If a homeschool fairy swooped down one day and told me I could only choose three tools to teach my children, I’d like to think I would not hesitate. I would smile and reply, “Books, nature, and open-ended art supplies.” But my answer is a sneaky one. I firmly believe that, at least in the early grades, you can teach just about every subject with these three things.
The first time I heard of Charlotte Mason, I was in my early twenties. I’d never heard of her or her methods prior to studying early childhood education. Yet somehow, despite my (relatively unromantic) public school education, I discovered that I had managed to have a Charlotte Mason childhood.
The seasons in Colorado, especially spring, aren’t exactly clearly-defined. Just the other day, I took the dogs on a morning walk through icy sleet, only to enjoy a hot, sunny afternoon at the park with the girls mere hours later. We dance between snow, rain, hail, and sunny 80 degree days from mid-March until, sometimes, the beginning of June. Even so, spring is magical. And it’s one of my favorite times to play hooky from table work in pursuit of muddy puddles and new, green sprouts.
Any fellow Wildcraft fans out there? We got this game as a Christmas gift from my sister and, from the moment I opened it, I was in love. It’s got everything that makes my inner nature-nerd swoon! We’ve played it several times since then, and my daughters have already learned so much. We love incorporating games into our homeschool routine, so it was a perfect fit for our nature-based homeschool.
This activity is from Blossom and Root Early Years, Vol. 2. Click here to download your free sample of this delight-filled, gentle, hands-on curriculum for ages 4 to 5. Vol. 2 features picture studies and inspired art projects from Renoir, Frida Kahlo, Hokusai, and Jacob Lawrence. Please note that this sample also includes a peek at Early Years Vol. 1 for ages 2 to 4.
Part One: Picture Study
Choosing curriculum for the year can be an exciting–and daunting–task. There are so many considerations: learning style, teaching style, homeschooling style or philosophy, subjects you want to cover, and (of course) budget. I think we can all agree that, given unlimited funds to put toward home education, we would have no problem spending it. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case, and most homeschooling families (that I know) are on a pretty modest budget. So what do you do when it comes time to make those curriculum decisions and you’ve got less to work with than you’d like?
This activity is from Blossom and Root Kindergarten. Click here to download your free sample of this delight-filled, gentle, hands-on curriculum for ages 6 to 7. Our kindergarten program features picture studies and inspired art projects from Monet, Picasso, Diego Rivera, and Edward Hopper.
Part One: Picture Study
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Any Charlotte Mason fan worth their salt is familiar with the concept of narration–the oral or written demonstration of knowledge and understanding as an alternative to the “memorize, regurgitate, repeat” model of testing used by the majority of public school systems. Narration is a uniquely profound way to discover what your child has absorbed, retained, and taken a deeper interest in during your work together. However, it can sometimes feel awkward or stilted, especially early in the game when your children are young, or the concept of narration is new to them.
Before I begin, I want to be clear about something. I am not “anti-public school.” I went to public school. I had a positive experience in public school. I know that, for many parents, public school is the best choice for their family. I support public school teachers and administrators, and I believe that the decisions we make about educating our children are highly personal and vary greatly from family to family, and even from child to child. But this socialization argument needs to go.