Preschooling With The Charlotte Mason Method
This is a repost of a story I had written in June 2013 on my other blog - http://lisabrowndesign.blogspot.com
I'm learning so much since I've started to homeschool Phoenix for preschool this year. So far, we've worked on a lot... including on unit studies, and have also dabbled in unschooling. And, as much as I love the concept and philosophy behind unschooling, right now, I don't think it's for us. I crave more structure. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I kinda want to have those trophy kids who are ahead of the curve. I want to have all of those little bragging rights about how early my kids did things, and that isn't something that's likely to happen with unschooling. If I were to unschool, Phoenix would be likely to discover reading on his own at age 9-14 versus a controlled approach, where he's likely to learn by age 5-7.
So, now I'm learning about a different approach to homeschooling - the Charlotte Mason Method. I'm still very new to this method, but Simply Charlotte Mason has a good description of what the Charlotte Mason method is. I'm combining what I'm learning on this website with things I've learned so far from A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison.
Right now, Phoenix is 4, which is too young to start "officially" schooling using the Charlotte Mason, but I'm pre-schooling him following the "Early Years Guide" suggested by Simply Charlotte Mason. Mainly, this consists of habit-training, outdoor free play & exploration, read-alouds, art, music, poetry, handicrafts, and life skills.Habits
Habits are worked on one-by one. Each habit is worked on for anywhere from 4-6 weeks. Then, another habit is added & worked on. The free e-book Smooth and Easy Days with Charlotte Mason by Sonya Shafer has been very helpful in our transition to Charlotte Mason as well.
Outdoor Free Play & Exploration
It was my goal to have the kids spend an hour outside every day. The hubby laughs at me for saying this... joking about how that's what they give prisoners in jail - lol. I'm hoping that switching to the Charlotte Mason method will give me that little kick in the pants to make sure the kids get outside every day to play. Right now, they more than accomplish this, but I know things will change once our Ohio winters get here. When it gets cold, they might only go out twice a week... and honestly, that's a crappy excuse. There is no such thing is weather too cold to play in... just wrong choice of clothing.
We have read-alouds twice a day. Fiction, non-fiction, educational... we read it all. I think one of the most important things a parent can do it to read aloud to their child, so we never slack on this one.
Art & Handicrafts
Most of our art is simply making creations with Play-Doh. An addition, Phoenix has craft time at the library when he goes, so, he gets craft time in there. We also do crafts occasionally at home, but it's not an everyday thing. Phoenix would rather play & use his imagination that work on art & handicrafts, and that's okay with me.
My son is obsessed with Bob Marley. He listens to Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers when he takes his mid-day nap and when he goes to bed at night... on repeat. All night. If he wakes up and it's off, he'll stumble over to the cd player and turn it back on again. So, without a doubt, he's getting plenty of reggae.
Lately, I'm adding more classical music into the mix by downloading songs that have been featured on Little Einsteins. To my surprise, he actually likes listening to classical music this way! I'm not going hard-core teaching composers or song titles. Right now, I'm just hoping he develops a taste for a variety of music.
Right now, most of our poetry comes from Dr. Seuss. You name it, we've probably read it. We also have discussions... almost daily about words that rhyme and alliterate (aka start with the same sound.) Oh, and fun fact - nothing is cuter than a 4-year-old saying alliterate. :)
These are what happens when we aren't doing anything else from the list above. In our home, they often take the form of cooking, cleaning, laundry, and helping around the house.
Are you homeschooling? What method(s) do you use? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)