Ordering & Purchasing
How can I contact Living Books Curriculum?
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I know my transaction will be safe?
Our online shopping cart and security technology ensures the safest and most reliable checkout experience for our customers. All transactions are managed directly with Shopify and Paypal.
What happens after I’ve placed my order?
We ship within 48 hours, unless it is a holiday, weekend, or if we have a special notice within our announcement bar to the contrary. If you choose Media Mail as your shipping option, you should know that it takes 10-14 days to arrive, depending on where you live. California, for example, takes 12-14 days from Michigan. Priority Mail takes 3-5 days.
How are products delivered to me?
We use the United States Postal Service. Our default shipping is Media Mail (see above).
How long does it take to receive my order after I place it?
We ship within 48 hours, unless it is a holiday or weekend. If you choose Media Mail as your shipping option, you should know that it takes 10-14 days to arrive, depending on where you live. California, for example, takes 12-14 days from Michigan. Priority Mail takes 3-5 days.
What is your refund or exchange policy?
We have a 60-day, no hassle return policy, as long as the books are returned in resalable condition. “Resalable” means no dents, marks, or writing. Please pack the materials well as they can often get dented in shipping. You can send the packages to:
5497 S. Gilmore Road
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858.
What about your digital products?
Our refund policy on digital products is similar to that of other sites. As standard practice we do not issue refunds for digital goods as they are “intangibles” that cannot be returned.
Can I use Living Books Curriculum for multiple grades?
Definitely yes. Many of our families do. Subjects such as history, art, science, narration, nature study, picture study, and geography can be combined for multiple grade levels. Students may take turns narrating the topics—either both in the same day or alternating days. Older students may write some of their narrations independently while the teaching parent listens to the younger students. Subjects such as math, beginning reading instruction for the first grader, and handwriting (including copywork and dictation) may need individual instruction. For more detailed information see: Teaching Multiple Children.
Can My Ninth Grader Use your Grade Eight Curriculum?
Yes, we give parents the option of doing Grades 7 and 8 in two years or three. Grade Eight has a lot of content within it and is often used in more than one year by parents.
How much planning do I have to do each week?
We recommend 45-minutes, once a week. We arranged the curriculum along the lines recommended by Charlotte Mason with the best structure and the most flexibility. We offer a week-by-week schedule of subjects, then show you how to decide for yourself which day you will do which subject. So, for example, read alouds might be more easily done in the evening, as a wind down activity; math might be done first thing because your child does best in the morning; American and world history can be done on alternate days, and so on. We offer samples of daily schedules and recommendations for how to organize your day, week, month, and year.
What is your publishing schedule for high school?
LBC will be creating several high school level guides for subject areas such as American Literature or Civics. However, since there is no one-size-fits-all for homeschooling high school, LBC has created a 16-week course which teaches parents to create their own high school coursework. This online class teaches everything needed to create a first-rate Charlotte Mason high school curriculum that would be acceptable in any college. It also gives guidelines for how to prepare your teen for the SAT and ACT test.
Why don’t you include a mathematics program?
Living Books Curriculum does not provide a math program beginning in grades 3-8. We encourage parents to discover the math program that works best for their family. We decided to use this approach after interviewing parents and found that each had their own preference for a math program. We do offer two suggestions for a math curriculum that are consistent with the Living Books Curriculum philosophy— Singapore Math (kindergarten only), and Math-U-See.
Note: There is a math program included with the Teaching Guide. The Three Rs by Ruth Beechick can be used kindergarten to third. See the next FAQ for a full explanation of how mathematical reasoning is taught in kindergarten.
In Foundation Year Teaching Guide there is an optional math program called Singapore Math. Why do you have two math plans?
LBC Foundation Year (Kindergarten) uses the math program given in The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick. Beechick was an incomparable educator and understood the development of mathematical reasoning in children. Her book is deceptively simple. Don’t let that fool you. In early childhood there are relatively few concepts a child needs to know, place value and skip counting for example. Her little book offers simple but delightfully fun exercises the parent does with the child. There are no workbooks or textbooks which is consistent with Charlotte Mason’s methods. The Foundation Year Guide gives weekly guidelines for using Beechick’s book. One remarkable thing about her math book is she provides helps for the parents to determine if there are any gaps in a child’s mathematical understanding. Oh so much pain and suffering can be avoided later by securing these important guidelines now.
However, some parents want a more “planned out” program. (I suspect they didn’t really check out The Three R’s). To help we reviewed early math programs and selected Singapore Math. We only recommend the kindergarten math from that company.
Singapore Math is an OPTIONAL math program in the LBC curriculum. We encourage parents to check out The Three Rs first before they decide to use Singapore Math. We find it
To learn more or purchase Components of the Early Bird Kindergarten Mathematics Standards Edition series:
- Textbook Part A and Part B (includes Math at Home activities)
- Activity Book Parts A and B
- Teacher’s Guide Parts A and B (with Teacher’s Resource Pack, sold separately)
- Big Books (also available as Readers, sold separately)
You only need the two textbooks (A and B) but, of course, the other materials are available.
Should I require narration of my five-year-old?
No. Miss Mason recommends beginning at age six. Instead, we encourage parents to focus on an early form of narration—finger plays and nursery rhymes. When the child is showing consistent skills in remembering and repeating the finger plays or nursery rhymes, move onto Aesop’s Fables. Make sure you begin with easy-to-learn things, so the child feels successful. A child can get weary or frustrated if the matter is too complex. We recommend reading the article “Telling Back: The Art of Narration” for a more detailed explanation.
Can I use your curriculum in a secular manner?
Not really but neither will you find overt proselytizing in our books. Living Books Curriculum concurs with Charlotte Mason’s idea that all knowledge comes from God, whether it is labeled secular or religious. LBC has a “Christian worldview” that is reflected in the how the books are presented. However, book choices are made based on whether they are “living” and nourish the mind, regardless of whether they use Christian terminology.
What is the ABC Test?
ABC stands for Assessment of Basic Concepts. Dr. James Carroll, co-founder of Living Books Curriculum, developed this gentle test specifically for Foundation Year to help parents assess readiness for learning. The test comes with complete instructions and takes about 20 minutes to administer.
What is a living book?
The books Living Books Curriculum uses are considered “living” according to Charlotte Mason’s guidelines: the books must “warm the imagination, nurture thinking, and communicate knowledge mind-to-mind”. Children require books that are living in order to develop to their fullest capacity. The high quality of thought expressed in great literature breeds like thought in the child. When the books are many, varied, and living, the child is able to adopt the ideas in them just as a plant takes nutrients from the soil.
“For this reason we owe it to every child to put him (or her) in communication with great minds that he may get at great thoughts…and the only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books.” A Philosophy of Education, p. 12.
What academic subjects does your curriculum cover?
The Living Books Curriculum covers the following areas of study:
- Christian Faith Studies
- Mathematics ( K-3)
- Storytelling (for oral expression)
- Nature Study
- Art/ Picture Study
- Music/ Composer Study
- American History
- World History
How many hours per day does the curriculum take?
The amount of direct instruction in Living Books Curriculum is less—on purpose. Charlotte Mason’s approach is to use short lessons (20 minutes for lower levels and gradually increasing to no more than 45 minutes). There are many reasons for this, which you can read about in our materials. For a first grader (for example), direct instruction should be no more than 2 ½ hours per day—preferably in the morning when the child is fresh. The afternoons are for creative play, handcrafts, and outdoor activities—all of which contribute to skill building and family culture.
What is Living Books Curriculum’s academic schedule like?
One of the advantages of Living Books Curriculum is schedule flexibility. Similar to Charlotte Mason’s Parent’s National Education Union (PNEU) schools, Living Books Curriculum allows you to organize an academic schedule that suits your individual needs. Families can begin and end their “school year” as best fits their schedule. The Living Books Curriculum academic schedule features: 36-week academic year with four terms Each term is nine weeks long—eight weeks of instruction with the ninth week designed as a “flex” week. No new work is introduced in the ninth week, which allows the teaching parent to complete unfinished work, assess learning through end-of-term narration questions, and plan field trips.
Is Foundation Year a one-year or two-year curriculum?
The Foundation Year can be used for one or two years. The first year would be for awareness and the second for mastery of the material.
What age should my child be in order to use the Foundation Year?
Our curriculum is designed to be flexible and meet the needs of each child. However, as a rule of thumb, it can be used by children from as young as four years old up to seven years old. We offer the ABC Test (mentioned above) to assist in deciding when and how to apply Foundation Year.
Do you have any suggestions for how to download the winzip files? We do not have that software.
Nearly every computer can open zipped files, or something like it. You save the file to your computer, select the file and right click. You will see “Open with…”, click that and choose whatever your computer uses, such as “compressed files”.
I’m wondering if the Charlotte Mason Helper items can be downloaded onto Nooks or Kindles?
Yes, although they are not optimized for either of these, they are PDFs which can be read on any e-reader.
Where can I access digital products I have purchased?
All digital products are granted to you at the time of purchase and are sent directly to you in an email. If you do not see your email, please check your spam folder or inform us so we can ensure your digital files are received.
What is my information used for?