Oh yes, I did. I had so much fun! This started as a little project that I thought might be a list of the top-five gifts or the top-ten gifts, but it had a mind of its own and became a catalog of all the wonderful things we never think to ask for. It’s a helpful hint that can be sent to husbands or parents or whomever asks you what you want for Christmas.
Also, it’s just plain fun to browse.
I don’t know about you, but I love flipping through a good catalog. So this one’s designed especially for you. Get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and snuggle up!
I’ve divided this up into a variety of categories: Mother Education, Nature Study, School Supplies, Mother Play, Handicrafts, Fine Art, and Education Library.
Earlier this year, we spent some time talking about Charlotte Mason’s Mothers’ Education Course (the MEC). The MEC had four main areas of study: divinity, physiology and health, mental and moral science and education, and nature lore and the elements of science.
So why not start her a library in each of these categories? Or add to what she already has? Here are some of my top choices for each area:
Physiology and Health
Mental and Moral Science and Education
Nature Lore and the Elements of Science
Nature study is one subject area that requires a number of tools that a newbie classical, Charlotte Mason mama doesn’t already own. Plus there are a number of items that make it easier or more enjoyable. This category, then, combines a number of must-haves with a number of I-wants.
Nature journals can be done in a variety of ways. I prefer to either do watercolors:
Or just a simple pencil sketch:
Day hiking is more enjoyable with supplies like these:
And don’t forget the field guides! Here are some of our favorites:
Many homeschool moms have supplies they wish they owned, but they don’t buy them because money is tight on one income. This is really common, which is why giving school supplies isn’t a bad idea, especially if it’s something you know she’ll really enjoy.
For example, these make composer study so much easier:
Or this, to hold those out of print books:
Or these, which are geography and decor at once:
(Don’t forget to frame that wall map!)
Or what about a complete homeschool planning set of printable forms and instructions to start her New Year off right?
If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would only have courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents. (Vol. 3, p. 33)
Is she exhausted? Overwhelmed? What she needs is some playtime. I can’t have a definitive list here because this needs to be something specifically available in her area. But this could be something cheap, like homemade coupons for hours off on her own, or something more expensive, like a museum membership, or tickets to an upcoming cultural event. The point is that it needs to be something that is both enriching and refreshing — something enjoyable — that the mother can do without her children.
Note: if she’s really, really overwhelmed, you could also throw in the Simplified Organization online course to help her get control of her days…and find more time for play!
Maybe she already has a handicraft or two under her belt. In that case, buy her some supplies to keep the habit going. She might need scissors, needles, yarn, fabric, paint, or whatever else her hobby requires, and these supplies are always great gifts. But let’s say she’s the non-crafty type who is trying to turn over a new leaf for the sake of her children. You can help her get started.
Some of the more popular options are:
Buy her a local class where she can learn to do something in the realm of fine art: paint, draw, sculpt, you name it. Try Groupon to find discounts. Call around to local craft stores to get details.
And don’t forget supplies! Whatever she’s taking a class in, having the right tools is a must. Maybe she needs:
Every classical, Charlotte Mason mama needs her own education library. This is her philosophical life’s blood! This list isn’t exhaustive, but it sure should get you started!
Happy wishing, everybody!
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