AmblesideOnline Year 1 Primer: Tips on Implementing AO for Beginners

Compiled by Lorraine Nessman

Preparing for Year 1 can be done in various ways. One can study ahead of time and get everything ready. ~ OR ~ One can learn about one or two aspects of a Charlotte Mason education and begin applying just that portion while they begin learning about another portion.

Feel free to read one section at a time, and read in any order you feel is right for you. The Nature Study and the Bible sections are probably the most lengthy - and contain a lot of bits and pieces to choose from. In the meantime, you can begin getting your children out into nature right away, and reading the Bible is valuable even before learning about Charlotte Mason philosophies and methods.

So why would one learn about Charlotte Mason methods if you can benefit without them? It is just that when Charlotte Mason philosophies and methods are applied to the great outdoors, to Bible study, in training children, and in all areas of academics, the benefits your children receive during these activities are amplified tremendously. It is hoped that these notes give you some help in learning about those philosophies and methods along the way.

Yr-1 Activities, Books, and Philosophies of Miss Mason applicable to them:

I. Meet Charlotte Mason and read about motherhood:
and/or the preface of Volume 1

II. Habit Training:

You can read about this most important aspect of Charlotte Mason education in volume 1 here and here.
There is more said about habit training and its application in education throughout Charlotte Mason's six volume series, but this is an excellent start.

III. The Way of the Will and the Conscience:

Read Charlotte Mason's chapter from volume 1.

IV. Assignment Tracker:

My favorite assignment tracker for AO Yr-1 (schedule of readings and assignments by week) can be found on yahoogroups. After joining, go to the file section, click on AmblesideOnlineSchedules, then on Yr-1 schedules, then on Term Schedules, then open up one term's schedule as either a Word document or a pdf file. The assignment portion of these files can be printed out on two pages, so the whole term can be seen at a glance. This is very handy for many of us, and I recommend that you at least consider it.

V. Bible:

Miss Mason encouraged mothers to read chronologically from both the Old Testament and the New Testament as well as reading from Psalms and Proverbs each week. Reading from a story book (here are portions of one possible story book to consider) and then from the Bible was standard in her thinking for younger students. Reading from a commentary and then the Bible was standard for older students. On the other hand, there is a Parents Review article which encourages mothers of very young children to stop waiting for the perfect Bible story book and to tell the stories from the mother's own heart. [Thus, use as much of the following as you wish and are able, but reading, reading, reading, the Bible is the highest priority.... Reading, learning and worshipping together is the highest goal. Over time, you can learn to implement what you wish of Miss Mason's philosophy and method during your Bible time as a family. It is mentioned here because her methods and philosophies are powerful and can help your children learn more during their Bible sessions, but children will not learn anything if you keep waiting for the perfect scenario first.]
There are some CM quotes about Bible study from Vol I and VI here:

If you choose to try to follow Miss Mason's reading suggestions, one scheduling option to consider would look like this:
   Old Testament on Monday,
       (ie- read from the story book one week, and from the related scripture reading the next week)
   New Testament on Tuesday,
       (ie- read from the story book one week, and from the related scripture reading the next week)
   Psalms on Wednesdays,
       (read entire chapters straight through for a season
and then read only a little bit at a time and discuss for a season, then repeat)
   Proverbs on Thursdays and
       (read entire chapters straight through for a season and then read only a little bit at a time and discuss for a season, then repeat)
   Review and timeline entries on Fridays.
       (more on timelines below)

More Links and specifics about Bible below.

VI. Nature Study:

Miss Mason and the Parents Review articles say a lot about nature study elsewhere, but this link, from volume 1, has something to say about much of her philosophy regarding nature study.

The AO Advisory encourages families to study a given nature study topic (such as birds, plants, rocks, etc.) during each term. Since Yr-1 contains the Burgess Bird Book, it makes sense to begin with ornithology - but if you are studying something else with (another) student(s), OR there is a subject that is on your heart (like your dog is about to give birth to puppies so you want to study animals/mammals) that is fine. Here is the AO site about nature study.

Exploring nature with your child the CM way helps your child to develop visual- and auditory-attention and memory in very specific skills which are later applied to academics (such as letter identification, spelling, composition skills, spatial sense/math, logic and much more). Enjoying nature together increases attention to the world around us while it provides increasingly powerful opportunities to practice the most basic element of written _expression, descriptive composition. All the while, nature itself is nurturing your child's entire body, mind and even his soul (Romans 1). Parents are encouraged to begin nature study right away, but are also encourated to study Miss Mason's approach to this incredibly productive life style.

If you choose to study birds for at least one term during Yr-1, here are some helps to choose from (we've used most of these, but it took us a significant amount of time to learn about these resources and work them into our routine - we'll have to see how many resources we actually use with our last Yr-1 student in the next year or two):

--Comstock Handbook of Nature Study. The first 11 or so lessons can be approached any time of the year, and that ducks at a local pond would substitute for the chickens nicely. Some of the specific birds studied in the later ornithology lessons should be straight forward to discover for most families (canary, crow...). If you struggle with lessons about particular birds, they might call your local nature center staff or Audubon Society for help in finding good locations to try to see these birds and/or for birds to study instead. (more notes on this below)

James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot can be borrowed from most local libraries as individual stories if that works better for you. These stories bring lots of oooo's and ahhh's from my younger sons and are sure to please my daughter in the future.

See more Nature Study Links below

VII. Penmanship or Copywork:

The basic strokes of letters are best learned by writing in sand in sand boxes, cornmeal in pans, chalk and/or marker boards and magnet writers. In this way, mistakes are easily rubbed or dusted out, and fresh starts are more promising. The tactile experience is also positive in the development of writing skills. Miss Mason recognized that older siblings can teach younger siblings to recognize letters and to write them in sand during their playtime together, which is very healthy. If you have an only child, it is more difficult for a parent to replicate the playful attitude of a child, though some parents find this to be possible. Pushing a young child to write is not to be recommended. There is plenty of time later for those lessons to be learned.

The earliest real copywork in the Charlotte Mason methods plural would be copying the formation of letters (first with the above materials, and later with pencil and paper), which Miss Mason felt could be done by the youngest of children without damage, even though she was quite hesitant to endorse the ideas of having very young children learn to read. The second earliest type of copywork in the Charlotte Mason methods plural would be word building followed by the first Charlotte Mason styled reading/spelling lessons using something akin to magnet letters of today. If you have not already purchased magnet letters and decide to purchase some, dollar stores often carry them very inexpensively - which is a significant plus. The letters I recommend most highly would be the letters that have magnetic strip covering the entire back surface of the letters. When they are placed on magnet writers, they 'write' for the child, and the child can trace on them with her fingers and her magnet writing pen too. Rainbow Resources has carried these in the past, and they can be found elsewhere as well.

For actual penmanship studies the Charlotte Mason way, Mrs. Bridges fits the concepts of Miss Mason's philosophy best in many ways. It is free and online as an html page or pdf file.

The one fontware that I know of with a similar font to Mrs. Bridges New Handwriting can be found at EducationalFontware.

To understand Miss Mason's philosophy behind the method as well as why she would adopt such a handwriting style is to begin on the most effective footing. You can read about her guidance about penmanship and copywork in volume 1, pp. 233-240.

Some mothers opt for different writing styles for various reasons. To learn about some of those options and to read more about preparing your heart, mind and home for future copywork experiences, there is a journal entry here:

Other journal entries related to copywork can be found here:
(regarding the mindset of the teacher approaching copywork)
(redressing students who struggle with spelling in particular)

VIII. Phonics:

The AO Advisory has made various recommendations for reading and phonics instruction. None of the fully line up with Charlotte Mason philosophy but have been used successfully by many families throughout the years. Efforts to develop a fully Charlotte Mason method are underway.

You can read what Miss Mason had to say about children's early reading and spelling experiences in volume 1.

There is a file of poems and scripture along with pages of 'word cards' to use for these types of lessons here (the word family cards are not developed as yet):

Imbedded in the files' section of this group is a guide to first reading lessons using "Travel" by Robert Louis Stevenson, which is the only poem to date with word families and word family cards fully developed. There are a few glitches in the lesson plans which arise due to the nature of this particular poem, though no better alternative has not yet surfaced to date. Anyone wishing to help develop these materials further is encouraged to let the list owner know. CMKidsReadNSpell

IX. Math:

The AO Advisory recommends various curricula. Miquon is inexpensive and relatively easy to use, though difficult to implement fully in keeping with the initial Miquon vision. Math-U-See is very good and not far from Charlotte Mason's philosophy and method. Right Start Math is my highest recommendation to date, as it draws the child's heart to love math more than the others, generally speaking. There are other good options available today, many of which I am unfamiliar. I recommend purchasing curriculum only as a point of reference as the child is interested in a concept which the parent is not fully prepared to teach, then using real life and living books to teach math concepts. The best guide to living math that I know of can be found here:

Harvey Bluedorn has written an intriguing article discussing historical math pedagogical practice - or - waiting to teach children math in formal settings until they are 10 years of age. His article can be found here.

In essence, I would purchase curriculum early as a reference point if I was concerned about scope and sequence (due to a husband's concern, my own concerns, or standardized test concerns - or to reference for teaching techniques which can be applied as a child asks questions), then I would teach the child concepts, skills, and fluidity of application of skills using real life, living books, and games. This would continue until about 10 years of age, at which time cirriculum would be referenced more readily, though living books would be the greater focus for learning. Julie, of LivingMathForum (the creator of has seen her younger children grow with math naturally simply while being exposed to a life of math books, talk and play. At one point, Julie noticed her young daughter (5 or 6 years of age perhaps) had pulled out the Math-U-See workbooks sitting around and finished a whole work book in a few hours over the course of two days. There is something to this approach.

X. Foreign Language:

Many moms purchase foreign language curriculum. I don't have strong recommendations in that area.

At times homeschool moms discuss the fact that Miss Mason emphasized French first. There could be many reasons for this, but in the end, Miss Mason encouraged the study of other languages as well. In the files' section of my journal site: there is a file that discusses what I have learned thus far from studying Charlotte Mason's various volumes as well as Parents Review articles (of which Miss Mason was the editor): Read How to Learn a Language; The Teaching of Reading with methods suggested by Gouin; Beginning Modern Foreign Languages.

In essence, I believe that borrowing tapes from the library in order to access the accent of a given language is efficient use of time. During that time, a little knowledge will likely be gained, but for many families, the serious language studies will not occur until after the accent has begun to fall in place.

In addition to learning a proper accent, it is important to:

a) converse in the target language with your students (a useful guide, though not effective in bringing active verbs in quickly would be The Berlitz Self Teacher: Spanish ~ or French or what-have-you)

b) sing songs in the target language (we found useful materials at our library)

c) recite poems, Bible verses, and common sayings and folk proverbs (poems can be found at most libraries, common proverbs can be found online - there are already Spanish proverbs links listed in the Spanish Links file at AmbleLore:, Bible verses can be found online at Bible Gateway.)

d) learn to work with active verbs in a playful setting (begin with commands: 'Sit!' 'Walk!' 'Hop!', etc., and then move to 'He sits.' or 'He sat.' and etc. until basic conjugations are learned by narrating what happened after a command was given, and then talking through a 'series' of events - there are examples of commands in the Foreign Language file at AmbleLore. It is invaluable to purchase a book devoted to verbs in your target language. They would be kept near foreign language dictionaries in new and used book stores.

e) after verbs are studied well enough, even parents who are novices in the target language should be able to help their children study Gouin series, which help children to think in the target language more fully than any other exercise

Later the students learn to:

f) discuss what is seen in a picture while using the target language

g) hear a story in the target language, with the teacher helping with translating only as needed, after which the student narrates the story in the target language (not memorized)

h) after hearing a story in the target language, the student learns to write his narrations in the target language

XI. Literature & History:

The following is from Ourselves, by Charlotte Mason; Volume 4 of her series, starting on page 9:

Chapter II - The Instruction Of Conscience

Instruction by Books.--The instructed conscience knows that Temperance, Chastity, Fortitude, Prudence must rule in the House of Body. But how is the conscience to become instructed? Life brings us many lessons--when we see others do well, conscience approves and learns; when others do ill, conscience condemns. But we want a wider range of knowledge than the life about us affords, and books are our best teachers.

There is no nice shade of conduct which is not described or exemplified in the vast treasure-house of literature. History and biography are full of instruction in righteousness; but what is properly called literature, that is, poetry, essays, the drama, and novels, is perhaps the most useful for our moral instruction, because the authors bring their insight to bear in a way they would hesitate to employ when writing about actual persons. Autobiographies, again, often lift the veil, for the writer may make free with himself. In the Bible the lives of men and the history of a nation are told without the reticence which authors are apt to use in telling of the offences of the good or the vices of the bad.

Plutarch, perhaps alone among biographers, writes with comparable candour, if not always with equal justice.

The Poet and the Essayist are our Teachers.--A child gets moral notions from the fairy-tales he delights in, as do his elders from tale and verse. So nice a critic as Matthew Arnold tells us that poetry is a criticism of life; so it is, both a criticism and an inspiration; and most of us carry in our minds tags of verse which shape our conduct more than we know;

"Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop
Than when we soar."

"The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel."

A thousand thoughts that burn come to us on the wings of verse; and, conceive how our lives would be impoverished were we to awake one day and find that the Psalms had disappeared from the world and from the thoughts of men! Proverbs, too, the words of the wise king and the sayings of the common folk, come to us as if they were auguries; while the essayists deal with conduct and give much delicate instruction, which reaches us the more surely through the charm of their style.

So are the Novelists and the Dramatists.--Perhaps the dramatists and novelists have done the most for our teaching; but not the works of every playwright and novelist are good 'for example of life and instruction in manners.' We are safest with those which have lived long enough to become classics; and this, for two reasons. The fact that they have not been allowed to die proves in itself that the authors have that to say, and a way of saying it, which the world cannot do without. In the next place, the older novels and plays deal with conduct, and conduct is our chief concern in life. Modern works of the kind deal largely with emotions, a less wholesome subject of contemplation. Having found the book which has a message for us, let us not be guilty of the folly of saying we have read it. We might as well say we have breakfasted, as if breakfasting on one day should last us for every day! The book that helps us deserves many readings, for assimilation comes by slow degrees.

Literature is full of teaching, by precept and example, concerning the management of our physical nature. I shall offer a lesson here and there by way of sample, but no doubt the reader will think of many better teachings; and that is as it should be; the way such teaching should come to us is, here a little and there a little, incidentally, from books which we read for the interest of the story, the beauty of the poem, or the grace of the writing.

XII. History:

Charlotte Mason Methods Application to the Study of History: Use of narrations (vol 1 pg 231-233), maps, definitions of difficult words (if you can find the time to pre-read the selections and underline difficult words to preview prior to the reading), pictures of significant characters with their names listed under them [ (which can usually be easily found by using the Google Image search function online but which can at times bring up immodest results), and timelines (here's an easy to print book of the centuries online or consider a different format ~ for other directions for making your own timeline try or consider making a timeling in MicrosoftWord) --actually, Charlotte Mason used timelines differently than we had thought, but such timeline use is common today - for a look at Charlotte Mason's actual use of Timelines, read this help at DestinationHome] helps children to recall stories over time and to give narrations using proper nouns as the maps and pictures are still posted during the narration.

Geography jar: We have also learned that keeping a geography jar helps with occasional review. After reading each story, simply write the title and main character on a slip of paper. Each couple of weeks, ask the child to draw a few slips of paper and tell you where in the world that story happened.

Trial & Triumph is written from a protestant world view and is greatly appreciated if that is your mindset. Highly recommended - but these stories usually need to be broken down into at least a couple of shorter reading sessions.

Fifty Famous Stories Retold: Are excellent character building stories from around the world. They are also good material for duet reading if the material is printed in large font. Many of these stories are about the common man instead of all being about kings and the aristocracy.

An Island Story is excellent and is preferred by many (and in particular by the AO Advisory) to Susan Wise Bauer's text, The Story of the World. However, I recently realized that it does have one weak point when compared to Charlotte Mason philosophy as it does not contain many stories of the common people in addition to the stories many of the pivotal rules of England. It does give an excellent overview of English history, which is, In my humble opinion, imperative to grasping the complexities behind the intent of the founding fathers. We hope to supplement AIS with a few stories about the common people from Bauer's text with our youngest child who has not gone through Yr-1 yet. Excellent timeline figures for AIS beginning with the chapter on Alfred the Great can be found here:

Names of the English kings do not need to be memorized by US students (though American presidents should be in keeping with Charlotte Mason philosoph), but if you wish to memorize them, these are great helps: the first poem in The Kings and Queens of England with Other Poems by Mary Ann H. T. Bigelow or this shorter poem:
Or this mnemonic poem traditionally used by British students.

Viking Tales: Two of the Historical Periods represented at Walk Through Time relate to AO Yr-1 material, one being Roman times and the other being Viking times.

Biographies: The D'Aulaire books are classics, and wonderful to own, but many parents who feel the need to cut back on purchases use copies from their local libraries, as these selections are read over a short enough period to do so.

XIII. Geography:

Miss Mason felt that geography should first be taught out of doors, comparing rivulets and little streams to great rivers which lead to the ocean, hills to mountains, and etc.

She also felt that the geography one is exposed to in stories in the area of town and country should be referenced to maps. Miss Mason's intent was for the child to 'see' one or more scenes from a city, or from a story about a city, in his mind's eye when he saw that city represented upon a map.

The geography one is exposed to in stories which relates to rivers and mountains she felt strongly should be illustrated by drawing/shaping these geographical figures in the sandbox, and later sketching them on paper. Later, the child was to be able to produce their own rough sketches from memory! Most AmblesideOnline families have not aspired to this, but many do. Read volume 1 pg 72-77, pg 271-278, and pg 218.

The AO geography selections as well as nature studies all lend themselves to various aspects of all of these philosophies/methods.

Supplemental internet sites to go with Holling books

XIV. Literature:

Aesop for Children by Milo Winter or Aesop's Fables ~ These are especially good for students who struggle with narration skills. Feel free to read only one sentence at a time before asking for narrations. Stretch that out to two and three sentences, and then to one and two paragraphs, one and two pages, as the child's ability increases.

Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang often brings up significant discussion at the beginning of each year. Parents are strongly urged to preread these. The content can be more violent than this culture is accustomed to and the fairy tale aspect comes under scrutiny of many Christians. Food for thought as you decide what is appropriate can be gleaned by doing an online search for "The Ethics of Elfland" by G. K. Chesterton. If this article does not sway you to use the Blue Fairy Book, the other options listed in the Yr-1 booklist (Pyle's Wonderclock and Anderson Fairy Tales) are wonderful as well.

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling also bring some amount of discomfort for some families. Here is a journal entry on our experience with this rich literature:

Parables of Nature by Margaret Gatty are probably the most difficult reading assigned to Yr-1 students. We have read these, though we have gotten behind at times because I didn't want to hear the AmbleGrumbles. In the end, by breaking these stories down into smaller portions, my children have worked their minds around these stories and smile happily at remembering stories they have heard in the past. Today our 10 and 8 yo sons are better able to enjoy literature than most of their 12 and 11 yo friends, simply because they have exercised their minds with ideas in literary form. This is the magic of Charlotte Mason. Some families have put off reading these stories for as many as two to three years, which is a good option for some families, but if you can help your children work their hearts and minds around these rich and insightful stories, not only will their character be built up with great ideas, but they will be a little more prepared for the jump from Yr-3 to Yr-4 in the future.

Shakespeare ~ These stories do speak to children's hearts when rewritten in the forms endorsed by the AO Advisory. Most children need them to be broken up into short readings during the week. They can be found online at and Eldritch (or these can be purchased used and when they are in print)

Miss Mason herself recommended Twelfth Night as an excellent first story for children - which is therefore, of course, an excellent first choice.

Prereading is helpful as time permits. Lightly underlining words which might need to be previewed allows the parent to preview vocabulary before the reading.

Stopping periodically to allow the child to give narrations is invaluable, though some students who struggle to give narrations for Aesop's fables might be excused from narrating these for a season. Giving narrations as an example to your child is also valuable.

Some stories actually occurred in real places. Referencing an atlas, map or globe is in line with Charlotte Mason philosophy.

Providing illustrations of each character have proven especially helpful with Shakespeare stories. Miss Mason did recommend posting pictures of characters such as Caesar, King Alfred and etc. before reading stories related to these people. Parents have used various types of illustrations to help their children keep track of Shakespearean characters. Some examples of illustrations which parents have used include stick figures, brief sketches (if you can handle more than stick figures), dolls or stuffed animals have been assigned 'characters' in the Shakespeare story, while others use paper dolls (Dover has a book with some, but these only contain two characters per play). Paper dolls can be blank forms to color or decorate with fabric, ribbons, etc., or can be b&w or color illustrations of people in period dress etc. Libraries often have books illustrating period dress, but these should be looked over prior to handing them to children, as some period dress is quite immodest. Online resources for period dress and/or characters in Elizabethan dress can be found at various links here:

To my understanding, Elizabethan actors usually did not dress in 'period garb', but you can do as you like.......... as time permits.

XV. Poetry:

Poetry is to be read and enjoyed. Bedtime, schooltime, tea time are especially great times to enjoy poetry together.

Poetry is also to be learned. See recitation in regards to memorizing poetry.

XVI. Recitation:

Miss Mason's own writing on this subject from Volume 1, starting at page 222:

SimplyCharlotteMason has a simple method you can set up at home to work on this project:

Memory verse selection helps:
Sunday School

Recitation selection helps - in this site's file section:
(which includes in part selections to print, cut, and tape to index cards):

XVII. Art: (skills)

Nature Study sketching. (see nature study)

In my humble opinion, Monart is tops, hands down. Though Miss Mason discouraged young children being asked to learn to draw when they were young, many years after Miss Mason's era of influence Mona Brooks applied many of Miss Mason's own philosophies to children in this area. IMHO, Miss Mason might have actually approved of Mona Brooks's ideas if she had read them, though no one knows for certain.

XVIII. Handicrafts:

Some handicrafts to consider can be found here:
and more can be found in the links section here:

XIX. Hymns, Folksongs, and Foreign Language Songs:

Our family has enjoyed learning new hymns, folksongs and foreign language songs while prepring breakfast and cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast. Later, we enjoy sharing these during family worship, in group sing-a-longs when local families from our church get together one Sunday each month, as well as for larger family get togethers.
Audio files with voice

XX. Composer Studies:

Children have thrived on many composers, but an excellent first study for young children is an introduction to Children's Classics, as selected by the AO Advisory. There is a guide to these selections at my journal spot here if you'd like to read about one way to approach these works:

XXI. Artist Studies:

Charlotte Mason's own words on the subject:
Volume 1 beginning on page 307
Volume 6

Bible Links

Obviously, a Yr-1 student would not be able to do all of the following in one day. It might be more important to let some of these go to cover more ground for most of our students. If there are children who struggle with learning and remembering stories, one might use quite a few of the following ideas and 'camp out' with a given story for a while." and possibly also precede all of that with "For most of us, doing the all of the following is a full time job - and is simply not practical. However, using as many as fit your family's needs and your lifestyle will prove beneficial.

Here are some Charlotte Mason methods for you to consider incorporating into your Bible time (perhaps one at a time) as you prepare to use Bible lessons during your school day:

--The AO Advisory recommends using the KJV to help develop a literary relationship with scripture. You can read their own words in this matter in Lynn Bruce's article, Why the KJV?

--Miss Mason taught that previewing new vocabulary prior to the reading allows the reading to speak for itself and for each reading to enter the child's mind uninterrupted. As time allows, pre-reading material and lightly underlining words which should be previewed helps this portion of the lesson move smoothly. The first dictionary published in the US can be found online here. It's Biblical references and insightful definitions contrast significantly at times with today's dictionary entries. As time permits, this can prove more than useful.

--Asking for a narration during or after a reading helps the child's mind attend more fully. Begin by having your child tell back the story. If this is difficult, read only one sentence at a time, and ask him to tell you about each sentence in turn. Lengthen the amount you read between narrations as his ability to attend and organize his thoughts increases. (Miss Mason on narrations from volume 1.
Penny Gardner recommends the use of a narration cube, which you could make at home if you prefer.
Narration jars have been used by many AO moms - various styles of narration are written on slips of paper and then one slip is drawn out for each narration. Narration types might include - Tell the story back in your own words. No narration this time! Draw a picture from the story and tell me a little bit about it. What was your favorite part of the story? etc.
Sketched narrations are particularly useful for certain topics, though they can be employed for almost any reading -
If your student struggles with narrations, especially if he struggles with Asperger like traits - this might provide some direction
Using puppets or paper dolls to aid in narrations is fine
If your child struggles with using proper names, this might help ).

--Referencing maps - even to the point of noting latitude and longitude is of value (try here or here or here.)

--Sharing information of the culture of Biblical times which has a bearing on the story is enlightening (try here, here or here.)

--Noting approximate dates of events into a Book of the Centuries was not something Miss Mason recommended with children until they were perhaps 9 or 10 years of age, but if it is done without pressure, and there is time, it has proven valuable to quite a few AO families to begin sooner than that. (here's an easy to print book of the centuries online or consider a different format or,for other directions for making your own timeline try here or consider making a timeling in MicrosoftWord)

--actually, Charlotte Mason used timelines differently than we had thought, but such timeline use is common today - for a look at Charlotte Mason's actual use of Timelines, read here.

--and illustrating with great art were integral parts of a Charlotte Mason approach to the Bible. - keeping in mind that artists often used nudes and that not all art illustrates Biblical stories totally in keeping with the Biblical account - so use discretion in line with your convictions. Try here and here.

--Generally speaking, Miss Mason did not want the teacher's comments to be the lesson content. Instead, helping with vocabulary, geographical and cultural understanding briefly, making a brief comment to wet the child's appetite for the coming story, well timed and brief questions to help the child think for himself, an occasional comment to summarize or bring the students' attention to important ideas, brief comments on the students' narration, and surprisingly an occasional child-friendly lecture were appropriate, but mostly, the Biblical text was to speak for itself.

--Recitation: Charlotte Mason did encourage Bible memory, which is included in the recitation section below.

--Singing Praise to God: Charlotte Mason did encourage the study of hymns, which is listed below.

--Other: These are ideas not specified directly in Charlotte Mason's discussions about Bible study but may be enjoyed by some families:
-Review Bible stories by playing 20 Questions while driving about town. (to keep track of potential 'car school' ideas and resources, keep a box in the closet to rotate items in a back-pack for the family or a back-pack for each child... in the box/back-pack include foreign language tapes, music tapes: classical, folksongs, children's songs, foreign language songs, hymns, Bible story songs, and praise songs; books-on-tape, slates/magnet writers/doodle tablets/spirals, a hymnbook/songbook, a deck of cards, jars and/or bags to bring home interesting specimens of nature, books to read, etc. to be used primarily in the car while driving and/or waiting in the car, etc.)
-Coloring pages. Some moms allow their children to color these during the Bible story reading time. Here are some from Calvary Chapel.
-Simple Bible costume ideas can be found here.
-for moms who want to do all of the creative extras that we don't do a lot of, try daniellesplace or Dovescot Sunday School.
Bible Gateway

Study questions and nice maps: (Parents should use the questions in keeping with their own convictions)
Charlotte Mason used texts by J. Patterson Smyth for her class Bible time. You can see whatthese were like by viewing a .

Nature Study Links

--Burgess Bird Book - read aloud and take narrations, if you have time and if your child is comfortable with the process of having his narrations written down or typed, they can be written or printed onto the back of coloring pages to put together a wonderful keepsake. Another option to consider would be listing the names of birds you have read about on a chart that shows various types of habitat (rivers, lakes, woods, human habitations, etc.) To get a general idea of which birds are local to your area and when they are there, you can check the links here: ~ helps for chapter I can be found here and helps for chapter XI can be found here: .

--field guides (from the library, the bookstore and/or online - there is a link for some of these online guides below, enature has been popular with AO members in the past, but there are many other online guides)

--coloring pages (coloring books are available from Dover and from Rod & Staff. Links to online coloring pages can be found here:
and a pdf coloring book at Cornell Labaratory of Ornithology. Free bird coloring book from Cornell 50Birds: Calendars and coloring sheets with birds or animals on them.

--Backyard birding guidance: beginning info for attracting birds and feeding them can be found here:

--A great Lesson on Feathers can be found here: .

--Raptors! is a great book if you would prefer to count raptors than Slug Bugs when you drive around:

--Contacting the local birding enthusiasts can bring a heightened awareness of the various habitats near you, and sometimes you can even find an enthusiast who would be willing to help you learn about more birds than you can learn on your own.

--Nature Centers are also a wealth of information.

--Other online helps, such as pictorial journals of baby blue birds, literature about specific birds online, etc. can be found here below the folders and by clicking on the ornithology folder here:
The Comstock Handbook of Nature Study might seem a daunting book since it looks so big, however, once you break the ice with this rich resource, the bits and pieces of it become easily accessible. The biggest help it has provided in my life is that it offers questions to pose to the children which help them to think for themselves and to attend a little more closely to what they see in nature all around them - which is very much the point in a Charlotte Mason education. A journal entry of our early experiences with this wonderful resource can be found here:
AO links

-----from the yr-1 page Rod and Staff has bird pictures in their Nature to Color coloring book.
There's a site to order from ( and click on curriculum), but calling them directly may be quicker. 1-606-522-4348

Comstock's book can also be a jumping off point for dealing with animal studies at the zoo if you wish: (zoo studies can include geography with mapwork, be used to practice foreign languages, offer practice in descriptive language skills - narration of what is seen while at the zoo viewing animals, provide wonderful subject material for nature sketches, exercise cognitive skills by pondering questions similar to those in the Comstock Handbook of Nature Study, try to capture artistic shots with digital cameras - offering opportunities to discuss elements of artistic design, etc.)

Plant Life Studies are also great with little ones. Comstock's guide and field guides are great. Your library should also have helps of interest if you so choose. If studying plant life tickles your fancy, consider these helps:
Dandelions are loads of fun!
Print out this chart of Latin terms that relate to plans and keep it in your nature notebook
Lori B's ideas for tree studies can be found here:

Physics should also be studied at this age, in my humble opinion, even though they are not mentioned by the AO Advisory. You can read "Physics is Child's Play" to see why I feel that way and learn how I propose to pursue those types of studies in daily life here: