Four Charlotte Mason Curricula Compared

Dear Reader,

See my most updated post on CM curricula here.

I feel like I don’t have a great grasp of the finer differences between the different Charlotte Mason curricula out there so I set myself to try to learn more about each. Personally, I tend to read and pull from different sources but mostly to “free-form” what I do — i.e. to find my own resources and piece things together. I don’t have a strong tie to any one of these so I hope I am not too biased.

I began by looking at 4 CM curricula: Simply Charlotte Mason (SCM), Ambleside Online (AO), A Delectable Education (ADE), and the Alveary from the Charlotte Mason Institute (CMI). In another post, I plan to look at A Modern Charlotte Mason, Living Books Curriculum, and Charlotte Mason Help. The topics I have chosen speak to general concerns (“how much will this cost me?”) as well as specific concerns I have (“how is high school science approached?”). I haven’t touched on every possible subject. There are a lot of areas in which they all say pretty much the same thing — e.g. “spelling is learned through copywork and dictation.”

I have tried as much as possible to let the curricula speak for themselves — to use quotes from their own materials. For some, this was easier than others. AO gives a lot of detail about their curriculum. ADE, which is primarily podcasts, is harder logistically to get direct quotes from. The Alveary, which is very new and works on a subscription basis, is hard to find specifics on though I have managed to glean some things from the sample lists I could find.

With all of these, we should acknowledge that people will alter and combine what they find. I am trying to give you what each curriculum is — what it offers and claims to be. But you may, as I have always done, adjust and tweak at will.

I am not making judgments about which curriculum is best — or most purely CM– here. I may be tempted to give some of my own opinions in another post.

Without further ado, then, here is Four Charlotte Mason Curricula Compared:

cm curricula compared 5-8-17

I realize there are gaps here and there may be things I have misrepresented (I have tried my best but no doubt misunderstood some things; there is a lot to take in). Please feel free to comment with edits and emendations. I would ask, however, that you make sure any additions are representing the intents of the curriculum itself rather than its interpretations by users.



8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Barb on March 9, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Nice list. I would add that AmblesideOnline is revising the high school science texts lists, at least for year 9. There are discussions on the forum about science and lab books that families are using and reviewing. Eventually some new recommendations will be made but it may be another year.

    One option is Jay Ryan’s Signs & Seasons which we are using for an astronomy course but given our typical cloudy days it will probably take longer than a year for the observation/lab part.


  2. […] « Four Charlotte Mason Curricula Compared […]


  3. Posted by Lady M on May 8, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you for these great side by sides! There are a couple of corrections for AO, though.

    Geography absolutely has more than just the books listed (though those are part of the curriculum). For the upper years, yes, there are travel books, but you are expected to map out the journey & to be doing map drills as well. You can find more here for the Year 1-6:

    High School Science: Years 7 & 8 were updated a few years ago and textbooks are not used in those years. Year 9-12 Living Science is still being fleshed out at the moment. Apologia and other textbooks are suggested as options in the meantime.


  4. […] Four CM Curricula Compared […]


  5. Posted by Ivette on March 24, 2018 at 9:05 am

    This was so helpful, although I didn’t see listed A Gentle Feast. Would you be able to add this to your comparison next time, please?

    Thank you




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