21 First Things Every Charlotte Mason Homeschool Should Embrace

Homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way is an exciting journey. I can think of no other time in my life that has offered me more personal growth and meaning than learning and growing as a homeschool mom using Miss Mason’s timeless methods.

After over twenty years showing up every day (okay, most days), I learned that it is not about the curriculum, it is not about schedules, and it is certainly not about how well my child is doing academically. These are all important but secondary. Charlotte Mason said the end goal of education is character.

The surprise for me was that it is not only about my child’s character but my own character as well.  As parents we must be (to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi) the change we want to see.

Here is some hard won wisdom that I hope you will take and pass onto a friend. I offer these First Things with a humble heart, not because I have done them all but because I know they are true.  First Things are those actions or intentions that express the permanent things, those eternal values and virtues that make us people of character.

21 First Things:

  1. Seek God when you are troubled or perplexed about your homeschool. (James 1:5)
  2. Teach your children by example that God’s word is to be obeyed. (1 John 2:5)
  3. Respect your child as already a person; not as a child emerging into a person. (1*)
  4. Watch for complaining and reframe your words. (James 5:9)
  5. Be tender to your children even in their faults. (1 Peter 3:8)
  6. Remember and be grateful to those who have helped you in the past.
  7. Have fun with your children every day.
  8. Teach your children to distinguish the difference between “I want” (if it’s not good or right) and “I will” (to do what is right). (17*)
  9. Train your children to yield willingly to your authority.
  10. Bless your children. (Mark 10:16)
  11. Let your children see your spiritual life, as they are able.
  12. Read whole books that nourish the mind and are written with “well chosen words.” (13*)
  13. Show your children that all truths are God’s truths; there is no separation between secular and spiritual knowledge. (20*)
  14. Show your children the wonder of the created world through time spent out of doors exploring and learning.
  15. Seek the counsel and support of older homeschooling moms. (Titus 2:4)
  16. Ask forgiveness of your children when you make a mistake.
  17. Plan your curriculum so it is broad and generous in scope. (13 a & b)
  18. See the atmosphere of your home as a means of educating your children. (6*)
  19. Be consistent in the teaching your children good habits and self-control. (7*)
  20. Have your children “tell back” after a single reading. (14, 15*)
  21. Be reasonable in your expectations of your children.

Do you have a “First Thing” to share? Leave it in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

All the best,

Sheila & Jim Carroll

Emmanuel & Bridget Eagleson