All the CM Curricula Compared

Dear Reader,

I have done a series of posts comparing various Charlotte Mason curricula. As the number of them has expanded, I realize this has become a bit cumbersome for you, the reader. So this is my attempt to put it all in one place (plus one additional curriculum is included!).

Methodology

A little background — my goal has been to present what each curriculum has to say about itself rather than to give my opinions. I tried to choose the questions I would have when comparing curricula. Topics range from What does it cost? to How does it deal with high school science? to How Christian is it?

There is a lot out there for homeschoolers these days and the list seems to be ever-expanding. The curricula I have chosen to compare are all from Ambling along Together’s list of CM curricula.  Each purports to be a Charlotte Mason style curricula (as compared to merely “CM influenced” or adaptable). Though I have made use of many of these websites and have taken bits and pieces from various sources, I do not use any of these curricula exclusively. I do have some opinions, but I don’t have one favorite curriculum.

The Curricula

I have gone back and forth on even putting this section in. I don’t want to bias you with my own opinions but I do realize it is helpful just to have some sort of list of everything with brief introductions. Let me say from the start that I am overwhelmed by the work and generosity of all the people behind these curricula. Most are homeschool moms who have taken the time to put together quite extensive resources that they either give away or sell quite affordably (I can’t imagine anyone is getting rich off of any of these). Most are also works-in-progress; even old stand-bys like Ambleside Online are still improving and changing.

Here then are the curricula I will look at, in no particular order:

Ambleside Online (AO) — If you have been at this for a while, Ambleside may have been your first introduction to CM; it seems like it has been around forever. As with all these curricula, you buy the books, but otherwise AO is free online. While they are still updating and perfecting AO, it is a relatively complete curriculum with a reputation for being rigorous.

Simply Charlotte Mason (SCM) — Simply Charlotte Mason is another one that has been around for a while. There is much here that can be used for free but the biggest expansion on the SCM site seems to be in the store where more and more ready-made materials are available. A modular approach, it has a reputation for being a little less intimidating and easier to adapt for families with multiple ages.

The Alveary — A newer curriculum with a lot of buzz (pun intended). It’s big selling point is that it is a CM curriculum for the 21st century. Though the curriculum is newer, the folks at CMI who are behind it have been around for a while.

A Delectable Education (ADE) — The biggest part of ADE is the podcast, but one can also get a consultation for personalizes curriculum help and suggestions. This personalization is one of the big selling points. The other is a commitment being “purely CM”; the ladies at ADE will admit that this too is a work in progress but their goal is to ask how CM herself would have done things and to, in some sense, return to those roots.

A Modern Charlotte Mason (MCM) — As the name suggests, MCM also aims to combine more modern works with the classics in a CM education. Flexibility in terms of use with families or individual students is another big selling point.

Living Books Curriculum (LBC) — A CM approach, living books based curriculum with a vision for and ministry to those in less developed countries as well (especially in Africa).

Higher Up and Further In (HUFI) — Book lists and schedules for CM learning.

Gentle Feast — A newer contribution to the world of CM with a gentle, family-centered approach with personal consultations available.

Wildwood — Still fairly new with a lot still to be done, this is the only inherently secular CM curriculum I know of.

Ambleside Schools International — Despite the name, this curriculum is not affiliated with Ambleside Online. Like Charlotte’s PNEU, it trains teachers and provides curricula for schools as well as homeschoolers. Heavy on training and support with weekly mentoring. Though less well-known, they have been around quite a while.

Mater Amabilis — A distinctly Roman Catholic curriculum.

Edited 4/8/2020 to add: I also now have two posts which look at CM-inspired curricula. They are here (Sonlight, The Good and the Beautiful, Easy Peasy, Masterbooks, Five in a Row, My Father’s World) and here (Heart of Dakota, Build Your Library, Winter Promise, Train Up a Child, Wayfarers, Mind in the Light). And one that looks at Speciality CM curricula (Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, LDS, Secular). That post is here.

The Charts

Though the goal of this post is to put everything on one place, I still can’t figure out a good way to put it all in one document. Here then, in three documents, are all the CM curricula compared:

AO SCM Alvery ADE 8-13-18

MCM LBC HUFI 8-13-18

Gentle Feast Wildwood Ambleside Schools 8-13-18

CM curricula fourth

As always, let me know of updates and revisions. Consider this page a work in progress; I will try to update as there are new curricula available or changes in current ones.

Nebby

17 responses to this post.

  1. […] See my most updated post on CM curricula here. […]

    Reply

  2. […] See my most updated post on CM curricula here. […]

    Reply

  3. […] See my most updated post on CM curricula here. […]

    Reply

  4. Posted by Deborah Brenna on September 18, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Mater Amabilis is a free, comprehensive, Catholic CM curriculum you might want to add.

    Reply

    • Thank you for the reminder, Deborah. When I first did this, there were a few curricula listed that were particular to specific traditions and I chose to do the ones that were more general. But since then the landscape has changed with some new curricula and some older ones seeming to disappear so that distinction seems to make less sense. I will try to get back to this one when I get a chance.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Jen Spencer on August 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Hi, Nebby! I’m the Project Manager for Charlotte Mason’s Alveary. Thank you for including us in your review. I’m writing to let you know that we have a new online home at http://www.charlottemasoninstitute.org/alveary-membership/. There have also been lots of updates to our program since your review. Please contact me if you are interested in getting a clearer picture of what we do at curriculum@charlottemasoninstitute.org. Thanks!

    Reply

  6. […] I just updated my charts comparing Charlotte Mason curricula. Find them all here. […]

    Reply

  7. […] can find all the charts comparing CM curricula here. Thus far I have restricted myself to fully CM curricula and not CM inspired ones. If you know of […]

    Reply

  8. Posted by Ligaya Hartman on February 6, 2019 at 7:26 am

    This is the best comparison and most helpful collection of information on Charlotte Mason Curricula I’ve seen. I wish I would have started with this. Thank you for all the work you’ve done to put this together. I’ll be referencing this for a long time and will refer others to your blog.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Angela on August 28, 2019 at 9:18 am

    THANK YOU! This is such a great resource- there is so much out there that claims to be CM and most busy homeschooling moms (and dads) have a hard time weeding through it all to find the right fit for their family. This gives me hope:)

    Reply

  10. […] in the past shared some charts which compare the various Charlotte Mason curriucla out there (see this post). I chose to limit what I included to those that fit the bill “strictly Charlotte […]

    Reply

  11. […] first one here. I also have charts on the various “pure” Charlotte Mason curricula (see this post). There is a lot out there that claims to be CM or that is used and discussed by folks who are CM. […]

    Reply

  12. […] have a few posts now looking at the various Charlotte Mason (here) and Charlotte Mason-inspired (here and here) curricula out there. My goal in all of this is just […]

    Reply

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