Reviews of Books on Charlotte Mason

By Gina Reich Guzman. Reprinted with permission.

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A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola, pub. Charlotte Mason Research & Supply Co., 1998

 I have to admit that while I did not, initially, find this to be a pleasurable read I find myself referring back to it whenever I feel stuck trying to implement more CM into our homeschool. The religiousness of the book really turned me off so I could only read it in bits and spurts over a summer. To this day I can’t figure out why anyone would NOT teach topics like Dickens, but she has an entire chapter on why it should be okay to include Dickens in your homeschooling. While I may not always agree with her reasons for doing things I find the descriptions of *how* she does them to be truly inspiring.  I don’t think I really understood CM narrations until I read this book. This is one CM book I couldn’t do without, if you can stand and filter through the religious stuff.

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A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-to Manual by Catherine Levison.  Champion Press. 2000. 

If you are new to Charlotte Mason this is a great book to start with.  This book covers all of the academic topics and many of the key features of a CM education.  It is clearly written, making it more pleasurable to read than the Karen Andreola book. The information has less depth to it though. I really like that most chapters include a reference as to which book from the original CM series relates to each topic. It does include some book lists and such but other books have better lists. 

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More Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-to Manual by Catherine Levison. Champion Press. 2000.

This book is twice as thick as the first book and contains a different type of information.  In this book she gets into more of the nitty-gritty of homeschooling and how to make choices as to what you want to include in your homeschooling. I prefer this book over the first one but I really think of them as a set where both books should be read.  I think this set is one of the best resources for those just starting out in CM. Neither book is secular. 

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For the Love of Learning: Information and Resources for Combining Charlotte Mason and Classical Education by Jenny Sockey. Xulon Press. 2002

I was so excited when I first bought this book as we tend to combine CM and WTM. Unfortunately this is one of the most disappointing books I have ever read on homeschooling and it was a total waste of money. A large portion of the book is nothing but quotes from people other than the author, many of whom we have never heard of, and the formatting of the book is rather challenging to follow. The worst part is, that compared to other CM and classical education books, the definitions and descriptions in this book are quite skimpy.  The only redeeming value is the book lists. She includes many books that are not typically found on the other CM reading lists and I like how she has them arranged since she actually lists out the titles for the more popular series which makes it easier to reserve books from the library or order them from bookstores.  Unfortunately the cost of the book is not worth it for just the book lists. If you feel compelled to read this book just borrow it from the library and take notes on the book lists.  Not secular.

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Simply Charlotte Mason’s All Day Seminar by Sonya Shafer

This is a DVD and workbook set, not an actual book. The DVD is a live recording of an all-day seminar that Sonya Shafer gives on doing a Charlotte Mason Education.  While the recordings aren’t top quality, but still fairly good, and it starts off a little slow it has quickly become my *absolute* favorite resource for seeing how to do many of the techniques used in a Charlotte Mason homeschool. I also enjoyed hearing the background and historical information about Ms. Mason.  I felt so inspired after watching this DVD! Honestly, this DVD set is just loaded with great ideas and examples!!! It is rather long so you would need to watch it in bits or pieces or send the kids out for the afternoon. The workbook is somewhat simplistic but you really do need it to go along with the DVDs. I feel compelled to add that my father watched over half  of this with me and he was quite impressed with it. He is not totally sold on homeschooling but after watching this DVD he stated that he more clearly understood what homeschooling really can be  and I noticed he had a more positive attitude toward homeschooling after watching it. Expensive but worth the money I feel. It is not secular but if you skip the Bible section (as I did) it’s not overwhelmingly religious. I think the only place you can purchase this is through Simply Charlotte (you can find the link for this site on the Links Page, just scroll down until you find it). Not secular, but highly recommended.

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