Charlotte Mason vs Classical

I have been contemplating Charlotte Mason & Classical Education a lot over the last few days, and I’ve written a 7-page PDF that looks at where I stand on these two different philosophies of education.  You can download it directly here.

Contemplating Charlotte Mason & Classical Education:

What are the differences between Charlotte Mason and Classical education, as presented in The Well-Trained Mind, Simply Charlotte Mason, Ambleside Online and elsewhere? And where do I stand with these two approaches?

Those are great questions!

Do I have any answers? Maybe not… but I have opinions, and maybe you will, too.

Let’s explore the questions together.

Table of Contents

  • Introducing Both Systems. 2
  • Core Disciplines. 3
    • Living Books. 3
    • Narration. 3
  • Other Subjects. 4
    • Language Arts / Grammar. 4
    • Science. 4
    • History. 5
    • Math. 6
    • Fine Arts. 7
    • Religion. 7


  1. Read your comparative essay :) Loved it! We have similar takes on each "philosophy". But I am still educating myself further. My eldest is 3. I think I still have a bit of time to decide on how to go about it. I enjoy your blog! very informative :)

  2. Great article. I think we are in much agreement with these things. I recently went back and forth between getting a classical-styled science or how to do a CM science. Classical won out because it was set up, scheduled out and ready to go. We will be doing our science and SOTW, though, with far fewer prompts for narration. Are you aware of Her plans approach math in the manner you are discussing.

  3. I just downloaded your comparative essay! I am looking forward to reading it. We do more christian classical than charlotte so I am interested at this time to learn more about charlott'es philosphy. Thanks so much for doing this!

    Oh, and this is the first time I peaked into your blog. I am going to take a look around. ;)

  4. it's great your thinking all this through! :) keep up all the good work!

    amy in peru

    PS. Thanks for submitting it to the CM blog carnival!

  5. Jennifer, your comparative analysis is very interesting. I have friends who educate classically and it was good to gain a better understanding.

    What initially attracted me to a Charlotte Mason education was the use of living books and emphasis on nature study. What made me a believer in her method was learning her four-pronged approach: That education is a discipline, an atmosphere, a life as well as the science of relations.

    Blessings in your home!


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