This post is written by contributing writer, Joanie from Simple Living Mama.
I still remember the first time my son began to really show that he was making connections with the things I was trying to teach him. He was under a year old, and I asked him to get his yellow dump truck. Without hesitation, he went to his dump truck and brought it to me. I was so proud of him that tears welled up in my eyes. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to attempt preschool at home. Working alongside my children and watching the light bulbs flicker in their minds is one of my greatest joys.
There are times when I struggle with whether or not I should send my kids to preschool, but I am quickly reminded just how short childhood is and I feel that God has called me to educate my children.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6: 5-7
There are a huge variety of methods for teaching children at home, but I have found one method that I absolutely love. We have recently started implementing the Charlotte Mason method in our home and it is going so well.
What is the Charlotte Mason method?
Simply Charlotte Mason.com defines this particular method as, “A method of education popular with homeschoolers in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits.”
The key to this method for preschooling is not to do a set, formal curriculum with your child. Charlotte Mason believed that all children under the age of 6 needed to learn was a lot of time spent playing outdoors and gentle direction and training from parents, in what she referred to as “habits.” Of course, we also incorporate academics in our preschool at home.
Along with lots of free play both indoors and out, plus the training of habits, we read aloud lots of good literature. As a student of literature, this one is very easy for me to do with my children. We aim to read aloud 3-4 times a day. Some examples of good literature for children can be found at Simply Charlotte Mason and AmblesideOnline.
We also incorporate Bible time, beginning reading, math, art appreciation, artwork, music appreciation, and poetry into our homeschool.
An example of our daily preschool-at-home schedule would look something like this:
8:00 a.m. – Have Bug help me prepare breakfast, set the table, eat. Read aloud one Bible story and a Bible verse. We are currently reading the Little Boys Bible Storybook for Mothers and Sons.
9:00 a.m. – Begin talking about letters, shapes, or colors. Let the kids draw on their Crayola Dry Erase boards and show them how to draw the letters and shapes. We may also use Counting Bears to count, sort, and group.
10:00 a.m. – Free play. Indoors we may play with a sensory tub (which is not Charlotte Mason, but my kids love them), Lincoln Logs, blocks, or the play kitchen. Sometimes the kids request that I read to them.
11:00 a.m. – Play outdoors, feed the animals, collect rocks, or observe other forms of nature.
12:30 p.m. – Lunch time and story time. Yesterday we read “The Little Red Hen.”
1:30 p.m. – Quiet time. Sis usually naps and Bug plays quietly. Sometimes he will do a sticker page or coloring page.
I don’t schedule anything after this time. We plan to begin reading poetry after dinner and we always read before bed. Right now we are working our way through The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne.
Art appreciation is incorporated by simply displaying prints of fine art either in my home or on my computer screen. During free time I like to play some classical music such as Beethoven.
Mr. Simple and I believe in taking our children out into the world with us. We love field trips. We have a membership to our local zoo and we love to visit when it’s not 100 degrees outside! Other places we like to take our children include:
- Local children’s museums
- The pumpkin patch in October
- The lake for a picnic
- Farmer’s markets
- Weekly library trips
We do not hesitate to take our children out to eat because we want to teach them manners and how to behave appropriately. There’s no better way to teach children how to behave in public than by taking them out with you!
Smooth and Easy Days (free e-book on habits)
What about you? Do you have any experience with the Charlotte Mason method of teaching?
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