Planning Your Homeschool in a Charlotte Mason Education
“…but what seems to
meabsolutely best for the children; and that, in faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them.” (Vol 1, p. 44)
I love connecting with you, dear Mama – in person, on my blog, via email, and on Instagram. Most of the questions I hear you ask are related to which resources to use for home education, what curriculum to use, and how to go about planning for your next homeschool term?
So, I thought I would write a blog post detailing the steps on how I plan out a homeschool term. Your homeschool doesn’t have to look like mine. However, I’m hopeful that this provides inspiration to you or gives you ideas to help you plan out your next homeschool term. We don’t have a purchased curriculum that we follow. We have books…lots of lovely living books, Charlotte Mason’s volumes, plus a few guiding resources.
If you are interested, at the bottom of this post, are the specific living books and links we are using. I hope it helps you and peeks your curiosity!
“…it is upon the mothers of the present that the future of the world depends…because it is the mothers who have the sole direction of the children’s early, most impressible years. This is why we hear so frequently of great men who have had good mothers–that is, mothers who brought up their children themselves…” (Vol 1, p. 2)
We use a Charlotte Mason (CM) philosophy of education for homeschooling and it has been such a blessing. Have you read her volumes? If not, stop what you are doing right now, and pick up a copy of Home Education. I promise you will be so glad you did!
Charlotte Mason was a British educator, turned principal of her schools. She housed teacher training and offered support to home educators and public schools through a Parents National Education Union School. Charlotte Mason aimed to present an inviting, life-giving, and beautiful education. She wanted to nourish the mind of each child with living ideas. You can read more about her here or here.
“The teacher should have some knowledge of the principles of education; should know what subjects are best fitted for the child considering his age, and how to make these subjects attractive; should know, too, how to vary the lessons, so that each power of the child’s mind should rest after effort…” (Vol 1, p. 141)
Planning either provokes anxiety or provides you relief and comfort. You can always begin the process of planning as far in advance as possible, yet planning at any stage offers such a benefit to you and your children.
Resources I Love:
- A Delectable Education (ADE) Curriculum Template – This helps make sure the educational feast is laid out in an efficient way that is not taxing on the children or you.
- ADE Schedule Cards – I used these at the beginning of the year to make sure we included all of the broad feast (many subjects!). These cards ensure we adhere closely to the time table of finishing our formal school time in 2.5 hrs. or less per day. These cards also help to alternate “more challenging” subjects with more liberal arts subjects to provide a mental break for your children.
- ADE Planning Podcast – Have a listen!
- Charlotte Mason Soiree – A wonderful discussion group to gain book ideas, and ask questions to mamas who are moving through a CM education with you!
- Simply Charlotte Mason Blog Post – Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education
First, I begin by looking at an example of a PNEU time table from Charlotte Mason Poetry.
I also like to use this PNEU programme from 1922 to get an idea of what a CM term would like for first grade. This also gives me a bigger picture of what the children were expected to learn in the term.
Then, I glance at my notes on teaching for each lesson (using this blog), and the ADE Curriculum Template. I have a binder with tabs organized by subject.
Finally, after getting a clear big picture idea for the term, I write in specifics, such as our living book selections by subject, and other various choices such as composer, artist, handicrafts, etc.
For example, here is what I have in my “Bible” Lesson Tab:
- My “How” section of A Charlotte Mason Bible Lesson
- Specific Bible chapters that we are covering
- ADE Bible Curriculum Template
- Bible art I would also like to share with my children
This allows me a quick glance to see what our plan is for the next twelve weeks and also a reminder on “how to” provide the lesson.
“In the first place, there is a time-table, written out fairly, so that the child knows what he has to do and how long each lesson is to last. This idea of definite work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only as training him in habits of
order,but in diligence; he learns that one time is not ‘as good as another’; that there is no right time left what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child’s attention to his work.” (Vol 1, p. 142)
A CM education recommended
We aim to start school around 9 am and finish by 11:30am. I find when we begin later in the morning, it is WAY too difficult for all of us to stay focused on what we need to do.
“She must ask herself seriously, Why must the children learn at all? What should they learn? And, How should they learn it? If she
takethe trouble to find a definite and thoughtful answer to each of these queries, she will be in a position to direct her children’s studies; and will, at the same time, be surprised to find that three-fourths of the time and labourordinarily spent by the child at his lessons is lost time and wasted energy.” (Vol 1, p. 171)
I’m not the most organized person. However, teaching about 11 different subjects daily requires some planning. This is not enough to be a burden or dreary. In fact, I love the process of preparing for my children’s education. However, it’s just enough that a little bit of effort needs to happen before diving into the first lesson of the first term.
Every successful and great business has a vision statement, a mission statement, something that defines who they are, what their goals are, and how they will achieve them. In essence, planning your homeschool term helps you be successful at teaching your children.
Now that we have experienced our first two homeschool terms, I can reflect upon what went well and what could be improved upon. I see what changes I can make as the teacher and parent to spread the feast a little better to my children.
“We see, then, that the children’s lessons should provide material for their mental growth, should exercise the several powers of their minds, should furnish them with fruitful ideas, and should afford them knowledge, really valuable for its own sake, accurate, and interesting, of the kind that the child may recall as a man with profit and pleasure.” (Vol 1, p. 177)
Start broad, and then go deep.
Planning Steps Daily Details
Before we had our first day of formal education, I spent countless hours and research figuring out what and how I wanted to teach them – what the big picture was going to look like. Then, once I knew Charlotte Mason’s methods were a great fit for us, I planned out the first year. If you take a look at my blog, you will find a blog post lesson by lesson. These are my condensed notes and research on how to give this life-giving feast. Then, I spend a little time before each term, planning the next term. Finally, before the upcoming week, I spend a few minutes preparing for the next week.
I write down the daily subjects for each day, along with the time table beside each as a reminder to see the time limit for each lesson.
Ideally, I plan for the entire year over the summer. I get a clear and good picture of the overall year and what it looks like. Then, in between school terms, I plan for the following term. I take about 45 minutes to one hour to plan the next term (twelve weeks). Also, before each week, I prepare for the following week, and it takes me about twenty to thirty minutes. Finally, each day, after the lessons are over, I plan for the next day and it takes me about fifteen to twenty minutes.
“Therefore, the selection of their first lesson-books is a matter of grave importance, because it rests with these to give children the idea that knowledge is
supremleyattractive and that reading is delightful.” (Vol 1, p. 229)
Now, for the fun part! Here is a list of the living books, and specific resources we will be using in our final term, Year 1 – Form 1B.
Writing – Reviewing writing the lower case letters in print and A New Handwriting cursive lower case letters. Then, we will move onto upper case letters in the New Handwriting method and
History – I have probably WAY too much for History here…but he thoroughly enjoys these History tales and these will make for great free time readings too! America Begins and The Aztecs and The Book of Indians and
Natural History – Keep a daily nature notebook and find and describe six wild fruits and Plant Life in Field and Garden and Tommy Smith’s Animals and daily time in nature! And Pair of Wings and Miss Rumphius
Picture Study – Botticelli Riverbend Press
Brush Drawing – Six wildflowers and fruits in paint or chalk and What to Draw and How to Draw it and draw in nature notebook once a week
Recitation – Fly Away Home Poetry Book and Bible Verses and Hymn
Reading – Discover Reading – Shepherd lesson and Girl lesson – review words first – alternate sight words and word building
Music – Child’s Pianist One lesson per week in the afternoonR
Musical Appreciation – Brahms’s Music (I pick six songs and make a Spotify playlist)
Handicraft – Baking, Gardening, Make bed, Help put away dishes, Laundry, Fold laundry and Math in the Garden
I hope this helps you on your path to homeschool planning and provides with you some tools. Do you have any questions? Please comment below or send me an email!
Finally, I like to conclude with my favorite Charlotte Mason resources. I hope these are inspiring and as helpful to you as they are to me!