As a mom who loves the Charlotte Mason (CM) method but isn’t sure where to start, I decided to put together this resource of all the Charlotte Mason homeschooling curriculum packages that I’m interested in further investigating. I’ve also written a few sentences about each curriculum package which reminds me why each program stood out.
Below we’ll go through these curricula that subscribe to the CM method, namely:
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- A Gentle Feast
- Living Books Curriculum
- Ambleside Online
- Heart of Dakota
- Charlotte Mason in a Box
- Charlotte Mason College
- My Homeschool
- CM Institute – Alveary
- Higher Up and Further In
I am not an expert in Charlotte Mason curricula. Instead, I’m a mother researching programs that would be good options for our Christian family. I’ve come across the above programs during my research, which I believe would be worth investigating further.
A note on CM blogs: Like this website, many of the curriculum providers on this page have an active blog they maintain. I found these blogs try to help improve our knowledge of the Charlotte Mason method. Be sure to subscribe to the ones you think will help you most in your home education journey.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
10 Charlotte Mason Curriculum Packages
Some of these programs hold to the Charlotte Mason style rigorously. Others are laxer. Check them out below.
The Simply CM curriculum is a comprehensive package that claims you can relax because ‘all the planning is already done.’ They show you how to homeschool using CM techniques, giving you daily lesson plans and access to some living books. The plans are customizable to suit your family.
Many parents will like the comprehensive podcast, article base, and active forum SCM offers. Many questions you may have been wondering about (or will wonder about) have been answered or discussed on these forums. As this organization is a popular homeschool curriculum, be sure to check it out.
A Gentle Feast is a CM curriculum ‘deeply rooted in the living ideas found in books, beauty, and Biblical truth.’ It’s a program that seeks to bring the family together as much as possible while providing a solid academic foundation. The creator of this package, Julie Ross, has created comprehensive instructional videos for parents to watch before homeschoolers start the curriculum. This helps parents feel confident they know what they’re doing when they begin administering the course. This package is also customizable to suit your particular family needs.
Because the creator, Julie Ross, values support, this curriculum comes with many support options such as members Q & A calls and a Members Facebook Group. This gives parents comfort if they have questions as they can pick up the phone and ask a question without worrying about it further. It’s definitely a Charlotte Mason curriculum option I’m interested in looking into further.
The Living Books Curriculum has been used by many American homeschooling families and was also created to be used by people in developing nations. This curriculum goes from Foundations to Grade 8 and provides a fun and engaging way for children to learn. You can choose from a physical (print) bundle or a digital copy. Even if you don’t decide to go with LBC, this website offers parents an excellent education in teaching their homeschoolers with the CM method.
Each year also comes with a teaching guide that matches your child’s grade.
LBC is a not-for-profit organization. The story of its inception is beautiful:
We are Sheila and Jim Carroll, founders of the Living Books Curriculum. In 2003 we dreamed of creating a truly unique learning experience using Mason’s methods and using all the proceeds of sales to take this curriculum to developing nations. Our dream is a reality. Living Books Curriculum is used in five African countries. (CharlotteMasonHomeschooling.Com/About)
When reading through the website, I was struck with the maker’s focus on Jesus Christ and their faith and wish to share the gospel. By purchasing this curriculum, the makers, Jim and Sheila Carroll, say we’ll be helping ‘children in Africa receive a living education.’ This is because the Carrolls curriculum currently educates 750 students in 7 schools in Africa. It seems like a great story of Christlike love. Well done, Carrolls!
Ambleside Online is a free Charlotte Mason homeschooling curriculum package from Grades 0-12. This curriculum has ‘detailed schedules, time-tested methods, and extensive teacher resources [that] allows parents to focus effectively on the unique needs of each child.’
The Ambleside Online Library is extremely rich and provides many digitized resources for free. For example, CM‘s Home Education Series is available here for free. The library also had detailed links to weekly schedules. Here’s the 36-week program for Year 3. It’s a bit overwhelming at first glance, but I suspect I’d be glad of the detail once I started this curriculum.
While the upside of a free program is the low price, keep in mind that, if you don’t want your children to read everything online, you will have to buy books separately, which could present a considerable cost that you need to factor in (see an article on the costs of homeschooling here). Other paid curricula usually come with a set of age-appropriate books within them. It’s good to weigh up your options and calculate the actual cost of a free curriculum. The other downside of a free curriculum is that there’s not as much individualized help as you might get with a bought curriculum. However, you may easily get around this problem by joining an AO Facebook group where you can ask your questions.
If you want to get started with this curriculum, head to this link to show you how to begin and give you tips for your AO journey!
Featuring complete “open-and-go” daily plans, Heart of Dakota’s curriculum covers preschool to high school. This Christ-centered program is packed with Charlotte Mason-style living books and lessons, unique hands-on activities with a unit study flair, and heartfelt Godly character training from God’s Word. These core principles make school both educational and exciting, all while providing a spiritually rich foundation every day!
Brought to you by Queens Homeschool, the Charlotte Mason in a box kit gives you everything you need for one year…in a box. Grades include from Year 0 to 12. This package has many subjects, including phonics, history, science, the bible, geography, and handwriting – the standards included in many programs on this page. You can add math and foreign language, but you have to pick these separately, so it matches your child’s preference (language) and level (math).
The CM College is a distance education provider based in Queensland, Australia. While it is a distance education provider, it also has an on-campus presence with on-campus students. The College delivers ‘the Australian Curriculum with a Christian worldview filter teaching children to live in goodness, truth, and beauty,’ the common mantras of a CM education.
My Homeschool is an Australian homeschooling curriculum that has tried to marry the requirements of the Australian curriculum with the Charlotte Mason method. It’s an easy way to know you’re complying with Australian home education requirements without missing out on all the CM fun. I have a friend who uses this curriculum and is happy with the outcome.
The CM Institute (Alveary) has a strong focus on teaching parents how to teach using CM methods as well as providing curricula to students. Based on a serious study of Mason’s writing and research, the CMI provides access to its curriculum, research, and teacher training by membership only.
They also produce quarterly educational reviews that can be accessed for free at the following link.
Higher Up and Further In offers a free curriculum here. On looking at it briefly, it seems similar to Ambleside online, only perhaps not quite as detailed.
The blog was excellent, entertaining, and had many relevant stories. There were many valuable topics discussed from a practical standpoint. This is a good option if you don’t have a CM blog you read regularly.
The Wildwood curriculum is differentiated from all the above curricula in that the program is marketed as a secular Charlotte Mason option. After reading a lot of CM’s writings, I find it difficult to conceive of a program that is separated from much of its foundational character; that is, a love of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is integral to CM learning. But, this package is for interested parties to investigate further.
Partly Charlotte Mason Curriculum Packages
Some homeschooling curricula don’t prescribe to a particular educational method. Instead, they are a mix of approaches. For example, the My Father’s World curriculum mixes CM, Classical, Unit study, and other methods. Some curricula that prescribe to part of CM’s education philosophy include:
Click on the links above to learn more about these home education curricula.
Free Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Curricula
Ambleside Online – talked about above.
Higher Up and Further In
Higher Up and Further In – also covered above.
Easy Peasy is also a free option that I’ve heard is slightly influenced by CM. This program is probably the most popular free homeschooling program available today.
However, it isn’t at all quintessentially Charlotte Mason. If you’re interested in this program, it’s helpful to know that Easy Peasy has many support groups on Facebook for parents who have lots of questions.
Best Book to Read on CM Education
One of the best books I recommend home education parents read to teach themselves about CM education is volume 1 of the CM’s Home Education Series (affiliate link). Once you’ve made it through the series (or even the first book, Home Education), you will have an excellent idea of how to teach your children effectively.
What Do You Think?
I’m interested to know if you’ve tried any of the curricula above and what you think of them. Please comment below and let me know your thoughts 🙂
If you’ve just finished reading CM’s Home Education Series, you might be tempted to think it’s all too much, and it will be too hard to carry out. This is where a Charlotte Mason homeschooling curriculum comes in handy. Many of them do the work for you with pre-planned lessons using the tenets of a CM education. Many of the writers of these curricula have been mothers or educators in your position. They have struggled with loving CM but not having a curriculum that gives them everything they love. And so they’ve made one and, in doing so, have done all the hard work for us!