The Case for (Charlotte Mason) Kindergarten with Jennifer Dowdy

In the last episode of the podcast, Amy and Leah explored what Charlotte Mason really said about kindergarten. Today, they are back with Jennifer Dowdy from Charlotte Mason Mama to talk about how and why we might want to create a kindergarten year for our younger children. Jennifer, a veteran Charlotte Mason homeschooler of thirteen years, shares incredible insight into how to make kindergarten a beautiful introduction to education.

Learn more about Jennifer and her curriculum, The Enchanted Kindergarten, at

Listen now, or scroll for show notes.

On the whole, we may say that some of the principles which should govern Kindergarten training are precisely those in which every thoughtful mother endeavours to bring up her family; while the practices of the Kindergarten, being only ways, amongst others, of carrying out these principles, and being apt to become stereotyped and wooden, are unnecessary, but may be adopted so far as they fit in conveniently with the mother’s general scheme for the education of her family.

Charlotte Mason, Home Education

Meet Jenny Dowdy

[2:00] My oldest is 17, and my youngest is 4 months old. I’ve homeschooled for 13 years.

[3:09] You have one almost across the finish line, and a little baby too!

A Consensus on Charlotte Mason Kindergarten

[4:35] The consesus is that Charlotte Mason is against any kind of learning before six, and that she supported unschooling for young children.

[5:46] Charlotte Mason is never so prescriptive to say, ‘You will never do this type of learning before a child is a certain age’.

[7:45] Homeschooling legalism is dangerous.

What to Include in a Charlotte Mason Kindergarten

[8:55] A Charlotte Mason kindergarten is the opposite of what you see now. It should be gentle, religious, include habit training, introduce beauty, and make a positive impression on what education is.

[10:12] I try to keep our life focused on growing our own home culture.

[12:49] An unbusy time is such a gift.

Why use a curriculum?

[15:58] I wanted a little bit of structure, and I wanted a gentle introduction into more formal education.

[17:54] My four year old sees school as quality time with me. The structure is about showing our children that they are important to us.

[20:20] I use it as a backbone for habit training, like the habit of attention with my son.

Pushing Back against the High-Achievement Culture

[22:06] I struggled with the high achievement culture, but I finally had to believe what Charlotte Mason said. I filled their time with other things. And now I’ve seen the fruit.

[23:46] Once you start to understand that children are born persons, then everything flows from that.

Mentioned in this Episode

Charlotte Mason and Unschooling (on Amy’s blog)

The Enchanted Kindergarten

Jenny’s website

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