Category Archives: Methods

Reading List

I’ve decided to go with the Charlotte Mason method as a main approach, though we’re adapting it to be secular, and then supplement that with whatever seems fun or educational from other methods (such as Waldorf, Place-Based Education, etc). Below is a list of the books I’m planning to use, for myself and for Lillia. Some of these books deal more with homemaking than education, but I feel that is relevant for two reasons: 1) Homeschooling takes place in the home, therefore the home is integral to the learning, and 2) We have a little one who will not be doing formal “schooling” of any kind, but he will be learning, and the home is his main, and for the most part only, source of learning in the first few years of his life.

These are the books I will be using/referring to. I own all the titles on this list, and was able to do so fairly inexpensively by buying used copies, but I’m sure a well-stocked library would have most of them.

Ariadne’s Awakening, by Margli Matthews, Signe Schaefer, and Betty Staley
Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker, by Manfred Schmidt-Brabant
Homemaking as a Social Art, by Veronika Van Duin

Early Childhood:
Creating a Home for Body, Soul, and Spirit, by Bernadette Raichle
Festivals, Family and Food, by Diana Carey and Judy Lange
The Children’s Year, by Stephanie Cooper, Christine Fynes-Clinton, and Marye Rowling

Charlotte Mason:
A Philosophy of Education, by Charlotte Mason
A Charlotte Mason Education, by Catherine Levison
Charlotte Mason Study Guide (Secular Version), by Penny Gardner

Fourth Grade Math, by Oak Meadow
For the Love of Literature, by Maureen Wittmann
Read Any Good Math Lately?, by David J. Whitin and Sandra Wilde
Math Through Children’s Literature, by Kathryn L. Braddon, Nancy J. Hall, and Dale Taylor
Bunches and Bunches of Bunnies, by Louise Matthews (from the library)
Each Orange Had 8 Slices, by Paul Giganti (from the library)
Two Ways to Count to Ten, by Ruby Dee and Susan Meddaugh (from the library)

The Education of the Child, by Rudolf Steiner

I’m going to be following the Ambleside Online curriculum for the most part during the trial period. I figured it was easier than re-inventing the wheel, and would give us a good idea of whether or not the CM approach will work for us. I’m starting with their Year 1, even though Lillia is technically going into “third grade” in the fall. Of course, I’ll be adding my own things here and there, and this doesn’t cover everything, including science, art, music, and handicrafts. I’ll write more about those in a bit.

These are the books Lillia will be reading during our trial (again, we own these but bought most of them used):

Ambleside List:
Our Island Story, by H.E. Marshall
Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin
Parables from Nature, by Margaret Gatty
Aesop’s Fables for Children, by Milo Winter
Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling
A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Paddle to the Sea, by Holling C. Holling
Burgess Bird Book, by Thornton Burgess (we also love his other books about animals and have many from the Dover paperback series)
The Blue Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang

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Getting Started: Research

Since we have talked on and off about homeschooling for a couple of years now, I have had plenty of time to think about what “philosophy,” if any, we might use to educate our daughter.

While I was, at first, drawn toward Waldorf education, my daughter was (self-taught) reading chapter books by the time she was six. I didn’t see how an educational philosophy that didn’t even begin to teach reading in a formal way until third grade would work for her. But, there are some things I love about Waldorf, like the “real work” and home arts — baking, sewing, knitting, etc — and so I will be using some of them in our program. I also have a lot of books and materials leftover from my daughter’s year at a Waldorf kindergarten, and from a Waldorf-based professional development course that I took several years ago.


Lillia at her Waldorf kindergarten May Day celebration.

I’m also intrigued by something called Place-Based Education, which is a method for teaching children using the local environment as a classroom. We have a conservation area right behind our house, which consists of a pond and miles and miles of hiking trails. I can’t wait to implement some of the Place-Based Education activities using our own yard, and extended spaces beyond it.

may7lilandzane copy

My kiddos engaged in unintentional Place-Based Education.

Most recently, I came across the work of Charlotte Mason, and I fell in love! Using literature to teach core subjects? Genius! I think this approach will work especially well for our daughter, who is a very advanced reader. I’m also looking forward to helping her improve her handwriting with “copywork.” I found a link to this site that allows you to create your own copywork sheets using print or cursive handwriting. I already made our whole three week’s worth, and it only took me about 20 minutes or so this afternoon. I’m also definitely going to do nature journaling with Lillia, which kind of goes hand in hand with the Place-Based Education, if you ask me.

I try to do what I can to avoid being dogmatic, about anything in life, really. That was one of the reasons why we left the Waldorf school system. I had questions, and I felt it was frowned-upon to ask questions. We were just supposed to accept what Rudolf Steiner said as law. Personally, I want the freedom to choose what feels right, using my intuition and my intellect as a guide. I would love to hear from anyone who uses any of these methods, or who has created a hodge-podge of theories.


Filed under Methods