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

Testimonials

“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

Who 

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

What

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.”

What’s Included

Encouragement

Lifestyle Tips

Connection with your Family

Real Life Examples

Preschool Booklist

Plus So Much More!

NCEYGtableofcontents
NCEYGtableofcontents
Play with Natural Materials
Play with Natural Materials
Purchase the Guide

When

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

Why

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

Where

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

How

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.

Beautiful Art for Children
Beautiful Art for Children
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
outdoor time

Thoughts Going Into Our Second Term and Booklist

chalkboard side
going into our second term

First, I share what thoughts I had as we finished up our first term in a Charlotte Mason education. Next, I write a list of living books we will use during the second termFinally, I include Charlotte Mason exam resources.

Thoughts About our First Term

When we finished our first term exam week, I sat down and reflected on both how my son narrated what he knew, and I also thought about how I would like to personally push myself farther in educating him well. Here are the notes I came up with:

Subjects and Takeaways

Daily Lessons

Bible: In the beginning, I was most reserved about our Bible lessons. My fear came from within, because growing up, I did not read the Bible much. However, as we moved into our third week, I relaxed and found a groove. We looked forward to this lesson more and more.

  • Takeaway: In the beginning, I was consistent in finding beautiful art pictures to go along with our Bible readings. However, I slipped in the last couple of weeks and didn’t present those beautiful images to him. So, I would like to bring that practice back.

Writing: We first focused on forming the letters – first the capital letters, and then the lower case letters. By the end of the term, my son was writing a few words and small phrases.

  • Takeaway: I would like to continue to find encouraging and beautiful words from his school books for him to practice writing, and also begin dictation.

Nature Study: We had a good start to nature study. By the end of the term, we certainly were in a regular rhythm of stepping outdoors and taking a walk in nature daily.

  • Takeaway: I would like us to develop a regular practice of nature journaling at least two times per week. Additionally, I plan to ask my son to specifically draw twigs, birds, and bugs he observes. Even thought we loved one of our nature study books, and didn’t quite get into another one, I felt like I may change to a different book for the change in season. Also, personally, I would like to read in the Handbook of Nature Study for ten minutes per day to help with the nature study lessons.

Math: I loved the math curriculum we choose. It is very open and go, which is nice to have as a busy mama.

  • Takeaway: I feel like I may need to move slower and require full attention a bit more with this subject. I’m also moving the math lesson to earlier in the morning, so his mind is more fresh, and he is likely to pay attention a bit more. When we resume lessons, I plan to review math symbols with him and the concept of subtraction, until I feel he has a solid understanding of it.

Reading: We began by simply learning the sounds for letters – first the capital letters, and then the lower case letters. By the end of the term, we had moved onto making words together, and reading them. While this seems challenging for my son, we are enjoying it and he is recognizing more words in print.

  • Takeaway: I plan to continue alternating learning sight words, and then word building, using words from previous lessons. I found this took a few minutes of planning the day before, but was fun for my son, for the most part, in his reading lessons.

Delightful Lessons

French: French was fun to learn! I have to admit I don’t have any experience learning French, so I was rather intimidated in the beginning. However, we really enjoyed looking at pictures together, learning vocabulary, singing French songs, and listening to Little Red Riding Hood in French.

  • Takeaway: Since we enjoyed the short story, I plan to continue using the same story until we finish it. Also, we will learn two new french poems and two new french songs this term, as well as new vocabulary.

Drawing: Drawing is a delight for my son and I to do together. However, that was no surprise to me!

  • Takeaway: As mentioned before, I would like my son to draw twigs, birds, and bugs specifically during the winter months. Also, in general, I would like to encourage him to use charcoal and his watercolors more frequently.

Recitation: My son enjoyed reciting a poem last term, as well as a Christmas hymn and part of a Bible verse.

  • Takeaway: We didn’t cover quite as much scripture recitation as I would like. So, I plan to make sure to focus a bit more on reciting Bible passages beautifully and carefully.

Literature: Anything that involves a good read aloud story is typically enjoyed by my family. My son really learned narration well with Aesop’s Fables and often asked for more and more of them.

  • Takeaway: I would also like to instill a daily reading of poetry in the afternoon for fun. It is a delightful respite in our day, and I simply need to focus on making it happen daily. We will also add in new free read aloud books for afternoon time.

History: History was easily one of my son’s favorite lessons this term. The D’Aulaire Biography books were a favorite of his!

  • Takeaway: While I did show him maps on occasion, I would like to be consistently show him a map/globe of what we will be reading through before the daily lesson. We will be also continuing with our History spine, Native American book, and add in a new Native American book to read.

Geography: Geography was another subject I was apprehensive about teaching in the beginning. I’m still a little nervous about it. However, my son seemed to really enjoy the books we read about other children living in far off lands, and we did look at the globe quite a bit in geography lessons.

  • Takeaway: I plan to continue with a bit more focus on the afternoon lessons in Geography. First, beginning with observing the position of the sun, observing the weather, measuring our footsteps, talking about directions and beginning to use a compass. We did some of this last term, but it wasn’t as consistent as I would like.

Poetry: Although we read poetry often in the afternoons, I aim to include poetry teatime as a daily habit. My children delight in this time of reading a few good poems and maybe a chapter of a book together. Also, including snacks and tea is always helpful!

Poetry Teatime
Poetry Teatime

Some Subjects We Are Simply Changing Materials

Music Appreciation: We enjoyed listening to Peter Tchaikovsky immensely last term! We will simply continue with a new composer this term.

Picture Study: We are studying a new artist in the second term. I also thought we could perhaps visit our first museum.

Singing: Singing was such a delight in our days. We plan to continue in the same manner, just singing new songs for the new term.

The Riches

Music/piano: My husband is a musician and a Recording Engineer. Since he is an expert in music, I asked him to teach my son piano lessons once a week. My intention was also to work with him at home most afternoons.

  • Takeaway: Since my husband is extremely busy working, he didn’t give him lessons regularly. Therefore, I’m hoping we can keep our goal of piano lessons once a week, with me working with him in the afternoons at home.

Handicrafts: The handicrafts lesson was a joy for all of us. We really enjoyed having this break in the midst of harder lessons.

  • Takeaway: We will continue some from the first term (origami, finger knitting, chores such as making bed, brushing teeth, putting away laundry), and add in new ones like folding laundry, wood working, and knitting or weaving.
Second Term in a Charlotte Mason Education
Second Term in a Charlotte Mason Education

New Books for our Second Term

Quick Note: this is not even close to a comprehensive list of books we are using this term. This is simply the new books we are adding in this term. Also, booklists are so subjective! Finding the right books for your child is so enjoyable and can make lessons joyous as well.

Nature Study: Burgess Bird Book for Children and Among the Meadow People

Read Alouds: Peter Pan, Pinnochio and Peter Rabbit (we are re-reading Pinnochio and Peter Rabbit!)

History: Children of the Earth and Sky

Geography: Carmen of the Golden Coast and Little Folks of Many Lands

Favorite Resources

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 Geography Lesson.

General Charlotte Mason Resources

favorite living books
favorite living books

Our Picks

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:https://www.amazon.com/shop/nourishedchildren

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.

favorite living books

Ten Favorite Living Books for First Grade

Ten Favorite Living Books for First Grade

Top 10 Living Books
Top 10 Living Books

First, we discuss the definition of living books. Then, we explore the significance of why we choose living books for educating our children. Next, read on for our favorite living books, so far, by subject. Finally, I list resources. Also, if you are interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason education in general, I list more information about her educational philosophy at the bottom.

Living books definition

In Parents and Children, Charlotte Mason says:

“They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told.” (Mason, Vol. 2)

Living books are becoming more of a known idea. According to Living Books Library, living books contain “literary power, ideas, virtuosity, inspiration, narrative, imagination, and span generations.”

  • This is a great podcast describing more about living books.
  • Ambleside online also describes living books in this article here.

Why choose living books?

Charlotte Mason states:

“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 supremely attractive and that reading is delightful.” (Mason, Vol. 1)

Our favorite living books are the kind that make my son request chapter after chapter, or section after section, after we have read our portion for school time. They are the type of books that allow him to retain the facts, details, and storyline, often many days, or even a week, after we have read it. I can ask him to tell what he heard me read, and although sometimes he doesn’t feel like giving me a narration, he often surprises me to the extent of what he remembers. A living book allows learning to take place; not just learning is happening though, a lifelong love of learning is also fostered.

NOW FOR THE RECOMMENDED BOOKS…

LIVING BOOKS

I have always had a love affair with books. Books introduced me to various lands and lives that I otherwise would have not encountered. Books offered me refuge and respite when I needed it as I was growing up. It was easy to get lost in a good story. I’m so thankful to share this love of great literature with my children too.

TEN FAVORITE LIVING BOOKS FOR FIRST GRADE

Geography

Children of Foreign Lands – This book is a collection of stories written about children living in foreign lands. There are eight different countries included, and the illustrations are amazing. Both of my children are captivated by the stories, therefore, this book comes highly recommended.

favorite living books
favorite living books

History

D’Aulaire Biography Book Set – We have read Leif the Lucky and Columbus so far. My oldest son really pays attention to these stories (even when I think he may not be listening). Beautiful Feet Books sells the biography pack, and they are a better price when they are on sale.

Natural history

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children – This may be my oldest son’s all time favorite collection of stories. If I had allowed it, I’m sure we would have read through the entire chapter book in one sitting. Each story is written about a different animal, and told from the perspective of the town veterinarian. The illustrations that go with the stories capture my son’s interest. Also, my youngest son is sure to cuddle us with us while we are reading this book.

Tommy Smith’s Animals – Another book in this series was used in Charlotte Mason’s day. After reading a bit about recommended ages, I decided to begin with Tommy Smith’s Animals. This book hit the nail on the head, and my son is captivated. The story is about a young boy who is not kind to animals. After having a meeting to discuss what should be done about Tommy Smith, the animals settle on encountering with him one by one. They teach them about themselves, and encourage Tommy to respect the animals.

favorite living books
favorite living books

Literature

Aesop’s Fables for Children – I have to really slow down reading these to my son, because he wants to read ALL of the fables! I have two versions of this book since we love it so much. We also love this one for the illustrations.

Read alouds

Heidi – First, we watched Heidi on netflix during one weekend where we had been very physically active. My son was super interested when I then told him we had the chapter book of Heidi. My husband’s mother had a collection of classic books, which my husband inherited. I’m so grateful to share these rich stories with my children in our free time.

Boxcar Children – My oldest son especially is fond of trains. From the time he was two, he was building wooden train sets and configuring them in different ways.  He loves taking train rides, and hearing train stories. So, naturally, reading the Boxcar Children was a good fit for my family. I have great memories of reading the Boxcar Children series when I was growing up, and its fun to re-read them with my boys.

Billy and Blaze – I first saw these books at a Christian bookstore in Homestead Heritage Farms. After browsing through a few books, I knew my horse-loving son would love these books. So, I purchased this series, and my youngest son just loves them too!

Charlotte’s Web – Growing up, I loved the book and movie Charlotte’s Web. My son has seen the movies on netflix, and we have read the chapter book many times through together. The first time we read it aloud, he was four. I clearly remember him almost in tears when after reading one chapter, when I wanted to end the reading until the next day. He loves it so much!

favorite living books
favorite living books

Poetry

When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six – We began afternoon poetry readings before we started our official first year of school. I can remember being shocked at how both of my boys asked for more poetry after reading a couple of poems from this book. The illustrations are delightful. We have also enjoyed Winnie the Pooh together, and this collection of poems by the same author, A. A. Milne, is a great book to add to your rich read aloud collection.

favorite living books
favorite living books

Drawing

Brush Drawing Course – While this is not a living book, I wanted to include it here because my son loves art. This has been a great practice in learning basic brush drawing, or watercolor, technique. We thoroughly enjoy this time together, because we are completing the lessons side by side and are learning together.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

LIVING BOOKS RESOURCES

favorite living books
favorite living books

OUR PICKS

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:

Thank you so much for checking in! Finally, 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. 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.