-cultural history.
- Children are not sheltered from every unpleasant idea, which teaches them how to handle various topics maturely. I wrote about how I handle unhappy endings in this post.
- These books offer great opportunities for children to learn phonics and spelling. Read Cindy's article about this at Our Journey Westward.
- Children connect with what they learn about, forming a relationship between themselves and the subject. I began to understand this when I finally started appreciating nature as a new Charlotte Mason teacher. I wrote about that here.
- Parents come to realize that maintaining a positive relationship with their child is critical to their student's learning.
- Parents learn how to not let poor habits become a source of friction between themselves and their children.
- Family meal times, where manners and morals are taught, bring everyone together.
- Parents learn how to maintain a peaceful home atmosphere that is conducive to learning. The great news is that it isn't an extra thing on the to-do list; the home atmosphere comes from who we are. My article Moms, We Are the Home Atmosphere explains it.
- Creating a healthy, positive atmosphere lets children pick up good habits from infancy.
- Children learn from interacting with their real life environment, and they don't need child-specific decor.
- You'll be inspired to create a bright, airy, and clean house to support vitality.
- Children make connections to different ideas and texts on their own, allowing the parent/teacher to take a step back. Listen to our podcast episode on Masterly Inactivity.
- When presented with "why" questions, children are encouraged to think about the answers first.
- You don't have to plan unit studies.
- Planning doesn’t involve finding cutesy ideas on Pinterest. You can skip the cutesy activities, as I wrote about here!
- Planning consists mostly of reading living texts and identifying inspirational ideas.
- You can find free curricula through Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason.
- You let your preschooler be little, without making them start school work at an early age. I wrote a complete Charlotte Mason preschool guide here.
- Short lessons mean that you don't need to fill time with busywork. Here's another great explanation from Afterthoughtsblog.com.
- Types of lessons vary to allow the brain to rest.
- Young children aren’t pushed into academics too early (Simply Charlotte Mason, Thoughts on Early Education).
- You can wait to start formal lessons until children are 6. I explained our choice to delay reading instruction in this post.
- You can enjoy watching little ones play.
- Almost every experience your young child has can be considered learning.
- Learning to use their senses prepares students for future learning.
Telling Back (Narration)
- Telling back teaches allows children to develop a deep understanding of texts. Sheila at A Charlotte Mason Home explains this well.
- They develop communication skills through telling back.
- Children learn to visualize to help with memory and understanding.
- Spending lots of time outside! This year we did the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge.
- Dining al fresco is encouraged.
- Parents and children learn about specific plants, trees, insects, and animals.
- Nature walks become a daily activity that the whole family enjoys.
- Nature journals allow you to keep a beautiful account of your child's learning and growth.
- Studying birds through the work of Audubon becomes a delight for the whole family.
- Children will get plenty of vitamin D while playing outside!
Composer Study and Music
- Children learn about different composers and their work.
- Parents and children can listen to and enjoy classical music together.
- With practice, children learn how to identify musical elements.
- Studying hymns puts scriptures and inspirational ideas easily in a child's memory. Read more about this at CharlotteMasonInCommunity.com.
- Children feel relaxed while listening to beautiful classical pieces.
- Children gain observation skills by studying famous works of art. Here's an article about artist study, (or picture study) from Afterthoughts Blog.
- Trips to the museum are more enjoyable when the family has a knowledge of art terms, periods, and artists.
- Learning about a specific artist gives children a deeper understanding of their works. Dollie from Joy In the Home wrote about artists children should know.
- Children develop a vocabulary of art, which helps them communicate about beautiful pieces.
- Studying beautiful art helps children develop a sense of taste.
- School rooms should be decorated in beautiful art, rather than cartoon characters and neon posters, allowing the whole family to experience beautiful art.
- Children are encouraged to understand the "why" of math functions. My friend Amy wrote this amazing thorough post on Charlotte Mason Math.
- Ideas behind mathematical principals are presented before dry facts.
- Math lessons using manipulatives and other hands-on techniques are really enjoyable!
Grammar, Spelling, and Handwriting
- Children are taught to use grammar and spelling correctly, rather than to rely on Spellcheck.
- Teaching children how to visualize correct spelling means they will spell accurately for the long term.
- You'll learn to be so watchful that your child will not see the incorrect spelling, grammar, or letter reversals.
- Children are encouraged to act out events in history through play.
- Keeping a book of centuries becomes a beautiful timeline that children can cherish. Here's a free Book of Centuries resource from Simply Charlotte Mason.
- Young children love reading primary sources of historical events.
- Children enjoy making illustrations of events in history.
- Children's drawings and paintings in history (and other subjects) grow more beautiful with time and practice.
- Teaching poetry is simple and enjoyable. Read about Jimmie Quick's approach here. Or listen to our podcast interview with Leah Boden.
- When children start learning poetry early (at the age of 6, when formal lessons begin), it is less intimidating to them in the future.
- Knowing a wide range of poetry helps students understand allusions in literature.
- Children are encouraged to memorize Bible verses and beautiful passages from texts. I wrote about how Charlotte Mason describes recitation here.
- Your child will have beautiful scriptures and worthy ideas in their hearts for years to come.
- Recitation improves communication skills.
- Seeing children grab onto an inspirational idea is so rewarding!
- Educators can let the idea take seed in the child, without repeating themselves over and over again. Repetition can cause children to develop poor habits (see my article on this).
- Introducing beautiful and noble ideas trains children to direct their thoughts to "whatever is lovely." (Philippians 4:8)
- Studying Shakespeare gives students a good understanding of the English language, since he coined many words and phrases that we still use. CharlotteMasonHelp.com described Shakespeare's influence on language, as well as other benefits of studying his work.
- Shakespeare's works offer insight into human relationships and emotions.
- Themes revolving around morals allow for good discussions between parents and children.
- Children especially enjoy Shakespeare's comedies, such as Twelfth Knight.
- Students view science as understanding God's laws.
- Hands-on experiments are encouraged so students have a full understanding of scientific concepts.
- Parents are encouraged to teach their children a foreign language. There is an explanation of this at Simply Charlotte Mason.
- Children learn a second language when they are very young, which is the easiest time to learn
Copywork, Transcription, and Dictation
- Children enjoy writing beautiful phrases from texts.
- Copying good writing teaches children how to use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar. You can find a description of these areas at Simply Charlotte Mason.
- Children learn skills like knitting, cross-stitch, and others that produce beautiful results
- You can skip frilly crafts that don't serve a purpose. (But we love crafts at our house! See Jimmie Lanley's view on Charlotte Mason's no-frills craft approach here.)
- Creating handicrafts allows children to practice giving their best effort (if the parent doesn't allow slipshod work).
I sure hope this post has given you something to think about! If you are new to Charlotte Mason's philosophy, I would love to help you navigate the waters! You can sign up below for a free study guide of her 20 principles.