Preschool at Home with the Charlotte Mason Method

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 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.


Little Boys Bible Storybook for Mothers and Sons  -<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />         By: Carolyn Larsen</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>

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
  • Hiking
  • 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!

There is much, much more to learn and know about the Charlotte Mason method. Here are some additional resources:

Ambleside Online

Early Years Guide

Smooth and Easy Days (free e-book on habits)

A Charlotte Mason Education

What about you? Do you have any experience with the Charlotte Mason method of teaching?

Shared with Women Living Well, We are THAT Family

This post contains Joanie’s affiliate links. You can read our full disclosure policy for more information.

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  1. This is such a great post, Joanie! I remember when I read through this the first time I was just thinking about the coming “school year” and what I wanted to do with Samuel. This post really struck a chord with me, and I was so excited about what you were doing. I’ve since been reading everything there is to know about the Charlotte Mason method and we’re convinced this is the route we want to take with our boy. We do mix in a little Montessori at this age because I’ve found it’s a great way to teach habits, order, and it allows a little more structure that fits Mommy and toddler’s personality. Thanks for sharing with us what your day looks like! It looks very much like ours!

    1. I’m glad this post inspired you to research more about the Charlotte Mason method. I really love everything about the method and I only hope that my kids will love learning with it, too! Yes, Montessori is good, too, and we do incorporate some of that also. There’s nothing wrong with mixing methods!

    1. Anne, you must check it out! I’ve checked several books out from the library and have become so fascinated by this lady and her approach to education! I believe you’d love it. 🙂

    2. Anne, your oldest is exactly the same age as my oldest! He will be 4 in October, too! What I love about the Charlotte Mason method is how well-rounded the education is. I honestly wish I had been taught this way. Definitely read into it if you’re interested.

  2. Joanie, great post. I taught 4th grade at a Christian school before I became a mommy. We used Charlotte Mason’s philosophies for nature studies, composer studies, and artist studies. The children learned about the art of Van Gogh, for example, in 4th grade. I will definitley use some of her ideas with my son and baby on the way!

  3. What a great post! I also found that moms who were doing preschool at home, were often in need of some daily input, and I wrote The Peaceful Preschool which is a literature and project based curriculum for little ones. It includes lots of hands on learning, time in nature, and practical life skills.

  4. The more I learn about Charlotte Mason, the more I realize that the sensory tub IS in line of her view for the early years! At first I thought they were “twaddle,” but now we’re going to add them to our Charlotte Mason preschool at home.