What it is NOT, What it IS

Sometimes it takes too many words to explain what a Living Education IS. It took Charlotte Mason herself 6 books and hundreds of pages of other publications to explain and describe it.


A quicker approach might be to look at it from the reverse—
What it is NOT.

-A Charlotte Mason Education does not use textbooks with bold words that are memorized for a test.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does not use curriculum that is learned and forgotten.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does not review facts and information on flash cards.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does not tell the student what is important— the learner fleshes that out for herself.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does not create students who sit in a zombie state through class.
-A Charlotte Mason Education is not interested in short term superficial, intellectual productions.
-A Charlotte Mason Education is not a student day-sitting service.
-A Charlotte Mason Education is not an 8-3 program.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does not turn on at Kindergarten and shut off at 12th grade.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does not give busy work.
-A Charlotte Mason Education is not only books and reading.

To contrast, here is are some things that a
Charlotte Mason Education IS.

-A Charlotte Mason Education uses books that are interesting and meaningful and therefore, they sink into the mind.
-A Charlotte Mason Education promotes outdoor exercise and interaction for all ages—K-12.
-A Charlotte Mason Education values what the learner thinks.
-A Charlotte Mason Education applauds the arts—music, drawing, and art both from the masters and from the learners themselves.
-A Charlotte Mason Education treats the learner as a human being of worth by listened to and respected as image bearers of their Creator.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does have a long haul outlook.
-A Charlotte Mason Education does envelop the entire life of the learner—home life, school life, spiritual life, thought life, activities—all fall under the jurisdiction of a Living Education.
-A Charlotte Mason Education fosters learners who care about what they are studying.
-A Charlotte Mason Education is for every human being from age 1-100.
-A Charlotte Mason Education uses curriculum that seeps slowly into the heart and mind of a learner.
-A Charlotte Mason Education uses books, things (object lessons), record keeping and journaling (notebooks), trips— the students whole life experiences.

Perhaps this gives you some compare-and-contrast thoughts to help you understand what a Living Education IS and is NOT.
You may have noticed that I use the word “learner”. That is intentional, of course. A Living Education is for every person, because humans by nature learn. Learning is one of the things that makes us human. All of the principles that Charlotte Mason defends and the methods she employs can be used for anyone.  Using the word “students” gives the automatic picture of someone in their Kindergarten through the Senior year. But a Living Education can and should be used for everyone of any age, because we are all human beings. We all need, crave, and desire conditions that feed our bodies, minds, and souls. We thrive when we are given the right conditions. We fail, starve, weaken, and eventually turn off under poor conditions no matter how good the intentions and showy the conditions of the educational bling may be.

bling = flashy jewelry, expensive, ostentatious possessions,
unduly conspicuous; pretentious; boastful