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!
As a librarian who is also a homeschooling mama, I am often asked by prospective patrons if I have the books listed on various homeschool curricula book lists. I remember as a new homeschooler 18 years ago trying to find a curriculum that utilized real, living books. After we finished our time with Five in a Row, we definitely did not want to settle for dry facts common in the textbooks listed in most homeschool catalogs and marketed at homeschool conventions. I found only one such curriculum at the time. We plunged in, enjoying the books we could locate on that list, substituting books we could not find or...gasp...leaving them out altogether. It really never occured to me that my child's education would somehow be ruined if I did not have the exact book recommended on a particular list.
Many parents eagerly embrace living books when teaching their young children. Snuggling on the couch, making memories around books is lovely. Other parents use living books only for history. Biographies and historical fiction truly make history come alive, making us feel as if we are really there. Some families, however, fail to recognize the value of living books for science and math, relying instead on textbooks and workbooks, especially in the later years.