Growing Together: Get to Know These Charlotte Mason Practitioners
Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I may earn a small commission from the purchase of some of these great resources, at no additional cost to you. Thank you, friends!
Where are you on your homeschooling journey? If you are just starting out, perhaps researching different philosophies of education and methods is where you are camping out this summer. Maybe you have already found a couple ideologies that work well for your family and you want to explore one further. When I first set out researching this homeschool thing about five years ago, I was barely thirty years old, with just two little ones. Now, I am officially in my mid-to-late thirties…and am very tired… with three young children. I don’t know about you, but I do not often find the time to extensively research something. Then, there is something called “decision fatigue”. To reduce decision fatigue, I gladly took a well-crafted quiz to determine where I lean on the educational ideological spectrum back in 2017. If you already own Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (2014), go ahead and open it and take the quiz where you find out which educational approach resonates most with you. She gives you a comprehensive explanation about different educational methods. I can say that taking the quiz confirmed some paths for me.
If you do have an idea about Charlotte Mason and her methods, then you might appreciate going deeper by reading about these women below. I will call them my “team of pundits”- those to whom I look for good discussion, implementation and modeling of the lifestyle I want to incorporate into our family culture. Each one has either directly or indirectly impacted me. Each woman comes from a different background, but all have chosen a similar way for their families, in terms of motherhood and education.
If you have a chance to read over their bios and click on their resources, you will most likely find some kindred spirits and learn more along the way.
Let’s get to know some of these authors, speakers, bloggers, and dedicated homeschool moms:
1. Karen Glass
“Karen Glass is the mother of four children, all graduated, and a veteran Charlotte Mason homeschooler who lived in Krakow, Poland for 25 years before recently relocating to the United States. She has immersed herself in the philosophy of Charlotte Mason and is passionate about bringing her life-giving ideas to contemporary educators. She is one of the creators of the AmblesideOnline curriculum, and has been writing and speaking for many years. She is the author of several books based on those educational ideas, including Consider This, Know and Tell, and In Vital Harmony.”
Books I have enjoyed:
2. Sonya Shafer
“Sonya Shafer is a popular homeschool speaker and writer, specializing in the Charlotte Mason Method. She has been on an adventure for more than 20 years studying, researching, practicing, and teaching Charlotte’s gentle and effective methods of education. Her passion for homeschooling her own four daughters grew into helping others and then into Simply Charlotte Mason, which publishes her many books and provides a place of practical encouragement to homeschoolers at simplycharlottemason.com.”
Resources I’ve used:
A Child’s Copybook Reader
Your Questions Answered: Narration
In recent years, I have been blessed to attend the Charlotte Mason Together Retreat in Stone Mountain Park, Georgia! It has been an honor to see Sonya in her element and to just “hang” with other Charlotte Mason moms.
3. Amy Bodkin
“Amy Bodkin is an Autistc Adult, School Psychologist, and Homeschool Mom to her two Autistic kids. She consults primarily with homeschool families as the Special Needs Consultant at A Charlotte Mason Plenary. She works with families who have experienced chronic health conditions, disabilities, trauma, asynchronous development, etc. Her practice is guided by Charlotte Mason’s idea that “Children are born persons” and she makes it her goal to see each child as an individual, not a diagnosis.
Amy has recently started a new venture at amybodkin.com to provide a home to her advocacy work and her new podcast Special Needs Kids are People Too!“
(Source: Amy Bodkin, EdS, also see https://charlottemasoninspired.com/amy-bodkin/)
Check out Amy’s podcast: Special Needs Kids are People, Too!
Amber O’Neal Johnston (Heritage Mom Blog) gave me the great idea to feature Amy on this list. Her experience is multifaceted and she offers great insight.
4. Cindy Rollins
“Cindy Rollins homeschooled her nine children for over 30 years using Charlotte Mason’s timeless ideas. She is the author of Mere Motherhood: Morning Time, Nursery Rhymes, and My Journey Toward Sanctification, The Mere Motherhood Newsletters, Hallelujah, Cultivating Advent Traditions with Handel’s Messiah and the Morning Time: A Liturgy of Love. She co-hosts The Literary Life Podcast with Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks and The New Mason Jar Podcast. She is also the owner of the Mere Motherhood Facebook group and runs an active moms’ discipleship group on patreon.com/cindyrollins. Her heart’s desire is to encourage moms and go to baseball games. She lives in her sometimes empty nest in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband Tim and dog Max.”
You can find Cindy at:
morningtimeformoms.com where she publishes her newsletter Over the Back Fence
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cindyrollins.net/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/cindyordoamoris/
Mere Motherhood https://www.facebook.com/groups/meremotherhood/
Patreon Discipleship at Patreon.com/cindyrollins
I’ve enjoyed Cindy’s Podcast: The New Mason Jar
I have also really enjoyed using Cindy’s Commonplace Book this year to improve my personal reading life.
5. Amber O’Neal Johnston
“Amber O’Neal Johnston is an author, speaker, and worldschooling mama who blends life-giving books and a culturally rich environment for her four children and others seeking to do the same. She recommends we offer children opportunities to see themselves and others reflected in their lessons, especially throughout their books, and she’s known for sharing literary “mirrors and windows” on HeritageMom.com. She is the author of A Place to Belong, a guide for families of all backgrounds to celebrate cultural heritage, diversity, and kinship while embracing inclusivity in the home and beyond.”
Amber’s new book: A Place to Belong
I had the chance to meet Amber at the 2021 Charlotte Mason Together Retreat! She is a wonderful resource on worldschooling, among her resources on teaching children to be secure in their personhood and culture.
6. Min Jung Hwang
“Min awakes with joyful anticipation of what God will do as she cooperates with Him in home-educating her 4 creative children, as well as her friend’s precious two children. She delights in sharing the Gospel-grounded Charlotte Mason philosophy and methods with every family and church.
Over a decade ago, having become convinced of the life-giving paradigm the Charlotte Mason philosophy brings, she has embraced Miss Mason’s principles, allowing them to inform her ministry with moms, college students, and children.
If you were having tea with her, she would tell you God doesn’t waste anything; she can testify to how her varied background in Nursing, law, and nonprofit work establishing safehomes for sexually exploited, pregnant mothers, has helped equip her for her current vocation.
Min is a wife of more than 20 years to her best friend, Young. They have the blessing of pastoring a beautiful, ethnically diverse church in New Jersey. In addition to serving as Pastor’s Wife, the Children’s Ministry Director, an artist, and home-educator, you’ll find her loving on mothers at Life-givingMotherhood.com – a worldwide community of mothers desiring to grow in their spiritual disciplines and life-giving habits – and podcasting at Charlotte Mason For All and Charlotte Mason’s Volumes.“
I have never met Min, but have heard her interviewed on my friend Amy’s podcast, Homeschool Conversations with Humility and Doxology.
7. Erika Alicea
“Erika Alicea is a former public school teacher turned homeschooling mama to one amazing young lady. Born and raised in NYC, Erika helps her husband, Efrain, pastor their church in the Bronx.
When Erika was first introduced to Miss Mason’s educational philosophy through God-sent friends, who are now her co-hosts on the Charlotte Mason for All Podcast, it was an answer to many of her prayers. As she began to learn about all the beauty a Charlotte Mason education offers, Erika had to be creative in implementing Miss Mason’s methods in the context of city life and as a family of color.
As a firm believer in a multicultural education for all children through the use of diverse, living books, Erika uses her website Charlotte Mason City Living as a resource to help educators diversify their instruction. It’s her prayer that it serves as an encouragement to all families, especially those who feel Miss Mason’s philosophy may not be inclusive enough or even possible for multicultural or urban families.
On any given day, you can catch Erika taking pictures of nature treasures in the city that often go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of urban life. You can also find Erika at The Art of Color as co-creator of these carefully crafted and curated CM-inspired Art Appreciation resources showcasing artists of color.”
(Source: Erika Alicea, also see https://charlottemasonforall.com/our-story/)
Now that I know Erika better, I cannot wait to see her beautiful-looking multicultural artist studies at her The Art of Color Study. She is also a part of CM City Living (multicultural living books, anyone!?) and on the Charlotte Mason For All podcast.
8. Mariana Mastracchio
“Originally from Southern Brazil, Mariana is a mom of two boys, who has been home educating them since the beginning of their schooling in 2016.
She lives in Westchester, NY, and can be found daily with a delicious cup of black coffee paired with a good book. She enjoys serving her Catholic Church alongside her family, taking family hikes and soaking in the beauty of God’s creation at the seashore.
On her home educating journey, Mariana found a great friend in Miss Mason. This friendship has yielded precious fruit not only in her homeschool, but in the atmosphere of her home and her life.
She’s active in the CM Brazilian community co-hosting a podcast and online community in Portuguese: Descobrindo Charlotte Mason and founding a publishing company, Editora Ideias Vivas, that publishes living books for all ages. In addition, Mariana co-hosts the podcast Charlotte Mason for All, alongside Erika Alicea and Min Hwang. She also serves as a COO at the Life-Giving Motherhood Membership.”
(Source: Mariana Mastracchio, also see https://charlottemasonforall.com/our-story/)
Mariana is very active in the Brazilian Charlotte Mason community. I love to see Charlotte Mason spread globally. How amazing is it that Mariana is the founder of a publishing company that publishes living books in Portuguese? Find her as a co-host of Charlotte Mason For All podcast.
9. Leah Boden
“Leah Boden is wife to Dave, mother to four children, a long-time home educator, and student of Charlotte Mason.
With over two decades of experience in church leadership, Leah’s working background also features many years in youth, children’s, and family work within the church and for the local education authority. Leah speaks, writes, hosts podcasts and coaching sessions, and runs workshops sharing the beauty of a Charlotte Mason approach to childhood, motherhood, and education.
Leah is the author of the upcoming book Modern Miss Mason (Tyndale Publishing, Jan 23)
She and her family live in the West Midlands, England.”
(Source: Leah Boden, also see https://www.leahboden.com/hello)
Follow Leah to get updates about the release of her new book, Modern Miss Mason!
I personally cannot wait to read this book. Leah resides in a beautiful area of England, not too far from Ambleside, Charlotte Mason’s home after she taught for 30 years.
I have thoroughly enjoyed interviews with Leah, conducted by Humility and Doxology and The New Mason Jar.
10. A Great Book Study Resource
A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
I personally have had the joy of speaking with Karen Andreola and have truly enjoyed the time I have had to dive deeply into the application of Charlotte Mason methods through study of her book, A Charlotte Mason Companion. My book club and I have been reading and discussing it since October 2020! We are still going strong, as we meet monthly and discuss about three chapters at a time!
Shopping for Homeschool
My friend from Humility and Doxology, Amy Sloan, writes about homeschooling from the perspective of a second generation homeschooler. Interviewer, podcaster, blogger, content creator, teacher, wife and mother, she has a lot of great experience with classical Christian homeschooling and parenthood. Her Amazon store is pretty awesome.
My Little Brick Schoolhouse living books collection is another one of my favorites, for obvious reasons. We love living books around here. Historically, I have enjoyed pairing living books with the content we are studying. The picture book biographies are truly my favorites.
Living books are one of the hallmarks of a Charlotte Mason education.
Another defining characteristic is nature study. Check out my YEAR of Nature Study, a unit designed for each of the seasons.
Other Charlotte Mason-inspired resources in Brick Schoolhouse Etsy Shop:
The Big Maine Basket – This is a Charlotte Mason and classical education-inspired narration tool. In this Maine-themed “basket”, you will find two book recommendations, narration instructions, a narration template for use over the course of two days, coloring pages, and EXTENSION ACTIVITIES! Spend time in good, living books. Read to your children, and have them narrate part way through the reading using this template. This narration tool is designed for multiple developmental levels, is good for keeping record of narrations, and utilizes Charlotte Mason and classical methodologies. It would also pair well with any MORNING TIME, CHARLOTTE MASON, or CLASSICAL CURRICULUM.
Dear Homeschooling Mama: Refresh Your Home’s Atmosphere + Habits – This is a planner and goal-setting resource, as well as habit tracker.
I was tired of not having a plan, but every time I tried to set out to make goals for our upcoming year, I would get stuck! I started curating some wisdom from various women who have walked the walk. Lara Casey, Charlotte Mason (Sonya Shafer at Simply Charlotte Mason), and my own experience have helped me develop this tool you might find as a breath of fresh air to help you organize your thoughts about uncovering what matters, as well as implement habits to change the atmosphere of your home! This is my process. I hope it blesses you in some way.
This resource includes:
-workbook-style planning pages
-habit tracker on calendar
What Works for Your Family Is Truly Best
I remember how overwhelming it can be to research all the methods and practices. Keep in mind your own home atmosphere and what you envision for your own family. I hope you have found this brief directory of sorts helpful in seizing your [own] self-education in the methods of Charlotte Mason. I cannot claim to be a “purist” in the sense that we follow Charlotte Mason “by the book”. I doubt many of us are. However, I do believe that exposure to people in your “camp” can be edifying and inspiring.