See the linked PDF files for notes on the following topics:


Transcription, Copywork/Copybook

Commonplace Book

Prepared Dictation

On Poetry and Recitation




Narrating, in its most basic form, is a retelling of what has been read or heard, and is a foundational component of a Charlotte Mason education. It is also one of the more misunderstood components as well. To fully understand narration as it will be used in this curriculum, it is important to read all of the teaching notes which will be included at the blog on this site.


You can also purchase a published version of these teaching notes through Lulu. This file is a compilation of the blog posts on narration plus many more new articles.  The importance of narration, the narration approach for a younger child vs. a high school student, transitioning from oral to written narrations, ideas for how to vary the basic narration and the role narration plans in the overall educational goals are just some of the topics included in these narration teaching tips.

Narration: An Art and A Skill Published Copy


Living Books


What are living books?

Charlotte Mason refers to living books often and gives us ideas of what she means by this. I will give you my best attempt at what this means to me. A living book is one complete work generally written by one author (although I'm sure there may be exceptions found with more than one author) who relays his subject with the beauty of words that one who is an expert in his field can relay or who has a great passion for their subject. A living book would be a true literary creation that would provide inspiration, embody truth or beauty or have elements of all three of these aspects.


Elements of a Living Book

Not all of the elements below will be found in all living books, although they will often contain several.

  • Written by one author (or some cases more than one) and would not include textbooks which are organized by a committee

  • Usually a complete work and not an adapted collection of works or excerpts from many works

  • Subjects are written by a knowledgeable author

  • A true literary creation meant to inspire, motivate or challenge the imagination or knowledge of the reader

  • Often impresses some truth of our world or some beauty of our world upon the reader

  • The author has built their knowledge base from primary resources

Why are they so important?

A living book is important to the Charlotte Mason style curriculum. Other curriculum styles such as a classical approach use books that meet this description as well. These books are valuable because they provide children with the following:

  • Exposure to the ideas and thoughts of a knowledgeable author

  • An opening for the imagination to be developed or to be further expanded

  • Often has advanced vocabulary and sentence structure

  • Promotes ideas and thoughts on the reader's part

  • Prompts new questions and a desire to know more on the reader's part

  • Consistently sends the message that well-written books are a delight and trustworthy source of information

  • Consistently teaches a child to look for truth and beauty in all books and, in turn, life




The value of the habit of accurate observation is not to be told, nor the unceasing occupation and interest it has given to children. In this way, a child obtains the power of using his own mind, and he learns the value of correct language and description.

-Mrs. Brightwen, Nature Study

Nature Study in this curriculum will include a study of natural history, the act of nature walks and observations, the keeping of a nature notebook and will often overlap with studies in science. Considered one of the quinessential tenets of a Charlotte Mason education, Nature Study capitalizes on many classical education goals as well.


Purposes of Nature Study:

  • reverence for life

  • connection with nature

  • builds the skill of attention

  • attends to the skill of patience

  • continues work in classification and discrimination

  • builds a sense of beauty and truth


The role of the teacher or parent should be one of a postive and genuinely enthusiastic model and guide to the student's own natural discoveries and thoughts, with a focus on providing needed background material before encountering new concepts or studies, an eye on the upkeep and structure of the Nature Notebook and one who keeps the study of nature and natural history a regular occurence.



Artist Studies


The artist studies will generally focus on one artist per term, allowing the students to become familiar with each artist's own unique style. This is one area which lends itself well to family style study. Some years will include 4 artists with the idea that one could be included in a summer term, or you may wish to spend 9 weeks on one artist rather than 12 weeks in that particular year.

Composer Studies

Composer Studies, like the artist studies, will generally focus on one composer per term, allowing students to become familiar with each composer's own unique style. Careful attention has been paid to which composers are studied in which year to both meet the developmental needs of children in that year and to highlight the history or literature themes for that year's study. A careful focus has been made to include composers of each major era (Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern) along with representatives for opera, ballet and jazz. This area, like Artist Studies, is an area which lends itself well to family studies. Some years will include 4 composers with the idea that one could be included in a summer term, or you may wish to spend 9 weeks on one composer over 12 weeks.


Music Technique


Formal lessons with an instrument are a great way to achieve good music technique and theory, but this is not possible for every family. Singing, Sol-fa, Choir and many other activities provide music technique and theory, giving the student opportunities to learn the language of music and a creative outlet of expression while honing motor skills, refining habits and reinforcing discipline.

Art Technique


Equally important is the student's own instruction in the skills and techniques behind creating art. This further augments a student's practice in important habits such as attention and application. Drawing, painting and sculpting are just some of the variations in art techniques practiced and some suggested resources will be included to achieve this.


Charlotte Mason's Home Education Series


Parents' Review Articles, Letters, etc.


Reading List

  • Home Education Series by Charlotte Mason 6 volumes

  • Consider This by Karen Glass

  • PNEU articles


A Brief Sketch of Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) was a British educator whose ideas and methods focused on living ideas,  the science of relations, habit training and so much more than can be shared in a brief sketch.


She became a teacher and then later established the House of Education, a training school for governesses. While teaching, she realized that the parents of children being educated would benefit from access to basic knowledge about children and education. The Parents' Educational Union or PEU was formed and later a periodical review was created to aid in this effort. In 1892, the word National was added to PEU and became PNEU, or Parents' National Educational Union.


She wrote a series of geography books and then later a six volume set of books setting forth her teaching ideas and methods of education.


Some of the terms and words which are most familiar to us in connection with Charlotte Mason include narration, living books, habit training, focused lessons, copywork, prepared dictation, nature study, handcrafts and artist and composer studies.