One of the primary ways of learning in a Charlotte Mason style of education is by reading living books. This raises several questions.
- What is a living book?
- How do I find living books?
- How do I use living books without breaking the bank?
What is a Living Book?
A living book captures your interest and stimulates ideas. It is usually written by a single author who is passionate about the subject. A living book should be inviting to all ages. If you do not want to read the book, your child probably doesn’t either.
Here are links to additional articles that explain living books in more detail:
- Past the Outer Court article on how living books make learning stick
- Ambleside Online: Toward a Definition of a Living Book
- The Real Life Home: Charlotte Mason Basics – Living Books
- Homemaking with Heart: What is a Living Book?
- Teachers of Good Things: What is a Living Book?
Living Book Lists
There are many resources for finding living books for all subjects. Here are a few.
- A Picture Perfect Childhood by Cay Gibson
- All Through the Ages by Christine Miller
- Ambleside Online
- Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys M. Hunt
- Living Math Books
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- Who Should We Then Read? by Jan Bloom
Sources of Living Books
What and how much you buy is completely in your control. If you are on a budget, you can find most of the books you use at your local library or borrow them from a friend. If you have an e-reader, you can download public domain books free from Project Gutenberg. You can also listen to the audio version of books in the public domain on LibriVox, which is a collection of public domain books recorded by volunteers. Ambleside Online lists many more sources for books and audio versions here.
There are also many good sites to purchase used books. A few suggestions include:
- Library book sales
- Thrift stores
- Homeschool curriculum sales
- Abe Books
- Amazon used books
- Yahoo groups whose purpose is for selling used (living) books
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