Monday, May 30, 2016

How I Scheduled Year 3

I'm in the process of scheduling Year 3 for the fourth time.  I'm going to blog my way through the process, in case seeing my thought processes helps some of you.  Bear in mind that of course what works for me may not be what works for you, ditto for my child and your child, and that my process varies somewhat from term to term and year to year.  I school four days a week because one day a week is spent at the park and at band, so that may be different from how you schedule too.

*** My section labels in these schedules are fairly arbitrary.  I don't really care if the label matches the section's contents.

I downloaded the chart schedule in the .doc format from the AmblesideOnline Year 3 Detailed schedule page.  (The Basic schedule page should pretty much match for Year 3.  At this level, the Basic schedule just doesn't show you any of the alternate titles you could use instead of the first choice titles.)

I prefer to manage my charts from Google docs right now, even though they don't print quite as nicely from there, so I uploaded my file to Google drive, opened it, renamed it, and shared it with my child and my husband (view only so that my child won't change it).

Now I start rearranging. I added a couple of rows and scheduled artist/composer in one and handicraft in another.  I added another row next to those and scheduled drawing, but for this child we're going to do mazes and dot-to-dots for "drawing" this year, just to give him some low pressure fine motor practice.

Looking at Bible, I just simplify the row labels.  In History, I see that Trial and Triumph has only three assignments.  I move those to weeks that only have one other history assignment, so that the three History rows have a total of two reading assignments each week between them.

We'll use Michelangelo by Stanley, so I change the daVinci row to say Michelangelo, take out the Biography heading, and add that row to History.  That gives me three weekly History assignments so far.

In the Natural History section, I've added two rows, one for the optional Science Lab in a Supermarket and one for One Small Square: Backyard, a book I recently acquired and hope to use to inspire some more focused nature study.  (We stink at nature study here.)  I'll report back later on whether or not it worked.  I will need to schedule weekly lessons for both of those books--Science Lab may already have assignments in the regular 36-week schedule on the AO website.  (It does.  For now, I've typed those into my chart.  Later, I'll pull out the book and double-check them, making a list of necessary supplies.)

In Literature, I notice Parables from Nature and Heroes are scheduled in one row.  I don't want to look at them that way as I balance the load, so I add a row and separate them.  Then I shift around Heroes and American Tall Tales a bit so that no week has more than one of Heroes, American Tall Tales, or Parables from Nature.  Then I shift the Shakespeare tales slightly so that they fall on weeks when American Tall Tales is scheduled, and I mark out Pilgrim's Progress on those weeks.  (So we won't read Pilgrim's Progress on Shakespeare weeks.)  This gives us three assignments in Literature per week, which allows us to stretch one assignment over two days if we need to.

I moved Marco Polo into History.  I'll pull up an old Year 3 schedule of ours to see how I scheduled Marco Polo last time.  Map drill can be the fourth item in Enrichment.  I think this year we'll do the puzzle map of Asia each week.  Sometimes I schedule mapwork as a separate subject, but we'll try not doing that this time.  I added Timeline to Bible since it had space.  I'm putting CM's Geography in History with Marco Polo.  I'll schedule it on the weeks when we don't have a Marco Polo reading.

I add Chores and Read Aloud (for my student to read aloud to me) to daily work so we don't forget.  I looked through the Blake poems and chose a portion of one I thought my ds would like.  I asked him for preferences for Bible memory, and he selected a parable, so I've pasted both the poem and the parable to the end of the Term 1 chart.  I also found a Spanish song from our Jose Luis Orozco CD and picture book, and I've put the lyrics to that at the end of the Term 1 chart too.

Sample Year 3 Term 1 Chart with Changes

***Update:  Looking through the schedule again, I didn't like the Bible category being so unbalanced, with two substantial readings plus the very easy timeline entry and nothing on day four.  So I moved Princess and the Goblin in the place of Timeline since PatG may need to be read twice during each week.  Timeline I moved to Literature, where the easy item may help as the other scheduled items may sometimes need more than one reading each week.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Physics Lab in a Hardware Store, Part I

In planning for our upcoming AmblesideOnline Year 5 Term 1, I'm adding in the optional science book Physics Lab in a Hardware Store by Bob Friedhoffer.

For this 12-week term, we'll divide up the readings like this:
Intro
pp. 21-23
pp. 23-25
pp. 26-27
pp. 28-29
pp. 29-30
pp. 30-32
pp. 33-36
pp. 37-39
pp. 39-42
pp. 43-46
pp. 46-50

Supplies

Items to view

(These aren't necessarily required in person, as the book has illustrations of them and they aren't needed for activities.)
  • tape measure
  • open-jawed calipers
  • vernier calipers
  • sandpaper with various coarseness (can be observed in the store)
  • file
  • motor oil
  • graphite
  • paraffin wax
  • axe
  • hatchet
  • maul
  • splitting wedge
  • cold chisel
  • wood chisel
  • plane
  • wooden wedge
  • ladder
  • various types of screws, including wood screws and machine screws (bolts) and nuts
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • toggle anchors and Molly anchors

Items to use

(These are needed for observations and activities and may be required more than once.)
  • open-jawed calipers
  • vernier calipers
  • sandpaper
  • tape
  • 3 feet of string
  • empty 1 liter plastic bottle with cap
  • scrap wood that is smooth on one side
  • fine sandpaper
  • coarse sandpaper
  • ball peen hammer
  • four 1-1/2 foot pieces of string
  • claw hammer, preferably an old one
  • two 10-penny nails
  • 1 to 2 foot piece of scrap 2x4 lumber
  • metal file (for filing metal)
  • ruler
  • notebook paper
  • scissors
  • pencil

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How I Scheduled Year 10

My oldest will begin Year 10 in a few weeks. Yesterday I visited the AmblesideOnline website, pulled up the Year 10 schedule page, and downloaded the .doc version of the Detailed schedule. I uploaded that to Google Drive and shared it with my dd and dh, granting them editing privileges. Dd can participate in the making of her schedule.  (The Basic schedule for Year 10 probably looks substantially different from the Detailed schedule.  Beginning in Year 7, the Basic schedule is no longer just the Detailed schedule without showing other options but rather is a lighter schedule that has fewer books read more slowly and in some cases even uses different books.)

Today she and I looked over the Term 1 booklist, pulling out some of our physical books to examine and consider. We know we must pare down. For instance, Year 10 Term 1 has books scheduled under Theology, Worldview, and Citizenship. We decided to just keep the Citizenship titles on our schedule for this term. The others will be free reads this time.

We also removed Churchill, not because we don't love his books but because we must pare down History. We replaced Uncle Tom's Cabin with Frederick Douglass' autobiography.  We looked at our books of Montaigne's and Emerson's essays, to see if the scheduled essays were included in our volumes.  Some were, and for those that were not, we substituted other essays that we did have in our books.

In the meantime, I have added three extra rows to Bible and am cutting and pasting the various passages assigned each week so that each passage is in a separate row.  Bible is now complete!

History has already had two books removed and a few essays substituted.  Now I need to add the replacement book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.  This done, it's time to consider the Historical Documents.

As much as possible, I will add links to the documents to a Pinterest board for Year 10.  That way it will be easy for dd to find the documents when they are assigned.  The AO Year 10 booklist has links to the recommended documents, which makes adding the links to Pinterest easy.  As I take care of this, I'm also shifting around the scheduled essays and documents so that no week has both a document and an essay assigned.

In the meantime, I am reconsidering removing Churchill.  This year, spending some time on world history might be of particular benefit, and since we've removed some other books we may have room to add Churchill back.  So I'll talk to dd about that tomorrow.

OK, so Churchill is going back in .  We'll also be adding Mommy Diagnostics by Shonda Parker as a lifeskills option.

I don't really care about the labels on our schedule sections.  I just care about balancing the workload throughout each week and each term.  So I added Churchill to Government, since History already had four assignments each week.  I also moved Essays and Historical Documents to Government.  Now it also has four assignments each week, so those two sections are complete.

Three short stories are scheduled this term, and Invitation to the Classics has four empty weeks.  I will shift those two rows around so that neither is scheduled in the same week as the other, so they will count as one row in a section.  How to Read a Book can go along with them.  I'll put one of those chapters in week one, where perhaps Invitation will be a bit light (and Ourselves has no assignment anyway), and the other in week seven, where I have no Invitation or short story.

I moved Poetry down to Daily Work.  I removed Walden from Science because we will need to focus our science readings more; Walden will be a free read.

To the science selections, I added a half module of Apologia Chemistry each week.  I am not scheduling science labs since those will be done irregularly, possibly with friends.  I am adding in Mystery of the Periodic Table, a Year 6 AO selection that this daughter missed because she did Year 6 before it was added.

After some consideration, we decided to use Universe Next Door in Citizenship, but spread it over two terms.  (We'll use Term 2's selection as a free read later, after the lit selections it references have been read.)

We selected our drawing book, and I assigned lessons for each week, keeping it short.  I added the artist and composer selections, Plutarch, and selected a handicraft.  History of Art does not have weekly assignments, so I divided the term's section into weekly work.

Per the AO booklist, we're adding in some lifeskills each term.  This year we're going to read Mommy Diagnostics, so I added a row to the chart and filled in weekly assignments for the first part of the book.  We're also going to read one that isn't currently on the list (but I'm lobbying for it), Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food.

I've added rows for the written work I want from her weekly: Book of Centuries, nature notebook, commonplace, and map drill.  Wait!  I forgot typing, again, so I'll take off commonplace, which she really does on her own anyway, and add typing.  (She works on typing up a public domain text that isn't yet typed.)

We aren't doing any formal English grammar this term, so that goes off the schedule.  Current events is coming off too because I don't want to track that.

I need to add a multi-day per week foreign language plan.  This year we'll focus on Spanish only because only one language can count for high school credit here.  Her other languages she can study on her own time.  For Spanish, I've listed two days a week reading from and translating from a Spanish reader and two days a week working out of a Spanish grammar.  For her, I won't schedule specific lessons each week this term.

That takes care of all weekly work listed on the master schedule.  Now I pull up last year's schedule to see what other items I may need to add.

I have not made any essay assignments.  I really don't have a good place in the schedule to put essays, and we'll be doing a written narration daily anyway.  Dd already writes really well, so this isn't a high priority right now.  I think I'll just give her a single assignment to work on over the term, some longer writing project, and maybe ask her to do some more creative written narrations this term.

Unless I think of something else I've missed, this should be complete except for Shakespeare and the recitation passages.

Year 10 Term 1 Sample Chart

Friday, May 27, 2016

How I Scheduled Year 7

I am creating my version of AO's chart schedule for the first term of Year 7.  Bear in mind that of course what works for me may not be what works for you, ditto for my child and your child, and that my process varies somewhat from term to term and year to year.  I school four days a week because one day a week is spent at the park and at band, so that may be different from how you schedule too.

*** My section labels in these schedules are fairly arbitrary.  I don't really care if the label matches the section's contents.

I downloaded the chart schedule in the .doc format from the AmblesideOnline Year 7 Detailed schedule page.  (The Basic schedule page probably looks much different.  Starting in Year 7, the Basic schedule includes fewer assignments spread over a longer period of time and sometimes even schedules different resources than the Detailed schedule.)

I prefer to manage my charts from Google docs right now, even though they don't print quite as nicely from there, so I uploaded my file to Google drive, opened it, renamed it, and shared it with my child and my husband (view only so that my child won't change it).

Now I start rearranging.  First is Bible.   I noticed that NT had one assignment each week, while OT had three.  So I decided to separate the OT assignments into different "days" or rows on the chart.  I added two more rows below the Bible assignments, and started cutting and pasting parts of the OT work into the two new rows. This gave us five assignments per week in this section, so I will watch for an opportunity to move Selfish Pig into another section.

History is the next section listed.  Looking at the booklist, I can see that several of the scheduled History resources are online documents, so I added those to my Year 7 Pinterest board so my dd can find them more easily when they appear on the schedule.  I also notice that Asser's Alfred only appears in the last few weeks of the term, leaving an open space in those first few weeks.  I will look for something else to schedule in that spot during the first few weeks.  Scanning down the list, I notice that Great Astronomers only has assignments during the first four weeks, so I move that one to the row below Asser.  This give History three reading assignments during most weeks.  Saints and Heroes doesn't show up in the chart, but it's listed as optional on the booklist.  I want to use it, so I add it to the open slot in History.  That makes History complete.

I create a Geography section, with Brendan Voyage, Lay of the Land (which isn't really Geography), map work for Brendan Voyage, and map drill.

How to Read a Book and Story of Painting have assignments spread over several weeks.  I unmerge those cells so that each assignment appears in a single block.  Then I shift the assignments around so that, along with Ourselves, we have only one assignment per week in any of those three rows.  I move the Selfish Pig assignments down to the Citizenship section, so that with these two changes it now has four assignments each week.  Done.

I've unmerged the cells with the Adventures with a Microscope assignments.  I'll shift these to fit into weeks where one of the other science books has no assignment.  

I next need to get out the various science books and look at the linked resources from the booklist (and my Pinterest board) to see which ones need extra work such as labs.  These need to be scheduled too!

Grammar of Poetry is down in the weekly work section.  I need to move it up to the main part of the schedule so I can fit it into a block with the other assignments. The same is true for Plutarch, Shakespeare, grammar, and book of centuries.  Copywork and dictation will be daily items for us, and so will recitation.

Randomly, I decided to figure out poetry.  I don't own the recommended book, I didn't find the suggested link helpful, and my anthologies don't have any poems early enough for the term 1 historical period.  But I did find the Year 7 poems on the AO site, which I think are the ones we read last time we went through Year 1.  So we're going to read these: https://www.amblesideonline.org/PoemsYr7.shtml.  I pinned them to my Pinterest board so dd could easily find them.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made needs to be scheduled over the entire year.  So does Shakespeare as well as Grammar of Poetry.  I also want to assign specific lessons from Our Mother Tongue.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made has 25 chapters, all fairly short.  So I need to schedule 8 chapters a term (9 in one term) to divide it evenly over the year. It's meant to be a health book, so I need to schedule some additional reading/activities to go along with each chapter.  And I need to decide where in the schedule to place it.

Grammar of Poetry has 30 lessons, intended to last about 30 minutes each.  So I will schedule 10 lessons per term to divide it evenly over the year.  I'm putting it in the section of the schedule with some of the literature.  The literature selections are split across two different sections of my schedule now.

Looking at the science,  I think I will need to look at each book to see what sorts of labs, observations, or other activities are needed so I can schedule those.  It does seem more complicated to shuffle these science books around to make an even schedule.  Wonder Book of Chemistry seems to have experiments and observations to do regularly, so for now I've scheduled a spot for that type of work each week that we read a chapter from that book.

Signs and Seasons depends upon regular field activities.  I want to schedule these, because I know otherwise they won't get done.  First, I'm scheduling out readings of chapter 1, which officially is to be spread across a large portion of the year.  Then I looked in the back of the book at the field activities, and selected quite a few, placing them throughout the term.  One, the Shadows activity on p. 190, is meant to be done weekly for at least three months, so I've scheduled it weekly for the entire term.  I have not yet purchased the field journal, so we're just doing field work from the back of the book.

I've put Signs and Seasons and Fearfully and Wonderfully Made together in a section.  On weeks when we'll have only three assignments, I'm adding a short reading from The Way We Work (not scheduled in AO) to correspond to the Fearfully and Wonderfully Made topic.

I've been moving weekly work from the bottom of the schedule up into divisions in the top of the term's schedule.  I've just left the daily work down at the bottom.  I need to double-check that I've added into the schedule all the items I want to be sure we cover, like musical instrument practice.

Oh, and I have Secrets of the Universe in four volumes.  (Three actually, but the fourth is coming.)  So I need to mesh these with the scheduled chapters.  AO has a page to show me which chapters from the single volume (which is scheduled) correspond to the chapters in the separate volumes. 

I remembered that I wanted to add typing practice.  Since I have an empty slot in one of the literature sections, I added it there.  I don't really care about the labels for the sections, remember?  Just the balance of the workload.

I think I'm almost done.  I still need to schedule the Shakespeare play out over the term, and I need to add the recitation passages she'll be working on. She'll need to select a poem from the term's choices, a Bible passage, and a passage from our Shakespeare play.

You can see a sample chart showing three weeks of Term 1.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Extra Reading for Year 5 Science

I had thought about adding to AmblesideOnline's Year 5 science schedule some extra readings from The Way We Work and The Way Things Work to go along with our other science.  But I'm changing course, so I'm saving here the first term's extra readings that I already had scheduled for future reference.

Here's the schedule for The Way We Work:

Way We Work
86-91
70-75
100-101
112-119
106-111
76-81
60-67
150-155
156-159
178-183
184-185
270-271
And here's the schedule for The Way Things Work:

Way Things
-----
p. 158-9
p. 258-9
p. 266-7
-----
p. 268-9
p. 274-7
p. 280-1
-----
p. 284-7
p. 288-9
-----

Sunday, May 1, 2016

How I Scheduled Year 5

I have nearly finished creating my version of AO's chart schedule for the first term of Year 5.  Since it's fairly fresh in my mind, I'm going to describe the process I used in case it's helpful.  Bear in mind that of course what works for me may not be what works for you, ditto for my child and your child, and that my process varies somewhat from term to term and year to year.  I school four days a week because one day a week is spent at the park and at band, so that may be different from how you schedule too.

*** My section labels in these schedules are fairly arbitrary.  I don't really care if the label matches the section's contents.

I downloaded the chart schedule in the .doc format from the AmblesideOnline Year 5 Detailed schedule page.  (The Basic schedule page should pretty much match for Year 5.  At this level, the Basic schedule just doesn't show you any of the alternate titles you could use instead of the first choice titles.)

I prefer to manage my charts from Google docs right now, even though they don't print quite as nicely from there, so I uploaded my file to Google drive, opened it, renamed it, and shared it with my child and my husband (view only so that my child won't change it).

Now I start rearranging.  First is Bible.  I noticed that the NT assignments were much shorter than the OT assignments, and some weeks the OT work came from multiple places.  So I decided to separate the OT assignments into different "days" or rows on the chart.  I added two more rows below the Bible assignments, and started cutting and pasting parts of the OT work into the two new rows.  In the end, I had two weeks with only one Bible assignment and a few with three, but most had four.

History is the next section listed.  I noticed that it included a few readings from Trial and Triumph.  I decide to move those to the Bible section to fill in some of the weeks with fewer than four assignments.  So I move that row up and then shift around the three T&T assignments to put them in the lightest Bible weeks.  I ended up with them in weeks 3, 5, and 9.  There still are some pretty light weeks in this section, but for the most part it seems fairly balanced throughout the term.  This one is probably done.

Back to History.  It now has TCOO (This Country of Ours) and ALW (Abraham Lincoln's World).  But just below those is a Bio section that has two books.  I remove the Bio label and put all four books into my History section.  In this section, every week has four assignments, and the assignments look fairly balanced so this section is done!

Geography has only one book, so I start looking for other work to put there.  I know already I will want to add rows for map work (marking where we are on the map when we read the Geography selection) and map drill (learning where to find things on a map or how to draw a map of somewhere).  So I add those rows.  I also know that down in the Daily/Weekly work section of the schedule is a row for Long's geography, which doesn't have assignments scheduled in particular weeks.  I go ahead and add another row for that, then schedule the Long chapters evenly throughout the term.  (I put them in weeks 1, 4, 7, and 10.)  Now I have three assignments in each week for this section, and in a few weeks four, but map drill and map work are pretty short assignments and so is Longs, which Halliburton is a big one that needs more time.  I'd like to balance this section better, and I can tell I'm going to need to shift something out of Science anyway.  Since Madam How and Lady Why (MHLW) is basically earth science and that's similar to Geography, and since it's about as challenging as Halliburton, I move it to the Geography section.  Then I notice that most Halliburton weeks have two chapters scheduled, so I add a row and split the chapters into separate rows for weeks with two chapters.  Now, for some weeks this gives me 5 assignments, but I'm ok with that.  My ds will get to figure out how to manage that load across his four official school days.  He can double up one day or he can work on the fifth day.  Some weeks have six assignments, though, and I don't want to go that far, so on the weeks with six assignments I mark out map drill.  Skipping a week of map drill here and there won't be a problem.

Science now has Wild Animals, Nature Reader, and Story of Inventions.  Really, I could absolutely leave those as-is or move an assignment from another area into this one to make four.  But I did something I don't recommend if you're new to this--I added a book.  Actually, two!  I scheduled in some readings from the David Macaulay books The Way We Work and The Way Things Work.  However, if things get sticky, those readings will be the first things I drop!  So now a few weeks in this category have five assignments but most have four.  This section is done!

Literature has only two selections.  I move on for now to see what else needs to be added.

In the Daily/Weekly section on the next page, I look at the weekly work.  I add four rows up above, where the books are scheduled, and I label them Art/Composer, Drawing, Handicraft, and Plutarch.  Then I delete those same rows from the Weekly section below.  I actually enter the artist and composer selection names into the weekly boxes in that row, doing an art piece on week and a composer selection the next.  (This time I even scheduled specific drawing assignments for each week, but that isn't always necessary.  I did make note of the handicraft we'll do, but didn't assign specific work.)

Back to Weekly.  I delete any rows that I've already moved to another section.  I move recitation to daily, and make three rows of recitation- Bible, poem, and Shakespeare.  I delete folksong and hymn because we do those just as part of life and don't schedule them.  (We do study the ones assigned in AO, usually, but I don't put them on the schedule.)

So under Weekly I still have Nature Study, Shakespeare, and Timeline. I delete Nature Study because I'm once again going to try to just do it, without putting it on the schedule.  Every term I make a new nature study plan and every term it fails, but I keep on trying.  I don't want to schedule it because the kids just throw something in a notebook to check it off the list.  But we'll see how it goes. . .

Shakespeare I move up to Literature, but will schedule the blocks of it later.  I notice that my Robin Hood selection, Green's (I let my ds pick between Green and Pyle), has longish readings.  So I add a second row and move into it the second chapter of Green's each week that two were scheduled.  This section now has four assignments most weeks.

Timeline has to be written.  I remember that I also need to assign written narration, and I like to assign typing.  So I add three rows and label them Typing, Written Narration, Timeline.  In the Written Narration row, I add two O's to each block so we can mark off Written Narration twice a week.

Then I remember Foreign Language and Grammar.  I add in a new section up above called Language and schedule Grammar twice a week and Foreign Language twice a week.

All the weekly work is now gone from the bottom of the schedule.  I add a few daily items like Musical Instrument and Chores.  I move poetry from the book part of the schedule down to Daily.  Then in each block in Daily I put four O's, two above and two below.  We use these as check boxes.

Now we're basically done!  I do some tedious reformatting to make it look nicer and fit on the pages I want it to, but no big changes.  I need to schedule Shakespeare, or really my oldest child will schedule it, and I need to work with my ds to choose the three recitation passages he will learn this term, but otherwise it's finished.

See a sample of the labels and the first few weeks here.

When this is implemented, ds will do one item from each of the sections we created, every day.  He will also do each Daily item, every day.  Sometimes he likes me to make him a checklist, where he can cross off each category as he does it.  I slip the list of categories and daily items into a dry erase sleeve so he can cross it off all day and then wipe it off and start over.

***Update:  A couple of days later, I realized Dictation was missing from the schedule.  So I've updated the sample chart to include a daily Dictation Review and a weekly Dictation.  Had the schedule worked out differently, I might have had actual Dictation twice in the week, but doing it just once fits better for this term.

***Another update:  I've realized that I really don't want to add the extra readings from The Way Things Work.  I'd like to do Physics Lab in a Hardware Store, and all of that would be too much.  So I'll be modifying this schedule again soon.  I may remove the extra anatomy readings too, but I haven't decided yet.

***Update #3: I removed both extra science readings, then added Physics Lab in a Hardware Store.  I'll need to make a supplies list to go with that book.  I also decided to cut back Halliburton to only one chapter per week so we can really work on getting to know each place.  Year 6 geography right now is fairly light, so I can do the leftover Halliburton chapters in Year 6.  (I just need to remember to update the exam questions each term so we aren't being tested on chapters we haven't read.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jewels of Astonishing Worth Part 6 - Other Goals

Charlotte Mason has much to say about the power of developing constructive habits.  The science behind this idea was known somewhat even in her time and is confirmed now as we more fully understand the formation of neural pathways.  Sometimes, students of Mason make almost an idol out of habits, believing that if once they can form effective habits in their children the difficulties are over.

Charlotte Mason made a point of insisting that habits are not our most important or sole focus.
“The busy mother says she has no leisure to be that somebody [who takes time to gently guide a child exploring], and the child will run wild and get into bad habits; but we must not make a fetish of habit; education is a life as well as a discipline.”
Charlotte Mason  Volume 1 p. 192

Discussing all of her thoughts on habit training would require more than this single post, so we will pass on to another area of focus after just this one more note.   Mason encourages us to secure cooperation and participation through gentleness.
“Do not treat the child's small contumacy too seriously; do not assume that he is being naughty: just leave him out when he is not prepared to act in harmony with the rest. Avoid friction; and above all, do not let him disturb the moral atmosphere; in all gentleness and serenity, remove him from the company of others, when he is being what nurses call 'tiresome.'”  
CM Volume 1 p. 181

One last area of significance during the preschool years: storytelling and conversation.
“In connection with this subject let me add a word about story-telling. Here are some of the points which make a story worth studying to tell to the nestling listeners in many a sweet "Children's Hour";––graceful and artistic details; moral impulse of a high order, conveyed with a strong and delicate touch; sweet human affection; a tender, fanciful link between the children and the Nature-world; humour, pathos, righteous satire, and last, but not least, the fact that the story does not turn on children, and does not foster that self-consciousness, the dawn of which in the child is, perhaps, the individual 'Fall of Man.' But children will not take in all this? No; but let it be a canon that no story, nor part of a story, is ever to be explained. You have sown the seed; leave it to germinate.
Every father and mother should have a repertoire of stories––a dozen will do, beautiful stories beautifully told; children cannot stand variations. 'You left out the rustle of the lady's gown, mother!' expresses reasonable irritation; the child cannot endure a suggestion that the story he lives in is no more than the 'baseless fabric of a vision.' Away with books, and 'reading to'––for the first five or six years of life. The endless succession of story-books, scenes, shifting like a panorama before the child's vision, is a mental and moral dissipation; he gets nothing to grow upon, or is allowed no leisure to digest what he gets. It is contrary to nature, too. "Tell us about the little boy who saved Haarlem!" How often do the children who know it ask for that most hero-making of all tales! And here is another advantage of the story told over the story read. Lightly come, lightly go, is the rule for the latter. But if you have to make a study of your story, if you mean to appropriate it as bread of life for your children, why, you select with the caution of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls. Again, in the story read, the parent is no more than the middleman; but the story told is food as directly and deliberately given as milk from the mother's breast. Wise parents, whose children sit with big eyes pondering the oft-told tale, could tell us about this. But it must be borne in mind that the story told is as milk to the child at the breast. By-and-by comes the time when children must read, must learn, and digest for themselves.”

CM Volume 5 pp. 215-217
Rather than emphasizing reading picture books, focus on oral storytelling.
“Experiences with pictures attached, even when they involve looking at picture books and learning new words, are not as valuable, says [Dr.] Wells, because the child needs to learn ‘sooner, rather than later’ to go beyond just naming things that can be seen.  He concludes:
For this, the experience of stories is probably the ideal preparation. . . . Gradually, they will lead them to reflect on their experience and, in so doing, to discover the power that language has, through its symbolic potential, to create and explore alternative possible worlds with their own inner coherence and logic.  Stories may thus lead to the imaginative, hypothetical stance that is required in a wide range of intellectual activities and for problem-solving of all kinds. . . .” 

Jane Healy, Ph.D. Endangered Minds p. 92
“Telling stories over and over, expanding on characters, events, and ideas, also helps children learn to think carefully and give good explanations.” 

Healy p. 91

“Any activity that helps children use their brains to separate from the ‘here and now,’ to get away from pictures and use words to manipulate ideas in their own minds, also helps them with the development of abstract thinking. . .” 

Healy pp. 91-92
Conversation and storytelling both provide important frameworks for learning.
“Although writing--and the kind of talking and thinking that go along with it--promotes the development of school-like ways of reasoning, the arts of storytelling, oral history, and conversation have their own special niche in developing reflective thought, memory, and attention.” 

Healy p. 103
“Good language, like the synapses that make it possible, is gained only from interactive engagement: children  need to talk as well as to hear.” 

Healy p. 88

“The person who teaches your child to talk also teaches a way of thinking.  The ideas, values, and priorities of a culture are borne along on the stream of language that flows between generations.” 

Healy p. 89

“Many parents today try hard to provide elaborate ‘stimulating’ environments for their children, but not even designer toys substitute for good-quality conversation.” 

Healy p. 91
Jewels of Astonishing Worth - What is a Child? (Series Introduction)