Lesson Planning

Applying the Charlotte Mason Method

“…but there is no subject [mathematics] in which the teacher has a more delightful consciousness of drawing out from day to day new power in the child”  (Vol. 1, 261).

Using the Charlotte Mason Method

We want you to be able to implement Charlotte Mason’s method in your math lessons no matter what curriculum you use. To that end, we’ve compiled a document summarizing the Notes of Lessons for various math classes in The Parents’ Review (PR) magazines. These magazines were sent to parents participating in the Parents’ Union Schools (PUS) that Charlotte Mason established. We pray our research will be a blessing to you and your family.

The Science of Relations

Ideas never stand alone; rather, they are all connected, building on and flowing out of each other. Mathematics is no exception. In a math lesson, we want to come alongside our student. Together, we recall previously learned concepts. We then examine them and their connections to the new concept studied in the current lesson.

A Living Idea

Include an inspiring thought in the lesson. These vary in each lesson and with each student. A few examples are listed below:

  • The mathematical idea, itself
  • An interesting problem
  • The history of a mathematician
  • The history of the concept
  • A word study
  • A shorter way of solving a problem
  • An inspiring quote

Guiding Questions

As with every subject in a Charlotte Mason education, helping the child see what is worth observing is an integral part of the process. Just as you help your student to truly see something on a nature walk, during picture study, or even during reading lessons, asking the same types of questions during a math lesson is invaluable to problem-solving, to get the student to talk as much as possible. Questions such as these, which lead to rich conversations, can assist the student in the art of noticing, thinking, wondering, and truly making their math education their own.

  • “What do you notice about these problems?”
  • “Do you see any shortcuts to solve that problem?”
  • “Do you see any patterns?”
  • “Does this remind you of anything?”


Group Lesson Resources

Even though lessons are short in a Charlotte Mason education, completing math lessons with multiple students on multiple levels can take a lot of time when done individually. We can still go at each student’s pace, meeting him where he is while working with other students simultaneously.

Listen to an example group math lesson that Emily did for A Delectable Education. It may give you an idea of how to structure math with multiple students in your home.

Heather has compiled a list of ideas about how to enjoy math together as a family throughout life and during lessons. Our desire is that these ideas will help cultivate mathematical fun in your home.

A Few More Ideas

When thinking about math lessons for a student, consider the current concept being studied and ideas that need to be reviewed.

During the new idea time, the student is working on a concept just learned. This is the most teacher-intensive time. The student is learning and assimilating a new idea and will need the most assistance from the teacher.

During the review time, one idea is to choose a page of interesting problems that review concepts that the student has learned in the past. The student has the assigned page to work on throughout the week during the review time. This way, the commonly asked question, “What do I do next?” isn’t heard as often.

Mental math is also very important in a Charlotte Mason math education. Quick problems are given orally during mental math time to help the student practice math fluency.

See the document below for a list of “Math At-the-Ready” ideas. These may give you thoughts on what students can do while waiting for assistance or independently during review time. 

When planning for our own children, no two lessons are the same, and we do not follow the same order every day. For example, sometimes the review time comes first, and then we work on the new idea of the day. Sometimes, we do the new concept, followed by the review time. Sometimes, mental math is done with individual students; sometimes, it is a group activity with siblings. Mix it up and keep it fresh! is a group activity with siblings. Mix it up and keep it fresh!