As a mom who loves the Charlotte Mason (CM) method but isn’t sure of where to start, I decided to put together this resource of all the Charlotte Mason homeschooling curriculum packages that I’m interested in investigating further. 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 10 curricula that claim to subscribe to the CM method, namely:
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- A Gentle Feast
- Living Books Curriculum
- Ambleside Online
- 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. During my research, I’ve come across the above programs 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.
10 Charlotte Mason Curriculum Packages
Some of these programs hold to the Charlotte Mason style rigorously. Others are more lax. Check them out below.
Simply Charlotte Mason
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 living books. The plans are customizable to suit your family.
Many parents will like the comprehensive podcast, article base, and active forum SCM also 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 one of the biggest selling CM curricula, be sure to check it out.
A Gentle Feast
A Gentle Feast is a CM curriculum that is ‘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 strong 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 start 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 having to worry about it further. It’s definitely an option I’m interested in looking into further.
Living Books Curriculum
The Living Books Curriculum has been used by many American homeschooling families and was created to also 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, I found this website offers parents a great education in teaching their homeschoolers with the CM method.
Each year also comes with its own teaching guide for the grade your child is up to.
LBC is a not-for-profit organization. The story of its inception is beautiful:
We are Sheila and Jim Carroll, founders of Living Books Curriculum. In 2003 we had a dream to create a truly unique learning experience using Mason’s methods and use 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 nations. (CharlotteMasonHomeschooling.Com/About)
When reading through the website I was struck with the makers 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 is currently educating 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, all of CM‘s Home Education Series is available here for free. The library also had detailed links to weekly schedules. Here’s the 36-week schedule 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 real 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 be able to 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 which will show you how to begin and give you tips for your AO journey!
Charlotte Mason In A Box
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, bible, geography, and handwriting – the standards included in many of the 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).
Charlotte Mason College
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.
Charlotte Mason Institute – Alveary
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 heavy 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
The blog was excellent, entertaining, and had many relevant stories. There were many useful topics discussed from a practical standpoint. If you don’t have a CM blog you read regularly, this is a good option.
The Wildwood curriculum is differentiated from all the above curricula in that the program is marketed as a secular Charlotte Mason option. After having read 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 methods. For example, the My Father’s World curriculum is a mix of 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 find out 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 useful 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 a very good 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 well. In fact, 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!