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Parents' Educational Sequence

The following items are recommended to give parents a basic understanding of the Charlotte Mason method.  Odyssey students will encounter this philosophy and method each week in their lessons, so we believe it crucial that parents understand our view of education and the roles of student and teacher.  Read/listen to at least five items from this page to complete this section of enrollment.

School LIbrary

Recommended Reading: Primary Sources

Home Education &
Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason
(Volumes 1 and 6)

These books can be found used by searching 
You can purchase them from Simply Charlotte Mason, and Living Book Press. 
They are also available for free here: CM Series (

See also the Twenty Principles (by Mason) here: Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles (

Black Earphones

Recommended Listening

The following podcasts are brimming with research and advice regarding Charlotte Mason's philosophy and method from home educators with many years of personal experience and expertise from which to draw.

A Delectable Education:
(specifically episodes #1-10, 33, 109, 229, 235, 258)

Charlotte Mason Poetry: 

The Commonplace:

Modern Miss Mason:

The New Mason Jar:

CM Volume I (Home Education): Home Education S eries Vol. I: Home Education : Charlotte Mason : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

CM Volume VI (Philosophy of Education): Home Education Series Vol. VI: Towards A Philosophy of Education : Charlotte Mason : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Image by Jordan Madrid

More Recommended Reading:

The following books are extremely helpful in cultivating an understanding of the Charlotte Mason philosophy, as well as aiding in implementation of her method.

A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola

In Vital Harmony by Karen Glass

Consider This by Karen Glass

Know and Tell by Karen Glass

Modern Miss Mason by Leah Boden

A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison

The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason by Laurie Bestvater

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

Image by Annie Spratt

Charlotte Mason's Twenty Principles

A Short Synopsis

1.  Children are born persons.

2.  They are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and for evil.

3.   The principles of authority on the one hand, and of obedience on the other, are natural, necessary and fundamental; but - 

4.  These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon, whether by the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or influence, or by undue play upon any one natural desire.

5.  Therefore, we are limited to three educational instruments - the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas.  

6.  When we say that "education is an atmosphere," we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a 'child-environment' especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions.

7.  By "education is a discipline," we mean the discipline of habits, formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body.  

8.  In saying, "education is a life," the need of intellectual and moral as well as of physical sustenance is implied.  The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.

9.  We hold that the child's mind is no mere sac to hold ideas; but is rather, if the figure may be allowed, a spiritual organism, with an appetite for all knowledge.  This is its proper diet, with which it is prepared to deal; and which it can digest and assimilate as the body does foodstuffs.

10.  Such a doctrine as e.g. the Herbartian, that the mind is a receptacle, lays the stress of Education (the preparation of knowledge in enticing morsels duly ordered) upon the teacher.  Children taught on this principle are in danger of receiving much teaching with little knowledge; and the teacher's axiom is "what a child learns matters less than how he learns it."

11.  But we, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a full and generous curriculum; taking care only that all knowledge offered hi mis vital, that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas.

12.  "Education is the science of relations"; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of "those first-born affinities that fit our new existence to existing things."

13.  In devising a SYLLABUS for a normal child, of whatever social class,
three points must be considered:

a) He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body.
b) The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite
(i.e., curiosity).

c) Knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language, because his attention responds naturally to what is conveyed in literary form.

14.  As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should 'tell back' after a single reading or hearing; or should write on some part of what they have read.

15.  A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages, and also, by questioning, summarising, and the like.

16.  There are two guides to moral and intellectual self-management to offer to children, which we may call 'the way of the will' and 'the way of the reason.'

17.  The way of the will: Children should be taught a) to distinguish between 'I want' and 'I will'. b) That the way to will effectively is to turn our thoughts from that which we desire but do not will. c) That the best way to turn our thoughts is to think of or do some quite different thing, entertaining or interesting. d) That after a little rest in this way, the will returns to its work with new vigour.

18.  The way of reason: We teach children, too, not to 'lean (too confidently) on their own understanding'; because the function of reason is to give logical demonstration a) of mathematical truth, b) of an initial idea, accepted by the will.  In the former case , reason is, practically, an infallible guide, but in the latter, it is not always a safe one; for, whether that idea be right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs.

19.  Therefore, children should be taught, as they become mature enough to understand such teaching, that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas.  To help them in this choice we give them principles of conduct, and a wide range of the knowledge fitted to them.  These principles should save children from some of the loose thinking and heedless action which cause most of us to live at a lower level than we need.

20.  We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and 'spiritual' life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.

Parents' Education Sequence: Tests & Assignments
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