Charlotte Mason Teacher Education
When it comes to preparing to teach in a Charlotte Mason school, a “great books” education is most often recommended. Training in specific methods and philosophies is also greatly appreciated, and at some point, required for those in the CM classroom. (If you are a home school educator, Ambleside International offers three-day internships, below. You may also visit our Products page for products oriented to home school planning and self-help guides for parents. Also, our Events page includes educational retreats for home educators.)
Below you will find three options for gaining this education: specific Charlotte Mason training through various CM organizations; guides to classic texts; and a list of colleges and universities that offer “great books” programs that prepare teachers for a true liberal arts with “living books” oriented curriculum (recommended by Ambleside International). Please note, “great books” programs can vary greatly in worldview, as well as religious and educational perspectives, so research carefully before committing to a particular school. For example, a sample list of authors studied in Harrison-Middleton University’s Diploma program heavily featured communists and anarcho-communists.
Please contact us with your suggestions and corrections. If you have experience with any of these programs, we appreciate your constructive opinions in the comments section, below
CHARLOTTE MASON-SPECIFIC TRAINING
Several organizations and curriculum publishers offer training in Charlotte Mason techniques through group discussion guides, internships, conference workshops or training manuals. There are also events around the country that focus on CM education; you can find them listed on our Events page. If you know of something not listed here, please contact us.
- Ambleside Schools International provides training “in the philosophy and practice” of Charlotte Mason through the Summer Institute, 3-day internships located throughout the United States, and the International Master Teacher Training Program for Ambleside teachers/faculty and homeschoolers with at least 3 years experience at an Ambleside school or as an Ambleside homeschool member.. Costs vary.
- Charlotte Mason in Community has created a guide for conducting information sessions, which includes a reading list that may be used for informal local discussion groups or even a foundation for school in-service days,. The sessions include: an overview of Charlotte Mason education; living books; narration; nature study; picture study; and composer study. Free.
- Simply Charlotte Mason offers a number of training videos and DVDs in mathematics and other subjects, as well as handicraft videos. Costs vary.
BOOKS ORIENTED TO CLASSIC TEXTS
(For books describing methods specific to Charlotte Mason, please visit our Books page. )
- How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler – Includes a list of more than 160 influential works, compiled by one of the early 20th century’s “great books” revivalists.
- The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer – Author of the popular homeschool classic, The Well-Trained Mind, shares her list of books, as well as advice on how to read them.
- The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics by W. John Campbell — Allows those without a background in great books to become familiar with more than 100 classic works, from Virgil’s Aeneid to Thoreau’s Walden, through basic descriptions of the works.
COLLEGES OFFERING CORE REQUIREMENTS, DEGREES or CERTIFICATES IN “GREAT TEXTS” or “GREAT BOOKS,”or engage in the “GREAT CONVERSATION”
Ambleside Schools International recommends individuals interested in teaching in Charlotte Mason schools pursue a degree at a “great books” institution, or choose a course of study that is strongly oriented to the “great texts” tradition within a liberal arts curriculum. You may also want to look for programs committed to “the study of relations” between subject areas, to further that aspect of Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy. Schools that offer only one or two classes in “great books” are generally not included here.
Below is a brief description of the schools and programs Everything Charlotte Mason has researched in the United States. If you are aware of others, please contact us with a link to the web page for the program. If you have personal experience with any of these programs, and believe them to be inappropriate for this page, we appreciate your input, as well. The comments section is enabled at the bottom of the page for your constructive inputs based on your own experiences with these programs.
- University of Chicago offers the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, a non-degree adult education program rooted in the Great Books.
- University of Chicago also hosts a one week Great Books Summer Program in July for students in 6th through 12th grades on the campus in Chicago.
- The Diploma program at Harrison-Middleton University “provides an opportunity for students not seeking a degree to do in-depth study of major authors, works, and ideas in the humanities. The program consists of 30 continuing education units with an emphasis in imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social sciences.”
- Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, offers an 18-hour Certificate in Primary Texts, which may be obtained entirely through the university’s Global Campus online. Students tailor individual reading lists in a given year from approved courses.
Continuing Education (CEU credits)
- Harrison-Middleton University offers 30 continuing education credits in the humanities, with an “emphasis in imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social sciences” to professionals seeking to meet the requirements of their positions. Appropriate for educators.
- Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, bases its honors program on the great works of history, offering also a major or minor in Humanities.
- The Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University in La Mirada, California, requires the study of 100 historical texts as part of its “focus on reading, discussion-based learning, and academic mentorship.”
- Baylor University* in Waco, Texas, offers the Bachelor of Arts in Great Texts of the Western Tradition. Small, seminar-style classes in literature, politics, theology, philosophy, drama, music, art and science. The minor is also available.
- Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, says its “Great Books studies are an option for students who want to fulfill general education requirements (which all students must take) in a more traditional liberal arts format.” Students in the Great Books program are encouraged to further the experience by spending a semester in Florence, Italy, including 10 days in Rome.
- Boston College at Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, offers the Perspectives Program, a “four-year, interdisciplinary course of study grounded in the great texts of Western Culture that seeks to integrate the humanities and natural sciences.” Students may choose an immersive living community with others in the program.
- Boston University students in Boston, Massachusetts have the option to complete their general education requirements through the integrated Core program, ” a group of students and faculty who love to read, to think, to look at, listen to, and study the world’s greatest works and ideas, and who love to talk about them with one another.” Core students may also live together in the residence hall or in the Core House.
- At Dharma Realm Buddhist University in Ukiah, California, “students learn directly through the great books of Western, Eastern, and Buddhist thought, bringing the texts to life in engaging, discussion-based seminars.” Campus is exclusively vegetarian and weapons-free.
- Eastern University at St. Davids, Pennsylvania, is home to the Templeton Honors College, which centers its studies on the reading of the Great Books “from the length and breadth of the Western Tradition.” Eastern also offers a masters degree in teaching for classical education.
- Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, requires all students to complete two seminar courses in Western Heritage where they must “read, discuss and write about” great works from Ancient Greece through the modern era.
- Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, requires students complete a liberal arts core curriculum including: “Catholic theology and philosophy, the history and literature of Western civilization, classical and modern languages, political science and economics, and mathematics and science … to make meaningful connections.”
- City Colleges of Chicago – Wilbur Wright offers a Great Books Curriculum as part of its transferable credit offerings. Students who complete four of the Great Books Curriculum classes receive a certification, may participate in special events and trips, and join the Great Books Student Society.
- Concordia University – Irvine in Irvine, California, has built its curriculum on the Enduring Questions and Ideas core, requiring all students to take integrated courses, such as biology with theology, mathematics with philosophy, history with literature.
- C.S. Lewis College in Redlands, California, is currently in the development stage, and when open will offer a “great books” curriculum.
- East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, offers a minor in Great Books, the purpose of which is to “introduce students to a Socratic way of learning through dialogue.” Students may also choose a multidisciplinary BS or BA with a concentration in Great Books.
- Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, gives students the opportunity to share “an uncommon, life-shaping experience” through its Great Books Honors program. The program is available to students pursuing all academic disciplines.
- Fordham University in Bronx, New York, is a Jesuit college whose honors program is “an integrated study of the ideas, events, texts, and artworks that have shaped the Western world.” Honors students live together at Alpha House on campus.
- Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, is a traditional Catholic college with an honors program rooted in the great books. Classes “give due attention to the ultimate questions of life.”
- George Fox University in Newburg, Oregon, offers the William Penn Honors program, “an intensive journey through nearly 140 of the greatest works in history.” Small classes are discussion based using the Socratic method.
- Gutenberg College in Eugene, Oregon, is an intimate community of learners educated together by tutor-mentors in small groups. The entire degree course of study is focused on “consequential works” in the areas of mathematics, physics, history, literature, and more, as well as studies in Greek and German. When completed, a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts is conferred.
- Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, requires students to have a strong, traditional liberal arts core with classes in topics such as logic and rhetoric, principles of the natural sciences, the U.S. Constitution and two semesters of “great books.” It is also unique as one of the only institutions of higher education in the U.S. to refuse federal funding.
- Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas, offers a major or minor in Great Texts, allowing students to study an interdisciplinary mix of subjects. The schools says this option is for students who “don’t think it’s right to have to choose between studying The Federalist Papers and The Lord of the Rings,” and who want to “see the connections between history, literature, politics, and intellectual movements.”
- Imago Dei College in Oak Glen, California, describes itself as “an Evangelical Classical Christian Liberal Arts College in the ‘Great Books’ tradition.” Student evaluations (grades) are determined based on multiple factors rather than numerical scale, and given in person.
- Mercer University in Georgia offer students in the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Engineering and the Tift College of Education the option to meet their general education requirements through Great Books Program. The school reports “Our Great Books graduates are notably successful in graduate and professional studies and major in every discipline, including the natural sciences.”
- North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, acquired the Shimer College Great Books program in 2017. Students may still obtain a degree in general studies or in liberal arts from the Shimer Great Books School with concentrations in humanities, natural sciences or social sciences.
- Northeast Catholic College in Warner, New Hampshire, requires students of all majors to complete study in the great books. The 110-hour core includes: theology, politics, literature, philosophy, science, math, music, art, and comparative cultures.
- Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, says its “Core” — courses in sciences, math, arts, history, philosophy and literature — function as a “second major” for every student, and is oriented to mastery and inquiry.
- Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida, has an honors program that engages students in “the great conversation.” Students may study at Oxford University in England, and live together in the Weyenberg Honors House.
- Pepperdine University in Malibu, California offers a four-semester Great Books Colloquium that also meets core requirements for the degree, promising “intellectual growth, and rigorous academic inquiry.”
- Saint Anselm University in Manchester, New Hampshire, offers a major or minor in Great Books, including courses in formal logic, within the philosophy department. “The program challenges students to seek out what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful, so that they may become wiser and better human beings.”
- St. John’s College offers a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, as well as master’s degrees in liberal arts and Eastern Classics. Discussion-based courses are extensive tutorials rooted in the “great books,” including the sciences, mathematics, history and literature, as well as three foreign languages. Students attend either or both campuses in Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- The core of the curriculum at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, is the Collegiate Seminar, four courses that examine major works of Western civilization. Student may also complete the majority of their studies within The Integral Program, which offers conversational classes in the “classics of literature, philosophy, theology, psychology, political science, economics, history, mathematics, laboratory sciences, and music.”
- St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, offers newly-admitted students the opportunity to participate in “The Great Conversation,” a five-course, inter-disciplinary, team-taught overview of Western Civilization. Students chosen for the program live together in one of two residence halls.
- St. Thomas University of Fredericton, British Columbia, Canada offers a major or minor in Great Books. A typical books list includes: Homer’s Odyssey, Plato’s Republic, Dante’s Divine Comedy and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
- Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, requires a core curriculum of 22 credits that “require students to read challenging works and place them in conversation with each other, to write and speak confidently and persuasively, to recognize the depth of biblical scholarship and tradition, and to pay attention to overall health and wellness.”
- Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, offers a bachelor of arts degree from a classical Catholic perspective, “ordered to wisdom” and submitted to the teaching of the Roman Magisterium. Natural science, music, mathematics, grammar and logic are among the syllabi subjects.
- University of Dallas in Dallas, Texas, requires all students to share a 19-course, dialogue-based “Core” in “great books” including English, history, philosophy, theology, economics, politics, science, mathematics, language and fine arts.
- At the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, students enrolled in the Program of Liberal Studies attend Great Books seminars each semester, as well as tutorials in literature, philosophy, science, theology, intellectual and cultural history, political theory, and fine arts.
- University of Texas at Austin, in Austin, Texas offers to undergraduates a Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas within the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas. Includes studies in the relationship between religion and politics, and reason and revelation, through reading and discussion in four common courses and two electives.
- Eastern University at St. Davids, Pennsylvania, offers a masters of arts in teaching degree with a “distinctively classical approach.” Centered on two five-week residencies near Philadelphia and includes observing master teaches in classical schools.
- Harrison-Middleton University offers great books-based degrees entirely online for the master of arts, the doctor of education and the doctor of arts. A non-degree Diploma program in great books is also offered.
- University of Chicago‘s Masters in Liberal Arts degree courses, held on evenings and weekends in downtown Chicago, allow adult students to “study the works of great thinkers—in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and biological sciences—and gain the tools to apply interdisciplinary thought to their professional lives.”
NOTE: Not all colleges with “great books” courses are included here, nor are all colleges with a program in classical studies. Additional schools, beyond the list above, may be found by visiting the lists from which the above were taken: the Association for Core Texts and Sources, and “The 25 Best Great Books Programs” article from Best College Reviews.