Home » Homeschool » Charlotte Mason Living Book Plan & Freebies
Charlotte Mason Living Book Plan & Freebies

Charlotte Mason Living Book Plan & Freebies


I love good books. Charlotte Mason calls them Living Books. It is the second reason I homeschool (an excuse to buy more books!)

Charlotte believed that true education consists of forming relations with God, with mankind, and with the world around. Mason encouraged combining  history, literature, and geography studies together chronologically.Charlotte Mason wanted children to think for themselves rather than being spoon-fed by a teacher or textbook.

When I began homeschooling I began a list of great books I wanted to read to or with my children. As the years went by I added to and organized my list into a four-year program (to be repeated on a deeper level every three years) where we read the books and expand the readings with a thematic unit study approach.

  • History is studied chronologically
  • Science is studied in the order of Creation*
    • Day 1: Light and Energy (Physics)
    • Day 2: Air, Water, Weather (Chemistry/Meteorology)
    • Day 3: Rocks, Minerals, Plants (Chemistry/Botany)
    • Day 4: Sun, Moon and Stars (Astronomy)
    • Day 5: Birds and Sea Life (Ornithology/Marine Biology)
    • Day 6: Land Animals and Human Body (Zoology/Anatomy)
  • Life-skills studies are added in middle and high school years

readingCharlotte Mason and Unit Studies

Mason had a problem with unit studies where the teacher formed the relations and makes the connections for the child and then presents the findings. She felt it critical the student to do the connecting.

“The teacher has done it; he has selected the ideas, shewn the correlation of each with the other and the work is complete” (Vol. 6, p. 114).

Children that read living books will naturally identify key events and pick up vocabulary in context. They make connections between facts, events, and concepts.

I agree with Mason. A child certainly doesn’t need to do a hands-on-project for every book they read  to learn about the topic, most times the story itself does the teaching. But some children learn better when they have the option to expand a book with a hand’s on project. For other children narration or copywork is a great way to expand and work in writing practice.

I make decisions on how far to expand a book based on the individual child’s delight and learning style (not forced, arbitrary connections). My job is not to do all the connecting but to foster a love of learning. I encourage, ask questions, and look for a spark to fan.

Four-Step Method

  1. Excite:  Relate the topic relate to the child’s life in some way
  2. Examine: Find out the facts (using a living book instead of a dry text book)
  3. Expand: Narration, copy work, or project based on interest and child’s learning style
  4. Excel: Share with someone what was learned.

The 4-Steps are based on the four learning styles see  A Tale of Four Learners: 4MAT’s Learning Styles by Bernice McCarthy.

Four-Year Plan


Click for larger view

Books Listed by the Four-Year Plan at Amazon


This four-year rotation course (studying topics through living books) gives each child three distinct exposures to each topic on their own level over a 12 year period.  You can get the list free here. 


The Heart of Wisdom Approach

My approach to homeschooling is a combination of several methods (Charlotte Mason, Learning Styles, Bible First, etc) explained in my book  The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach: Bible-Based Homeschooling. In it I explain ideas of how to teach with living books using a unit study approach that works well with multi-level homeschooling.


Heart of Wisdom: Bible Based Homeschooling

Free 60 Page Excerpt from this 500 page book

Four-Year Detailed View

God’s Plan

God’s World

Chronological Order Creation Order
Ancient History
Physical Science
Adam to Abraham Creation
Mesopotamia Light
Ancient Egypt Energy
Ancient Israel Matter
Ancient Greece Motion
Ancient Rome Electricity
The Messiah
Ancient History (all 7 in one unit)
World History
Earth Science and Botany
Early Church Weather
Vikings Oceanography
Middle Ages Botany
Renaissance Geology
Reformation Astronomy
Exploration toAmerican West The Animal World
Age of Exploration Marine Zoology
Thirteen Colonies Ornithology (Birds)
Colonies to Country Entomology (Insects)
New Nation Earth Zoology
Civil War
American West
Industrial Era to Today
Industrial Era Cell Design
World War I Brain/Nervous
Depression Skeletal/Muscular
World War II Respiratory/Digestive
Holocaust Heart/Circulatory
1950 to Today Reproductive


Heartofwisdom teaching approach

Subscribe for 65 pages from The Heart Wisdom Teaching Approach (pdf)

Powered by ConvertKit

About Peggy


  1. Excellent homeschool help here. Thanks for your time. Love all your posts and Facebook!

  2. Hello! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for Heart of Wisdom homeschooling. I love your blogs.

  3. I really feel strongly about the Heart of Wisdom approach and love studying Biblical education methods. No more Greek ways for us.

  4. Kaden Campbell

    Thank you for the homeschool message putting Bible first. Your Wisdom unit study changed our family!

  5. Corrine Woolley

    I love the HOW Approach. It focuses on the MOST IMPORTANT thing– Wisdom from God!

  6. Thanks for taking time to put this together. A great resource for those of us who follow the Charlotte Mason approach in our homeschool journey!

  7. Michelle

    Love this idea but need some Canadian history in a 4 year plan. Any ideas?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *