I had quite a few questions over on Instagram at the end of last school year on how we homeschool, what curriculum we use, how do I keep little ones busy, etc. You can read up on last year in this post but I have to say the beauty with homeschooling is being able to change directions when things don’t quite feel right. Towards the end of the last year I started doing research, not on curriculum, but on the different ways and philosophies and approaches to homeschooling (unschooling, child led, traditional, Charlotte Mason, unit studies, etc) trying to figure out which would be the best fit for us. I actually had come across Charlotte Mason a few years ago but trying to read her volumes was (and somewhat still is, but I’m trying!) frustrating to me so I gave up without really doing research beyond her volumes. Thankfully I looked into CM again, but I am really excited about this year!
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The Charlotte Mason method simplified is rich living books and lots of nature. We are learning History through the story instead of studying and memorizing facts (which is easier to retain). Exposing the kids to poetry at age 6 and 7?! In depth learning of the bible through not only our daily lesson (accountability anyone? no, just me?!) but through copywork and recitation also. In this first week we have already learned some colors in French, studied bugs, enjoyed classical music, drew Genesis 1 in their journals, reading Peter Rabbit for the first time, and so much more!
It sounds like a lot I’m sure! Charlotte Mason’s philosophy are focused on short lessons (we use the timer on my phone) and when the lesson is over we stop right where we are. I’ve literally already seen the kids beg to know more/or read from the story longer! I haven’t caved, but the next time that lesson comes up they are more attentive!
Now, I won’t lie last week had good moments and frustrating ones but we’re getting used to the new schedule (school /play/sleep – ALL of it) and can’t wait to see how much the kids learn and grow this year!
It can defineitly feel a little overwhelming because the words and term are different. CM doesn’t use “grades” she uses the word “form” ex. my 2nd grader is Form 1B. But I promise things get easier the more you learn and soak it in!
A Delectable Education Podcast. Seriously, so much information!!
A Charlotte Mason Soiree – Facebook group. I learned so much off of this group. You can either just simply scroll through and soak up knowledge, use the search feature, or just ask!
This Planner! I came across it by chance, but it is specifically for a Charlotte Mason Education. She also has a YouTube video on how she uses it! Not only was it worth the money, but supporting a fellow mama, and CM specific! I spent more on my Happy Planner (love it, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work this year!) at Michael’s last year than this planner and I don’t really have to ‘figure out’ how to use it.
Scheduling cards! When you sit down to plan your days save yourself some stress and frustration and buy the scheduling cards (currently $5)! Cut them out, lay them out on your table, and rearrange until you’re happy!
I found $5 backpacks in the dollar section of Target that were perfect size for my kids (7, almost 6, and 3). They can carry their insulated water bottle, snack (if we plan on being gone awhile) binoculars, and bug catcher. Some nature walks I may let them bring home an interesting rock, or leaf, etc to draw in the nature journal and can place it in the backpack. This teaches them responsibility and I don’t have to try and carry everything.
Bug Catcher– I actually bought this last month and it has been a hit!! We have caught all kinds of bugs to observe! I am thinking of actually buying a second one because it’s used so much!
I don’t currently let them take their drawing book with us on our nature walk, but when we return home I let them draw something we observed. Note: I never buy from Michael’s without a coupon!
Thriftbooks.com – I only learned about this website since researching Charlotte Mason and trying to find some classic books. I found our original illustrationed Peter Rabbit book! I paid $4.19 for it! And any purchase over $10 gets free shipping! If you want a 15% discount I can get you one, just email me at email@example.com.
Amazon – when buying some of our (new) books I just needed to make sure they were unabridged. We started the Eyes and No Eyes series and my kids (and I) really are enjoying it. It’s in story form per chapter and we learn about a different animal in each chapter. I also ordered our history book (unabridged form).
Goodwill – there happened to be one on the same road as our hotel when we were traveling a few weeks ago. I stopped in and found this beauty for less than $2! I wish I had a cheat sheet on authors to look for at the time, but plan to stop by our local store on occasion throughout the year.
Local library – ours has a ‘book store’ section on books that they have too many copies of and/or haven’t been checked out in years. (prices are by donation) Your library may have certain times of the year they do a used book sale. This is a good way to build up your home library also, not just for homeschool purposes.
I am using math workbooks.
Yep. That’s not part of Charlotte Mason, but I bought the kids each a workbook last year and they enjoy them. They would take them out over the summer on their own just to work in them, so we decided to finish using them before moving on.
What do I do with the baby and toddler?
Thankfully Theo (6 months) naps, so we aim to start at 9 and he is usually down for his nap by then. If he is having an off day he’s playing near us, nursing, in his high chair, or bouncer.
Now, Mel (3) usually is at the table with us. She kind of does what she wants – draws with her crayons, dry erase, plays with little spoons and containers in dry beans. She also listens in to stories or she goes off and plays quietly. (sometimes not so quietly… 😉
And now that school has started – Bring on FALL!
* I didn’t go into complete detail of everything we are incorporating but if you have questions feel free to leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you homeschool I love hearing more about others’ journey so lets chat!