A Formidable List of Attainments

For some time now, I've been intrigued by homeschooling curriculum. This curiousity began shortly after S started Kindergarten and left the nest of her Reggio preschool behind. I'm very happy with her school, but at the same time feel drawn to the type of environment that Waldorf or homeschooling provides. Since she is in a language immersion school, it is up to us to teach her english at home, which naturally provides some room for homeschooling. It has also contributed to my many late nights researching curriculum.

One of the sites that I was most intrigued by was Ambleside Online. When I saw this Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six, I must say I swooned a bit. It is a reprint of a curriculum outline from a Charlotte Mason school in the 1890′s. The full list is at the link above, we have adapted it a bit. We talked about what she wanted to learn while she was six and I made a few suggestions. We kept most of the original items since they were so beautiful, and she added a few of the fun things like learning to do a really good cartwheel, sew more, and sell her artwork.

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six
• To recite, beautifully, three easy poems.
• To add and subtract numbers up to ten.
• To develop the love of reading. Learn to read to the best of your ability.
• To know the points of the compass with relation to your own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows.
• To describe the boundaries of your home.
• To describe a lake, river, pond or ocean within easy reach.
• To be able to describe three walks and three views.
• To mount in a scrapbook a dozen common wildflowers and leaves. to name these, describe them in your own words, and say where they found them.
• To know six birds, by song, color and shape.
• To create a piece of handiwork from knitting, cross-stitch and sewing.
• To create a collection of artwork using different mediums.
• To go through the process of selling something. (art & girl scout cookies)
• To tell three family stories and one about your pet.
• To use juicy & creative language. Idioms, metaphors, and made-up words that become part of your lexicon. • To be able to name a handful of common objects and say little sentences in another language.
• To sing one song in another language, and one English song.
• To start & keep a collection.
• To be able to do a good cartwheel, skip on the monkey bars and ride your bike on a trail.
• To tell time. • To pick a cause that you would like to contribute to and contribute in a way of your choosing. • To watch the sunrise in nature.

There are so many things that could go on a list like this. And it's interesting to see what they deemed essential to teach in the 1890's. I love the focus of it and feel it still so relevant today. Many of these things she is learning naturally in the course of life, but some we would need to put effort into. What I loved most about finding this was the inspiration to get into nature, slow down, focus on the beauty of your surroundings and the stories in your life.

Who knows if we will attempt everything on the list, I would wager we won't. And since I am not going to homeschool, this formidable list will remain kind of a dream list that in moments we pull from to enrich life. I think I will even work on some of the items myself, I love a nature journal! Any gems that you would add? Love to hear!