4 R’s of Charlotte Mason Homeschool {Approaches to Christian Homeschooling}

how to simplify your homeschool

Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy has come to life through the Christian homeschool movement.  For the Children’s Sake is one of my favorite homeschool resources about Charlotte Mason.

I’d like to share a little about what she believed. But more importantly, I want to share how we used her ideas in our homeschool.  Hopefully, you can swipe a few ideas for yourself.

Charlotte Mason made a few discoveries about the state of education in the 1800’s.

  • Educators believed children were containers to dump information into.
  • Real books were no longer being read. Instead “twaddle” was popular.
  • Habits were not being formed in children.
  • Educators engineered artificial learning experiences.
  • Students could not think for themselves.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool

4 R’s of Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Ms. Mason used these discoveries as she developed her own plan to educate children.  Here are a few of her ideas that you can implement in your homeschool.  I call them  the 4R’s of Charlotte Mason!

Respect Children as Persons

Our kids are made in the image of God. They have worth as a child of God.  We should treat them with respect.  Parent’s authority does not give them license to abuse children or play on their emotions. Neither should parents limit their child’s education or use fear to make a child learn.

In your homeschool, I would encourage you to create good habits & routines in your kids.  Those habits will lay the foundation of learning in the future. Routines often show respect for your kids. Everyone knows what to expect when there is a routine in your family.

Real Life Situations

Our homeschools should relate to real life as often as possible. It should not be like a factory, with artificial rewards when you meet goal.

4 R's charlotte mason homeschool from How to Homeschool My Child.com

A few ways we might included real life learning situations:

Discovering God’s creation through nature walks (science, research)
Running a family business (math, money, writing, art, language arts)
Cooking (math, science, reading)
Gardening (science, math)
Discovering God’s creativity, goodness & beauty in museums (art, music, language, reading)

Read Good Books

Johnny Tremain - Charlotte Mason homeschool ideas from How to Homeschool My Child.comCharlotte Mason believes children should read great books, not distilled information found in textbooks. Textbooks strip away the meat of living books, leaving dust-dry bones of facts.  Who wants to read that?  I certainly don’t.

We chose books with living ideas to read aloud as a family.  Books like Johnny Tremain, Swiss Family Robinson and The Hobbit. I tried to vary the types of literature we read because we have a variety of interests in our family.

When children are young, have them narrate  the story back to you.  As they get older, they can write down their narration.  When my kids were teens, we kept a journal about the books we were reading.

Relax & Rest

If you’ve heard me talk about raising our kids to be Christian leaders, you’ve heard me say the most important thing for you is to relax.  We live in an over-productive society where getting a job or degree is the most important aspect of education.

But God wants us to rest in Him.

Stop worrying about finishing a curriculum.  If we didn’t finish a particular book or resource, we continued in September.  It wasn’t a big deal to spend 2 years instead of 1 year for a curriculum.

As I mentioned in last week’s workshop, I relaxed when it came to Math. (And I have a minor in Math. I enjoy math.) However, I realized it was more important for me to relax when it came to math.  How did I relax?

  1. Ashley did not  complete Algebra 2 (but she finished her college degree in 2 years)
  2. Gentry did not do her math curriculum in 7th grade. When she started math again, I handed her the times table chart and said she could use it any time she needed. Within a year, she memorized all the facts. She now helps her college friends in math.
  3. Hunter did not have formal math from 1st to 5th grade.  He caught up those 5 “grades” of math in 1 year. He received a math award in high school.

Relax & Rest in God!

Don’t feel like you need to do everything that you think the other moms are doing.  Rest in God! Relax!

I think this sums up a Charlotte Mason approach to Christian homeschooling.

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life(style).

This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to giving your kids a Charlotte Mason education. To get more details about using Charlotte Mason’s approach to education (or your homeschool), check out our Charlotte Mason Tool Kit.

Charlotte Mason Tool Kit for Homeschoolers

How do you implement Charlotte Mason concepts in your homeschool? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Charlotte Mason homeschool - 4R's from How to Homeschool My Child.com

how to simplify your homeschool
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  1. I really needed this blog today, I think it was sent from God! 🙂 I’ve been stressing because my daughter is going into fifth grade and is WAY behind in math. I bought a curriculum recommended by one of the Charlotte Mason websites, but we have been falling further and further behind, for several reasons. I love the curriculum for my kindergartener, but one of the reasons we’re so behind is that I’m finding it very difficult to switch over from a more traditional way of learning math.

    I need to remind myself that several months ago, while praying about falling behind, God’s still small voice told me that my main priority should be to teach my children to WORK -efficiently, quickly, and diligently, and teach them to love their God by filling their minds with His Word, and allowing them to learn through His creation. I haven’t been trusting His guidance!

    PLEASE tell me how you got your son caught up in one year? Did you use a particular curriculum?


    God bless,


    1. Jessica,
      I’m running out the door to babysit some kids, but will reply tonight or tomorrow. Glad this was encouraging

    2. First of all, I think you are on the right track focusing on where God is leading you. A good work ethic will take your kids far.

      I believe that kids develop at different ages. For many, math makes more sense after the age of 10. Most young kids can’t think abstractly, so it takes them awhile to “see” the abstract concepts of math. I think my son was developmentally ready to do math. Once he started, we moved quickly through the concepts.

      We used Math-U-See up until Algebra. It allows kids to “see” the abstract concepts of math before learning any shortcuts. I highly recommend it.

      Having said that, I would remind you that my middle daughter did not memorize her times tables until she was 14. She loves to read, but is not much of a numbers person. Once she had a reason to know her times tables, she learned them. I think it took her too long to look up the answer on the chart … for every algebra problem she worked.

      ps. I am working on a post about when to teach math. Watch for it in the next week or two.

  2. I am researching homeschooling since I have a 4 yr and 2 year old. I have always been interested in it. I am needing more knowledge on how to go about this with the state. I have talked with people who still have to take their children into a school district to be state tested when they have been working on an online curriculum through a school district. Does working with this way need to be evaluated by the state? I want to be legal and smart about this before I decide. Thanks!!

    1. It really depends on the state in which you live. For instance, I live in Texas and am not required to have my students tested to homeschool. You should check with your local state homeschool organization to discover the state rules for you. Each state has different guidelines. Let me know if you can’t find your state organization.

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