We’re within sight of the summer months (not here yet, but we’re dreaming), and you’ll probably want to read a book or two that will deepen your understanding about education, refresh your heart, and inspire you to look ahead to the next year with renewed enthusiasm. We’re not all in the same place in our educational journeys, so the right book for you this year might not be exactly the same book another teacher/mom needs. We’ve been blessed in recent years by a number of new books that I appreciate deeply, and not just because I’m personally acquainted with the authors. It’s one thing to read about an educational philosophy, and another thing to listen to the understanding gathered by an educator who has walked and practiced that philosophy for a couple of decades.
You are probably aware of all the books I’m going to mention, but I’m gathering them into this one post to encourage you think about them and choose the ones that will be a blessing to you in your current season of education. I also want to invite you to return the blessing. How? Well, authors are more encouraged than you can imagine when readers review a book and share their thoughts with potential future readers. If you appreciated a book, you’ll put a smile on an author’s face today by clicking over to Amazon and saying so. Those reviews stick around and bless others, too, because when you’re considering which book might be the best choice for you right now, seeing how others found have a book helpful might be just what you need to hear. Besides linking to the books I think you might want to read, I’ve included review links so you can easily leave a review for a book you’ve already read.
Have you read Charlotte Mason for yourself yet? It’s really easy to read and learn from a lot of secondary sources and let a good amount of time go by without realizing that you haven’t read a volume for yourself.
You can begin with Home Education, or any other volume that appeals to you. Even for these, you can leave a review.
Leslie Laurio has paraphrased the entire series in modern English, and you may find that a more accessible way to read Charlotte Mason. She has also created a summary that will give you a bird’s eye view of the vital elements in a Charlotte Mason education.
Finally, there’s Mind to Mind. This is an abridgement of A Philosophy of Education, in which most of the dated material and the rabbit trails have been removed, so that you can see Charlotte Mason’s ideas and philosophy in a sharper focus, especially since I’ve added introductions to each chapter and added subheadings to the text which essentially outline the material for ease of reference. The idea of an abridged book doesn’t appeal to everyone, but if it was helpful to you, consider reviewing it for others.
No matter which book you choose, digging into Charlotte Mason’s own material will be well worth the effort.
I said that we’ve been blessed recently by some new books, and that’s what this section is for. Maybe you’ve devoured all of these already, and maybe you’ve been too busy to get to them. As you look ahead to the summer, think about reading one of these to deepen your understanding.
First up in this category is The Living Page. Laurie Bestvater’s research into “keeping”—gathering things into paper notebooks—is deep and inspiring. She understands Charlotte Mason’s philosophy at a deep level, and while she discusses the different kinds of notebooks you might want to keep, she’s also giving you insight into vital ideas. There is much more to this book than just notebooks. If you’ve already read and appreciated it, leave a review.
Well, I can’t leave this out. Consider This is my first book—the one that took me twenty years to write. Charlotte Mason’s ideas are linked to important ideas about education that aren’t just about what writing curriculum we’re going to use, whether we study Latin or not, or how much of our efforts should be devoted to STEM subjects. Right relations lie at the heart of education, and that’s what I tried to convey. And yes, I will be encouraged if you leave a review for Consider This.
Have you read Minds More Awake? Whether you are new to Charlotte Mason or have been using her methods for a while, this is a book that is going to give you added clarity. Anne White has a knack for putting her finger on the key ideas, and after reading this book, you’ll have a more solid grasp of the vitality of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and be better equipped to put that philosophy into practice. You won’t be sorry you read this one, and if you already have, please leave a review.
One of the newest books available is A Touch of the Infinite. Megan Hoyt’s love for music just sings on every page, and like The Living Page, you’ll find more here than just information about music. Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is far-reaching, and the relational nature of her ideas is deeply embedded in this book. Music is not my strong suit, and I loved this book. If you did, too, make another author smile with a review.
Have you read Mere Motherhood yet? This is one that you won’t want to miss. Most of us write about Charlotte Mason’s ideas, but Cindy Rollins writes about the Charlotte Mason lifestyle, and she knows what she’s talking about. She is the mother of nine children, and transparently honest in this memoir of how she lived out the ideas in her home. You can listen to her as she continues to share on The Mason Jar podcast, and if you loved this book, please do leave a review.
This one isn’t really a new book, but it’s newly available in this nicely-formatted paperback version. In Memoriam is a collection of testimonials and writings from people who knew and worked with Charlotte Mason when she was alive. Because it is made up of short writings, it’s a good choice for when you only have time to read a little bit here and there. You’ll be surprised at how much insight into methods and philosophy these memories contain. If you leave a review, other readers will know , too.
Last (but I hope not least) is my newest book, Know and Tell: The Art of Narration. As I’m writing this, it has been available for just two months, and I’m hoping those who read it and find it helpful will leave a review and let others know how it helped. This book is designed to help you make the most of narration in your Charlotte Mason educational paradigm.
It’s a blessing to be so spoiled for choice. I hope one of these books makes it onto your summer reading list and recharges you for the 2018-19 school year, which will be upon us before we know it.
Besides the blessing of newer books, there are some books that have been around for a while to help with implementing Charlotte Mason’s method. These have stood the test of time and are still excellent choices that will give you firmer footing as you progress in your knowledge of this philosophy. None of the newer books are going to be quite like these, because these are already here to fill that role.
For many of us, the journey began with For the Children’s Sake. You can get even more from reading it if you pair it with Start Here: A Journey Through Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles by Brandy Vencel, a study guide for groups, although you can use it for yourself alone. If these resources have already laid a foundation for you, leave a review for For the Children’s Sake, or leave a review for Start Here.
Sometimes you need quick and practical, and that is what A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-To Manual has to offer. It’s been around for a while, and has helped hundreds of teachers jump into the Charlotte Mason methods. If you’re one of them, leave a review.
Long ago, after we read For the Children’s Sake, Karen Andreola was probably the next voice we heard telling us about Charlotte Mason. A Charlotte Mason Companion is her collection of insights into many nooks and crannies of Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods. Most of the chapters are stand-alone articles, so this is another book that lends itself to reading now and then when you have time and need some gentle encouragement. Leave a review if you’ve found it helpful.
There are so many books I could add to this list, but I think you’ll find a gem or two here. I’ve focused on Charlotte Mason-specific books in this post, and I think I’ll do another one next month for some titles more directly connected to classical education. However, if you’re following Charlotte Mason’s methods of education, you’ll probably want to put most of these on your “to be read” list and make your way through them as you have time.
Let me know if any of these make it on to your reading list, and I do hope you’ll take the time to encourage an author and share your experience with one or more of these that you’ve already read. Happy summer reading!
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