a humble place https://ahumbleplace.com Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. Camille Pissarro Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:15:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://ahumbleplace.com/uploads/2020/07/cropped-chick20trans-32x32.png a humble place https://ahumbleplace.com 32 32 God With Us: Advent Art Devotions Volume II https://ahumbleplace.com/god-with-us-advent-art-devotions-volume-ii/ https://ahumbleplace.com/god-with-us-advent-art-devotions-volume-ii/#respond Mon, 19 Oct 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=71372 I’m happy to announce that Volume II of the Advent Art Devotions I offered last year is now available! To give you a little background, I had the desire for several years to put together something that would allow me to incorporate art into our yearly Advent traditions. In the past, our homeschool co-op had the […]

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God With Us: Advent Art Devotions Volume 2 - ahumbleplace.com

I’m happy to announce that Volume II of the Advent Art Devotions I offered last year is now available! To give you a little background, I had the desire for several years to put together something that would allow me to incorporate art into our yearly Advent traditions. In the past, our homeschool co-op had the practice of picking an extra print from one of our artists with the theme of the nativity or some other holiday-related subject, and I enjoyed having these pieces to display in our home over the holidays. There is so much beautiful Christmas-related art available from well-known artists as well as the more obscure, that I thought it would be nice to curate a few pieces along with Bible verses, hymns, and poetry that we could use to pause during the time of waiting and contemplate what this season is truly about. Last year, I finally put together a little devotional guide and I was happy to be able to offer it as a product on my website as well.

I had such a positive response to the guide last year (the prints sold out in less than two days!), that I decided I want to make this an annual tradition, thus I’m offering a new set of prints and hymns and poetry for this year!

God With Us: Advent Art Devotions Volume 2 - ahumbleplace.com

These guides do differ from the picture study aids in that I have not also included information about the paintings themselves. My vision for adding art into our Advent traditions was not to include more academic opportunities, but rather more possibilities for contemplation and meditation during a season that tends to be overwhelming with busy-ness and distractions.

Also, while the hymns and poems are different than last year, the Bible passages listed are similar though I did make minor changes so there are no readings that overlap as they did last year. I will keep these the same in the future as I feel that part of the Advent tradition is reflecting on the same passages each year. Also, per many requests I received, I included a page at the end with links to both the sheet music and online audio versions of each of the hymns so it’s easier to incorporate that music into your devotional time. And, this year instead of just a PDF download, I am also offering saddle-stitch, professionally-printed versions of the guide as well!

You can find this year’s version at the link below, or if you missed out on last year’s, Volume I is also still available in the shop here! I hope you will find these helpful in adding opportunities for contemplation during your holiday season!

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Mother Culturing: Third Quarter 2020 https://ahumbleplace.com/mother-culturing-third-quarter-2020/ https://ahumbleplace.com/mother-culturing-third-quarter-2020/#respond Tue, 06 Oct 2020 18:26:20 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=70714 What we need is a habit of taking our minds out of what one is tempted to call “the domestic rag-bag” of perplexities, and giving it a good airing in something which keeps it “growing”… Is there, then, not need for more “Mother Culture”? “Mother Culture” Parents’ Review – Volume 3 Fall, leaves, fall; die, […]

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What we need is a habit of taking our minds out of what one is tempted to call “the domestic rag-bag” of perplexities, and giving it a good airing in something which keeps it “growing”… Is there, then, not need for more “Mother Culture”?

“Mother Culture” Parents’ Review – Volume 3

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

~Fall, leaves, fall by Charlotte Brontë~

I’m not sure if it’s common among other homeschoolers or not, but I always feel like the new school year is more of a new year than the actual New Year is. I spend the summer evaluating our previous school year and planning the next and then September comes and implementation of those plans begins. It feels like a fresh start and I’ve found that because homeschooling is all-encompassing for our family (education is a life, after all), it spills over into other areas as well. This year, one of those areas was my online presence.

It has been becoming increasingly clear to me over the last few years that I am spreading myself too thin…“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread,” as Bilbo says. I’m trying to spin too many plates and many of them are wobbling violently. I have seen an increase in business in the last two years which has been such an enormous blessing for our family, but also difficult in how to figure out how to delegate my time. I am so, so thankful for the additional income, but also struggling in the time it takes away from my family. And so, I sat down with myself this summer and had a good chat about what is important and what is not; what can be cut out and what do I want to keep doing; what do I want to add and what do I want to take away.

This allowed me to come up with a plan and the decision that some changes need to take place, mainly here. The biggest change is that I’ll be posting less: instead of one post per week, I’m aiming to do one every other week (which also means newsletters will only be going out every other week). I also stopped doing the Weekend Entertainment posts simply because they were taking more time than they were worth. In making these changes, though, I’m hoping that I have more time to actually create more Picture Study Aids (and work on other picture study-related projects!) without sacrificing additional time with my family.

I’m also renaming the System Status posts to Mother Culturing. Culturing instead of a simple Culture because the phrase is actually trademarked (though she does allow for discussion on blogs!), but also I feel that Culturing is a lovely way to summarize an ongoing, internal process. I think of the kombucha “culturing” on my counter or a jar of sauerkraut “culturing” beside it and I feel it’s an apt comparison. I toyed with this renaming idea a few years ago, but am finally doing it now as I feel it’s a better reflection of what these posts are about. System Status was actually a concept I borrowed from another blogger I found about 19 years ago when I was getting more into blogging. I loved the idea, and so put it to my own use, but then it evolved and what it is now doesn’t resemble her posts even remotely. I think for me, Mother Culture is now more appropriate as it includes how I’m growing rather than just what I’m up to at a given moment.

And so, here we are in a new season with new plans and new goals. It feels good.

As for the quarter, it was eventful. In July we said goodbye to some wonderful friends who moved to Georgia (this was hard). Both kids also attended the annual Little House Camp, which is a Little-House-on-the-Prairie-themed camp that one of the girls who used to be in our co-op hosts each year. B has gone the last two years, but this was C’s first year and they absolutely loved it.

In August, I was drafted for jury duty and ended being chosen. It was the first jury trial for our county since COVID arrived in March and the judge said we were “making history.” Unfortunately, that history was being made right over B’s tenth birthday and I was gone most of the day which was really, really sad for me. I’m thankful it was only two days and I think if it had been at any other time, I really would’ve found the experience fascinating, but it was hard over his birthday.

We also began school on August 23rd which is the earliest we’ve ever started, but as we’re including Sabbath weeks this year (the first of which is this week), I wanted us to start a little earlier. So far, it has gone mostly smoothly, even with this being my first year with two students in grade school. We’ve had a few minor hiccups, but I’ve found that as I get further into this homeschooling thing, I’m much more flexible in making adjustments however I see fit which has been a very good thing!

In the same week in September, I was part of a Morning Time Live session about Camille Pissarro and I turned 40. My oldest friend, who turned 40 in May, invited me to join her “on the other side of this hill” by having me over for tea and it was just about perfect as it gave just the two of us a chance to sit and chat for a few hours. These moments are rare these days.

And now on to how I’ve been culturing myself….

Books

This quarter was an epic fail in the reading department. The majority of the books I finished were for the kids which is not necessarily a bad thing, but doesn’t contribute much to the “mother culturing” part of this post.

The one book I finished for myself was Sourdough by Robin Sloan. This was a pretty quick read and enjoyable as his Mr. Penumbra series is as well. It also made me want to get into making sourdough, which is a pretty big thing for someone who is primarily grain-free to say!

With B, I finished Ember’s End. Admittedly, I did not think the first book was written very well in comparison to other books of the same genre, but the story was still very good and B absolutely loved the entire series. The last book was quite a bit better and I did actually get a little teary-eyed when I read a particular death. I also really want to get this Heather and Picket set or a Helmer for him for Christmas.

With C, I re-read The King of the Golden River and Among the Pond People. These were two I read with B years ago, so it was fun to re-visit them and she liked them both.

With both kids, I finished Prince Caspian. I had a plan to go through the entire Narnia series over the summer, but then when the content got a little more violent than what I was comfortable with for C, I opted to stop and wait to read it with her until she’s a little older.

Currently, for myself I’m reading Far from the Madding Crowd, Selected Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject, Scale How Meditations, and Home Education with my Idyll Challenge group. With C I’m reading Pinocchio and with B I’m continuing the Narnia series with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

2020 Book Challenges

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 23/24

Back to the Classics (BC) – 2/12

Modern Mrs. Darcy (MMD) – 3/12

20 for 20 Reading Challenge (20RC)- 5/20

On the Blog

I did a series over the summer all about homeschooling kindergarten as there are so many families who either pondered whether or not to do this with their child this summer or are deep in the thick of it now. My hope was to help parents know that they are very capable of homeschooling their kindergartner and it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think!

A Simple Homeschool Kindergarten What is the purpose of a kindergarten year, especially if you’re coming from a Charlotte Mason background? In this post, I’m mainly discussing why it’s a good idea to start later (including scientific research that backs this philosophy) and how exactly a kindergarten year really ought to look, which is very different than what you might expect….

Homeschooling Kindergarten in Light of COVID-19 If you’re seriously considering the homeschooling route but still wonder how you can possibly teach your kindergartner, the first thing I want to say is this… You can do this.

Nature Study with Small Children A wonderful guest post from my friend Joy with many helpful suggestions for how to do nature study with young children!

Simple Kindergarten Morning Time for Homeschoolers Morning Time has become an essential part of our lesson time and something I’ve very much enjoyed altering to fit our family’s needs. Here’s a little overview of what it can look like during the kindergarten year. (And in case you missed it, I also sat down to chat with Pam Barnhill about this very topic on her podcast this past summer!)

Gentle Kindergarten Math: A Guide to MEP Reception MEP Reception is a gentle and free option for kindergarten math and I successfully used it with both of my kids. Here is a guide on how to use it in your own homeschool!

Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid: Titian If you’re following the AmblesideOnline Artist Study rotation, the Titian Picture Study Aid went up in August!

Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid: Johannes Vermeer If you’re interested in including Dutch Baroque artist Johannes Vermeer in your Picture Study plans this year, you can find both a printed and PDF version of my new Picture Study Aid as well as Picture Study Prints for him in the shop!

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Fourth Grade Term 1 Plans For B’s Year 4, we’ll be using AmblesideOnline again this year and adding in a few new things like spelling, grammar, Latin, and map drills. It felt a little overwhelming when I was scheduling these things in addition to trying to juggle a Year 1 student as well, but so far, everything has gone very well. Here’s hoping that continues!

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year 1 Plans (Take 2) C’s Year 1 is going to look very similar to how B’s did, but I included a few additional books we’ll be reading to add more diversity as well!

Whether the Painters Chosen for Picture-Talk could Follow Each Other in a More Harmonious Sequence than at Present by Edith Frost I re-ryped an article from the 1914 volume of L’Umile Pianta with a few debatable statements regarding picture study….let me know your thoughts!

Around the Internets

I include interesting links I’ve found in my bi-weekly newsletter. Here are a few of my favorites from this quarter!

YouTube Chat about Charlotte Mason Kindergarten with Joy Cherrick from Nature Study Hacking In case you missed it, my friend Joy recorded a chat we had in June about what a Charlotte Mason Kindergarten year can look like. I am not photogenic or….videogenic? at all, so you have to forgive my awkwardness and lack of finesse. 😊

Why Are Homeschooled Kids Weird? I first read this post a few weeks ago and parts of it have stuck with me so deeply that I wanted to share it. “‘Weird’ homeschooled kids say things that cool kids don’t say because they don’t run their every word through the ‘Am I cool enough?’ meter. They are not jaded. They say what’s on their minds and do what seems logical and interesting in the moment. They don’t second-guess their every move because they don’t know that falling in line is supposed to be part of the program. Their childhoods have been fiercely protected, and the term ‘socially awkward’ could be used to define nearly every child who is allowed to just…be.” I love this.

Why Read Aloud to Kids Who Can Read Themselves? #4, all the way. When I read stories with my kids, I feel like we’re taking a journey or going on an adventure together.

Preparing a Charlotte Mason Schedule I found this series from Nicole Williams to be very helpful when I was sitting down to plan out our year.

6 Things No One Tells You About Homeschooling… This! This! All of this! Written by a former public school teacher, this is excellent advice for those thinking about homeschooling!

French site where Vincent Van Gogh created his last painting may have been revealed I have written a Picture Study Aid and a Common Place Quarterly article about Vincent van Gogh. In the process of researching for both of these things, I felt as if I got to know him better, which was bittersweet. He was such a talented and profoundly deep man, but also so sad, lonely, and troubled at times. This discovery is fascinating, but also very sad.

The difference between a homeschool plan and homeschool planning “Please, let me encourage you – the plan is not the goal, nor is your execution of it an assessment of your ability as a homeschool mom. It is in your planning that you are preparing yourself for whatever this school year may bring Your curriculum selection matters. Your daily schedule matters. Your outside classes, field trips and co-ops matter. Of course they do! But not a single element of your plan will go exactly as expected. It doesn’t mean you are failing. It means you are living a full life.”

Librarians turned Google Forms into the unlikely platform for virtual escape rooms This is absolutely awesome. In another life, I was a librarian.

Ruminating on Recitation If you’re going into the school year wondering how to implement Recitation, and even if you’re a seasoned veteran who isn’t sure you’re doing it properly (I know I wasn’t), I can’t recommend this article and Maria’s Recitation Guidelines and Logs enough. I especially appreciated her emphasis on students developing a relationship with and understanding of what they were learning for recitation, and not just including it for memorization’s sake. She wrote: “There was no committing to memory by rote for the sake of mere memory; there was, rather, the aim to know something at its root, to understand that which was true, good, and virtuous.” Both of these resources have revolutionized my Recitation planning this year and I love the direction we’re going now. Definitely read her article before you download the logs!

Forget the Box | Embracing Your Child’s Otherness “Let’s embrace what makes them different, what’s so unique about who they are. Let’s not make apologies when they stand out, but smile because they don’t blend in. Let’s encourage them to be themselves. Let’s demand that the world make room for them instead of begging our children to shrink. Let’s look with pride upon the sore thumbs, the distinctive, the different. Let’s get to know who are different kids really are instead of trying to force society’s identity upon them. Okay, so they don’t fit in, they’re not like the others, they always draw attention or make things more difficult. And? So? They’re already aware they’re different, they’re not fooling anyone. The cat is out of the bag, so let’s let them live outside of the box.” ♥♥♥

Why I Don’t Do Devotions “I fear that doing devotions has become another form of practicing religion without requiring faith. I fear that it has become a time for us to busy ourselves with doing instead of quieting ourselves before the Lord and being with Him. I fear that the practice of doing devotions can actually interfere with the mindset of having continual communion with the Lord who demands all of us, not just a portion of our time.”

5 magical moments homeschoolers can look forward to this year This list could also be called, “5 reasons why we homeschool.” I have experienced each and every single one of these things at one point or another even in the four short years we’ve been homeschooling.

In a mother’s education, less is more. “If we still think of learning as cramming for an exam, answering multiple choice questions, highlighting, and rereading the same chapter multiple times in order to pass a test, we can relax. Many of us still feel we must take in as much information as possible in order to learn. Charlotte Mason, however, turns away from this idea, telling us that when the goal of education is the formation of character, less (done better) is more.” (And on that note… Brandy Vencel posted her fall mother culture habit trackers for download last week!)

Loving

FlyLady I mentioned FlyLady in one of my weekend links posts but I’m mentioning her again as I’ve been at this system for over a month now and have seen such fantastic results. While I don’t get to everything she has scheduled each week, especially since the school year started, I do get to most of them and the system is set up so well for maintenance. Last week we had a change in plans and ended up having friends over for a last-minute playdate. Because we’ve been maintaining the house, I didn’t have to do a last-minute speed clean. It’s also just so nice to live in a clean and (mostly) organized home!

Frau Fowler Tooth Powder I had a dentist appointment in July and the kids had theirs in September at a new dentist who is quite a bit more thorough than our old dentist. There were no cavities for any of us but the hygienist did see some areas where we definitely need to improve so we’ve been working more on the habit of oral care. I found this tooth powder a few years ago but stopped using it as it takes a little more work than normal toothpaste. However, after the appointments, I decided to start using it again since it does such a wonderful job of making my mouth feel clean and I’m so glad I did as it’s making a big difference!

Naturalist Kids Podcast My friend Joy recently began offering a new podcast specifically geared toward Charlotte Mason families! Each episode is meant for the entire family to listen to and includes living ways to learn more about various topics related to nature study, including immersive readings and nature lore. I plan to load up on these to listen to on our way to and from nature hikes as well as our co-op meetings. She also has a Patreon site to accompany the podcast which includes bonus downloads for each episode!

Vintage Floral Washi Tape I bought myself this pack for my birthday and I love it for autumn! I plan to get more seasonally to use in my planner.

Slow Cow Pillow Cases I’ve been wanting to replace the couch cushions for a while as they’re very worn out and outdated, but throw pillows are expensive! I happened to find these on Amazon and decided to just put the old cushions in them and it was worked wonderfully! I love finding frugal and waste-less ways to freshen up the look of our house.

Menu Planner and September Planning Kit I love everything my friend Anna offers, but these two items which she recently made available are absolutely gorgeous and a very simple way to add beauty in a productive way to your days! (I especially love the little lace magnetic bookmark in the planning kit. 😊)

The Nester Going along with the point above, I started following The Nester recently. I’m all on board with the concept of minimalism, but the idea of reducing my home to barebones is not entirely copacetic with my desire for hygge. Enter Myquillyn Smith who introduced me to the idea of “cozy” minimalism. When I have more time, I plan to dive into her books as well.

The Social Dilemma I’m not sure if this really fits in the “loving” category or not, but I did find it fascinating. Most of the information presented I already knew and I do think it was somewhat sensationalist, but I also think that it draws attention to a lot of things that are happening on the internet right now that most people are not aware of. It at least inspired me to start using a different browser and search engine, make some changes on my website, and look into alternative email options. I think there really isn’t any way to entirely avoid being tracked online in some fashion, but it feels good to be making steps to at least mitigate it somewhat.

In the Shop

Just one new product in the shop this quarter, but it’s a good one! Also, I will be releasing the Advent Art Devotion Volume II guide in the next few weeks! You can still pick up the prints and guide from last year if you missed out!

Bird Sightings

Admittedly, the feeders were sorely neglected this summer and the birds were few and far between. As the colder weather approaches, however, I’ve been wanting to get back into the habit of backyard birding as these months can be a great time to attract a variety to the yard during the colder weather. A friend gave me a gift card to Wild Birds Unlimited, so I picked up another arm for our feeding station and two suet cylinders. I also got a cage feeder and a window feeder and picked up more food at Tractor Supply (it was cheaper at my local store than online). Whereas our normal visitors are house finches, we’ve been getting more black-capped and mountain chickadees (much to my delight 😊), a white-breasted nuthatch, and blue jays! I also put peanuts out on the weekends and we’ll get a lot of scrub-jays and magpies. I’m hopeful that by being better about keeping them filled and having a better variety of food, we’ll get a better variety of birds.

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Whether the Painters Chosen for Picture-Talk could Follow Each Other in a More Harmonious Sequence than at Present by Edith Frost https://ahumbleplace.com/painters-chosen-for-picture-talk/ https://ahumbleplace.com/painters-chosen-for-picture-talk/#comments Mon, 21 Sep 2020 23:37:16 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=69898 Earlier this year, I wrote a series on Charlotte Mason Picture Study, including why it’s important and how it looks for us and in those posts, I quoted several articles and talks from various Charlotte Mason-related media. In the first post, I linked to a talk given by Edith Frost that was published in L’Umile […]

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The Reading Lesson. John Dawson Watson. 1855.

Earlier this year, I wrote a series on Charlotte Mason Picture Study, including why it’s important and how it looks for us and in those posts, I quoted several articles and talks from various Charlotte Mason-related media. In the first post, I linked to a talk given by Edith Frost that was published in L’Umile Pianta in 1914. I have not found it posted anywhere else, so I decided to re-type it here for, hopefully, easier reference.

I’ve also done research to find out where this talk was given, but have only found references to a “Conference” of some kind (perhaps a PNEU conference?) that took place earlier that year and my lack of knowledge of Charlotte Mason’s world is very evident right now! I’m guessing it was some how related to Charlotte Mason’s teacher-training college, the House of Education, as the discussion at the end of this particular talk came to a conclusion about how to go forward with teaching picture study. If anyone can enlighten me on this, I’d be very thankful!

One of the things I found interesting about this talk was that it continued the debate I’ve seen in several places about whether or not students should attempt to reproduce the art at which they’re looking for picture study. The majority of the articles I’ve read as well as parts of Miss. Mason’s original volumes generally say that this should be reserved only for older students and only on a very basic level (“they are never copied lest an attempt to copy should lessen a child’s reverence for great work” vol 6 p 216). However, in this talk, Miss. Edith Frost stated that: “In order to know a picture we must study and narrate, and this narration takes the form of a drawing, which serves to fix the picture and its details firmly in our minds. No mere looking will fully unveil the inner meaning, we must learn the picture by heart, and hold it in our memory, that it may become a subject for contemplation and a joy; the more we ponder and discover, the greater will our love and reverence grow–and thus should it be with the children.” I found this to be very interesting, especially how she emphasizes that “no mere looking will fully unveil the inner meaning.” I’m not sure if this means only looking and not narrating, or both, but it’s a bold statement to make and I have to wonder if she felt this way about younger forms as well!

Also, her question of, “would it be better for them to know something of one master in each of six different schools of painting, or to know thoroughly two of the schools?” is one I think some home educators (in particular, those new to Charlotte Mason) have offered when seeing that picture study, over the course of one year, only covers three different artists not necessarily related to each other. I feel that this isn’t a problem because picture study, again, is about getting to know the art and not necessarily a short course in art history. As to her question, “is there nothing to be said of the delightful uncertainty of not knowing who comes next?” the answer is a resounding No!! I have found that my students really enjoy this aspect of the beginning of each term – getting to find out who our next artist will be and to see their style. It’s been so interesting to hear them as they flip over that first piece and verbally compare it to pieces we’ve looked at in the past, even in the same year.

Reading about the “chart” or timeline of artists from Mary Innes’s book was also very interesting. I have not come across this suggestion in The Living Page or any other type of guide on keeping notebooks, timelines, or charts. I don’t know that it was ever something that was commonly used either in the P.U.S. or directly recommended by Miss. Mason herself despite the fact that those present for this talk agreed at the end that it could possibly be used for certain forms. My only concern with keeping a separate chart is that it, again, would make picture study more about art history or even the artists themselves rather than the pieces of art. I wonder if anyone has added artist information and/or the paintings they’ve student to their overall timeline charts or Books of Centuries?

Finally, there is some discussion about whether or not to include any biographical information on the artist when doing picture study. Miss. Mason even suggests this in A Philosophy of Education (“After a short story of the artist’s life and a few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures….” vol 6 p 214). I do usually like to give a little background on the artist we’re studying, but I don’t know that it’s absolutely necessary. I have observed that my students have connected more with the artist when they know more about him or her and it may help those paintings hang in the halls of their imagination a little more securely, but does it have to be included? I don’t think so.

I also have to wonder what Miss. Mason thought about all of this….. how amazing that they would’ve been able to ask her thoughts, whereas now we can only speculate.

Below is the talk re-typed directly from the L’Umile Pianta volume. I did try to correct typos or noted misspellings with brackets. Other errors I may have missed or had to stay as is if I did not know how to correct them (eg. finding original Ruskin quotes was problematic). I included the discussion at the end of the talk as I thought there were several interesting points offered (I don’t know that I agree about “knowing” Shakespeare!). Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments!


Whether the Painters Chosen for Picture-Talk could Follow Each Other in a More Harmonious Sequence than at Present

by Edith Frost

Let us first consider the main objects of a picture-talk. Dr. Percy Dearmer tells us that “‘the magic,’ as we call it, of art is precisely its sacramentalism. That is, it reveals the eternal and invisible which always lies within the outward…and the gift of understanding is just that we can see the infinite in common things,…the picture must perish one day, but the beauty which is expressed can never die.” Miss Mason tells us further, “That we must learn to discriminate between the meretricious and the essential, between the technique and the thing to be expressed.” It is quite plain that the most important reason for our study of pictures is to see the beauty and to learn the truth told in a different way by every age and school of painting.

To enter into the spirit of a picture, and to know it we must, as it were, dissect it; we must know the history, literature, manners, and customs of the people and age, but this is too big a study for the schoolroom. Some of us, no doubt, do so know many of the great painters, but as teachers we must be content to stand aside; we love greatly, and surely our love and sympathy will inspire the children with love and appreciation, and by teaching them how to look and what to look for, by telling them the legends and stories, we lay a sure foundation in every school and age that should open the door of desire for more knowledge, which will lead them to the delightful task of fuller discovery when school days are over. We see the heart and soul of things after much thought, our powers of insight are called forth, and imagination and sympathy must help. All these powers are capable of ranging over the world, they are independent of time and space, then why, when exercising them in this particular direction, should they be bound in any way? Considering the object of our lesson–is it necessary? We teach other subjects–such as history and mathematics–each in its proper scientific order, but in this subject, where it is possible, let us keep our liberty; give the children leave to wander in the garden of art–if there is a pathway leading through, let it be the knowledge of the teacher and the method born of the object in giving a picture-talk.

I think that if taken in any kind of settled order this subject would lose much of its charm. We should be in danger of the nature of our picture-talk degenerating, and our teaching might tend to emphasize the accidental truths, while the message, the should, would fall into the background, and life, atmosphere, that delicate breath, would vanish. Ruskin warns us that “The trend of the modern critic is to explain the technical method rather than to treat of the essential soul.” Also let us remember the untrained teachers of whom, I suppose, there are many teaching in the P.U.S. I do not suggest that we are better than they, but we have had the advantage of Miss Mason’s training, and we start with a knowledge of many of her thoughts and ideas which other people must discover in degrees. Do not let us put in their way a stumbling-block that might divert them from a more spiritual way into one of history and facts.

Another point I would emphasize concerns the age of children entering the P.U.S. No doubt many enter in Classes III or IV, and supposing of these a number work for a short time only, say two years, would it be better for them to know something of one master in each of six different schools of painting, or to know thoroughly two of the schools? We have had since Easter, 1912, Van Eyck [sic] (Flemish), Rembrandt (Dutch), Velasquez [sic] (Spanish), Carpaccio (Venetian), Watts (English), Dürer (German), but the painters might have been set to cover the same period in a more harmonious sequence, such as Giotto, Fra Angelico, and Botticelli in the Tuscan school, followed by Bellini, Titian, and Veronese in the Venetian School. The point at issue is whether those who had had glimpses of six schools would be more or less educated than those who had a fair knowledge of two schools. Also, is there nothing to be said of the delightful uncertainty of not knowing who comes next? Can any [teacher] say that her pupils on the qui vive to know who is to be next term’s painter? It is not a case of who follows, but who comes.

The desire for a more harmonious sequence having been felt, is there no way to providing a link and some form of order[?] For this purpose I have a chart which was suggested and copied from a similar one in Schools of Painting, by Mary Innes, and this I offer as a substitute for a more settled order in picture study. Here the schools and the centuries are indicated, and the life of each painter is shown by a red line in its proper age and school, and events that influenced thought and production are put in another space. I suggest that the framework of this chart be given to the children, and pasted in the end of their picture-talk book. In this book the pictures are placed in the order taken. At the first picture-talk of the term the new artist’s life-line is put in its proper place, and then where and when he lived and who were his contemporaries is seen at a glance. Thus supposing the children know something of Botticelli and Dürer is set, how interesting to discover that, though they lived far apart, they lived at the same time; also that Dürer knew Bellini in Venice–here are two links. Even more interesting would it be, knowing something of Velasquez [sic], to meet some day his fellow townsman, Murillo, whose circumstances were so different, and to know that Velasquez [sic] helped him with knowledge and sympathy.

Many of our pupils will have opportunities of seeing the famous galleries. I hope and feel inclined to predict that those who have studied the pictures, keeping such a chart, will have learnt unconsciously something of the different schools, and will have enough love and knowledge to enable them to look intelligently, to learn much, and to go unerringly to the right pictures.

As to the advisability of making children do drawings of the picture set.

I understand that there is feeling that children should not be asked to reproduce these great works of arts as a whole, as it might tend to diminish their appreciation of them, and also lessen their reverence for the minds that called them forth, though they might well be asked to study carefully some small detail, and draw that.

We all know how much Ruskin drew and copied, how he visited the haunts of the great painters and made drawings of them, and the more he knew, the more he corrected and revised his earlier works, and the greater his love and reverence became. “Morelli, the Italian critic, professed to be able to fix with accuracy the authorship of almost any picture, because his exact knowledge of details of drawing peculiar to each master revealed the authors as clearly and certainly as though the name were writ large.” We, and the children under our guidance, cannot surely do better than to study in the same way; to give time for so much detail is not possible, but we should be able to make discovery to a certain extent possible to the pupil.

In order to know a picture we must study and narrate, and this narration takes the form of a drawing, which serves to fix the picture and its details firmly in our minds. No mere looking will fully unveil the inner meaning, we must learn the picture by heart, and hold it in our memory, that it may become a subject for contemplation and a joy; the more we ponder and discover, the greater will our love and reverence grow–and thus should it be with the children.

Sometimes the drawing is from memory, and sometimes it is done direct from the picture, whether of the whole or of a detail. I confess that I cannot see how either way of reproducing should tend to lessen reverence in any way, because it is, surely, impossible for the ordinary being to make a perfectly correct drawing from memory; it would be possible to copy perfectly, but who in the schoolroom could give the necessary time? We must decide according to the ability of our pupils, whether it be possible to attempt the whole, and through failure to realize something of the greatness of the master mind, or to take a part, and through the power to reproduce it truly draw nearer to the mind of the artist, and realize something of its beauty and strength; but always against this latter method must be placed the fact that details are apt to lose their meaning if taken from the whole, and that, however, big and full of drawing a picture may be, its outline should always be suggested by a few lines as well as the more careful drawing of one or more details.

Lastly, let us face the question of lack of reverence for the master mind. We must be careful that when reproducing the children are full of the idea that they are only expressing what someone else has done, trying to discover what the artist knew, they are not of themselves making a picture, but copying, and there is a vast different between the two, the only similarity is that perfection is possible.

If children have studied and been able to understand a small or great part of the meaning of a picture, and know also something of the way in which the great painters worked, such as the fresco painters, and such masters of line as Botticelli, of light and colour as Titian, there must be very few who would not reverence the pictures, and through them the creator; even more so if they realize the originality, the love and strength, the necessity of expressing a message which must be given to the world, regardless of difficulties, and is, in spite of almost grotesque drawing in some cases of earlier works.

Reverence is capable of growth. As I said before, it is after the picture is in our minds that it is possible to understand and appreciate more fully–then reverence will grow. We must remember this in dealing with children; they are so inexperienced and ignorant, even more so than we; how can they be expected to understand and value at once, though my own experience is that children are keenly aware of the atmosphere of a picture, especially if we refrain from speech. The object of our picture-talk is to strengthen their love and reverence of truth and beauty.

I quote from Ourselves: “It is not in a day or a year that Fra Angelico will tell us of the beauty of holiness, that Giotto will confide his interpretation of the meaning of life, that Millet will tell us of the simplicity and dignity that belong to labour on the soil, that Rembrandt will show us the sweetness of humanity in many a common-place countenance…the outward and visible sign is of less moment than the inward and spiritual…”


Discussion

Several students thought it would be a pity to destroy the children’s joyful anticipation of an entirely new and unknown artist, and one averred that as in the field of nature the children’s joy in gathering and naming flowers would be spoilt by directions to classify, so the field of art would lose some of its attractiveness by following a rigid chronology.

It was thought the chart might be of use for older children in placing the period of the artist chosen, etc. One student found that charts had a great attraction for some children in Classes Ib and II, more even than for older children.

One student considered that reproducing pictures of their details increased reverence for the artist’s work, and another found that, however feeble the attempts the children made, they appreciated the pictures all the more.

Miss Parish inquired whether it is the experience of teachers that children desire to know more details of the artists’ lives as they grow older, and hw lessons to older children are supplemented.

Several students reminded the meeting that Miss Mason attached great importance to the artist’s life being subordinated to his work, and that interest in the picture was not necessarily the outcome of interest in the painter’s life.

One student said that she considered it important that Class IV should be acquainted with the conditions of life at the time of painting in order to bring out the spirit of the age. She instanced the religious life that influenced the work of the Italian masters.

Another said that the spirit of the age was brought out in the subject, and the conditions of the life and history itself could be gleaned from the study of the picture, and another affirmed that more, indeed, could be learnt of the man and his times from the picture than from the study of the artist’s, and cited SHakespeare as an example of man being known through his works.

One student considered that there was a possibility of getting too literary an aspect of a picture, and another inquired if it would be lawful to point out the spirit of the picture to older children if it was not realized by them.

Miss Parish thought that if such was the case it plainly showed that the children were not yet ready for it, and that it is better to be content with just sowing seed, and that one may rest assured that anything so living is ultimately bought to bear fruit. She advised forcing nothing upon the children, but leaving them to take what they needed from the lessons.

The following resolution was put to the meeting, and carried:–“It is found most satisfactory to take picture-talks as at present set, to cover a wide field, with a possible addition of a chart in Classes II, III, and IV.”

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year 1 Plans (Take 2) https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-year-1-plans-take-2/ https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-year-1-plans-take-2/#respond Tue, 08 Sep 2020 21:57:53 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=67859 (Please note that I have linked to the book lists on the AO website to respect their licensing terms and the hard work they’ve put into such an amazing curriculum which they offer for free. Books that use affiliate links here are not listed on the AO website.) I now have two students in grade school! C, at 6.5, […]

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(Please note that I have linked to the book lists on the AO website to respect their licensing terms and the hard work they’ve put into such an amazing curriculum which they offer for free. Books that use affiliate links here are not listed on the AO website.)

I now have two students in grade school! C, at 6.5, will be starting AmblesideOnline Year 1 earlier than B did (he had just turned 7), so I want to keep this in mind as we go through things and take it slowly if we need to. She has been chomping at the bit to narrate for two years now and has been wanting to learn to read nearly that long as well, so I am encouraged in those areas as B wasn’t looking forward to either one. She is not in the same place her brother was in terms of how well she writes or being able to sound out basic words, but she’s definitely a lot more enthusiastic! Either way, I’m not concerned at all, but rather, glad I can allow her to go at her own pace rather than trying to get her to perform according to pre-determined standards.

I’m also excited to go through all the readings I did with B three years ago again. I feel like I haven’t been able to focus on her as much as I have with B the last few years even though we did kindergarten last year, so I’m glad to be able to finally pull her aboard the AmblesideOnline train as well. 🙂 I’m also thankful that I already had most of the books for Year 1 so there was very little prep involved in getting ready for her first grade year!

I won’t be writing a post every term for her as I did with B as I think a lot of it will be redundant. You can see all of my Year 1 posts for him here. I will, however, write a recap for her at the end of the year. If you read B’s Year 4 Term 1 post, some of the descriptions of these topics will be duplicated as I’m using the same book/plan for both students.

And now on to the plans!

Morning Time

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year 4 Term 1 Plans - ahumbleplace.com

I’ll be making some changes to Morning Time from last year, mainly in that we will no longer be working on memorization (for Bible verses and prayers) or Recitation poems during that time as each child will be on their own Recitation schedule (see below). I also will no longer be reading a nursery rhyme, which is something I’ve been doing every year since we started (😭). We will continue having prayer, the Doxology, hymn, folksong, picture/composer study, poem review, and Edith Holden nature notebook reading, the Lord’s Prayer, and our Benediction, and we’ll be adding a chapter from Proverbs (to match whatever day of the month it is) as well as a summary of what we’ll be reading that day (B’s request). I’ll write out a more detailed comparison chart at the end of the year as well.

I’m also going to be taping the printed version of our Morning Time schedule into my planner this year (as opposed to keeping it in a separate binder) in the month sections to keep as much of our year as possible all in one place. I’ll eventually have a post on how I lay out my paper planner….someday. 

Bible

Bible Reading List Here
ESV Thinline Bible

When I went through Year 1 with B, I played around with a few different ways to do our Bible reading, beginning with following the RCL and then another Charlotte Mason Bible-reading plan I had found. This time, I’m just sticking with the AO schedule as I eventually ended up there last time and I don’t need to complicated things!

History/Biography

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year 1

History Book List Here
Biography Book List Here
Dear Benjamin Banneker
Phillis Sings Out Freedom: The Story of George Washington and Phillis Wheatley
Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story

Our Island Story has made the move from B’s school cart to C’s so I’ll have another three years of this interesting book on the history of England. I’m debating doing some kind of timeline with C with the kings and queens timeline figures just so it’s easier for her (and me!) to keep them all straight, but I’m not sure yet as she’s only doing a personal timeline this year (see below).

We’ll be skipping the first two readings (both in Term 1) of Trial and Triumph due to content. When I went through Year 1 with B, I actually skipped the book entirely that year and decided I’d never use it because of the violence in those first two stories, but I decided to give it another try in Year 2 and found them to be quite a bit tamer. I’ll be pre-reading these beginning in Term 2.

For C’s kindergarten year, we read through Fifty Famous People which was a nice little introduction to the shorter-story format in Fifty Famous Stories Retold, so I know this one will work well for us.

For the d’Aulaire biographies on Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Buffalo Bill, I decided to expand on something I did during B’s Year 1. Around that time, I found Charlotte Mason Geek’s post on how to adapt the AO Year 1/Year 2 history rotation and she recommended Buffalo Bird Girl in place of Buffalo Bill. However, we live in the west and only just about an hour’s drive from Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum, so I didn’t want to eliminate that book from the rotation entirely. We ended up reading both, which I think offered an interesting way to compare viewpoints from two entirely different people at the same time and place in history. It also led to good discussion and I really wanted to do the same for the other two books. I know the d’Aulaires in general have been controversial in that they offer a very Euro/white-centric view of history and, in fact, we won’t be reading Pocahontas at all even though it’s listed as a free read. So this summer, I did some research and found two books that offer alternative viewpoints to the scheduled books and I plan to read those along with the d’Aulaires.

Dear Benjamin Banneker tells the story of a black, self-taught mathematician and astronomer who lived at the same time as Benjamin Franklin. The book talks about how he was interested in astronomy from a young age and ended up writing a yearly almanac from 1792 to 1797. It was sold in New England and grew to be enormously popular there. Banneker was a free man, but the plight of slaves was heavy on his mind and in 1791, he wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson asking how he could’ve written and signed the Declaration of Independence given that he owned slaves. Jefferson sent back an evasive reply saying that he hoped for change, but then continued owning slaves throughout his life. I liked the fact that both Banneker and Franklin were self-taught, interested in the sciences, and published almanacs. Obviously one of them was a little more altruistic than the other.

Phillis Sings Out Freedom is about African-born poet Phillis Wheatley who was brought to the United States at a very young age (she was described as not having her front teeth in yet) and sold as a slave to a prominent Boston family. They eventually taught her to read and write and she became a talented poet who wrote a poem about George Washington and the struggle for America’s independence. Part of the book is about Washington’s efforts to defeat the British and the other part tells Phillis’s story. This includes how she came to this country and her life as a slave as well as her eventual emancipation. I also really liked A Voice of Her Own and may include that in the future, but didn’t feel it fit C’s comprehension level right now.

Geography

Geography Book List Here and Here
Beautiful Feet Books Map (I got it in the set)

Round two of Paddle to the Sea! I still want to get one of those little canoes…. C will also be coloring along on the Beautiful Feet Books map which B did as well. I plan to hang them next to each other in the basement so we have a little record of both kids’ journeys through the Holling books. 🙂

Natural History/Science

Natural History/Science Booklist Here

C has been a long-time fan of Thornton Burgess and I think has a considerable number of his books memorized as I’ve made a lot of use of all the free books on Librivox for her. She is also very much looking forward to James Herriot!

Nature Study

Nature study is a mystery at this point as we’ll be doing that with our co-op, which won’t meet the first time until this Friday. We made a few changes this year and will be having an object lesson in the morning and then a nature walk in the afternoon on co-op days, which I think will be good and more immersive. My friend Jennifer, who is starting her own nature school, has been leading us in nature study for the last three years and I’ve found her guidance in this area to be wonderful.

Penmanship/Copywork

Worksheetworks.com Print Practice

I started B’s first grade year with manuscript copywork but then switched him to cursive mid-year. I may do the same with C but I want to make sure she’s ready before I make the swtich. For now, I’ll be making manuscript copywork pages from Worksheetworks.com using the copywork selections from the old AO Copywork Yahoo Group.

Phonics/Reading

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year 1

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Bob Collection 1
Bob Collection 2
Little Bear

We will spend three days per week working through Teach Your Child to Read… and then the last day of the school week reading one Bob book together. Once we finish Bob Collection 1 (24 books), we’ll move on to Collection 2. When I went through Teach Your Child to Read…. with B, I ended up breaking the last lessons up into two days as they were quite a bit longer than the earlier lessons. Even with that, we should be able to finish the book by the end of the year and we’ll begin reading the Little Bear books.

Math

RightStart Level B

She finished MEP Reception in the spring and it prepared B so well for RS Level B that I’m expecting the same for her. I splurged when B entered first grade and got the whole RightStart Math Set along with the Level B book bundle. It was a big upfront cost, but I have used every single one of the manipulatives with B and will now be using them with C so I definitely think it was worth it!

Foreign Language

Salsa + Wyoming Department of Education Salsa Materials
De Colores

We’ll be continuing with Salsa videos once per week, then one of the activities from the Wyoming DoE Salsa Materials another day, and the other two days singing our Spanish folksong from De Colores.

Poetry

Poetry Booklist Here

I’ll be reading one poem per day to her from the books assigned for each term.

Literature

Literature Book List Here

We’ll be following the book list above for the most part. I’ll be teaching lower-form Shakespeare in our co-op again this year and I hope to read Lambs’ version of The Tempest in Term 1. I haven’t decided if I will also read A Midsummer Night’s Dream at home as well but I’m leaning that way as B has already had all of these plays and I’d like C to get the Lambs’ versions of them as well before we begin reading the real plays in Form II. If we only read the one per term in co-op, we won’t get through all of them.

I’m also looking at Lambs’ versions of The Winter’s Tale in Term 2 and Twelfth Night in Term 3.

Timeline

Personal Timeline

C will be doing a personal timeline this year like her brother did during his Year 1. Each box represents three months and I’ll go through all of my photos from those three months, select a few of bigger events like holidays or birthdays, then print them out on one sheet of paper so she can pick which one she wants to draw in the box for that quarter.

Recitation

Ruminating on Recitation Article (read this first!)
Recitation Guidelines and Student Log

C will be learning an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a Psalm, and a poem over the course of each term (per the instructions in the article and log linked above), which I will read to her once every day and then she will recite at the end of the term.

Art

Picture Study

I’ll be teaching picture study in our co-op once again this year and in the first term we’ll be focusing on Jan van Eyck which is terribly exciting for me as he’s a favorite of mine. 🙂 One of the other terms will be Diego Velázquez and I haven’t decided on the third artist yet.

Drawing

What to Draw and How to Draw It

C will do one drawing per week from What to Draw and How to Draw It. I will keep all of these in her school-year binder (which is another post I need to make…).

Music

Composer Study

Composer Study will also be covered in co-op so I don’t know who that will be either, but I remember hearing something about Gregorian chant for Term 1, which sounds very interesting!

Folksong/Hymn

These are also both co-op subjects, but I’ll be teaching folksong so we were able to start that with the beginning of our school year. Our period in history is 800 to 1650 AD, which feels like a challenge in terms of finding good folksongs (though I’ve already picked the first one!), but I think the challenge will be good for me.

Handicrafts

Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children

We will no longer be doing handicrafts in co-op this year, so I decided we would learn some cooking skills in Term 1. I include this book in the kindergarten curriculum, but it’s only a few recipes so I’m going to use Term 1 as a chance to really dive into it. I’m actually really excited about this as splitting up the book worked really well and I had the kids pick which recipes from each chapter they wanted to make. As of right now, I have a reading scheduled on Tuesdays and then cooking scheduled on Thursdays during our morning lesson time. It’ll be interesting to see how this works, but I’m thankful we can be flexible and use the afternoons if we need to.

In Terms 2 and 3, I may try some origami with her, which is what B did during his Year 1 in co-op, or I may just move on to paper sloyd. I’ll write more about what I decide in the end-of-year recap post.

Physical Education

Swedish Drill Revisited

PE was another subject that was taught in co-op that we’ll be bringing home this year. I’m going to be continuing with the last routine in Swedish Drill Revisited and moving on to Swedish Drill Revisited II once we finish that.

I’m both intimidated but also excited to have two grade-school students as the last three years with really just one student have been manageable. I’m up to the challenge, though, and excited to what her learn and grow!

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool Fourth Grade Term 1 Plans https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-fourth-grade-term-1-plans/ https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-homeschool-fourth-grade-term-1-plans/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=66599 (Please note that I have linked to the book lists on the AO website to respect their licensing terms and the hard work they’ve put into such an amazing curriculum which they offer for free. Books that use affiliate links here are not listed on the AO website.) I remember back either when B hadn’t started Year 1 yet […]

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(Please note that I have linked to the book lists on the AO website to respect their licensing terms and the hard work they’ve put into such an amazing curriculum which they offer for free. Books that use affiliate links here are not listed on the AO website.)

I remember back either when B hadn’t started Year 1 yet or while we were working our way through it, I read somewhere that a mother with pre-school-aged children was re-doing her own education by going through all of the readings scheduled for AmblesideOnline beginning with Year 4. It seemed so far away to me, that number 4, and though I thought it was a great idea and printed out the schedule for myself, I never got around to doing it.

And now, here we are. The 4 has arrived.

B’s fourth grade year marks his entrance into Form II which means he’ll be doing some reading on his own followed by narration to me. Of course, I will be pre-reading all of the books he’ll be reading to make sure the content is okay as well as making sure that his narrations are good. When I first sat down to start planning out this year, I thought there would be a lot more he’d be reading on his own and that actually made me kind of sad as I enjoy reading things with him. However, even though having two students in the same form would be helpful for scheduling, having C in Year 1 is probably the next best thing as the readings are so short and there aren’t many of them, which means I can still read quite a bit to him as well.

We’ll also begin written narrations this year, though I think that may not be until a later term. We’ll also begin more structured grammar and spelling lessons while still continuing with copywork. As I said I was going to do all of last year, I finally revamped our Recitations, which you can read more about below. And we’ll also be moving a few subjects home after having done them in our homeschool co-op the last several years but won’t be any longer as we have fewer families which means fewer teachers.

So here are our plans for Term 1!

Morning Time

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year 4 Term 1 Plans - ahumbleplace.com

I’ll be making some changes to Morning Time from last year, mainly in that we will no longer be working on memorization (for Bible verses and prayers) or Recitation poems during that time as each child will be on their own Recitation schedule (see below). I also will no longer be reading a nursery rhyme, which is something I’ve been doing every year since we started (😭). We will continue having prayer, the Doxology, hymn, folksong, picture/composer study, poem review, and Edith Holden nature notebook reading, the Lord’s Prayer, and our Benediction, and we’ll be adding a chapter from Proverbs (to match whatever day of the month it is) as well as a summary of what we’ll be reading that day (B’s request). I’ll write out a more detailed comparison chart after the end of Term 1 as well as after I’ve had time to figure out exactly what it will look like.

I’m also going to be taping the printed version of our Morning Time schedule into my planner this year (as opposed to keeping it in a separate binder) in the month sections to keep as much of our year as possible all in one place. I’ll eventually have a post on how I lay out my paper planner….someday. 🙂

Bible

Bible Book List Here and Here
The Student Bible Atlas

I’ve had a few people ask how I schedule the Bible readings over the course of a week, so I thought I might expand on that here. When I’m doing my planning for the week, I take a look at how the Bible I use for school has broken it into sections or paragraphs, count all of the sections in the assigned reading(s), and then divide that by four (since we have a four-day school week). If the number of sections or paragraphs doesn’t work well to divide, then I’ll divide by number of verses. It’s a pretty simple system that is possibly a tad too formulaic, but it works well when I’m trying to plan and don’t have a lot of time.

As in years past, I’ll be using the J. Paterson Smyth guides to assist with preparing for the readings. I pre-read the chapter from Smyth and then underline parts I want to share during our lesson. Sometimes Smyth summarizes the previous reading (as is the case with the first chapter of Joshua) far better than I can, so I read that during the lesson (though I don’t require narration of it). Then I read the Bible passage(s) and he narrates, then I might read more from Smyth to expand on the reading (again, no narration required since the point of Bible lessons is the Bible reading itself). Smyth does an especially good job of “setting the scene” and offering alternative views to the reading, so I’ve enjoyed using his commentaries for my own knowledge as well.

History/Biography

History Book List Here and Here

This is the first year I will not be reading Our Island Story with B, which feels a little weird as it’s been a staple for us the last three years. We’ll continue with This Country of Ours, though I’ll definitely keep pre-reading this one as many of the terms used for people of color and native Americans are offensive and it can be somewhat violent at times. What’s neat about reading early American history is that, while my family didn’t come here until the 19th and 20th centuries, my husband has been doing quite a bit of genealogical research into his family and has discovered several relatives who fought in the Revolutionary War. So, to a certain extent, we’ll be reading about B’s ancestors. 🙂

I’ll still be pre-reading Trial and Triumph and omitting stories as needed because even into last year there were some that I ended up not reading due to content.

I was also surprised to discover last week that the AO Advisory added a new book to Years 4 through 6. I was glad to see this as it offers the viewpoint of African Americans during the Revolutionary War. I haven’t had a chance to look through it as it won’t arrive until mid-September, but I am looking forward to adding it into our schedule.

Geography

Geography Book List Here and Here
Beautiful Feet Books Map (I got it in the set)

I am very excited about Minn of the Missisippi this year as I grew up in Minnesota. This will also be one of a few books that B will be reading on his own this term and I’ll have him slowly fill out the BFBooks map after he narrates each week for map work.

We’ll also be doing map drills for the first time this year which I’m also excited about as I got great advice on how to do these from two friends (Dawn and Dawn :)). For the first Term, some of the weeks we’ll be focusing on Minn which includes the area from Minnesota down south to Louisiana using this map. The other weeks when we don’t have a Minn reading, I’ll have him focus on the 13 colonies (blank and not blank).

We’ll also be reading the selections from Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography and Long’s Home Geography as outlined here.

Natural History and Science

Natural History and Science Booklist Here

Storybook of Science and Gregor Mendel are two other book B will be reading on his own. I’ve actually been thinking about buying Storybook of Science for several years now as it looks like a wonderful resource for nature study, so I was happy to see it on the booklist this year.

I’m admittedly a little nervous about Madam How and Lady Why as I’ve heard many people say they had to drop this book because everyone hated it. I am planning to make copious use of the study guide on the AO website and hope for the best, but I am going to keep an open mind in case it is one that doesn’t end up working for us either.

One thing I completely missed last year that we’ll be doing this year are the supplemental science readings/experiments/activities that AO has optionally scheduled. Last year the book was Science Lab in the Supermarket. I saw it on the book list, but as it was listed as optional and I completely missed how it was scheduled on the HTML weekly schedule page because I generally never look at that page (I just download the PDF weekly schedule), we didn’t do them. Over the summer, however, I read a post on the AO forum where someone had mentioned the schedule and I was disappointed that we missed out on it last year. This year, we’ll be following the schedule for Physics Lab in the Home according to the Year 4 HTML weekly schedule.

Nature Study

Nature study is a mystery at this point as we’ll be doing that with our co-op, which won’t meet the first time until September 11th. We made a few changes this year and will be having an object lesson in the morning and then a nature walk in the afternoon on co-op days, which I think will be good and more immersive. My friend Jennifer, who is starting her own nature school, has been leading us in nature study for the last three years and I’ve found her guidance in this area to be wonderful.

Language Arts

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year 4 Term 1 Plans - ahumbleplace.com

Penmanship/Copywork

I’m planning to have B do one page per day of cursive copywork from the old AO Copywork Yahoo Group files which included excerpts from books we’ll be reading over the course of the year.

Spelling

Spelling Wisdom

We’ll be working on spelling for the first time twice per week this year with Simply Charlotte Mason’s Spelling Wisdom. I love that the book uses sentences from literature to teach commonly-used words rather than just memorizing word lists, which is what I did in elementary school.

Grammar

Junior Analytical Grammar

For grammar, I debated between a few different curricula, but finally decided on Junior Analytical Grammar after a friend recommended it and I was able to flip through it at her house. I already absolutely love the voice of the author and I think this will work very well for us at one exercise, twice per week. It’s only 11 units with 5 lessons per unit, so we will most likely complete it partway through the year and then move on to the mechanics book.

Math

RightStart Level E

We haven’t finished RightStart Level D as we did end up taking quite a bit of time off this summer from doing math. However, even with the extra 20-or-so lessons we still need to finish, because we’re bumping our math time up to 30 minutes per day in Form II, I feel confident we can get through those lessons plus the 140 in Level E over the course of the year. Hopefully that confidence is proved to be accurate. 🙂 I still love RightStart and, again, am so glad we chose this program for math!

Foreign Language

Salsa + Wyoming Department of Education Salsa Materials
De Colores
Getting Started with Latin

We’ll be continuing with Salsa videos once per week, then one of the activities from the Wyoming DoE Salsa Materials another day, and the other two days singing our Spanish folksong from De Colores. This worked so, so well for us last year and I’m thankful we found this option as Spanish used to be a big struggle.

Poetry

Alfred, Lord Tennyson Selections Here

I’ll be reading one poem per day and we’ll also take one of our recitation pieces from these selections.

Literature

Literature Booklist Here

We’ll be pretty much following the schedule here with no alterations. I’m also looking forward to reading Robinson Crusoe as I’ve never read it and Swallows and Amazons, which we read last year, contained quite a few references to it.

The only change will be Shakespeare which we’ll be doing through our co-op. I asked B if he wanted to stick with the younger forms and read more Lambs’ Shakespeare stories, but he has chosen to move up and read a real Shakespeare play with the higher forms, so we’ll give that a try in Term 1. His first play will be As You Like It which he’ll be reading with the other students in co-op as well as at home with me.

Plutarch

We will be straying from the default AO schedule here by not starting on Plutarch this year, but instead reading Stories from the History of Rome per AO’s advice. I’m just not feeling like either one of us is ready to add that into our schedule yet, though obviously for different reasons. 🙂

Timeline

Book of Centuries
The Living Page

This will also be the first year we’re doing a Book of Centures. I really went back and forth on whether or not to delay the BoC another year and just do a timeline this year instead as I had seen recommended on the AO forums in places, but I feel like the BoC is a good next step for us. I’m still, admittedly, having a hard time wrapping my brain around ALL of the different history/time charts that were kept in the PNEU schools, so this will be something that may just have to be a work in process while we try things out. I included a link to The Living Page because my copy is getting a lot of use right now!

Recitation

Ruminating on Recitation Article (read this first!)
Recitation Guidelines and Student Log

I feel like I’m finally going to be doing Recitation correctly this year after having sort of hodge-podged it together the last few years. Instead of having B memorize a poem every month purely for the sake of reciting it at the end of the month, I have a better understanding of not only the purpose of Recitation but also how to do it thanks to the article I linked to above. The guidelines were also instrumental in helping me figure out what to include for our Recitation schedule.

In essence, he’ll be learning an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a Psalm, and a poem over the course of each term, with the intention that he actually understands them before he recites them (imagine that). I love this angle as it makes so much more sense from a Charlotte Mason standpoint than what we were doing before.

Art

Picture Study

I’ll be teaching picture study in our co-op once again this year and in the first term we’ll be focusing on Jan van Eyck which is terribly exciting for me as he’s a favorite of mine. 🙂

Drawing/Brushdrawing

What to Draw and How to Draw It
Brushwork

B will continue with one subject from What to Draw and How to Draw It each week as well as part of a lesson from Brushwork. I’m allowing him to use more than one brush size this year for Brushwork as it was frustrating to him that he was not able to get the finer lines for vines that are pictured in the examples with the larger brush he was using. I’m hoping this makes it a little more enjoyable for him as brushdrawing has not been something he has enjoyed. We’re also only going to focus on one color per week just as an experiment.

Music

Composer Study

Composer Study will also be covered in co-op so I don’t know who that will be either, but I remember hearing something about Gregorian chant, which sounds very interesting!

Folksong/Hymn

These are also both co-op subjects, but I’ll be teaching folksong so we’ll be able to start that with the beginning of our school year. Our period in history is 800 to 1650 AD, which feels like a challenge in terms of finding good folksongs (though I’ve already picked the first one!), but I think the challenge will be good for me.

Handicrafts

Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children

We will no longer be doing handicrafts in co-op this year, so I decided we would learn some cooking skills in Term 1. I include this book in the kindergarten curriculum, but it’s only a few recipes so I’m going to use this year as a chance to really dive into it. I’m actually really excited about this as splitting up the book worked really well and I had the kids pick which recipes from each chapter they wanted to make. As of right now, I have a reading scheduled on Tuesdays and then cooking scheduled on Thursdays during our morning lesson time. It’ll be interesting to see how this works, but I’m thankful we can be flexible and use the afternoons if we need to.

Physical Education

Swedish Drill Revisited

PE was another subject that was taught in co-op that we’ll be bringing home this year. I’m going to be continuing with the last routine in Swedish Drill Revisited and moving on to Swedish Drill Revisited II once we finish that.

Overall, I’m excited for this year and though I feel like there are some sad changes with fewer readings for B and I to do together, I’m excited that he’ll be making progress in his education and challenged in ways he hasn’t experienced before! I’m also excited for the subjects we’ve been able to bring home from co-op as I feel a little more control over what we’re learning. It’ll be a good year!

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Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid: Johannes Vermeer https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-picture-study-aid-johannes-vermeer/ https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-picture-study-aid-johannes-vermeer/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=14730 To read more about Charlotte Mason picture study and to see the other Picture Study Aids I have available, click here. Johannes, or Jan, Vermeer, was born in Delft of the Dutch Republic and baptized there on October 31, 1632. He died 43 years later and was buried on December 15, 1675. From that span of […]

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To read more about Charlotte Mason picture study and to see the other Picture Study Aids I have available, click here.

Johannes, or Jan, Vermeer, was born in Delft of the Dutch Republic and baptized there on October 31, 1632. He died 43 years later and was buried on December 15, 1675. From that span of years, he left behind a widow, at least eight children, a treasure-trove of paintings showing intimate views of Delft, and little else, including hard facts about his life.

Where his fellow Dutchman, Rembrandt, bequeathed the world close to 100 pictures of himself, Vermeer gave us only one possible self-portrait contained off to the side in The Procuress. His signature is scattered among legal documents from the time and we can find quotes and even a poem about him from his contemporaries. He was promoted to the head of the Guild of St. Luke by his fellow painters in 1662 and we even have a detailed inventory of the items in his home after his death. However, from the man himself, we hear nothing. 

Or do we?

So little is known about his life and yet, in some ways, his paintings offer us the most intimate part of him: his view of the world. He let us into the rooms of his home where he lived out the relatively short years of his life, often giving us glimpses of family members, servants, and every-day objects found around the house. In View of Delft, he takes us on a walk along the canal, showing us a typical morning in his time. He allows us to experience an afternoon outside his door in The Little Street, complete with women attending their chores and children attending their games. And all of these snippets of time were recorded with a clarity of vision and depth of expression rarely seen at the time or even since.

Much conjecture exists about how he created these photographic-like scenes, though most scholars agree that he used some kind of viewing apparatus to aid in his work. However, what exactly he used and how much he relied upon it to create his masterpieces will most likely never be known. Theories have ranged from a camera obscura – a device that projects a scene from a brightly-lit area on to a flat surface in a dark room or box – to a more modern suggestion that he simply used a mirror. Still, despite the fact that his skill and eye for aesthetics are quite evident, many art historians are loathe to suggest that he used any kind of device at all, offended at the idea that he might, in some way, have “cheated.”

And while I think these debates are interesting and can add an element of intrigue to picture talks with older students, the beauty of Charlotte Mason’s principles in art study is that we, and our students, need not be caught up in these scholarly debates or question marks surrounding his life. When we look at his pieces, we can immerse ourselves in the serenity of his settings, the delicateness of his lighting, and the quotidian tasks of his models. We can ponder them together and imagine what the girl in the red hat is about to say or what the letter contains or wonder what thoughts run through the woman’s mind as she looks at the empty balance. These are pieces offering many opportunities for contemplation that will hang wonderfully in the “halls of [our] imagination” and, as Ms. Mason suggests, when doing our picture talks, “there must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures themselves.” (vol 6, p 214)

Today I’m offering an updated Johannes Vermeer Picture Study Aid (PDF and printed versions available!) with a brief summary of his life, key topics about seven of his paintings (four of which are different than the previous version I offered), and printable versions of the pieces discussed (without artist name or titles) at the end. There is also an option to purchase professionally printed copies of the pieces discussed as well.

Resources

Though there aren’t many concrete facts about Vermeer’s life, biographers and art historians have managed to piece details together based on quotes, legal documents, and general knowledge about Delft from the short span of his life there. A few of these books have been particularly helpful in putting together this picture study aid:

Traces of Vermeer by Jane Jelley also looked compelling, but because of time constraints, I chose to read Anthony Bailey’s biography over this one so I have no experience with it.

Also, the book Discovering the Great Masters by Paul Crenshaw is on the AO Year 12 book list and has a short write-up for The Art of Painting.

And for children:

  • The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations With Seven Works of Art by Bob Raczka – This would be good for older students or parents wanting to know more about the pieces. I would not recommend this for younger students. It includes The Milkmaid, The Geographer, The Art of Painting (titled “The Artist in His Studio”), and Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, among others.
  • Anna and Johanna by Geraldine Elschner – This is purely fictional and tells the “story” of two characters in Vermeer’s paintings (The Milkmaid and The Lacemaker).

There were a few others for children that looked interesting but I was unable to get from the library to review:

If you are interested in diving more into the debate about what he may have used to aid in his painting (camera obscura, mirror, etc.), the documentary Tim’s Vermeer is also very interesting.

Caveats

This is by no means an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece, and that is intentional. I tried to keep it all very simple in the spirit of there being, “no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman.” (vol 6 pg 216)

For enjoying art with children in general, I also included a page of art sources that I’ve found particularly good:

Online Art Collections

Web Gallery of Art
Art cyclopedia
Wikimedia Commons
WikiArt

Books

For younger children, I highly recommend the Mini-Master series by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober. Also, the Touch The Art series by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo.

For both younger and older children, the Come Look With Me series by Gladys S. Blizzard is excellent.

Download

You may download it below for personal use in your own homeschool (Ambleside Online, another Charlotte Mason curriculum, or otherwise). If you have any feedback or suggestions, please fill out this form!

Johannes Vermeer: a (FREE!) Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid - ahumbleplace.com

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Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid: Titian https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-picture-study-aid-titian/ https://ahumbleplace.com/charlotte-mason-picture-study-aid-titian/#respond Tue, 11 Aug 2020 20:30:00 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=62933 To read more about Charlotte Mason picture study and to see the other picture study aids I have available, click here. Tiziano, then, having adorned with excellent pictures the city of Venice, nay, all Italy and other parts of the world, deserves to be loved and revered by the craftsmen, and in many things to be […]

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To read more about Charlotte Mason picture study and to see the other picture study aids I have available, click here.

Tiziano, then, having adorned with excellent pictures the city of Venice, nay, all Italy and other parts of the world, deserves to be loved and revered by the craftsmen, and in many things to be admired and imitated, as one who has executed and is still executing works worthy of infinite praise, which shall endure as long as the memory of illustrious men may live.

Georgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists

Tiziano Vecelli, or Titian, was part of a slew of artists to whom I was introduced during one of my earliest terms of college. He was included in both my introductory Art History 101 class (also the class that inspired me to switch to an art history major) as well as my Renaissance art class as a pillar of Italian Renaissance art. A few things about him stuck with me, including the reddish hue from the ground he used to prepare his canvases that characterizes so many of his paintings, as well as the fact that he was a bit of an avant-garde artist for his time. He liked to try different techniques, poses, and formations in his paintings, and I think this was truly a benefit to art history. He is probably more well-known for his mythological and religious art, but I am particularly fond of his portraits. He had the ability to infuse the character of the sitter into these paintings, and I find them absolutely fascinating.

As a side note, I love the Renaissance as a whole but Italy, in particular, amazes me. It’s absolutely bewildering how much art, and magnificent art at that, Italy was producing from about the 14th century through to the 17th century. The fact, also, that it wasn’t all concentrated in one area on the Italian peninsula (or Europe, for that matter) is truly amazing as several hotspots of artistic achievement, including Florence, Rome, and Venice, bloomed independently. It would’ve been absolutely amazing to have been alive during that time to witness all of that beauty just after its creation.

Today I’m offering a free Picture Study Aid for Titian that includes the six images selected for the AmblesideOnline artist study rotation. This 24-page PDF offers a brief summary of the early life of Titian, key topics about six of his paintings, and six printable versions of the paintings (without artist name or titles) at the end.

I do also include a brief overview of Charlotte Mason picture study at the beginning of the file, however, I have also written posts here on the blog about why picture study is important and how we do it in both our home and homeschool co-op.

You can download the file at the link at the end of the post!

Caveats

This is by no means an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece, and that is intentional. I tried to keep it all very simple in the spirit of there being, “no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman.” (vol 6 pg 216)

Miscellaneous Resources

For enjoying art with children in general, I also included a page of art sources that I’ve found particularly good:

Web Gallery of Art
Art cyclopedia
Wikimedia Commons
WikiArt

For younger children, I highly recommend the Mini-Master series by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober. Also, the Touch The Art series by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo.

For both younger and older children, the Come Look With Me series by Gladys S. Blizzard is excellent.

Download

You may download it below for personal use in your own homeschool (Ambleside Online, another Charlotte Mason curriculum, or otherwise). And as always, if you have any feedback or suggestions, I would love for you to fill out my feedback form!

(Click here to download a PDF of JUST the artwork)

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Gentle Kindergarten Math: A Guide to MEP Reception https://ahumbleplace.com/gentle-kindergarten-math-a-guide-to-mep-reception/ https://ahumbleplace.com/gentle-kindergarten-math-a-guide-to-mep-reception/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2020 17:00:49 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=61753 When I was doing research into what to include for math during my son’s kindergarten year, my original intention was to use Arithmetic for Young Children by Horace Grant because I felt it was a little less strenuous than a normal math curriculum and followed a more Charlotte Mason approach. I dutifully printed out all […]

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MEP Reception Guide

When I was doing research into what to include for math during my son’s kindergarten year, my original intention was to use Arithmetic for Young Children by Horace Grant because I felt it was a little less strenuous than a normal math curriculum and followed a more Charlotte Mason approach. I dutifully printed out all of the lessons and put them in a binder, ready for the first day of school. While the questions weren’t particularly difficult, some were a little abstract and after a while, it felt like I was just drilling him with question after question after question. So I decided to look into alternatives.

I had actually found the Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP) before we began our year and kept it in my back pocket just in case. AmblesideOnline has it listed as a recommended resource for math and it’s free, so when Mr. Grant didn’t work out for us, I decided to try MEP Reception instead.

This is a spiral-approach program that was originally made for 5- to 6-year-old children in Hungary and later translated for use in England. The lessons are wonderfully short and usually involve counting, very simple math operations, coloring, a game, or some kind of hands-on activity. It’s a very gentle program and both of my kids responded extremely well to it. It also prepared my son perfectly for RightStart Level B, which is what we ended up switching to during his first grade year (which my daughter will be starting in the fall!). I thought it was so effective that I also decided to include it in my Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Curriculum, where I’ve broken it down, week-by-week, over the course of a nine-month school year.

One minor setback, however, is that some of the lessons can be a little difficult to understand, so I decided to make a guide walking through all of the lesson plans, which you can find below.

MEP Reception Overview

MEP Reception Guide

There are two parts to MEP Reception. The lesson plans are what you, the teacher, will use to guide your child through the lesson. These are broken down into ten-lesson PDFs that you can download and print out. I do recommend printing these and putting them in a binder (or binding them yourself), though some parents have also just viewed them on a computer screen or tablet when they went through the lesson.

The other part is the Copymasters, which are for your student. These are also broken down in ten-lesson PDFs and will be what your child will use for the lesson, though some lessons do not use one. These will need to be printed out as there are usually activities where the child has to do something on the picture like draw or trace. I like to print a chunk out at a time and I keep them in one of the pockets of my lesson plan binder so I can give them to my student when we’re working on a lesson that needs them. The lesson plan will usually reference which copymaster needs to be used for a specific lesson (you can also click on the blue text and it will show you which picture is being referenced). There are a very few instances where this is not the case and I’ve noted those below.

MEP Reception Guide
Lesson Plan 1 on the left, Copymaster for lessons 1-10 on the right

If you’d like to make your lesson plans binder more complete, you can also print out the General Overview and Guidelines and Introduction to Reception Lessons which give an overview of the philosophy and goals for the year. I’d recommend at least reading these as they provide helpful tips on how to implement the curriculum as well as a little background on Reception.

The Lessons

MEP Reception Guide

Each lesson is broken up into a table with different sections. The “R” on the far left of the top of the table indicates that this is Reception. The box in the top middle indicates what you’ll be doing for this lesson; “R” stands for Revise or Review, “C” stands for Core work (which means the main point of the day’s lesson), and “E” stands for Extension, or extra activities that are included. These are purely informational and there’s really nothing that you need to do with these. To the right of that is the number of the lesson.

In the next row you’ll see the activity number and then a time estimate. For the most part, these time estimates were quite a bit longer than the amount of time we took to get through the lesson as they were calculated in a schoolroom setting with many kids. In the box to the right of that is the activity you’ll be doing (along with a link to the worksheet for that activity if applicable), and in the far right box is a link to a poster to print for this lesson in a larger classroom setting (I did not use these) and any notes that you may find useful in implementing the activity.

The beauty of MEP is that everything is scripted and very easy to implement. There is no rigorous, structured math, but instead, the concepts are taught using simple and fun activities like counting objects in a picture, matching objects, drawing over lines (as a hand exercise), coloring, and playing games. The only work you’ll really need to do is make sure you have the necessary supplies on hand before a lesson starts as well as printing the lesson plans and copymasters and cutting out any game pieces (which are not many). And that’s all there really is to the lesson plans – it’s very simple!

Supplies

There aren’t a whole lot of things you’ll need for most of Reception other than colored pencils and crayons on a regular basis, but there are a few other items you’ll want to have on hand for some of the lessons.

Individual Lesson Notes

There are a few lessons throughout Reception that can be a little confusing or difficult to understand, so I’m including notes on all of the ones I ran into that it took me a little while to figure out. If there are any not listed here that you’re unsure how to implement, feel free to contact me or leave a comment and I’ll add them to the list!

For each activity, I will reference it by the lesson plan number followed by a decimal and then the activity number. Eg. for lesson plan 4, activity 2, I will use 4.2.

1.1 Free Choice Play

This is basically a free time that may have been used just for the first day of school for children still getting acclimated to being in a school environment. You can either skip this one entirely or do some kind of math-related activity or game. My kids really enjoy these color cubes, but you could really use just about anything here.

2.2 Ben’s Toys

The linked worksheet (Lesson Plan 2 Activity 2) is for the second part of the lesson. For the first question, you can use the worksheet from 1.2.

Also, for the question, “How many cars did you not color in, H?” the answer is actually 1.

3.1 Playing with sticks

You will need colored sticks for this activity.

5.1 Playing the family in front of the class

If you do not have enough students in your house to make all the members of the Reception family (like us), another option is to print out the worksheet from 1.1 (this works better on thicker cardstock paper), cut out each member of the family, make a little loop stand for them, and staple or tape it together (you can see how I did it to the left). This was actually helpful to have for several lessons.

5.2 Placing, drawing items
(also 10.2, 15.2)

You will need a sheet of paper with lines on it for this activity and a few others. You can download one here.

5.3 Game 1 (Teddy bears)

As with all the games, you will want to make sure you have these printed in advance and all the little pieces cut out and ready. If you have multiple students going through Reception, you can save the games in ziplock bags or envelopes to use again in later years. My kids also enjoyed playing them outside of math time. 🙂 For the counters, we used glass pebbles.

6.3 Map (Interlude)

These are finger activities that are included throughout Reception and I did not do them with my kids as they had this kind of exercise outside of math time. Feel free to do them or something similar (eg. scissor skills or tape activities) if you’d like to include it in your math time.

7.1 Picnic

When you get to the questions that begin with “Will there be enough…” (sandwiches or apples), allow them to answer that question with a guess first and then have them join the food to the people.

11.1 Going Home

For the “How many blades of grass do you see?” question, the answer (5) is based on the five clumps of grass in the lower right. Your student might count all of them, but a better way to word it might be how many clumps of grass rather than individual blades.

16.1 Free choice play

This is the same as 1.1. You can do the same as you did with that lesson, or I also let my kids pick a math game we had already played from Reception to play during this time.

16.2 Birthday Party 2

You will need to re-use the image from 15.1 here or you can print the poster instead.

20.2 Snail

You will need scissors, construction paper, and either a glue stick or Scotch tape (the tape worked better for us). This was one of my kids’ favorite activities. 🙂

23.1 Song or ditty for counting
(also 28.2)

You could really use any math song here but you’ll want to stop at six. For my daughter I used Yellow is the Sun from RightStart.

At the end of this lesson (Drawing six sticks), use the worksheet from 23.2 and the area just under the hands with the lines (or “sticks”).

23.3 By the water

For the question about how many storks there are, the image actually contains two.

25.2 Tortoise

You will need a walnut, scissors, construction paper, and glue for this activity.

28.1 Drawing seven sticks

You can use the worksheet from 23.2 to draw another stick.

30.1 Parts of the day

For the question, “What are they likely to be eating?” the answer is listed as “milk with roll,” but both I and my kids thought it looked more like a banana.

31.3 Mugs

For “Describe its position on the right-hand side,” the answer should be low-right if your student drew the mugs to match the way they’re laid out on the left side.

32.3 Folding a dog

You will need scissors for this activity. The easiest way to do this is to print out the animal outlines activity and have the child cut out the dog (first shape in the second row). If you can increase the size in your print settings, that’s even better. As an even easier alternative, you could make an origami dog as well.

33.1 Drawing eight sticks

You can use the worksheet from 33.2 to draw another stick.

37.2 Animals from plasticine

You will need plasticine for this activity. I did not have any on hand and didn’t want to buy it just for this, so we skipped this project.

38.2 Game 6 (Birds)

The instructions mention and there is a picture of two buttons or discs joined together with a string to form the bird “feet.” I just used two glass pebbles and my kids alternated which one they moved forward while imagining they were little bird feet. This worked well for us.

39.1 Zoo

In the second part of this activity, you count “circles on the black/white board altogether…,” you could also just count the fingers Ben is showing on the worksheet.

For the question of “How many animals are there altogether?” there are actually nine.

41.2 Six items

For the question, “What is beside the scarf?” the answer is actually an umbrella and tulip.

44.1 In the Meadow

For drawing sticks this time, you can just have your student draw the blue and red sticks in the margin of the worksheet for this activity.

44.2 Dots in boxes

Your student will need to reference the worksheet from 44.1 in order to know how many dots to draw in each box.

46.2 Steam engine

When counting circles that are in the picture, the answer includes the ones that are inside of the wheel shapes. At the end of this activity, when you count how many shapes have been used to build the train, the inside circle is not included in that answer.

49.2 Ten ladybirds

The question “How many are in the side rows altogether?” would be better worded as “How many are in the top and bottom rows altogether?”

60.1 Zoo

This one is just confusing in general and I think it’s best just to allow your student to make their best guess as to which animal you’re asking them to count. You can also try the folding activity at the end, but we skipped this also.


I know the list can look a little daunting, but overall, I really do believe MEP Reception is a wonderful math option to include in the kindergarten year! And even though we switched to RightStart in Year 1 and have used that ever since, I still chose to use MEP Reception with my daughter when it was her turn for kindergarten.

If you do decide to look for an alternative to this, RightStart Level A is another option. It’s a big investment in the beginning, but we have used all of the manipulatives for several years now (and will continue to do so with both kids) and I don’t regret that expense at all.

I hope this list has been helpful! Let me know if I left anything out!

Other posts in this series…

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Simple Kindergarten Morning Time for Homeschoolers https://ahumbleplace.com/kindergarten-morning-time/ https://ahumbleplace.com/kindergarten-morning-time/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2020 07:00:00 +0000 http://ahumbleplace.com/?p=8172 When I first sat down to plan out my son’s kindergarten year, I had no idea what Morning Time was. I think I had seen it mentioned on a few sites, but knowing that it wasn’t “required” as part of our chosen curriculum (AmblesideOnline or AO), as well as the fact that the thought of implementing yet […]

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When I first sat down to plan out my son’s kindergarten year, I had no idea what Morning Time was. I think I had seen it mentioned on a few sites, but knowing that it wasn’t “required” as part of our chosen curriculum (AmblesideOnline or AO), as well as the fact that the thought of implementing yet another homeschooling “thing” into our schedule with rules and requirements was daunting at best, I decided to skip it.

Little did I know that those mothers who homeschooled multiple children for several years were on to something (imagine that!). When I actually started scheduling all of this stuff and wondering where certain things would fit, Morning Time kept popping up its little head in the back of my mind, humbly reminding me that perhaps it could be of assistance. How could I get all of these “riches” in when there wasn’t something really tangible to do? Should I skip the folk song? Or the hymn? And what about recitation? Picture study was a little more tangible as there was something to sit and look at, but the others? Not so much.

Around the same time, I also started listening to the Mason Jar podcast, co-hosted by Cindy Rollins who used Morning Time heavily when homeschooling her own nine children. She kept mentioning Morning Time and how she used it in her family and I decided to give it another look to see how we could work it into our schedule.

I think when I finally understood that there aren’t necessarily hard and fast rules for Morning Time, I figured there was no risk in at least trying to make my own version. I ended up loving it and have used it ever since.

What is morning time?

Morning Time works so perfectly for any size family. If you have one student, it can be a good time to make sure some of the shorter things you’d like to cover, like picture study, composer study, hymns and folk songs, etc., don’t fall through the cracks. For larger families with multiple children, it’s also a good time to include several subjects, texts, poems, etc. that you want to cover with all of your students at the same time. I also like the idea of it being more fluid and flexible than the rest of the schedule, meaning that what’s being covered, read, sung, or memorized can change from month to month. You can even includes things like extra readings or memorization that are important to your family but not necessarily part of your curriculum spine.

Basically, Morning Time is whatever you want it to be.

I have also found that it’s an excellent way for us to transition from breakfast/chore time to our school time. Especially for children of the kindergarten age who sometimes struggle with transitioning from one activity to another, this is our way to say, okay, we’re changing gears and gathering in our school room to start our lesson time. Let’s take it slow and start with some simple but calming things like praying, singing, and reading poetry. I have also observed that often when we skip Morning Time for whatever reason, our lesson time is a little less peaceful, even as my students have gotten older.

The Routine

When my son started school, I began with an extremely basic Morning Time routine as I still wanted to keep things very short for his kindergarten year. As I’ve mentioned before that his entire kindergarten lesson time from beginning to end was about 45 minutes, with about half of that being Morning Time. As both of my kids get older and can sit for longer periods of time, I do plan to add other things so it will get longer. I’ve seen some homeschoolers adding chapter books (not narrated), memorizations like the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, and sentence diagramming for grammar during this time. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves, but as I laid it out below, this was perfect for his kindergarten year.So here is how our very simple Morning Time routine looked….

Prayer (daily)

We always start our school time with prayer even when we skip Morning Time. This is a way to emphasize that the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator (which takes some pressure off mom)!

Doxology

This is the standard doxology, sung:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Bible Reading (daily)

We read one story per day. For kindergarten, I have used The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Children of God Storybook Bible, and The Children’s Story Bible during this time, usually reading one story per day. I think The Jesus Storybook Bible is perfect for pre-school-aged children and The Children’s Story Bible is perfect for kindergarten. When I went through the latter with my daughter during her kindergarten year, we read three stories from the New Testament the first three days of the week and then a story from the Old Testament on the last day.

Folksong (twice/week)

I originally thought I might skip the folksongs, which are part of the AO schedule, because I wasn’t sure why to include them. However, thinking back on my own elementary school days, I actually do fondly remember the cheesy Stephen Foster songs we’d sing in music class (with the boys screaming “REFRAIN” when the chorus came around) and even all these years later, I can still conjure up at least most of the words to Old Dan Tucker. It’s part of folk history, American and otherwise, and it’s also kind of fun. 🙂

This can be very loose and doesn’t necessarily have to follow a specific curriculum, though they can be helpful if you’re not sure what to include. The AO folksong rotation is a good place to find suggestions. I know many AO families like to use the free version of the songs on YouTube or elsewhere, but at usually only around a dollar per song on Amazon (or free on Freegal!), I like to buy them so I can put them on the kids’ little music players during the term and they can listen whenever they want. We also already have a lot of Elizabeth Mitchell’s music, which are mostly folk songs, and I found these to be perfect for the kindergarten year. For my son, we did the following:

I usually alternate this with our hymn so we sing each twice per week.

Hymn (twice/week)

This was another part of the AO schedule that I thought about skipping, but again, it came down to memories for me. The church I attended when I was young sang more traditional hymns and I loved being able to offer these to my kids as well as the church we attend now doesn’t do this. I also download this through Amazon or Freegal and put it on the kids’ music players as well. Here’s what we did during my son’s kindergarten year:

Again, we alternate folksongs and hymns, so we sing each twice per week.

Charlotte Mason Morning Time Year 1 Recap - ahumbleplace.com

Nursery Rhyme

We read one nursery rhyme per day from The Real Mother Goose. My daughter especially liked this part each day.

Picture Study (once/week – alternated with composer study/poem recitation review/foreign language song)

Picture study, which is the practice of allowing students to develop a relationship with a piece of art, is perfect for children and students of any age. It’s so simple that it really does work well for even your youngest students and my daughter participated in my son’s picture study sessions even before she was in kindergarten. We look at six works from one artist over the course of a 12-week term with two weeks per piece (I offer picture study aids and prints for this purpose, or you can also use the AO artist study rotation).

I have it laid out in detail here, but to summarize, in the first week let your students look at a piece of art for a few minutes quietly on their own, then remove if from their view and have them tell back to you what they remember about the piece. If this isn’t a practice you’ve been doing in your house prior to kindergarten, you may need to model this for them a few times and that’s okay. Also, it’s not meant to be a quiz, so you don’t need to make sure they’re remembering every part of the painting! This is really just their way of telling you what parts stood out to them and what they noticed in particular, which will allow them to embed that piece in their memory. Then you can flip it back over and talk about it together.

In the second week, look at the piece together again and have them tell you anything they remember about it from your previous discussion. You can also ask open-ended questions like, “how do you think it feels in this scene (eg. hot, cold, wet, dry, etc.)?” or “what do you think you would hear if you were in this scene?” or “what do you think they’re talking about or that person is looking at/thinking about?” These are just questions to really get them to think more about the piece in a personal way. Also, it’s okay if they say they don’t like it! Regardless of how they feel about it, they’re still developing a relationship with that piece.

I usually alternate this with other parts of Morning Time, like composer study, poem review, or reviewing a foreign language song, so we only do it once per week.

Composer Study (once/week – alternated with composer study/poem recitation review/foreign language song)

My favorite way to do composer study at this age is to watch a live recording of a performance and then talk about what we heard. I usually ask the kids what they stood out to them in the music, what instruments they remember hearing, and how the music “felt” (meaning, was it happy? sad? upbeat? dramatic? etc.). You can check the AO composer rotation to see who the composer is for a given term and then find a playback of a live recording of any of their pieces (it doesn’t necessarily have to follow the listed pieces) on YouTube.

I usually only have us watch it for about five minutes and if it’s a particularly long recording (which they usually are), we’ll break it up over several weeks. I also add these to my kids’ music players.

Foreign Language Song (once/week – alternated with composer study/poem recitation review/foreign language song)

If you’d like to add some foreign language exposure to your Morning Time, a simple way to do this is to listen to songs in your chosen language. We focused on one song per month, listening to the recording and singing along if we could. You can find many foreign language folk songs on YouTube or, if you’re interested in Spanish, we have really enjoyed Diez Deditos and De Colores. This is another song I add to the kids’ music players.

Poem (daily)

Walter Scott said, “Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.” And so we read a poem every day, focusing on one poet per week, from Favorite Poems Old and New. This is just a simple reading with no commentary (natural discussion is fine) or narration requirements.

We also have one poem that we work on for recitation each month. On average, depending on the length of the poem, it took us about four to six weeks to memorize one. These are the ones we did for my son’s kindergarten year:

I have a special notebook where I write down all of the poems we’ve learned for recitation along with the date that each child recited it. We usually read a poem we’ve already learned from this once per week (see how we rotate this above with picture study/composer study/foreign language song) during morning time. Obviously you’ll have a lot of repetition with this when you first start in kindergarten, but it’s fun to read back on ones we’ve learned in previous years.

Lord’s Prayer (daily)

We end our Morning Time with the Lord’s Prayer. If your kids don’t have this memorized, you reciting it with them every day is a great way to learn it!

Benediction (daily)

This is a standard benediction with you saying, “The Lord be with you, (insert child’s name here),” and them responding with, “And also with you.”

Other Items

Of course, there are other things I could easily put in here that we do during our day outside of Morning time…copywork (covered in detail here and another good time to listen to your composer), Bible verse memorization (we do this before breakfast), literature reading, etc. But I liked to keep it simple since our kindergarten time was already very short. I know Morning Time will change as we get further into this homeschooling thing and I’m excited to think about what else we might be able to add in the future!

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Nature Study with Small Children https://ahumbleplace.com/nature-study-with-small-children/ https://ahumbleplace.com/nature-study-with-small-children/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2020 21:17:32 +0000 https://ahumbleplace.com/?p=60439 Today I have a guest post from my friend Joy Cherrick that I know will be helpful for parents thinking about doing nature study with their kindergarten (or younger!) children. Joy is a homeschooling mother of 6 following the Charlotte Mason philosophy. She has a passion for introducing children and adults to the beauty of […]

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Nature Study with Small Children - ahumbleplace.com #charlottemason #naturestudy #homeschool

Today I have a guest post from my friend Joy Cherrick that I know will be helpful for parents thinking about doing nature study with their kindergarten (or younger!) children. Joy is a homeschooling mother of 6 following the Charlotte Mason philosophy. She has a passion for introducing children and adults to the beauty of nature and shares her simplified nature study plans on her website Naturestudyhacking.com (which we have used in our homeschool and love!). She also authors a monthly eNewsletter, Naturalist Monthly, where she shares nature journal prompts, nature lore, and other ideas for parents and children to learn side by side about the world they live in. You can see a sample lesson she provides for flowers here, or learn how to germinate beans in your window here!


I will be a lion
And you shall be a bear,
And each of us will have a den
Beneath a nursery chair;
And you must growl and growl and growl,
And I will roar and roar,
And then–why, then–you’ll growl again,
And I will roar some more!

Wild Beasts, by Evaleen Stein, 1863-1923

Mother as a Guide

When I first began trying to figure out just exactly HOW to do Nature Study with my children, I heard mothers say to do it casually: “just do it when you are outside with your children” or “it will just happen as you go.” Well, friends, that NEVER happened. I was always wrangling or distracted by one thing or another. In addition, it’s too overwhelming to go out into The Wide World without a plan. 

You need a plan.

Your plan will begin with one topic to look for when you go out. Trees? Birds? Wildflowers? Clouds? Weather? Pick ONE! (Only one, please.) You may want to get all fancy and add a subcategory. Don’t do that, not at first. You need to actually get STARTED studying nature, and choosing ONE topic to study will help you get focused and have a sense of purpose to your time spent in nature. This is especially true if you are new to a region or new to learning to call things by name.

Once you choose your topic, say “trees,” you will notice how many trees in your neighborhood that you can’t name. That is OK! In fact, that means you are on the right track. Humility is essential to learning. From here, you will want to read a little bit about the topic you selected. (If you can’t find time, then find a book you will read to your children ABOUT your topic so that you can all begin learning about it together.) The absolute best place for a mother to start is to read the section in Handbook of Nature Study on the topic you’ve selected. This may take two or three sittings (remember you are only reading about ONE TOPIC [don’t get overwhelmed thinking that you have to read the whole tome!]), but it is full of worthy information that will help you talk with your children about how trees live and grow and how trees differ from one another, etc. 

If you only have time to read to your child to learn about trees, I recommend The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grownups. This book will explain how a tree eats, what photosynthesis is, and it also has some delightful stories about some of the more common North American Trees. As you read to your children, it is really best if you only read one or two pages from this book at a time. This is because they introduce new concepts and explain some of the scientific terms. Sometimes that’s cool and sometimes nobody but mother cares. This too is just fine. Your education matters too! You can take some of this new knowledge on the road with you.

With your book learning under your belt, it is now time to go outside WITH your children. Charlotte Mason emphasizes this in Home Education, and I know that sometimes it is easy to ignore this as “charming” or “idealistic.” But, going out into nature with your children is not JUST good for them. It is good for you too, and it is good for your relationship with them. I enjoy taking a daily walk with my children. We don’t go far, just around our block. But this little habit has brought so much restoration and healing to us and has saved many days.

Let’s review:

  1. Pick the ONE topic you are going to study this term or year.
  2. Read up a little about this topic so that you get acquainted with basic terms and categories. You can focus on how it eats and reproduces.
  3. Go outside WITH your children.

Now that you are outside with your children, let’s talk about your attitude. Are you dressed properly for the weather? If you are going into the woods, are you wearing the proper shoes so that you aren’t squeamish about meeting various wild creatures? We all have varying levels of comfort here, so let’s assume you are walking on a sidewalk in your suburban ‘hood. Please be dressed comfortably for the weather and elements you will face. (If you need more outerwear, I’ve had good luck just asking friends if they have unused things like raincoats or umbrellas. Even rain boots and snow gear can be easily found at thrift shops or online consignment for great prices. This is an investment in your family. If you have the right gear, you will find a way for your children to get the right gear as well).

Attire is the first step, but you will also need to remember that you are a co-learner with your children. Your wonder and curiosity will rub off on them, if it’s genuine. I think that a simple desire to learn is all that is required. 

Please do not be a stick-in-the-mud or have a grumpy attitude for the entire outing. Set your expectations ahead of time. Let them know how to meet them. And, if they are very young or very new to exploring, then it may be helpful to spend the first five minutes practicing your guidelines. (For instance, they may not cross the street without you. Or no running ahead where they can’t be seen. Or, you may need to let them know that they are not allowed to play in the creek during this trip because you are in the middle of the school day and they will be free to come back after lessons, etc.) This is basic classroom management, but when it’s our own children, it’s very easy to forget that we need to tell them what we expect of them and then we end up putting out fires instead of enjoying the outing.

Now that you are properly dressed and you are wearing a smile on your tired face you are ready to head outside and see what comes your way. Though field days are lovely and necessary, I think that a regular outing around the place where you live can teach you and your family so much about the seasons in your area and plants that grow there. You may even end up making dear friends. 

We did just this when we lived on top of a mountain. We met a woman who has become a good friend, and she kept the most glorious garden. She had many native species and had resolved to have blooms in her garden for Spring, Summer and Fall. Because of our daily walks, we were able to learn the names of many plants and birds and see many that I had only learned the name of and never met in person. We even got to see some monarch caterpillars “in the wild” eating milkweed leaves. What a gift for us all!

Mother as co-learner

Now that you are outside with your children and you have a topic, it is time to talk about guiding and studying alongside your children. You certainly won’t have all of the answers and this is good. One way to model humility is to actually be brought low enough to realize how much we truly don’t know. Which is so very much. One phrase that will work on your own mind and the minds of your children is…

“I wonder…”

When you wonder about things out loud, it can become a bit of a game. 

This is not time to get out your phone and start googling.

I know it is tempting, but for now, just wonder. Let the questions you encounter out in the wild work on you all during your time outside together. When you get home or have a natural break, and the question is still working on your minds, then you can see if there is an answer. Sometimes there are only theories. That is fun too.

You may wonder: “I wonder what makes some mushrooms red and some white?” or “I wonder what a wasp eats?” Or, “that flower is beautiful, I wonder what it’s called?” (You can take a photo and look it up later.)

One time, we had been reading about bugs and had just learned about a spit bug. On our walk, we saw a stalk of grass at about eye level with a wad of spit resting between the stalk and the leaf blade. I was excited and said, “I wonder if there is a bug hiding inside that glob of spit!” I broke off a piece of grass and inserted it into the spittle. Sure enough, a little black bug was hiding inside. We returned him to his place, but we were now empowered with new information. We now can pass by a spit glob on a branch or grass and know that the little occupant is hiding away inside.

As a student, you will be making your own connections. You may even get excited enough to learn a few things on your own. This is great! Don’t feel like you have to deliver a lecture to your scholars about all that you’ve learned. Some of your new knowledge will be gradually shared over time. Sometimes, you may assault your husband or friends with your new information. Great! It’s fun to learn new things. Just don’t get too frustrated if your scholars don’t seem to care as much as you. In our home, enthusiasm catches, but it seems to have a lag-time. Perhaps it’s three months? Perhaps it will be years and years. But you loving and learning about nature will, if nothing else, teach them what it is to learn about and love a thing.

The Child’s Role in Nature Study

Child as Observer

It’s important to understand what your goals are for your scholars as you study nature together. In general, your main objective is that they will be able to notice the world around them with the hope that they will be able to call trees and flowers by name and have a general understanding of the way God’s creation works in harmony (or cacophony) with one another.

Your goal is NOT to make them love nature study. It is NOT to force them to memorize lists of trees or flowers or seeds. It is not to drill the kingdoms or phylum or species of each thing they encounter. You will be leading them to nature. The leading is what you can control. They will take what they will take. What affections they develop are not up to you. Don’t be discouraged if they aren’t excited about what you are excited about. That’s normal. 

As you go out into nature and study it, remember that the chief objective for your scholars is that they would become aware of their surroundings and be able to observe nature for themselves. You may play a game if that is helpful.

In Home Education, Charlotte Mason also explains a memory game to help encourage observation and also develop oral composition skills. Lead the children into nature. Then, ask them to look around at all they see. Tell them to be careful to make a note of everything. Then, close their eyes and describe it all back to you. Take turns and see who can catch the most details and explain through all your five senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? What could you taste? 

Your child’s role here is to simply be aware and observe. It is a delight to find that children can often remember much more than we can. They can even help us discover new things right under our noses.

Child as Co-learner 

The most satisfying consequence of my decision to become more intentional with Nature Study has been seeing my children taking the reins of their own learning. Whether it’s pouring over encyclopedias or mimicking my Nature Journal entries, I can tell that they see me. But they have their own interests as well.

Sometimes a child’s interest will be piqued during an outing or a reading. We can encourage or dampen this tiny spark. As you would for a friend, you will be able to learn and grow and even give your child tools to learn more. 

We’ve found that having books about the topic we are studying prominently displayed is important. Sometimes I’ll face out these books on the shelf which makes these books more likely to be picked up. Then, my readers are able to read for themselves about their areas of interest. Often, they will read to non-readers and help them also gain more knowledge apart from Mother. This self-education in a non-academic area is so important that it will also spread into other subjects. 

Often, we will be learning about something and need to head to the map to see where in the world it comes from. From that discovery, we may find out about a war or a historic event that happened in that region, and this may lead us to learning yet another thing. Often, our studies are not easily tucked away into neat little boxes, but they bleed over into many subjects.

A Child Set Free (with purpose)

Going outside with your children for 10-20 minutes each day can’t be too much. Mothers need the sunshine and fresh air just as well as children. We also need to give our children time where they are free from our watchful eye to explore, climb, dig, etc.

In America, it is increasingly difficult to find children playing outside in neighborhoods together. Most of them are tucked safely inside their homes, glued to one blue light or another. If you are reading this, you are likely one of the few parents who crave less screen time and more time outside for your children. The first step to getting them comfortable playing outside for long stretches is for you to be outside with them. Often, what happens when you go out with your children is they see that the outside isn’t so bad. In fact, it is much more exciting than the walls inside. If they are having trouble staying outside, be sure they are properly dressed and go outside with them at first. Then you can slowly wean them off of needing you. Hand them a tool such as a shovel or a rope. Both of these can provide hours of interesting play for most children.

If you use screens regularly in your home, you may need to require a certain amount of time outside prior to allowing access to a screen. I have a hard rule that on beautiful days everyone must be outside. If I need to be in the kitchen or attend to the baby, I’m usually longing to join them because great weather refreshes me to the bone.

When children are outside without you, they are able to experiment and play in a way that is different from when you are on your walk with them. They may discover a bird’s nest or an ant climbing up their favorite tree. Sometimes my children will stop to watch the birds near our home and thus learn about their manners and habits. These unstructured moments are so valuable to the developing child because it allows them to not only learn about the world God created first-hand, but they are developing their executive function — they are making decisions for themselves about what they will or will not do. This is a skill that is almost non-existent in most students graduating from college. They’ve spent their entire childhood being told what to do and where to go so that when the real world requires that they make some decisions, many adults flounder. It’s very frustrating for employers looking to hire good people.

Anyway, let them play and get dirty and don’t hang over them assaulting them with stories about broken bones or broken necks. If you are that worried, set some limits, say your prayers and trust them to stay within the boundaries you’ve laid out. All will be well. And even when it isn’t, all will be well.

In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.  Psalm 95:4-5

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