Planning Your Homeschool Term

Planning Your Homeschool in a Charlotte Mason Education 

“…but what seems to me absolutely best for the children; and that, in faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them.” (Vol 1, p. 44)

Planning Your Homeschool
Planning Your Homeschool Term

I love connecting with you, dear Mama – in person, on my blog, via email, and on Instagram. Most of the questions I hear you ask are related to which resources to use for home education, what curriculum to use, and how to go about planning for your next homeschool term?

So, I thought I would write a blog post detailing the steps on how I plan out a homeschool term. Your homeschool doesn’t have to look like mine. However, I’m hopeful that this provides inspiration to you or gives you ideas to help you plan out your next homeschool term. We don’t have a purchased curriculum that we follow. We have books…lots of lovely living books, Charlotte Mason’s volumes, plus a few guiding resources.

If you are interested, at the bottom of this post, are the specific living books and links we are using. I hope it helps you and peeks your curiosity!


“…it is upon the mothers of the present that the future of the world depends…because it is the mothers who have the sole direction of the children’s early, most impressible years. This is why we hear so frequently of great men who have had good mothers–that is, mothers who brought up their children themselves…” (Vol 1, p. 2)

Read Aloud Time
Read Aloud Time

We use a Charlotte Mason (CM) philosophy of education for homeschooling and it has been such a blessing. Have you read her volumes? If not, stop what you are doing right now, and pick up a copy of Home Education. I promise you will be so glad you did! 

Charlotte Mason was a British educator, turned principal of her schools. She housed teacher training and offered support to home educators and public schools through a Parents National Education Union School. Charlotte Mason aimed to present an inviting, life-giving, and beautiful education. She wanted to nourish the mind of each child with living ideas. You can read more about her here or here.


“The teacher should have some knowledge of the principles of education; should know what subjects are best fitted for the child considering his age, and how to make these subjects attractive; should know, too, how to vary the lessons, so that each power of the child’s mind should rest after effort…” (Vol 1, p. 141)

Planning Your Homeschool Term
Planning Your Homeschool Term

Planning either provokes anxiety or provides you relief and comfort. You can always begin the process of planning as far in advance as possible, yet planning at any stage offers such a benefit to you and your children.

Resources I Love:

  • ADE Schedule Cards – I used these at the beginning of the year to make sure we included all of the broad feast (many subjects!). These cards ensure we adhere closely to the time table of finishing our formal school time in 2.5 hrs. or less per day. These cards also help to alternate “more challenging” subjects with more liberal arts subjects to provide a mental break for your children.
  • Charlotte Mason Soiree – A wonderful discussion group to gain book ideas, and ask questions to mamas who are moving through a CM education with you!

Planning Steps

First, I begin by looking at an example of a PNEU time table from Charlotte Mason Poetry.

I also like to use this PNEU programme from 1922 to get an idea of what a CM term would like for first grade. This also gives me a bigger picture of what the children were expected to learn in the term.

Then, I glance at my notes on teaching for each lesson (using this blog), and the ADE Curriculum Template. I have a binder with tabs organized by subject.

Finally, after getting a clear big picture idea for the term, I write in specifics, such as our living book selections by subject, and other various choices such as composer, artist, handicrafts, etc.

For example, here is what I have in my “Bible” Lesson Tab:

  • Specific Bible chapters that we are covering
  • ADE Bible Curriculum Template
  • Bible art I would also like to share with my children

This allows me a quick glance to see what our plan is for the next twelve weeks and also a reminder on “how to” provide the lesson.


“In the first place, there is a time-table, written out fairly, so that the child knows what he has to do and how long each lesson is to last. This idea of definite work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only as training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not ‘as good as another’; that there is no right time left what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child’s attention to his work.” (Vol 1, p. 142)

Planning Your Homeschool Term
Planning Your Homeschool Term

A CM education recommended to pay close attention to morning school hours. For very young children in the beginning forms, this was 2.5 hours of morning lessons or less. We stick closely to these guidelines. The work is hard, full attention is demanded, yet ample free time is given in the afternoon hours after lunch.

We aim to start school around 9 am and finish by 11:30am. I find when we begin later in the morning, it is WAY too difficult for all of us to stay focused on what we need to do.


“She must ask herself seriously, Why must the children learn at all? What should they learn? And, How should they learn it? If she take the trouble to find a definite and thoughtful answer to each of these queries, she will be in a position to direct her children’s studies; and will, at the same time, be surprised to find that three-fourths of the time and labour ordinarily spent by the child at his lessons is lost time and wasted energy.” (Vol 1, p. 171)

Pond Study
Pond Study

I’m not the most organized person. However, teaching about 11 different subjects daily requires some planning. This is not enough to be a burden or dreary. In fact, I love the process of preparing for my children’s education. However, it’s just enough that a little bit of effort needs to happen before diving into the first lesson of the first term.

Every successful and great business has a vision statement, a mission statement, something that defines who they are, what their goals are, and how they will achieve them. In essence, planning your homeschool term helps you be successful at teaching your children. 

Now that we have experienced our first two homeschool terms, I can reflect upon what went well and what could be improved upon. I see what changes I can make as the teacher and parent to spread the feast a little better to my children.


“We see, then, that the children’s lessons should provide material for their mental growth, should exercise the several powers of their minds, should furnish them with fruitful ideas, and should afford them knowledge, really valuable for its own sake, accurate, and interesting, of the kind that the child may recall as a man with profit and pleasure.” (Vol 1, p. 177)

Start broad, and then go deep. 

Planning Your Homeschool Term
Planning Your Homeschool Term

Planning Steps Daily Details

Before we had our first day of formal education, I spent countless hours and research figuring out what and how I wanted to teach them – what the big picture was going to look like. Then, once I knew Charlotte Mason’s methods were a great fit for us, I planned out the first year. If you take a look at my blog, you will find a blog post lesson by lesson. These are my condensed notes and research on how to give this life-giving feast. Then, I spend a little time before each term, planning the next term. Finally, before the upcoming week, I spend a few minutes preparing for the next week.

I write down the daily subjects for each day, along with the time table beside each as a reminder to see the time limit for each lesson. Next to that, I write the book we are reading from along with the beginning page number. Finally, I write down any reminders that I may want to consider, such as “requiring full-attention” or “provide outdoor time during drill” or “ready to move onto cursive.”

Ideally, I plan for the entire year over the summer. I get a clear and good picture of the overall year and what it looks like. Then, in between school terms, I plan for the following term. I take about 45 minutes to one hour to plan the next term (twelve weeks). Also, before each week, I prepare for the following week, and it takes me about twenty to thirty minutes. Finally, each day, after the lessons are over, I plan for the next day and it takes me about fifteen to twenty minutes.


“Therefore, the selection of their first lesson-books is a matter of grave importance, because it rests with these to give children the idea that knowledge is supremley attractive and that reading is delightful.” (Vol 1, p. 229)

Now, for the fun part! Here is a list of the living books, and specific resources we will be using in our final term, Year 1 – Form 1B.

BibleNIV Study Bible version and Parables of Nature

Writing – Reviewing writing the lower case letters in print and A New Handwriting cursive lower case letters. Then, we will move onto upper case letters in the New Handwriting method and copywork from A Child’s Book of Poems

Literature TalesBlue Fairy Book, Anderson’s Fairy Tales and Aesop’s Fables

History – I have probably WAY too much for History here…but he thoroughly enjoys these History tales and these will make for great free time readings too! America Begins and The Aztecs and The Book of Indians and Meet the North American Indians and Children of Wind and Water

GeographyCM Elementary Geography and Carmen of the Golden Coast and Children of Other Lands

Natural History – Keep a daily nature notebook and find and describe six wild fruits and Plant Life in Field and Garden and Tommy Smith’s Animals and daily time in nature! And Pair of Wings and Miss Rumphius

Picture Study – Botticelli Riverbend Press

Math –Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic 

FrenchHachette’s French Primer and French Poem from mamalisa.com and French Song littlesongster and Nature vocabulary

Brush Drawing – Six wildflowers and fruits in paint or chalk and What to Draw and How to Draw it and draw in nature notebook once a week

Recitation – Fly Away Home Poetry Book and Bible Verses and Hymn

ReadingDiscover Reading – Shepherd lesson and Girl lesson – review words first – alternate sight words and word building

MusicChild’s Pianist One lesson per week in the afternoonR

Musical Appreciation – Brahms’s Music (I pick six songs and make a Spotify playlist)

Singing – Two French songs, hymns, folk songs, sing sofa 

Drill Joyous Book of Singing Games and Syllabus of Physical Exercises and free outdoor play and rhythmic games and dancing

Handicraft – Baking, Gardening, Make bed, Help put away dishes, Laundry, Fold laundry and Math in the Garden

I hope this helps you on your path to homeschool planning and provides with you some tools. Do you have any questions? Please comment below or send me an email!

Finally, I like to conclude with my favorite Charlotte Mason resources. I hope these are inspiring and as helpful to you as they are to me!

Charlotte Mason Resources for Planning

Poetry Teatime

Why You Need the Nourished Children Early Years Guide

A Charlotte Mason Preschool Guide

Poetry Teatime
Poetry Teatime

A Sweet Moment

A few afternoons ago, my oldest son was quietly bringing books and stacking them on the table. Then, he went and grabbed a plate and began filling it with snacks. He asked for me to cut a red pepper, and then said, “Mama, let’s read some poems.” Oh my heart! It was one of my goals this term, to include a daily habit of poetry in the afternoons. It’s so lovely to see that habit making an impression on these little people.

In the Nourished Children Early Years Guide, we talk about good habit suggestions to begin with, how to set up poetry teatime and also SO MUCH more.

Keep reading below to find out WHY you need this Charlotte Mason preschool guide for your family!

Purchase the Guide


“I really loved the guide! A lot of good info and suggestions- plus you can see the love and dedication you poured into it! Thanks so much for writing it!” – Amy

“I appreciate the real-life suggestions, all of the links and book suggestions. They were extremely helpful. There were even a few tips in there that I never thought of doing! So even for a mother who prides herself in this type of lifestyle, I was still able to learn from it.” – Keri

“Thank you so much for making such a wonderful resource. I’m so blessed to have found you.” – Kristina

preschool with charlotte mason
Preschool with Charlotte Mason


This preschool guide is inspired by Charlotte Mason.

Who was she?

Charlotte Mason was a British educator, turned principal of her schools. She housed teacher trainings and offered support to home educators and public schools through a Parents National Education Union School. She deeply cared about educating the child as a whole, and her education philosophy is second to none, in my opinion. You can read more about her here or here.

The Nourished Children Early Years Guide is based off of Charlotte Mason because the more I found out about her, the more she COMPLETELY made sense. She aimed to present an inviting, life-giving, and beautiful education. She wanted to nourish the mind of each child with living ideas.

Healthy Snacks
Healthy Snacks


This guide encourages you (dear mama) by providing lifestyle tips on how to implement a Charlotte Mason education during the early years. The Nourished Children Early Years Guide is a wonderful starting point. The elements included in this guide will not only provide you with a strong foundation but also carry over into the time of formally educating your child. This Charlotte Mason Preschool guide is different from a standard school curriculum, because it is focuses on the whole child. It meets the child, and the family, right where you are. It takes into account, “education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.”

Nourished Children Early Years Guide
Nourished Children Early Years Guide

What’s Included


Lifestyle Tips

Connection with your Family

Real Life Examples

Preschool Booklist

Plus So Much More!

Play with Natural Materials
Play with Natural Materials
Purchase the Guide


Preschool is a perfect time to begin a gentle education with your little ones. Since the guide introduces concepts that are geared towards a lifestyle, you could begin as early as you want. Personally, I want to preserve my children’s childhood, so I don’t want to pressure them, or force them into something they aren’t ready for. The Nourished Children Early Years Guide is the PERFECT method for a gentle introduction into learning. Also, it provides a wonderful foundation to set them up for success once formal learning takes place (around age six).

Children's Bible
Children’s Bible


While I knew I wanted to keep my preschoolers at home with me, I wasn’t quite sure how to begin education with them. I needed to come up with a plan for the precious preschool years. I valued family connection, quality time, and preservation of childhood. At the same time, I sought to provide them with a wholesome educational foundation to develop their character. I searched the internet for a curriculum to use, and while I found one that was nice, it felt like too much, and yet not enough of the right kinds of lessons I wanted.

Often, we want to begin educating our children in the preschool years, yet an immense or intense education is not necessary. The Nourished Children Early Years Guide offers a gentle beginning to a Charlotte Mason education.

Poetry Teatime
Poetry Teatime


You can find a sample of the Nourished Children Early Years Guide here, by clicking “Preview“. When you are ready to purchase, simply click on the green ‘Purchase the Guide’ button. You can also find us at our Etsy shop.

Purchase the Guide

Outdoor Time
Outdoor Time


Many of you already have children you are already home educating. This guide is not meant to burden you with another to-do list. It is meant to encourage you to slowly add in your preschool children where appropriate.

Since my children are just entering into their time of formal education, they have been home with me their whole lives. So in that sense, I’m bringing six years of experience of using the methods suggested in this guide. Eventually, I plan to add seasonal specific guides, with more concrete ideas, as a compliment to the Nourished Children Early Years Guide.  

The elements included in this guide will not only provide you with a strong foundation but also carry over into the time of formally educating your child. Therefore, many of the ideas laid out in this guide will seamlessly blend into your formal homeschool years. If you already have school-age children doing a Charlotte Mason style homeschool with you, some of these points may encourage you to simply add in your preschoolers where it is appropriate.

Purchase the Guide

I hope this introduces you and peeks your curiosity about the Nourished Children Early Years Guide. Have any questions? Please comment away below or send me an email!

As always, I like to conclude with my favorite Charlotte Mason resources. I hope these are inspiring and as helpful to you as they are to me!

Charlotte Mason Resources for the Early Years

Nourished Children Early Years Guide
Nourished Children Early Years Guide
charlotte mason exams

Our First Week in Charlotte Mason Exams

Our First Week in Charlotte Mason Exams

charlotte mason exams
charlotte mason exams

First, we discuss what Charlotte Mason exam week is. Second, we explore the significance of why to use this different method of examinations. Next, I write a list of living books we used this term. Then, I offer some exam questions we used. Finally, I include Charlotte Mason exam resources.

Charlotte Mason Exams

Since this spoke true to my heart, I want to open with this passage from a Parents National Educational Union (PNEU) article:

“First in Charlotte Mason’s mind, and heart, came insistence upon the Person in each child, however young. To her, this was sacred…each young person was invited and enabled to develop, as a flower unfolds, according to his nature; yet with such direction as would fit him for his work in life. Teachers and parents are strongly urged to think about the all-round person in each child, and to comment upon his development in school and out.” (Examinations in the Parents Union School, archive.org)

Characteristics of Charlotte Mason Exams:

  • oral and written narration (to child’s ability)
  • no review of previous material
  • follow the timetables of typical lessons
  • lasts for one week, at the end of the term
  • meant for the child and mama to see what he knows
  • an atmosphere of joy
  • about two or three questions are asked for each subject

Helpful Notes:

Since my son is very young, I asked him to narrate his responses, and then I wrote them down. I recorded his answers on my phone, so that I could write them in full detail. Also, I used a piece of white butcher block paper spread out on the table. I have seen other mamas do this as well, and it was a fun way to accomplish our exams. My son enjoyed drawing in narrations after telling me verbally.

charlotte mason exams
charlotte mason exams

Why Implement a Charlotte Mason Exam?

“As Mr. Ruskin has said, ‘they cram to pass, and not to know; they do pass; and they don’t know.’ Knowledge, as an abiding joy, comes only to those who love her for her own sake, and not to those who use her to get on in school or in life.” (Ourselves, Vol. 4)

Some parents are concerned about public schools placing heavy emphasis on standardized testing. I recall completing my volunteer teacher hours in a kindergarten class. Unfortunately, three things stuck out as unnatural to me:

  1. No recess period.
  2. There was nightly homework.
  3. Finally, standardized testing began with these five and six year olds!

There were large bifolds around each child, so they wouldn’t cheat. I remember the children had a certain amount of time to complete the answers. Also, it felt like a long time to sit still, and complete this serious task!

Now, this is not a comprehensive basis for all kindergartens. I am confident some do not have these elements listed above. However, since I am fortunate enough to homeschool my boys from the beginning, I sought out completing exams, therefore, in a manner that made sense to all of us.

Living Books We Read This Term

Examples of Charlotte Mason Exam Questions:

There were often choices given to the child for an exam question. While there are many resources you can pull from to create your exam questions, here are sample questions I came up with:

  • Bible: “Tell the story of Noah and the Ark or the Tower of Babel.”
  • Writing: “Write the letters of the alphabet in upper case and lower case.”
    • Note: For this term, we used copywork directly from a school book. “As the sun begins to warm the earth you may look out for spring flowers.”
  • Literature: “Tell the fable of the City Mouse and the Country Mouse.”
  • History: “Tell me a story about Christopher Columbus or Lief the Lucky.”
  • Geography: “Draw mountains or rivers with chalk.”
    • Note: During this term, we had questions like, “Why do we never come to the end of the world?” and “How do we know the shape of the earth?”
  • Natural History: “Tell me about snakes or frogs.”
    • Note: “Tell me the story of the lazy snail.”
  • French: “Tell me the french words for these pictures.”
  • Math: “Answer three math problems and then write it down.”
  • Picture Study: “Describe your favorite picture.”
  • Drawing: “Draw a butterfly or a twig.”
    • Note: This term, “Draw an oak tree and an animal you have observed.”
  • Handicrafts: “What handicrafts did we complete?”
  • Music: “Hum your favorite song by Peter Tchaikovsky.”
  • Recitation: “Recite a poem or Bible passage to Dad.”
  • Music piano: “Play a tune you learned to Dad.”
  • Singing: “Sing a french or folk song you learned to Dad.”


Charlotte Mason Exam Resources


I’m sharing some of the living books we used this term 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:

Thank you so much for checking in! Finally, please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.

One stop shop for all of our favorite resources:


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.

Nature Study

A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson

Exploring Nature
Exploring Nature

Part 1 

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson

First, I explain why I’m focusing subject by subject. Also, I include Charlotte Mason quotes because I find her original lectures on education to be SO inspiring and helpful.

Next, please keep reading to see the break down of implementing lessons, the schedule, and resources I’m using that fit our family. Finally, I share the wealth of quality Charlotte Mason resources I have found helpful, from those mothers who have gone before me.


“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.” (Mason, vol. 3)

There are MANY subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education because she believed in spreading a wide feast. Sometimes, it feels a bit daunting for a new homeschooling mama.

Therefore, I’m attempting to learn, digest, and absorb how I’m going to be teaching each subject. I have decided to compose a blog post on each subject for Form 1B (roughly First Grade). This will help me prepare to teach my oldest son in the Fall.

“The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.” (Mason, vol. 1)

A Charlotte Mason Nature Study  


“We were all meant to be naturalists, each in its own degree, and its inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.” (Mason, vol. 1)

When I think about Charlotte Mason, I think about Nature Study, because it was such a big part of her educational philosophy.



Since Charlotte Mason advocated keeping a Nature Journal, we are using this simple one to record our outdoor findings. This is a mix media journal, so it will accommodate our notes, drawings, and watercolors. It is also compact enough to pack in a backpack when we go to a natural park, or the playground, or simply outside in the yard.

This Nature Journal looks amazing too, and I have seen many people purchase it!


Although Charlotte Mason said children are worthy the best, we are using these great, inexpensive watercolors. These do a nice job, and since we already have them, we use them until they are used up. Then, we will probably purchase a nicer quality set, per Ms. Mason’s suggestions, and purchase these: Stockmar Watercolors. Also, I have this beautiful Cherry Wood Paint Holder, which we love to use when we are drawing.

Nature Drawing
Nature Drawing


In Home Education, Charlotte Mason says, “The mother cannot devote herself too much to this kind of reading, (Nature Study) not only that she may read tid-bits to her children about matters they have come across, but that she may be able to answer their queries and direct their observation.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Although the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock is intimidatingly large, it holds a wealth of knowledge on Nature Study. This is meant as a resource for Mama to read, in order to prepare for Nature Study Lessons.


Charlotte Mason describes the Nature Study Lesson as occurring daily. The goal should be to spend two to three hours outside in tolerably fine weather. Therefore, we plan to spend two hours outdoors per day in the afternoons, after finishing morning lessons.

A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson


Charlotte Mason volumes say it best, so here are three AMAZING quotes pertaining to Nature Study.

“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)

Nature Study lays the groundwork for Science.

“…the children will adore her (Mama) for knowing what they want to know, and who knows but she may give its bent for life to some young mind destined to do great things for the world.” (Mason, vol. 1)

The ladies at A Delectable Education note that Nature Study is the foundation for all school work: Reading, Math, Writing, Art, Geography, Language Development, and finally, Science. Therefore, Nature Study is not to be missed.

“…there is no sort of knowledge to be got in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves of the world they live in. Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life.”(Mason, vol. 1)


“In the first place, the child gets his rudimentary notions of geography as he gets his first notions of natural science, in those long hours out of doors of which we have already seen the importance.” (Mason, vol. 1)

After morning lessons, Charlotte Mason advocated ample time spent out of doors on a daily basis. Thus, Nature Study would occur daily, in the afternoons.


  • First, go outside! This can take place in your own yard!
  • Next, the child observes nature. 
  • A very young child tells about the time they spend outdoors and his observations. This is narration. Or, the child can simply record observations in his Nature Journal.
  • Then, the child notes the month or date. Mama can write this in for the child if needed.
  • Sometimes, the child can include a drawing if they want to support their notes.
  • Keep a flower list and a bird list in columns in the Nature Journal.
  • Also, keep a list of anything interesting to the child (ex. mushrooms, trees, leaves, plants).


  1. First, keep formal lessons short.
  2. Allow the child plenty of time to observe nature on their own.
  3. Also, Mama goes with the kiddos when possible! It is as nourishing for Mama as it is for the children.


“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child. ” (Mason, vol. 1)

Often, we see beautiful drawings and illustrations used for Nature Journals. In reality though, the drawings are used to support the field notes and observations. Its amazing if the child can create beautiful drawings, however, it is not necessary.

Therefore, the purpose of a Nature Journal is to support observations in nature.

In the beginning, the mother writes notes for the child, until the child is able to record his own notes in his Nature Journal. The child is encouraged to take notes, and draw in his journal anytime, because this is such a valuable part of their education.

Eventually, it is suggested to keep lists of flowers and birds, and of anything interesting to the child. Also, a child could also additionally include poetry in their Nature Journal.

Also, this Parent’s Union article suggests the schedule would have been:

  • Find and describe six wild fruits
  • Watch and describe, if possible:
    • Ten birds and
    • Five other animals

tree study
tree study




Finally, I have come across some outstanding resources in learning about a Charlotte Mason education. I’m so happy to share them with you! Some of these are sources I return to daily because I’m preparing to teach my children. Additionally, I list specific resources for a Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson.




Additionally, if you are interested in additional Charlotte Mason information,

check out these previous blog posts in the series:

Thank you so much for checking in! Please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.

Homeschool Preschool Supplies List

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. 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.