How I decided to create a homeschool schedule and begin using the methods of Charlotte Mason to guide our homeschool days.
I am constantly at odds with myself. I love organization, I’ve even shared some of my tips and tricks here on the blog, but I also love to be home with my children, lazing the days away. Reading stories snuggled on the couch all day, listening to them play peacefully (half the time) and sneaking my latest Newbery Medal book (I love them all!!) or getting some work done before they have their first argument of fifty for the day. So I Think I’m the anti-Type A mom. I truly want to do a little bit of everything. Teach my children everything. I want to do cursive and Latin and world history and geography and hands on math and mental math. And do it all.
So I thought, it’ll just fit itself in.
But the weeks go by and I am just frustrated. I’m not “doing” all I set out to do. Sometimes we have monster clay or art days. Some days are killer nature days. Some days we read 20+ books. But other days we barely read a book. And I’ll feel like a failure.
I did not want a schedule, though. I truly thought I didn’t need one. Not to mention that I know — from being a Kindergarten teacher — that children thrive on structure….
Then I heard this
But I refused. And the only thing that changed me was this. Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Education from the A Delectable Education Podcast.
Truly, it was the kick in the pants I needed. I needed to know how the hell I was going to fit it all in. There are so many subjects I want to do. It all seems impossible — but it doesn’t have to be! A Charlotte Mason education and a Charlotte Mason life is possible! And scheduling it all in, to peacefully and slowly savor the good is not “coping out” of my “I want to live easy and free lifestyle” — it is actually making me more free to do all we want to do!
A word on all the subjects
So I want to touch on these subjects (it’s a lot, and it seems overwhelming, but it’s possible!) Our children deserve the beauty of the world to be placed in a feast before them. And let them learn as humans learn. We like to savor bite-size chunks of information. Little bits at a time. 10-20 minute lessons. Learn and move on. Leaving us on a cliffhanger. Wanting to know more. Moving to the next thing. Touching on each subject just once a week. Never feeling bored or tedious. Handwriting (copywork and dictation) time is (John’s biggest challenge) and it is short — and always expecting his best work.
These are the subjects we are currently working on in our newfound schedule:
- Nursery Rhymes
- Artist Picture Study
- Habit Training
- Virtues & Manners
- Hymn Study
- Composer Study
- American History
- Literature: Picture Books, Chapter Books, Fairy Tales
- Natural History: Birds
- Nature Lore
- Copywork & Dictation
- Living Math Reading
- Nature Study and Journaling
And how will I fit this in? And fit it into the morning (primarily 9:30 – 11:30 for my now Grade 1 and Pre-Kindergarten children)?
Here’s what I’ve figured out …. we can savor each book.
We can read just 1-3 pages of each or one story of each just once a week! They can savor it! They are forced to remember it, narrate it back to you, and continue to learn and grow in their knowledge of it!
A word on narration
I was intimidated by what this meant.
Simply, it is asking your child to “tell me what you heard in your own words.”
Start reading and having the child narrate only one sentence to your child. Then try 2-3 sentences. Then one paragraph. Then two paragraphs. Then try the whole page, then the whole chapter. Every time they read that literature text or history or nature lore text. Check out Narration over at A Delectable Education to learn more. I am not an expert by far and my son and I are still learning how to do this.
A word on choosing living books and curriculum
I am loving the following choices, all of which I have used bits and pieces from! Ambleside Online is a free curriculum which has an incredible FAQ on Charlotte Mason. Beautiful Feet Books has some amazing packs and guides that help you through different history periods (or in teaching character!) And Simply Charlotte Mason guides parents in teaching their children in the same history cycles.
A word on breathing
Truly, truly, this schedule has been a blessing to my son. Most importantly, right. We don’t do it by time in the day (I still like to make egg and potato breakfasts most days, and our first subjects begin right there at the table. I don’t want to rush that time.) But putting each subject within 10-20 minute time frames has made our “school mornings” a joy for son and for me.
In our next post I’ll share our (printable) schedule and breakdown all of the books that we are reading and cherishing together!