EEEK! It's the most wonderful time of the year (or so the song goes). I'm one of those annoying people who decorate for Christmas immediately after Halloween. I love this season with all it's joy, the reflection on Christ's birth, and creating new traditions with my kids. I especially love taking down all our holiday books from storage. It gets everyone excited about the season!
"Train up a child in the way they should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it"
It's a lot of work to parent intentionally, to train my children to grow in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord". There are many ways I use the Bible to point my kids to the Lord, but this way is one of the simplest. I want the Bible to be a part of our daily lives so to that end I try to use it on a regular basis for training my children.
I've added sticky notes to my brand new She Reads Truth Bible. We keep it out in our family room so it's always easily accessible. I've color coded highlighted passages and sticky note flags by topic: kindness, respect, honesty--things that my younger kids need to work on, learn about, etc.
I've got a list of the topics and their color in the front of the Bible (not pictured). Whenever I see a situation arise (and there are many!), I can simply find the corresponding topic and flip quickly and easily to a verse.
I love the new She Reads Truth Bible. The translation is easy to understand, has gorgeous color maps and illustrations (top image). The cover is also very thick and durable, great for even little hands to utilize.
Want to get your own copy of the brand new She Reads Truth Bible?
Enter to win one of seven (7) copies here.
The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of "Women in the Word of God every day." The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.
Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.
Note: I love many of the She Reads Truth products. The new Bible does not come with sticky note flags or highlighted text (that was my own DIY), however it does include gorgeous timelines, maps and other charts. I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media. While I was given the Bible for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own. All images are my own and are copyrighted.
There are SO MANY good books to read during the holidays. One of my favorite things each year is unpacking some of holiday books that have been hidden away during the warmer months.
1. Sarah Morton's Day This book tells the story of Sarah Morton as she goes throughout getting dressed, her chores, and other aspects of daily life.
2.Samuel Eaton's Day Similar to Sarah Morton's Day, this book tells the story of Samuel Eaton, a pilgrim boy in 1627. Samuel is old enough to help with the difficult task of the rye harvest.
3. Squanto, Friend of Pilgrims This book is geared towards slightly older children or younger kids on a more mature reading (listening) level.
3.A Thanksgiving Turkey Join the hunt for an old tom turkey as a grandfather and grandson determine to find a bird for Thanksgiving.
4. Cranberry Thanksgiving Ahhh, Mr. Whiskers and Grandmother. The characters of Cranberryport are so likeable. Be sure to make the recipe on the back! (If you ever find any of this series at a book sale, be sure to grab it up!)
5.Sharing the Bread I love the syncopation as we read through this book. This story tells how a family works together to create a feast for Thanksgiving.
7. The Pilgrims of Plimouth This picture book is fascinating for all ages!
8. The Thanksgiving Story Written by the same person who wrote The Courage of Sarah Noble, The 4th of July Story, The Columbus Story and other amazing living books, this book tells the story of a brother and sister aboard the Mayflower and their first year in America.
9. North American Indians Another fascinating picture book!
10. Draw and Write Through History: Pilgrims, Patriots and Pirates This isn't necessarily a living book, but an awesome resource for your read alouds. It's helpful for keeping tiny hands busy.
Want to add more poetry to your day but don't know where to start? Look no further! This list below features some amazing poetry resources for the early years of a charlotte mason inspired education. It also includes a special choice just for you, Mama.
There are so many fantastic anthologies and authors that we can't possibly list them all. Below are a few of our favorites. Note: links to these are affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you purchase these books. Read our full disclosure here.
There are many different illustrators of this book, including a version done by Little Golden Books that is lovely.
I love the illustrations in this one and that it features so many poems by Christina Rosetti, one of my favorite poets.
This one is just for you, Mama. I found out about this book from Ma and Pa Modern. This is a biography in verse of George Washington Carver, so good!
Really any of the books by Shel Silverstein are good for a laugh. They're full of nonsensical, whimsical poems; these are a family favorite.
(Side note- can you imagine having a ladder like this in your home library?!)
You can also add more poetry to your day by listening to it. Here is a great resource to do so.
What poets and poetry books do you love to read? Share in the comments below!
I'm so excited to announce that season 2 (a long time coming!!) is now streaming. You can subscribe in iTunes so you'll never miss an episode, subscribe to our email list to be notified of when new episodes air, or like us on Facebook to be notified there.
Our first episode of season 2 is so fantastic! Allie Casazza is a homeschool mama, runs her own business, a podcast, online courses and much more. In this episode Allie offers advice on having a heart for your home, tips on how to homeschool as a minimalist, being intentional as an educator, dealing with resentment and burnout, and more.
Listen at the link below.
Y'ALL! My boys absolutely love Jan Brett books. And I'll admit-so do I! These books feature rich stories and AMAZING, intricate illustrations. Her books and illustrations range from snowy scenes, to Carolina ponds and everything in between. She's even got a few baby board books.
A New York Times Bestselling Author, Jan Brett now has a BRAND NEW book out on Amazon and other sites. The Mermaid is a retelling of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, set undersea off the coast of Japan.
Go check out Jan Brett's brand new book (and if you're an Amazon Prime member, get it in just two days!)
My kids could spend 30 minutes (oy vey!)if they wanted to narrating a story we read together, it comes naturally to them at this age. Cultivating this habit so it can be parlayed later into written or oral narration is a skill I'm trying to develop in both my children and myself.
Charlotte Mason says this about narration: “She [the mother] may read two or three pages, enough to include an episode; after that, let her call upon the children to narrate, — in turns, if there be several of them” (Vol. 1, p. 233). In the preface of Volume 6, she expounds on narration: "“As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should ‘tell back’ after a single reading or hearing . . . A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages”
There are so many ways to have your child "narrate" at this age. We've listed three below to help you get started. Use your own imagination to help your child learn the foundations of narration. Be sure to leave a comment about your experience!
Three Ways To Teach Narration Through Play
1. Dress up- A beloved time of play, dress up can also be used as a narration tool. Have your child be a specific character and act out the story.
2. Building- Using legos, duplos, Lincoln logs, playdough and clay, or even sticks and rocks from the backyard, create a scene from the story you just read together.
3. Puppets-Line up your favorite stuffed animals and describe a favorite scene or retell the story in your own words to them.
Do you have your kids narrate through play? What narration techniques do you use in your family?
The Early Years Curriculum is Here!
It's been so hard to keep this secret from you, but I'm thrilled to announce that the Early Years has partnered with A Modern Charlotte Mason to bring you a rich early years curriculum! Geared towards kids age six and under whose state laws and regulations necessitate following a curriculum, the Early Years is Charlotte Mason inspired feast of living books and ideas and a gentle introduction to learning. Learn more here or checkout the Q&A here.
Many businesses outsource certain aspects of their day to day tasks in order to save time and money. Both motherhood and home education are full time roles in and of themselves, combining the two makes for an even larger workload. That doesn't even include any house cleaning, side jobs or work from home opportunities, paying bills, errands and appointments, volunteer or church work, or caring for a sick friend or friend that may need help. We've all seen various studies from Fortune, Salary.com and others that list a mother's salary between $65, 000 and $143,000 annually.
As home educators we are also responsible for curriculum research, lesson planning, cultural enrichment, and more. We are the Art Teacher, the Music Teacher, the History Teacher and so on. We've got our hands (and hearts) full, Mamas.
But there are some things we can go ahead and write off our to-do lists. We can choose to say no in order to free up more time to say yes to other things! You don't have to accomplish every single thing at the end of the day, it's choosing the right thing that is most important.
3 THINGS TO OUTSOURCE AS YOU HOMESCHOOL
1. House Cleaning
Don't misunderstand, there is something to be said for teaching your kids life skills, responsibility and house work. These are necessary and right skills to cultivate in our kids. But (!!) for those of us who love a freshly clean house, outsourcing a house cleaning is the way to go. If your budget allows, a monthly or biweekly cleaning offers just a small pick me up and saves you from doing a lot of deep cleaning when you could be focusing on other things! (House cleanings work well as gifts too, if you're wanting to gift a homeschool mama something special!)
2. Yard Work
Admittedly, I draw the line halfway here. My husband commutes an hour each way to work and we have (almost) 3 young kids. I adore working in the yard, getting my hands dirty in rich soil. It draws me in to a deeper communion with my Creator. I also love teaching my kids the joy, patience and responsibility of growing a garden. What I don't like is the time spent on mowing, edging, bush and limb trimming and general yard maintenance. At this season in my life, I'm not willing to lose out on quality family time while I or my husband mow our yard and so we choose to outsource that.
Again, teaching your kids money management, good health habits and other valuable life lessons is important. But so is sanity i.e. not taking a group of crying and pinching brothers into Target (ask me how I know). Save yourself some embarrassment and get your groceries delivered (we love Instacart!!) for this season of life. If you so choose, there are other ways to include your kids in this aspect: look up prices online, cut coupons from local newspapers, or consider using a CSA and make your pickup trips into a field trip each week. In our family, we do a combination of our local CSA for weekly ingredients, and then a standard grocery order for anything we might need in bulk.
As a thank you for reading this far, I'd love to offer you a $10 credit toward your grocery delivery. What other things, if any, do you outsource as a home educator? Do you see this as a worthwhile investment for your family?
You know what's awesome? A free booklist! Download your FREE printable of over 30 audiobooks. Listen in the car, on the plane, to the park, you name it. Our free Charlotte Mason inspired audiobooks printable is full of living books such as Curious George, Paddington, Frog and Toad, Charlotte's Web, Robin Hood, Sir Arthur and His Knights, Paddy the Beaver, and more. It includes some of your favorite authors like Thornton Burgess, Robert McCloskey, Barbara Cooney, and James Herriot. Download your FREE Charlotte Mason inspired audiobooks printable below and be sure to click the Audible banner below to find out how you can get TWO FREE AUDIOBOOKS!
I love a good notebook and as an art major, visual layouts appeal to me. I also love to create beauty within my home, especially in mundane tasks. To that end, I am working on a bullet journal for our upcoming year. Nothing formal, just lists and ideas and noting what works/what doesn't as we prepare to formally school at home in 2018-2019. These are some of my favorite bullet journal inspiration on Pinterest.
Do you use a planner or visual layout of some sort for homeschooling? Have you seen amazing bullet journal layouts and wanted to get started? I LOVE bullet journaling, and there are SO many options to make it your own. For more bullet journal and homeschool inspiration, check out my Pinterest board here.
Recently, we covered three amazing books to read as you begin to research a Charlotte Mason inspired education. I didn't want to overwhelm you with options in that post so today we're back with three more inspiration books to read for a Charlotte Mason inspired informal home education for kids age six and under.
1.Teaching From Rest
Sarah Mackenzie is well known in homeschool circles. She speaks often at Great Homeschool Conventions across the nation and also hosts her own podcast, Read Aloud Revival, where she advocates for the importance of reading aloud as a family. She is bright and bubbly and hilarious! Sarah published a book called Teaching from Rest that is written for the mom who is worried she's not enough. Isn't that every single one of us in some capacity?! This book will change the way you think of yourself as a home educator. Get three free chapters when you subscribe to her email list or find the book on Amazon and Audible. Sarah herself has recorded the audiobook and it is such fun to hear the author read her own words! To my knowledge, Sarah is not a Charlotte Mason purist but from what I can tell her home atmosphere is absolutely life-giving and I believe she does implement some Charlotte Mason ideals.
2. Honey For A Child's Heart
Gladys Hunt wrote Honey For A Child's Heart and it is a gold mine for finding great books for your children, many of them living books. In fact her first chapter is all about the importance of introducing your child to great thoughts and ideals through great books. You can find her book here.
3. A Charlotte Mason Education
You probably already know of my love for this book. A Charlotte Mason Education is the book that single-handedly encouraged my husband to agree that we should homeschool our kids. I am forever indebted to Catherine Levison for writing this book. Catherine talks about her book in a Q&A here. We had Catherine on the podcast a few episodes back, you can listen to her interview here.
I once heard Sarah MacKenzie say that she started each day off by singing the Doxology because you can never sing the Doxology without smiling. I've been testing this theory for over two years now and she's absolutely right. When one of my kids wakes up in a bad mood, or if we didn't sleep well and everyone is whiny, or if we just need to push the reset button on the morning, we sing the Doxology.
And it works like magic EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I've created a FREE Spotify playlist for you which will help reset your bad day. Each song is a different version of the Doxology and is sure to inspire and reset the tone of your family dynamic. Enjoy!
Andrew Pudewa has graciously agreed to come on the How To For The Early Years podcast and we are so excited to talk to him about the role of the father in home education. Andrew is a father of seven children and grandfather to soon to be nine kiddos! He is the Director for the Institute of Excellence in Writing and is passionate about "addressing issues related to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music". Andrew and his wife homeschooled their children, particularly their youngest child, using the Charlotte Mason method.
In Episode 6 of the How To For The Early Years podcast, Andrew speaks about the father as the guardian and protector of home education and also outlines three ways dads can be a support to mothers as home educators. In this episode, Andrew also mentions a talk he gave on nurturing competent communicators. You can find that here or in our show notes.
We are so excited to have Andrew as a guest on our show! Listen below or subscribe in iTunes so you don't miss an episode!
We don't do a lot of screentime in our family but in seasons of change (new baby, moving day, etc) or sickness, we've had to rely on it. I absolutely love the Salsa videos for kids. My boys pick up so many new words (and use them correctly!) just from watching these videos. Although some may be modernized or slightly re-written, Three Billy Goats Gruff for example, each video is a fairytale they already know and love. Head to the Salsa website to check out the full list of videos.
One of our favorite places to go for nature study is a little pond down the street. It's beautifully shaded by pine trees, oaks, and maples and has a quaint wooden bridge perfect for dangling little boy feet into the water.
If you live near a pond or lake, you'll love this list of living books about ponds. Enjoy!
Among the Pond People- Clara Dillingham Pierson
This book is available by Project Gutenberg for free as an ebook, pdf or other downloadable file. There is a whole series of "among the ______ people" and all of them feature rich and lovely language and stories. We don't often use e-books but it's nice to be able to carry an ipad or kindle down to the pond and read aloud, it's much less heavy and gives me lots of options to choose from depending on our read aloud mood. Download it (and others!) here.
Beyond the Pond-Joseph Kuefler
This book is geared toward younger kids, in my opinion. My two and four year old love it! The illustrations in this book are just beautiful- deep colors and inviting scenes that promote imagination! My boys love this book especially because the little boy in the story, Ernest D., is joined in his adventures by a doggie companion. You can look inside the book when you find it on Amazon here.
I can't tell you how much I love Jan Brett's books! You can download them for Kindle, but don't miss out on the gorgeous and intricate illustrations of the real thing! This book is about a darling turtle and we actually have that species in our neck of the woods, so it is extra special to us. Mossy combines a sweet story and such beautifully detailed illustrations; you can pick this one up as a boardbook for littles but the larger sized book is so lovely! Also, prime shipping when you order it on Amazon!
Charlotte challenged moms to keep their kids out of doors for 5-6 hours each day. With nap times, daily tasks, errands and appointments, this can seem daunting to a family in the 21st century.
I've challenged our family to a day out of doors (4 and 2 year old included!). We've set the day for next week and I'm already considering supplies, plans that must be in place, and other prep that comes with spending five to six hours outside, as Charlotte Mason suggested. It takes a lot of strategic planning to stay outside for that many hours with young kids! I've created a little list of tips to help me remember everything! To download this list for your day out of doors, simply right click and "save as" to your computer.
Perhaps you have a friend who has said this, or perhaps even you yourself have uttered these words. So often I hear the question "I'm just starting out researching the Charlotte Mason method. What should I read first?"
There are so, so many great book options out there about how to educate your child, what philosophy you should use, books about how to teach, curricula comparisons and more. There are even books about what books to read!
As Charlotte is our muse and as we seek to implement a Charlotte Mason inspired informal education while our kids are still little, I'd first suggest reading her own words.
1.Charlotte has a six volume series, The Original Homeschooling Series, which can be purchased individually or as whole set, and can be found on Amazon, Ebay and even Barnes and Noble. You can also find individual books and sometimes the whole set on buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook. Be sure to look for the unabridged set!
2.Laying Down The Rails is a book compiled by Sonya Shafer full of quotes from Miss Mason about habit training. This book is helpful because it lists all of Charlotte's thoughts about specific habits in orderly chapters. This book is sold on Simply Charlotte Mason.
3. The next book I would suggest some would argue is not fully Charlotte Mason, however I think it still deserves a spot in this lineup. For The Children's Sake is a fantastic book on home education. Susan Schaefer McCaulay writes from a Christian perspective on how to integrate the parent child relationship with home education and daily life. For me, this book was key in my decision to homeschool my children and I think absolutely applicable for any CM education.
This week we're celebrating Mother's Day! Mothers play such an important role in the lives of their kids. Charlotte Mason says they are to be inspirers for their children and to show God to their children in everyday life. Listen to Episode 5 now, and be sure to subscribe in iTunes so you don't miss any upcoming episodes!
Charlotte Mason quotes William Wordsworth's poem "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood " on p. 11 of Volume I, Home Education. The context of this quote is that children are not simply "a tablet to be written on, a twig to be bent or wax to be molded. No, they are so much more than that. As we will see from the poem below, they belong to a higher estate than ours.
Note: The above quote is an excerpt from the poem in its entirety. You can find Wordsworth's full ode here.