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In this post you will here from our friend Cassandra with The Unplugged Family talk about the joys of Homeschooling with Charlotte Mason principles and ideals. These principles underline everything we do here at WinterPromise! So sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy! 🙂

We’re walking through the woods on a damp Spring day.  The Robins are back, singing us an April song of return.  The vernal pool by the edge of the familiar path is back again and our children race to greet the swampy waters with a warm welcome.

“They’ll be toads soon, Mama,” my eight-year-old daughter informs me.  She’s beaming.

And she knows this as fact because we’ve studied and enjoyed the tiny toads here for as long as she can remember.

Our youngest son is sloshing through streams and puddles, curious of every new and living thing.  Our eldest is gazing up at the birds overhead, commenting on the roar of the fast flowing river that was frozen solid a few weeks ago. This is an afternoon of study in our family.  And it is the glory and enjoyment of this kind of learning that drew me quickly and easily to Charlotte Mason’s philosophies.

I remember the first time I heard about Charlotte Mason.  It was at a local Charlotte Mason homeschool meeting.  I attended very reluctantly, nearly overcome with nervousness.  These mothers all seemed so intelligent, so purposeful, so full of experience and wisdom.

I poured myself a Herbal Tea and sank down into a couch, hoping no one would force me to speak.  I didn’t even know who (or what!) Charlotte Mason was.  But I had been invited by a trusted friend and I felt driven to go.  Boy, am I glad I did. That first meeting proved to be a defining moment in not only my homeschooling journey, but my life.

I was completely enthralled by the philosophies and methods of this new found friend, Charlotte Mason.  I plunged into reading books, blogs, articles, everything I could get my hands on to understand who Ms. Mason was and why her educational ideals were so revered.

As a new homeschooler (this was five years ago now), I was surprised to learn so many of the things we were already doing in our home actually followed many of Charlotte Mason’s mehods!  We were already reading countless high-quality living books, and we were already enjoying daily walks in nature with a focus on finding beauty in God’s creation. We already did narration naturally and I loved spending time in God’s word and singing and playing with our children.

To be honest, I always felt guilty about spending so many hours ‘simply reading’ and playing out of doors with the children!  I thought there should be more focused ‘learning’ time.  As a new homeschooler and a young Mom, I didn’t see the truth – that reading and spending time in nature with my young children was the perfect way for them to learn and grow!  When I learned of Charlotte Mason’s philosophies towards living books and nature study, I could have jumped for joy! What a wonderful feeling to be validated in what I knew my heart was telling me about what children need!

Although all of Mason’s ideals have made their way into the various nooks and crannies of our homeschool, it is this idea of Nature Study  that has maybe had one of the most profound impacts.  Nurturing a love of nature has made our home life so rich, so beautiful, so joyous.  Our children not only have a deep understanding of a wide variety of topics related to God’s natural world, they have a passion for nature.  They find joy in the simple things and notice details and the beauty of creation.

From eagerly and attentively watching and identifying birds at our backyard feeders, to stopping to notice newly blooming flowers and trees – they eagerly and independantly embrace Nature Study all the time!  I never dreamed I was fostering this love when we were tromping through streams five years ago, but I can see now the result of so many hours spent outside.  And I don’t regret a moment of it.

I love how genuinely interesting, awe-inspiring, and soul-nurturing so many of Charlotte Mason’s methods are.  I love her encouragement of many hours out of doors for children and Moms alike.  I can see the wisdom in her advice and I am living proof that Nature Study brings life to the home and stirs our souls to live with gratitude, reveling in the beauty of God’s beautiful world.

This Spring we are eagerly anticipating plunging in, getting dirty and enlightened through our study of swamp habitats with Swamp Creatures from Spirited Autumn Hope.

If you want to see what a full year of nature and animal study would look like for your family Click Here! WinterPromise can offer you a wonderful program to enjoy with K-4th Grade students!

We want to send out a big thank you to Cassandra for writing this article! 🙂 Remember to check out her blog called The Unplugged Family for more great articles!