Edwin Hubble said, “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” Of equal notability (in my humble opinion), Richard Louv said “If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”
As homeschooling parents, we often project our impression of our learning time together onto our children. But how often do we take a step back to see the day through their eyes? Speaking for myself, not often enough. I know my girls are happy, stimulated, and learning–I can see it in their faces and their muddy toes, and I hear it in their dinner-time banter. But what do they remember most
While our kindergarten curriculum includes a very gentle approach to first lessons in history and geography, mostly focusing on the life events of the child and their family, I felt like I should start to incorporate some additional unit studies into our learning. There are so many historical figures worth studying, worth investigating, even when our children are very young, and many of the lessons we learn from their experiences shape future ideas for our children as they begin to connect the dots of world events and people.
We’ve been using a morning basket for nearly two years, and I don’t see us stopping any time soon. This is by far one of the most delightful parts of our day, and it’s made it so much easier to include all of the rich experiences that come with a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling. We actually use both a morning basket and a bedtime basket, as we do a great deal of our homeschool in two chunks–one in the earliest part of the day, and one just before bed.
I first heard about morning baskets about a year and a half ago, from Pam Barnhill’s blog, www.edsnapshots.com. Immediately, I knew that it was going to fit right in with our homeschooling philosophy of coming together to delight in our learning, and beginning our day with a peaceful and intentional rhythm. So I got a (very unattractive) green plastic tub out of my daughter’s closet and filled it with books. Since then, our basket has evolved and improved
“We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.” – Charlotte Mason
One of the reasons I was so drawn to Charlotte Mason’s philosophies (way back in my school teacher days) was her passion for nature study–not as a fun little extra thing, but as a vital part of a spherical and purposeful education. I grew up with parents that believed this, and spent most of my free hours outside–climbing trees, building shelters, poking around under rocks and logs, and
August and September are such exciting months for the homeschooling community–the promise of the year ahead; the planning (and the planners!); the shiny, new curriculum; the beautiful stacks of books all over the house; and the arrangement and decorating of homeschool spaces. Even year-round homeschoolers like me can’t help but get caught up in the anticipation of it all. But with this excitement can also come worry, questions, analysis-paralysis, and a whole heaping spoonful of self-doubt, especially for brand-new homeschoolers.
I discovered a lot of amazing things in my first two years of homeschooling: blogs I binge-read until late in the night, libraries bursting with resources like a Christmas stocking, free workshops held at state parks and open spaces almost weekly, and some of the most beautiful books I’d ever laid my hands on (Nature Anatomy comes to mind!) But when I stumbled across Brave Writer, it was a whole new world in the best possible way.