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Charlotte Mason in Real Life { A Focused Look}

It’s day 2 of our series: Beginner’s Guide to Charlotte Mason!!! Today I want to talk about how we use Charlotte Mason style learning in our homeschool. If you haven’t read the first post in this series, I recommend you start HERE

Before I begin, I want to say again that I am not an expert on Charlotte Mason and her methods. I am just someone who loves her ideas, and I want to incorporate them into my homeschool as much as I can. I am drawn to the ease of her methods. Since we’ve started using CM in our homeschool, days have been a lot smoother. 

Not saying that they don’t ever get challenging… because that is just a struggle all of us have as homeschool moms. Some days are great, others are not so much. What I am saying is, her methods have really helped us out.

In the last post, there was a list of what a Charlotte Mason education looks like. Now, I am going to try to break that down for you and show you how we do it.

Charlotte Mason in Real Life { A Focused Look}

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Charlotte Mason in Real Life

Formation of Good Habits

This one is something that we work on every day. I am sure you do too… you just may not realize it. Do your children have chores?? Making the bed? Cleaning their rooms? Brushing their teeth? That is forming habits. Now we do go further… as you should. Teaching our children to be selfless… putting others first.

Here’s an example of how we succeeded in that area: My 6-year-old son just lost his first tooth. The “tooth fairy” gave him $2. The next day, we went to a birthday party. He pulled out his $2 and gave it to the birthday boy! No prompting from us at all! Totally his idea!! I was so amazed! But, that is just proof that what we are doing to teach them, is forming good habits in their lives.

We teach through formal Bible lessons/ studies, giving our children chores, having them pay tithes on any money they receive, and above all, we pray for them. We correct them when they are wrong, and they do learn. It takes time, though.

No habit is ever formed overnight, so keep your head up and keep pushing through. Children are molded so easily in their early years… that is the perfect time to start!

Read this post: Practical Habit Training.

Living Books

What is a living book anyway? Living books are books that come alive when you read them. Interesting and intriguing books that get the child’s attention. They can be fiction or nonfiction. That does not matter. What matters is the content.

We’ve used Heart of Dakota for our children in the past. The curriculum is packed full of awesome living books.

Some examples are:

Grandpa’s Box: Retelling the Biblical Story of Redemption (Love this one!)



Pilgrim Stories

And there are really just too many to list!

We’ve also used The Sassafras Science Adventures: Volume One: Zoology. It is an awesome living book Science Curriculum.

Most Charlotte Mason curriculum is full of great living books. One of my favorites is A Gentle Feast. There is a wonderful selection of living books, and a great Charlotte Mason education is planned out for you. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

Read: A Gentle Feast Curriculum Review


We do narration after storytime about 2-3 times per week. This is also something that is assigned in Heart of Dakota, if you choose to go that route. We do oral narration on one or two days.

Then we do written narration at the end of the week. When your child does narration, they are to tell back the story to you in their own words. It is used to see what the child has learned… what information they have retained.

I highly recommend reading the book Know and Tell by Karen Glass.

Read: What is Narration & How does it work?

Charlotte Mason Copywork

We are currently using Language Lessons for a Living Education from Masterbooks. There is copywork incorporated throughout & It’s more of a Charlotte Mason style language arts program.

For my oldest children, we are copying from the books that they read.

**Copywork is mainly used for handwriting & early writing practice. In early years copywork will be compromised of letter formation, then words, sentences, and so on.

The Arts

Poetry: This year we are using several poetry books that I found at a local thrift store. (I literally paid 20 cents each! Woohoo!)

A Child’s Garden of Verses is the one I’m using with my 4th grader. We do poetry and recitation 4 days per week.

Charlotte Mason in Real Life { A Focused Look} 1Charlotte Mason in Real Life { A Focused Look} 2

Read: How to Make a 4-day Schedule Work for Your Homeschool

Art/Artist Studies: For my middle schoolers we use Ambleside Online’s Picture Study rotation.

For my 4th grader (Form 2) we are using the Impressionist Picture Study Bundle. (You can grab it for free right here.)

Composer Studies: We are following Ambleside’s composer study rotation.

Nature Study

For nature study, we use Nature Anatomy. We use a regular sketch pad to do nature drawings in. Most of our lessons are unplanned. Nature Study works so much better for us when we just happen upon a subject we want to study.

For example, today as I walked to my mailbox there were butterflies covering my flowers! So I called the kids outside, and we observed the butterflies. We watched them closely for a while. Then we came inside and opened our Nature Anatomy book to read about butterflies and figure out what kind of butterflies they were.

Here’s a list of Nature Study resources for you to check out.

Check out our Forest Nature Study Journal.

Nature Walks

We love to be outdoors! So nature walks are right up our alley. We usually go to local state parks and go on some hiking trails. We also live right next to a wildlife refuge that has plenty of hiking trails as well.

Read: 30 Free Nature Study Resources for Your Homeschool

Outdoor Life

As I have already said, we love outdoors! It is really not too hard to convince our children to go outside to play. There are days they are outside for 4-6 hours at a time.

They play outside as much as they can throughout the day when the weather is good. We even play in the rain! And snow of course.

Who doesn’t like to build snowmen???

Short Lessons

Short lessons? What’s that all about? Well, short lessons are meant to help keep a child’s attention. Many children, especially younger children, can not stay focused on one subject for a very long time. I know my kids are that way for sure.

So, short lessons help keep them engaged, and help them to retain more information. The Language Arts curriculum we do is set up that way. Short to the point lessons. Really, all of our curriculum, aside from Math are short lessons.


Math is usually manipulative based/ hands-on in a Charlotte Mason style education. That is one of the things that drew us to Math U See.

Now we use CTC Math which is an online program for homeschoolers.

If you can’t decide on a math program, here’s a list of 5 Charlotte Mason inspired Math Programs.

Foreign Language

For foreign language we use free online resources. You can see what we use here.


We try to memorize a weekly scripture. Our scriptures are given to us in the Heart of Dakota teacher’s manual, but in the past, I have used some of my favorite scriptures for scripture memory. 

Confession: I have also randomly pulled a scripture from my daily bread box.

 My kids are also doing Bible quizzing at church, so they do memorize scriptures there and in Sunday School as well.


4th grade: For my 4th grader, he is still doing single words for dictation. When I feel like he is ready, we will move up to sentences from his books.

Middle School: We do prepared dictation from a book they are currently reading. I try to choose a book that is slightly under their reading level because spelling skills follow reading skills.


Now we have finally reached the most important part of a child’s education: knowledge of God and the Bible! Our children are given so many different opportunities to study the word of God.

We chose Masterbooks for Language Arts this year, because they incorporate so much of the Bible.

Each morning we read from the KJV Bible in a rotation between New and Old Testaments. On Thursdays we throw in a Bible Study from a book our pastor gave us.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

We will begin the Bible Study Doodle Journal after our first break.

Don’t forget to look for more in this series: Beginner’s Guide to Charlotte Mason!

A Look at Our Charlotte Mason Curriculum

Charlotte Mason Inspired 4th Grade

Charlotte Mason Inspired 7th Grade

A Gentle Feast Curriculum Review

charlotte mason method

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