Here are some of my “nuggets.” Feel free to add yours!
- Eating and sleeping are where it all begins. During my re-reading of Charlotte Mason’s original series, I was surprised to find that she addresses eating before she details the basis of her approach. Water, and lots of it. Less sugar. Fruits and vegetables. Also, did you know that elementary-aged kids need approximately 10 hours of sleep for maximum function?
- Get your kids involved in their own course preparation. This is especially important with kids who are, shall we say, not as thrilled about the beginning of the school year. Before the school year begins, I allow the kids to pick any graphics I use for the reading lists, make a choice on notebooks and develop notebook covers, and in some cases, even pick curriculum! Though they seem small, activities like this help the student take personal ownership of the learning process.
- Invite the kids to read the Bible with you. Talk about a “duh” moment—I’m almost embarrassed to list this one. In my attempt to be a CM purist, our Bible study had been an exercise in narration with mixed results. On days when the story was familiar to the kids, the discussions were lively; then, there were the other days…This year I thought to have the kids bring their Bibles and read a part of the story. They are so excited about sharing their versions, commentaries, etc., not to mention the fact that their understanding has increased several-fold. By the way, did you know that the average Christian has never read the entire Bible even once?
- Invest in (with time and/or money) notebook pages for appropriate subjects. This is a new one for me as our previous notebooks were the inexpensive, spiral-bound variety. I saw Jeannie Fulbright’s blog regarding the value of high-quality, pre-printed pages, and I am now a believer. I have found that with more attractive pages the kids’ work “rises to the occasion” as they want their pages to look as great as the pre-printed borders and frames. For as little as $5, you can purchase downloadable pages for notebooks for science, history, or other subjects. With software like PowerPoint, as an example, you can even create your own—it’s worth it!
God bless you as you begin or continue your journey this year.