Form I (ages 6-9)
Form I is a different animal than the other Forms in a Charlotte Mason education. It is light and joyful and celebrates the goodness in the world.
History focuses on the adventurous tales, stories of might and myth. Some may be concerned that we don’t introduce the injustices of our country at this age, but we prefer to follow Charlotte Mason’s own teachings: that this is a time to focus on the good of our country, and that there is plenty of time in later Forms to learn of the terrible things in all countries’ histories.
Science is exclusively nature study, but one that is experiential. Get outside and experience for yourself! Don’t rely on a book to impart information about the natural world. Get an ant farm, hatch frogs, watch a caterpillar change into a butterfly, feed the birds …. the list is endless.
We know that Form I appears light, particularly IB, in comparison with other Charlotte Mason curricula. We modeled Wildwood Curriculum on the PNEU programmes from the early 1920s-1930s. Mornings were for academics, afternoons for nature study, art, music, and masterly inactivity. We encourage you to compare Wildwood to the programmes, available for download through WorldCat.
We have two versions of our curriculum: a narrowed curriculum with book choices made, and an Options page which tells our reasoning and lists different options. In some stages of life, you want many options and want to know the reasoning behind why some books were chosen, so you can tweak and make your own. In others, you can’t bear to look at a list of options and just need someone to have made all the choices for you. We give you both.
A year in the PNEU programmes was divided into three terms of twelve weeks each. One week of exams was expected at the end of each term. Terms were September to December, January to March, and April to July.
We hesitate to add a book list of additional reading because we feel that more time should be spent outside, doing handwork, helping around the house, drawing, and making music. However, reading aloud at bedtime is a cherished tradition for many. To that end, we have listed some suggestions for wonderful books to read aloud to your children at this age under Bedtime Reading. Please don’t let this time encroach on time spent outside. Bedtime is perfect for these. Also, if your children don’t enjoy being read to or are too wiggly, there’s no need to force it. If you don’t like a book after two chapters, drop it; these are books that our families have enjoyed, but that doesn’t mean they are essential. There are too many good books to spend time on ones you don’t love. Please believe us when we say that these books are completely optional. Don’t feel pressure to add them to your day.
Here is an excellent article on British vs American children’s books: Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories
We recommend that students should be 6 turning 7 , or already 7 when they begin 1B. If your child has a late spring or summer birthday and will be a young 6, you may try 1B. However, if your child isn’t ready, feel no guilt about waiting an extra year until he or she is 7. We do not recommend beginning 1B with a 5 year old.
For ideas on how to fit everything in, read How Do I Do All This?
The following instructions are taken directly from the PNEU programmes:
- In Upper IA students should read their own books as much as possible, and should sometimes write narration.
- In home schoolrooms where there are children in A as well as B, both forms may work together, doing the work of A or B as they are able.
- For methods of teaching the various subjects, see Home Education and School Education.