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Engaging Charlotte Mason Geography Activities For Your Homeschool

Offer engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool with map study, drawing, and discussion. All of these are vital to a vibrant understanding of history!

Enjoy these engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool. Map study, drawing, and discussion are vital to an understanding of history.

The Benefits Of Geography Study In Your Homeschool

It’s hard to imagine understanding the classic story Heidi, without the beautifully described Swiss Alps setting the scene. Or to appreciate the majestic nature of the Great Pyramids, without visualizing how they rise up out of flat desert. Or empathize with Mary and Joseph’s ninety-mile journey to Bethlehem, without knowing about the rocky, difficult terrain they traveled. 

So much of history and literature depend on the surrounding geography, which is why map study, drawing, and discussion are a large component of our homeschool time. Our current ability to understand world (and space!) geography is like never before, with satellite imaging, extremely accurate and up-to-date mapping, and the ability to share pictures and videos from around the world at a keystroke. 

With so many options, there are many ways to include geography in a child’s learning. 

How Did Charlotte Mason Teach Geography?

Charlotte Mason, Great Britain’s famous home educator advocated for the teaching of geography in three gentle but effective ways. Each of these methods puts geography into a context of the people culture of each land. 

Offer engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool with map study, drawing, and discussion. All of these are vital to a vibrant understanding of history.

Narration is an effective strategy for geography study if you use a living geography text. Simply Charlotte Mason recommends Material World and Hungry Planet: What the World Eats to get you started learning geography the Charlotte Mason way.

Mason’s method of using living books is the perfect geography instruction strategy. Reading delightful books that feature a strong geographic setting engages the reader’s imagination. For example, one year the boys and I were delighted to travel with Paddle-to-the-Sea through the Great Lakes. Nearly every quality literature book features geography in some way!

Think about where the Ingalls family traveled in the midwest in the Laura Ingalls series. Or how much the topography of Maine plays a role in books like One Morning Up in Maine and Mrs. Rumphius.  

Map work is essential to understanding geography. Kids need to know how to use a map or globe. I want my boys to have a general sense of where countries are located on the globe, where they are relative to other countries, and important topographic and climate features. Did that last sentence make you want to snooze? Me too! It’s easy to get caught up in the “teacher-speak” of learning, and forget that kids are not interested in the technicalities of why we do what we do. I love how Charlotte Mason-style education focused on practical application of knowledge.

It’s important to keep map work light and exciting for kids, allowing them to nearly immediately apply what they are learning to a discussion or activity. Build their knowledge base with these living lessons and activities. Then let that knowledge naturally extend in their older years into deeper conversations and connections. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Look up locations whenever you read a book. Maybe put a flag on a map to keep track of where all the characters from the books you read live! 
  • Do quick map drills to label certain sections of a printed map. Start with only a few labels and add more through the year as they master groups of map labels. 
  • Try a quick “show me, tell me” pointing game, or put chocolate chips or small cereal pieces on map locations and let kids eat the ones they can name. 
FUN hands on learning with Charlotte Mason Geography Activities

Charlotte Mason Geography Activities For Your Homeschool

And of course, geography wouldn’t be geography without… cartography! Drawing maps is another method we use to study geography in our homeschool. Sometimes we trace our printed maps, but other times, I like the boys to draw freehand maps and label important places. 

Engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool with map study, drawing, and discussion. All are vital to an understanding of history.
British Isles map skills - Engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool with map study, drawing, and discussion. All are vital to an understanding of history.

Often, they will draw maps that go along with a literature study. The missionary biographies from the YWAM Christian Heroes Then and Now series perfectly suits our geography studies, because there are titles from all over the world. I love how each book cover features a map of the country the missionary travels to. We can match these books up to so many Chalk Pastel video art lessons! 

Draw Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland to go along with George Mueller. A map of China goes along with Hudson Taylor or Gladys Aylward. Outline Africa when reading about David Livingstone, C.T. Studd or Albert Schweitzer. Amy Carmichael’s and William Carey’s life may inspire a map of India painting.

Don’t forget about:

  • Italy
  • France
  • United States and Canada
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • South America
  • Antartica
  • Asia

Sometimes we draw maps to understand our Bible time. We have often discussed maps of where Jesus walked, the missionary journeys, or Mary and Joseph’s travels to Bethlehem and flight into Egypt. Learning the map of Israel is vital to a vibrant understanding of biblical times. In fact, map learning in general is vital to vibrant understanding of all history!

Engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool with map study, drawing, and discussion. All are vital to an understanding of history.
Draw maps of Bible times with hands on learning activities for your homeschool.
Engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool with map study, drawing, and discussion. All are vital to an understanding of history.

Maps can also help kids see the big picture of history. In our history, we follow a spiraling curriculum that cycles through three major segments of history: Ancient History, Medieval, and U.S. History. Each of these time periods have special focus on certain countries and areas of land. 

Drawing the land of Egypt and surrounding countries, my son was reminded of all we have studied in this year’s history topics! He even added some extra labels to the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea! We can’t wait to draw the Oregon Trail and the First Thanksgiving Voyage when we study U.S. History again! These are all perfect Charlotte Mason geography activities.

Draw a map of Ancient Egypt - Engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool with map study, drawing, and discussion. All are vital to an understanding of history.

Additional Charlotte Mason Geography Resources

Beyond mapmaking skills, learning a land’s important features and structures can also be part of geography study. We love studying picture atlases and fact-filled geography books that show us the major features of a country, the foods and animals native to that region, and other points of interest.

  • Children’s Picture Atlas (Usborne)
  • History Uncovered The U.S.A. (Usborne)
  • Children’s Discovery Atlas (Quarto Books)
  • See Inside Great Cities (Usborne)
  • Cathedrals by David Macauley
  • Pyramids by David Macauley
  • Castles by David Macauley

Usborne Books are fabulous resources both for picture atlases and other detailed books, like their lift-the-flap style See Inside Great Cities book. My youngest painted the Eiffel Tower with Nana after reading the Paris page of this book.

Eiffel Tower art lesson with Nana at You ARE an ARTiST.
Learn World Landmarks like the Eiffel Tower hands on art activities for your homeschool.

More landmarks:

Charlotte Mason geography activities can be closer to home too! Have younger kids draw maps of their home, their town, or even use map-making skills to plan a garden (real or make-believe).

For some creative geography fun, kids can draw maps of make believe lands like Narnia, the Hundred Acre Wood, or Middle Earth! This allows students to transfer their knowledge of real geography to an invented location. 

We really could spend all day pouring over maps and studying the features of the world we live in. After all, if we don’t have an understanding of where we live, how can we learn to appreciate the similarities and differences of people who live in far away and unfamiliar places? Study of geography is not just fascinating, but also helps us connect with and love other people in this world.

Enjoy these engaging Charlotte Mason geography activities for your homeschool. Map study, drawing, and discussion are vital to an understanding of history.

Julie is a teacher, writer and homeschool mom. Her blog Happy Strong Home shares encouragement for cherishing children, enjoying motherhood, and growing strong families. Discover homeschool resources, natural living tips, and family activity ideas. Julie has been featured on Million Praying Moms, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and the Melissa and Doug blog. She offers writing workshops and a “homeschool neighborhood” community to support parents in their homeschool adventures. Find Julie on Instagram to be the first to know when new workshops and community events are available. 

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Charlotte Mason Homeschool Art Appreciation

What does Charlotte Mason say about homeschool art appreciation? Learn how to get started in Charlotte Mason homeschool picture study.

What does Charlotte Mason say about homeschool art appreciation? Learn how to get started in Charlotte Mason homeschool picture study in a few simple steps. We have family-style homeschool art and music plans to make it easy!

How to Get Started in Charlotte Mason Homeschool Art Appreciation

Art appreciation is regarded with a lot of respect, but teachers tend to be intimidated about how to teach it.

– Charlotte Mason, volume six, page 213

As homeschoolers, we’re in the unique position to change our own thinking and look at our children as people with varying needs and interests. Balancing the more academic subjects with an introduction to things beautiful to the mind and spirit brings a sense of joy to our homeschool.

Art is a thing of the spirit, and we need to teach it in ways that affect the spirit. We realize that the ability to appreciate art and interpret it is as universal to all people as intelligence, or imagination, or the ability to form words to communicate. But that ability needs to be educated. Teaching the technical skill of producing pictures isn’t the same as appreciating art. To appreciate, children need to have a reverent recognition of what’s been created. Children need to learn about pictures: they need to learn about them a line at a time, and as groups, by studying pictures for themselves rather than by reading about them.

– Charlotte Mason, volume six, page 214
What does Charlotte Mason say about homeschool art appreciation? Learn how to get started in Charlotte Mason homeschool picture study.

Simple Charlotte Mason Picture Study for Art Appreciation

  • Pick an artist.
  • Choose six paintings to view.
  • Study one painting at a time.

The six reproductions are studied one at a time so that the students learn to not just see a picture, but to look carefully at it, absorbing every detail. After looking at the picture, it’s turned over and the children narrate, telling what they saw, perhaps, ‘a dog driving a flock of sheep along a road all by himself. No, wait, there’s a boy, too. He’s lying at the river, getting a drink. You can tell by the light that it’s morning, so the sheep must be going out to graze in the pasture,’ and so on. The children don’t miss any details – the discarded plow, the crooked birch tree, the beautifully formed clouds that look like it might rain. There’s enough to talk about to keep the children busy for half an hour, and afterwards, the picture will have formed such a memory that the children will recognize it wherever they see it, whether it’s a signed proof, an oil reproduction, or the original itself in a museum.

– Charlotte Mason, volume six page 214

If you are viewing the painting on your computer screen, you can have your child move away from the monitor and complete the narration of what he sees in the painting from memory. Over time, this simple exercise helps your child to see the unique style and techniques of each artist you study. A Monet will look like a Monet. A Raphael will look like a Raphael. All ages of children are capable of this sort of activity and all will learn to narrate paintings quite naturally if you offer the opportunity each week for art appreciation.

Art Appreciation for the Homeschool Family

We can help you get started with picture study with our family-style Art and Music Appreciation Homeschool Plans. Included is six weeks of art and music appreciation. Everything you need to get started is included in the plans. Even the paintings and links to view them online.

What does Charlotte Mason say about homeschool art appreciation? Learn how to get started in Charlotte Mason homeschool picture study.

More Fine Arts Resources for Your Homeschool

We also have fine arts plans for your for homeschool year for grades 1-12! You ARE an ARTiST’s plans pull together affordably priced materials along with internet links so you can have a reasonably priced art and music appreciation program.

There are 32-36 weeks planned at each level, and this allows your family plenty of flexibility to complete the curriculum in one homeschool year. The plans are listed by grade, but you can also use Grades 1-8 family-style if you have multiple children at home.

You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse members enjoy ALL Homeschool Fine Arts Plans at 50% off! —

written by Barb 2019, updated by Tricia 2022

Growing a love of art at You ARE an ARTiST is a multi-generational passion! Tricia is Nana’s daughter and a mama of five children. Nana shared her first chalk pastel art lessons with her grandchildren around Tricia’s kitchen table. Homeschooling since 2000, Tricia has seen the fruits of home education with three homeschool grads so far! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at Hodgepodge and is author of the book, Help! I’m Homeschooling! She and her husband, Steve, are also owners of sister sites Homeschool Nature Study and The Curriculum Choice.

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Art Lessons For The Charlotte Mason Homeschool Family

There are books and entire series of books written on the Charlotte Mason homeschool and Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy. In this overview, I will help you learn about the lovely components that make up a Charlotte Mason education – with a special focus on the beauty of art.

We love using the You ARE an ARTiST Lessons because they tie in so well with the Charlotte Mason phliosophy. With so many options, we could do art every day! Art Lessons for the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Family.
Photo by Amy Law

If you are not sure who or what Charlotte Mason is, you are in good company. Although I have a master’s degree in school administration and had spent almost ten years in public education, I did not know who Charlotte Mason was until after I started homeschooling.

Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the late 1800s. Her style was quite visionary and she dedicated herself to improving education. The phrase that is most often associated with Ms. Mason is:

“Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

– Charlotte Mason

What Is Charlotte Mason Homeschooling?

The main components of Charlotte Mason’s homeschool philosophy include:

  • Living books (Narrative style books that engage the reader in learning.)
  • Nature study (Learning science though the study of the nature around us.)
  • Narration (Simply put, having students tell you what they learned.)
  • Short Lessons (Under 20 minutes for younger students, up to about 30-45 for high school students)
  • Art and Music (Both appreciation and expression)
  • Lots of good resources (quality books, music, artwork, and experiences)
  • Handicrafts (Projects that develop life skills and habits. Sewing, art, woodworking, etc.)
  • Time Outside (Children need lots of time ‘out of doors’ for learning and play.)

Why A Charlotte Mason Approach To Homeschooling Works For Our Family

I like to say that our family is Charlotte Mason eclectic. For us, that means that I follow a lot of the Charlotte Mason philosophy but only what works for our family. We adapt to meet the needs of each child in each season.

I was first drawn to the Charlotte Mason philosophy because of the idea of using ‘living books’ not ‘twaddle’. We love reading wonderful and rich books, including all of the wonderful animal tales from Beatrix Potter.

Next, I realized early on that having time outside was good for my children (and myself). It took longer to realize how much my children were learning through nature study and exploring our own backyard.

When I first started looking at handicrafts I had a very narrow idea in my mind. As we have progressed in our schooling, I realize that our handicrafts are all of the hobbies my children are free to explore.

By keeping our school day shorter they have more time for their hobbies: photography, weaving, gardening, animals (sheep, chickens, ducks, and goats), and even Legos. Children learn and grow so much through the freedom to explore.

Finally, giving children access to a wealth of good materials to help them learn and grow. By following the principles of Charlotte Mason, my children are exposed to so many wonderful resources.

They study beautiful hymns, lovely works of art, and brilliant classical music. They learn from exceptional authors such as Shakespeare, Tolkien, Dickinson, and Lewis. We love that we can give them such a wonderful buffet of experiences to grow and shape their minds.

Art for the Charlotte Mason Homeschool with You ARE an ARTiST

Homeschool Art Lessons

In a Charlotte Mason homeschool, there are two major components to art education: art appreciation and art expression.

Art Appreciation is helping children know and love great art and artists. Students get exposure to a variety of different types of art and the works of many great artists. Picture study is a frequent component of a Charlotte Mason-style education.

Art Expression is the opportunity for the student to be creative and express themselves through art. Afternoon handicrafts time can be a great place to fit this in your schedule.

Art Lessons For Our Charlotte Mason Homeschool Family

Though Nana would disagree (because You Are An Artist), I do not consider myself an artist. I really need the assistance of art lessons to help me include art in our homeschool.

We love using the You Are An Artist Lessons because they tie in so well with the Charlotte Mason philosophy. Instead of being an entirely separate subject, I can use the lessons to supplement history, hymn study, or nature study.

You ARE an ARTiST Homeschool History Lessons

Homeschool History Lessons with You ARE an Artist Clubhouse

This year we are really excited to be studying the medieval era in our history curriculum and incorporating lots of the Medieval History and Knights and Crusaders art lessons.   We are so excited to be painting castles, shields, knights, and even illuminated letters (which I think is going to be a big hit with my teenage daughter).

Then we even get to incorporate literature into art and history with a Robin Hood art lesson in the Knights and Crusaders course!

You Are An Artist Nature Lessons for Homeschool in Charlotte Mason style.

Homeschool Nature Lessons with You ARE an Artist Clubhouse

Our family loves nature study and getting outside to learn more about the world around us. We have nature journals in the style of a Charlotte Mason homeschool but drawing the plants and animals that they saw was really intimidating to my children.

I want to help my son draw the hummingbirds that come to his feeder each day. So, the next homeschool art lesson we are using is the hummingbird lesson. Nana’s section of Backyard Nature art lessons in the Artist Clubhouse has wonderful insect and plant lessons, like a dandelion and an ant.

Nana’s bird lessons and the many insect lessons are a great way to help them draw what they have seen. Lessons also give them confidence and practice to draw what they see on future nature walks. By drawing a couple of beautiful chalk pastel birds, they get a feel for how to draw the body of a bird and make them more realistic. (The chalk pastel pencils making taking chalk pastels on your nature walk much easier.)

My children can translate those skills to drawing other types of birds as they see them on their walks. Our absolute favorite bird art lesson is the bird in snow lesson in the Winter Clubhouse Course. It is simply beautiful and even makes a great gift.

We love using the You ARE an ARTiST Lessons because they tie in so well with the Charlotte Mason phliosophy. With so many options, we could do art every day!

Art Appreciation for the Homeschool Family

With our You ARE an Artist Clubhouse membership, I can also use the famous artists homeschool lesssons to help me cover both art appreciation and art expression. Nana has paired a short biography with a painting that represents each artist’s style. This allows my children to learn about the artist and then try their own hand at that style. It makes it so much easier for them to remember. 

One of my favorites is the beautiful flower by Georgia O’Keefe, but I think my son would love the painting by Roy Litchenstein. The comic books feel is so exciting. You can tie artist lessons into your history studies with lessons about Michelangelo and other artists from various points in history.

If you love the Beatrix Potter books, you don’t want to miss the biography and lesson all about her. The painting of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck is so adorable; I might just have to try it myself.

With so many options we could do art every day and you may be wondering how we fit it all in. In reality, we have found that it works best for us to schedule an art lesson about once a week. Rotating through different art topics depending on what we are studying that week.

We feel it is important to incorporate art into our Charlotte Mason homeschool. Nana makes it easy and not overwhelming.

A Charlotte Mason Homeschool Bundle to go with Art Lessons for the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Family! You Are An Artist Lessons tie in so well with the Charlotte Mason philosophy.

An Awesome Homeschool Resource Bundle!

Stocking up for homeschooling is a labor of love! ChalkPastel.com wants to help you grow your homeschool resources. So we’ve put picked out this beautiful bundle of Charlotte Mason education-inspired books and materials. All of these resources would be wonderful in a Charlotte Mason homeschool or any homeschool!

  • A set Chalk Pastel pencils for your kids to enjoy!
  • A mixed media nature journal
  • Birds, Nests and Eggs Take Along Guide book
  • Four Beatrix Potter books
  • Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
  • A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor

Dawn is a passionate follower of Jesus, wife to Chris, and homeschool mom of four. In her spare time she loves to read, hike, and write on her blog Schoolin’ Swag. She enjoys reviewing curriculum and helping moms find the right fit for their family.