Recently I had an inquiry regarding library membership. This is the season when many families start making plans for the upcoming year so this is not unusual. This particular inquiry took me off guard, however, and distressed me a little. The mom wanted to know if she would be welcome in my library because, she said, "I don't DO Charlotte Mason. I heard you have to DO Charlotte Mason to belong to these libraries."
No, no, a thousand times, NO!
I have been a Charlotte Mason homeschooler for 20 years now in some form or fashion. In the early years when I was learning and homeschooling was not quite the phenomenon it is now, I did Charlotte Mason-y things...reading living books, narration, nature study, etc., without really understanding her philosophy. I'm still learning after all this time.
And yet, I'd be willing to venture that the families in my library who DO Charlotte Mason have homeschools that look very different from mine. Some are in a fabulous CM co-op. We are not. Some align their schedules to match as closely as possible Charlotte's own schedules while my planning philosophy is simply...turn the page. Some meet together for a nature study club. Often we are lucky to just take in what we can on our farm (which, I admit, is a lot.) Some have daughters who quietly and thoroughly give their narrations. My youngest son, who is my champion narrator, has been known to LEAP out of his chair and give a resounding (i.e. noisy) rendition of the exciting passage he just heard.
And it's all OK.
I have families who are active in Classical Conversations. Others do unit studies. I even have a few who rely solely on textbooks for school and use the library for wonderful literature or supplemental biographies.
And it's all OK.
We all need living ideas. I long to see each and every classroom in each and every public school, private school, and homeschool spend a few minutes a day reading living ideas from living books.
So if you are hesitant to approach a living books library in your area because you do not DO Charlotte Mason (or ______________), please don't be afraid to contact them. I'm sure they would say, like I do, "Welcome!! Great adventures await you on your chosen path!"