Meeting Charlotte Mason: What is Twaddle?

Of my Charlotte Mason journey so far, this is hands down my husband’s favorite part…


Not so much the meaning, but the words itself…it sounds like a bodily function to me and apparently to him, as well.

It’s fun to say but what in the world does it mean?

Simply Charlotte Mason writes a great post on this, but the most succinct definition I can give you is:

Twaddle: nonsense, foolish, insignificant or trivial writing or talk.

Meeting Charlotte Mason: What is Twaddle? via My Life as a Rinnagade

I have hated Spongebob for as long as I can remember. From the time he came on TV and my nephews clamored to see who lived in a pineapple under the sea, I cringed at the theme song. When I had kids of my own, I brainwashed them to believe that under no circumstances do we enjoy him – on screen, in books or even lego sets. They would see him come on and yell “we do not watch this!” It was pretty funny actually.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law asked why I hated Spongebob so much. I couldn’t give her a clear answer.

But now I know why…

Spongebob is absolute twaddle.

So are we completely twaddle-free in the Rinna home?


But I’m working on it.

Last week, we did a sweep of movies and books that just needed to go.

There will be some books on our shelves Charlotte Mason would probably consider twaddle that we won’t get rid of. I’m thinking of the level readers – especially the Lego and Star Wars books because they are of special interest to the boys and I’d rather have them reading than not (within reasonable boundaries). I plan to continue feeding them quality literature and ideas in hopes that they will be drawn, instead, to them. I have seen it happen already.

On movie night, Narnia is a favorite.

We’re falling in love with Aesop’s Fables.

Little Miss adores her Baby Lit books.

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing: and we must bear in mind that growth; physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.”

– Charlotte Mason

All children are quite impressionable but our youngest son is perhaps one of the most impressionable children I’ve ever been with. My husband says he was the same way. If he is watching super hero shows, within minutes, he himself is transformed. This could be a good thing except when he gets mad and turns into the Hulk.


On the other hand, I’ve seen him watch Wild Kratz and explode with drawings of animals moments later.

The ideas we feed our children help them become who they will become.

Through reading her books, I felt my bar being raised – back to where it was in college to desire meaningful material at every turn  of my day.

Not in a pretentious way, but in a matter of fact way.

Life is short; there’s no time for twaddle.

The Autism Angle

Our special kids can have some special interests. And sometimes, these things can be, well…twaddle.

Adapted Star Wars early reader.

Lego picture books.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

In the case that your child’s special interest is twaddle, I would not recommend doing a clean sweep. Continue to introduce things that might entice him otherwise, but use his special interest, always, for relationship building. It would not be building a relationship to take away his favorite book or to tell him it’s terrible. Imagine being with a friend and telling her you hate her favorite movie. I’d say that’s a withdrawal and not a deposit.

So what are we supposed to read to our children?

Join me next week to find out.

(pssst…subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!)


Charlotte Mason’s Writings (Modern English)

Twaddle (Part 2) Simply Charlotte Mason

Twaddle too Often Simply Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason philosophy comes with its own lingo. To assist with the learning curve, I’ve created this FREE quick guide just for you.

Get Your Guide Now!

How do you feel about twaddle?

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