Charlotte Mason Composition, Form III

This is just an overview of the next step in composition for older students. I’ll be breaking it down further in subsequent posts.

habit of reading before 12Volume 3: “The sort of curriculum I have in view should educate children upon Things and Books. Current thought upon the subject of education by Things is so sound and practical, and so thoroughly carried into effect, that I have not thought it necessary to dwell much here upon this part of education. Our great failure seems to me to be caused by the fact that we do not form the habit of reading books that are worth while in children while they are at school and are under twelve years of age. The free use of books implies correct spelling and easy and vigorous composition without direct teaching of these subjects.”


Volume 3: ‘Composition’ is never taught as a subject; well-taught children compose as well-bred children behave-by the light of nature. It is probable that no considerable writer was ever taught the art of ‘composition.’

Volume 6: Forms III and IV. In these Forms as in I and II what called ‘composition’ is an inevitable consequence of a free yet exact use of books and requires no special attention until the pupil is old enough to take of his own accord a critical interest in the use of words. The measured cadences of verse are as pleasing to children as to their elders. Many children write verse as readily as prose, and the conciseness and power of bringing their subject matter to a point which this form of composition requires affords valuable mental training. One thing must be borne in mind. Exercises in scansion are as necessary in English as in Latin verse. Rhythm and accent on the other hand take care of themselves in proportion as a child is accustomed to read poetry.

what is scansion


In III and IV as in the earlier Forms, the matter of their reading during the term, topics of the day, and the passing of the Seasons, afford innumerable subjects for short essays or short sets of verses of a more abstract nature in IV than in III: the point to be considered is that the subject be one on which, to quote again Jane Austen’s expression, the imagination of the children has been ‘warmed.’ They should be asked to write upon subjects which have interested them keenly. Then when the terminal examination comes they will respond to such a question as,––”Write twelve lines (which must scan) on ‘Sir Henry Lee,’ or ‘Cordelia,’ or Pericles, or Livingstone,” or, to take a question from the early days of the War, “Discuss Lord Derby’s Scheme. How is it working?”; or, (IV) an essay on “The new army in the making, shewing what some of the difficulties have been and what has been achieved.

composition for warmed imaginations

Volume 6: Let me repeat that what is called ‘composition’ is an inevitable consequence of this free yet exact use of books and requires no special attention until the pupil is old enough to take naturally a critical interest in the use of words.


Series at a glance- see the linked TOC for the entire series of Grammar and Composition/Language Arts the CM way posts

This entry was posted in Charlotte Mason and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.