Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sea Kettle School: Pre-School, Levi (Age 3)

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.
-Charlotte Mason

This year we are doing some light preschool activities at home, mostly Charlotte Mason inspired (nature study! living books! narration!).  Levi is just 3 and his main "job" is play, but we are trying to be somewhat intentional about our days; the books we read and the toys and games we play, the habits we are forming. Our aim is to provide him early on with "a feast" of the great ideas, literature, art and music and to foster an insatiable curiosity and love of learning. We don't do every subject every day, and our schedule varies, but here are some of the intentional educational activities we are engaged in these days. 

Most mornings, we wake up and sit at the breakfast table together. Levi enjoys listening to his audio Bible stories, one is The Beginner's Bible and one is a The Bible in Living Sound. He will often pause the tape or cd and ask me or Brian questions about the stories or ask big questions (which I often stumble through answering!). Some mornings I will play hymns (I have a bunch of Spotify playlists) or his Bible memory cds (Steve Green's "Hide Em In Your Heart"). We pray together, I usually start and he will finish with some things he is thankful for. We are excited to start reading through "Little Visits with God" as soon as it comes in the mail. :)
We are working through a list of books for pre-schoolers inspired by Charlotte Mason's philosophy from Ambleside Online (year 0). We own many of these already, but take a weekly trip to the library to borrow others. Some of our current favorites include Mother Goose, A Child's Garden of Verses, The World Treasury of Children's Literature and any book by Beatrix Potter, Barbara Cooney or Robert McCloskey. I will often ask Levi to tell us what happened in the story or draw something that happened in the story- our little beginnings of narrationLevi and Brian read together before bed at night and are reading their first chapter books together. 
For Math we talk about numbers throughout the day as we do our daily tasks. We count, add and subtract as we cook, walk, work, read and play. 
For Science, we work on nature study at least once a week, depending on the week/season. Every Friday we are scheduled to meet with another homeschooling family to go on a nature walk and draw/make observations in our nature journals.  Levi usually does some leaf/bark rubbings and a drawing or two. I write down what he notices about the objects he finds. We also collect things to put on our seasonal nature table. Our current collection includes shells, rocks, pinecones, colored leaves, seed pods and wildflowers.  My parents got Levi a subscription to National Geographic for Kids, so we also read through our monthly issue of that. 
We listen to it, sing it, play it, dance to it.  I play music all day in the background; classical, folk, jazz, rock..whatever! Papa also starts random jam sessions throughout the week and there are a plethora of instruments around the house to play. Levi loves the songs collected by our friend on her amazing treasure-of-a-website, The Little Songster .  These folk songs are so much fun to sing, and Levi's favorites are the "tickle" ones. We also go to a weekly music/story time at our local museum.

Levi has a box of art supplies that he uses for his art projects. Drawing, Painting, Play-doh, lacing cards etc. We spend a lot of time at the Peabody Essex Museum, especially enjoying their excellent special exhibits, maker lounge and expansive children's area. Levi also has free reign over Mrs. James' art bookshelf. :)

We are taking Levi's education a year at a time, but for the time being, home education seems to be a nice and natural fit.


  1. Ever since I heard that you were going to have a baby, I imagined what a beautiful homeschool you would have with him, and now I finally get to see it and it is just as beautiful as I imagined. I am so excited to see that you are following a Charlotte Mason style of teaching as you know it is my favorite style as well.

    1. Oh Phyllis, your comment put such a big smile on my face. That means so much to me, coming from such a seasoned mother and homeschooler! If you ever have any tips or suggestions, send them my way! It's a daunting task! :) Blessings,

  2. Hooray! So glad that you made this post. As usual I'm impressed by the thoughtful, artistic, and holistic way that you and Brian approach parenting and life with Levi (and Magnolia too I'm sure).

    I haven't read much about Charlotte Mason, though AGH, your song curator, mentioned in to me in the past. (I didn't realize you two knew each other!) I generally read and think more about Montessori, though Waldorf, Reggio etc impress me as well.

    I like the idea of a nature journal, and had thought to wait till E was older to do one, but perhaps now is the time! Homeskills, such as cooking and chores are things I try and incorporate into E's days, but nature, music, math talk (in the form of numbers, puzzles, matching) are also big. L seems more interested in longer stories, but E perhaps more fact oriented (particularly about trains and trucks, two huge obsessions still of his).

    I'm sure we will run into you at the PEM another day and can talk more :)

    1. Hi Beth! Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. :) I would definitely look into Charlotte Mason, I would adopt her principles in my parenting/educating even if Levi ends up going to school at some point. Honestly, Levi doesn't spend a ton of time in his nature journal at his age, but he will look at a leaf that we collect and "draw" it, and then I ask him to tell me what he observes about it. He also loves to do leaf rubbings in his journal, which is great for that age. I hope you start one with Ethan! We also collect things and put them on a small nature table in our house. Love to talk more!