resources we love and use

General Encouragement & Help with the CM Method

Cair Paravel Academy: Information on homeschooling in the classical Charlotte Mason tradition. (YouTube platform) 
AmblesideOnline: AmlesideOnline is a free homeschool curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason’s classically-based principles to prepare children for a life of rich relationships with everything around them: God, humanity, and the natural world. Much of our material we use for co-op is drawn from this extensive resource.
A Delectable Education:  An extensive resource for understanding the Charlotte Mason Method. The podcasts are particularly helpful (and can also be found on your favorite podcast player). This resource is great to answer the “how tos”. Most material is free, but they also have resources for purchase.  On the right bar of the website mid way down there is a audio tour of the website. 
The New Mason Jar Podcast:  The New Mason Jar with Cindy Rollins is a place to explore the atmosphere, discipline and life of a Charlotte Mason education for all. As a seasoned homeschooler, Cindy brings depth to the conversation and focuses more on the “why tos” of a CM education. 

Nature Journaling Supplies

Sketch books: 

Spiral bound 7×10 mixed media pad, available at Walmart
Spiral bound 8.5×5.5 mixed media pad. (Not quite as nice as previous, but it still works! This is a great option for younger siblings who want to be included) Available at Walmart.
Sewn Binding, 8.5×5.5 extra heavy paper (great for water colors). More expensive, but beautiful. Available on Amazon.


Travel paint set. Available on Amazon. (It comes with a water brush as well so no need to bring water. You can just bring an old cloth or sock to dry the brush on. For younger siblings, a basic school watercolor set that you can buy for $1 will work fine.) 
Micron Pens. Available on Amazon. Can be used to add final touches on nature journaling. 

Books/resources for when you Want to Grow in Nature Study

John Muir Laws has a number of fantastic resources. Some are great for adults wanting to learn, themselves, or wanting to learn how to guide students through learning nature study. 
(Personal note from Dy: we have The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, and also How to Teach Nature Journaling. Both are great. The How-to guide is better for adults and motivated older students, perhaps 16+)
Tristan Gooley’s books are an absolute delight. Again, probably  best for adults or motivated teens as a read-alone, but could be used for reference and read-aloud in small chunks (he puts a LOT of information in his stories).
(From Dy: We have The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs, and it is tremendous. Much of his material is based in England, which makes sense, as that’s where he lives. But he tells stories of reading nature in other parts of the world, and the techniques he shares are applicable globally. It’s just some of the specific plants he discusses that are limited in their growth area.)
UNM Press has a delightful field guide that focuses on the Sandia Mountains. This isn’t a living book, but it is a handy resource with good pictures and information for identification. The focus of this book makes it a great option for getting to know the areas nearby, where it’s easier to get out and poke around for a short excursion, regular visits, and even picking a special area in which to observe the changes of the seasons throughout the year.
National Geographic Publishes a slew of field guides for nearly any area of interest and any geographical location. Whether you’re studying birds, animals, plants, rocks, astronomy, or anything else, you’ll likely find a field guide for it through NG.


You can purchase printable maps from a variety of locations. Gone are the days of being able to pop into a National Forest Service office and pick up maps for that forest, so you will want to plan ahead and order maps early if you want to have them in time for an adventure. (The US Forest Service website says that you can purchase them from offices, but Cibola, Santa Fe, and Carson offices have not had them available when we’ve stopped in. I would not rely on availability that way.) 
National Geographic has maps for many major trails in the US, and can be a good resource for planning a bigger trip.
The USGS sells printed maps online:
The US Forest Service has other options, including a virtual interactive map (perhaps helpful for map study at home, but may not be useful for hiking or backpacking… YMMV).
Dy’s personal favorite digital map is OnX’s backcountry app, named (helpfully) OnX Backcountry. A subscription is about $30 for the year, and I have found it to be more comprehensive than other trail apps we’ve used. You can download the app onto as many devices as you like, but only two can be logged into your account at a time. (This is the same policy they have for OnX Hunt.) With a subscription, you can download offline maps of areas you are going to visit and then use the GPS location in areas where you don’t have signal.