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From Classroom to Kitchen Table: A Newbie's Journey into Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

blog banner: From Classroom to Kitchen Table: A Newbie's Journey into Charlotte Mason Homeschooling

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Transitioning from a structured classroom environment to the flexible, often chaotic world of homeschooling was not something I had planned for. As a former kindergarten teacher, I was used to detailed lesson plans, quiet classrooms, and a predictable schedule. However, when we decided to homeschool our active son, life became a blend of education and everyday living. Picture this: me trying to teach the alphabet while simultaneously folding laundry, with my kindergartener eagerly helping—sometimes more enthusiastically than helpfully. Read on and discover how I journeyed into Charlotte Mason Homeschooling.

The early days were tough. Juggling chores, lessons, and the needs of a curious kindergartener required a different kind of planning and a lot of patience. I found myself constantly searching for ways to engage my son meaningfully while tending to household duties. This is when I discovered the Charlotte Mason method, which transformed our homeschooling experience.

Charlotte Mason, a 19th-century British educator, believed that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. Her philosophy resonated with me deeply, offering a more natural, engaging, and less stressful approach to teaching my son. Here are five essential techniques that have made our homeschooling journey smoother and more enjoyable.

1. Short Lessons

“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.” — Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason advocated for short, focused lessons that cater to a young child’s attention span. We keep lessons around 15-20 minutes, which fits perfectly between chores and nap time. Charlotte Mason Homeschooling is gentle and unhurried and allows my son to explore and satisfy his curiosities.

Resources I used:

One morning, while I was prepping breakfast, I set my son up with a quick math activity. He was done just in time to help me stir pancake batter, making the transition seamless and keeping him engaged.

homemade manipulative: buttons and lines

Read more about short lessons:

2. Living Books

“Children learn to care by living alongside adults who care.” — Charlotte Mason

Living books are engaging, well-written narratives that make subjects come alive. They are a cornerstone of the Charlotte Mason method, encouraging children to connect deeply with the material. As of this writing, I confess that I have accumulated quite a number of living books in our Charlotte Mason Homeschooling journey.

Resources I used:

Reading "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" after naptime, my son’s eyes lit up with each new adventure Peter encountered. He later drew pictures of the story, cementing his understanding through creativity.

3. Nature Study

“Let them once get in touch with nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life.” — Charlotte Mason

Nature study is about exploring and appreciating the natural world. It's perfect for active kids who love being outside and is a great way to include toddlers and babies, If you have, in the learning process. In our Charlotte Mason homeschooling adventure, we have spent most of our time outdoors. My son was more curious than scared of all the bugs and creepy crawlies he found in our walks.

Resources I used:

With a notebook and crayons, and a bag with some snacks and water, we headed to the backyard to observe birds. My son sketched a robin he spotted, and we later looked it up in a field guide. These outings became our peaceful, educational adventures.

nature journaling with a kindergartener

Read more about nature study:

4. Habit Training

“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.” — Charlotte Mason

Good habits are the foundation of a Charlotte Mason education. Teaching children responsibility through routine chores helps build character and discipline.

Resources I used:

Incorporating habit training into our daily routine, I taught my son to set the table. This simple task gave him a sense of responsibility and freed me to attend to food preparations.

Read more about CM Habits:

5. Art and Music Appreciation

“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” — Charlotte Mason

Exposing children to great art and music enriches their education. Simple activities like listening to classical music during playtime or studying famous paintings can be incredibly beneficial.

Resources I used:

We listened to Vivaldi while building with blocks, and my son began to recognize the different instruments. Later, we looked at Van Gogh’s "Starry Night", and he tried to replicate it with crayons, combining art appreciation with creative play.

Homeschooling using the Charlotte Mason method has been a rewarding journey, despite the initial struggles. The techniques are not only effective but also adaptable to our daily life, making learning a natural part of our day. For new homeschoolers, remember that it’s okay to have challenging days. With patience and the right resources, you can create a nurturing and stimulating educational environment for your child. Embrace the process, and happy homeschooling!

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