CM Beginner Series: The Early Years
My inbox is full to the brim of questions on what an eager young mother can do if she knows she wants to homeschool. It’s difficult when you’re so passionate and excited and you want to get started but if your child is only two, you’re quite a ways off from starting formal lessons. Here’s what I tell every future mother teacher.
The latest on Youtube:
01. Educate yourself! (Read Charlotte Mason’s “Home Education” AND read good literature!)
If a rich, life-giving feast of literature, the arts, and exploring in nature at a child’s proper developmental pace is of interest to you. Volume One is chock-full of useful info for an eager, young mother teacher. I know it doesn’t seem so from the title, but it’s actual written for mothers to read on children ages 0-6! you can also read other books on home education…the wild and free book is great as well. I listened to countless podcasts. The Mason Jar and ADE being top of that list.
02. Read to your kids. (Read to them every day, multiple times a day)
This will give you a both a good routine in reading together. Reading can strengthen you + your child’s relationship, it can strengthen your child’s vocabulary and imagination, (and quite honestly, if you want to homeschool, you’re going to need to get used to reading to your kids all day!)
03. Take your children outside.
This one is huge. Almost all of the pictures in this post are taken outdoors. Spending time in nature helped my kids’ routine as toddlers and it significantly improved my mood and theirs! Charlotte Mason recommends 4-6 hours a day spent outside, if at all possible. (This is more realistic during good weather months, for sure.) But it’s so important to give them uninterrupted time outdoors. Explore nature with then. Get some field guides and learn the birds and flowers in your area. You will not regret it!
04. Be together. Your toddler doesn’t need friends 😉
Most of the attachment stage in child development happens between 0-4 and it should be to parents and siblings that your young toddler attaches to. Friends are an added bonus but not a necessity, so focus on family routines, rhythms, and traditions. Everything else is just extra. If you don’t believe me. Read this book.
05. Establish good habits (AKA Habit Training)
Habit training is simply teaching our children, patiently and intentionally, how to interact with and in the world around them. Mason refers to “habit-training” in Home Education. She writes “The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.” Home Education, p. 136
06. Get to know your kids.
Spending time with the little lives you are going to teach someday allows you to know and discover what makes them tick. What their interests are! Do they shut down easily when frustrated? Do they learn better before or after a good play session? You’ll want to know ahead of time, and toddlerhood is a great time to explore that!
Lastly, don’t start formal lessons until age 6. If you must, you’re welcome to start teaching the alphabet (look at my Teaching Reading the Charlotte Mason Way video and having them count leaves and sticks, but you don’t really NEED a preschool curriculum! I did share what I plan to do with my four-year-old and our Kinderleben homeschool plans this year in this video if you’re interested. But again – this is because I already have a child in formal lessons. Less is more with the early years!
Thank you so much for reading!
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