If you live in an urban area where nature is elusive, don’t assume that there’s no nature to be found! Here are some ways that city-dwelling families can get outside and find nature in their urban surroundings. Continue reading »
Your child can't hold a pencil very well? Your child thinks faster than she can write? Your child's handwriting is illegible? Your child can't compose in writing even though he can tell you a great story?
Your child might benefit from having a scribe. Continue reading »
The compelling reasons kids need nature were explained factually and forcefully by Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. Louv reaches new ground out in his next book, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age. He uses anecdotes as well as groundbreaking research to demonstrate why we need to balance our use of technology with the restorative powers of nature. Continue reading »
Everyone has a comment on the increasing popularity of homeschooling. When I talk to people about homeschooling, they frequently mention the availability of "so much curriculum these days," as if that is the single most important factor in being able to homeschool. Non-homeschoolers, prospective homeschoolers, and new homeschoolers seem surprised that many homeschoolers use learning materials that are not, strictly speaking, part of a homeschool curriculum. There are many reasons why people use other learning resources instead of curriculum. Continue reading »
Some of my favorite children’s books are also wonderful learning resources you can use instead of curriculum. Among these are the oversize children’s classics about mythology by the d’Aulaires. The D'Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and the D'Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths delighted all my kids when they were pre-readers through their late elementary years, and I found that the understanding of mythology they learned from these books persisted through their middle school and high school years, when they needed to spot and comprehend literary allusions to mythology. Continue reading »
Many of us find it easy to dive into new things with gusto. Once we've made the decision to try something new, like homeschooling, we want to learn everything we can so we can be really, really good at it. We make big plans—we'll work our annual trip to the seashore into a unit on oceanography!—and create rosy images of winter days with our children studiously bent over their books at the kitchen table while we bake homemade crackers and upload photos of the latest clever homeschool project to our blog site.
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Charlotte Mason was a 19th century educator who believed "the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living." Some of the characteristics of a Charlotte Mason education are using living books, keeping a nature journal, and introducing music, art, poetry, and great literature among other resources. Continue reading »
A library of field guides is an important resource for homeschooling families, and with spring just around the corner, it's a great time to make sure you have what you need on hand to help with identification of birds, trees, insects, spiders, snakes, turtles, frogs, toads, and wildflowers. Here are some tips for making sure your field guides are frequently-used. Continue reading »
Sometimes we have had a designated nature table, something which is suggested by both the Waldorf-inspired approach and the Montessori-inspired approach to homeschooling, and something many Charlotte Mason homeschoolers implement as well.
Other times, we have just gathered seasonal treasures together as a kitchen table centerpiece. A walk in the brisk air, the scavenger hunt for natural objects that are lovely to see and touch and smell and shake, the artful arranging and rearranging of the bounty -- these refresh the senses and clear the cobwebs out of minds. Continue reading »
A liberal education awakens the soul of a child. Liberal means a full and generous curriculum. After a thirty-year experiment, educationalist Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) said, "I believe the ardor for knowledge in the children of this mining village is a phenomenon that indicates new possibilities... To find that the children of a mining population were equally responsive [as were children of educated parents] seemed to open a new hope for the world. It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living." Continue reading »
Charlotte Mason was a big thinker who had a very high view of children. So let me start out by saying that I don't believe anyone could ever fit Charlotte Mason's ideas, methods and philosophies into an actual nutshell (I just thought it made a good title for this article). Miss Mason's ideas were so broad and far reaching, it took six large volumes to contain her writings on just the topic of education. With that said, here's a very brief overview of a handful of Charlotte Mason's most familiar ideas. Continue reading »