Wildflowers

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!

Who 

“…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.

What

“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.

When

“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)

Wildflowers
Wildflowers

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.

Why

“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.

How

“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.

Where

“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

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.

Planning Your Homeschool Term

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.

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 ideas 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, though 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 every day.  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 the 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 the 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 music lesson

A Charlotte Mason Music Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Music Lesson

a charlotte mason music lesson
a charlotte mason music lesson

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Music 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 awe 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 Music Lesson

WHAT

First, Charlotte Mason does not devote much writing to the music lesson, nor can I find many resources elsewhere. However, she does include it as a significant part of the educational feast, therefore, we are trying our hand at it. It seems to me that most mamas choose to provide outsourced music lessons for their child. My husband is an accomplished guitar player, and is self-taught on many instruments, so we are beginning with him (hooray)!

I’m using Mrs. Curwen’s Teacher’s Guide to educate myself because Ms. Charlotte Mason references it as a great resource. However, I will only be supplementing this as my children are ready, and when my husband is unable to teach the lesson. For the most part, my husband will be teaching them their music lessons, because music is his passion. Ms. Mason says:

“Mrs. Curwen’s Child Pianist method is worked out, with minute care…the child’s knowledge of the theory of music and his ear training keep pace with his power of execution, and seem to do away with the deadly dreariness of ‘practicing’.” (Mason, vol. 1)

WHAT WE ARE USING

 

ANOTHER RESOURCE TO CONSIDER

The Suzuki Method also seems recommended, because it appears in line with Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy. It has wonderful reviews, and seems to be pretty readily available.

WHY

Mrs. Curwen says, in a Parent’s Review Article on Music Teaching:

“…the piano is the best medium for teaching a child the theory of music easily, and that no time spent in learning the theory on the piano is really wasted, even if another instrument is later taken up.”

Therefore, even if the child moves onto another instrument eventually, piano serves as a strong foundation to begin his music lessons.

Perhaps most important, the benefit of introducing children to music is vast. The benefits range from: more language development, higher test scores in English and Math, increased brain activity, and appreciation for art, among others, according to this PBS article.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH MUSIC

I learned to play piano in upper elementary school. I played for about two years. Then, I stopped piano lessons, because I grew weary of practicing. However, I was quite good at playing piano, according to my parents.

Then, in middle school, I played the flute. I was able to learn to play the flute and read music fairly easily. This was directly related to my exposure to piano lessons.

As a result of my early piano lessons, I was able to excel playing the flute. I mostly tied for ‘first chair’ in eight grade band. Additionally, the high school marching band wanted me to play flute with them so greatly, they entertained the idea of me double dressing in a band uniform over my dance uniform. Ultimately, I decided to forego music so I could focus on dancing. However, I was surprised about 15 years later, when I picked up my flute, I was able to play a few songs and still read music.

 

WHEN

Charlotte Mason describes the Music Lesson as occurring every day, during the afternoons. They are not part of the morning lessons. Also, each lesson lasts about twenty minutes.

 

HOW

Mrs. Annie Jesse Curwen recommends beginning to expose your child to music in babyhood.

  • First, sing lullabies to your children, or sing nursery rhymes. These are an excellent start.
  • You can then begin playing and singing simple children songs several times a week to expose children to hearing music by ear.
  • She also recommends to introduce the Sol-Fa singing method to children because it will help build their vocal, instrumental, and theoretical education.

“If possible, let the children learn from the first under artists, lovers of their work: it is a serious mistake to let the child lay the foundation of whatever he may do in the future under ill-qualified mechanical teachers, who kindle in him none of the enthusiasm which is the life of art.” (Mason, vol. 1)

I’m very blessed because my husband is a recording engineer. He fluently plays guitar, and has taught himself how to play bass guitar, piano, drums, among others. Thankfully, he has agreed to teach music lessons to our boys. Also, I’m delighted because he has already begun. He has taught my oldest son Mary Had a Little Lamb, and a little about music notes, which my oldest son (almost six) has been able to understand.

Mrs. Curwen also says: “For the longer I live the more convinced I am that in music teaching the key to the whole situation is ear- training, ear-training, ear-training.” 

a charlotte mason music lesson
a charlotte mason music lesson

 

Therefore, I plan to begin learning more about the piano lesson by reading: The Teacher’s Guide by Annie Jesse Curwen (Child Pianist). Also, I will continue to spend time teaching singing in order to build a foundation for instrumental music lessons.

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 Music Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON MUSIC LESSON RESOURCES

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. 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.