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Charlotte Mason Vs Unschooling

Are you considering using the Charlotte Mason method for your homeschool? Are you switching over from unschooling? Or are you comparing the differences between the two homeschool methods? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, this article is for you!

I do not claim to be a Charlotte Mason expert or an expert on unschooling. I do, however, aim to give my readers accurate information on homeschooling. My goal is to help you out on your homeschool journey. So, I sincerely hope that this post will help you decide which direction you want to take! Or if Charlotte Mason homeschooling is for you.

Charlotte Mason vs Unschooling: Everything You Need to Know

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Charlotte Mason Vs Unschooling

Charlotte Mason Vs Unschooling … what is the difference? Unschooling and Charlotte Mason education both have some similarities. But, they are not the same. In this post, I want to discuss some of the similarities and differences between the two philosophies of education.

As I mentioned before, the advice I give on Charlotte Mason homeschooling is from experience and reading her works. But for unschooling, I do not have the experience. I only have information from what I have read. If there is anything you’d like to add to this article do not hesitate to leave your input in the comments!

What is Unschooling?

Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that is primarily child lead. A lot of the learning experiences take place through real-life experiences. Things like shopping, learning through play, and learning through exploring. Unschooling is tailored to a child’s specific learning styles and behaviors. Which can be very beneficial.

Read more on Unschooling here. << This article gives you a deeper in-depth explanation of unschooling. It also gives you an idea of what unschooling is not. As there are a lot of misconceptions of unschooling out there!

What is Charlotte Mason Homeschooling?

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling is a method of educating the child as a whole. Giving the child a variety of books and things to “feast” on. Charlotte Mason’s philosophies aimed to give the child a rich education full of art, good literature, poetry, music, and so much more! She did not believe in watering down a child’s education.

You can read more on the Charlotte Mason method here. >> What is the Charlotte Mason Method?

Also, see how we use the Charlotte Mason in our homeschool here.

If you are interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason’s methods sign up for our free 7-day Charlotte Mason email course. This course is ever-changing. I am adding new information and freebies to it all the time! >>>

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Check out some of our favorite Charlotte Mason resources here.

Charlotte Mason Vs Unschooling: The Similarities

There are many people who think that Unschooling and Charlotte Mason homeschooling are pretty much the same things.

There are many people who think that Unschooling and Charlotte Mason homeschooling are pretty much the same things. I can see why some people may think that. There are a lot of things that are the same.

Natural Learners

For example, in the unschooling philosophy, it is believed that children are natural learners. That they want to learn. This is also true for Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. Charlotte Mason said that children are naturally curious, and will learn from being let alone in nature.

Life Experiences

Both forms of education support learning through life experiences. Charlotte Mason said that education is a life. It is happening constantly. Just because a child’s lessons have stopped doesn’t mean that his learning has stopped too. Unschoolers also learn from life!

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It really goes without being said that unschoolers do not receive formal grades. And neither do Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Charlotte Mason believed in letting the child be rewarded naturally. So when a child does a good job on an assignment, he does not receive a big fat letter A on his page. He receives the natural reward of feeling accomplished knowing that he completed his assignment correctly.

This goes hand in hand with habit training. Your child is not trying to compete for a good grade or cram for exams. He or she is simply learning to learn. Not to take a test. Which brings me to the next point.


Tests could really be put under both differences and similarities. And that is just what I am going to do. Unschoolers do not do testing and neither do Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. For those of you saying… “Wait! What about exams!” I will explain Charlotte Mason exams below in differences.

The testing I am referring to is standardized testing. Tests that are premade with predetermined answers that the child must get right in order to make a “good grade.”

Charlotte Mason Vs Unschooling: The Differences

Child Directed Learning

In Charlotte Mason homeschooling the learning is not completely child-directed. In some ways, it can be… when you are talking about Nature Walks and free play in nature. But, the parent puts together a curriculum for the child each year.

With Unschooling, parents are involved in helping find resources for their children. And also helping their children set goals for the year. But the child’s interests are what help guide their learning.


While Charlotte Mason homeschoolers do not do tests, there are exams. Exams are not the kind of exams that most people think of. They are questions used to determine what the child has learned. There are no right or wrong answers. It is only used to measure what a child has learned throughout the year.

If you are interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason exams, check out Gentle Exams by Julie Ross. She explains exams so well in this ebook, and she also gives some good examples of questions for a Charlotte Mason style exam.


There is more of a structure to Charlotte Mason homeschooling. You have short lessons and a schedule laid out for each day. There is a broad array of subjects that are taught, and less freedom than unschooling. Don’t get me wrong, Charlotte Mason is a very freeing form of homeschooling. But, I would definitely put it a step above Unschooling when it comes to homeschooling freedom.

I hope that helps!

I hope you found this post helpful! Feel free to add some of your observations on Charlotte Mason vs. Unschooling below in the comments.

Read: How to Start Homeschooling: A Step-by-Step Guide

Charlotte Mason vs Unschooling: Everything You Need to Know

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