Our First Week
WHAT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO …
After much careful planning and consideration, we started Form 1B (roughly First Grade) last Monday.
Finally, we did it! One of the hardest parts is over, because last week, we began our First Week in First Grade with Charlotte Mason.
First Grade with Charlotte Mason
“Nothing is trivial that concerns a child; his foolish-seeming words and ways are pregnant with meaning for the wise.” (Mason, Vol. 1)
For many months, off and on, much effort was placed on learning to teach my son. So much went into this preparation because it is currently the most important thing to me. Also, it is his first formal year of education at home.
WHAT TO EXPECT
I have a lot to say about our First Week, so if you are simply interested in the resources, please scroll down to ‘Our First Week.’
- First, I outline six basic ideals for early lessons.
- Then, I include educational resources we used for our first week. I emphasize materials my son enjoyed. I also highlight books or supplies I felt would be a huge resource to us as we move through the year.
- Then, I show a sample of a day of morning lessons.
- Next, I share some of my takeaways from our first week.
- Finally, I end with our favorite resources in summary.
All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason.
In the beginning, Charlotte Mason states on the first page of Volume 1 of Home Education:
“Now, that work which is of most importance to society is the bringing-up and instruction of the children-in the school, certainly, but far more in the home, because it is more than anything else the home influences brought to bear upon the child that determine the character and career of the future man or woman.” (Mason, Vol. 1)
This could be discouraging, since it ways heavily on the parents. However, Ms. Mason quickly encourages Mothers, saying:
“The mother is qualified…by the creator Himself…” (Mason, Vol. 1)
There are many subjects I’m not well educated on myself, therefore, I’m also learning alongside my children.
SIX IMPORTANT POINTS FOR LESSONS
- “That the knowledge most valuable to the child is that which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers (under direction) in the open air.” (Mason, Vol. 1)
- “That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child’s right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation.” (Mason, Vol. 1)
- “That the child should be taken daily, if possible, to scenes-moor or meadow, park, common, or shore-where he may find new things to examine, and so add to his store of real knowledge.” (Mason, Vol. 1)
- “That play, vigorous healthful play, is, in its turn, fully as important as lessons, as regards both bodily health and brain-power.” (Mason, Vol. 1)
- “That the child, through under supervision, should be left much to himself-both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas he receives…” (Mason, Vol. 1)
- “That the happiness of the child is the condition of his progress; that his lessons should be joyous…” (Mason, Vol. 1)
PREPARING THE FEAST
“The parents’ chief care is, that that which they supply shall be wholesome and nourishing, whether in the way of picture-books, lessons, playmates, bread and milk, or mother’s love.” (Mason, Vol. 1)
I’m seeking to nourish my children in the best way and I can. Charlotte Mason’s philosophy has provided me guidance because I feel more equipped with tools to begin my son’s formal education.
There are MANY subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education because she believed in spreading a wide feast.
We did not cover ALL of these everyday. However, we DID cover these subjects this week, using these resources. Please keep in mind also, we only read a few pages in some of these books!
Our First Week
- Bible – THIS one. I haven’t taken the time to doodle in yet, however, my oldest mentioned it to me today, so we may color in it together!
- Geography – Elementary Geography. The first lessons were delightful and very appropriate to a young beginning student.
- Handicrafts – Slow and Sacred Advent and Origami.
- French – Songs and a poem from mamalisa.com and Hachette’s Illustrated French Primer.
- Math – Elementary Math Bundle. The book lays out exactly what you can say in the lessons, so it is very handy for a Mama!
- Singing – Spotify playlist I created with Folk songs. I have found my son LOVES singing and my younger son joins in with us typically.
- Drill/PE – Rhythmic Games and Dancing for Children and Joyous Book of Singing Games.
- Recitation – Child’s Book of Poems and Hymns.
- Reading – Discover Reading by Amy Tuttle.
- Natural History – Tommy Smith’s Animals and Plant Life in Field and Garden. I know my son LOVES Tommy Smith’s Animals because he asks for more when the lesson is over!
- Copywork – Chalkboard and Elementary Composition Notebook.
- Music Appreciation – Spotify playlist I created with Composer Study.
- History – Lief the Lucky and Map of America and And There Was America. History seems to be another subject that my son is enjoying.
- Drawing – Brushdrawing course. We are using round, wooden paintbrushes and these AMAZING tubes of paints.
- Literature – The Blue Fairy Book and Aesop’s Fables for Children.
- Art Appreciation – Artist Prints from Riverbendpress.
- Nature Study – Exploring Nature with Children – Seed Week.
- Poetry – Child’s Book of Poems and Now We Are Six. I’m surprised because both children love to hear these poems.
- Read Alouds – Billy and Blaze and Boxcar Children.
Overall, my son’s favorites are the above resources listed for: Geography, Math, Singing, Natural History, History, Literature, Poetry, Nature Study, and Read Alouds.
+ First, make beds, brush teeth and free play.
+ Then, enjoy breakfast and help Mama with dishes.
+ Finally, Morning Lessons, which should last about two and a half hours for a little one. In reality, we were taking about three hours. So, I know I need to tighten up our transitions a little better.
+ Lunch. Then, after lunch, we move into the afternoons.
+ First, we have playtime; so I encourage them to spend a couple of hours outdoors.
+ Then, during late afternoon, we come back inside. I read aloud good literature stories and a couple of poems. Typically, I play music from their Music Appreciation on while I ask them to clean up their toys.
+ One day this week, I introduced piano to them. I plan to increase this steadily as we move on, since it is suggested to work on this daily.
+ As we find our rhythm, I plan to also add by-the-way Geography lessons as we spend daily time outdoors.
+ Also, one afternoon this week, we went to a creek to spend time outdoors in a special nature spot.
Charlotte Mason was a big advocate for outdoor time in the afternoon. She said,
“…the chief function of the child-his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life-is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in this way; and that, therefore, the endeavor of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects…” (Mason, Vol. 1).
I love this quote because it takes the pressure off us Mamas to “entertain” the little ones. It is perfectly
fine NOT to keep up with the pressures of society that implore the youngest of children must be shuffled
around from activity to activity, as if they are adults. I believe it is more important to protect this sweet, innocent time for our littles…and allow them the freedom to explore, move, and be in nature as much as possible.
FIRST WEEK LESSONS FOR MAMA
I learned so much in these first days teaching my littles in a formal education. Additionally, I have much more to learn.
- First, say a quick prayer before lessons (either with kiddos or alone). On the day I didn’t make time for this, we had a chaotic morning.
- Next, spend a few minutes preparing for your morning lessons. I usually spend less than ten minutes on this each morning, however, on the day I didn’t, I didn’t feel at peace.
- Observe my son for signs of weariness. When my son was fidgety, wandering off, or not listening, it was time to have either a small break, or switch to the next lesson. This is hard for me because I want him to soak up ALL OF THIS GOODNESS.
- Next, I need to lower my expectations. In my mind, my son, at six, should be the next Einstein. Woah! I had no idea that my perfectionist tendencies would come out (mostly as an internal dialogue). These are not helpful to anyone, so I’m working on finding the joy instead.
- Finally, I took about five minutes or less each day, to write what we had specifically done in lessons. This was like a journal entry. Mostly, I wrote down what ideas he understood, and where we left off so we know where to pick back up again.
GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Educator Courses (free and amazing!)
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Facebook Support/Discussion Group
- Charlotte Mason’s Home Education Volume 1
- Volume 2 Charlotte Mason’s Parents and Children
- Charlotte Mason’s School Education Volume 3
- A Delectable Education Scheduling Cards
- Another Delectable Education Curriculum Templates
FIRST WEEK RESOURCES
- Morningtide to Eventide Homeschool Planner. I love this planner because it has suggested daily Bible readings for Mama, daily planner space, as well as daily lesson spaces for the boys.
- Art Images to go along with our Bible readings.
- Simply Charlotte Mason Podcast on Starting a Charlotte Mason Education from Scratch. This was encouraging to listen to on my final day of the first week because it solidified some thoughts I was having about our first week.
I’m sharing these here because these are my son’s FAVORITES. He always asks for more when we pick these books up!
Also, check out these previous blog posts in the series:
- A Charlotte Mason Handicraft Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Drill Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Singing Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Music Appreciation
- A Charlotte Mason Music Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Narration Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Recitation Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Drawing Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason French Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Math Lesson
- A Charlotte A Mason Picture Study Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason History Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Literature Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Bible Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Summer
- 29 Charlotte Mason Inspired Preschool Books
Thank you so much for checking in! Finally, please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.
All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason. The Living Press published my favorite version of her books. Finally, I TRULY recommend any parent read Charlotte Mason’s books! They are truly treasured words I believe I will be reading and re-reading for many years to come.