Here I Grow Again

Here I Go Grow Again

"I think the strategy I feel led to take right now is to really try out the use of plans from someone else and adjust as needed."

Well, that didn't last.  What is it they say about not trusting feelings?  Ha.  (And I kid you not, I thought the same thing when I typed that sentence out.)

Considering the fact that I never landed on a set curriculum for my oldest during the past twelve years of homeschooling, I'm not sure why I thought I should even try again.  (Decision fatigue, stress of life----the past years have been hard, but 2019 has held it's own special brand of hard----I mean I know why I thought I *should* try.  But really, self? I say.....I'm sure I'll laugh about it somewhere in my future.)

What can I say? 

The release of lesson plans from the Alveary was a big disappointment.  The actual plans themselves are well done.   They are visually beautiful.  The books are fit properly to the subjects.  The readings are carefully chosen and paced.  They have plugged in links to helpful pictures, maps, and such.  I know a lot of work (and then some!!) has gone into them.

But the release itself.  Huge disappointment.  So many delays.  So little communication.  Unless they get much more organized and better at communication, here's my short review to anyone thinking about using the Alveary after the start of two different years as a member:  don't plan to be able to implement anything they put out within at least two weeks of any date they give you.   If you do, you'll likely be set up for a lot of frustration. (Hopefully they will get better!)

So about somewhere mid week last week---I finally agreed with myself as to what I already knew.  I would not actually be using most, if any, of the plans.  (Art looks amazing!  The videos I've watched are so helpful!  And I'm not quite finished looking through the other subject I was most looking forward to seeing----geography.  Ironically, those were the very last plans released later in the week, and by then I knew I would be moving on/back to hashing out my own course of study.  Finally.  I guess I'm a slow learner at this.  Which is also ironic as I never once hesitated to pick and choose among ideas and resources and create from scratch when I taught children in a classroom setting.  I still miss some of the ladies I worked closely with over the years and the brainstorming, planning and sharing we were able to do.  I'm definitely going to try to watch every single art, sloyd, and dance video and enjoy what I can learn from the Alveary in general vs. utilizing plans specifically though.)

Instead of just deleting my last post, I thought I'd write this one.  Maybe someone out there needs to know they aren't the only one who goes around and around wanting a laid out CM plan to be THE ONE to use, to then repeatedly find there just isn't one (even with minor tweaks here and there).  (And yeah, that one person might just be one of my own daughters one day if no one else.  My oldest will remember my days of ramblings about this subject, my youngest one won't---hopefully.  Hopefully I don't keep that up for another 12 years.  Ha.)  Not that there aren't many wonderful choices.  But for some reason, the choices just are not for me, or for whoever needs to hear it.  I mean, what can one do?  Pull up your bootstraps....tie and knot at the end of your rope and hang on.  Do what you know to do. (Whatever it is----CM or not.)

When trying to understand the Charlotte Mason philosophy  what needs to be done?  Go to the source.  Always, go to the source.  Charlotte Mason herself.  There is a lot (a LOT) of information, opinion, and "noise" in the CM homeschool community now that did not exist ten years ago.  Listen to much of it too long and it will bog you down.  Podcasts, blog posts, webinars, articles, even the PNEU programmes (dare I say it)----they can be learning tools, but they can also become burdensome.  Reading Charlotte Mason's volumes has never been burdensome (for me).  Inspiring.  Invigorating.  Vocabulary expanding.  Yes. 

(After CM herself, I'd really recommend listening to Sonya Shaffer from Simply Charlotte Mason.  And the Ambleside Online founders or Brandy Vencel, who utilizes AO. Always full of grace.  And humble wisdom.)


So before I could even try to dig into my own planning---to clear the noise in my own head, I decided I needed to go back to the 20 Principles and read them again.  Write down what I needed to listen to directly from CM---what I need to focus on instead of anything else. 



Children are born persons.

Education is the science of relations.

Two guides to moral and intellectual self-management are the way of the will and the way of reason.  Teach children not to lean too confidently on their own understanding.  Whether it be right or wrong, reason will confirm whatever is willed.

The chief responsibility which rests on children (and us all) as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas.

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.

The mind feeds on ideas and the child must be given a generous curriculum with knowledge that is varied, vital, and fitted to him. (emphasis added)

Allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and spiritual life of children.  Teach them the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties, and joys of life.



Decisions, Decisions

(This turned in to a long, rambly post which I decided to leave as is.  That way if I come back and say hey---I scratched that.  Or wow!  We made it!  I'll have this for reference of a starting point either way.  :-) )



I'm making headway in planning for our new school year which begins in July, 2019.  I'm so excited to be at peace with a decision for the year for my youngest----at least for the start of it.  (I'm hoping there is no need for a disclaimer and no need to come back later and say I couldn't hang in there with the original choices; but there's always a chance of it with me.) 

There are so many great complete curriculum choices out there for families following the Charlotte Mason method that it can be hard to pin down a decision.  Especially for someone who wants to read all the books. Or who loves planning from scratch.  Or who has never been able to follow the plans as written by anyone else for long in the past 12 years of homeschooling----thank you for your hard work though you wonderful CM curriculum (and other curriculum) developers!

I even began working out my own history rotation along with other curriculum areas and posting them on this site.  But.  Life happened.   A. LOT.   It has a funny way of doing that, doesn't it? 

We spent over four months this year living at my mom's while our house was undergoing a lot of work.   We are still dealing with chronic health issues of our own along with some of those we love dearly facing health issues.  So needless to say, the brain space has not been there for planning nor the physical time to do it.    Even when I tried---I spent much of the time lamenting to myself how much I wanted to try Ambleside Online again because I LOVE the ladies who developed it and those who have come alongside over the years to lead and help others.  LOVE THEM.  (As much as one can from afar and from listening to their talks, reading their books and blog posts, following them on Instagram. Which is a great deal even though I may never meet one of them face to face.)  But I have remained unsettled with AO as a best fit for us due to the history book selections mostly and other choices to a lesser degree.  I tried subbing out books with my oldest and still using parts of the program, but it always felt disjointed and never quite right.

And then there was Wildwood and A Mind in the Light to consider.  Both awesome looking with great ladies working on them!   I will no doubt add in books from both of these along with Ambleside Online to free reading choices and bedtime reading.  A Gentle Feast got quite a bit of time and consideration from me as well----another solid choice.  (And there are more out there!  These were the ones I kept circling back around to though.)

But the Alveary.  The Alveary has been in the back of my mind for my youngest since I learned of it a few years ago.   The idea of a cohesively planned 1-12 course of study that was closer to my own ideas about history sequence and book selections caught my attention straight away.  Decision fatigue is real. And it's hard.  And although part of me really enjoys planning out all the details of a year and doing my own thing, another part of me just wants to relax into the plans of someone else.  To free up the time and space all the planning takes and to put that energy into being fully in the present as much as I can vs. always thinking ahead, always searching, always planning.  Because boy does the time go sooooooo fast! (Too fast!)

My oldest has reflected on her schooling as she's listened to me talk a bit as I've wrestled with decisions for my youngest. (They are over eleven years apart.)  She thinks it has been great that for the most part we've done our own thing and that I planned her education based on her needs and interests and gave her choices when appropriate (there has been a lot of choice given to her in high school.  As a funny aside:  she read some books other curricula use in first grade or other early years as a teen and as said---thank you for not reading that to me when I was little.  Ha ha.  She has always been a very sensitive soul.)  So there has been that voice in the back of my head saying I could do it again.   That maybe I should do it again.  But I don't know.  I think the strategy I feel led to take right now is to really try out the use of plans from someone else and adjust as needed. 

I was an Alveary member for the 2017-18 school year, though it was not the best fit for my oldest as it turned out so I did not really implement much of the actual curriculum.  However, I enjoyed the teacher resources and training webinars a lot.  Even though I have studied Charlotte Mason for years, I continue to find so much to learn.  (I think it shall always be that way because her ideas are living and lasting.)  Because  I could not commit to the high school pilot for the current school year and my youngest wasn't old enough for Form 1b (1st grade) I did not renew my membership.  

Also because I'm wired to start planning with the end in mind I almost discounted the Alveary entirely when I realized the little one would end up having a high school history sequence that didn't start at the beginning of the rotation or finish at the end.  (Yes, the rational side of me knows that x, y, z can happen between now and then and things could change in major ways, but it's still how I think best.  I like a long term vision that I can adjust as we go along rather than a vision that is constantly under development.) Because she is my only one going through the majority of her school years and I don't have to consider combining children, this bothered me.  I like the sequence the oldest has had in high school.  And I like the idea of ending high school studying current times.  But then LIFE again.  So shortly after the Alveary opened registration for the 2019-2020 school year, in a moment of "hey maybe I can make this work"---I purchased a membership. (Then immediately felt ridiculous because I have shelves and shelves full of books that I could use already....but that's another ramble for another day as this is already getting long.)

Months later though I still felt so unsettled.  I kept weighing the decision of what to do, what to use, following my own path, combining others, or picking one to try to follow.  Usually by March or April I have the next school year's resources completely decided but this year has been so very different.  We moved back home in May and I felt like we should still be back in January somewhere.   Like time stood still at home even though it moved at a pace like no other time before otherwise. So when I finally sat down to work in earnest on planning next year, I just couldn't.  There was exhaustion and tears and frustration.  And I opened up the Alveary membership site and started reading anew and said to myself----just commit to the first term and see how it goes.  You  know what?   My whole self finally said YES, I can do that.  Not just my head or my heart---but both.  Thank you, Lord. (Sincerely---not saying that lightly.) 

That yes, that peace---has even turned into excitement.   I watched the webinar on the Alveary's art program for the upcoming year and it was a big YES!!!  I LOVE art.  This was a breath of fresh air to my weary soul.  And then I started reading the Member Tutorial in earnest.  Not just skimming it.  More excitement.  There is so much I can do better and understand more this second time around.  After years of thinking there would be no second time around and the weight of one shot at doing this homeschooling thing well, along came our little one.  (Another sincere thanks to the Lord for His indescribable gift of both of our children.)  And I GET to do it again!  

So the Alveary is where I've landed with this big decision.  I know that I will add some to it and the schedule I've started working out includes my own additions (and possible deletions....I have to wait to see the plans to decide how many time slots I'll give to certain subjects, especially since I'd like to do most of our work in four days vs. five if possible.) I hope to have many happy updates to share!

I'll write a post about plans for the oldest sooner than not I hope.  I'm a terrible blogger in these recent years---but it is a goal of mine to try to write more again.  I've never been a great blogger, but we have an awesome blog book from my oldest's elementary years and I really want to have that same sort of record for my  youngest.

Until next time....


Image by yabayee from Pixabay

Isn't that bee cute?  I used it to make a curriculum notebook cover for this year.  Feel free to DOWNLOAD the cover and use it too if you'd like (PDF file).

Kindergarten Plans


I have gone back and forth between wanting to wait to see what we actually accomplish this year to share our kindergarten plans, and to wanting to share as we are working through them.  I first began this post just after we had started our  year, and now it's been about four months (with breaks interspersed) since the beginning.  I thought it would be fun to go ahead and share as I check in with myself, so to speak-----and also comment on what we've done and what might change.

Our youngest was definitely ready for more than completely learning "by the way" (as things just came up), and I wanted to use a framework for her year that would introduce her to subjects and methods we will continue to use throughout her schooling.  Even though Charlotte Mason did not (seemingly?) begin formal lessons for children under 6, I think she implies (or outright says) that we can follow the lead of our children in various areas----she definitely outlines how to start reading lessons for the child who is ready before 6. 



From "A Liberal Education for All" found here: (I just read this a week or so ago!)

Although this was published after the death of Charlotte Mason, it seems the PNEU at least eventually did support the start of work with children under six.  I'm not sure what this means about what Charlotte Mason herself would say, but I think this may have been an outgrowth of taking the child's lead as it says they "might do a good deal of work in Form 1B".  Because this document is seemingly a handbook for the PNEU, I also wonder if it would have been stated this way in years prior to Charlotte Mason's death.  One day, maybe I shall find out!  Of course,  I about fell out of my chair when I read this.  Truly, I was shocked.    However, as more and more things are put online for all of us to access, we do see more into the workings of the PNEU---which we are free to take or leave, and apply as we will to our home school.  I'm very curious to know how this developed, however, and will be keeping my eyes out for it.

Of course, in some states now, kindergarten is required; and those homeschooling parents have fewer choices about when they begin a certain course of study.  Interestingly, of all the PNEU programmes I have been able to review so far, a 1B year is "lighter" than I had previously realized.  (Thanks to Wildwood for the discussion on this and their Form 1 work!  I may have first seen "A Liberal Education for All" mentioned in their Facebook group or elsewhere by one of their creators too.  I wish I had more time to read much more of the original PNEU documents....)  It makes sense that some five year olds would be ready to join in without narrations being required (or at least not much----again, what was I reading?!?!?) and with a book or two altered.  I'm hoping to put together a post of a "typical" 1B program of study.  For now, let me say---my example is NOT it.  Our year has been based on interests of my daughter as well as the introduction of certain subjects we will continue to study.

So without further ado.....what I'd planned, what we've accomplished or are currently working on, and where we'll head/revisions. (It's long---many picture books, and I've listed them out... I've inserted some pictures from Instagram to break it up a bit.)


Sunshine and CM's Kindergarten Course of Study



  • Picture Study (Bierstadt, Cassatt, Matisse, Audubon, B. West) - We've been working on Bierstadt, and the others may change as I'm trying to decide our future studies.
  • Drawing (selected lessons from Art Projects for Kids and drawing books) We have been working on drawing, but it's not been planned out.  Just as we'd like or as she does on her own.
  • Art Lessons or Free Art Exploration Time utilizing the following resources:
    • Primary Art: It’s the Process, Not the Product by Mary Ann Kohl
    • Deep Space Sparkle website
    • Art Projects for Kids website
    • That Artist Woman website


Christian Studies

  • Bible Reading
    • Selections from Egermeier’s Bible Story Book
  • Devotional/Faith Based Reading
    • Catechism: A Catechism for Boys and Girls (Carey Publications)
    • Big Thoughts for Little People: ABCs to Help You Grow by K. Taylor (finished)
    • Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers: The Scripture by J. Allen (finished)
    • A Picture of God: 3 in 1 by J. Marxhausen
    • Children in the Bible by A. Zobel-Nolan
    • God’s Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis of Assisi by S. Jewett
    • First Steps: 75 Devotions for Families with Young Children by P. Loth, Jr.



  • The Children’s Book of Virtues by William Bennett (Selections)- We've finished this one.  I left out a few selections.  She did not want it to be over!
  • The Children’s Book of Home and Family by William Bennett (Selections)


Geography-Read Around the World


  • Introduction to Maps

            *As the Crow Flies:  A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman

            *Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney

  • For Use Throughout the Year

            *Little Kids First Big Book of the World by Elizabeth Carney

            *Peoples of the World (Usborne)

  • North America- We've finished reading each of these.

            *Welcome to North America! by April Sayre

            *The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose  (Tribes of North America)

            *Arctic Son by Jean Craighead George (Alaska)

            *Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis (Mexico)

            *Erandi’s Braids by Antonio Madrigal (Mexico)

            *The Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews (Canada)

            *How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA by Marjorie Priceman (USA)

            *Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (USA)

            *Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (USA)

  • South America- We've finished reading these.

            *South America, Surprise!  by April Sayre

            *Biblioburro:  A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter (Columbia)

            *My Name is Gabriela:  The Life of Gabriela Mistral by Monica Brown (Columbia)

            *The Great Kapok Tree:  A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

            *Rain Forest Secrets by Arthur Dorros

            *Welcome to the Green House by Jane Yolen

  • Europe- We're working on reading these now! We've read the highlighted ones so far.  :-)

            *Hello Europe! by April Sayre

            *The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Spain)

            *Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney (England)

            *Mirette on the High Wire by Emily McCully (France)

            *Starring Mirette and Bellini by Emily McCully

            *Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (France)

            *Strega Nona:  Her Story as Told to Tomie dePaola by Tomie dePaola (Italy)

            *The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by A. and M. Provensen

           *The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz

  • Asia

*Greetings, Asia! By April Sayre

*The Empty Pot by Demi (China)

*Once a Mouse… by Marcia Brown (India)

*Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho (Thailand)

*Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel (China)

*Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park (Korea)

*How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman (Japan)

*A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsumo (Japan)

  • Africa

            *Good Morning, Africa! by April Sayre

            *A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu

            *The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Heide and Judith Gilliland (Egypt)

            *Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema (Kenya)

            *Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier (Uganda)

            *Galimoto by Karen Williams (Malawi)

            *Emmanuel’s Dream:  The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie
                       Thompson (Ghana)

  • Australia

            *G’Day, Australia! by April Sayre

            *Colors of Australia by Lynn Olawsky

            *Over in Australia:  Amazing Animals Down Under by Marianne Berkes

  • Antarctica

*Hooray for Antarctica! By April Sayre


History:  Before the year started, I thought I'd like to read a picture book biography every week or so.  But so far, we've only read a few of these and I'm not sure how many we will finish by year's end vs. saving them for another year.   These are great books though, so I'm leaving them up in case anyone is looking for good picture book biographies/historical stories.

  • Picture book biographies/true stories
    • A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin by D. Adler
    • A Picture Book of George Washington by D. Adler
    • The Boy Who Loved to Draw: Benjamin West by B. Brenner
    • A Picture Book of Thomas Jefferson by D. Adler
    • The Story of Johnny Appleseed by Aliki (John Chapman)
    • Ordinary Extraordinary Jane Austen by D. Hopkinson
    • The Boy Who Drew Wild Birds: A Story of John J. Audubon by J. Davies
    • Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by C. Bardoe
    • Emily and Carlo by M. Figley (Emily Dickinson)
    • Emily by M. Bedard (Emily Dickinson)
    • Suzette and the Puppy: A Story About Mary Cassatt by J. Sweeney
    • A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison by D. Adler
    • Lily: The Girl Who Could See S Oxley and T. Ladwig (Lilias Trotter)
    • Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story by S. Slade
    • The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever (Kate Sessions) by H. J. Hopkins
    • The House That Jane Built: A Story about Jane Addams by T. Stone
    • George Washington Carver by L. Bowdish
    • Snowflake Bentley by J. Martin (Wilson Bentley)
    • The True Story of Peter Rabbit: How a Letter from Beatrix Potter Became a Children’s Classic by J. Johnson
    • Matisse: The King of Color by L. Anholt
    • Papa is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost by N. Bober
    • Young Helen Keller: Woman of Courage by A. Benjamin
    • Young Amelia Earhart: A Dream to Fly by S. Alcott
    • Duke Ellington by A. Pinkney
    • Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by J. Marzollo
    • You Should Meet Mae Jemison by L. Calkhoven
    • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by L. Mattick
    • The Story of Ruby Bridges by R. Coles


Language Arts

  • Copywork
    • Letter, number, word formation on lined paper
  • Beginning Reading....well, my daughter started reading completely on her own.  Like reading just about anything elementary level or so.  We've not done formal reading lessons, and although I fret about her missing something for not having done them, I keep saying----she's *reading* so stop the fretting.  So we haven't exactly used the books I thought we might as she hasn't been as interested in them.  In all my years of teaching the young children of others (10+) and even with my oldest, I've never experienced this kind of progression first hand.  Just mentioning it by way of explaining why we aren't using any beginning reading things (I even purchased The Good and the Beautiful K at some point though it's not listed here as I had put it aside)---certainly, not typical at all.  It's been a bit surreal---in a good way!  :-)
    • Free and Treadwell Primer, First Reader
    • Other beginning readers/series
  • Literature
    • The Complete Brambly Hedge by J. Barklem
    • Dooryard Stories by C. Pierson (night time reading)
    • Beatrix Potter Collection of Stories by B. Potter (in progress)
    • Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (finished)
    • The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (in progress)
    • Seasonal picture books and additional picture books and/or short chapter books
  • Poetry
    • Lavender’s Blue: A Book of Nursery Rhymes by K. Lines (selections)- In progress.  We will likely stick with this and poetry collections vs. starting any of a certain poet.
    • A Child’s Own Book of Verse Book One (selections)
    • Selections from Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson
    • Climb Into My Lap: First Poems to Read Together selections by L. Hopkins
  • Recitation
    • Pledge of Allegiance (Memorized)
    • Short Bible Passages (ongoing)
    • Prayers from Classic Treasury Collections
    • Poems (ongoing:  We started using IEW's Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.  She's memorized the first few, but we keep this very light and not regularly scheduled.  Note:  recitation does not have to be memorized.  There seem to be two types in Mason's volumes.  And when she's older, I'll likely turn over some of the choice of recitation selections to her. )



  • RightStart LevelA  We've used some of RS Level A.....I tried it with my oldest some 10+ years ago....I was a drop out then, and I'm probably a drop out now.....I put it aside and have been thinking about looking at it again sometime soon.  Meanwhile, we've been using some Math Mammoth 1 and some Horizons K (which I already had).
  • Math Application (Every day activities: games, puzzles, cooking, play dough, slime, etc.)


Modern Foreign Language (Spanish)

  • Songs in Spanish: Use Boca Beth, De Colores
  • 1000 Words in Spanish
  • Picture Books in Spanish: La Oruga Muy Hambrienta, Biscuit books (need to purchase 1-2), Mi Amor Por Ti
  • Videos on Amazon Streaming, Boca Beth
  • Listen in on ULAT lessons if desired
  • SALSA Spanish online stories

I'm just going to do a general update on Spanish, because we are using a variety of the things listed above, but they are not our focus.  Our focus has ended up being some things I found after I made up these plans:

WhistleFritz DVD and CDs

Calico Spanish

Reading A to Z Spanish books

We LOVE WhistleFritz and Calico Spanish.  We've used some Reading A to Z books, but I mostly got those for a bit further down the line and am still working on printing them out.   I was able to purchase the WhistleFritz program and the Reading A to Z subscription at a discount through Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op.  We've not used the lesson book from WhistleFritz at all yet....some of she already knows and Calico Spanish has been our "main" lesson source.  If you're not familiar with it....instead of me writing it all out---just hop on over to their site and look around.  Watch free videos on YouTube.  Sign up for their free trial---you'll get access to everything they offer!  And if you decide to subscribe, email them for a discount for homeschoolers.   





  • Music Appreciation- We've started using some of these resources, but it's been by the way.  I really do want to be more intentional with this!
    • SQUILT: Meet the Instruments (collection of selections for listening based on instrument families and accompanying instrument cards)
    • M is for Melody: A Musical Alphabet by K. Wargin
    • Meet the Orchestra by A. Hayes
    • The Story of the Orchestra by R. Levine
  • Songs- We are using these resouces....but I fizzled out after the first two songs in each category.  Need to get back on it!  :-)
    • Children’s/Folk Songs
      • Selections from Raffi Singable Songs for the Very Young and Raffi on Broadway
    • Bible/Faith Songs
      • Selections from Hide ‘Em in Your Heart Volume 2
    • Patriotic/Americana Songs
      • Selections from Wee Sing America


  • Nature Lore
    • Seed Babies- (started)
    • Outdoor Visits by E. Patch (selections) ** I may save this for next year....not sure.
    • Among the Meadow People by C. Pierson
  • Science/Nature Study: Backyard observations
    • Science Experiments for Young Learners (Evan Moor)- Selections from Life Science Section (Seed and Plant Observations, Meal Worm/Beetle Life Cycle, etc.)
    • Plants (Term 1)
      • Sprout bean seeds and watch grow (We tried this multiple times, but after ours sprouted they all got moldy no matter where we tried to set them up.  It was disappointing and I may try again in cooler temperatures because I've done this more than once in the past and it's so cool to watch!)
      • Grow different varieties of sunflowers
      • Fruits and Vegetables (seeds and how they grow)
      • Books—Select from: The Fruits We Eat, The Carrot Seed, Berries, Nuts and Seeds (Take Along Guide), How Do Apples Grow, A Seed is Sleepy, A Reason for a Flower, The Vegetables We Eat, The Tiny Seed
    • Worms (Term 1)
      • Learn about earthworms and their importance to the soil/plants
      • Books: Wiggling Worms at Work, Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt
    • Butterflies, Dragonflies, other insects (Term 2)
      • Observe backyard insects
      • If possible, collect (or order) caterpillars to observe and learn about the life cycle of butterflies (or moths)
      • If desired, select one other insect to closely observe through a habitat kit such as ladybugs or ants
      • Books---Select from: Are You A Ladybug?, From Caterpillar to Butterfly, Ant Cities, What About Ladybugs, The Honey Makers (maybe), Bugs A to Z, A Butterfly is Patient
    • Spiders (Term 2)
      • Observe backyard spiders and webs
      • Learn about the differences between spiders and insects
      • Books (need to select)
  • Birds (Term 3)
    • Observe backyard birds, begin to learn their call and learn names of birds that visit the yard
    • Learn about the life cycle of birds (observe nests/eggs if any found in yard during the spring)
    • Books---Select from: A Nest Full of Eggs, An Egg is Quiet (not just birds), A Nest is Noisy (not just birds), Birds, Nest and Eggs (Take Along Guide), Counting is For the Birds, The Robins in Your Backyard, How Do Birds Find Their Way?, Flute’s Journey, Beaks

So "Science" has its own update too.....My daughter was asking for more Spanish...check!  And she was taking out one of our kits and trying to make her own "experiments" I got right on that too.  :-)  In the form of purchasing Elemental Science's Intro to Science year.  (Not that her water play and pouring and measuring isn't great...but I though she would delight in doing more; and she has.) The Intro to Science program is based on the book More Mudpies to Magnets for experiments and schedules things out nicely. Notebook pages and lapbook templates are also available.  She has LOVED every thing in this program. The lapbook, the notebook pages, the experiments---and the suggested nonfiction picture books that we've read that go along with topics.   Some of my original planned topics are parts of the Intro to Science year, but I'm using that as my main guide/focus now.  We are moving at our own pace through it, though and I'm not sure if we'll use the whole program this year or not. 

She also gravitates towards science books in her own free reading time.  I'll have to update at the end of the year with some of her favorites.  She's really enjoyed the entire Backyard Books series (Are You a Ladybug?  Are You a Spider?....etc.) and several from the Let's Read and Find Out Science series, along with some Magic School Bus books and others we have on the shelf.  Anything dinosaur is a hit too!


If you view click through to view this on Instagram, you can see a second picture of some of her notebook pages. 


Work/Life Skills

  • Habit Training
    • Neatness in work, cleaning up after play, clearing table
  • Hand Work
    • Lacing cards, beginning sewing kits
    • Finger crochet (making chains)
    • Playdough and/or clay sculpture work
  • Cooking: Pouring, measuring, chopping



So that's much of what we've been up to for Kindergarten so far this year.  There is still much by the way reading and discovery going on.  Our whole schedule is sort of by the way even though I have these plans as a goal.  We do not have set start and stop times or set days of the week for work even as it's turned out.  Our life right now just does not work that way.  We work about 3-4 days a week, and if I'm doing everything together we are finished in about an hour unless we add science experiments on to a "regular" day.   Usually those are done on their own day with maybe a little reading done too.  We rotate subjects and books within subjects in a typical CM schedule way (i.e. spread out the chapter books and longer picture books). 

I'm the slowest blogger in the world, I think.   My posts take me forever to write---even the short ones.  So this one was a doozy for me.   I'd really like to do a general post about how I plan in case it would be helpful to others (even if it's just helpful to my own girls one day).   And another post about what a "typical" Form 1B looks like in the available programmes online because I find it fascinating.  Hopefully sooner than not.  I'll just echo again---what I've done is not a typical year based on a PNEU programme at all. 

And if I were to sum up how I plan---it would be by basically following Simply Charlotte Mason's Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education.  I have the old version.  It's WONDERFUL.  I hadn't taken it out in years, but I've been enjoying go through it again recently.   There are many great free articles/blog posts on the site about planning too.  Sonya Shafer is a treasure!  She has always been a voice of encouragement in the CM community and she has a way of explaining things so practically that is very helpful.  She also focuses on helping people apply CM philosophy and methods to their individual situation, family and needs/goals.  The whole Simply Charlotte Mason team is fabulous!

And if I were going to suggest something I've listened to recently that has added much value to my inner thoughts about our individual home school and how I would like to proceed in plans and future years----it would be Karen Glass's Principles at the Helm seminar.  Even if I've read something similar, had a similar thought, or have even heard/read Karen say something similar somewhere else----I always enjoy listening to her and learning from her---and this was no exception.  Great food for thought and guidance---especially for those brand new to CM; but encouraging too for those not so new such as myself.





To those reading----I hope you and your family/students are having a wonderful year so far!

Read Around the World


As a part of my daughter's kindergarten year we will be "reading around the world".  She loves maps and globes and learning about people, and I've been collecting books that are set in or about various parts of the world for years.  So we have an abundance!  I've narrowed it down to the following as part of our scheduled plans (it was hard!).   While I think these books are great for a target age range from 5 to 7 years old,  I think most of them could be used for any elementary age in various ways. (Bee Bim Bop is definitely for younger students, as an example of one you might leave off for older children.  And My Name is Gabriela:  The Life of Gabriela Mistral by Monica Brown is written in both English and Spanish and could be used with even older students, especially those learning Spanish.)  But overall, these could be read and enjoyed with many ages.

We will likely simply read and enjoy the books, find places on the map and such; because we will be reading in other "subjects" as well this year.  However, this study could definitely make for a full stand alone year/spine/springboard for lots of fun learning!  I imagine that I will try to tie in some art projects, types of music and cooking certain dishes as we go.  If/when I do that----I'll update this post and add more information and links I use.  

For now---here's the booklist we will focus on as we learn about different places and people.  I'll be posting our History Tales books for this year at some point soon too---and they are all picture book biographies.  So if you'd like even more ideas for books that you could use----stay tuned.  Most of the picture book biographies are based on Europeans or North Americans, but I'm excited about those choices too.

As always, PLEASE preview for suitability for your own family or classroom. 

Download all of the information below as a PDF. (Without the photos.)

Book List and Resources                       

Notes:  The books by April Sayres are non-fiction and they have large print text which could be read as is with the youngest children if so desired, and smaller text which adds more information. The Little Kids First Big Book of the World was selected for the amazing photography and to supplement with additional non-fiction content.  In this book each continent has a page with a map, the countries (where applicable) the weather, the people (where applicable), and the animals. There is also a “Let’s Go” page with each continent to suggest an activity or project.

Most books are in fictional/story form with some exceptions being:  A is for Africa, Colors of Australia, The Very First Americans, and Rain Forest Secrets which are more informational (non-fiction) text.  There are also several biographies included in the list.


I hope you will find books that you and your students or family enjoy on this list.  I’d love to hear if there are other favorites that you recommend!



Introduction to Maps

            *As the Crow Flies:  A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman

            *Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney

For Use Throughout the Year (reference pictures, factual information, maps, etc.)

            *Little Kids First Big Book of the World by Elizabeth Carney

            *Maps by A. Mizielinska and D. Mizielinska

            *A Child’s Introduction to the World by H. Alexander

            *The Usborne Peoples of the World by G. Doherty and A. Claybourne

Optional Resources

            Globe, Map(s), Atlas

            Internet (for pictures, Google Earth, etc.)

            Music from around the world

            A Children’s World Cookbook



North America

            *Welcome to North America! by April Sayre

            *The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose  (Tribes of North America)

            *Arctic Son by Jean Craighead George (Alaska)

            *Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis (Mexico)

            *Erandi’s Braids by Antonio Madrigal (Mexico)

            *The Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews (Canada)

            *How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA by Marjorie Priceman (USA)

            *Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (USA)

            *Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (USA)



South America

            *South America, Surprise!  by April Sayre

            *Biblioburro:  A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter (Columbia)

            *My Name is Gabriela:  The Life of Gabriela Mistral by Monica Brown (Columbia)

            *The Great Kapok Tree:  A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

            *Rain Forest Secrets by Arthur Dorros

            *Welcome to the Green House by Jane Yolen



            *Hello Europe! by April Sayre

            *The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Spain)

            *Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney (England)

            *Mirette on the High Wire by Emily McCully (France)

            *Starring Mirette and Bellini by Emily McCully

(Note:  The story takes place while Mirette and Bellini are on a European tour and Bellini is actually arrested.  A major part of the story focuses in/on, St. Petersburg, Russia.  St. Petersburg is considered European Russia, but Russia is geographically on the continent of Asia.  Source: )

            *Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (France)

            *Strega Nona:  Her Story as Told to Tomie dePaola by Tomie dePaola (Italy)

    *The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by A. and M. Provensen

    *The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz




*Greetings, Asia! By April Sayre

*The Empty Pot by Demi (China)

*Once a Mouse… by Marcia Brown (India)

*Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho (Thailand)

*Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel (China)

*Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park (Korea)

*How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman (Japan)

*A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsumo (Japan)



            *Good Morning, Africa! by April Sayre

            *A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu

            *The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Heide and Judith Gilliland (Egypt)

            *Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema (Kenya)

            *Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier (Uganda)

            *Galimoto by Karen Williams (Malawi)

            *Emmanuel’s Dream:  The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie
                       Thompson (Ghana)


Australia  (I'd love any recommendations for Australia especially!)

            *G’Day, Australia! by April Sayre

            *Colors of Australia by Lynn Olawsky

            *Over in Australia:  Amazing Animals Down Under by Marianne Berkes



            *Hooray for Antarctica! By April Sayre

Other Possibilities:  Books on penguins


Optional Reading: 
Tales from Around the World

(Please preview for your student(s).  I have not read every selection in this section to be able to add any notes/cautions.)

--The Eskimo Twins, The Dutch Twins, The Japanese Twins (and others in series) by
            Lucy Perkins

--Nursery Tales Around the World selected and retold by Judy Sierra

--Around the World in 80 Tales by Saviour Pirotta

--The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales retold by J. Arkhurst

Since I am developing this study for my child in the upcoming school year (2018-2019) I do not have any print resources to share.  Though we will likely just read, discuss, find places on maps and such---I am toying around with the idea of a continent collage as a tie in and a passport of sorts with book covers as “stamps” or country flag stickers.  

Helpful Online Resources:

Outline Maps: (I use this site for map drills with my

Passport:  If I make one geared toward this study, I will update the PDF and announce it on my blog.  This pdf file may give you an idea of how to structure one for yourself.






And now for my standard Charlotte Mason/Kindergarten disclaimer:  CM did not suggest formal lessons for children before age 6.  This is just what we are doing in our family.  We will not begin narrations until next year. 

More For the First Day or Week

I was able to finish up revisions for one of my oldest's first day of school traditions---filling out a page of favorites/all about me type of pages (11 years and counting)! I also made some updates to intermediate pages that we use once we pass the Memory Book phase.


Feel free to download them to use with your family/students if you would like to.

Primary-3 page "All About Me"  Download PDF

Upper Elementary-2 page "All About Me"  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" black/white with Bible verse  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" black/white without Bible verse  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" Color (blue/pink/purple/green) with Bible verse  Download PDF

Older Students- 1 page "Fast Facts" Color (blue/pink/purple/green) without Bible verse  Download PDF


Memory Book for Younger Students

One of our back to school traditions is to complete a memory book or page of some sort.  In the first few years, we make a booklet and which is then shortened to a couple of pages and finally to one page as a to kick off the year.  (My high schooler still enjoys this tradition of recording favorites and taking a first day of school picture.)  

I finished making a revised copy of our booklet for the youngest who will start kindergarten this year.   


The booklet includes:

  • a cover where a first day of school picture can go
  • a page to write (or dictate) favorite things (with space to write others)
  • a page to make a hand print and measure it 
  • a page to make a foot print and measure it
  • a page for the student to write his/her age and draw a picture of himself/herself (My first and third grade teachers had us draw pictures of ourselves for a class year book and it was so much fun to see how my drawing changed in those few short years!)
  • a page to glue an envelope and insert a string of how tall the student is---and record a measurement of the string
  • a page to paste other photographs from the first day or week of school (or family photos, etc.) (not pictured)

There is a place to write the date on each page because that's one of the skills I try to teach right away---how to copy the date from the white board independently.  We will complete a page or two a day in the first week.  In the first year or so, we use non-standard units of measurement for any measuring we do for the booklet----usually cubes----but you could pick any object that you have plenty of or go ahead and use a standard unit of measurement.

I print the pages on card stock for more durability, and I paint hands and feet with washable watercolor paint in whatever color my little one requests to make the prints.  If your child likes stickers or drawing,  embellishments to the pages could easily be added.  We have a great time looking back on these booklets at the end of the year and beyond!  (I plan to compile all the pages my oldest has made throughout K-12 for her at the end of her home school years.)

If you'd like to download some or all of the booklet to use with your children, please feel free to.  (I'll upload versions for older students soon.)

DOWNLOAD Beginning of the Year Memory Booklet (PDF)

Happy New Year (Of Sorts)!

Well, I just renewed the domain name for another year....I guess that means I should start writing more than a few times in the coming year!  So here's to it!

And here's to the start of the new school year for us, which is quickly approaching.  Ever since my oldest (who will be a high school junior this year) finished her kindergarten year, we've schooled year round.  She was so excited to be a "first grader" that she wanted to start almost as soon as we wrapped up kindergarten.  So we did.  It works out very well for us because it is so hot in the summer here, and we like to take off all of December (at least for the most part).  Schooling year round also affords us the ability to take spontaneous breaks when the weather is perfect for being outside.

After a  year or two of schooling for many weeks in a row, I noticed that more frequent breaks were helpful----for me, if not for both of us.  I started scheduling breaks about every six weeks so that I could catch up on chores and other things around the house and prepare for the next weeks of schooling.  Though I'd never heard of it when we started, it is currently a popular way that many homeschoolers schedule weeks on and off of school.

Here's a glimpse of the way I've planned for this year----though it will not turn out exactly this way, I'm sure.  It never does.  I schedule regular work for three terms---each split into two six week sessions.  We have a holiday "mini term" scheduled, which is a way for me to be intentional about planning for Advent and Christmas.  Of all our regular work, math might be carried into the holiday mini term sometimes, but mostly we enjoy purely seasonal activities together and enjoy the longer break.


If you'd like to download a calendar that you can personalize, or see what I used to make our calendar, please head here---as I did a short write up from receiving questions on Instagram.

Over next few weeks I will be finalizing book choices, scheduling and prepping for the start of the new year.  I'll be back soon to share what we are planning to use.


Books for Advent and Christmas

Each year for Advent I select 25 books to wrap and put in a basket as a countdown to Christmas day.   In theory, a book a day is unwrapped and read together.  In practice, we've never made it through all 25 books, though I'm hoping this year will be a first!  I've been working on taking photos of books and writing a short bit of information about some of our favorites.  Even though the list is not yet complete, I thought I would start on this post and add to it in the coming days.   (I'll post here when it is complete for 2017!)

Favorites for Toddlers/Preschoolers


Tomie's Little Christmas Play by Tomie dePaola
This book retells the story of the birth of Jesus through a classroom play.

The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry
Simple sentences retell the birth of Jesus and why gifts are given at Christmas.

A Christmas ABC by Alice Gold
An ABC book telling the events, people, and places involved in the Christmas story.

The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler
This is a sweet "circle story".  It starts and ends with "...the stable where Jesus was born." Between the beginning and end, readers are introduced to others who were there when Jesus was born. Sentences are short and clear and include rhyming words.

A Christmas Goodnight by Nola Birch
Readers say "Goodnight" to people and animals in a nativity set of a small boy as he is getting tucked in to bed.  Illustrations begin with full scenes from the Christmas story and end in the home of the boy.  This is a very enjoyable book for the youngest ones and it is a good one for Christmas Eve as the book ends with "Goodnight---God bless the whole world, for tomorrow is Christmas Day!"


The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher
This book is patterned after "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and it is written in rhyming verse.  It is a creatively written account of the "very first Christmas" and the illustrations are beautiful!

Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate
In this book all the animals in a barn are getting ready for the arrival of some very special guests.  Rhyming words and simple text make this an enjoyable book for very little ones.

The Friendly Beasts:  An Old Christmas Carol by Tomie de Paola
I love Tomie dePaola's books and illustrations and this one is beautiful. It illustrates a Christmas carol that focuses on the gifts that animals gave to Jesus.

Come and See:  A Christmas Story by Monica Mayper
In this book the birth of Jesus draws shepherds, townsfolk and travelers to "come and see"----"Come and see the world made new.  The same old world, but new."  They gather to see Jesus and to celebrate His birth.

Record Keeping and Portfolio Evaluations in a Charlotte Mason Home School

In Florida, one option for an end of the year evaluation of a student educated at home is a portfolio evaluation.  This is the method of evaluation that we have always used, and you can find out more specifics on Florida evaluations here

However, others not from Florida may also need to keep a portfolio on file or submit a portfolio for review or end of the year evaluation; and this can often be a bit nerve wracking for a new homeschooler or a new to Charlotte Mason homeschooler, as the case may be.   There are many ways to document learning, though often paper/pencil exercises come to mind first.  Especially if you have young children, you may want to document learning in other ways. 


If you homeschool following a CM method, these are some ideas of how to document learning (which can be used by any homeschooler, of course---some things are just specific to CM):

  • Keep a learning log/record of activities.

    Keeping a learning log can be as simple as getting a blank spiral or composition notebook or printed calendar bought at an office supply store and using it to record assignments or learning activities as they happen or after the fact.  You can record it in list form or in a narrative form. If you are using a curriculum such as Ambleside Online or Mason's Alveary that comes with a printed schedule, you can also simply print that off, check off and date assignments as they are completed and file the schedule away as it is completed. If you have a very young child that does not have a lot of written work, the learning log is especially valuable in documenting what your child has been working on and what he is capable of doing.  You can also make your own student planner/assignment list....the options are endless!

    There are computer programs available for homeschool planning, such as Homeschool Planet or the CM Organizer that let you plan ahead and then check off what was completed. (Note: The Homeschool Planet will automatically play a video....make sure your sound is down if have a sleeping child nearby.)  Both of these programs are suited to a CM homeschool as it is easy to shift assignments, to auto schedule recurring assignments, to record notes with assignments and more!

    For those who like paper and pencil recording and want something preprinted and especially for homeschooling, there is unique homeschool log that I have used in the past published by Notgrass.  It is called A Record of the Learning Lifestyle, and it focuses on so much more than academic learning.  Recording observations about your child in all the different areas in this planner will go a long way in easing the burden some might feel about "proving" that learning is taking place.  Our children are learning all the time and in so many ways!  (It's exciting, isn't it?!)

    The most important thing about keeping a learning log is that you pick a method suited to your personality and that you use it consistently.

  • Keep samples of written narrations or other written work.

    Narrations can be transcribed for young students and hand written or typed by older students.  You do not need a great number of these.  A few samples per year will usually suffice (check your state's requirements), though I tend to try to record a narration for beginning students at least once a month for documentation purposes.   Use a voice recorder as your child narrates so you can go back and write/type the narration without having to slow your child down or risk breaking his train of thought. 

    Keep samples of copywork, dictation, Book of Century pages (even if it's a family book recorded by you), Commonplance Book entries, nature study pages, lab pages, math journal pages, etc.  You can photocopy a few pages (or a page a month) spaced throughout the year from of journals or bound books to place in the portfolio.


  • Keep a reading list.

    Keep a list of all books used for lessons, as family read alouds, or those read independently in leisure time.  If you use the library a lot and if your library gives printed receipts of books checked out, you can simply store these in a pocket folder or pouch in the portfolio.  If you do not own a book to refer back to if needed and/or if you need to substantiate content for a reviewer, photocopy the table of contents and one or two sample pages from a book used for lessons and file those.  It can be fun to photocopy a page or two from a book that shows the type of reading your child is capable of as well to keep in a portfolio (especially for beginning/newer readers who have accomplished so much to be able to read).


  • Keep other lists.

    Keep a list of artists and pictures studied, composers studied, memory work, poetry studied, handcraft projects, practical life skill projects, service projects, etc.


  • Take photographs.

    Take photographs of any type of learning activity as your child is actively involved in it.  Nature study, field trips, paintings, drawings, science experiments, cooking, handcraft projects, etc.-----photographs are excellent documentation of areas of work.

    First sewing machine project

    Practicing violin for a Christmas performance

    Archaeology exhibit at a living history field trip location

    Art project

  • Record videos.

    If your child is giving an oral narration or recitation, record it on video (or by audio).  Record singing, instrument playing, drill, dance, athletic endeavors, etc.  Put these on a disk or thumb drive and store it with your portfolio. I used to evaluate portfolios for local homeschoolers, and one of my favorite evaluations was when a mom gave me a DVD to watch filled with short segments of learning from her son's year. 

  • Other records

    Other things that you might keep in a homeschool portfolio include:  field trip brochures, printed programs from performances attended or ones in which your child participated, certificates of participation, awards, etc.


Happy CM Homeschooling!



The Charlotte Mason Student Motto


I am, I ought, I can, I will.

Charlotte Mason’s motto for students.

Though almost everywhere it is seen as “I am, I can, I ought, I will” instead.

As I understand it, this was the way it was eventually framed to students in the Parent National Education Union under Mason.  But what I do not understand is why and when it was changed.  (I am slowly reading through Mason’s volumes again, so perhaps I will come across the reason at some point.)

In Mason’s first volume she wrote,

'I am, I ought, I can, I will.'––'I am, I ought, I can, I will'
––these are the steps of that ladder of St. Augustine, whereby we "rise on stepping stones
Of our dead selves to higher things."

'I am'––we have the power of knowing ourselves. ‘I ought'––we have within us a moral judge, to whom we feel ourselves subject, and who points out and requires of us our duty. 'I can'––we are conscious of power to do that which we perceive we ought to do. 'I will'––we determine to exercise that power with a volition which is in itself a step in the execution of that which we will.  (p. 330)

So it seems that at least it began in the order “I am, I ought, I can, I will.”

When I think of it like this…..

I am a child of God, uniquely created in His image.

I ought to know His law as it is written on my heart.

I can freely choose.

I will choose to follow Christ.

….it makes sense to have it in this order.  After all, I believe that the Holy Spirit has to call me to Christ and work in my life before I can choose to follow Christ.  And God does give me a free will to choose to follow Him or not.

Mason spends a great deal of time talking about the formation of habits and why this is so important to the life of a child (or adult, for that matter).  So in thinking about habit formation----faith or religious beliefs aside, it also strikes me that we need to first know how we ought to do a thing in order to be able to do it. 

A child needs to know how to organize toys, hang up clothes, clean a sink and so on to be able to do those things.  Likewise, he must know how to form a letter, count objects, read words, observe nature/critters carefully without causing harm, and so forth.  He must first be taught before he can do….and then he has the freedom choose what he will.

So even in this light, the original order makes more sense to me.  I’ve seen it written that the order of the words does not matter, but in some ways, I think they do (if only as a reminder to me to teach and lead well).  I think a child needs to know that he can clearly find what he ought to do in scripture.  That he can rely on those who have gone before for instruction, help, and guidance.  And that once he has a path to follow, he is able and capable to do so----if he chooses.  It is a habit training in a sequence of thought for the conscience.  When one knows what he ought to do, even with free will and choices of what he can do, hopefully the decision of the will rules in favor of what is right and just.

What are your thoughts on the motto? 

Can you point me to where Mason explains a change of order and why?  She uses words carefully and precisely so I think there must be a reason to it, and I’d be glad to read it if there is one to be found.



I have learned how to search the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection and was able to find some historical notes about the development of the badge made for students in the Parent Union Schools, where the final design of the badge states the  motto as "I am, I can, I ought, I will."  Interestingly, one of the first documents in the collection regarding the the formation of the badge stated the motto was:  "I am, I ought, I can, I will."  It was a letter to the editor from The House of Education Students' Association.

"Whatever "totem" is chosen the motto of the school must of course be included, "I am, I ought, I can, I will." (p. 3 of this PDF file.)

Other correspondence writes the motto in the other order.  So really, the mystery is not solved for me yet.  But it is interesting that in some manner during the planning of the badge, the motto order was changed.  I do not see reference as to why anywhere yet.  It is just stated differently at various times.  Stay tuned....  :-)