Monday, August 19, 2013

Considering Charlotte Mason

Last year, when Natalie was 3, I worked with her fairly regularly, especially during the beginning of the year. We spent most of our time on the alphabet and threw in a few math activities every week. She ate it up. She loved (almost) every minute of it. But then, it came pretty easy to her. 

After some reflection, though, I've decided that I kind of want to scrap that approach with Daniel this year. He doesn't learn in the same way as Natalie. He's much more rambunctious, he loves playing with sticks and bugs, and he has a hard time sitting still for very long. Having done some research, I'm coming to really like the ideas behind the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. 

I love that nature study is such a huge component of this method. Just get those kids outside and let them observe!

This year, I really want to build nature study into our everyday routine. There are so many things to discover, and kids have such a strong desire to explore. Take them outside, to some place new, and they're off and running.

Today, in an effort to start building nature study into our day, we went to Ft. Caroline. 

It's this smallish French Fort on the St. John's River, the river that our city was built on.

We found Spanish moss:


Holes in trees:

Cargo ships (okay, not really nature, but still cool):

And of course, the fort:

We spent time just outside the fort resting in the shade.

The kids didn't rest for very long before they were off again.

After the fort, we went inside the visitor center to cool off. There were a lot of neat things to look at inside, too! If we didn't have Silas, who was running low on patience at that point, we could have stayed for awhile longer looking at the exhibits. But Silas was starting to cry, so we left.

Not a bad start to the year! I'm taking some time this week to come up with a rough outline of our homeschool year and will be posting some of those plans on Wednesday. I think I am finally getting excited about the school year starting back up. It's been difficult to get back into the swing of things, but I think the reality of Natalie starting preschool next Monday has given me the kick in the pants that I needed.

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  1. What a lovely space for them to explore - they certainly look like they made the most of it!

    1. It is such a pretty place, and it just feels like home to me...all the oaks and palms and moss everywhere. And the river, of course. And it's just tucked away enough that it makes for a real adventure for the kids :) thanks for reading!

  2. I moved from Jacksonville out to Colorado a few years ago, and your post made me miss "home" - even though I grew up in South Florida! What a beautiful way to spend a day with your kiddos. I love Fort Caroline too =)

    1. Sometimes I think it would be nice to move some place new, and I'd LOVE to visit Colorado...but I think I would miss FL, too :) my husband is from south FL, so we've spent quite a bit of time down there, too. I really do think it's pretty all over.


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