I’ve been doing a Charlotte Mason homeschool since 2000, and I’m always surprised by the things that Charlotte Mason expected 6-year-olds to know. Charlotte Mason was an educator that lived in England in the 1800’s. Her method of teaching was formed by her observation of watching how children naturally learn and supporting this learning with rich ideas that would teach them to think and reason on their own. Charlotte believed that ‘Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life’, which starts at the beginning of a child’s life.
18 Things Charlotte Mason Expected 6-Year-Olds to Know
As you can imagine, I get this question often, especially with our culture’s pull for preschools and early education. I love that Charlotte Mason believed in forming habits and observation in children younger than six.
Charlotte Mason viewed children as individuals, capable of learning, retaining and building their own ideas from the things introduced to them in the world around them.
Introducing children to nature, living books and utilizing their ability to memorize to retain and recite poetry, hymns, parables, verses, language, parts of geography, and things in nature were part of her expected learning activities.
Charlotte Mason taught that inspirations came through books, providing children with ideas and relationships to the things they read about or had read to them. With that begin said, Charlotte Mason didn’t believe a child should start their formal education until they were 6 years old, so the list I’m about to share with you would have been expected of a child at the end of their first year of formal education.
What I love about this list is that many of these 18 things are things that could be learned prior to the formal education, and done by nature study with older children in the family, or by enjoying nature walks together.
‘Bird’ was one of the first words that our fourth child said because he spent a lot of time outside from an early age and was a part of our nature walks and observations.
With these beliefs, Charlotte constructed a list of 18 things that expected a six-year to know.
- To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
- To recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
- To add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
- To read — what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
- To copy in print-hand from a book
- To know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
- To describe the boundaries of their own home
- To describe any lake, river, pond, island, etc. within easy reach
- To tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stores from Bible history, 3 from early English, and 3 from early Roman history (my own note here, you may want to substitute the types of history to fit your nationality)
- To be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
- To mount in a scrapbook a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and where they found them.
- To do the same with the leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
- To know 6 birds by song, color, and shape
- To send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed
- To tell three stories about their own “pets” — rabbit, dog or cat
- To name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences
- To sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song
- To keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from their own observation
If you need help implementing the Charlotte Mason Way, consider enrolling in my course to learn how to use this method of education with your children in today’s homeschool culture.
You can learn more about The Charlotte Mason Way Course by clicking here.