a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson

A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson

a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson
a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading 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 pre-reading lesson
a charlotte mason pre-reading lesson

A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson

WHAT

My son is five, almost six. According to Charlotte Mason’s methods of learning to read, he will be in the pre-reading category when we begin formal lessons. So, if your child is not yet reading proficiently, this post may be helpful to you! As my son progresses, I plan to compose an additional post with some ideas for A Charlotte Mason Reading Lesson (Reading by Sight and Sound).

“But the learning of the alphabet should be made a means of cultivating the child’s observation: he should be made to see what he looks at.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Charlotte Mason recommended that a child be able to visualize the words, learning from sight, in addition to learning phonics.

“Accustom him from the first to shut his eyes and spell the word he has made.” (Mason, vol. 1)

WHAT WE ARE USING

  • Home Education by Charlotte Mason – there are about 30 pages devoted to the reading lesson. Its gentle, effective and delightful.
  • Discover Reading by Amy Tuttle – this book was also recommended by Ambleside online as a reading resource. Here is a description from her website: Discover Reading will help you and your child develop vital skills such as phonemic awareness, mental imaging, auditory blending and word building. It will serve as a guide for you as you lead your child through the stages of pre-reading, beginning reading, and fluency.
  • Also, here is another FREE resource using Ms. Mason’s methods for reading, written by Jennifer Spead.
  • A good alphabet book or four (I LOVE these: B is for Bear, A to Z Picture Book, In A Pumpkin Shell, An ABC Book).
  • Wooden Moveable Alphabet
  • Or, these wooden letters

 

FABULOUS ALPHABET BOOKS

 

WHEN

“When should he begin? Whenever his box of letters begins to interest him.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Charlotte Mason describes the Pre-Reading Lesson as occurring five times a week. Also, each lesson lasts about ten minutes.

You can begin pre-reading activities when a child begins to be aware of letters. A typical age of a child may be anywhere from two to six years old when you begin pre-reading.

WHY

Reading is important. It is also required to teach reading in the state of Texas. I vividly remember books playing a vital role in my education. They shaped me to be the person I am today. Living Books Library defines characteristics of a Living Book as: full of ideas, virtuous, inspiring, narrative, generational and imaginative.

“It is better that children should receive a few vital ideas that their souls may grow…” (Mason, vol. 1)

Some of my happiest times with my children are sharing good books with them. Therefore, I look forward to the day when my children discover the joy of reading for themselves.

Discover Reading
Discover Reading

HOW

“A tray of sand is useful at this stage.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Charlotte Mason says a child can first learn the sounds of letters and then recognize the upper case and lower case letters. Additionally, the child should practice “air writing” the letters or drawing them in a tray of sand.

“There is no occasion to hurry the child: let him learn one form at a time, and know it so well that he can pick out the d’s, say, big and little, in a page of large print.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Here are some suggested activities to introduce the concept of reading to children.

STEPS TO PRE-READING

  • First, playfully teach your child the sounds for each letter of the alphabet.
  • He should be familiar with upper case letters first, and then lower case letters.
  • Teach all consonant sounds and at least the short vowel sounds.
  • While your child is learning sounds, he should take a mental picture of the letter.
  • Then, your child can trace the letter in the air.
  • Finally, take any word and stretch out the sound of the first letter. Amy Tuttle from Discover Reading, writes to think of Dori’s whale language in Finding Nemo. One example here could be: “Can you find the /S/ for Sssssnake?” using your box of letters.
  • An alternate pre-reading learning game is to have him search for the letter sound /d/ on a magazine page. You could ask your child to point out the letters, or sometimes circle them.

IDEAS FOR A PRE-READING LESSON

PART 1

  1. Introduce the letters and sounds one per day or several per day if your child can master them. Review all letters until the child knows each letter/sound combination.
  2. When a child can recognize the letter by sight and sound, and can draw the letter in the air, the letter is learned, and he can put it in a letter box.
  3. This could happen in one week’s time, or last over several weeks, depending on your child. I love how Amy Tuttle reminds us to enjoy the process, because he only learns to read once.

PART 2

  • Once a child is confident with all letter sounds, begin with short words that are as interesting as possible. Use simple consonants and short vowel sounds to introduce blending. Pick letters that will make words he knows.
  • He should place a letter before “at” for example, to make b-at, c-at, h-at. Repeat the sounds slowly, and let him discover the word.
  • Ask him to see the letters in his mind, with his eyes closed. Then, trace the letters in the air.
  • When he can do all of these steps, Mama writes the word on a chalkboard (or the child can if he is writing already).
  • Next, ask him to dictate the words that you learned for the lesson, and write them down in a notebook.
  • Finally, the next day, review the words from his notebook, and begin with new word blends.
  • Repeat with all short sound vowels before moving onto long vowel sound word blends. Example: “ate” to make h-ate, l-ate, m-ate, and r-ate.

Ms. Mason says,

“This is not reading, but it is preapring the ground for reading; words will no longer (be) unfamiliar, perplexing objects, when the child meets them in a line of print.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Also,

“Require him to pronounce he words the makes with such finish and distinctness that he can himself hear and count the sounds in a give word.” (Mason, vol. 1)

One final quote:

“Accustom him from the first to shut his eyes and spell the word he has made.” (Mason, vol. 1)

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 Pre-Reading Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON PRE-READING 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.

A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Poetry 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 Poetry Lesson 

WHAT

Poetry can be intimidating, because its almost like a foreign language. We don’t often hear poetry included in our daily culture. Also, more than likely, we did not grow up hearing or being exposed to it. Charlotte Mason says that children: “must grow up upon the best.” (Mason, vol. 2)

She goes onto say:

“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 of worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told. Let Blake’s ‘songs of innocence’ represent their standard in poetry; De Foe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature – that is, the fit and beautiful expressions of inspiring ideas and pictures of life.” (Mason, vol. 2)

Poems are wide and varied, just as stories are. Some poems are written about seasons, nature, help answer questions, or are merely enjoyed because they are delightful. Therefore, there is poetry for everyone.

Miss Mason urges:

“…it is the part of parents to bring the minds of their children under the influence of the highest, purest poetic thought we have.” (Mason, vol. 5)

A variety of poems from a good anthology like A Child’s Book of Poems may be a great way to begin if you are unsure of which books to pick. Since I’m unfamiliar with poetry, I’m choosing many books that are highly recommend to begin with. Eventually, it would be great to highlight maybe a poet per term.

WHAT WE ARE USING

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson is recommended many times as a introduction into Poetry. Also, since Tasha Tudor is the illustrator, I’m delighted to share this book with my children. Two other must-have books by Tasha Tudor are: A Time to Keep (a beautiful introduction to holidays and the calendar) and 1 is One (a gentle introduction to numbers great for preschoolers). Once you see her illustrations, you notice how beautiful and special they are.

A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa is another well recommended first book of poems. The illustrations are also lovely, and I believe this will add to the appeal to my young boys.

Finally, the two books by A.A. Milne were also recommended: Now We are Six and When We were Very Young. Since poetry can be shared at anytime (not just during formal education), I have begun reading a couple of poems per day to my children. To my amazement, my boys beg for more! This shows just how appropriate these poetry selections seem to be for the young child.

Poetry Teatime
Poetry Teatime

Below, I share samples of some poetry I feel would be appropriate for beginners. Included are poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and William Blake, who are mentioned by Charlotte Mason as good poetry standards.

EXAMPLES OF GENTLE POEMS TO INTRODUCE TO YOUR CHILDREN:

MISS MUFFET
by Mother Goose

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating of curds and whey;
There came a big spider,
And sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
FOREIGN LANDS
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad on foreign lands.

I saw the next door garden lie,
Adorned with flowers, before my eye,
And many pleasant places more
That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky's blue looking glass;
The dusty roads go up and down
With people that tramping into town.

If I could find a higher tree
Farther and farther I should see,
To where the grown-up rivers slips
Into the sea among the ships,

To where the roads on either hand
Lead onward into fairy land,
Where all the children dine at five,
And all the playthings come alive. 
LAUGHING SONG
by William Blake

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing ‘Ha ha he!’

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of ‘Ha ha he!’
A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson

WHEN

Charlotte Mason describes the Poetry Lesson as occurring daily. Also, each lesson lasts about five to ten minutes.

WHY

“Poetry, too, supplies with tools for the modeling of our lives, and the use of these we must get at for ourselves.” (Mason, vol. 4)

Also, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, author of For the Children’s Sake, says: “All children should have an excellent diet of mind-food to be nurtured on, so that their true education can begin.” She includes poetry as one of the essentials to nourish a child’s mind.

Perhaps my most favorite quote about why to include poetry in the educational feast:

“All our aspirations for the young are likely to be defeated unless we hand on to them a certain moral stability, a belief in beauty, truth, and goodness for their own sake; whereas if we give them these – … poetry will surely be included – we have at least the assurance that we have done our best to equip them adequately for the certain difficulties of this uncertain world.” (Parent’s Review Article)

A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson

HOW

Poems should be enjoyed regularly from a very young age.

  • First, read a few poems aloud to your children.
  • No narration required, just enjoy the feast!

Notes about poetry

As the children grow, poems are often added to a Nature Journal to support their Nature findings.

Poems can eventually be written down as copywork (writing).

A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Poetry 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 Poetry Lesson.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON POETRY 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.

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.

A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson

A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson
A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson

Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Geography 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 Geography Lesson

WHAT

First, Charlotte Mason discusses the educative and practical purposes of geography:

“for educative purposes, the child must learn such geography, and in such a way, that his mind shall thereby be stored with ideas, his imagination with images…” (Mason, vol. 1)

Geography supplies the child with an education, yet it also gives beautiful ideas and pictures for the mind.

Then, Charlotte Mason goes onto say, “…for practical purposes he must learn such geography only as, the nature of his mind considered, he will able to remember; in other words, he must learn what interests him.” (Mason, vol. 1)

It is not necessary to simply have children recite facts and names of places, since a child may not remember dry facts. Instead, we can seek to make geography interesting, so that the child retains more knowledge.

“The first ideas of geography, the lessons on place, which should make a child observant of local geography, of the features of his own neighborhood, its heights and hollows, and level lands, its streams and ponds, should be gained, as we have seen, out of doors..” (Mason, vol. 1)

Finally, the geography lesson can be very simple to accomplish, since you can simply use whatever outdoor situation you have in your own yard. It is not necessary to travel daily to a beautiful natural park, though that is always nice to work in when you can!

A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson Pack

WHAT WE ARE READING FOR GEOGRAPHY

Since I trust these two resources immensely, we are following A Delectable Education and Ambleside’s recommendations for geography.

ELEMENTARY GEOGRAPHY

For the first year of formal education, Form 1B (First Grade), we will read 40 pages of Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography. This includes Lessons 1-13. Examples of lesson topics include: Our World, The Star, The Sunshine, Day and Night, and Poles and Axis.

  • Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason – I prefer to have an actual hardcopy of the book to hold, and read, therefore, I choose to purchase this book. It is only $9, and will serve us for a few years as a geography resource.
  • Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason – Also, if you prefer, this is a free version of the book.

BOOK OF CHILDREN LIVING AROUND THE WORLD

Additionally, it is recommended to read a book about children living around the world. Since we live in Texas, I choose books written about places close to home. Therefore, we will be reading:

  • Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling – I’m so excited for this book, because the illustrations are lovely! The story begins with an Indian boy and the tree. Here is the description from Beautiful Feet Books: The history of the Great Plains and the Santa Fe Trail is told in text and pictures by focusing on a cottonwood tree and the events that happen around it. The 200 year pageant of history on the Santa Fe Trail will acquaint readers with the story of the earliest American Indians, Spanish Conquistadors, French Voyageurs, buffalo stampedes, and finally the Conestoga wagons moving west.
  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski – This book tells the story of Birdie, a young girl, who has moved with her family to the backwoods of Florida. She is excited to begin their strawberry fields. This tale shows the life of living on a farm. I was born in Tampa, FL, and we have been growing small strawberry plants, so I’m eager to share this story with my children!
  • Children of Foreign Lands by Elizabeth McCrady – A classic collection of stories about the everyday lives of children from around the world, lavishly illustrated in full color and black and white. The stories include stories about Norway, China, Holland, Mexico, Hawai’i, Siam, Spain, and Arabia.
  • Little Folks of Many Lands by Lulu Maude Chance. Since my boys have loved Children of Foreign Lands so much, we will read this one next!

 



Here are all of the wonderful Holling C. Holling books. I’m slowly acquiring them all because we will eventually read through them.

    

WHEN

Charlotte Mason describes a Geography Lesson as occurring twice a week. Each lesson should last about 15 minutes.

WHY

“But the peculiar value of geography lies in its fitness to nourish the mind with ideas, and to furnish the imagination with pictures. Herein lies the educational value of geography.” (Mason, vol. 1)

A Charlotte Mason education seeks to supply rich ideas for the child, to carry him through life. She says, “the question is, not how many things does he know, but how much does he know about each thing.”(Mason, vol. 1)

Next, here is a beautiful CM quote that I just adore.

“But let him be at home in any single region; let him see, with the mind’s eye, the people at their work and at their play, the flowers and fruits in their seasons, the beasts, each in its habitat; and let him see all sympathetically, that is, let him follow the adventures of a traveller; and he knows more, is better furnished with ideas, than if he had learnt all the names on all the maps” (Mason, vol. 1)

This quote above is perhaps one of my favorite Charlotte Mason quotes because it shows clearly and visually what the child can gain in the geography lesson.

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, geography study would continue in the afternoons.

FORMAL GEOGRAPHY LESSONS

Formal Geography lessons for a young student can be very simple since they can occur outdoors, in whatever environment you have on hand. In addition to reading the above books for our morning geography lesson, we will continue to explore the ideas gained from our lessons, outside in the yard.

  • First, the child gains a “pictorial geography” (Mason, vol. 1). The child can easily imagine a forest by observing the trees outside, a lake from a small creek, and the mountains from the hills. Since the child has access to trees, creeks, and hills, (or whatever your particular landscape outdoors looks like) the child can use these to understand larger concepts such as a forest, lake, or mountains.
  • Then, have the child make islands, isthmuses, mountains, straights, and lakes in a tray of sand. This was taken from A Charlotte Mason Plenary’s resources, therefore, I believe it be essential.
  • The child can next draw maps in the sand with sticks, or a simple rough sketch of a map with pencil and paper. Ms. Mason suggests to “always give a rough sketch-map of the route you took in a given journey” (Mason, vol. 1)
  • Then, read books of travelers or “give him next intimate knowledge, with the fullest details, of … any county or district of his own country” (Mason, vol. 1).
Geography Pack
Geography Pack

INFORMAL AFTERNOON GEOGRAPHY LESSONS

Afternoon lessons can cover a multitude of geography learning because the child is encouraged to be outdoors as much as possible. These lessons make up Physical Geography.

These are great topics to touch on throughout the year…not necessarily on a daily basis.

It is easier for a child to think about concrete ideas, and then advance to more abstract thinking. Therefore, the steps Ms. Mason lays out, follow this sequence:

  • First, learn to observe the position of the sun, in order to tell the time of day. (Mason, vol. 1
  • Next, observe the weather (ex. clouds, rain, snow, hail).
  • Third, learn about distance by measuring the child’s steps or the steps of a sibling.
  • A child can also learn about directions – north, east, south, and west. Teach your child the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
  • Then, a child can learn to use a compass.
  • Once the child understands directions, you can move onto learning about boundaries, such as the boundaries of this field, the boundaries of my front yard, etc.
  • Finally, they can learn to draw rough sketches of maps of what they see. The plan is “done with chalk on a rock, or with walking-stick in the gravel.” (Mason, vol. 1)

 

MAPS

First, Ms. Mason says:

“…geography should be learned chiefly from maps” (Mason, vol. 1).

We can, therefore, include maps to compliment living books, because they allow the child another means to explore geography. Maps provide such useful tools for a child, therefore, a child must learn to use a map well.

Ms. Mason states: “Maps must be carefully used in this kind of work,–a sketch-map following the traveller’s progress, to be compared finally with a complete map of the region” (Mason, vol. 1).

Since we have Maps and The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. , we may pull these out from time to time! I was lucky to find these at Half Price Books, since the price is so good!

“At the same time, he gets his first notions of a map from a rude sketch, a mere few lines and dots, done with pencil and paper, or, better still, with a stick in the sand or gravel” (Mason, vol. 1)

A child should learn:

…the meaning of a map and how to use it” (Mason, vol. 1).

Also, I have this LOVELY map, and this magnetic chalkboard. I love the magnetic chalkboard because we can display our children’s artwork on it, as well as use it for a chalkboard.

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

CHARLOTTE MASON GEOGRAPHY 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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Bible

A Charlotte Mason Bible Study Lesson

A CHARLOTTE MASON BIBLE STUDY LESSON

“But let the imaginations of children be stored with the pictures, their minds nourished upon the words, of the gradually unfolding stories of the scriptures, and they will come to look out upon a wide horizon within which persons and events take shape in their due place and in due proportion.” (Mason, vol 1)

Bible
Bible

First, I explain why I’m focusing subject by subject. I also include Charlotte Mason quotes because I find her original lectures on education to be 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. This will help me prepare to teach my oldest son in the Fall.

SPREADING THE FEAST IS GOOD

“As a matter of fact, it is the man who has read and thought on many subjects who is, with the necessary training, the most capable.” (Mason, vol. 6)

Ms. Mason suggests spreading a wide feast in education, in order to nourish a child’s mind. A Charlotte Mason curriculum aims to be wide and varied. This gives the child a chance to develop many interests and become well rounded. A Charlotte Mason education certainly intends to be rich, varied, and life giving, and this is partly why I choose to focus on her philosophy of education.

“He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body.” (Mason, vol. 6)

I became interested in healthy eating almost 12 years ago as a yoga instructor. Once my children were born, I became more focused on nutrition. Thankfully, I was able to breastfeed both children, as babies, because it was a wonderful nutrition option for them.

When I became a Health Coach last year, I focused even more on nutrient dense foods to nourish my family. I aim to give them a great start in their little lives.

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

Presently, I continue to to give them a varied and nourishing feast. This carries over to their education.  I take it as my job to give a nourishing feast for their minds and body.

Ms. Charlotte Mason also says,

“But, believing that the normal child has powers of mind that fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, we must give him a full and generous curriculum…” (Mason, vol. 1)

Bible
Bible

A CHARLOTTE MASON BIBLE STUDY

WHAT

“Children between the ages of six and nine should get a considerable knowledge of the Bible text.” (Mason, vol. 1)

First, Charlotte Mason says a standard Bible should be used. The Bible lesson should not come from a children’s Bible or devotional. Instead, the child should hear the actual text of the Bible since the stories of the Bible are so rich. Therefore, children are worthy of the very best, and rise to the occupation of listening to the Bible in its whole form.

Personally, I choose a beautiful and journaling Bible because I thought I would really enjoy it. So, I’m using a King James Version. Its called Praise: A Creative Journaling Bible.

In Parents and Children, Ms. Mason says the child, “should not be able to recall a time before the sweet stories of old filled his imagination.” (Mason, vol. 2)

If you have preschoolers, this is my FAVORITE Children’s Bible…though the true Bible should also be read to them from a young age.

Finally, THIS is my dream Bible set! Look how beautiful! But, clearly, for a special occasion, because its a little expensive!

WHEN

Charlotte Mason called the Bible lesson, the “chief lesson.” Its upheld as the most important subject, since it teaches a child right from wrong. Therefore, she urges the Bible lesson to be the first lesson of the day. The lesson should be about 15 minutes long. A Charlotte Mason Plenary has linked to the Parent’s Union school Form 1 schedule, which shows “in all cases the Bible text must be read and narrated first.”

Finally, a Bible lesson should occur once a day, five days a week.

Additionally, Sunday readings were recommended from: Parables from Nature.

WHY

“And perhaps it is not too beautiful a thing in this redeemed world, that, as the babe turns to his mother though he has no power to say her name, as the flowers turn to the sun, so the hearts of the children turn to their Savior and God with unconscious delight and trust.” (Mason, vol. 1)

I love this quote because it shows we should model humility, and faith for our children so they may come to have a relationship with God. Perhaps most importantly, the child learns to have a heart for God, and to develop a personal relationship with God.

“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven? And He called a little child, and set him in the mist. Here is the divine estimate of the child’s estate.” (Matthew 18: 1-2 King James Version, and Mason, vol. 1

Then, the Bible goes onto say that those who enter Heaven must be like the child. Since children are so precious to Jesus, we should respect them as persons and nurture them in this endeavor.

“…their Bible lessons should help them to realize in early days that the knowledge of God is the principle knowledge, and therefore, that heir Bible lessons are their chief lessons.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Also:

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name…” (Psalms 92: 1 King James Version)

The purpose of the Bible lessons is to lead the child to the knowledge of God.

HOW

“Read your Bible story to the child bit by bit; get him to tell you in his own words (keeping as close as he can to the Bible words) what you have read, and, then, if you like, talk about it; but not much.” (Mason, vol. 2)

For Form 1B, in other words, first grade, the Bible lesson encompasses most of Genesis from the Old Testament. Also, it is suggested to cover the appropriate portions of Matthew from the New Testament. A Delectable Education recommends to alternate Old Testament and New Testament daily for lessons because it may hold a child’s attention better. Each Bible lesson should cover about 10-20 verses per day.

Additionally, Charlotte Mason says the parent should continue to read aloud the Bible passage, even after a child can read it on his own.

NARRATION

  • First, read the Bible passage to the child once.
  • Then, ask the child to tell back what he heard, using as close to the words he heard as possible. This is narration.
  • Finally, Mama and child can discuss what was read.
  • As an option, Charlotte Mason Poetry notes suggest on how to begin the lesson: ‘Tell the story to the child, only giving the necessary explanations.’

RESOURCES FOR MAMA

Here are some suggested readings for Mothers to prep Bible lessons and discuss with their children following their narration.

“But it is well to let the pictures tell their own tale. The children should study a subject quietly for a few minutes; and then, the picture being removed, say what they have seen.” (Mason, vol. 1)

PICTURES

Moreover, you can choose to share pictures to compliment the Bible stories following the narration or Bible lesson.

RECITATION

“The learning by heart of Bible passages should begin while the children are quite young, six or seven.” (Mason, vol. 1)

Finally, you can have young children learn by heart parables and stories from the Bible. For recitation purposes, the Homeschool Mama should read aloud the passage a few times. Then, the child can narrate back only when they feel they know the words.

praise-bible
praise-bible

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. Also, some of these listed below are specific to a Charlotte Mason Bible lesson study.

GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES

CHARLOTTE MASON BIBLE LESSON RESOURCES

OUR PICKS

Finally, 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. I TRULY recommend any parent read Charlotte Mason’s books since I have gained so much from them! 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

OUR PICKS

 

More Easter Ideas

9 Gift Ideas for Your Child’s Easter Basket

NINE EASTER GIFT IDEAS FOR YOUR PRESCHOOLER, TODDLER, BABY

Here is an Easter gift guide list including some of the favorite things that we love!

Hopefully, this inspires you with some Easter gift ideas! I start with nine gifts for your preschooler, four more gifts I couldn’t resist including, and finish with some lovely Easter books. Many of these items we have and love, and many are on our wish list! Most items included have a nature theme since we are heavy into Charlotte Mason over here and two little boys and nature mix together very well!

EASTER BASKET IDEAS FOR PRESCHOOLERS

9 Easter Basket Ideas for Preschoolers
9 Easter Basket Ideas for Preschoolers
  1. Montessori Flower Nature Puzzle – At $15, I feel like these are a great quality, beautiful and the your Preschoolers would learn about nature as they put these puzzles together. HINT: there are MANY lovely puzzles when you click on this link…I wouldn’t mind owning several of these!
  2. Wood Jar Paint Holders – I have been thinking about these paint jars for more than a year. My oldest (5) LOVES to paint with watercolors and I have seen this recommended by many mamas. I know this will serve us well for many years to come as we learn to draw, paint, and enjoy art!
  3. Jesus Storybook Bible – I cannot say enough GREAT THINGS about this Bible version. We have read probably 3-4 different children’s Bible versions and this is BY FAR our FAVORITE!!! The way the author tells the stories coupled with the beautiful illustrations is phenomenal. Since we love it so much, I have gifted to this other kiddos! It is truly beautiful.
  4. Live Butterfly Kit – We have never hatched butterflies before but it is definitely on our bucket list! I like this version because it looks like it has everything included and it seems inexpensive!
  5. Watercolor Paint Set – We own a similar travel watercolor set and LOVE it. This set caught my eye since it contains so many colors with the set. I think its beautiful! Its nice to have an inexpensive set to take with you on nature walks especially as the children grow.
  6. An Egg is Quiet – We have this one, along with some of the other books in the set, like A Seed is Sleepy, and A Nest is Noisy. I really love these books. The illustrations are lovely and they are full of information. My children particularly love the Egg book and enjoy drawing and coloring in their own eggs from the book pages.
  7. Wooden Eggs – Some of our favorite toys are ones that are open-ended and inspire imaginative play. Play is SO important for a child’s development. The best ones, in my opinion, are simple, well-made and inspire the child to act out scenes and prepare for real-world life. We love our kitchen toys and these eggs would make a nice addition!
  8. If You Plant a Seed – We do not own this book but the illustrations look lovely! I have seen it in the bookstore and the story plot seems like a great character building book. The adorable bunny plants carrots and cabbage in the garden to watch it grow, and wonders what would happen if you plant kindness or selfishness in the garden?
  9. Organic Beeswax Crayons – these organic,  non-toxic crayons look lovely! My oldest, at age 5, loves to get out his coloring book and color. These crayons would make a lovely addition to any Easter basket!
  10. Flower Families – a Go Fish game with beautiful flower illustrations.

MORE EASTER BASKET IDEAS

More Easter Ideas
More Easter Ideas
  1. Match a Pair of Birds Memory Game – We have Bug Bingo, which is a game by the same illustrator/creator. My two boys (ages 3 and 5) LOVE Bug Bingo and honestly, so do I! I love it because it is simple enough for them to understand how to play, the game is beautiful, and they are learning as they play! Memory Games are generally wonderful for Preschool/Toddler ages and this game would be a delight!
  2. Kids Garden Tool Set – Over the years, we have been gifted various garden sets (I think our families have gathered that we love nature and spend time outside!!!). This adorable bag and garden set caught my eye, and at $7 for the set, you can’t beat the price!
  3. Window Bird Feeder – I have seen window bird feeders recommended many times from Mamas. I need to take their advice and order it for our family! Spring is the PERFECT time of year to view birds since they are returning from winter to build their nests!! They are clear so you can literally look right out your window and view them!
  4. Eco-Eggs Color Kit – We have this set and have already had a head start on the kit! It comes in an egg carton, and everything you need is included in the kit. We have grown our own wheat grass together, and the next step will be coloring eggs with the natural dyes that are included in the set, and then coloring the eggs with the natural beeswax crayon included!
  5. Sibley Backyard Bird Flashcards –  This makes learning about birds so fun!

EASTER BOOK IDEAS FOR GIFT BASKET

Easter Book Ideas
Easter Book Ideas
  1. The Story of the Easter Robin – This book was recommended by Sarah Makenzie from the Read Aloud Revival. I was fortunate enough to attend a homeschooling conference and see her this weekend and she was so lovely! This story has beautiful illustrations and the story teaches compassion and faith.
  2. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes – We picked up this lovely story last Spring. Its a lovely story of a Mama and I think any Mama should read it to herself and little ones.
  3. Rechenka’s Eggs – This book is included in the Peaceful Preschool curriculum. I love exposing my children to different cultures. Through stories, they can learn about far off lands without us traveling there and it is such a great learning opportunity.
  4. A Tale for Easter – This was another book recommended by the Read Aloud Revival. I have other Tasha Tudor’s books that we love such as A Time to Keep. Her illustrations are always inspiring and the explanation of Easter and how it relates to family traditions are inspiring!
  5. The Very First Easter – A new Easter gift that will arrive in their basket this year!
  6. The Story of the Easter Robin – Another sweet book that must be shared with little ones!

I hope this guide was helpful to you in your Easter gifts selections for you and your loved ones. 🙂 Wishing you all a wonderful Easter and Spring time!!!

OUR PICKS

OTHER LINKS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN

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Exploring Nature with Children

Exploring Nature with Children Journal

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Letter L Preschool Unit

I’m so thankful I get to spend time with my children for their preschool years. First, I share our curriculum choices and why we use them. Keep reading to find out how we explored the Letter L. Finally, at the bottom, we list our favorite supplies for the preschool years.

Letter L
Letter L preschool

PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM

SUPPORTS AMPLE NATURE TIME

  • The Peaceful Preschool – The schedule is amazing because it sets aside one day per week for field trips
  • Exploring Nature with Children – This works well for my family because it is centered around being outdoors (HINT: If you click this link, make sure you click “Preview” at the top right corner!)
  • The Abundant Gardener – We are learning more about gardening together so this will naturally provide chances to visit gardens, plant stores, and be outside on our land
Letter L
Letter L preschool

THE PEACEFUL PRESCHOOL

We currently follow the Peaceful Preschool curriculum by Jennifer Pepito and we love it! The content is full of rich literature, therefore it is a perfect fit for my book-loving family.  We read through many rich, classic stories. We also complete playful projects to go with the literature theme or letter. Download Unit A for free to try it out with your littles to see if you like it.

The community she has created is such a beautiful resource and I’m grateful to be a part of it. Jennifer has included a wonderful preschool e-book which helps you prepare to guide your child in early learning. We have found her curriculum perfect for our homeschool preschool. The curriculum is comprised of Read Aloud, Phonics, Counting Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Large Motor Skills, Practical Life Skills, and Art Skills. Also, here is how we enjoyed the letter A unit. Feel free to explore all of our letter units!

Letter L
Letter L

LETTER L REVIEW

The focus books for letter L are The Grouchy Ladybug and the Corinthians Love Chapter from the Bible. Our favorite children’s Bible is the Jesus Storybook Bible. I also added Ten Little Ladybugs since my youngest really loves this story and its great for counting. Then, we read the Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, which is a beautiful, imaginative picture book and a great fable. Finally, we read through Locomotive, by Brian Floca and The Little Tree.

First, we created glitter glue letters. The Peaceful Preschool recommends glitter glue in order to create the finishing touches on sensory, alphabet flashcards. We have used them with all of the letters so far. My children are always excited to make a new glitter glue letter.

Letter L Glitter Glue
Letter L Glitter Glue preschool

L IS FOR LADYBUG

We read The Grouchy Ladybug many times. It is a beautiful book which is part of the Peaceful Preschool curriculum. We used this small wooden clock to introduce the principles of telling time since the book highlights the different times of the day as the grouchy ladybug moves from one animal to the next. This book was a regular during our introduction of Letter L.

Ladybug
Ladybug

Then, we revisited Ten Little Ladybugs. There are 3D ladybugs which the boys love to run their fingers over as I’m reading the pages. The beautiful rhyming words are simple. The boys loved foreshadowing the next number. In the story, the ladybugs are counted down from ten to none (and are returned to home).

ladybugs
ladybugs

We used Simply Learning Kids resources for Letter L and found the letters with a cute ladybug free printable.

Ladybug
Ladybug

L IS FOR LOVE

We were lucky that our Letter L unit fell around the same time as Valentine’s Day for us. We made some simple homemade cards for the boy’s Daddy and traced the word “Love” with our sandpaper letters.

L is for Love
L is for Love

Since it was Valentine’s Day, my older son signed Valentine’s cards and we made homemade chocolate candies to share with our friends.

love
love

Finally, we read 1 Corinthians 13 which is the Love Chapter from the Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible.

L IS FOR LEMON

I asked my children to make their glitter glue Letter L’s and we looked up a recipe for homemade limonada in Nature Anatomy. I just love these Montessori moveable letters too! We bring them out for every letter unit.

lemon
lemon

We squeezed fresh lemon juice, honey, water, ice and fresh mint for a refreshing drink.

limonada
limonada

We also made these lemon pomanders, which is just pressing whole cloves into lemons. My boys were having a difficult time so we ended up using toothpicks to make the holes first, and then sticking the cloves inside the fruit. We also really love these sandpaper letters and they are very affordable!

ABC BOOK

This sweet ABC book, Adventures with Barefoot Creatures, also introduces the concept of the seasons and a calendar. I just love the whimsical illustrations too!

ABC BOOK
ABC BOOK

L IS FOR LIBRARY

We normally visit our local small town library, but we decided to venture to the big city to visit the newest library. It was absolutely beautiful, filled with natural light, and we curled up to a couple of good books, and of course played with some toys as well!

Library
Library

ALPHABAET HANDWRITING PRACTICE

We practiced tracing the letters in the word “love” on our handwriting board.

alphabet practice
alphabet practice preschool

I love this alphabet board since it has both upper and lower case letters.

letter board
letter board

L IS FOR LION

The Lion and the Mouse is a great version of one of Aesop’s most beloved fables. I love how it teaches children about kindness and the value of helping one another.

Lion
Lion

L IS FOR LITTLE BEAR

I had this childhood book saved so we read Little Bear for Letter L! My boys love this story since its made up of several stories that build on one another.

Little Bear
Little Bear

L IS FOR LITTLE TREE

Finally, we read Little Tree by Loren Long. I just love her illustrations and the story is very sweet. We have read this many times through over the past year because its such a lovely book.

little tree
little tree

SUPPLIES

Locomotive
Little Tree
The Grouchy Ladybug
Sandpaper Letters
Montessori Moveable Alphabet
Glitter Glue

OUR PICKS

Here is how we enjoyed the letter A unit. We had so much fun with letter A and can’t wait to share the next letter with you!

Letter J Study

Letter J Preschool Unit

I’m so thankful I get to spend time with my children for their preschool years. First, I share our curriculum choices and why we use them. Keep reading to find out how we explored the Letter J. Finally, at the bottom, we list our favorite supplies for the preschool years.

Boys
Boys 

PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM

SUPPORTS AMPLE NATURE TIME

  • The Peaceful Preschool – The schedule is amazing because it sets aside one day per week for field trips
  • Exploring Nature with Children – This works well for my family because it is centered around being outdoors
  • The Abundant Gardener – We are learning more about gardening together so this will naturally provide chances to visit gardens, plant stores, and be outside on our land
Letter J Study
Letter J Study

THE PEACEFUL PRESCHOOL

We currently follow the Peaceful Preschool curriculum by Jennifer Pepito and we love it! The content is full of rich literature, therefore it is a perfect fit for my book-loving family.  We read through many rich, classic stories. We also complete playful projects to go with the literature theme or letter. Download Unit A for free to try it out with your littles to see if you like it.

The community she has created is such a beautiful resource and I’m grateful to be a part of it. Jennifer has included a wonderful preschool e-book which helps you prepare to guide your child in early learning. We have found her curriculum perfect for our homeschool preschool. The curriculum is comprised of Read Aloud, Phonics, Counting Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Large Motor Skills, Practical Life Skills, and Art Skills. Also, here is how we enjoyed the letter A unit. Feel free to explore all of our letter units!

LETTER J REVIEW

Its so exciting to discover a new letter together! The focus books for letter J are The Giant Jam Sandwich and Sheep in a Jeep. We also added  Jack and the Beanstalk since we all love reading, and I already had a few different older versions from my childhood on hand. Finally, we read the Jesus Storybook Bible  Jonah and the Whale story.

Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk

GLITTER GLUE LETTERS

Next, we created glitter glue letters. The Peaceful Preschool recommends glitter glue in order to create the finishing touches on sensory, alphabet flashcards. We have used them with all of the letters so far. It is really one of my children’s favorite parts.

My parents gave the boys some Glitter Markers so they were eager for this letter to try them out.  Typically, however, we use the glitter glue as mentioned above for this activity since it is recommended by the Peaceful Preschool.

Letter J Study
Letter J Study

J IS FOR JEEP

For our first book, we read Sheep in a Jeep. The boys liked this book because it is simple with lots of rhyming words. After reading it through the first time, we read through it a few more times, and they took turns finishing the sentences!

I found a tutorial on You Tube on how to draw a simple jeep. We each drew a jeep on these watercolor postcards we had left over from my older son’s art birthday party. My older son did an excellent job drawing out his jeep, although he got frustrated with some of the process, so he made a second drawing.

Jeep Drawing
Jeep Drawing

My youngest son LOVES these oil pastels so I thought he would be interested in coloring in the jeep I drew with them. When he finishes up a picture, he loves to rub his fingers all over the chalk or oil drawing. We have so much fun using our hands to create and learn!

Jeep Study

COUNTING

Since we were focusing on a jeep/car theme, we gathered toy cars from around the house. Next, the boys sorted them by color, and matched them with their corresponding number cards. My youngest loves to trace the numbers and letters with his fingers, and my oldest also sorted them by size!

Number Study
Number Study

J IS FOR JONAH

We LOVE Jesus and the Storybook Bible. Next to Nature Anatomy, it is probably one of our most well-read books. My boys love manipulating the play dough. Since I try hard to keep natural materials for our children to play with, I usually purchase natural options or make our own. We purchased this lovely wooden play dough set more than a year ago and it has had lots of use! I love how it comes with some lavender and chamomile calming herbs to enhance the senses.

Jonah and the Whale
Jonah and the Whale

We also brought out some sea creature cookie cutters we used in our letter F unit  to go along with the Jonah and the Whale study. The boys took turns making sea creatures from modeling clay.

Jonah and the Whale
Jonah and the Whale

LETTER J WRITING PRACTICE

I saw this idea from my friend on Instagram. She traced over this letter board so we just had to try it too! The boys were delighted to see the letters show up on the paper because they are beautiful! My oldest son is interested in handwriting and therefore we practice handwriting often in the car. I love using these mini chalkboards because they are convenient, a great size, and come in their own pouch for easy clean up!

Alphabet Tracing
next, Alphabet Tracing

J IS FOR JAM

We make it a priority to eat nourishing foods, so when I found this lovely wildberry jam at Whole Foods that contains no sugar I was super excited! The boys spread it on gluten free toast on their own and made a delicious snack to enjoy while we read through the Giant Jam Sandwich.

We were able to check this book out, from our local library. It was a big hit because it was also the audio version. We read through this story about 15 times. The boys didn’t want to take the book back to the library since they loved it so much! If you have never read this book, I highly recommend it!

Giant Jam Sandwich
Giant Jam Sandwich

Previously, we made homemade strawberry jam together. Here is the recipe here if you want to give it a try because it is so simple and easy!

Boys in the kitchen strawberry jam
Boys in the kitchen strawberry jam

Finally, we painted our letter J template with jam!

Letter J Study
Letter J Study

J IS FOR JELLY

These three part cards can be found at Simply Learning Kids. My boys are finally grasping this activity well enough to do all of the cards in one sitting. We finished off the activity with a Peanut Butter and Jelly Larabar! I feel good about giving these as a convenient snack to my boys occassionally because they are gluten free, contain simple ingredients, and they love them! I have found the price is better on Amazon so if we are going to have them, I make sure to order them there.

Letter J
Letter J

Finally, we practiced handwriting skills with these free sheets from Simply Learning Kids. We have used these alphabet stamps many times. This was one of the first times my oldest son tried to write the word completely on his own, which was super fun to observe!

Letter J Stamp and Write
Letter J Stamp and Write

SUPPLIES

The Giant Jam Sandwich
Jesus Storybook Bible
Glitter Glue
Oil Pastels
Modeling Clay
Alphabet Stamps
Watercolor Paint Brushes
Tactile Letters
Rainbow Stamp Pad

 

OUR PICKS

Finally, here is how we enjoyed the letter A unit. We had so much fun with letter A and can’t wait to share the next letter with you!