Category Archives: A Thinking Love

Welcome to a new way to read Home Education

The last couple of years have been difficult for everyone, and I am no exception, which is why it has taken over two years to bring this project to (near) completion. I am pleased to say, at last, that this study version of Home Education, titled  A Thinking Love, is ready for purchase.

The first time I dove into Home Education (1994), I found it overwhelming. I wrestled my way through the dense paragraphs, gathering up valuable nuggets of wisdom, but also bewildered by much of the material. I read it several times before even the outlines of a big picture began to emerge, and I’d like to give busy homeschool mothers who want to read Charlotte Mason for themselves a head start. This is our work, and we want to do it well. Miss Mason told us:

That the mother may know what she is about, may come thoroughly furnished to her work, she should have something more than a hearsay acquaintance with the theory of education, and with those conditions of the child’s nature upon which such theory rests.

With this study version, I hope to help you achieve “more than a hearsay acquaintance” with the theory of education. I’ve divided the material into “readings” that can be finished within a busy mom’s schedule. Each reading is followed by study material that will help you digest and make the most of what you are reading. If I thought a little extra background would be useful, I’ve added that. I’ve kept a close eye on the principles, and refer you to them often, so you will see how integral they are from the very beginning. I’ve made a few practical suggestions to help you get started doing some of the things Charlotte Mason suggests.

But I don’t want to do your thinking for you, so most of my study questions are an invitation to ponder what Charlotte Mason has said and find your own conclusions. It is my sincere hope that   A Thinking Love: Studies from Charlotte Mason’s Home Education, will become a valuable tool for a new generation of homeschool mothers who want to become students of Charlotte Mason.

Because few readers get as far as reading Formation of Character, I’ve always wanted a version of Home Education that includes all eight of the original lectures. Their inclusion in Home Education clarifies many things, and gives us a glimpse of what Charlotte Mason hoped education would effect in the lives and hearts of our older children.

I hope you’ll find a friend or two to read with you—that’s what I did—and that reading this study edition of Home Education will be just the beginning, so that you go on to read the original version and other volumes beyond that.


Unpleasant but necessary business information:

  • Kindle version:  I’m working on it—it should be ready soon.
  • Canada:  I’m working on that, too. I must convince the powers that be that Home Education is in the public domain in Canada. That should be possible, shouldn’t it? Prayers welcome!
  • Links are Amazon affiliate links.


A sneak peak at a new book–coming very soon!

I know my blog has been quiet for a good while, and my website definitely needs the cobwebs brushed out of the corners and freshened up a bit, but regardless of all that, it’s finally time to share a project I’ve been talking about (vaguely) for a couple of years.

Just after I wrote In Vital Harmony, I began to reread Charlotte Mason’s Home Education. I was deeply immersed in the principles, and keenly aware of every turn of phrase that made reference to them. As I read through Home Education, I could see the wonderful connections and related parts that I had just written about, and I thought—wouldn’t it be wonderful to read Home Education with a study guide that would ensure the principles were highlighted?

MindToMindCoverFrontShadow After I abridged A Philosophy of Education as Mind to Mind, I had kind of promised myself not to abridge another volume. But a different idea emerged as I pondered highlighting the principles in Home Education. What if there were a study version? What if the material was broken up into manageable readings followed by study questions that called attention to the principles? What if you kept a copy of the principles at hand as you read and referred to them often?

And so A Thinking Love: Studies from Charlotte Mason’s Home Education was conceived.

It’s taken a long time to get to delivery, but here we finally are!

And there’s more!

Home Education began as a series of eight lectures delivered to parents. Eight. If you open any contemporary publication of Home Education, you will find only six. But the other two lectures are still out there. In 1905, Home Education was updated with a lot of material related to teaching lessons. In order to make room for the new material, lectures seven and eight were moved to a new volume—Formation of Character. Yes, that strange, eclectic volume that not many Charlotte Mason enthusiasts find time to read in the year of our Lord 2022. (But if you want to explore it further, I collaborated on a good overview of it in the Take the Fifth blog series a few years ago.)

With the removal of those two lectures, Home Education became a book about the education of children up to age nine, but that’s not the spirit of the original eight lectures. Charlotte Mason presented her principles, and then discussed their implications from birth to young adulthood. Those last two lectures are a treasure not to be missed (even if you never read the rest of Formation of Character), and they belong with the other six.

So I put them back in.

Charlotte Mason took them out in the first place to make room for new material, and I made room for them by leaving out other things–beef tea, wool clothing, coal fires, and Victorian-era science about the brain—and full-time nannies, as much as I could. The things you really want from Charlotte Mason—her educational principles, her practical advice, her wisdom and encouragement—that is all still here, presented in short readings that can be finished in as little as ten or fifteen minutes. Each reading is followed by three points for discussion, further thinking, or practical activity to help you get the most out of the material. I think it will work well for those who want to read and discuss in community. (If you do that, let me know how it goes.)

I’m so excited to finally be sharing this project with the world, and I’ll be letting you know that the book is available (paperback and Kindle) very, very soon.