The CMEC wants to support all families with the life-giving ideas of Charlotte Mason.
Day-to-day life with young children can sometimes be overwhelming, but Charlotte Mason had so many wonderful ideas for the early years in which we can find support and structure for our days.
While Mason did not start formal schooling until age six, she offered foundational principles and practices that lay the basis for the years ahead. CMEC member families have grown to love the delightful, varied, and rich occupations for our youngest children. We want for our little ones to experience the full “child-life,” or Kinderleben, doing activities developmentally appropriate for their age, building good habits, and soaking up all that their natural world offers for them. We have seen the dangers of rushing too quickly ahead, pushing too hard too early. Mason’s approach was based on broad experience, learned by the PNEU and still observed by teachers and psychologists today, that providing children with this "quiet, growing time" will prepare the fertile soil needed for the rest of their life.
So even if your children are little, there are good reasons to join the CMEC!
Our Kinderleben Guide
The CMEC doesn’t schedule a formal curriculum for our Kinderleben students, but instead offers a thorough guide with suggested reading, activities, habits, and more, as well as direction for the Kinderleben mother in cultivating a joyful learning year with littles.
Our 60-page guide offers details on those "first relationships" your young student should develop as a strong foundation for his studies in future years--as well as for "joy in living" now! Our suggestions are accessible both to the mother whose oldest child is just entering kindergarten and the mother who has other students they are teaching. We discuss building a healthy home atmsophere, developing habits of order in the schoolroom and in the family schedule, and considering and implementing chores for the young child. Then we take on what Elsie Kitching calls the "moveable timetable"--what ought a Kinderleben student's day look like? How do we help them be productively employed and introduce them to living ideas of all sorts?
Toward that end, we offer a broad feast to the child of nature activities, indoor occupations, and a curated selection of books. We also offer additional booklists for free reading and a "wishlist" of toys, materials, and supplies for learning spaces . We include not just a sample daily routine but tools for planning your own. And we have in the works a Seasonal Supplement that will be posted each term with suggestions for picture books, handicrafts, seasonal living, and outdoor life.
For Kinderleben mothers, we include a thorough study plan with our Top 12 Parents' Review articles for mothers of young children, links to modern research about play, outdoor time, and media use for children, and a desciption of how to take on a special study of your own.
We hope this guide will be all you need to use the atmosphere, discipline, and living ideas of your home and the world around youto help your young students thrive.
Kinderleben Form Meetings
There are three Form meetings each year, one per term, for Kinderleben parents to receive guidance, ask questions, and meet with moms of similarly-aged children around the country. It is such a nice way to get tapped into a vibrant community that shares your vision for family life and the joys and struggles of early childhood.
Form Leader Support
Members are invited to contact their Form leader throughout the term with questions. These questions may be answered immediately or may be sent along to the CMEC team to be answered live during the Form Meetings.
We provide special reading from the Parents’ Review geared toward the early years--including a printable set of our top articles specifically for the Kinderleben mother. In the 30s and 40s, the addition of a "Playroom" option was added in Mason's schools, and several useful articles and pamphlets were put out specifically regarding the teaching of children ages 0-5. These articles that give so many sound, practical ideas on what learning in early childhood ought to look like! We round those off with additional suggestions from PNEU nursery teachers, experienced mothers, psychologists, and other voices from the Parents' Review community of writers.
Training for Future Homeschooling
All members of the CMEC are welcome to attend our retreats, workshops, and Mother’s Education Course. These provide a great way to direct your energy as you prepare to homeschool.
For example, the 2020-2021 Mother’s Education Course will take on another set of foundational principles in a Mason education. What an amazing head start a young mother would have by tackling this coursework!
“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air. And this, not for the gain in bodily health alone––body and soul, heart and mind, are nourished with food convenient for them when the children are let alone, let to live without friction and without stimulus amongst happy influences which incline them to be good.” (Home Education, page 43)
We hope you will find our program to be just the support you are looking for in securing those "quiet growing years"
while preparing for more joyful years of learning ahead.