Everything You Need for Your First Year of Charlotte Mason

I had no clue what I was doing my first year of homeschool. Like none. I read alot of books and blogs and watched videos and I had a vision of what I had to accomplish BUT the first year of moving towards that vision was rough to say the least. I created this blog to provide answers that I couldn’t seem to find the answers to and to make the process a bit easier for you!

A major question for me was- so what the heck to do I ACTUALLY need!? From morning baskets to nature walks kits here is a list of items I used and found very helpful for Kindergarten/1st grade.

I include both grades (from last year and this year) since a lot of items overlap from these two years and depending on your child you may want to have options available to decide where they are at. Also, DON’T WORRY! They may use less or more of what I have listed depending on where they are at. This just serves as a starting point and a guide.

Everything you need for your first year of Charlotte Mason.jpg


First, the CURRICULUM. This is the outline that will guide all of your lessons and what you hope your children will learn in a year. There are several FREE curriculums that are available that I will link below. I would use the one that best fits you and your family. You could even follow the basic guidelines and tailor it to include specific information that you would find valuable for your own children. I really love focusing on seasonal and local changes throughout the year and the lessons theme I choose for that day/week/month often reflect this!

Start small and add on! This is also the best way to not overwhelm both yourself and your kiddos with the curriculum! I first purchased a curriculum that was waaay to much for my littles! It is better to start with less and focus on a love of learning rather than using too much and creating burnout and learning aversion!

Tip: Put together a simple gift basket to give the night before the first day of school get them excited about homeschool the following day. Often times kids can get jealous of their friends going to public school so this is a way I try to have them focused on the positives of homeschool rather than them getting FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Honestly you could probably just place items you were already going to buy (such as notebooks and markers, ect) throw an additional little treat in there and call a day. Easy peasy!

Tip: Put together a simple gift basket to give the night before the first day of school get them excited about homeschool the following day. Often times kids can get jealous of their friends going to public school so this is a way I try to have them focused on the positives of homeschool rather than them getting FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Honestly you could probably just place items you were already going to buy (such as notebooks and markers, ect) throw an additional little treat in there and call a day. Easy peasy!

FREE CURRICULUMS

Old Fashioned Education

Ambleside Online

Free First Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Next, here is a bunch of resources that I personally use. I tried to organize these items by subject below!

Living books:

We get most of ours from the library and have purchased some used. These are some great ones i have enjoyed using to get you started

Dangerous Book for Boys

some incomplete vintage Encyclopedias for inspired learning and supplemental learning.

These that are a part of the free curriculum. Check the other curriculums as well for ideas! There are tons!

Books:

Books I thought were helpful. I will indicate which are appropriate for which age group but really it also depend on where your child is at and what they show a readiness to learn.

Read-aloud Family

The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs

The Ultimate Kindergarten Prep Guide

Laying down the Rails : A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook

Laying Down the Rails for Children: A Habit-training Companion; Books 1 and 2

The Burgess Bird Book

Dr. Suess ABC’s

Sight Words Flash Cards (optional)

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Books The Semi-Minimalist.jpeg

Devotionals:

Jesus Calling

The Look and Tell Bible

Who Created It

We have also gotten The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross which we mostly read around Easter.

Short Songs/Music:

I would also like to get more short songs to sing with the kids this year like these here in the Ambleside free curriculum.

Math

For counting manipulatives I used wooden beads that I have painted and marbles. You don’t really need much else in my opinion but you could choose something different that works for your family. You could use printouts to accompany the manipulatives and assist with counting.

I also used this counting book a lot - Chicka Chicka 123.

Addition Flash Cards (optional)

Art supplies

Colored Pencils

Backpacks for nature walks or holding art supplies. I bought these here.

Notebook for drawing. (Start with one and buy more as needed)

Watercolor/drawing pads.

Markers/crayons/colored pencils- Get all of these or one. I like crayon for kindergarten and markers and colored pencil more for first grade.

Old pastels i passed onto the kids (optional)

Chalk for outside lessons and nice days

Glue

Homemade playdough. Good recipe here

Watercolors and brushes. Similar ones here and here.

Tip: have your kids pick out their outfit the night before. It really seems so simple and easy, and you might have heard this tip 10000 times before, but it really does make our mornings that much smoother and has fast become apart of our bedtime routine!

Tip: have your kids pick out their outfit the night before. It really seems so simple and easy, and you might have heard this tip 10000 times before, but it really does make our mornings that much smoother and has fast become apart of our bedtime routine!

English

Chalkful of design chalkboards

Boogie Board

Word Mastery: A Course in Phonics for the First Three Grades (Classic Reprint)

Writing pad & cursive writing pad (might be able to be replaced by boogie board & Chalkful of design boards)

A list of some of my favorite poems found here for memorization.

Catepillar

This is just to say

At the Zoo

Maggy and Milly and Molly and May

A Bird Came Down the Walk

Mama Planning/Organization:

2 inch binder to plan out lessons. (I couldn’t find the one I have but you can find simliar ones on Amazon)

Pouch for pens/markers

Dry Erase Marker

Good pens (I like these)

Tabs or dividers

A pretty planner to summarize lessons and activities. LIKE THIS! And I “splurge” and buy a RPC planner each year. It makes me really happy opening them every time I use it so I think it is totally worth the little extra.

I absolutely love this black little binder. I use this and the planner to plan lessons. I can do another post just on this alone!

I absolutely love this black little binder. I use this and the planner to plan lessons. I can do another post just on this alone!

These stickers are my favorite part!!!

These stickers are my favorite part!!!

Set up a little system for the kids to interact with: I also highly recommend setting up something like this in the homeschooling area in your home. It make your day smoother and it really helps to ground kids in rhythm and habit. I will try and update this when mine is fully created. During our kindergarten year as the year went on we added more and more of these types of elements to our fridge. This year I will create a similar DIY set up for the kids to use throughout the year!

One last little nugget of advice that is central to the CMM (Charlotte Mason Method) is having a daily routine!!!! Morning routines are especially important and set the day up for success. Don’t be like me on the first day of homeschooling. Be better. See below.

I really hope this was helpful to you! I took alot of time to provide as much info as possible to you all so if it was please let me know! If you added something else that you thought was helpful send it in the comments below so it can help others!

Ta ta for now!

The Semi-Minimalist