FIRST GRADE WITH CHARLOTTE MASON

First Week Review in First Grade with Charlotte Mason

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
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.

INSPIRING QUOTES

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.

first grade with charlotte mason
first grade with charlotte mason

SIX IMPORTANT POINTS FOR LESSONS

  1. “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
  2. “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
  3. “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
  4. “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
  5. “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
  6. “That the happiness of the child is the condition of his progress; that his lessons should be joyous…” (Mason, Vol. 1
first grade with charlotte mason
first grade with charlotte mason

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.

NOTE

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

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 week with charlotte mason
first week with charlotte mason

MORNING SCHEDULE

+ 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.

Preschool with Charlotte Mason
Preschool with Charlotte Mason

AFTERNOON SCHEDULE

+ 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.

FIRST GRADE WITH CHARLOTTE MASON
FIRST GRADE WITH CHARLOTTE MASON

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 GRADE WITH CHARLOTTE MASON
FIRST GRADE WITH CHARLOTTE MASON

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.
FIRST GRADE WITH CHARLOTTE MASON
FIRST GRADE WITH CHARLOTTE MASON

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

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.

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.

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

PART 3

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

 

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Special Studies 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.

PREPARING THE FEAST

“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 Special Studies Lesson 

WHAT

“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Above all, Charlotte Mason advocated time in nature as essential. The child who spends ample outdoor time gains much, such as: physical growth, observational skills, sense of beauty, reverence for life, classification skills, and a basic foundation for science. Therefore, daily outdoor time is beneficial.

She goes onto say:

“…here is the mother’s opportunity to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child, which shall germinate, blossom, and bear fruit, without further help, or knowledge of hers.” (Mason, vol. 1)

This takes some pressure off of the mother, or teacher, since it is best if the child observes, attends, questions, and consequently learns for himself. Besides that, the goal eventually, is for the child to provide a self-education.

PRACTICALITY OF SPECIAL STUDIES

Next, Charlotte Mason discusses the educational practicality of sight-seeing in nature:

“This is all play to the children, but the mother is doing valuable work; she is training their powers of observation and expression, increasing their vocabulary and their range of ideas by giving them the name and the uses of an object at the right moment–when they ask, ‘What is it?’ and ‘What is it for?’” (Mason, vol. 1)

While experiencing Special Studies, a child will learn how to investigate, question, and explore, as a result. They will also increase their vocabulary skills, plus gain valuable ideas exploring nature.

 

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

WHAT WE ARE USING

 

SPECIAL STUDIES

Next up, the book list!

First, since we plan to use these for many early elementary years, I made sure to include a nice variety! Charlotte Mason refers to a wide feast, so I sought out many good authors to include over the next few years for Special Studies books.

Hopefully, you find some of these books at your local library, since tons of books can be expensive.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately) I have a love affair with good books. Therefore, I have been collecting books since my boys were babies. Many of these we have already enjoyed in our preschool years. However, since they will be great for Special Studies, I’m pulling them out again!

Consequently, because we will use these books for many years, they are a great investment.

Since it is recommended to pay attention to the seasons, I have broken up the books we are reading by term.

FALL SPECIAL STUDIES BOOKS

(Wildflowers, Fruit, Spiders, Birds)

WINTER SPECIAL STUDIES BOOKS

(Evergreen Trees, Birds in Winter)

 

SPRING SPECIAL STUDIES BOOKS 

(Wildflowers, Trees, Insects)

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

OBJECT LESSON

Additionally, I’m using the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, because this is such a valuable tool for Nature Study. A Delectable Education, Ambleside Online, and Exploring Nature with Children all recommend this book. Mamas read the relevant parts of the book to prepare for a Special Studies or Object Lesson. Therefore, its going to be a staple for the years to come!

WHEN

Charlotte Mason describes the Special Studies Lesson as occurring one time a week. Each lesson lasts about 10 minutes. Typically, you could read about 30-40 pages per term. Therefore, you would read about 4 pages out of your book per lesson.

Additionally, Charlotte Mason describes the Object Studies Lesson as occurring one time a week. Each lesson lasts about 10 minutes and should occur outdoors, if possible.

WHY

“Consider, too, what an unequalled mental training the child-naturalist is getting for any study or calling under the sun–the powers of attention, of discrimination, of patient pursuit, growing with his growth, what will they not fit him for?” (Mason, vol. 1)

Nature Study is so valuable for children; perhaps it is the most valuable lesson. A child gains so much by studying nature because the acquired skills easily assist him into adulthood. Since Natural History (Nature Study) serves as a foundation for all Sciences, we will be spending time in nature daily.

“It would be well if all we persons in authority, parents and all who act for parents, could make up our minds that 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.” (Mason, vol. 1)

BENEFITS OF SPECIAL STUDIES

There are many benefits of spending time in Nature, so Special Studies is a vital lesson.

  • First, according to this article, nature supports mental health.
  • Second, physical activity outdoors helps improve academic performance.
  • Third, nature helps one manage stress.
  • Fourth, spending time outdoors is good for physical health, because it lowers blood pressure and supports longevity.

“Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight for life.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Perhaps most important, as children observe Nature, it allows them to begin to build a relationship with God. When a child observes nature, he observes the magnificence of God’s creation. I wish to provide my boys a full, rich, and interesting life, therefore, observing nature daily is one way to do this.

Finally, Ms. Mason states:

“And, pari passu with his knowledge of things, his vocabulary grows; for it is a law of the mind that what we know, we struggle to express. This fact accounts for many of the apparently aimless questions of children; they are in quest, not of knowledge, but of words to express the knowledge they have.” (Mason, vol. 1)

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

HOW

 

SPECIAL STUDIES LESSON READINGS

  • First, the parent reads to the child. For a six year old, many parents can expect to read the school books to the children. Once the child is able to read the materials on their own, they can begin reading their own school books.
  • Second, the parent asks the child to tell back what he heard. This is called narration.
  • Finally, through this process, the child knows the materials.

This process of reading, narrating, and knowing was the typical method of a lesson in a Charlotte Mason education.

Also, a sample of a Charlotte Mason Lesson Notes from a 1B Class is shown on Charlotte Mason Poetry.

OBJECT STUDIES LESSONS

“Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of bee, ant, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragon-fly, and whatever of larger growth comes in their way.” (Mason, vol. 1)

  • First, go outside. This could be a park, a field, or even, your own backyard.
  • Then, observe an object from your Special Studies. Depending on what season you are in, this could be wildflowers in bloom during Spring, or evergreen trees in winter. Since these are just examples, you would choose what makes sense for where you live.
  • Next, Mama could say something like, “Wow, look at the interesting flowers!”
  • Then, let the child observe the flowers.
  • Finally, Mama could then say, “What shape are the petals?”

NOTES ABOUT OBJECT STUDIES LESSONS

  • First, try to allow the child observe as much as he can on his own.
  • Then, let the child have time to ask questions from what he is noticing.
  • It is okay for Mama to not know the answers. For example, I’m prepared to say, “I don’t know. Let’s find out together.”
A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

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 Special Studies Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON SPECIAL STUDIES LESSON RESOURCES

A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson

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.

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.

A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson

PART 2 

A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore 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.

PREPARING THE FEAST

“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 Lore Lesson 

WHAT

“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)

First, a Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson uses stories about science which include scientific facts, according to A Delectable Education. These books are often written by Naturalists.

“It is in no sense a text-book, although the fundamental principals underlying the sciences treated are here laid down. Its main object is to help the child to understand the material world about him.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Finally, one of my favorite quotes about Nature:

“An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing.” (Mason, vol. 1)

TYPES OF BOOKS COVERED EACH TERM

  1. NATURE BOOK 1 (GENERAL OR ECOSYSTEM)
  2. NATURE BOOK 2 (PLANT OR ANIMAL)
  3. NATURE BOOK 3 (SPECIAL STUDIES)
  • The first type of book covers a general topic. An example could be THIS book.
  • The second type of book specifically looks at narrowed down types of plants or animals. Also, an example of a specific book could be THIS.
  • Finally, the third book, covers Special Studies, which is the topic of the next blog post! We have checked THIS book out before, and we would do so again, because it would be perfect for Special Studies!

NOTES ABOUT NATURE LORE BOOKS

 

Charlotte Mason mentions Nature Lore Books should be written by a Naturalist, because they are experts in their field. Yet, the books can also be engaging and interesting to the child.

“There are many (Nature Lore Books) to be had, all pleasant reading, man of them written by scientific men, and yet requiring little or no scientific knowledge for their enjoyment.” (Mason, vol. 1)

I choose books that would support Nature we have close to us in our yard, since this would be more attainable.

Also, I looked closely to the seasons to use books that would support what would be naturally occurring throughout the year. Therefore, we should be able to go outside, and observe what we are reading about during our Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson.

WHAT WE ARE USING

Since we plan to use these for many early elementary years, I made sure to include a nice variety! Charlotte Mason refers to a wide feast, so I sought out many good authors to include over the next few years for Nature Lore books.

A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson

WHEN

Charlotte Mason describes the Nature Lore Lesson as occurring one time a week. Each lesson lasts about 10 minutes. Typically, you could read about 30-40 pages per term. Therefore, you would read about 4 pages out of your book per lesson.

WHY

First, Charlotte Mason advocated using Naturalist Books because:

“The real use of naturalists’ books at this stage is to give the child delightful glimpses into the world of wonders he lives in, to reveal the sort of things to be seen by curious eyes, and fill him with desire to make discoveries for himself.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Also, Nature Study in general, was such a significant part of a Charlotte Mason Education because:

“It is infinitely well worth the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Finally, Ms. Mason mentions the importance of Nature Study because it serves as the basis of Science.

“That the child’s observation should be directed to flower or boulder, bird or tree; that, in fact, he should be employed in gathering the common information which is the basis of scientific knowledge.” (Mason, vol. 1)

HOW

  • First, the parent reads to the child. For a six year old, many parents can expect to read the school books to the children. Once the child is able to read the materials on their own, they can begin reading their own school books.
  • Second, the parent asks the child to tell back what he heard. This is called narration.
  • Finally, through this process, the child knows the materials.

This process of reading, narrating, and knowing was the typical method of a lesson in a Charlotte Mason education.

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 Nature Lore Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON NATURE LORE LESSON RESOURCES

  • A Delectable Education Podcast on Nature Lore
  • One more A Delectable Education Podcast on Nature Lore lesson with a seven year old
  • Sabbath Mood Homeschool Nature Lore Book List – an AMAZING resource of Nature Lore books per Form (Grade)
  • Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children – A Nature Topic for each week, based on a Charlotte Mason education. Each week, she includes lovely books that could easily serve as Nature Lore books, so I wanted to include it here! (HINT: If you click on this link, make sure you click “Preview” to check out the curriculum!)

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.

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.

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.

PREPARING THE FEAST

“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  

WHAT

“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.

WHAT WE ARE USING 

MIX MEDIA JOURNAL

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!

WATERCOLORS

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

HANDBOOK OF NATURE STUDY

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.

WHEN

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

WHY

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)

HOW

“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.

NATURE STUDY LESSON

  • 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).

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT NATURE STUDY

  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.

NATURE JOURNAL

“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

SOME HANDY RESOURCES TO SUPPORT NATURE STUDY

 

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 Nature Study Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON NATURE STUDY LESSON RESOURCES

OUR PICKS

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.

cursive writing practice

A Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson

cursive writing practice
cursive writing practice

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.

PREPARING THE FEAST

“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)

The New Handwriting
The New Handwriting

A CHARLOTTE MASON WRITING LESSON

WHAT

Since I’m homeschooling my son for the first time in the Fall, I choose to focus first on completing a Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson for a very young elementary student.

First, Charlotte Mason recommends The New Handwriting as a wonderful example and model of handwriting. The creator of The New Handwriting says, “…variety and beauty of form are attractive, even to little children, and that the attempt to create something that interests them, cheers and crowns their stupendous efforts with a pleasure that cannot be looked for in the task of creating monotonous shapes.” (Mason, vol. 1)

When a child (or adult!) is engaging in something interesting, they are more likely to focus, concentrate, take pride, and do good work. In my experience, I do well at something I’m most interested in, because it matters to me. Therefore, if the handwriting is beautiful to the child, they will delight in their achievements, and want to continue to produce neat writing.

GOALS

The goal of writing will be to accomplish “…a single line which is as exactly as possible a copy of the characters set.” (Mason, vol. 1)

The child will eventually begin to do copywork carefully and perfectly.

“It is sometimes objected that this elaborate and beautiful handwriting will interfere with a characteristic ‘hand,’ but it seems to me that to have a beautiful, instead of a commonplace, basis for handwriting is a great gain.” (Mason, vol. 1)

I’m choosing to follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy, partly because she attempts to find beauty in education. Albert Einstein said, “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” Also, throughout the Bible, there are several references to seek truth, beauty, and goodness. Since Charlotte Mason valued the Bible so greatly, I believe she aimed to educate children in a beautiful manner.

cursive writing
cursive writing

 

WHEN

“Let the writing lesson be short; it should not last more than five or ten minutes.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Charlotte Mason says writing lessons should take place daily and last about five or ten minutes.

“First, let the child accomplish something perfectly in every lesson–a stroke, a pothook, a letter.” (Mason, vol. 1)

The child is expected to perfectly form the letter or words daily, as this would be an ideal lesson.

“Secure that the child begins by making perfect letters and is never allowed to make faulty ones, and the rest he will do for himself; as for ‘a good hand,’ do not hurry him; his ‘handwriting’ will come by-and-by…” (Mason, vol. 1)

A great beginning point would be to perfectly form one letter each day.

wooden letters
wooden letters

HOW

“But the child should have practice in printing before he begins to write. First, let him print the simplest of the capital letters with single curves and straight lines. When he can make the capitals and large letters, with some firmness and decision, he might go on to the small letters…” (Mason, vol. 1)

In the beginning, a very young child should practice writing letters in sand. Then, he can write letters in the air using his fingers. This air wiring is done because it is beneficial for the child to picture the letter in their mind.

“At this stage the chalk and blackboard are better than pen and paper, as it is well that the child should rub out and rub out until his own eye is satisfied with the word or letter he has written.” (Mason, vol. 1)

After these steps are mastered, they can write with chalk, and finally a pencil and paper.

clay letters and writing
clay letters and writing

STEPS

A natural order of handwriting progression, according to Charlotte Mason, could be:

  1. Write strokes
  2. Write Uppercase Letters (one at a time)
  3. Write Lowercase Letters (one at a time)
  4. Write one word
  5. Write small phrase or sentence

DICTATION

The goal is to hear spoken words from Mama, and write them down, or dictate them. Also, the children are expected to see words on a page, and copy them. There is no need to have a special book for this; simply dictating or copying from their school books is enough. Since living books are used in a Charlotte Mason, the words already in their school books are an excellent choice to copy from.

Language develops through the ear, eye, and hand. Therefore, hearing the spoken words and writing them down, as well as visually seeing the words and writing them down, are useful skills for a child.

Copywork
Copywork

WHY

Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.”

As a child grows, he will find some need to write because it is practical. Writing is a way of thinking and processing your thoughts. It is also effective because its serves as a form of communication with others. Also, you can use it to remember important details or to make lists of items that you need.

Finally, writing is another way to see beauty, in a perfectly, carefully formed letter or word. A child delights in his carefully mastered handwriting because he has done well.

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 Writing Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON WRITING LESSON RESOURCES

  • A Delectable Education podcast on Writing for Form 1B (First Grade)
  • Another A Delectable Education podcast on Language Acquisition
  • New Handwriting Resource for Teachers
  • Set of inexpensive wooden letters to play with and form words
  • These wooden letters are also BEAUTIFUL!
  • Beautiful Waldorf Inspired Chalk
  • Magnetic Wall Chalkboard (We love this one because we can display our artwork on it also)
  • Uppercase and Lowercase Cursive ABC Trace-n-Erase Chalkboard
  • Small Travel and Trace Chalkboard Set (We have this for the car and we all LOVE it)
  • LOVE this small, chalkboard because it reminds me of a vintage style
  • Or, this pack of 12 lap chalkboards (since it is perfect for ALL of your children and you can keep some in the car!)
  • Beginning pencils
  • Kindergarten/First Grade Composition Notebook
  • Not necessary, but BEAUTIFUL Wooden Alphabet Tracing Board
  • Volume 1 Charlotte Mason’s Home Education (pg. 233-240)
  • Exploring Nature with Children Curriculum – Occasionally, I may pull in some copywork from here because this resource provides samples of excellent writing that can be copied by the child. (TIP: If you click on this link, make sure you click Preview to check out the journal! Also, be sure to scroll all the way down to view a sample of November.)

OUR PICKS

Additionally, if you are interested in additional Charlotte Mason information, feel free to check out these previous blog posts:

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. 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.

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flower press

A Charlotte Mason Summer

A CHARLOTTE MASON SUMMER

flower press
flower press

WHAT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO …

A Charlotte Mason Summer

I’m preparing to teach my oldest son his first, formal year of school at home. In November, he will turn six.

Where did the time go?

I have been planning for this moment for many years and I’m beyond blessed to teach him his first year of school at home.

SUMMER TIME PLANS

In an attempt to ease into formal homeschool later this year, I’m going to begin to implement NOW some parts of his future formal education, yet in a fun and casual way.

Charlotte Mason calls this type of learning “by the way” (Home Education pg. 72).

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 HIGHLY 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.

Playing with Letters
Playing with Letters

ELEMENTS OF EDUCATION

SUMMER MORNING SCHEDULE

+ Work on Morning Habits  (Brush teeth, Make bed)

+ Review Letter Sounds and Letter Recognition … We gently use the Peaceful Preschool to learn letters … Also, here are some of our favorite wooden letters and sandpaper letters

+ Read Bible Stories at Breakfast … My favorite Bible for Preschool Age Children

+ Free playtime

SUMMER AFTERNOON SCHEDULE

+ Nature Play and Free Time

+ Poetry Reading with Snack … Suggested poetry here and here and here

+ Learn a few French and Spanish words each day … We use this audio French CD in the car

+ Free playtime

+ Clean up Toys Before Bed

+ Read Aloud at Bedtime … My favorite stories for preschoolers 

Raising Butterflies
Raising Butterflies

OUTDOOR TIME BASICS

All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason.

“…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…” (pg. 96).

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.

“…Never be within doors when you can rightly be without” (pg. 42).

Before I had heard of Charlotte Mason, we were already spending copious amounts of time outdoors. We
are fortunate to live on acreage, and we live in the country outside of Austin, Texas. There are so
many lovely nature opportunities that surround us – many that we have visited, and so many more that we
haven’t explored.

It is so calming and encouraging to spend time outdoors. We aim to spend time in Nature daily!

“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child” (pg. 54) and “While he is quite young (five or six), he should begin to illustrate his notes freely with brush-drawings” (pg. 55).

My children are only four and five, and we have begun to keep a nature diary. However, I have not been
consistent with it, and I plan to work on more consistency throughout the summer. I was recently gifted the Diary of an Edwardian Lady and its a stunning example that I believe Charlotte Mason would have approved of! The book includes mostly notes from the author’s time in nature with beautiful watercolor illustrations. I look forward to keeping a diary of my own alongside my children!

“…I venture to suggest, not what is practicable in any household, but what seems to me absolutely best for the children; and that, in the faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them” (pg. 44).

This quote is in response to the fact that children and mothers should spend four to six hours outdoors on
a tolerably fine day. We are currently not spending that much time in this Texas heat, but I do attempt for
us to get outdoors in the morning and we always take a walk in the evening after dinner. When the
weather is more mild, we spend much longer outdoors and its a blessing for ALL of us.

“…she will point to some lovely flower or gracious tree, not only as a beautiful work, but a beautiful thought of God, in which we may believe He finds continual pleasure, and which He is pleased to see his human children rejoice in” (pg. 80).

I delight in seeing how excited my children are when they discover a new flower outdoors! Occasionally,
it is nice to remark how beautiful God made the world. Its so amazing to hear my children talk about God
as if he is an old friend sometimes.

Flower Sorting
Flower Sorting

OUR FAMILY OUTDOOR TIME

(During our Charlotte Mason Summer)

1. Allow children one or two hours of free time to play and explore in nature daily. This is a great opportunity for ME to sit outdoors with them to read more on the teaching philosophies I will be implementing, prepare for lessons, write out meal plans, list of house chores, or simply read for pleasure.
2. Send them off to a sight seeing game to paint a mental picture of what they see…so they can hold the
image in their minds forever (about 15 minutes).
3. Observe the flowers, birds, trees, or insects. Watch the creatures’ habits and learn something new simply by paying attention for a few minutes.
4. Jot down any notes in our Nature Journals to remember.
5. Note the weather and date in the Journal.

Observing Flowers
Observing Flowers

FAVORITE NATURE JOURNAL AND SUPPLIES

A Charlotte Mason Summer

Finally, here are my favorite Preschool Supplies all in one, comprehensive list.

Wildflowers
Wildflowers
Planning Homeschool
Planning Homeschool

OUR PICKS

Winter Trees

Winter Nature Activities for Preschoolers

EXPLORING NATURE WITH CHILDREN

I’m so thankful I get to spend time with my children for their Preschool/Kindergarten years. These early years are so precious. First, I share examples of our nature studies with Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children. Keep reading to find out how we explore nature during the Winter! Finally, at the bottom, we list our favorite supplies for the Preschool/Kindergarten years.

Winter Nature Activities for Preschoolers
Winter Nature Activities for Preschoolers

PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM

SUPPORTS AMPLE NATURE TIME

  • Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children – This works well for my family because it is centered around being outdoors (HINT: If you click on this link, make sure you click “Preview” to check out the preschool curriculum!)
Winter Trees
Winter Trees

WINTER BIRDS

In December, we studied winter birds with Exploring Nature Curriculum with Children. Almost daily, we pull out our Nature Anatomy book and use it as a lovely learning resource. We also LOVE these sandpaper letters for early letter formation and writing skills! They are so affordable to beautiful in their simplicity.

I have been wanting to collect some field guides, and we finally picked up a few at Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. I choose the following guides since I felt they would get us started off on the right foot: Texas Wildflowers, Birds of Central Texas, and Owls of North America.

Finally, we read through Owl Moon. Have you read this story? If you haven’t, I highly suggest it! The last page in the book is so sweet:

“When you go owling
you don’t need words
or warm
or anything but hope.
That’s what Pa says.
The kind of hope
that flies
on silent wings
under a shining
Owl Moon.”

Winter Birds
Winter Birds

We also created bird’s nests from play dough and used some old string and feathers and twigs from the yard.

Also pictured are two other highly recommended books that we read regularly: Albert and A Nest is Noisy.

Winter Bird's Nest
Winter Bird’s Nest

Albert is a sweet story about birds who build a nest in Albert’s hands and help him overcome his fears. It is beautifully illustrated by Jim LaMarche.

Winter Bird's Nest
Winter Bird’s Nest

Now that my oldest is five, he is beginning to want to practice handwriting. I’m super gentle with their learning since I feel that is best for the littlest of children. I’m grateful for these letter worksheets from simplylearningkids.

Finally, we read through Are You My Mother? My little ones created another nest made from play dough and I loved when they added in eggs. Its such a joy to see their creativity come alive from play, good books, and nature! Here is the link to these lovely letters again! sandpaper letters

Winter Bird's Nest
Winter Bird’s Nest

WINTER SKY

Since we don’t have much snow in Texas, the boys don’t often experience what I would consider a true Winter. My husband and I talk often about taking them to a colder place in the Winter sometime so they can experience snowflakes and nature in wintertime.

To explore the Winter sky, we used coffee filters to make snowflake shapes, and also read the Snowy Day and Nature Anatomy again to look at different snowflake shapes.

Winter Snowflakes
Winter Snowflakes

Then, we read this sweet book called Snowmen at Night. I think its perfect for preschoolers since it seems like the boys enjoy to have this book read aloud often!

Winter Snowmen
Winter Snowmen

WINTER MOON

Once again, we utilized the Nature Anatomy books and these sandpaper letters . Seriously, we use them almost daily!!!

Winter Moon
Winter Moon

First, I drew in pencil the phases of the moon and then I invited my oldest to watercolor the picture however he wanted. I love his close attention to detail.

Winter Moon
Winter Moon

We also added in gluten free oreos into the study of the phases of the moon! The boys LOVED this part of course!

Winter Moon
Winter Moon

We don’t often buy cookies so this was a treat! I may or may not have a cookie or two with them!

Winter Moon
Winter Moon

My sweet friend sent me these beautiful moon resources.

Winter Moon
Winter Moon

WINTER TREE STUDY

The Exploring Nature with Children curriculum is so lovely written. She states:

     “Winter can be a very interesting time to observe trees. Their beautiful silhouettes stretch across the  winter sky line, revealing their shapes more clearly in the absence of leaves.”

My littlest one (age three) painted a tree from the Perfect Christmas Tree. Oh my goodness…this is SUCH a sweet story to read at Christmas time! You know a good book when it stirs your emotions and brings you to tears! This book was recommended from the Peaceful Preschool curriculum, which we use to gently introduce letters to the boys.

Winter Tree Study
Winter Tree Study

We have very loosely kept a nature journal. I tried my hand at drawing an evergreen with John Muir Law’s drawing tutorials, and my son wanted to draw a tree right next to mine! So sweet. I love his creations.

Winter Trees
Winter Trees

Then, we collected twigs and branches from outside in the yard and read this LOVELY book of nature winter poems.

Winter Trees
Winter Trees

We also read Winter Trees and painted using our tree branches.

Winter Trees
Winter Trees

Again, we used our Nature Anatomy book again to identify different kinds of bark. We also wound twine around some branches. The boys had fun figuring out how to wind the string around the tree!

Winter Trees
Winter Trees

Little Tree is another sweet story that shows the seasons nicely. Its a sweet story of a little tree who is afraid of change. Also, I love the illustrations by Loren Long.

Winter Trees
Winter Trees

CANDLEMAS WEEK

This beeswax candle making kit is so affordable, simple, and my boys LOVE to make candles. The boys also played with the letters beads and used their fine motor skills to string them on pipe cleaner.

Candlemas
Candlemas

EARTHWORM STUDY

Next, we read about earthworms and they colored in a picture of an earthworm that I drew. We briefly discussed the anatomy of an earthworm. I don’t focus on much detail at this point…I just let them observe as much as they can on their own.

Then, my boys had fun using play dough to form earth worms. We enjoy this natural play dough for playing, and forming letters.

Winter Earthworms
Winter Earthworms

I was completely shocked to see my oldest want to copy this poem that comes in the curriculum. Once he was finished, I didn’t pressure him to keep going. This is considered copywork and its AMAZING handwriting/language arts practice!

Exploring Nature with Children also has a Guided Journal and its so lovely! We have used it many times, though I can easily seeing using it weekly as the boys grow! The copywork pictured below came from the Guided Journal!

Winter Earthworms
Winter Earthworms

WINTER FIELD TRIP

We also took a hike to Pedernales Falls State Park. My hubby loved it so much that he purchased a state pass for the whole family.

Winter Field Trip
Winter Field Trip

Our boys and dogs loved it!

Winter Field Trip
Winter Field Trip

We have been a handful of times, so we can’t wait to return.

Winter Field Trip
Winter Field Trip

Finally, I hope this helps inspire you with some Winter Preschool/Kindergarten activities! I sure love this precious time spent at home with my kiddos. Finally, here is our curated Preschool supplies list!

If you are interested in Exploring Nature with Children, I encourage to check it out! Its super affordable and I intend to keep up this curriculum every year for many years to come! Make sure you click “Preview” so you view a sample of the rich curriculum!

SUPPLIES

Nature Anatomy Series
Owl Moon
Watercolors
Nature Journal
Paint brushes
Sandpaper Letters
Winter Trees
A Nest is Noisy

OUR PICKS

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