Archive / living books

RSS feed for this section

5 Charlotte Mason High School Ideas That Worked

5 charlotte mason high school ideas

Building Good Habits

“One last word about habit–the point of training children to have good habits is so that they’ll do things without being nagged or scolded. Then the mother isn’t constantly chasing them down with a barrage of commands and reminders. She can leave them alone to thrive in their own way once habit has secured a boundary for them to grow in.” Volume 1, page 134

The forming of good habits continues through the high school years, leading our children to the place where they self-regulate their actions. In our home, our teens were never rebellious or contrary and I think a lot that was because we didn’t have many “rules” to live by. They were guided and corrected in a way to help them build habits that will last them a lifetime. Children with good habits are a joy to be around. Read more about habits: Building Good Habits in High School and Good Habits for Moms.

Living History

“Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.” Volume 1, page 280

Incorporate as many avenues of reading and learning as possible, using literature, biographies, speeches, and videos to help your child immerse his learning of a particular time period. High school students are capable of reading a lot of material and if you follow up your reading with some form of narration it will stick better and longer. History will come alive. Read more about my thoughts on this: Charlotte Mason Knew the Secret to Learning Relationships.

Shakespeare and Poetry

“To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mold our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.”

There were times when it seemed like a lot of effort to add in a Shakespeare play every term but afterwards I would realize how much we all enjoyed the experience. The same was true pretty much for poetry as well. Poetry is not an easy topic to cover on your own with high school students and our tastes in poets varied greatly which added an extra element when planning. But, in the end, I look back on our Shakespeare and poetry studies with much warmth because they did add that extra “something” that made each year a little better. My boys still quote Shakespeare from time to time and I know it will be carried with them into their futures…better for having read it while they were young. Read more: Shakespeare and High School Poetry.

Nature Study

I could talk all day about the value of continuing nature study in high school. I hold those times we were outdoors together as cherished memories. My boys have grown in their knowledge of our local plants, trees, birds, reptiles, weather, and so much more. They are comfortable outdoors and seek opportunities to spend time in nature. They appreciate the changes in the season and are skilled at following a map, planning a hike, and growing things. Dirt is not their enemy. You can read more: Nature Study for High School Students.


Last but not least is the skill of narration that is emphasized in a Charlotte Mason education. Narration is never tiring for my boys and if given a choice they will write a quick summary, give an oral account, or create a follow-up project in place of a test any day. Their notebooks are filled with their individual accounts of their learning. These thoughts are their own connections with their reading and research. I can’t think of a better way to learn for my boys. You can read more: Narration in Our High School.

Reflections on a Charlotte Mason High School – read more of my thoughts on high school.

Please visit and share with us at the CM blog carnival! We'd love to have you! I am submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and if you have any entries you would like to submit, you can send them to this email address: [email protected].










Notebooking with Living Books for High School or Don’t Kill a Living Book

Notebooking with Living Books

Charlotte Mason homeschoolers strive to offer the best literary experiences to their children. Part of the recipe for an enriching literary life is a library of living books. Like food to a hungry person, living books provide fuel for thinking, motivation for learning, and a sense of satisfaction to the eager reader.

  • A living book can spark a love for adventure, an appreciation for an artist and his art, or provide a lesson in being an everyday hero.
  • Living books stir up the thoughts and give children (and moms) plenty to build and grow on. They open doors of the imagination and sweep away weariness.
  • They stick with you long after you have read them…they can become part of a beloved childhood memory. They are the sorts of books you want to own and keep lined up on a shelf for future generations.

As our homeschooled children reach high school age, the options for books widens and the need to choose wisely from that growing library of books is more necessary than ever. There will be trusted sources of book lists and recommendations from homeschool friends with like-minded ambitions to draw from. Now the test is going to be how you use the living books and ideas with your high school age children.

Notebooking Doesn’t Kill A Living Book

Is it possible to kill a living book? I think so. I have killed plenty of good books by squeezing the life out of them with too many questions, worksheets, and over-analysis. Now that I know better, I do better…or least I try to do better. Using living books along with notebooking in high school has been the answer in our family.

Notebooking for High School @harmonyfinearts

Notebook pages are not the same as worksheets – They provide personalized learning by keeping a record of thoughts and interesting points gleaned from reading good books. Worksheets have a preset answer in mind but notebooking helps the student make their own connections. No more true/false, fill in the blanks, multiple choice, or mindless vocabulary work. What gets written on the notebook page is straight from the child’s experience…narration at a high school level.

Notebook pages can fit personal learning styles – Notebooking allows for different types of learners to share in a way that makes sense to them. There are different styles of notebook pages to match every kind of learner.

  • Boxes for sketching, map drawing, and diagrams
  • Lines for summaries – good for fiction or non-fiction
  • Places for lists – people, places, events, vocabulary, characters
  • Space for as much or as little as your child is motivated to do in recording their follow-up work. The availability of free notebook pages online or reasonably priced collections make using notebook pages simple and affordable.

Quotes: Living words from living books – Notebooking can be a sort of commonplace book with room for quotes, organized by topic or author. Meaningful quotes can come from fiction, biographies, non-fiction, speeches, or videos.

Ask and then answer a question – High school age students should be forming relationships with books and authors, a sort of conversation with the material. Our family uses this technique with many of our history books-ask a question and then find the answer. Notebooking provides a place to organize the questions and answers. Many times these pages form the basis for a more formal writing project.

Writing an Essay Using IEW and Notebook Page

Background on the author – A living book is written by a living (or once living) author. Including a biography of the author in your notebook makes the learning more connected to the time period in which the book was written, the author’s point of view and background, and brings the writing into focus by understanding a bit more about the author. Who influenced the writer? Who was also writing and creating at the same time? You can glean many points by adding the book to a notebook timeline, either by when it was written or by recording the time period written about. Here’s another entry you might like: How to Set Up a History Notebook.)

NotebookingPages timeline

No more pointless literary analysis – Much of what we do in the name of “analysis” is really just one more way to extract the life out of a living book. In our family I have noticed that as the years have ticked by, my sons have been able to easily pick up on literary terms by casual use and recording their work on notebook pages. An author’s style becomes more apparent as they read several books by the same author. They can easily describe setting, characters, and point of view.

Note: I admit that we have gone to a more formal program to cover literary analysis in our senior year’s courses (IEW’s American Literature and Succeeding on the AP Literature Exam) but this was made easier by the many years of groundwork laid by using notebooking as a form of narration in middle and high school. We have not beat every piece of literature to death by analyzing it in depth. We also have done very informal and light literary analysis along with our poetry study.
Free Notebooking Pages Sampler

These are my favorite notebooking pages for customizing for high school. I especially like the History Notebooking Sets. You can buy the individual sets or you can purchase the Treasury Membership and have access to ALL the notebook pages on Please note these are affiliate links to products I have used in the past and loved. Highly recommend them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...