Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Early Years....

The Early Years–A Charlotte Mason Preschool Handbook

I recently checked this book out of our local public library and discovered what an invaluable resource it is for parents of young children.  Whether you plan to homeschool or are readying your child for a traditional school, The Early Years: A Charlotte Mason Preschool Handbook by Sonya Shafer and Karen Smith is a real treasure.

Part 1 starts off with "The Chief Duty of Parents".  Charlotte Mason encouraged parents in their duties of instilling good habits and nourishing their child's mind.  This section will help you understand Charlotte's thoughts on these duties.  Parts 2 & 3 break down forming right habits and nourishing the mind into more specific areas such as "Proper Physical Care, Using the Senses, Nature, Play, Books & Stories, The Alphabet, Spiritual Life", etc.

Within each section, there are quotes from Ms. Mason's personal writings supporting her ideas.  Shafer and Smith have taken it a step further by extracting and summarizing practical ideas from these quotes for nurturing your preschooler.  For example, in Chapter 12, The Alphabet, there are such suggestions as "Draw letters in the air and see if your child can name them,...." and "Many children will learn the alphabet on their own, but there is no harm in teaching it when approached as play."

The Appendix in the back gives Charlotte's thoughts on kindergarten as well as ideas for beginning reading, math, and handwriting.  "Instead of academic or social pressures, Charlotte encouraged mothers to give their little ones a full six years of developing good habits, getting acquainted with nature, exploring the five senses, growing in their spiritual lives, and playing outdoors."

I'm looking forward to spending more time with The Early Years when Levi gets to the preschool stage.  I recommend this book and the Simply Charlotte Mason website for anyone interested in educating their child or learning more about Charlotte Mason and her methods.

I was thrilled to see that Simply Charlotte Mason released a video DVD this week titled Enjoying the Early Years.  It's a companion DVD to The Early Years that was recorded at a live workshop.  I watched the trailer and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy to watch in its entirety!!  What an amazing resource for preschool families :)

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