The Good Sheppard Homeschool: Circle Time

Good Sheppard Homeschool

Naomi turned 4 this past May and I was thrilled. This meant that in September of this year, I could begin “homeschooling” her, or rather, preschooling her. I was so excited. This had been my objective since before I met Michael. Finally, I was able to start the grand adventure of homeschooling my children.

Based on our beginning understanding of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy on education, I knew that preschool for us wouldn’t involve a lot of worksheets or readers, but rather a gentle routine that would allow us to grow and develop a passion and love of learning together. I did some research into what a Charlotte Mason preschool should look like, and created a general routine for our days, and I would love to share that routine with you in this new series.

Our homeschooling begins first thing in the morning, before we even get up.  Naomi usually comes into my bed after Michael leaves for work in the morning.  We cosleep with Jude, and she usually snuggles in beside me and we sleep for an hour or so longer after he leaves.  Once we do wake, it’s a wonderful snuggle and cuddle, and we discuss what the day holds — appointments, errands, visits, etcetera.

Photo Source: Pinterest

The first thing we do in the morning is say our morning prayers.  I have a list of prayers I wanted Naomi to learn this year, although I think it will likely be fewer this year than I expected.  We began with the Hail Mary, as Naomi has a deep love for the Blessed Mother, and after she had that one pretty well mastered, we moved on to the Our Father.After we’ve receited our prayer, we discuss what else we should pray for — a special request, something we are grateful for, a sin we need to confess, etc.  We then pray together, my special girl and I.

After that, we read a story from our 365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories book.  Because we only read these on school days, we are not getting through it as quickly as we might like, but to be honest, that’s okay.  I enjoy that this book gives a very basic version of the story, which allows me to elaborate, explain and discuss it in further depth as I see fit for Naomi to understand.  It also gives me the opportunity to bring in other resources, such as episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, as I did with the story of Esau and Jacob.  By the time this is over, we have discussed some very important topics in a fun, loving environment and we are ready to begin our day.  So we get up, make our beds, go get dressed and brush our teeth, and are ready to go downstairs to get the house straightened up and breakfast ready.

How do you begin your homeschool mornings?  I’d love to hear about it — share in the comments below!

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Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot
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Loving Living Books: Lois Ehlert


This past September, Naomi and I started her homeschool preschooling.  It’s been quite the ride, and a lot of fun.  As a lover of books myself, I was thrilled when I discovered the Charlotte Mason Method of homeschooling, along with it’s copious free resources (a frugalite’s dream!).  Our days are fairly peaceful for the most part, and involve a lot of time spent enjoying beautiful stories and books.  Charlotte Mason described them as “living books”, meaning a book written by an author who obviously conveys a true passion for the story she or he presents.  A living book uses hearty words, pleasant stories and beautiful, original artwork. The opposite of a living book, as described by Charlotte Mason, is “twaddle”.  Twaddle is a little tougher to define, but you know it pretty quick when you read it.  If it bores you to tears, if the pictures are made by computers, if it contains cartoon characters, etc., well, it’s basically twaddle.  To be honest, one of the best ways to describe “twaddle” can be found in the adorable movie, “Despicable Me”, as illustrated by this video.

  So I thought I’d share with you some of the books we’ve been reading lately.  It’s been quite an experience to sort through the local library and find beautiful books that I enjoy reading to them, and that they enjoy hearing.  Some authors write one or two books that you might describe as “living” and others write whole series’ of books.  So I thought it would be fun for me to feature some of the wonderful authors and their books that we have come across and share them with you. This week, we have been really enjoying books by Lois Ehlert.  Lois is an artist who writes and illustrates beautiful books mostly based around nature, and often using natural items like leaves in her artwork.  Her books are so simple, with lovely language that is simple and easy to read, often in rhymes.  But what I love about her work is that in each picture, she labels what she has illustrated, and then at the end of the book, goes into deeper explanation about the animals and plants in her stories.

Feathers For Lunch tells the story of a hungry cat out looking for a delicious snack.  Each page features a variety of beautiful common birds found throughout Canada and the United States.  Each picture of a bird is life size, and displays the birds doing or eating things they normally do in the wild.  At the end, each bird is listed and includes it’s relative size, diet, and habitat.  Naomi and I really enjoyed this as we were able to identify several common birds that we see regularly in our back yard or on nature walks.

  Growing Vegetable Soup is so vibrant in color and describes the beauty and adventure in growing the vegetables to make a humble pot of vegetable soup.  This was a very relevant story for Naomi and I, as Michael is an avid gardener.  We grew almost everything she featured in the book this year, including carrots, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli and we even tried corn.  At the back of the book is even a complete recipe for the vegetable soup she describes.  Naomi and I plan to make it later this week.

  Leaf Man is a beautiful collage of pictures using a plethora of fall foliage, cut and shaped to tell the story of the autumn winds stirring leaves and blowing them across the countryside, over various animals, plants and trees.  At the beginning and end of the book is a sample of the various kinds of leaves and an identification of each one.  It’s a very inspirational book, and Naomi expressed a desire to run right outside to get some leaves so she could make her own “Leaf Man”. We actually have a stack of other stories by her that I cannot wait to flip through as we snuggle on the couch this afternoon.  Lois Ehlert’s books will definitely find themselves on our shelves in the future, and likely be mimicked in our own art projects and story ideas.  Her work is touching, warm and inspirational, a true testimony to what a living book should be.

This post is part of…

Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot
I Choose Joy!
Cozy Reading Spot at Fun For Reading List. Homeschool Link-Up by Squishable Baby From House to Home by I Choose Joy

Disclaimer: Yes, I am compensated for some (but not all) of the purchases made via the referral links in this post. You can read my entire disclosure policy here.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my post, please subscribe to miniMOMist and share on Twitter or visit my Facebook page.