Favorite Nature Journal Supplies & Resources



For Young Children

I use these notebooks for my 5 and 3 year old, and they illustrate with either colored pencils or crayons.

If you have older children than mine, investing in a watercolor journal for them would make some sense!

Phenology Wheel Resources

My Phenology Wheel How-To

I first use a compass with a HB pencil to construct my phenology wheel circles. I find the center point of my page with a ruler to set my compass to. The outermost circle is 3.75″ diameter and the innermost circle is 0.75″ diameter. I have a circle for each of the following:

  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • Low Temp (actual, not predicted)
  • High Temp (actual, not predicted)
  • Weather
  • Moon Phase
  • Date

Once the circles are drawn in pencil, I use a ruler & pencil to divide the circle into 32 wedges. No month has 32 days so you will always have at least one wedge that is grayed out. Some people use that wedge to write the month in it.

Once I have everything created in pencil, I go back over it freehand (no ruler, no compass) with a Micron 005 Pen (be very gentle if you use this pen). Then, I erase my pencil lines. Why do the pencil first with a rule if I’m just going to freehand the pen? Because I want the wedges proportional! I like the style of a freehand ink line but I don’t want the overall wheel to be sloppily shaped & proportioned.

After that, I do some initial watercolors for most of the circles, write in my dates, and illustrate the moon phases for the whole month. The sunrise/sunset, temperature & weather data I wait to do until *after* that day has occurred.

The illustrated journal items on the outside of the wheel I do whenever I feel like it! I may write down some notes from a few days of nature exploration, and then sit down to illustrate a few things at a time.


Books to Inspire Nature Journaling

Related Books for FUN


Space Mini Unit



We spent about 1 1/2 weeks learning about space, with a special focus this time on space exploration. Two years ago we mainly focused on the planets, which was fun to repeat with my 3 year old. But, my 5 year old had a much greater interest in rockets and rovers and such, so I grabbed a lot more books this time for him.



*The two favorites of my 3 year old. Most other books were more for my 5 year old.

**These were just okay. Interesting for one read, but overall not as engaging.

Reference Books:

Note that we did not sit and read every page of any of these books, but flipped through and read what interested the kids at the time. My son also enjoys flipping through books like this with lots of pictures on his own even though he cannot read yet.

*We used this book for the information about the planets. We did not really cover too much about constellations and stars this round.

Projects & Activities



Shown here are the books The Planets and Space!

My free Solar System Cards are also pictured here.

We used a clay recipe from Nature’s Art Box, but I’m sure store-bought clay or salt dough would work great! We used biscuit cutters to make different sizes, then once they dried we used watercolor paint to design them. Both kids loved this activity, and then they. had their own solar system to play with.



For a space sensory bin we used black beans, black and white glass gems, balled up aluminum foil (for meteors). Then we put our clay planets and toys in the bin. The kids play with this and tell stories but also use scoops and fine motor tools to play around.



Shown here are the books What We See in the StarsSpace!Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover, and Life on Mars.

We made homemade bright red play dough (here’s the recipe I use), built the Curiosity out of LEGOs, and just did a lot of reading and pretend play.



Shown here are the books Moonshot and Exploring Space.

Obviously my son was particularly interested in rockets — what kid isn’t? So, we used our books and watched videos comparing different rockets over the course of space exploration history. We used these Space Shuttle Nomenclature Cards and books to learn about the parts of the space shuttle.

I have about 20 different space shuttle drawings all over my house right now! And we built different rockets out of LEGO Duplos as well.

The R is for Rocket printout is from the Playful Learning Space Unit (Member’s Lounge access only).



Not surprisingly the kids wanted to make more of a craft-based space shuttle (not just illustrate their own on paper), so we looked up ideas together and liked this one with the fire hanging down from the rocket. We taped the rockets to their ceiling fan and had fun watching them take off!



Shown here are the books MoonshotExploring Space, What We See in the Stars, and Space Exploration.

The Printable Space Exploration History Cards are free. We also found the book A Brief Illustrated History of Space Exploration at our library which helped put the timeline of space exploration in context.

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing coming up this year, it was fun to have my son so interested in learning more about this mission. He particularly loved learning about the astronauts and the mechanics of The Columbia and The Eagle. Again we watched some videos — the footage of the Saturn V rocket launch is pretty astounding and worth checking out!



Shown here are the books Moonshot and The 50 States.

The black and white state cards are from Target.

The NASA facilities location map I got from here.

My son likes maps so I thought it would add some context to his understanding of the U.S.A. to pinpoint where the Kennedy Space Center, Jet Propulsion Lab, Johnson Space Center, and Langley Research Center are.



This Solar System Scavenger Hunt is free – I created it awhile ago. This past week we used it by hiding the printed planets around the house, then the kids had to find them, name them, and check off the list until we found them all. This is really fun and engaging, and works well for young children. It was a fun way for my 3 year old to learn the planets a bit more.



Shown here are the books Mae Among the StarsCounting on KatherineHidden Figures, Herstory, and Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.

Our point of inspiration to even begin a space-themed unit was Mae Jemison and Katherine Johnson. I had checked these books out for Black History Month, but my son in particular was so enthralled I thought it warranted further exploration.

Katherine Johnson has even inspired him to go deeper with his math lessons! He asks to do math every day now!


We learned about what it’s like to be an astronaut: A Day on the International Space Station, and Astronauts were two books that helped.

We listened to some music included on the Voyager Golden Record.

We also talked a lot about gravity and played games to demonstrate.

We watched several videos from NASA: rocket launches, the design of the Mars Curiosity rover, a tour of the International Space Station. Lots to enjoy online!

Additional Resources

Feel free to take a peek at our Space Unit from two years ago! We repeated some of these things this year too, like a meteor count and scavenger hunt.


Links to All Printables


Space Play: My Picks



Conifers Nature Study Resources




Nonfiction Learning Books

Tree Guides for Kids

Helpful Tree Identification Guides


Learning Resources

Playful Learning Evergreen Unit


We used everything in this unit! I cannot say enough about how great this unit is from Playful Learning! Here’s a sampling of what you get in the unit:

  • Conifer 3-Part Cards
  • Evergreen vs. Deciduous Cutting Strip & Sorting
  • Pine Cone Matching Worksheet
  • Conifer Tree Chart
  • Parts of a Pinecone
  • Parts of an Evergreen Tree

And a ton of book recommendations!

Firefly Nature School


We used Connections with Conifers and Evergreen Flash Cards from Firefly Nature School.

Conifer Cones 1-10 Counting Cards


These cards are free from I Believe in Montessori.

Conifer Tree Matchup


This is a simple free activity from Every Star is Different.

Other Resources:


Mountains – Mini Unit



Lately for our preschool units I tend to plan things on the fly, paying attention to the interests of my kids. This unit was 100% driven by them. They had the idea and I quickly did a library grab of some books, and we watched the Mountains episode from Planet Earth II, then went from there on to other learning and play and crafts (thank you, Pinterest). This unit is not meant to be a comprehensive preschool unit where I cover every category of learning. Rather, I treated this more like a nature study and kept it play-based as much as possible.



I’ve detailed in the ACTIVITIES section below how we have used these books and resources.


Learn Mountain Terms


We used both Geography A to Z and Mountains of the World to talk about how mountains are made and learn some new vocabulary.

Build Mountains to Learn about Mountain Zones


The Golden Glow is a recent book that quickly became a family favorite. The story and illustrations are wonderful! On one page of the book the different zones of a mountain are depicted as Fox hikes to the top (pictured on top above), so we used that book and Mountains of the World to talk about what kind of plants and animals might live in the different zones. I did not expect my children to name all the zones in order or anything, but just to explore the fact that thing that live at low altitude might not be living at the top of the mountain.

Mapwork: Find Mountains Around the World


My son in particular LOVES our MAPS book so I thought it would be fun to go through and find different famous mountains illustrated in various countries throughout the book. We used the map in Mountains of the World as well as a printout from Habitat Schoolhouse (Letter M Unit) do explore the locations of various mountains.

Specific Mountain Focus: Everest


Of course we needed to look at the highest mountain peak in the world, right?  Habitat Schoolhouse (Letter Y Unit) has a nice brief info sheet about the Himalayas, as does the book The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth. Mount Everest is features in Atlas of Adventures: Wonders of the World so we also read about it there. We located the Himalayas in our MAPS book and explored the book Everest (this is a longer reference-style book with some stories so we did not read through the whole thing).

Learn about Mountain Wildlife


We watched the Mountains episode of Planet Earth II, read the Mountains poem from Wild World, explored animals in Mountains of the World, and then I found the following animals from Learn Create Love for the kids to create:

Specific Animal Focus: The Yak


After creating our Yaks we learned more about them from Habitat Schoolhouse (Letter Y Unit), Everest, and Mountains of the World.

PLAY: Small Worlds & Pretend/Role-Play


We did a lot of pretend play with this Mountains unit, pretending to be different animals, especially the ones featured on the Mountains episode of Planet Earth II.

We also built small Mountain worlds with Schleich Animals and the following:

I really feel that play is the most meaningful learning avenue for my kids—they both love exploring books, but we often expand the information and stories through play!


Native American Studies



November is Native American Heritage Month and so I wanted to spend time learning about Native American history and culture with my two kids (ages 5 and 3). I mostly wanted to start our focus by reading stories. I will say that my 5 year old has a much higher attention span for stories than my 3 year old, but we found some books that she enjoyed as well!

I also want to say: many of the stories and depictions come from an outsider-looking-in perspective. If my children were teenagers they would be able to read narratives written by Native Americans from a variety of tribes and time-periods and perspectives. As it is, we are limited to picture-book material. I have done what I can for their learning level to honor the diversity and complexity of Native Americans.

I also want to say that my style of “school” is play-based: we often do hands-on learning, crafts, and act out stories through play. In doing so, I aim to be sensitive in how Native Americans are depicted. For example, I steer clear of learning materials and books that are cartoonish or cutesy.

Lastly, I think being exposed to the REAL things can be so impactful, even at such young ages. As a part of our learning, we will be taking our annual trip to the Eiteljorg Museum of Native Americans and Western Art. There are kid-friendly interactive elements in this museum: they can design their own totem pole, do some basket weaving, or try to build a teepee.


*Note: We bought our copy of “The Book of Indians” used. I’ve heard that the Classic Reprint edition available on Amazon has some printing errors. This book is written by an outsider, a white man, in the 1930s. There are a few misconceptions in there that can be forgiven for its dated material. Overall the narratives and structure of this book are excellent, fair, and engaging. The book is broken down in to four geographic regions, then each geographic region has 1 chapter devoted a cultural & descriptive context of that region and 2 chapters of narratives following 2 Native children (1 boy, 1 girl) who lived in that region. The stories are engaging and descriptive. The cultural context given covers biodiversity, food, art, music, dwellings, materials, daily life, and so much more! There are wonderfully detailed illustrations in the margins of the stories and a few full-color illustrations. These stories held the attention of my 5 year old but were a bit too long for my 3 year old. 


Introduction Through Stories & Mapwork

I first introduced the geographic regions we’d be looking at using the book The Very First Americans — and the four regions represented in this book are also the same divisions used in “The Book of Indians” by Holling C. Holling. After the introduction, we colored in a map of the U.S. together and named the states in those regions. We then found a few specific tribes in those regions using the Fandex Family Field Guides: Native Americans. The open book in the bottom photo with the map is North American Indians.


People of the Plains




1. Explore the Tribes of the Plains

We used Native American Fact Cards from The Peaceful Press and Fandex Family Field Guides: Native AmericansThe Very First Americans also mentions a few tribes of each region.

2. The Importance of Buffalo

We use this free printable to create a buffalo craft, and pretended to hunt buffalo. We discussed all the uses of buffalo and of course why they are no longer hunted.


3. Teepee Craft

We used this free printable to create our own teepees.


4. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

We created an Indian Paintbrush out of pipe cleaners and wooden beads. Then we worked on watercolor pictures of the sunset.


People of the Rivers and the Sea (Pacific Northwest)




1. Explore the Tribes of the Pacific Northwest

We used Native American Fact Cards from The Peaceful Press and Fandex Family Field Guides: Native AmericansThe Very First Americans also mentions a few tribes of each region.

2. Discuss The Importance of Salmon and “Fish” for Salmon

The kids strung up this Salmon Count Free Printable I created (pictured below).

I simply laminated the pages, cut out around the salmon, then punch one hole at the mouth. The kids had to string them up in number order.

We also looked at the Life Cycle of a Salmon in Nature Anatomy


3. Create Totem Poles

We used these free totem pole printouts and a paper towel roll to create our own totem poles. The kids selected their animals and I tried to look up the meaning/symbolism online to share with them. They colored the images in, I helped cut them out, then glued them on the paper towel roll.


4. Discuss the Value of Whaling

We used the Whales book to discuss whaling, which featured as a main story element in The Book of Indians by Holling C. Holling. We talked about what parts of the whale were used and how.

I also created this Harpoon Prewriting Practice Sheet for my kids to get a little pencil-grip practice in with our learning in a fun way. We also pretended to hunt for whales together, which I think is fine in the realm of pretend-play — my kids adore whales and I’m confident they have a respect for why indigenous cultures hunted whales.


People of the Forests and Lakes (Eastern)




1. Explore the Tribes of the Eastern Woodlands

We used Native American Fact Cards from The Peaceful Press and Fandex Family Field Guides: Native AmericansThe Very First Americans also mentions a few tribes of each region.

2. Forest Animal “Hunt”

We pretended to go on hunts just like the young boy in “The Book of Indians” by Holling C. Holling. The idea was to explore the wildlife in the forest ecosystem and imagine what life would be like living solely off the land, asking questions like: “What would people do if there were no grocery stores?”


3. Dreamcatcher Craft

After reading Dreamcatcher the kids each wanted to make their own dreamcatchers for above their beds. I used an embroidery hoop and they wrapped it in yarn, then we placed the top hoop on to secure it. I helped tie on the beads and feathers.


4. Mini Wigwam Construction

I set up our geoboard (with removable pegs) and cut Willow tree branches (these branches are nicely bendable) and had the kids work together to build a wigwam structure.

We used this Native American Dwellings printable for ideas.

We also discussed a few trees that would be useful to Native Americans in our area (we live in a forest in Indiana)–specifically, the birch tree page in The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups was helpful!


5. Play with Canoes

We set up small worlds with toy forest animals, play dough, and toy canoes. We also held mini canoe races in water, which was a blast!

People of the Deserts and Mesas (Southwest)




1. Explore the Tribes of the Southwest

We used Native American Fact Cards from The Peaceful Press and Fandex Family Field Guides: Native AmericansThe Very First Americans also mentions a few tribes of each region.

2. Explore Mesa Verde and Cliff Dwellings

We looked at both the National Parks of the USA book and the If You Lived Here: Houses of the World book to explore Mesa Verde, and used some blocks to try and build our own similar structures.


3. Weaving Practice

We all ADORE The Goat in the Rug book and I wanted to make a *simple* weaving project that both my kids would be interested in.

I turned our geoboard into a loom by stretching rubber bands over every other row (our geoboard pegs are removable). I provided strips of paper for the kids to weave. I encouraged them to make patterns but really just left it up to them.

We also discussed natural dyes (Farm Anatomy) just like Glenmae uses in the story.


4. Create Snake Coil Clay Bowls

We created our own snake coil clay bowls just like the little girl living in the Southwest in “The Book of Indians” by Holling C. Holling. The kids were both capable of rolling out the slay “snake” coils and placing them around the circle base to make a small bowl. My 3 year old need some help pinching the coils together but overall I just let them create it and didn’t care too much about the end result. They loved creating these so much—probably the highlight of this unit for them.

We used a simple clay recipe from Nature’s Artbox, baked them dry, then painted them with watercolors. The kids now use theirs to store some nature treasures.


5. Explore Turquoise

In the Holling C. Holling “The Book of Indians” background information on the indigenous peoples of the Southwest, he discusses the importance of turquoise. We used our Rocks & Minerals book as well as this info card from Brave Grown Home to learn a bit more.


6. Explore the Deserts


Materials Used:

Deserts have long been a favorite topic of my son’s so it was fun to pull together all our materials to enjoy during this unit. I have enjoyed piecing together the various ecosystems of the geographic regions as we explore the tribes across North America.


*Note: Sherman Alexie has been accused of sexual misconduct so while I absolutely ADORE this book and its modern depiction of a Native American family, I do not give a blanket endorsement to Sherman Alexie.


We visited the Eiteljorg Museum of Native Americans and Western Art in Indianapolis and the kids got to see art and artifacts up close, and there is a kids area for them to play and interact with a variety of things.



We also connected Native Americans to the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower…


Books Referenced

Resources Used

  • Mayflower printable (free)
  • Pilgrim Peg Dolls
  • Cornmeal sensory play & writing tray (we also baked cornbread)
  • Dyed Corn Kernels + Corn coloring pages
    • 1/4 cup corn kernels
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar
    • 5-8 drops of food coloring
    • Place all of this in a small zip-loc bag & let sit overnight. Drain & dry, then you’re ready to craft!
  • Continent & Ocean cards



Preschool Habit Training: Obedience


On Habit Training

“We are not unwilling to make efforts in the beginning with the assurance that by-and-by things will go smoothly; and this is just what habit is, in an extraordinary degree, pledged to effect. The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children” (Charlotte Mason).

I think Habit Training can be viewed in a variety of ways, but I was inspired by Charlotte Mason teachings to begin to do short but meaningful lessons with my oldest (now in his second Preschool year).

I am using the suggestion from Charlotte Mason to focus on just one habit at a time, and to spend 6-8 weeks on that one habit. When we move on to another habit, we still find ways to address and discuss the habit we already did. Obviously, many habits require ongoing parenting efforts, but I wanted to at a minimum set aside some time to address these thing with my children so they can understand on a meta-level why we strive to be people of good character.

Why Obedience?


Charlotte Mason suggest these top three traits for young children, and it’s a great place to begin if you are new to habit-training because there are lots of great resources out there:

  • Obedience
  • Attention
  • Truthfulness

First, and infinitely the most important, is the habit of obedience. Indeed, obedience is the whole duty of the child, and for this reason—every other duty of the child is fulfilled as a matter of obedience to his parents. Not only so: obedience is the whole duty of man; obedience to conscience, to law, to Divine direction.” (Charlotte Mason)

Readings on Habit Training

My Habit Training Resources

Do I Really Need a Habit Training Curriculum?

The short answer: no.

Recently, lots of questions have arisen as to the use of Laying Down the Rails for Children for the Preschool years. It’s a pricey investment, so I really want to stress that I do not think this is something you HAVE to have. However, if you are interested in Habit Training as an ongoing thing (or interested in Charlotte Mason Homeschooling), then I do suggest adding this to your wishlist. I justified the expense now because I see us using it for years to come. It is not a curriculum that you just do for one year and then trash.

Also, I’d like to suggest that most habits for preschool-aged kids seem to come through (1) your everyday parenting, (2) incorporating chores & responsibility into your daily rhythm, and (3) developing intrinsically valuable habits like Attention as you go through your preschool curriculum.

That said, after spending a decent amount of time on the Habit of Obedience with my nearing-5-year-old, I am super grateful that we have done these lessons. We have a new framework for discussing rules, why they are in place, and why it’s important to obey instructions. Not surprisingly, we lately have had some tough moments as I write this where discussion like this have been super relevant.

Playful Learning Obedience Lessons for Preschoolers

Memory Verse

Obdience Memory Verse

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1)

Feel free to steal the image above I created for our memory verse!

Week 1


Define Obedience: Obedience is behavior that’s respectful and mindful of rules and laws. In terms of the Bible, to obey God means to hear God’s Word and follow it.

** Before each lesson each week, we reviewed our Memory Verse and reminded ourselves what Obedience means!

Review The Ten Commandments – discuss why God’s laws are in place: We must not do these things because God says they are not right. Give examples of lying or stealing.

Resources PicturedThe Jesus Storybook Bible and The Ology and Bible Peg Dolls

Week 2

Play Simon Says. Discuss how important (1) listening to instructions and (2) taking correct action are to obedience. What happens if you don’t listen or if you do the action at the wrong time?

Other options: Mother May I? or Red Light, Green Light

Week 3


Read Library Lion and talk about obeying rules and when it might be okay to not follow the rules (e.g. safety issues). We also played “library”, transforming our living room into a library and role-played following and not-following rules like being loud or running.

Read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and talk about what makes it hard to obey rules (e.g. not listening, wanting to do something other than what is being asked of us)

Week 4


Obedience for protection – blindfolded maze game. Blindfold the kids and have them walk using your instructions around the room or outdoors without running in to anything. Discuss the importance of listening precisely to instructions.

Also: proceed with caution if you have a wild & daring little one.

Week 5


Obedience lesson with traffic signs.



Play around with toy cars, pretend roads, and traffic signs. Explain what all of the signs mean and have the kids try to follow them. If someone does not obey the signs, have a police car come pull them over.

Added bonus: my kids, as a result of this lesson, are now super in to finding traffic signs on our car rides. It helps make the car rides a little more fun!

Week 6


Biblical example of obedience: Noah

Craft: God told Noah to make an Ark according to specific instructions. Make an Ark out of craft sticks.

Resources pictured:

Week 7


Do some dog training together. How do we get our new puppy to do a new trick? What makes him want to obey? (We recently adopted a new dog so this actually lined up perfectly)

If you don’t have a dog maybe watch an instructional video online or find a friend with a pet to go visit.

Week 8

Play King/Queen for the Day OR Police Officer for the Day. Discuss authority structures and how being in charge means a lot of responsibility. Parallel this to God being in charge and how he is the perfect example. God loves us perfectly and wants the best for us, so of course we should listen to what He says and do it!

When Did We Do These Lessons?

I typically saved these for our afternoon — either during our tea & snack time or for our outdoor time. This way, we were not doing anything else “scheduled” during that time. Again, I only did this once a week.

What’s Next?

Next we will be doing the Habit of Attention. I plan to follow a similar format where we’ll have a memory verse, Biblical example, game (or two), craft, and some picture books.

Additional Info

You may also find my blog post on our Preschool Daily Rhythm helpful, to see how Habit Training fits in to our overall weekly schedule.

I also enjoy some of the Kids of Integrity site and their Obedience post — there are several great memory verse and Bible story options here. I do not use all of that info but it’s certainly helpful if you are not interested in Laying Down the Rails for Children.

Burgess Book Lessons: Obedience — this post has a lot of other ideas for Obedience lessons.






Letter Unit Activities · Uncategorized

Preschool Supplies & Resources by Learning Category


Another Supply List??

Up until now I have resisted putting up a supply list on my blog because I did not think it would be helpful to re-invent the wheel. There are a ton of great preschool supply lists out there already — I personally started with The Peaceful Preschool supply list since that was the curriculum we used and will be repeating again.

However, here’s what I have to offer that might be a unique perspective:

  1. We live in a small house and do not have much storage space so I try to keep the supplies to a minimum,
  2. I prefer nature-based materials because they cost no money, have added sensory benefits, and do not harm the earth when disposed of, and
  3. I’ve done a whole year with The Peaceful Preschool and now that I know what we really need and actually gets use, I wish there were some things that I had not bought so I have noted those things below.

I plan to share my supply list based on must-have essentials, nice-to-have items, and, lastly, things I wish I would have skipped buying.

Note, though, that even the “must-haves” on my lists are my based on my preference and what fits with our preschool curriculum. Feel free to disagree with me!

Each supply list also includes some additional resources like free printables that I’ve found useful over the last year.

The Categories


Click on a link below to jump to a specific category of supplies & resources:

Lesson Preparation


  • Paper
  • Pens, Pencils, Highlighters
  • Scissors

Seriously. If you are on a tight budget, I think you can totally get by not having a printer & laminator & paper cutter!! You could have The Homeschool Printing Company print your curriculum and any worksheets, and not do any weekly printing from home. This is preschool, not college! Granted, this works for a non-worksheet-intensive curriculum like The Peaceful Preschool. There are other curriculums out there that require A LOT of printouts, in which case you probably are better off owning one!


The printer I purchased also has a scanner which I use on a weekly basis to keep digital files of all my children’s artwork.

I resisted buying a paper cutter at first but when I finally got one it was SO much better. Such a time-saver for cutting 3-Part Cards especially. I do think if you are not using a lot of printables you could skip all this stuff, though. I have had the one linked for over a year and have not needed to replace the blade yet.

Then there’s the regular office stuff like scissors, paper, hole punch, etc. that you likely already have.

Lesser-used but still nice to have:

The corner rounder cuts through laminated card stock. I love that thing so much.

I use binder rings to hold A-Z memory verses and other flash cards together.

The circle hole punches I have used for materials preparation but the kids also use them for arts & craft projects.

Read Alouds


See this blog post for all the resources I use to select Preschool books.

Letter Formation & Phonics

What I bought but wish I hadn’t:

* The Peaceful Preschool has you make your own DIY sensory letters using their printouts and glitter glue. These are redundant since we have the sandpaper letters listed above. My kids also had a hard time using the glitter glue tubes without frustration. AND, I’ve read that glitter has a negative impact on the environment so have tried to stay away from it.

** We bought this book and my son enjoyed it to a degree. He liked the stickers, but really I did not feel it was worth the money, in the end, because we already did enough letter-learning activities and I felt that this book was not adding anything of value. 

Other Letter Learning Supplies: Printables & Resources

Numbers & Counting

  • Sandpaper numbers
  • The Peaceful Preschool number cards (with purchased curriculum)
  • The Peaceful Preschool hundreds chart (with purchased curriculum)
  • Manipulatives for counting. Here are some options:
    • Natural materials: acorns, sticks, cut wood discs, rocks, shells
    • Beads, marbles, popsicle sticks, buttons, pom poms
  • Trays / compartments for counting (you can even write numbers in these):
    • Egg cartons
    • Muffin tins
    • Ice cube trays

Note: Preschool Math is a category where I feel like it is easy to get creative, see what is already in your house, or explore a thrift store. In my opinion, there is very little spending that needs to be done here for preschool. Recycle your egg cartons or thrift some trays and tins!

Also, I feel a lot of counting for this age can be done simply by reading books and through the regular day-in day-out play. If I do a pre-planned math activity, I try to keep it playful.

Other Supplies: Printables & Resources

Fine Motor Skills


Again, a lot of things here can be found around your house or thrifted!

Sensory Play

Generally I prefer the great outdoors for this type of play: playing in dirt or mud or water. But, we have winters and rainy days in Indiana and it’s nice to have a few fun options for indoor sensory play:

What I bought but wish I hadn’t:
  • Water Beads (I just don’t care for the waste and environmental impact of these)

Large Motor Skills

Practical Life

For us, this mainly means including my children in our regular daily rhythm.

We have daily chore tasks which I discussed on our Daily Rhythm blog post.

We try to give the kids independence in self-care as appropriate.

Here are a few things I have found useful to have around:

Arts & Crafts

This category can get CRAZY real fast. My main recommendation for those first starting out: do not feel like you need EVERY SINGLE art supply available to your children right off the bat! Pick just a couple, see how they like it, and as budget allows try to slowly incorporate some others. We have a wide variety of supplies right now but my children love crayons and watercolor the most. If I was on a super tight budget I would start with those. I’m putting a wide variety in my “must-haves” list but know I do not think you need ALL of these things.

What I bought but wish I hadn’t:
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
Seen on other lists I’ve never bought:
  • Contact paper

Color Recognition

For color sorting there are a lot of cheap and DIY options:

  • I hand-painted our wood jewelry sorting tray (with 12 spots), and we use this a lot.
  • You could also make your own version of something like this using an old cupcake tin & construction paper.
  • We have also used our colored bowls from IKEA or I just make something simple with construction paper.
  • You could also make something simple out of felt if you are that kind of crafty.

I also love Grimm’s rainbow peg dolls that could double as a toy and used for color sorting preschool activities.

Lastly, I love these FREE Color Nomenclature Cards to introduce color names.

Shapes Recognition

I mainly use this shape sorting printable set I created to go along with our Melissa and Doug Wood Shape Sorter — we had the shape sorter already so I went with that. You can find the free printable on this page.

I also love these free shape flashcards from tinyn3rds.

Outdoor Play & Nature Study


See the following blog posts for more detailed information for this category:

Here is what I use for a nature journal for my kids:

Geography & Culture

See this blog post on our Preschool Cultural Studies supplies.

Art & Music Appreciation

Bible & Spirituality


See this blog post on our Bible Lesson supplies and units.

Games & Puzzles

Do not underestimate the value of games & puzzles! I think this doesn’t get labelled as “school” but for preschool-aged: it totally counts.

Here are some favorite games:

And some favorite puzzles:

Calendar & Clock

We update our hanging wall calendar. You can also make a free version of a perpetual calendar using The Peaceful Press Calendar Bundle or find a different version.

At the beginning of a new month we read a monthly from Around The Year (Elsa Beskow). There is also a days of the week poem in here that’s fun.

There are clocks that can be purchased but I felt at this point for preschool-age I just wanted something simple that my son could manipulate so I made one using a wood circle and numbered rocks, with two sticks for hands.

What I Wish I Would Have Thought About Last Year Before Stocking Up On Supplies

Lessons I’ve learned after doing through preschool at home for one year:

  1. Use natural materials whenever possible! Sensorial experience with natural materials is a huge bonus, PLUS items from nature don’t cost anything and don’t create excess trash in landfills. Hooray!
  2. Thrift it. Pretty much all of my baskets and trays came from a thrift store. If it’s thrifted, then you don’t have to get mad if it gets ruined.
  3. Find things around your house before you purchase something new and cool. Seriously, you probably have a drawer of random buttons somewhere that can be used for math or sorting or even letter formation.
  4. Think of ways to use materials in multiple ways. For example, wood beads with holes can be (1) laced as a fine motor skill, (2) used for a transfer tray, (3) counted up for simple math lessons, (4) added to play dough for some letter formation fun, or (5) used for arts and crafts. You do not need marbles AND beads AND pom poms AND buttons. Pick one. Simplify.
  5. Printables that make for good Instagram photos are not always worth it. Save that printer ink!! Seriously, the more I do this the more grumpy I get about printables with full-color pages.
  6. If you are going to print something that takes a lot of ink (like 3-Part Cards), make sure you get a lot of use out of them! We use our 3-Part Cards every week in multiple ways, and I have seen so much wonderful learning happening with their use. Also, I save my 3-Part Cards for repeat lessons since we are going through the alphabet A-Z all over again.
  7. Before you buy something, try to plan in your mind exactly where you will store it. If you don’t have a great option for storing it, try to skip buying it.
  8. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Most of my kid’s art projects I later turn in to scissor cutting exercises, so we get 2 uses out of the paper … and then we recycle the cut up pieces if we are able.

CONGRATS on Your Homeschooling Journey!

If you have questions, please feel free to email me our DM me on Instagram.


















Preschool Cultural Studies


How We Do Culture Studies

I have a 4 1/2 and 3 year old and over the last year have tried to include more cultural studies into our homeschool preschool activities. I thought I would share a few tips on how I go about doing that!

We explore countries other than our own using the following resources and activities, which I will detail below:

  • Living Books
  • Letters From Afar
  • Map Work (Geography)
  • Age-Appropriate Nonfiction Resources
  • Classic Stories & Folktales
  • Animal & Biome Study
  • Flag-Making
  • Landmark Study
  • Videos
  • Cultural Food

Living Books

If nothing else, we usually START with stories set in different countries. This, to me, is the easiest and most natural place to start for my kids. So, instead of setting out a globe on the table and announcing, “We’re going to learn about France today,” we read Madeline! We first read living books — and if that story is set in a different country that ours, it provides a natural opportunity to locate that country on a map and explore it further.

Here are just a couple examples:

What Do We Do All Day? has a great list of books by country that may be of interest!

Letters From Afar

We recently signed up for a subscription from Letters From Afar and I am totally blown away at how wonderful and simple this is! I was honestly worried the letters would be too much for my kids at their ages, but they loved it! They are so excited for the next letter to come in the mail, to see where Isabelle might go next. Covered in the letters are famous landmarks, cultural events, climate, food, animals, and some history. It’s wonderful. For only $6 a month, this is absolutely worth it.

Map Work (Geography)


As stated above, we typically do not study maps in isolation of literary connections. That said, I’ll share some of the resources I have been using lately:

We do not have a globe at this point that that’s next on my wishlist! I would also love to find a high quality wood puzzle of the whole world with every country as its own piece, so if you know of one, please do share.

More could be done for Preschool Geography in terms of terminology, landforms, and even compass work, but for this blog post I wanted to keep the focus on the connection of map work to cultural studies. Montessori-inspired continent boxes are also a wonderful tool.

Age-Appropriate Nonfiction Resources


We read and explore the above-listed books enough where my son can actually make connections between the books. Sometimes it may take my effort but I never try to force the learning but instead follow the lead of my kids.

If it works out and interest is there, we search these books together to make connections between our Letters From Afar letter or a picture book we are reading.

Classic Stories & Folktales


There are lots of great folktales from a variety of countries in these two books:

The Table of Contents to both of these books has the stories listed and the country of origin. I just scan the lists and find a story from the specific country we are currently studying. We usually read these types of stories during our afternoon tea time.

Note that I do not use these books with every country we study. I do at most one story from these books a week.

Animal & Biome Study


We often look at our MAPS book and find animals on those pages. My kids LOVE animals and it’s fun to explore the natural world around the globe in this way. We play with small animal figurines from Safari TOOBs, explore the Atlas of Animal Adventures, read poems from Wild World, and watch scenes from Planet Earth.


Above is a picture of a Tiger study that also included a culture study of India. Connecting animals to places across the globe is such a fun way to make geography have some depth beyond “this is where India is on the map.”


This can be so simple and so fun! Flags are a great way to bring in some arts & crafts to the culture studies.

My kids have done the following to make flags:

  • Cut construction paper and glue together pieces
  • Color or watercolor paint a basic printed coloring page (found through Google)
  • Build a flag out of LEGO pieces

We reference flags from our MAPS book or from this printable from Playful Learning.

Landmark Study


For our Madeline and France study, we also focused on The Eiffel Tower. We looked up real photos and pictures, and then I had the kids do a special art piece featuring the Eiffel Tower.

My kids also love building with blocks and LEGOs, so when we were learning about England we built Big Ben and the Tower Bridge. Safari also has a World Landmark TOOB and Around the World TOOB with a variety of famous landmarks—these are all miniature and my kids enjoy this type of thing, but you certainly can skip buying stuff like this!


I also enjoy having these illustrated World Landmark Nomenclature Cards from Montessori Nature.


If you have the ability to hop on a plane and go experience the actual country you are studying, by all means! Next best thing? Videos! The internet can certainly be terrible (in my humble opinion), BUT it also gives us the ability to enjoy some people, places, and customs from around the world in our small home in rural Indiana. Not a bad thing!

We simply watch a variety of videos for our cultural studies. I already mentioned we like to watch Planet Earth for some features of specific animals and habitats, but we also may watch videos of a specific cultural celebration like Chinese lantern festivals or Andalusian Horse Dance shows. I usually wait to see what type of thing my kids are showing interest in from our stories and discussions, and then look up videos. I do not typically pre-plan this out.

Cultural Food

What’s a culture study without international food!?

Here are some examples of foods we have made recently to celebrate another country:

  • Crepes for France
  • Samosas for India
  • Churros for Spain

Don’t put pressure on yourself to make the best ever “authentic” fare — just find an easy version of a popular dish that you can make & enjoy with your child(ren).

Other Options

World music — Celebrate some music from your country of focus. For preschoolers this needs no elaborate explanation or introduction–simply play the music while you cook or clean or play.

Dance styles — Look up a culturally relevant dance and try it out with your kids. We have even visited some local performances to enjoy a variety of types of dance and music.

Artist study — Is there a famous artist from your country of focus you want to explore further? I wanted to do Picasso for Spain recently, but we spent so much time exploring other things that I thought adding in an artist study that week would be too much. Really for preschoolers you could introduce the artist with one famous work of art — don’t feel like you need a huge history lesson and to explore his/her full body of work! Keep it fun.

Art projects — Is there a culturally-specific art technique or style you could try out in a preschool-friendly-version? Brush & ink calligraphy painting is used in China, for example, and could be done with a DIY ink version with preschoolers.

Additional Resources

Every Star is Different has several helpful Continent Packs for all 7 Continents (plus The Arctic) with a lot of free printables. Go check it out here.



A Charlotte Mason Inspired Preschool Daily Rhythm


Our Preschool Curriculum

In May 2017 we started our preschool at home with The Peaceful Preschool plus additional activities based on my children’s interests and seasonal changes in the natural world. I have mainly been “doing school” with my now-4 1/2-year-old and including my youngest (just now 3) to the degree that she is interested. It’s actually amazing what she has been able to pick up without direct schooling efforts on my part, just by participating and watching her older brother!

Looking ahead, I plan to finish the curriculum through Letter Z, and then start over again with The Peaceful Preschool Letter A with both of my kids (adding a few additional reading and writing lessons for my son as he continues to show signs of readiness). My son (4 1/2) checks off all the boxes on the lists of “Kindergarten Readiness” but I do not wish to start a kindergarten curriculum just yet with him. Why?? Because of Charlotte Mason…

A Quiet Growing Time


“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 for the most part out in the fresh air.” (Charlotte Mason)

Charlotte Mason believed no formal schooling should be done until a child reached the age of 6. Now, I’m obviously not in that exact same frame of mind but I do love and appreciate the heart behind that.

Recently I wrote down my ideal focuses for my children’s days right now:

  • Read Alouds
  • Outdoor Play & Exploration
  • Knowledge of God
  • Habits & Character
  • Gentle Preschool Academics
  • Appreciation of Beauty

—Since my children have been tiny tots Read Alouds and Outdoor Play & Exploration have been the easiest and most natural for me to include in our days. Even on the rough days where I feel like I’m running on empty, we still do these two things. At the heart, these things inspire our deepest connections and incite my fondest memories.

—Knowledge of God includes: Bible stories, memory verses, and prayer.

—Habits & Character includes: daily and weekly chores, manners, self-care, and then the top three habits for Charlotte Mason in the early years are attention, obedience, and truthfulness. 

Appreciation of Beauty includes: poetry, art, music, and handcrafts.

Gentle Preschool Academics can be a harder thing to “nail down.” I will admit over the last year not all of my preschool activities for my kids have fit in to the “gentle” category.  Over the last year I have done a lot of add-on letter-of-the-week activities as we moved through each letter of the alphabet. I plan to still do some of these things, but definitely will be doing a lot less extra the second time through.

I have come to realize through my own efforts and by comparing curriculums, that The Peaceful Preschool absolutely fits the bill when it comes to a gentle academic guide in the early years, in line with Charlotte Mason’s “quiet growing time.” I plan to stick to The Peaceful Preschool moving forward.

Additional Charlotte Mason Resources on The Early Years

The Importance of Rhythm: A Platform for Growth

I highly recommend reading Simplicity Parenting for inspiration as to why having a daily rhythm matters!! Overall this book is so inspiring, but there is one particular chapter devoted especially to rhythm that I revisit every couple of months.

“Children depend on the rhythmic structure of the day–on its predictability, its regularity, its pulse…. By surrounding a young child with a sense of rhythm and ritual, you can help them order their physical, emotional, and intellectual view of the world. As little ones come to understand, with regularity, that ‘this is what we do,’ they feel solid earth under their feet, a platform for growth. Such a stable foundation can facilitate their mapmaking: the connectedness that they are charting in their brains, in relation to other people, and in their emerging worldview.” (Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne)

Our Daily Rhythm: At A Glance

Below is a scan of our Daily Rhythm sheet I hand illustrated for my kids, and we keep it hung on our fridge.

This is for those of you who are super busy and do not have time to read this entire blog post. I see you. I hear you. Here is the condensed version of this post:

Daily Rhythm!.jpg

Our Daily Rhythm: In Detail

7:00 – 8:00 AM | Breakfast and Self Care

We have one hour between when my kids wake up and when my husband goes to work.

Most days my husband and I are awake for an hour or more before the kids. I like to read or paint or workout before the craze of the day begins.

All four of us eat breakfast together and then get ready for the day. Sometimes there is a decent chance for the the kids to get some just-dad-time in before he goes to work: lately they have been having him read books to them or play a short game.

7:00 – 8:00 AM | Chores OR Physical Play

“As has been well said, ‘Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.’ And a great function of the educator is to secure that acts shall be so regularly, purposefully, and methodically sown that the child shall reap the habits of the good life, in thinking and doing, with the minimum of conscious effort.” (Charlotte Mason)


I used the chore cards from The Peaceful Press as a guide to create our personalized weekly chore plan you see above. There are daily chores listed at the bottom just as a little visual reminder of what we are already doing on a daily basis (e.g. dishes or toy clean-up) but do not need to happen at a designated “chore time.”

Each day I have 3 things listed and there’s at least one thing the kids can do mostly independent of me (except for Sunday: those tasks are for me). Usually I am able to give them a choice on which task they want to do. I expect their participation and I make it fun: lately we have been playing some Mary Poppins songs while we work.

We mark off the chore with an “X” when completed. “We entertain the idea which gives birth to the act and the act repeated again and again becomes the habit” (Charlotte Mason). I do not do stickers or rewards — chores are for responsibility, not reward: when the task is complete, the kids feel capable for completing the work and responsible for taking care of the home they live in.

With chores there is obviously some flexibility: we can decide something can be done a later time, or maybe we need to do a little extra on a given day if we have guests coming over.

Physical work AND play

My kids wake up with a lot of energy so I like to let them get some of it out before requesting that they sit down at a table for 30 minutes for morning time or preschool activities. Luckily, doing chores is a GREAT way to get the blood circulating and do some physical work. If there aren’t many chores to do we may also have some physical play, a living room dance party, or do their yoga workout DVD, or a song & movement game from Games Children Sing & Play.

8:30 – 9:30 AM | Morning Time OR Preschool OR Unstructured Play

I see three different options for our time together in the morning:

  1. Morning Time
  2. Preschool
  3. Unstructured Play

Remember my kids are 4 1/2 and 3 so there is not an intensive amount of academics to get done in the course of a week!

I separated out “Morning Time” from “Preschool Activities” below and hopefully it will make sense why after I describe the differences below:

(1) Morning Time

“But let the imaginations of children be stored with the pictures, their minds nourished upon the words, of the gradually unfolding story of the Scriptures, and they will come to look out upon a wide horizon within which persons and events take shape in their due place and due proportion.” (Charlotte Mason)


If we have a “morning time” this will include some but not all of the following in one day:

I will not have a morning time like this every day of the week. More than likely this will be once a week. The important part for me is that I plan for it. I must plan for my children to have contact with God’s Truth–if I leave it to chance, it won’t happen.

As for the habits / character lesson — in Laying Down the Rails For Children they really suggest ONLY once for a habits lesson per week. And, they suggest spending 6-8 weeks on just one habit! We will first go through Charlotte Mason’s three core habits for the early years: attention, obedience, and truthfulness. Added bonus: many of these require habit-training for parents, not just the kids! For us — fun, age-appropriate games are involved: for example, for our Obedience lesson last week we played “Simon Says.”

An important point to add, in keeping with a “gentle” structure to our days: I will not do a morning time like this AND do a bunch preschool activities on the same day! Quality over quantity is my goal, and Charlotte Mason even advocated for short lessons to develop the habit of attention. When we move towards Kindergarten, I should be able to extend our morning time to include Bible time AND school. 

That said, if we do Preschool as detailed below, we will still do a prayer and brief review of our memory verse…

(2) Preschool


For days in which we do preschool, we will continue to follow The Peaceful Preschool through Letter Z, and then we will begin again with Letter A. The aspects of The Peaceful Preschool we will do are:

  • Read Alouds (Here’s my blog post detailing how I select books for Preschool)
  • Phonics & Letter Formation (for my oldest I have begun to include some more advanced reading and writing activities (Montessori-based) and my daughter will follow the curriculum as-is)
  • Counting Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills

I often skip the Large Motor Skills from The Peaceful Preschool because I feel that our outdoor play & exploration time covers this pretty well. For more on that topic, I highly recommend reading Balanced and Barefoot!

I often will save the following activities from The Peaceful Preschool for later on in the day:

  • Practical Life Skills (baking / cooking project)
  • Art Skills (unless it directly relates to the Read Aloud)
(3) Unstructured Play

There currently are and will continue to be days where I have zero things pre-planned for my kids in terms of lessons. We play a lot. And: I leave plenty space for my children to be bored and figure out what to do with their time on their own.

Again, I recommend reading Simplicity Parenting if you are looking for ideas on how to create an inviting play environment at home with a minimalist approach: having fewer, high quality open-ended toys actually enhances children’s ability to have longer stretches of imaginative play.

During this time, even if I have no pre-planned learning activities, we often read stories too. See this post for book lists I reference to find read alouds!

Also, I want to point out: so much learning in the preschool years can happen naturally through play! In fact, often the best “teaching moments” happen with prompting from the kids through their play, not through something I pre-planned.

9:30 – 11:00 AM | Outdoor Time OR Errands OR Fun Outings


The transition from the above time to going outside is made by having a snack break. If we are going outside we may just bring some snacks in the yard or on our walk with us. If we run errands or go out of the house, we may bring a snack in the car. The bottom line: morning snack is essential for my children’s happiness.

(1) Outdoor Time

“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without” (Charlotte Mason).


Often in the mornings, our outdoor time involves movement: we are walking or hiking or off exploring. We live on a camp property so there are lots of options of places for us to explore. After a walk we stay outside and play in the yard until lunch.

I also LOVE using the outdoors as our natural learning environment because it requires zero pre-planning on my part. We use all of our senses. We pay attention to seasonal changes. We observe, we collect, we treasure. We nature journal. We share stories of our experiences.

Additional Resources on Outdoor Time:

(2) Errands

I am a morning errand-runner because I feel that it avoids crowds and traffic. I try to keep errand I do with the kids to once per week.

(3) Fun Outings

A children’s museum, playground, nature walk with friends, the zoo, the library are some options for us. We typically have something like about once a week.

11:30 AM | Lunch

After lunch my kids clean up the common space: all toys and books and art supplies go away other than what my son wants to keep out in the kids’ room for his quiet time.

12:30 – 2:30 PM | Quiet Time

The kids typically get 30 minutes of screen time after lunch. I like having a set expected time that the screen time happens, because then they aren’t requesting (or demanding) it all throughout the day. Weekends we may watch an extra show in the evening or a movie as a family.

My daughter naps in our bed (since the kids share a room). I always read her a book first.

My son has his quiet time in the kids’ room. I read him a book and he either looks at books or plays with toys and puzzles.

The time they are actually in their separate rooms & the time I get in solitude to myself usually is about 1 hour 20 minutes. I usually read or do something creative or catch up on computer stuff.

2:30 – 3:00 PM | Tea Time OR Additional Preschool Activities

Generally speaking the focus during our afternoon together time will be beauty and togetherness: sharing tea, poetry, stories, art, music, baking, etc. I really enjoy this time because we all come together at the table for some arts and culture (and sweet treats) after our separate quiet times.

(1) Tea Time

“Poetry is, perhaps, the most searching and intimate of our teachers…Poetry supplies us with tools for the modeling of our lives, and the use of these we must get at ourselves” (Charlotte Mason).


For tea time, we make either cinnamon or peppermint tea (because the kids actually drink it), and either:

(a) Read a few poems. As of now we do not work on memorizing any poems, but on Charlotte Mason’s Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six she has listed “to recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns,” so I would like to start doing this.

Here are our favorite poetry books:


(b) Read short stories that aren’t poetry but we enjoy reading during this tea time:


(c) Read from chapter books. I find that this afternoon tea time is a great time to read chapter books which do not hold my 3 year old’s attention as well at other points in the day. If she’s sitting at the table with us and has a snack, she’ll stay and listen.

Lately we have been enjoying Beatrix Potter and Thornton Burgess Animal Stories.

(2) Additional Preschool Activities


At this time we might do any ONE of the following additional fun Preschool Activities. I never feel like these following things have to happen; but, our afternoon time at the kitchen table where we come together after our quiet times has proven to be a nice time to explore some poetry or art or culture together. This is an example of our natural daily rhythm existing before adding in activities. These activities are built in to our natural daily rhythm, and not some academic agenda or checklist:

  • A baking project from The Peaceful Preschool
  • An art project from The Peaceful Preschool
  • A Picture Study from the Ambleside Online schedule (to incorporate art into our days in an informal way, as opposed to doing a true academic Picture Study the Charlotte Mason way (for a child greater than 6))
  • A Music Study from Ambleside Online schedule (again, keeping this more informal, I plan to select one classical composition at a time to listen to, naming the composer for my kids — we are not doing a detailed academic study of a composer as you would with older children but I thought it would be fun to coincide with the Ambleside schedule)
  • An Arts & Culture study from The Habitat Schoolhouse
    • This may involve looking at art, learning about artists, musicians, or other countries and cultures (likely using our MAPS book)
  • An Animal & Plant study from The Habitat Schoolhouse

Note: I would never do several of these at once! And, further: I will not hit all of these categories in a given week. I see this not a checklist, but more of an opportunity.

3:00 – 5:30 PM | Outside Time

“We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things” (Charlotte Mason).

This may include unstructured play, a hike or walk, maybe a specific nature study, or maybe even a trip to a close playground.

There may be some outdoor play and learning activities that I have for us to do as well.

A Note About Nature Study:

For our “nature studies” — to me this mostly means that we are present to the natural world around us, taking everything in with all of our senses. We observe, we discuss, sometimes the kids add to their nature journals.

I do not do anything super extensive by way of academics here. I like to keep it fun and playful, but mostly just keeping in step with the season we are in and knowing fully the place in which we live.

I have looked through Exploring Nature With Children and this curriculum is an absolutely wonderful resource! Right now I do not plan to use this week-by-week, but I may reference it as-needed if there’s some aspect of the natural world my kids seem to want to explore further.

Additional Resources on Outdoor Time:

5:30 PM | Dinner

We eat food. Together. Light candles. Pray for the meal. Share about our days.

A Note About Dinner Prep:

Often I prep dinner once my husband gets home shortly after 5 PM. He can play with the kids outside or inside and I can do dinner. Often, though, we have leftovers or do really simple meals that I can even prep during the day. If I do pre-prep I likely do that during lunch time since we are all in the kitchen anyway.

6:00 – 7:30 PM | Family Together Time

Outdoor adventures, board games, books, puzzles, animal shows, random trips out for ice cream, coloring, playing with Dad-as-a-jungle-gym, etc.

7:30 PM | Bedtime Routine

Bath, PJs and brush teeth, and then either my husband or I read to the kids for about 30 minutes before lights out.

Bedtime stories has always been a favorite time of day for me. We read for a long time! We read books we own, but I also keep a shelf of library books that I pull from a variety of sources. These are often seasonally appropriate or related to our preschool curriculum in some way.

8:00 PM | Bedtime

Phew. We made it!! Likely not without some messes and failures and fights and tears.

A Sample Week: Letter V

Putting ALL of this together I decided to share a sample week of what I planned out for our Letter V week (click here for the PDF version of what is below). Mostly I think it’s important to see how many categories are left blank on any given day. I’m not trying to check off ALL the boxes on every day. And the truth is: this week was a fuller than an average week in terms of my planning because we just did not have any scheduled outings. Normally one of these days would be left totally empty in terms of my planning.

V Week.png

Just for a frame of reference, each day this week the morning block of activities where we sit together and read and do some preschool actives took maybe 20-35 minutes, except for Tuesday when we spent a lot of time learning a variety of orchestra instruments and did extra learning with videos and music and supplemental materials–that was probably more like a hour. Afternoon tea time & projects range from 20-40 minutes before we head outside.


Obviously there are days where NONE of what I just mentioned is happening. We’re sick. We’re off our groove. We’re traveling. I just want to have a “break day” for no particular reason. Please do not read this and think I’m a perfect human and totally nailing it every day. There are good reasons and not-so-good reasons why our days sometimes are not fully perfect and flowing nicely. The truth is, though, I am glad it’s that way because it means we are normal.

Another thing I want to be clear about: I have 2 children, but in a way school right now is like schooling only 1 child. We have 1 curriculum, and basically my 2 kids are doing the same things with the exception of my son doing some more advanced language arts. This will change. Our daily rhythm will change. I am happy to shift things around when it is appropriate to do so!

EVERY SINGLE FAMILY is unique and different and what works for me will not work for you in the same way. It’s just a fact. But — I know that when I first started out this homeschool journey it was so so helpful for me to read other mom’s daily rhythms just to have somewhere to start! I understand it can feel overwhelming to start.

If I have any advice it’s this: dive in, and expect to fail. Sometimes the only way you’ll find your “groove” is to find out what doesn’t work through failure. When I started out Letter A with The Peaceful Preschool in May 2017 I did an INSANE amount of activities in a 2 week period! I cringe a little. But, here’s the thing — I don’t regret it. I had to know what was “too much” in order to know what was “just right.” And I had to learn that checking off all of the boxes on my to-do list did not inherently make our day a good day. And then I had to go back and re-read Teaching From Rest because clearly it didn’t sink in enough the first time!

Additional Resources on Rhythm

Small Beginnings: A Homeschool Starter Guide

This ebook is an EXCELLENT starting point for homeschooling with themes from Charlotte Mason. There is a whole section in here on rhythms. Rachael Alsbury & Kate Heinemeyer share their daily rhythms as well as so many more additional resources.

The Peaceful Preschool Curriculum

The introduction pages of this curriculum have SO MUCH guidance and wisdom for creating a Family Vision and ideas for establishing a daily rhythm. Included is a sample daily schedule. If you buy this curriculum do not skip these pages! For those following The Peaceful Preschool, I also recommend reading Kaitlyn from Simply Learning‘s daily rhythm here as well as Lyndsey from Treehouse Schoolhouse‘s daily rhythm here.

Simplicity Parenting

I mentioned this book already above but the chapter on rhythm in particular of this book is so good, aimed at simplifying our home environment and lifestyle.

Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace

This is not directly about “rhythm” per se but this serves as an excellent invitation to approach the daily grind with a peaceful heart. Sarah Mackenzie beautifully encourages us how to have reasonable expectations for our homeschooling days and how to simplify our goals to get at what really matters to us. Daily rhythms are always evolving and we, the homeschooler, set the tone. We are the atmosphere. The biggest take-home for me after reading this book was the fact that how we interact with our children matters more than getting through the curriculum material.

Encouragement for the Little Years (Cloistered Away)

This blog post was so lovely and encouraging to me last year before I began our homeschooling adventure. I re-read it whenever I am feeling crazy.

The Life Giving Home

Sally Clarkson has a lot of wonderful books on homeschooling and mothering, but this one in particular considers the rhythms of the home, and gives month-by-month ideas for creating a rich home environment full of intention. Charlotte Mason said that “education is an atmosphere” and our daily rhythms can be enhanced by cultivating a meaningful home atmosphere full of beauty, life, and order.