Saturday, January 31, 2015

Our "Charlotte Mason" Preschool/Kindergarten Resources

For More on the Charlotte Mason method and philosophy check out my first post here.

Now for a bit of a disclaimer first. Charlotte Mason did not recommend any formal schooling until the age of six, but there were a few things she thought were important in the early years. I will share some of the books and resources we are using, as well as a few "extras".  My oldest will be five in May and we just started doing a more structured home school this past January.

  1.  Charlotte wanted little ones to be outside as much as possible and to explore God's creation. 
    1. We try to get outside as much as possible and I just let the kids play and observe. We try to do a super short nature study with the oldest (4.5) once or twice a month. She has a blank nature journal where she draws what she observes and then I label it and date it. Right now she just uses colored pencils, but I would like to try water colors or dry brushing in the future. We have a nature guide called Fun with Nature, and I hope to purchase Handbook of Nature Study soon.
    2. They received lots of fun science toys for Christmas like magnifying glasses, binoculars, excavation tools, etc. We use these as they have interest. 
    3. We have done a few nature projects, like a caterpillar to butterfly kit, as well as having bird feeders on our windows so we can bird watch. We have bird houses on our windows that we hope have nests built in them this spring. 
    4. There are lots of great living nature books for preschool age. We have the Outdoor Secrets book that we are reading through now. For younger kids Ruth Heller has lots of great living science/nature books that we love. For my oldest I also want to get the Burgess Bird Book for Children, and Animal Book to read through next. Another on my list is Jame's Herriot's Treasury for Children.
  2. Bible
    1. Charlotte read directly from the Bible, which is what she recommends for any age, young or old. 
    2. BUT, Charlotte didn't have some of the amazing storybook Bibles that we do now, so I tend to prefer some quality storybook Bibles for young ones. We love Jesus Storybook Bible, which is what we are using now. I plan to check out the Gospel Storybook Bible next, and hopefully use Catherine Vos's Bible for Children by first grade (or possibly kindergarten). 
    3. For Scripture Memory we are using Songs for Sapplings with a corresponding curriculum from a free online homeschooling curriculum.  It also has alphabet introduction in it that is fun for my littlest (2) and my oldest for review. 
    4. Devotion: I found this beautiful one that I think Charlotte Mason would love by Angie Smith called For Such a Time As This. It is recommended for ages 7 and up but my 4.5 year old really loves it. 
  3. Habits
    1. As a disclaimer: I have found it so hard to find any habit training that is grace based and truly Christ centered. I like to teach habits by pointing to Jesus who has perfect character in my place because I can't. Then I like to tell my children about the "habit" and we pray that Christ will help them develop this. I do not expect perfection in them because I do not have it myself, nor will I ever. So keep that in mind as I make recommendations. 
    2. We are currently using the Simply Charlotte Mason habits curriculum. You can find the parent handbook here and the exercises to correspond here. 
    3. I have also looked at Sally Clarkson's 24 family ways and it looks good.
    4. You will also find that by just reading through a storybook bible you can find character qualities to pull out and discuss. 
    5. Always, always, always point each habit/character/virtue back to Jesus please!!! Don't raise a Pharisee.  
  4. Read Alouds
    1. I am a bit of a book hoarder so.... Charlotte Mason homeschooling is perfect for me! Or dangerous for me, not sure which!!! We are reading through A Treasury of Children's Literature and a 20th Century Children's Literature Treasury right now. We also love Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne and several others. Think "classics" and you've got an idea of what kind of living books to pick. For some ideas you can look at my amazon lists (but don't purchase from here or it will disappear and I will forget to buy it)
      1. Toddler/Board Book Lists
      2. Preschool/ Early Read Aloud
      3. For more book lists for preschoolers just google" Charlotte Mason preschool book lists" or something like that. 
  5. Music, Poetry, Art, Handicrafts
    1. I haven't really dove into handicrafts yet. I am not crafty at all. I plan on using my husband to teach a lot of the things, like woodworking. He takes the girls to the free workshops at Home Depot where they build and paint and hammer all sorts of useful things. My mom and step mom are also very handy and I hope they will teach my girls all sorts of skills like needlework, sewing, basket weaving, knitting, etc. Also, my dad is an amazing carpenter. If we depend on the skills of the "village" handiworks should be covered. :)
    2. Music. We are using Coloring the Classics right now. They have beautiful pictures about life scenes from famous composers that they color while we listen to 3-4 or their pieces. There is also short biographical information that corresponds with the pictures. It is just the right pace for my kiddos. You can use Spotify to create all sorts of playlists to listen to throughout the day of whichever composer you want to expose your children to.
    3. Art. My oldest loves art but I seriously am lacking in this area. I bought her tons of art supplies that I never help her use. Mommy fail!! I plan to at least start making water color painting a priority soon. As far as art study I have several beautiful pieces of art displayed in their play room and we have several art books for kids that we use. Usborne Child's Book of Art, the Come Look with Me Series, and Baby Einstein's Alphabet Art Book.  We simply look at the picture and study it and then I see if they want to say anything about it. For living books about art we love the Katie series by James Mayhew.
    4. Poetry. We are reading through A Children's Garden of Verses right now. We also have Favorite Poems Old and New that could last for our entire homeschooling career. I would like to do some Mother Goose with the younger ones but I always forget to pull it out. 
  6. Reading, Writing, Math
    1. For language arts we are using Queen's Homeschool Langauge Lessons for Little Ones. It is a very gentle introduction to a lot of Charlotte Mason concepts. It includes handwriting, poetry, picture study, narration, letter recognition. There are several different levels to choose from as well.  After we work through a couple of those books we plan to use Delightful Reading and Delightful Handwriting by Simply Charlotte Mason. 
    2. My kid loves Math more than anything. During the early years we have done a lot of math through play. Numbers are all around us, we simply need to be aware of them and use creative ways to make math fun. We have lots of shape and color toys and lots of blocks. You can find math manipulatives online or at parent teacher tools stores. Also, Duplo blocks and Legos are great as manipulatives! We have an abacus and sorting bears, as well as dice that are fun to use. Calendars and clocks are great concepts to introduce as well. We just started the Math Lessons for a Living Education by Queen's homeschool and we love it. It tells a story about two kids on a farm and there are math exercises built in.
  7. Other
    1. We watch Little Pim for Spanish (free on Amazon Prime) and sometimes we watch Baby Signing Time or Signing Time (Netflix) for sign language. 
    2. We do Hymn Study during our family devotions on Sunday nights. You can check out my posts on Hymn Study here.
    3. We do Catechism during family devotions as well and we are using the New City Catechism.
    4. We hope to start our oldest in classical ballet in the fall. 
    5. I would love to start basic piano or music class with them, but I am waiting until they show more of an interest. I have looked at Music for Little Mozarts for this. 
  8. Cultures/Geography
    1. I will need to write a separate post on this in the future, but I just recently found some amazing resources for missions study that I will share soon. This isn't necessarily Charlotte Mason but I assume she incorporated it into her geography, bible, and history lessons.  Look for that post coming soon....
    2. We will be doing our missions moment during family devotions, but we also pray for a country that corresponds with whatever letter we are doing for the week with our Songs for Sapplings. 
That may seem like a lot, but in my next post I will share what our week looks like. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment