Updated: Jul 20, 2022
For the last several years, I’ve been putting together book lists, planners + loop schedules for friends and new homeschool mamas who are interested in learning more about the Charlotte Mason Method. After much prompting from those friends, I decided to put all that info into a study guide + planner.
Typically, when a mama comes to me asking for advice about what to do with their Kindergarten aged, little learner, I tell them to go play. Read books. Snuggle. Explore. Oftentimes this is met with a strange look + the words, “but no really, what should I be teaching them?” I stand by the notion that playing, reading, snuggling, and exploring are the best ways you can teach a young child, but I understand a mama’s yearning to do more. I was there, too. All my friends were sending their children off to preschool + kindergarten and there I was, unsure of how to homeschool, wanting to preserve her childhood, but feeling the pressure to do more. Charlotte Mason was a huge advocate of not beginning any formal lessons until the age of six. That’s right, six. I stand by that philosophy and still urge you, reader, to know that playing is learning and time spent in nature exploring creation teaches more than you can imagine.
By now, you may be asking yourself, “so why are you selling this guide to Kindergarten, then?” Great question. I made it because I know you’ll get something anyway! I understand wanting to get started with a plan and I also realize that in some states, Kindergarten is required. My Charlotte Mason Inspired Kindergarten Guide + Planner is different than a typical Kindergarten curriculum for a few reasons.
One, It focuses heavily on habits. If you’re unfamiliar with Charlotte Mason or home education, starting out can be overwhelming. For 36 weeks, this guide gently leads you + your child through the habit of being out-of-doors everyday, reading quietly together, looking at art, listening to music + playing to learn – all things important to a Charlotte Mason based home education.
Two, you will have your own assignments. Take this Kindergarten year to learn as much about your child, home education + Charlotte Mason as you can. This is not just an educational guide for your child, it is meant to be a gentle introduction to Charlotte Mason’s philosophies for the parent as well. Home education with Miss Mason’s ideals is a family affair, everyone in the household continues to learn, read, + grow. Each week, there will be book selections outlined for the parent-teacher to read. These books will give you a better understanding of home education and Charlotte Mason. While nothing can replace Charlotte’s original texts, and it is highly recommended to read through her Home Education series, for the purposes of this study shorter overviews have been recommended.
Third, the planner. I’ve integrated this Kindergarten Guide with my Home Education Planner. The result: a complete year of plans, planning pages + logs in one wire bound book. This approach will again be a gentle guide + starting point to plan out a Charlotte Mason based home education. As you dive deep into establishing habits + family rhythms this year, the planner portion of the Kindergarten guide will give you a place to write it all down. You can read more about my Home Education Planner in a another blog post or check out pictures on my Instagram.
Here is a breakdown of what’s inside –
Bible. During the course of this study, you and your child will read through The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones and have the option to do some fun activities along the way. Additionally, Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories will be read. This book beautifully illustrates thirty-seven stories + Psalms.
Numbers. This course guide will focus on the joy of learning basic math + logic concepts. You and your child will play games while exploring the language of numbers. If your child is ready, you may begin the Singapore Essential Kindergarten Math Book A.You know your child best + have the freedom to choose if + when to begin a more formal approach to learning numbers.
History. Several legendary historical figures will be studied over the course of your year with 30 More Famous Stories Retold and various titles from the Little People Big Dreams series. Reading about the lives of others gives children the opportunity to relate to history in a more tangible way, develop empathy and learn valuable life lessons.
Geography. During this gentle introduction to geography, you and your child will learn about real children from around the world while studying a world map and/or globe. You may find it helpful to preview each reading in Children Just Like Me as some cultural traditions, customs or family structures may initiate discussions that are new for your family. This study guide includes all the families of Children Just Like Me but if you feel your child is not ready to discuss certain topics, simply omit the lesson that day.
Literature. The goal of this study guide is to give your child a gentle introduction to chapter books that will “make that sudden, delightful impact upon their minds, [and] cause that intellectual stir” as Miss Mason would say. Through these stories, you and your child will have the opportunity to discuss new vocabulary, good moral conduct, and character development. Together you will read My Father’s Dragon, Bears on Hemlock Mountain, Charlotte’s Web, and A Hive of Busy Bees.
Poetry. The poetry in this study is meant to be enjoyed and to expose your child to a style of writing they may not have yet encountered. Simply read the scheduled poem from Favorite Poems Old & New aloud to your child. Look for helpful hints at the bottom of the page as you progress through the study.
Natural History + Outdoor Exploration. Charlotte Mason advised that young children should be out-of-doors and in direct contact with nature every day. If this sounds daunting or unattainable, have no fear. The simple yet important tips in this guide will instill the joy that comes from being outdoors + weave this habit into the fabric of your Charlotte Mason based family rhythms. Several chapters of i love dirt have been chosen for you as well. This book is a gentle introduction for both parent and child to natural history, exploration + observation.
Reading. When following Charlotte Mason’s philosophies, formal lessons do not begin until the age of 6. The reading portion of this guide is strictly optional and should not be started until your child is ready. A plan for utilizing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is outlined in the guide if your child shows signs of being ready for formal reading lessons.
Handwriting. Copywork: An Introduction to Handwriting is a gentle, Charlotte Mason inspired booklet that provides two years of instruction in one. Follow option one for pre-writers then progress to option two when children are ready to hold + write with a pencil. You can purchase this Kindergarten Guide with or without the Copywork booklet.
Health + Safety. During the course of the year, you and your child will explore various elements of personal health + body safety. Some of the topics covered in the suggested reading may lead to new discussions for your family. Although these discussions can often feel uncomfortable at first for the parent, children usually feel at ease + have genuine interest in talking to their parents about these important topics. If you feel your child is not ready to discuss certain topics, simply omit the lesson that day. Additionally, fire and outdoor safety are also covered. Books utilized include The Story of Me, I Can Be Safe, Fire! Fire!, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, Jr., God Made All of Me, and I said No!
Art. Instead of focusing on one specific artists for several weeks, as Charlotte Mason suggests, many artists will be enjoyed. For the purpose of this guide, you will explore several artists to expose your child to the wonder + creativity of the world of art. Each new piece of artwork will spark different emotions, thoughts, or questions from your child. Simply allow the space for as little or as much conversation as your child desires before reading through the discussion questions that the Come Look With Me series suggests.
Music. During the Music portion of your days, you and your child will sing hymns + folk songs together. The goal is not to make professional singers out of either of you, but rather to learn the beautiful lyrics + melodies of these important pieces of music. Although studying specific composers is part of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, this coarse is designed to gently introduce you and your student to her techniques. Therefore, you will sing together several days a week and begin to appreciate the suggested classical pieces by listening to them naturally throughout your day. All hymn printables + videos are provided by April Brover of happyhymnody.wordpress.com
Memory Work. Charlotte Mason believed that the habits of thought will govern the man, even his character . Through the passages in this study, your child will store up God’s word, honorable quotes from history, + lovely excerpts from literature in his heart.
As you learn more about the Miss Mason’s philosophies, you may notice that narration, nature journaling + a book of centuries are not included in this guide. This was an intentional choice, as formal lessons do not typically begin until the age of six. The goal of this year is not to begin all formal lessons, but rather to establish some core rhythms for your family, and learn the heart behind home education + the Charlotte Mason Philosophy. Get to know what makes your child’s eyes light up + the rhythms that work for your family. Read, play + grow together this year.
Books are not included in the purchase of A Charlotte Mason Inspired Kindergarten Guide + Planner. Books can be obtained through online retailers, your local bookstores or borrowed from your local library.
Note: it is important to be knowledgeable of your state’s homeschool laws when deciding to use any curriculum, as this guide may not be comprehensive for your state guidelines.
 A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison, pg 72