Fine Art Board Books for Toddlers

I really wish these Mini-Masters board books had been available when my kids were little.  I would’ve owned every book in the series (and they probably would’ve had nothing but these books for their early board books!).  Plus, it would’ve given the kiddos an opportunity to spend as much time exploring the reproductions as they might want (rather than having Mommy standing careful continual guard over the expensive family art books).

Personally, I’m not sure I would actually read the accompanying text to my kids (it seems a little childish), but I would sit with the kids and talk about (“narrate”) what is in the reproductions, themselves.


Cassatt

Every reproduction of Mary Cassatt’s work in this book contains either a child, or a child with a parent.  Young children will be particularly drawn to the images in this board book.


Degas

Children can enter Edgar Degas’s magical world of toe shoes, tutus, and elegant ballerinas.


Gauguin

The artist’s Tahitian paintings transport mini art lovers to a lush, colorful island where they can join in the celebration of island life.


Matisse

The little ones will love spending A Magical Day with Matisse in a world full of music, color, bobbing sailboats, and tickled toes.


Monet

Claude Monet’s light-filled paintings take children on an enchanted picnic in the countryside.

 


Picasso

“Picasso for kids?  Yes, it can be done!  This book includes several of his earlier works as well as some later works appropriate for young ones.”


Renoir

Set against the backdrop of well-known works by the artist, Auguste Renoir, rhyming text tells a story of activities that can be shared by two people from the artwork.


Rousseau

In Dreaming with Rousseau, the artist’s vibrant paintings invite readers on a journey to dreamlike jungles packed with playful monkeys, a racing tiger, and other surprises.


Seurat

“The colors are beautiful and each work has a ton of detail to hold a child’s attention for a long while.”


Van Gogh

The sleepy trees, golden haystacks, and juicy fruits of In the Garden with Van Gogh will delight little ones.

 


Announcement: New Nature Study Resource

This brand new book (just released this morning!) is a compilation of Charlotte Mason’s writings on the topics of Nature Study, teaching natural philosophy, and the importance of children being out-of-doors. I read (and reread!) Mason’s six-volume set of educational books and gleaned her teachings specifically on the outdoors and children.

Now all of Charlotte Mason’s writings on Nature Study and the outdoors (from the six-volume set) are located in this one, easy-to-use volume.


Contents include:

  • Knowledge Through Senses
  • Out-of-Door Geography
  • Flowers and Trees
  • ‘Living Creatures’
  • Field-Lore and Naturalists’ Books
  • Walks in Bad Weather
  • Teaching Natural Philosophy
  • … and more!

From the book’s foreword:

“Nature Study is the backbone of introductory natural sciences in Charlotte Mason style homes and school, but Mason also felt it was beneficial for children to spend a great deal of time out-of-doors for their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. In spite of often rainy, inclement weather, Charlotte Mason insisted on going out once-a-week for an official Nature Walk, allowing the children to experience and observe the natural environment firsthand. These excursions were nature walks, not nature talks. In addition to the weekly Nature Walks, Mason also recommended children spend large quantities of time outside each day, no matter what the weather. Take a daily walk for fun and fresh air.

“From the time children were old enough to keep one, Mason had her students keep a personal Nature Notebook. Nature Notebooks are essentially artist sketchbooks containing pictures the children have personally drawn/painted of plants, wildlife or any other natural object found in its natural setting. These journals can also include nature-related poetry, prose, detailed descriptions, weather notes, Latin names, etc.

“I can’t stress enough how valuable I’ve found the Nature Notebook idea to be. We tried to remember to take our Nature Notebooks (I keep one too) with us whenever we’d go on any sort of outdoor adventure. Our family was never blessed with acres of property off in the country for our children to frolic to their hearts’ content. But a small city lot and many local parks offered us tremendous opportunities for outdoor learning activities. To make up for the lack of open natural space in our neighborhood, we went to various local parks at least two to three times per week. We didn’t go to the parks for the play equipment, but for the exposure to a more natural setting.

“I want to encourage those of you who don’t have your own fields and forests, there are other readily available opportunities for outdoor play and learning activities. Basically, go outside with your kids as often as you can. You’ll all be healthier and happier, and you may even learn a thing or two in the process.”

Deborah Taylor-Hough
Seattle 2015


517pDeJHtkLThe Outdoor Life of Children is Book Number Two from the new Charlotte Mason Topics series.  (To order, click the link below, or on the book cover image.)


Habits book cover imageBook Number One in the Charlotte Mason Topics series is a compilation of Mason’s teachings on the formation of habits.  (To order, click the link below, or on the book cover image.)


This Week on Facebook – March 8th, 2015


In case you missed any postings, here are some of the past week’s highlights from the Charlotte Mason Home Education Facebook page:


Exciting news. I was asked to be a Special Guest Speaker at the 2016 Washington Homeschool Organization’s convention next year. It looks like it will work with my schedule. YAY!


When my kiddos were young, we always found fun activities and simple lessons on the Crayola website. They actually have a section for educators that has a lot of homeschool-friendly ideas.

Here’s a selection of some of Crayola’s offerings on the topic of:


Price lowered on the Habits Kindle e-book. Was $2.99. Now $1.99

Habits paperback has been lowered, too.  Was $6.99. Now $6.49


Some easy ideas for springtime Nature Study from Woodland Trust Nature Detectives:

Yes, spring will come! The snows won’t last forever.


Just in case anyone’s interested, I’ve started publishing a monthly roundup on my personal blog about what I’m personally into each month. Books, music, blogging, etc. The topics covered will probably change from month to month. No recipes this month due to being too busy to cook anything new or special.


Questions Asked This Week:

Carol asks: “Anyone know of really good sources for keeping a commonplace book?”

Answer:  I checked this book out from the library recently and actually decided to buy a copy for myself.

Marie asks:  “I have a bright 7 year old boy with mild Aspergers. We read Mary Poppins, The Phantom Tollbooth, books like that, and he enjoys them. He reads *well* above grade level. He will complete grade 2 at the public school and then be homeschooled. Would you start him in year 1?”

Mary asks: “I am new to the idea of actually teaching Charlotte Mason, but have been researching it for a while. This is our first year homeschooling and it has been amazing! However, I started with the traditional way that I knew to teach and am now wanting to switch to CM style. We’ve been managing fine with the traditional style, but I want more out of homeschooling. My kids are almost 8 and 9. Would starting at year 1 for both of them be setting them back since they should be heading into “3rd” and “4th” grades next year?”

Answer to both Marie and Mary’s questions:


Note from Debi:

I feel Ambleside Online is a truly great curriculum, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the only way to apply Charlotte Mason’s methods and ideas in today’s world. Just wanted to throw that out there for thought since a bit of AO-related discussion has cropped up lately on the Facebook page. I personally don’t use AO and never have, so I have no opinions or thoughts on levels to start, etc.


Remember, you can follow the Facebook discussion and updates for yourself by following/liking:

Charlotte Mason Home Education Facebook page

If you participate regularly in the discussion on the page (even just by “liking” the posts), it will help to keep the status updates appearing in your FB news feed.


This Week on Facebook – February 22nd, 2015

In case you missed any postings, here are some of the past week’s highlights from the Charlotte Mason Home Education Facebook page:


Habits book cover imageOkay, I can’t wait any longer to let you all know that I just now republished Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success (I moved it from Lulu to CreateSpace) which means it’ll be available on Amazon now as both a paperback and a Kindle version.  Has  a new cover and a lower price, too.  It used to sell for $8.99 but now it’s only $6.99.  And I think it’s a better product, too.  Better book, lower price.  Win/win!

Currently it’s available directly from CreateSpace and also on Amazon.com as a paperback, but it should show up in the next few days in a Kindle version, as well.

I think the new volume turned out quite well.  So excited!


Homeschooling on a Limited Budget

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

As a long-time homeschooling mom, I lost track of the number of times I had newbie homeschooling moms crying on my shoulder about all the myriads of choices available for home education curriculum and supplies.

http://thesimplemom.com/2015/02/16/homeschooling-on-a-limited-budget/


I love what Charlotte Mason had to say about the idea of “ideas.”

Parents and Children coverThe Life of the Mind grows upon Ideas––Now that life, which we call education, receives only one kind of sustenance; it grows upon ideas. You may go through years of so-called ‘education’ without getting a single vital idea; and that is why many a well-fed body carries about a feeble, starved intelligence; and no society for the prevention of cruelty to children cries shame on the parents.

Read More ….


My latest blog post:

j0386357A Charlotte Mason-inspired education isn’t necessarily about any one particular curriculum …

Over the years, people have asked me numerous questions about Charlotte Mason-style home education and how to apply it in simple and inexpensive ways. I think Charlotte Mason’s ideas, philosophies, and methods can be much simpler to apply than many people realize.

Read More …

 

Charlotte Mason on “Ideas”


Excerpted from Charlotte Mason’s 6-Volume Series
Parents and Children (Vol. 2)
Chapter 4. Parents as Inspirers –  The Life of the Mind Grows Upon Ideas


Parents and Children coverThe Life of the Mind grows upon Ideas––Now that life, which we call education, receives only one kind of sustenance; it grows upon ideas. You may go through years of so-called ‘education’ without getting a single vital idea; and that is why many a well-fed body carries about a feeble, starved intelligence; and no society for the prevention of cruelty to children cries shame on the parents. Continue reading

Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success – republished!

Habits book cover imageOkay, I can’t wait any longer to let you all know that I just now republished Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success (I moved it from Lulu to CreateSpace) which means it’ll be available on Amazon now as both a paperback and a Kindle version.  Has  a new cover and a lower price, too.  It used to sell for $8.99 but now it’s only $6.99.  And I think it’s a better product, too.  Better book, lower price.  Win/win!

Currently it’s available directly from CreateSpace and also on Amazon.com as a paperback, but it should show up in the next few days in a Kindle version, as well.

I think the new volume turned out quite well.  So excited!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Author:  Charlotte M Mason
Foreword:  Deborah Taylor-Hough
Edition:  2

Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success is a selection of Charlotte Mason’s writings on the topic of Habit Formation in children. Mason’s teachings on the topic of education required six large volumes to cover. This book makes it simple for homeschooling parents to find exactly what they need to learn about Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on establishing good habits.

Publication Date: Feb 20 2015
ISBN/EAN13: 1508401659 / 9781508401650
Page Count: 80
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″
Language: English
Color: Black and White
Related Categories: Education / Home Schooling

A Charlotte Mason-inspired education isn’t necessarily a set curriculum


by Debi

j0386357Over the years, people have asked me numerous questions about Charlotte Mason-style home education and how to apply it in simple and inexpensive ways. I think Charlotte Mason’s ideas, philosophies, and methods can be much simpler to apply than many people realize.

In my personal opinion, a Charlotte Mason-inspired education isn’t about a set curriculum, or a particular reading list. If a parent or teacher can grasp Mason’s basic methods and ideas, they can make anything educational and worthwhile in their home or classroom. I’ve even heard somewhere that Charlotte Mason wanted her teachers to basically throw out their teaching syllabus each year and start from scratch in order to keep things fresh and to keep the students (and the teachers!) fully engaged.

This idea resonates deeply with me.

To me, personally, preset curriculum and hard and fast scope-and-sequence always felt too much like getting an education-in-a-box. I wanted to use real books that we could hold in our hand (not online books even if they were free). I wanted to have the freedom to follow my children’s interests as things came up, and to capitalize on the natural topics in our lives as the foundation of our learning experiences.

Especially in the younger years, I feel that Charlotte Mason seemed much more concerned with how a child learns rather than what they learn. Education was a matter of establishing relationships with a wide variety of materials and experiences.  Placing a large, varied, generous feast of education before them.

I don’t know why I’m sharing this right now, other than to stress that a Charlotte Mason education is more about developing a lifetime love of learning than about following a prescribed curriculum or scope-and-sequence of “what to learn when.”

I know it’s scary to step outside the education in a box paradigm, though. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to things I wish I’d done differently or those lessons learned the hard way throughout our homeschooling years. Maybe I should write those lessons down somewhere.  ;)

~Debi


UPDATE:  This can also be found in the comment section, but I know not everyone makes their way to the comments.


I personally feel that a Charlotte Mason-style education is much more about her ideas and methods and less about any particular scope-and-sequence chosen. While I often followed the various interests of my children in our 25 years of homeschooling, we did follow a “plan” (the “What Your Child Needs to Know” series for the elementary grades), but supplemented everything with living books, nature study, narration, copywork, short lessons, etc., etc.  But I don’t think the plan I followed is the end-all-be-all, either.  Just resonated with our family.

I personally believe that Charlotte Mason lived in a very specific time and place which contributed to her specific choices of curriculum and educational supplies. She was a cutting-edge personality at her time and I personally believe would’ve been more than willing to use new twaddle-free living resources in her schools if she lived today.

On a side note, I would’ve loved to see Charlotte Mason, John Holt, and John Taylor Gatto sit down together and discuss education. There would’ve been differences and similarities, but I think those three great educational minds would’ve enjoyed the ways their methods and ideas intersect, as well.

I’m actually in the process of changing things on my website to have it reflect more of a Charlotte Mason-“style” of homeschooling rather than labeling it as specifically Charlotte Mason. The updates to the site are beginning with the “Twaddle-Free Education” subtitle. My homeschooling adventures have been Charlotte Mason “inspired” for more than a quarter of a century, but these ideas weren’t applied in my home in what could maybe be considered a “legalistic” framework. A friend of mine often says, “Some people are just CM-ier than thou.” I hope I’m not.

Personally, I always tell people that they can do what they want in their homeschool, use whatever combination of methods, ideas and resources work for them. The “Charlotte Mason Police” won’t be coming to their door to check their curriculum choices.

I’m a firm believer that homeschoolers are a wonderful and independent-minded group of people, and I want to spend my time encouraging homeschoolers to find simple and enjoyable Charlotte Mason-inspired ways to educate their kiddos. Your mileage may vary. To each his own.

Also, to avoid confusion in the future, I will make more of an effort to distinguish my personal opinions and interpretations on this website from those of Ambleside Online, Ambleside Schools International, the PNEU, PUS, Simply Charlotte Mason, Living Books Curriculum, Charlotte Mason Help, Sonlight, Mater Mabilis, My Father’s World, or whoever else is out there with Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum options.

I just don’t personally feel the curriculum choice is as important as the methods used to communicate the resources, books, etc., parents choose to use with their families.  There are lots of great options available that can be tailored to Charlotte Mason-style methods.

Charlotte Mason’s Educational Manifesto


An Educational Manifesto
by Charlotte Mason
Excerpted from School Education


“Studies serve for Delight, for Ornament, and for Ability.”

Every child has a right of entry to several fields of knowledge.

Every normal child has an appetite for such knowledge.

This appetite or desire for knowledge is a sufficient stimulus for all school work, if the knowledge be fitly given.

There are four means of destroying the desire for knowledge:— Continue reading

A Brief History of the Modern American Homeschooling Movement


A Brief History of the Modern American Homeschooling Movement

by Deborah Taylor-Hough


The history of modern homeschooling has its roots in the counterculture Liberal Left, but within twenty years, the movement was fully adopted by the equally counterculture Conservative Right. The ideologies and methodologies surrounding these two diverse and oftentimes polarized groups created an interesting mix of people and cultures within the homeschooling world. Continue reading

Books about the Oregon Trail and Pioneers

These books about the Oregon Trail and early pioneers were recommended by someone I know who particularly enjoyed studying this time period with her children.  Although she wasn’t specifically homeschooling according to Charlotte Mason’s principles, she did have a high regard for the literary value of good books.

I can’t personally vouch for these specific titles, but if I were starting a study now on the Oregon Trail, I would definitely begin here for ideas.  Also keep in mind you don’t have to read ALL of these books.  Pick a couple that interest you or your kiddos.  My friend who recommends these titles spent a complete school year on nothing else but the Oregon Trail.  They made an entire year’s worth of interdisciplinary studies around this one topic.  Your mileage may vary.  :)

~Debi Continue reading