I've always been a fan of the Charlotte Mason method since I first learned about it. As a new homeschooling mama it just appealed to me to teach using living books and encouraging lots of outdoor activity in my children. However, I've struggled sometimes with the day-to-day implementation of this philosophy. After reading books by Karen Andrealo, though its like a lightbulb has went off in my brain! Who says you can't teach an old (medium-old, hehe) dog new tricks?
First off, I am reading aloud so much to the kids now and they absolutely love it! What am I reading?
1. The Bible
2. A Character Building Book (currently Character Trails, more on that in a later article).
3. A read-a-loud book.
4. History (currently, Pathway to Liberty and the accompying book)
5. Fun, picture books.
7. Math (we use a Charlotte Mason math called Living Math).
What does this look like on a daily basis?
I gather the kids around me in the morning. They usually play with a semi-quiet toy during this time. We sit together on the couch and I read passages from the Bible to them. Sometimes I just read some from my daily reading or sometimes I read things that correspond to their history, science or character books. Then we read our "Character Trails" and discuss those character traits and they answer questions that go along with the one we read about today.
After that we usually read our "Pathway to Liberty". I'll explain more on this one in a later post but Jake is absolutely crazy about this one (he loves history). Then he will do copywork that pertains to this curriculum and perhaps color a picture from it. It also has Bible memorization in it. We practice narration in each thing we read so I make sure he is listening and actually getting it.
Sometimes we take a snack and play break after this and sometimes we go right into Jake reading to me. We take turns out of several things such as his "Stories to Short Chapters" and different beginning reader books. He likes the ones that tell a story not just nonsense ones that only use 3 or 4 letter words. I usually read him part of a longer chapter book at this time too as a reward for doing his reading well.
After this, we'll do math (both in our Living Math and orally) and then (weather permitting) we go outside for exercise and nature study. We are just now starting to draw different plants we see outside and we are also working on plant identification.
Then its lunch and naptime! If the weather is nice we eat outside and then curl up for a nice long rest. Jake listens to a story on the tablet such as "Little Britches", "My Side of the Mountain" or "The Railway Children".
Now, this looks like an awesome schedule, doesn't it? Of course, in real life it doesn't quite happen like that every single day. Instead, there are unexpected visitors, appointments, sick days and a highly energetic toddler and 5 year old to work into that beautiful schedule! However, it does work most days and is definitely a more relaxed atmosphere than workbook after workbook and dull, dry textbooks to learn from!
We also have lots of hands on learning (especially on days Daddy is home). It might be cooking or cleaning, splitting wood, nature hikes or a day spent paddling a canoe. You see, learning is not contained in a book, but in our minds and hearts and that can be done anywhere!