lessons learned you can apply immediately to your own homeschool. What happened when I gave my child Charlotte Mason exams for  the first time?

I gave my first exams last year.

I have been Charlotte Mason homeschooling for 15 years, and yet it took me that long to work up the courage to do exams. I just didn't think that they were all that important.

Isn't Charlotte Mason about not giving tests? But in her books, Charlotte Mason says that giving exams is essential to her style of education.

Not just something fun to do. (and seriously? who equates exams with fun?)

Essential.

So I finally bit the bullet and did it.

I was so nervous about them! But determined to do CM the "right" way, I figured I had to at least give it a shot. And what harm could it do?

I decided that even if they went horribly, I could always choose to not do them in the future, right?  

But I wanted to see if it was really as important as Charlotte Mason said, and if my child would really love it as much as she said, (again, really?)

Giving CM Exams for the first time

Of course I went straight to the source:  the PNEU programmes from the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection. 

The PNEU was the Parents' National Educational Union, the organization that Miss Mason began to administer her method and curriculum to both homeschools and later, physical schools. Every term they sent out not only the booklist with required pages but also exam questions that were to be sent back at the end of the term.

I substituted my own books that I had used. While I used some of the books from those original PNEU programmes this last year, most of the books were my own choices.  

I couldn't  just reuse her exam questions word for word. However, what I could do was  use them as a model.

I typed up a so I opened up a word document, substituted my own books, and went to work.

How the exams actually went

Honestly?

At first it was horrible.

Every time I would ask my daughter a question she would cry, "I don't know anything! I don't remember anything!

My stomach churned as I thought, "there is no way that this is going to work. She can't remember anything."

Even things that we just did last week.

All those years of planning... WASTED! (gratuitous The Swan Princess reference)

But  I kept asking her questions, being encouraging even if she said she couldn't remember. 

"That's okay, honey. It's not a big deal." (I was sweating bullets inside. I tried not to show it)

This helped ease some of her nervousness.

Because you know what? She was nervous too.

She hasn't ever been to public school, so the only reason I can think that she'd be anxious is just that new-ness.

But then suddenly she started to give me some narrations.

And then as we went along, she was able to give me more and more. Some of the bright spots were that when she did give me answers she remembered details from the books that I didn't even remember until she said something.

And then I thought, "Ooh wow, that's right! That was in the book!"

She also acted out a fable fully from beginning to end, rather than giving me just a short section of it.

Another thing that I noticed was that if she had not been able to narrate it weeks before while we were actually reading the book, she was not able to narrate it for the exam.

While occasionally she came up with a few details that she had not originally narrated, that was the exception rather than the rule.

This brought home how important it is to  narrate after every lesson. It's the way our children interact with the material and then cement it in their minds.

Lessons Learned giving cm exams

Lesson the first- your child won't remember what you think she will

What speaks to me is not what will speak to my child and vice versa. Things that I had felt were the important parts of the story were not the details that necessarily stuck in her mind.

This is one of the things that Charlotte Mason says, that we need to get out of the way between the student and the author (or the expert), and let the child get information mind to mind. When we put ourselves between them either through lectures or by  interpreting, we don't let them experience the material directly.

And we have no idea what's actually going to catch our children's interests.

Lesson the Second- keep terms to 12 weeks or less

Don't let those terms drag on.

I didn't give exams until March of this year even though we started lessons in August.

That's because it took that long to finish our Term 1 work.

I felt like we had to be completely finished with Term 1 work before I could give exams. (Rule Follower here!)

But trying to remember things from 9 months ago was just too long to expect. Next time, even if we aren't finished with the work, I will still give exams at the end of that 12 week session.

Why twelve weeks? That was the length of a term in the PNEU.

That's three months. I don't know why it's easier to wrap my head around "three months" than "twelve weeks", but it is.

If we still want to continue with the work before moving on to Term 2 that's fine, but I won't wait that long between giving exams.

I'm the one that gets to make up the questions, so I get to decide.  I simply won't give questions from material that we haven't covered yet.

It sounds so simple when put that way, but I was so concerned with having to finish all of our Term 1 material that I waited 9 months to give those exams.

Lesson the third- more consistency

 I need to be more consistent with both entries into the nature notebook, and about asking my child to describe orally what she is seeing.

That doesn't mean that she can't draw it. My daughter is dyslexic; drawing is how she does most of her narrations. However, once she's drawn it, that material sticks in her mind much better if then I also have her describe what she has drawn

Conclusion

This actually was a good experience for us.

And I will now do exams at the end of every three months in our school, regardless if we have finished the material that I had set for that term.

It allowed my child to show me what she knew, and that alone increased her confidence. It also gave her another opportunity to bring up those older memories of our lessons and interact with them again.

Exams not only helped her confidence, but it also was another learning aid, bringing things from her long-term memory back to her present memory. It  gave her another opportunity to bring up those older memories of our lessons and interact with them again.

We did exams over a week's time, and since the questions were so short it also served as a nice vacation week.

She also got to show off to her dad all of the handwork that she had been working on. And having it all in one place rather than just seeing little bits at a time really helped my husband see the progress we had made over the last several months.

Quick recap of lessons learned

  • What speaks to you in a passage is not what will necessarily speak to your children and vice versa. Giving exams gives you a window into their mind to see what sorts of things stuck with them and what didn't. 
  • Keep terms to 12 weeks. Don't let them drag on even if you aren't finished with some material
  • Be consistent with both lessons and things like nature notebook and painting. Those "extras" aren't really extras, but because they aren't part of our normal lesson time in the morning they feel like they're extras. Doing exams showed me that I had been slacking in this area.Save work

Giving exams showed me the weaknesses in our own in the way that I administer our homeschool. And it helped me to change those things that needed changing.

What have you learned from giving exams to your own children? Did you make any changes to your school routine after giving them? Leave me a comment and let me know.

WANT TO REMEMBER THIS? SAVE lessons learned from CM exams TO YOUR FAVORITE HOMESCHOOLING PINTEREST BOARD!

woman listening to podcast

Discover intriguing new podcasts to add to your playlist.

Between homeschooling, keeping the house reasonable, getting time outdoors, and all the other demands on my time, it seems I rarely have time to read anymore.

For years, I’ve combated this with copious use of audiobooks in the car, but sometimes I crave more than a good story.

Enter podcasts.

While podcasts can be stories, they’re more often like sitting in on a talk or discussion.

You know when you’re overhearing conversation at the next table over, and the subject is fascinating and the discourse respectful, and you linger over your coffee just so you can listen to more of the conversation?

Podcasts do that too, without the societal taboos of eavesdropping.

But after awhile, your podcast list can get a bit stale.

If your playlist is in need of refreshing, take a look at this list I’ve gathered to expand our minds (not in a magic mushroom kind of way, though I do have a great recipe from nomnompaleo.com for magic mushroom powder….)

With the exception of Stonechats, none of these podcasts are about homeschooling. Instead, they cover a wide variety of topics that make us think and are enjoyable to listen to.

The Podcasts

  1. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
  2. This I Believe
  3. Bulaq Podcast — the Arabist
  4. Myths and Legends
  5. Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast
  6. Stonechats
  7. Nature Guys
  8. British History Podcast

Philosophy Podcasts for the inclusive homeschooler

The first two podcasts are about reflecting on our beliefs. It doesn’t matter what spiritual tradition your beliefs stem from; it’s about getting down to core values and really thinking about them.

1. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

It’s the English class you didn’t know you missed and the meaningful conversations you didn’t know you craved.

This podcast creates time in your week to think about life’s big questions. Because reading fiction doesn’t help us escape the world, it helps us live in it.

Each week, we explore a central theme through which to explore the characters and context, always grounding ourselves in the text. We’ll engage in traditional forms of sacred reading to unearth the hidden gifts within even the most mundane sentences.

On this podcast, we ask: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? 

2. This I Believe

This I Believe

This I Believe, Inc. publishes a weekly podcast of selections from their award-winning public radio series. Each week a different person reads an essay they have written about their most deeply held beliefs.

Literature and Culture Podcasts

Ready to move on to specific cultures? Let’s visit the Middle East and North Africa, China, and then travel the world learning about legends from around the globe.

3. Middle East – Bulaq Podcast

Bulaq Podcast — the Arabist

BULAQ is a podcast about contemporary writing from and about the Middle East and North Africa. It looks at the Arab region through the lens of literature and at literature through the lens of current events.

4. China – Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Podcast

This podcast is an attempt to tell the story of the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms in a way that’s more accessible to an audience who did not grow up in the culture and society that it has permeated for hundreds of years.

It’s kind of like an audiobook, but instead of just a straight reading of a translation, it’s conversational storytelling infused with occasional brief background information and history lessons to help give you the context you need to understand and appreciate this great work of classic Chinese literature.

5. Legends from Around the World

Myths and Legends

This show brings you folklore that has shaped our world. Some are incredibly popular stories you think you know, but with surprising origins. Others are stories that might be new to you, but are definitely worth a listen.

These are stories of magic, kings, Vikings, dragons, knights, princesses, and wizards from a time when the world beyond the map was a dangerous, wonderful, and terrifying place.

Podcasts that go with a Charlotte Mason education

These last three didn’t fit into any particular category. Trying desperately to shoehorn them into one, I came up with Odds and Ends.

But they all support a Charlotte Mason homeschooling mindset.

6. Stonechats – Secular Charlotte Mason

Stonechats where we wax eloquent about all things related to homeschooling from a Charlotte Mason perspective.

(Disclaimer – I am one of the hosts of this show)

7. Nature Guys

Nature Guys

Nature Guys podcast connects you to the exciting natural world right in your own neighborhood. These nature connections will help you be cool, calm, collected and ready to make a positive difference in the world.

8. British History Podcast

British History Podcast

History is human. History is drama. History is our story, and it belongs to all of us.

The BHP is a chronological retelling of the history of Britain with a particular focus upon the lives of the people. You won’t find a dry recounting of dates and battles here, but instead you’ll learn about who these people were and how their desires, fears, and flaws shaped the scope of this island at the edge of the world.

A variety of podcasts to fill your mind

These are just a few of the podcasts that fill my subscription list. What podcasts do you love?

You Might Also Be Interested In:

6 Essential Charlotte Mason Resources (You Can’t Live Without)

Want to remember this? Save 8 Great Podcasts to your favorite Pinterest Board!

pocketwatch for scheduling

LEARN THE FREQUENCY AND DURATION OF Middle School SUBJECTS IN A CHARLOTTE MASON EDUCATION, AND UPDATE FOR TODAY!

Making a homeschool schedule can overwhelming.  What is realistic? What's too much? How often should we do math every day?

Moving into middle school/junior high can feel even more daunting.

We don't just want to hand our kids a list of assignments and pages to be read at the beginning of the week and then say "have at it" with no other guidance.

While that may work for some small subset of kids (not mine!) most will need help building their week.

And when we start with just a list, it's so easy to say "we got the big stuff done, let's just skip the rest today."

And that happens again, and again, and again.

Before you know it, you're two months into the school year and you're no longer feeling the joy because while you're doing the "important things" (who decides what's important, anyway?) you're routinely skipping the things that actually bring joy to your homeschool.

Or suddenly it's Winter Break and  (whoops!) you realize that you're still on the first lesson in Latin and you vow to yourself that NEXT term, by golly, you'll get it done!

The answer to both problems is having a weekly routine, one that allows all lessons to be done in a timely manner, without spending too long on this subject but also not skipping that other subject altogether.

Charlotte Mason's member homeschools were sent sample time tables that they could then adjust to their needs. We can use these original timetables from the PNEU (Parents' National Education Union) as our guide, but we need to bring them to our modern world, both in the subjects and the in the amount of time that a modern homeschool typically spends on lessons.

I don't know about you, but I am not about do lessons six days a week!

This post is about Form III (approximate ages 12-14). If you are looking for a different age group, I've broken down the other Forms, too:

Form I Timetables for Today (approximate ages 6-9)

Form II Timetables for Today (approximate ages 9-12)

Original schedules

Let's get started.

We have two originals from A Liberal Education for All that we can use to guide us. One is from 1928 and the other 1933.

Are you struggling to figure out how to take Charlotte Mason's timetables and apply them to our modern life? Let's work through them together.

This time we are working through Form III (approximate ages 12-14). If you're looking for the other Forms, here they are:

Form I (ages 6-9)
Form II (ages 9-12)

As always, let's start with the originals from A Liberal Education for All.

original table of pneu timetables form 3

Oooh, but here's an interesting tidbit: that's the 1928 edition. The 1933 edition has one significant change.

Form 3 timetables from 1933

Do you see it?

Look at the 12:15-12:45 slot.

Every block in that time slot has "A" at the beginning of it. This means that only students in Form IIIA should do that part. Form IIIB doesn't

(Remember that the first year in Form 3 is called B, and the second year is called A. Think of it like Beginner and Advanced).

So why is this important? Well, for one thing it means that Form 3B students are stopping half an hour earlier than the Form 3A students.

Some of these subjects for 3B students are moved to earlier in the day, while others are dropped altogether. 

In the 1928 time table, there is no distinction between 3A and 3B, but do you notice that there are some changes penciled in? Most notably, Picture Study, Composition, Reading, and Singing are shifted to the afternoons.

I think this is an important consideration in our own planning. You could do this several ways.

  • You could use the 1933 guidelines and have your Form 3B student end at 12:15, waiting on certain subjects (2nd foreign language, Composition) until next year.
  • You could use the 1928 time table as is.
  • You could use the 1928 time table and shift Picture Talk, Composition, Reading, and Singing to the afternoons along with Nature Note Book, Handicrafts, Gardening, and Drawing.

Because it's already marked as A and B, we'll use the 1933 time table as our guide this time.
And let's make this easier to work with by typing it up into a table:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

N.B. -- No "Home Work." "Narration" (oral and written) at the end of each lesson. At least two written narrations each day. B Works till 12 noon only. For afternoon work see General Notes on the Programme.

General Overview

Similar to Form I and Form II, lessons are kept generally to the morning hours. But we do see a gradual lengthening of the lessons. If we look at only the 1928 timetable, students worked in 10-45 minute sessions, for an overall time of 3 hours, 45 minutes.

We don't know who penciled in the changes, whether that was a parent or an administrator of the PNEU.

Looking at the 1933 time table, one of the notes reads "B Works till 12 noon only." This is important because it shows that these subjects weren't pushed aside for the afternoons, and that second-to-last time block goes until 12:15. If "B" students work until 12 noon only, then that 45 minute session is only a 30 minute session for them.

It makes you wonder why this change. Had they been getting feedback that the almost 4 hours of work was just too much for most 3B students? Did they see in the exams that many 3B students weren't getting all the subjects in because their attention flagged towards the end?

Was it a unilateral decision from upper management?

I don't know, but it gives us "permission" in our own homes to cut back.

I mentioned in the Form II post that I think of "B" years as transition years.  Form 3 itself is a transition from the elementary years  into high school.

If we look at the 1933 timetables of Forms 3 & 4 as a whole (Form 4 being the first year of "high school" and itself a transition year), we see that similar to Form 2B, Form 3B eases the student into the higher level work but with slightly shortened hours.

Everything I see in the timetables and the programmes reiterates to me the gradual progression of a Charlotte Mason education. Not many would call Forms 5 and 6 "light" education, but the students aren't expected to start out there. They gradually build up to that level, piece by piece.

Students generally spent two years in Form 3, unlike the three years spent in each of Form 1 and 2. The first year in Form 3 was designated "B" and the second year designated A. Students are generally ages 12-14.

And did you also notice that these early teenagers still had a half hour movement/play break? I love that!

Just as in earlier Forms, the timetables have specific times. It's Geography from 11:00-11:30, not Geography: 30 minutes.

This is important! Charlotte Mason wrote that one time is not as good as another to do things.

When we keep our lessons on a time table, it prevents them from overflowing into the afternoons and evenings. We see that this is also reiterated with the bottom note "No Home Work."

If a student doesn't get their assigned work done in the time slot, other time is not taken away "until you get it done."

Books and resources should be interesting and engaging, not something that you need to drag your kids through. If that's the case (that you have to drag them through their lessons), you should take a hard look at what needs to change.

Family time and time for individual pursuits is just as important as lesson time. That doesn't mean that lesson are not important. We have specific times each day for them. It means that lessons should not become the sole focus of our or our children's day.

Let's work through the table a few subjects at a time and see where it takes us. We will be using the 1933 table as our main one, but referring to changes from the 1928 table, too.

BIBLE and picture study

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

A Geography

As in earlier Forms, Spiritual Instruction (Bible Study) is the start of almost every day. Old and New Testament are alternated, and this study doesn't include memory work that is done a bit later in the day.

Picture Study again has a designated time every week, also. 

Bible: 3x per week for 20 minutes, plus a Saturday session of 20 minutes

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

As with Forms 1 & 2, Bible was done for 20 minutes 4x per week, at the start of the day. Old and New Testament readings were alternated.

Once again, Picture Study also has its own slot in the timetables. It's not something to be set aside and gotten to whenever, but a scheduled part of the day. 

In the 1928 version, it's penciled in to shift Picture Study to the afternoon, which is certainly a viable option. If you do so, though, make sure that it's not something that's forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of afternoon activities.

Perhaps make a point to do it at lunch on Fridays, for example.

Bible: 4x per week @20 min per session (one was a Saturday session)

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Natural History, botany, and general science

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

In a change from the lower forms, we now have separate time slots for natural history, botany, and general science.

What's the difference? Natural history is the study of natural objects in their environment. It includes animals, plants, fungi, and even rocks and minerals and is often based on observation.

In General Science, the PNEU programmes (the course of study sent out by Charlotte Mason to her member schools and homeschools), General Science included such things as electricity, space, and various other topics that we'd still put under a "general science" course now.

General Science in the 1933 time table is listed for Form A only, so if your child is in the first year of Form III (so Form IIIB) it's ok to skip this part if you're overwhelmed.

Natural History and Botany were expected for all years of Form III.

Natural History was for 20 minutes 1x per week. Botany was 30 minutes once per week, and the books assigned often contained experiments.

General Science was for 3A students, though the 1928 schedule had it for all Form 3 students. Because of that change, I consider it optional for 3B.

Natural History: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Botany: 1x per week for 30 minutes

General Science: 1x per week for 30 minutes for 3A, optional for 3B

arithmetic, Geometry, and algebra

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

A Geography

The second block of the day is usually filled with math of some kind. This is a 30 minute block, and it makes sense to do it at this time because "the mind is still fresh". I find it very interesting that there's one random block at the end of the day for 3B once per week.

All students did Geometry, Arithmetic, and Algebra, but 3A did an extra block of Geometry, while 3B did an extra block of Arithmetic. This means that the younger students get a bit more practice on "numbers" (calculation) and then the following year when that is more solid, they shift a bit to get more of the spatial/logical training that comes with geometry.

Notice also that Tuesday has Geometry OR Arithmetic. You could therefore call Geometry optional for Form 3, especially if you're at a point in your curriculum that your child's brain needs a bit more time to develop before being able to understand it. A lot of connections are made around the 12-13 year time frame, so it's not surprising (or anything to feel bad about!) that some students need to wait an extra year.

Another thing I want to point out is that students weren't doing a full course of Algebra, Geometry, and Arithmetic each year. The programmes have 10-15 pages assigned per 12-week term in Algebra and Geometry. That's about 1 page per week, and if you think about doing one session per week of geometry and algebra, again that makes sense.

I used to think that when people said Charlotte Mason did Algebra, Geometry, and Arithmetic all at once, that that meant she recommended an integrated program (a program that covered all those topics).

It wasn't until I dug into these timetables and the PNEU programmes that I realized that no, she did use 3 separate programs, she just worked through those three programs a little bit each week.

Another thing to pay attention to: Arithmetic was both oral and written. Don't hand your kids a Saxon math book and expect them to work through it independently. Oral work was rapid work with tables, oral computation, and even oral word problems. Arithmetic should be a mix of oral and written, and not rely exclusively on one or the other.

Just as in earlier Forms, math of some kind is done every day.

Arithmetic: 3-4 sessions of 30 min per week, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3B, and an additional Saturday session of 30 minutes

Geometry: 0-1x per week for 30 min, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3A

Algebra: 30 min 1x per week

Geography, Plutarch's Lives, and citizenship

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

A Geography

In the PNEU progammes, Plutarch's Lives is listed under Citizenship. so having it's own slot in the time table may mean that the PNEU (and Charlotte Mason by extension) felt that Plutarch was important enough that it needed a dedicated time each week (do you think it's possible that families were skipping Plutarch, so they gave it its own time slot?).

Also, notice that it's an entire 30 minute block. Reading through a single life over a term, sometimes even over two terms for the longer ones, means that you are reading it very slowly and leaving plenty of time to discuss it.

But also notice that Geography gets just as much time as Citizenship and Plutarch do, and for 3A students they get an extra slot of Geography. Learning about other cultures and people is a high priority in a Charlotte Mason education.

Citizenship and Plutarch's Lives: 30 min 2x per week (1 session each)

Geography: 30 min 2x per week, plus an additional 30 min Saturday session for 3A

Dictation and writing, composition, and latin

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

A Geography

Dictation and Writing were done by both Form 3B and 3A students twice per week for 30 minutes, though at different times. If they were both doing it for the same amount of time, why split them up? Why not have both 3A and 3B students do Dictation on Friday morning at 9:20?

I have no idea what the logic is here. My first thought was that 3A is doing Geometry as the second subject of the day, to keep with the same rhythm as the rest of the week, but then 3B's Arithmetic session on Friday is shuttled to the 11:30 slot.

So who knows? The PNEU sometimes worked in mysterious ways....

Dictation continued along the same lines as Form II. The student (with a parent's aid) works through 2-3 pages of a chosen book, noting grammar and punctuation. Any words the student finds tricky to spell are visualized until the student feels he has them firmly in his mind.

This may take one session or several. Go at the pace of your student.

When the student feels confident in his knowledge of the passage, the parent chooses one paragraph and dictates it while the student writes it down.

"Writing" on the time table refers to continued handwriting practice, either drill pages or copywork or writing favorite passages or poems in a notebook.

It could also be used for written narrations after the fact. Form 3 instructions say to occassionally read something on Tuesday and then write a summary of it on Thursday. Because one of the Writing slots is set for Thursday, I'd feel just fine using it for that purpose rather than continued handwriting practice.

Now here is where Composition finally comes in. In the 1928 timetable, it's set for both levels of Form 3, but it's also been penciled in to shift it to the afternoon.

Contrary to popular CM mythology, there is actual instruction in composition. It is not all "the natural method". We just wait on specific instruction until junior high, rather, which allows time for a child to experience years of good writing without pressure.

This 30 minutes of weekly instruction in Form III is when the student finally gets focused instruction on different modes of composition.

Latin is 2x per week for both B and A, but note that the 1933 timetable says that B works till noon only. That means that the 45 minute time slot from 11:30-12:15 is actually only a 30 minute slot for Form 3B.

Dictation and Writing: 2x per week for 30 min each

Composition: 3A- 1x per week for 30 minutes (optional for 3B)

Latin: 3B- 2x per week at 30 min each (one is a Saturday session)
             3A - 1x per week for 30 min (Saturday), 1x per week for 45 min

English Grammar and French

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

A Geography

Here's another area where there is a slight change from the 1928 to the 1933 timetable.

The 1928 timetable had English Grammar & Parsing, and then another slot for English Grammar & Analysis. The 1933 timetable (shown above) has one block for English Grammar, and one block for Analysis and Parsing.

What's the difference between Analysis and Parsing? "Parse" comes from the first element of the Latin term for "part of speech" - "pars orationis". It means to tell the parts of speech of the individual words of a sentence, and how they relate to each other.

"'of' is a preposition; 'the' is an adjective (article) modifying 'words'; 'individual' is an adjective modifying 'words'; 'words' is a noun and the object of the preposition 'of'."

Analysis is the breaking down of a whole into its parts. It would be not breaking down a sentence into parts of speech (parsing) but the parts of a sentence: subject, predicate, the various clauses.

We don't have access to a copy of the grammar book that was assigned in the PNEU programmes, but my guess is that Grammar was specific instruction, and perhaps also instruction on the various tenses of verbs (past perfect continuous, anyone?) while analysis and parsing was actually doing exercises on the parts of a sentence and parts of speech.

Regardless, students spent 30 minutes 2x per week doing various grammar exercises.

For 3B, French was 30 minute sessions, 2x per week with an extra Saturday session. For 3A students, those same French sessions were 45 minutes per week. And we still have scheduled time to learn a French Song once per week during the singing/movement break.

Grammar, Analysis, and Parsing: 2x week at 30 minutes each

French:  1x per week practice a French song
                 3B - 2x per week at 30 min each, plus a Saturday session of 30 min
                 3A - 2x per week at 45 min each, plus a Saturday session of 45 min

Drill, Singing, and Play

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

That brings us right into Singing, Play, and Drill.

It is at this age that we typically start to think that kids don't need that play break anymore. Sure, we can embrace it for under-12's, but shouldn't they be past this by now? They're teenagers!

But no.

We still have a half hour play/movement/singing break every day.

Midway through the lessons. 

Every.

Single.

Day.

Let me share a little secret with you --

Students had a play/movement/singing break scheduled all the way through Form 4 (approx age 14-15).

And ages 15-18 (Forms 5 & 6) still had a movement/singing break.

Please do not expect your students to sit for 3 hours doing schoolwork without a break.

Ever.

Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It's a productivity technique developed in the late  1980s, where you set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted for that time. Then you take a 3-5 minute break, then go back for another 25 minutes of uninterrupted work.

Repeat that for four 25-minute chunks, then take a 15-30 minute break. Then start again.

Hmm.... these timetables look suspiciously like that, though instead of taking a 3-5 minute break after each chunk, the student merely changes to a subject that uses a different part of the brain or body to refresh the mind.

Productivity experts say that we work best in 1-2 hour time blocks, then need a break.

Do not skip this step.

Every day for a half hour the student either does Drill and plays, or sings and plays. Singing and Drill are alternated.

Drill referred to Swedish Drill, a specific set of movements based on military drill and similar to calisthenics, though not as vigorous.

Singing alternated between English songs, French songs, and then just ... singing. Regardless, get your child to stand while singing and get that blood pumping!

Drill, Singing, and Play: 30 minutes every day that lessons were done, an hour and 20 minutes into lesson time.

Repetition, week's work, map of the world

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

Right after the movement/singing/play break, we start with a 10 minute slot for Repetition or Map of the World.

When I look at this I wonder, did Charlotte Mason do a 10-minute slot here to bring the rest of the timetable back on a half hour schedule (so they ended at 12 instead of 11:50) or did she do it to ease the students back into lessons after being given a break, or was it for some other reason?

Remembering back to when my older daughter was this age, I always had a hard time bringing her back to lessons once I let her play outside.

I tried to get around this by not letting her play until lessons were done, which wasn't actually a good idea and didn't work well.

I wonder if I'd used this strategy, to do a quick 10 minute easy block, if that would have helped?

Whether or not that was Charlotte Mason's thought, I think it's a great way to reel our kids back in.  It's also done in Form 4.

We have that 10 minute slot of Repetition daily after the play break, alternating between poetry and Bible memorization, with Latin memorization thrown in there for good measure for 3A students.

3B students will be working on the Map of the World for 10 minutes. 3A students do as well, but that's included as part of their Geography studies while the 3B students have a dedicated time block of it.

Week's Work again is a stumper. It's scheduled for Forms I and II also, but shares a 10 minute slot with Repetition once per week on Saturday.

There is a category for "Work" in the PNEU programmes. It consists of "definite house or garden work", needlework, cardboard modelling, claymodelling, toymaking, sewing and mending, making Christmas presents, leatherwork, putting on plays, and Scouting tests, among other things.

For the 12-14 year old child, this could not possibly all be completed in a short 10 minute weekly time span.

One idea is that this time is for the parent to review the student's progress, to look over what has been done for the week. Inspect the mending, show off the clay models or toys, see how much was done on the Christmas presents.

Repetition: 3A - 5x per week, 3B - 4x per week @10 minutes per session, plus an additional Saturday session for both

Map of the World: 3B - 1x per week for 10 minutes 

History and Italian or german

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

A Geography

As in Form II, there are separate days for the different history streams of a Charlotte Mason education.

English History has its own half hour slot, and General history has another. General history was Indian or world history, and ancient history. Indian (or world history) and ancient history were both under the heading of "general history" in the programmes.

This is how multiple history streams were handled in a Charlotte Mason education. They were simply done on different days. We don't try to cram all three history books into a single "history" slot every day, but instead we have specific days for reading English, Indian (or world), and ancient history.

Italian or German was reserved for Form 3A students in this time table, though in the 1928 version there was no distinction between 3A and 3B for languages.

History: 1x per week for 30 minutes for English history, 1x per week for 30 minutes for general history plus a Saturday session of 30 minutes

Italian or German: 2x per week for Form 3A, one session of 30 minutes and one of 45 minutes

Literature and reading

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

A Geography

Recall that 3B students stopped at 12 noon, so while 3A did Literature for 45 minutes, 3B only did it for 30 minutes once a week.

Reading for 3A was a half hour slot.

I sometimes wonder about this, because the Reading selections in the programmes were the same for both 3A and 3B, and the notes say that lighter portions of the program like plays and novels should be read in the evenings and on holidays.

I'm not sure why 3A got their own dedicated time slot here for Reading. It could be just another way to help ease the transition to the higher grade levels. By having a Reading slot here, it meant that the student didn't need to spend other afternoon time doing more reading, and was a way to keep the book work manageable.

Literature: 30 min 1x per week for 3B, 45 min 1x per week for 3A

Reading: 30 min 1x per week for 3A (3B students had assigned reading also, but no designated slot for it)

all the subjects easily identified

Bible: 4x per week @20 min per session (one was a Saturday session)

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Natural History: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Botany: 1x per week for 30 minutes

General Science: 1x per week for 30 minutes for 3A, optional for 3B

Arithmetic: 3-4 sessions of 30 min per week, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3B, and an additional Saturday session of 30 minutes

Geometry: 0-1x per week for 30 min, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3A

Algebra: 1x per week for 30 min

Citizenship and Plutarch's Lives: 30 min 2x per week (1 session each)

Geography: 30 min 2x per week, plus an additional 30 min Saturday session for 3A

Dictation and Writing: 2x per week for 30 min each

Composition: 3A- 1x per week for 30 minutes (optional for 3B)

Latin: 3B- 2x per week at 30 min each (one is a Saturday session)
             3A - 1x per week for 30 min (Saturday), 1x per week for 45 min

Grammar, Analysis, and Parsing: 2x week at 30 minutes each

French:  1x per week practice a French song
                 3B - 2x per week at 30 min each, plus a Saturday session of 30 min
                 3A - 2x per week at 45 min each, plus a Saturday session of 45 min

Drill, Singing, and Play: 30 minutes every day that lessons were done, an hour and 20 minutes into lesson time

Repetition: 3A - 5x per week, 3B - 4x per week @10 minutes per session, plus an additional Saturday session for both

Map of the World: 3B - 1x per week for 10 minutes 

History: 1x per week for 30 minutes for English history, 1x per week for 30 minutes for general history plus a Saturday session of 30 minutes

Italian or German: 2x per week for Form 3A, one session of 30 minutes and one of 45 minutes

Literature: 30 min 1x per week for 3B, 45 min 1x per week for 3A

Reading: 30 min 1x per week for 3A (3B students had assigned reading also, but no designated slot for it)

Some observations

Before we start to modernize this time table, I want to re-iterate a few things.

The 1933 timetable is an easier transition to the higher level grades than the 1928 one. I'm of the opinion that most students will be most successful if the transitions are small.

Remember that every day there is a mid-lesson break for movement, singing, and play.

Do not think that your young teen is too old for recess.

We tend to think that our 12-14 year-olds should be able to sit through a full morning of lessons, but this is not something that Charlotte Mason expected.

Please don't leave this part out. It provides a much needed refreshment in the midst of focused lessons.

In general, start off most days with spiritual instruction, then do math next while the mind is still very fresh.

Handicrafts, brushdrawing, drawing, painting, modeling, toymaking, hobbies, and the Nature Note Book were done in the afternoons.

These aren't scheduled, but again are not something that should be left out of a CM education.

In fact, the programmes for Form 3 state that "the work of the programmes cannot be fully carried out unless each child keeps a Nature Note Book and a Century book."

You should be insisting on a Nature Note Book at this age. It doesn't need to be (and in fact, shouldn't be!) an artist's portfolio of perfectly drawn specimen.

Think of it more as a field notebook, where the student draws quick sketches with arrows and bullet points of what she sees.

Saturday School

Not everyone did Saturday school, even if they were enrolled in the PNEU. As we go higher in the forms it gets harder to bring the schedules to a 5 day week, but it is still doable. If you are going to make a 4 day week, adjust subjects proportionately rather than leaving off entire subjects, if you can swing it.

But if you can't, don't sweat it either.

I never managed to do Latin with my older daughter, and we didn't do Plutarch until she was 15. As an adult, she is still an engaged citizen who understands both her rights and duties as a citizen of our country.

No on to creating a timetable that fits your life!

Modernizing the Time Table

Let's look at how we can use the time table as our guide but still adjust for modern life.

The first thing we'll do is to revise to a 5 day week rather than 6 day week. Very few homeschoolers do lessons 6 days a week. If you do, more power to you, and you have it easy to update the time table!

The Five Day School Week

On Saturdays, the schedule has Bible, math, Latin, Singing & Play, Repetition, General History, French, and Geography (3A).

Bible is done 3x per week otherwise, so it's safe to kick that Saturday session out.

Math, Repetition, and Singing & Play are also done daily, so we can delete those, too. However, since it's not just "Singing" but Sol-fa in particular, let's shift Sol-fa to the English Songs space and we'll just sing English Songs around the house throughout our days.

That leaves us with Latin, Week's Work, General History, French, and Geography.

Latin

What to do about Latin? There's only one other time Latin is done during the week, other than some repetition work for the second year (3A) students.

I would put this in the Italian or German space on Friday afternoons for Form 3A students, and not worry about it for the 3B students.

What are we doing then with Italian or German (second foreign language)?

In A Liberal Education for All on page 41, it has a note that "Less time may be given if desired in any Form to Science and Modern Languages and more to Classics and Mathematics. The English periods may not be altered."

Taking advantage of this, I would delete that second Italian/German slot for 3A in favor of Latin.

If you don't want to do that, you could either have your student do a stand-alone session of that second foreign language on a Saturday (this would work especially well if you do an online tutoring session, or if you're using the ULAT), or you could cut back on Latin in favor of that second Italian/German slot.

Week's Work

Keep this on Saturday, or even Friday evening. Just don't have regular lessons around it.

Regularly check on your child's household responsibilities as well as admire the handiwork he's doing. 

General History

General History is penciled in as "A" (Form 3A) in the 1928 time table, so again it would be safe to skip this extra period for 3B students.

There is still another time slot for General History on Thursdays, but it might be difficult to try to fit both Indian/World History and Ancients into that one slot.

However, on the 1928 time table, Picture Study is also penciled in as "afternoon". We can either shift Picture Study to afternoon entirely, or we could alternate Picture Study with an extra session of General History on opposite weeks.

Which way would be best? I would say that if you tend to skip Picture Study in the afternoons, then it would be better to schedule it in in the mornings.

French

As with Italian/German, I'd just throw this Saturday session right out.

If you want to get more practice in, then do a standalone session on Saturday instead of Italian/German.

Geography

Geography already has two 30 minute slots on Monday and Wednesday, and it's penciled in as "A" (for Form 3A) on the 1928 time table.

Let's just take that Saturday session out altogether. With those two time slots the rest of the week, you'll not even miss it.

For Form 3A students, do 10 minutes work on the world map once a week at lunchtime. It's scheduled in for Form 3B students, so that's already covered.

This is what we are left with.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study or General History

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Latin

B Arithmetic

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

At lunch: 10 minutes Map of the World for 3A students, English songs throughout the day

Saturday: French or Italian

Modernizing the Subjects

Starting at the top, we'll change Old and New Testament to Spiritual or Moral Instruction, because Charlotte Mason's methods are for everyone, regardless of your religious background.

Instead of Repetition: Bible, your student could learn more poetry, speeches, motivational sayings, or spiritual passages from your own tradition.

We'll add the notes from the 1933 time table to the end.

French becomes the foreign language of your choice, and Italian or German becomes the 2nd foreign language of your choice. I'm gong to designate that as Repetition: Choice to make it easy.

Most of us don't do Drill anymore, but if you'd like to do it I found Swedish Drill Revisited, written by a Physical Therapist (I haven't used, but would love reviews if you do). Instead of specifying Drill, let's change that to Movement.

And there we have it: A modern Charlotte Mason timetable on a 5 day schedule.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

9:00-9:20

Spiritual/

moral instruction

Spiritual/

moral instruction

Natural

History

Spiritual/

moral instruction

Picture Study or General History

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

10:20-10:50

Movement and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Movement

1st foreign language Song and Play

Movement and

Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition

Choice

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition

Choice

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

11:30-12:15

1st foreign language

Latin

Literature

1st foreign language

A Latin

B Arithmetic

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A 2nd foreign language

A Dictation and Writing

A
Composition

Notes -- No "Home Work." "Narration" (oral or written) at the end of each lesson. At least two written narrations each day. B works till 12 noon only.

Afternoon work -- 3A 10-minutes on Map of the World once per week.  Singing throughout the day. Handicrafts, drawing, Nature Note Book, Gardening, Reading (lit)

Saturday -- conversational foreign language practice (consider a Skype tutor or italki.com)

Making it your own

This is only a guide to one way to change the time tables. If you have multiple students, you'll need to adjust because there is only one of you, and you are not Super Woman.

If you want to do a 4 Day Schedule, I wouldn't advise just chopping off another day. Instead, try to trim back the subjects evenly so they stay proportionate.

I did just that this year by figuring out the percentage of time spent on each subject, then multiplying that percentage by the new amount of minutes we'd be working each week for my Form I student.

Everything got cut back a little, but we're still able to get everything in with no stress.

It did mean cutting back on the amount of reading in a term we're doing in some subjects, but that's simply an adjustment that has to be made.

We can't expect to cut down from a six day to a four day schedule yet still do the same amount of work.

WANT TO REMEMBER THIS? SAVE FORM 3 SCHEDULES FOR TODAY TO YOUR FAVORITE HOMESCHOOLING PINTEREST BOARD!

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pinterest pin How to improve Charlotte Mason's jr high schedules for stress free days

healthy rhythm

An easy step-by-step tutorial to creating a healthy home rhythm, and why you need one.

The kids are constantly cranky and you’re on edge. The to-do list seems endless and once again the littles fell asleep in front of the TV at who knows what hour. Your day feels out of control, like you never know if you’re coming or going.

How are you supposed to get dinner on the table at 6 when you don’t even look in the fridge until 7?

What you need is a strong home rhythm.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and subsequently make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

What is a healthy home rhythm

A home rhythm is simply doing the same sorts of things at the same general time on a daily, weekly, or seasonal basis.

Maybe you can’t stomach the thought of using a day planner to plan your day because it just feels so confining.

I get it.

Dividing the day up into small segments and keeping my kids on a tight schedule brings back memories of public school, with the bells and 4 minutes to get from one class to the next and the anxiety….

No thank you.

But unlike a rigid schedule, a healthy home rhythm is not strictly tied to a clock, but instead can ebb and flow.

Think of it as a routine, or as Charlotte Mason called it, regularity.

Yep, Charlotte Mason was all about regularity.

But that word.

Regularity.

It makes me think of bowel habits and getting your daily fiber. (former RN here)

Not exactly the atmosphere I want in my home.

Why do we need a daily or weekly rhythm?

Lots of reasons! When I first instituted a regular bedtime for my older daughter when she was about 8, she became calmer, less prone to outbursts, and was a generally happier child. It was like magic.

I remember talking to another mom who instituted a regular bedtime at about the same time I did, and we were both amazed at the change in our kids. She said, “Who knew?”

(while my mom piped up in the background “I did!” — thanks mom, why didn’t you tell me?)

A Home Rhythm Reduces the Amount of Mental Bandwidth We Need

A routine is not just for kids. It works wonders for grown ups, too. When you always do the same thing at about the same time, it means one less thing you have to think about.

This alone is gold.

We only have so much mental bandwidth. We can only hold so many things in our head.

And getting a child in nightclothes is so much easier when he is actually awake.

Increases Kids’ Sense of Security

This sounds strange, doesn’t it? How would having a rhythm to the day make kids feel more secure?

When we get up, we have a general sense of how our day is going to go, even if we aren’t sure of the exact times.

We might know we have an appointment in the afternoon, or we need to get a few loads of laundry done in the morning, or even that we have vague maybe-plans to go to the park.

Kids can’t see into our brain, and if we don’t have a routine they have no idea what’s coming next.

Imagine going to a conference and asking for an overview of what’s planned for each day. Instead of being given a schedule, you’re told, “Oh, don’t worry about it. We’ll let you know when we want you to go somewhere else. In the meantime, just do whatever.”

You don’t know if lunch will be at 10 AM or 2:30, or if the day will end at 4 or go until 10 that night.

That would be rather uncomfortable, wouldn’t it? Yeah, I’d think the leaders were… how to say this nicely?… Unorganized.

When we don’t have a home rhythm, that’s how it can feel to our children.

  • They don’t know if they’re going to eat lunch at 10:30 or 2:30 or at all
  • They don’t know if the day is ending at 7 or at 10
  • They don’t know if, when they start to play, they will immediately get called in for lessons or if they will be able to engross themselves in their project

Tried and True, Tested over Generations

For generations, centuries, millenia, our ancestors have had daily, seasonal, and yearly rhythms. It’s the very nature of living a largely agricultural life.

The daily rhythm of getting up to muck out the stalls and feed the animals.

Making food on a regular basis to feed those who were doing physical labor.

Going to bed at a similar time to start the day fresh and early the next.

The weekly rhythm of housework — laundry on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, sewing on Wednesday, marketing on Thursday, etc.

The seasonal and yearly rhythms of planting, harvesting, preserving, baby animals being born, and yearly celebrations.

And it works because it works.

Those repeated patterns give structure to the day and year, something to look forward to. “We always go apple picking in the fall.”

If every evening after dinner you clean up as a family, it reduces power struggles. It’s simply what we do.

The daily rhythm of eating and sleeping at the same times keeps the body on schedule. Bedtimes are easier (your body is signaled that this is sleep time) and eating at consistent times keeps blood sugar steady, which means moods are less volatile.

Creating a healthy home rhythm, step by step

So now you’re convinced of how important a home rhythm or routine is, but how do you go from your current life of chaos to one that’s flowing and regular?

First, don’t jump in to a full-blown routine. If you do you’ll not only have a mutiny on your hands, but you’re likely to crash and burn.

Add each step one at a time, and when that step feels easy add in the next. Each step might take a few days or it might take several weeks, depending where you’re starting from.

1. Start with consistent sleeping times

Bedtimes and nap times, and regular waking times.

Remember that while adults need about 8 hours of sleep per night, children need more. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children generally need the following to be fully rested:

  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • School-aged (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teens (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
  • Young adults (18-25 years): 7-9 hours

How do we ensure our children are getting enough sleep? We start by working our way backwards.

What time do you want them to get up in the morning? How many hours do they usually sleep? (If there is no consistency, choose the middle range from the list above and start with those numbers)

If you have a 9 year old and you want him to sleep until 7, going to bed at 7 PM probably won’t work, because most 9 year olds don’t sleep for 12 hours (it’s ok if yours does, though).

If we start with the mid-range of 10 hours for a 9 year old and we want him to wake up around 7 AM, then that means he should be asleep at 9 PM.

We can’t just be in the middle of doing things though and suddenly say, “OK, jammies on and time for bed!”

We need to signal to the body that it’s getting time for sleep.

This is where an evening routine comes in.

Start with a simple evening routine of

  • wash up
  • brush teeth
  • night clothes on
  • dirty clothes in the hamper
  • reading (either to themselves quietly or as a family bedtime story)
  • tucked in and lights out

Try to have this time be screen-free, so the blue light from screens doesn’t interfere with their sleep.

If that simple evening routine takes 30 minutes, then for a 9 PM sleeping time that means it has to start at 8:30 or a little earlier.

I am not saying that all 9 year olds should stay up until 9. This is just the method I use to figure out when I want our evening routine to start.

You might want to start straight off from what time you want them to be in bed by so you can have some kid-free time at the end of the day. Just be aware that if your 9 year old child is going to sleep at 7:30, he will probably be awake around 5:30 or 6 AM.

A word about consistency: you can fudge about 20-30 minutes, especially when you’re just starting out.

Don’t feel like since you were aiming for 8 PM and you didn’t get your kids in bed until 8:20 that you failed that day.

Developing a routine is a process. It will take time, you will have slip ups and backsliding, and sometimes it will feel impossible.

This is all normal.

If you are starting here:

Then your goal should not be here:

graph of perfect bedtime with crazy mom

But here:

bedtime graph after evening routine

Progress, not perfection.

We aren’t Superwoman.

2. Add in consistent mealtimes and snack times

Once bedtimes have been set and it feels normal to get your kids (and you!) in bed at about the same time every night, then work on being really consistent with meals and snack times.

Simplify meal planning as much as possible. You might consider a meal planning service (I’m trying out Real Plans right now)

Just like with your bedtime routine, work your way backwards.

What times do you want to eat? Do you want 3 big meals and 2 snacks? Six small meals?

Jot down the times you’d like to eat, then look at it from a bird’s eye view. Are lunch and afternoon snack too close together? Are there 7 hours between lunch and dinner with no snack time?

Adjust until you have what is a reasonable schedule for meals.

You’re not done yet, though. In order to get meals on the table, some preparation is usually involved.

How long does it usually take you to cook a meal? (or how long does it take the delivery guy to get your order to you? I don’t judge)

If getting dinner on the table usually takes you 30 minutes and you want to serve dinner at 6:30, you know you need to start it no later than 6 PM.

Likewise, if it takes you an hour to cook dinner and you want to eat at 5PM, you would know you need to start at 4.

This will take a little while to get used to, so consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to get dinner going.

If you’re going to be out of the house that evening, think about using a crockpot so you don’t have to do meal prep, or maybe plan to eat out that night.

Make a list of easy snacks that you can keep on hand so snack times are relaxed.

Step 3: Add a Morning Routine

It’s been a few weeks or a few months and you have consistent sleeping and eating times. Moods are happier and more even, and things feel less hectic around the house.

Let’s expand out a bit, and continue with our forward progression.

How about making mornings easier?

You have to do the same things every morning — make bed, get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, eat breakfast. You may want to add a meditation or spiritual time to start off your day, too.

If mornings make you frazzled, then work on bringing rhythm to these times, too.

If you feel like you’re constantly yelling at the kids to keep them moving, consider making a music track like this one for your family. I’ve used it for years, and while I wouldn’t necessarily buy it again (it is expensive!) it does its job and worked wonders.

Work on building habits for your kids’ morning routine, one step at a time. (For more on building habits, read this post on habit training)

Step 4: Make a Weekly Rhythm

Once your morning and evening routines are solid and you’re eating at regular times, your days should feel much more manageable.

Let’s take our focus off of the daily and now work on a weekly rhythm.

We don’t need to have something scheduled every day, but having a weekly rhythm reduces a lot of whining.

If the kids know that every Friday is park day, or every Thursday afternoon you’ll go to the pool, it makes it so they’re not asking every. single. day.

You can do this with home activities, too.

Tuesday might be painting or watercolor. Wednesday drawing. Thursday an adventure.

Again, just start out with one thing, and then add in another once that’s easy and “just what we do”.

Step 5: Make a Cleaning Schedule

For at least a hundred years and probably much longer, the heart of housework was a weekly routine that assigned each of the major housekeeping chores to one day of the week. You see variants of the routine, but in my childhood people did washing (laundering) on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, sewing on Wednesday, marketing on Thursday, cleaning on Friday, and baking on Saturday. Sunday was the day of rest. For those of us who can remember the universality with which this system was followed through the mid-1960s, or even later in some areas, the speed and totality of its disappearance are breathtaking.

— Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts

Let’s get a handle on the cleaning now.

You can either create your own daily and weekly cleaning list (keep it simple, guys!) or use a system like Flylady or Motivated Moms (use coupon code juniper for $3 off your first year!).

I’ve used Motivated Moms as my cleaning schedule for years, and it’s how I keep my house (reasonably) clean.

Yes, I fall off the wagon periodically frequently (ahem), but it’s easy to jump back on.

I use the Clean My House Planner from Motivated Moms because it only has tasks to keep my house clean. Other versions have daily Bible readings, or things like “refill prescriptions” “pay bills” and “check your credit report”.

I need simple and focused or I get overwhelmed.

Final Step: Whatever Else You Want

At this point you are several months into a rhythm, perhaps it’s even been an entire year since you started.

It’s ok. We all go at our own pace.

Now it’s time for you to fly on your own.

You can add whatever you’d like to your rhythm at this point.

If at any time you feel overwhelmed, back up a step and get that one solid before you try to move on again.

Two steps forward, one step back. Progress isn’t all forward.

There will be backsliding, and sometimes you’ll feel like throwing in the towel completely.

Don’t.

Just back up, take a deep breath, and start again.

Each day is a new day. Each afternoon even is new.

Having a healthy home rhythm will make every day easier.

Where are you in your journey to creating a home rhythm? Where are you getting stuck? Let me know in the comments so we can brainstorm ways to get you out of that stuck place.

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step-by-step to daily rhythm

essential resources paint palette

Discover the six essential resources that will help you create the Charlotte Mason homeschool you’ve dreamed about.

Are you tired of asking for resource ideas, only to get overwhelmed by long lists of books, overly religious content, or the same books recommended over and over?

Just tell me what I really need, you think. I don’t want a a list of thousands of books, I just want to know what are the best resources to support my CM journey.

Who has time to read the 1,347,567 “most essential” books? Not me!

Instead, I’ve narrowed down my favorites list to just six resources that I consider necessary (and they aren’t all books, either — because a Charlotte Mason education is about so much more than books).

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Essential Resource #1: Charlotte Mason Digital Collection

The Charlotte Mason Digital Collection is a treasure trove of primary source material.

From the original volumes to Parents’ Reviews and personal correspondence, the CMDC is an online repository for all things Charlotte Mason. You can do hundreds of hours of research here.

Most of the digitized items are also available at the Internet Archive.

My favorites outside her original volumes are the Parents’ Review, the PNEU programmes, and A Liberal Education for All.

Essential Resource #2: Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young

If I could only have one resource outside of Charlotte Mason’s own writings, it would be Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young.

One of Charlotte Mason’s top goals was to raise naturalists, and no other book or guide provides the sort of instruction that this one does.

It is full of not only inspiration but also hand-holding and thoroughly tested activities that engage children in nature connection, and so sneakily that they often don’t even realize it’s happening.

I have two copies: one for own home and one for our cabin. That’s how essential I consider this book.

If you are outside the U.S. and shipping is prohibitive, 8Shields.org sells it as a digital download, too.

Unsure if you’ll like Jon Young’s style? Watch some of his videos that are on YouTube to check him out first.

Essential Resource #3: Good Watercolor Paints and Decent Brushes

Painting (or “brush drawing”) is an integral part of a Charlotte Mason education.

Crayola-type watercolor pans will last a whole entire weekend at my house, and I just can’t afford to keep my daughter supplied. (Let’s not even mention the crappy brush that comes with in those pans!)

Instead, I made a small investment in tube watercolor paints, decent paint brushes, and a palette that closes securely.

Now, these are not professional tools or even super-high-quality, but they do the job well. I bought them all four years ago and they are still going strong.

You could easily get away with fewer paints (my set has 30 and many of them I haven’t even touched). This one is only 12 tubes and cheaper.

The tube colors are so much richer than the Crayola pans.

Here’s how to use them for CM-style dry-brush drawing:

  • Put a dollop of watercolor paint into a section of your palette and let it dry. This will take from 12 hours to a few days, depending on your air temperature and humidity.
  • Once they are dry, wet your brush and use it to drip a teeny amount of water on the top of one of the palette squares of paint. You just want to rehydrate the top layer, not make a big sloppy puddle.
  • When the paints have been slightly rehydrated, they are ready for use. You want that layer on top thicker than water, thinner than glue. Probably a milk or even light cream consistency will be close.
  • Dip the tip of a damp brush into the rehydrated watercolor, and paint away.

Essential Resource #4: Golden Guides

The Golden Guides from St. Martin’s Press are our go-to field guides. They’re the first ones we grab because they contain the most common specimens we’re likely to see and they are accessible for both kids and adults.

Enough information to give you a good overview of what you’re looking for without going into so much detail that it’s overwhelming.

We will often first identify a specimen in our Golden Guides, then if we want to dig deeper we’ll go to a thicker, more comprehensive field guide. Often, the bigger field guide doesn’t really have more information than the Golden Guide.

There are over 30 Golden Guides in the series, but our favorites are Birds, Insects, and Reptiles and Amphibians.

Essential Resource #5 Simplicity Parenting by Dr. Kim John Payne

Not a specifically Charlotte Mason resource, but the best guide on parenting that I’ve ever read.

I re-read it yearly (it applies to young children all the way through teenagers) and also give it as part of my standard baby shower package.

I can’t even remember how many copies I’ve bought to give away.

Read.

This.

Book.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids

Essential Resource #6: Sturdy Unlined Notebooks

For Nature Note Books, for drawing the lizard the kids just caught, for making notes about the tracks in the puddle in the muddy spot in the backyard.

My favorite are the heavy coil-bound sketch books you can get from JoAnn’s, Michael’s, and even Walmart.

Stay with 50lb paper or heavier. I’ve used Strathmore, Canson, and Art 1st and have been very happy with all of them.

We even have a tablet from Melissa and Doug, but at 8.5″ x 11″, it’s a bit big.

For easy portability, 5.5″ x 8.5″ or 6″ x 9″ work well.

JoAnn and Michaels often have their sketchbooks on sale, and I wouldn’t pay full price for them. They also often have 40% off coupons if you don’t want to wait for a sale.

And, both Michaels and JoAnn give their Teacher Discount to homeschoolers, which gives an additional 15% off.

These are my favorite resources for a Charlotte Mason lifestyle

Quick recap (because who wants to scroll all the way back through the post?)

Do you have others that you love? Let me know in the comments!

Want to save this for later? Pin it to your favorite homeschool Pinterest board!

charlotte mason essential resources

CM termininology featured image with dictionary

Crack the code to Charlotte Mason lingo and feel like an insider.

A big stumbling block to any new field is learning the lingo associated with it. Do you remember having to learn vocabulary at the beginning of a new course? It made the rest of the class go much more smoothly. Charlotte Mason is no different.

Here's your guide to unfamiliar terms often trip up new people -- and even some veterans!

(Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Afternoon Occupations

An activity that is engaged in during the afternoons that is an important part of a Charlotte Mason education but that is not included in the morning academic lessons.

These include music, handicrafts, field work (nature study and experiments), dancing, nature notebooks, book of centuries, gardening, singing, and/or picture study.

In Form I (approximate ages 6-9) these were often done as part of morning lessons, but in Form II and up, they are often done in the afternoons.

Literature could be read in the afternoons or evenings.

Atmosphere

From Volume 6, A Philosophy of Education, page 94:

When we say that "education is an atmosphere" we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a child-environment, especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child's level.

Atmosphere means both the physical surroundings and the influence of the people around the children.

Physically, the space should be natural and suitable to living, not a specific "child-environment". A family's home is better for the child than a kindergarten classroom, for example.

It is also the "actions that speak louder than words."

For a more in-depth look at this, watch A Charlotte Mason Plenary's video on Principles 5 & 6, beginning at about the 2 minute mark.

Book of Centuries

The Book of Centuries is not a timeline book as many commonly think of a timeline book.

It starts off as a blank book, with each two page spread covering one hundred years.  Ideally, one page is lined and the facing page is unlined.

The student numbers the lined side in 5 year increments, and gradually fills it in with what he feels are the most important events.

The blank side is reserved for drawings.

More pages aren't used for more recent centuries.  Instead, all centuries receive the same two page spread, so that students become aware that more recent events aren't more important than earlier events.

The Book of Centuries was assigned beginning in Form 2, or approximately age 10.

Here is an actual 2-page spread of a Book of Centuries from the Charlotte Mason Digital Archives

book of centuries image

Calendar or Book of Firsts

We do not have an existing example of the Calendar of Firsts (also called Book of Firsts in the CM community), but this is what we do know:

It is a capital plan for the children to keep a calendar--the first oak-leaf, the first tadpole, the first cowslip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen, and when. The next year they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year be in a condition to add new observations.

Notice that this is a calendar that they keep year to year. No mention is made of drawings, but the children are to note "where seen, and when".

There are two ways I can picture this: a list kept year to year that you can flip back through and refer to later, or a blank calendar that has dates but not years and can be added to every year, similar to a weather journal.

Commonplace Book

A journal that is used to record passages that particularly strike you, poems, quotes, your impression of the author's work, and the like. 

It is very helpful to read with a commonplace book or reading-diary, in which to put down any striking thought in your author, or your own impression of the work, or any part of it; but not summaries of facts. Such a diary, carefully kept through life, should be exceedingly interesting as containing the intellectual history of the writer; besides, we never forget the book that we have made extracts from, and of which we have taken the trouble to write a short review.

Drill

The "drill" that is mentioned in Charlotte Mason's books was one of a few types:  Swedish drill, position drills, and drill in good manners.

Most often when you see "drill" referred to in a CM context, it refers to Swedish drill.  According to the book The Swedish Drill Teacher, 

Swedish drill, or Free Standing Gymnastics, belongs to that branch of the Swedish system of physical exercise which is known as Educational Gymnastics ... The Swedish system of movements is directed more especially towards the improvement of the general health of the body rather than towards muscular development.

Drill could also refer to position drills (sit up straight, shoulders back, head erect) or drill in good manners, where a dozen scenarios are role-played so you can teach your children things such as offering to carry a package, how to give directions, or how to introduce someone.

Drill is never used in the modern sense of rote memorization of facts.

Forms

"A form is an educational stage, class, or grouping of pupils in a school. During the Victorian era a 'form' was the bench upon which pupils sat to recieve lessons. In some smaller schools the entire school would be educated in a single room, with different age groups sitting on different benches." -- Wikipedia

In the PNEU (Parents' National Education Union) programmes, and in Charlotte Mason's other writings, children were separated into Forms. A student remained in a form for several years.

In general, students in Form I were ages 6-9, Form II ages 9-12, Form III ages 12-14, Form IV ages 14-15, Form V ages 15-17, and Form VI ages 18-19.

Form

Years spent

approximate ages

U.S. School equivalents

Form I

3 years

ages 6-9

early elementary

Form II

3 years

ages 9-12

late elementary

Form III

2 years

ages 12-14

junior high

Form IV

1 year

ages 14-15

early high school

Form V

2 years

ages 15-17

high school

Form VI

1 year

ages 17-18

Masterly Inactivity

Free, unscheduled time that the children can pursue their own interests during, or be bored. Don't be afraid of boredom, because that is where imagination begins.

It is "masterly" in that the children are not allowed to run wild, and are still under the authority of their parents.

They are not allowed to break rules or cause harm or damage; it is not a time of "anything goes" but rather time for the children to stare at the clouds, to play in forts (whether an armchair fort or a treehouse), to work on that project they're interested in.

Morning Basket

This is not a Charlotte Mason term, but you may see the concept used within the Charlotte Mason community.

The Morning Basket (or Morning Time) is a concept that is used in multiple approaches, from Waldorf to delight-directed learning.

Basically, it is a basket (or box, or bag, or pile on the table) of books and activities that you start your day with.

While it can contribute to your lessons, it is not "lessons" as such.  The books or resources are often chosen to start the day off relaxed, and with beauty and delight.

Some things that people put in their morning baskets:

  • spiritual resources
  • their current read-aloud
  • Shakespeare
  • poetry books
  • resources for the current term's artist
  • nature stories

One blogger describes it as a way to start the day with the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

Mother Culture

Not the culture of motherhood.

Culture is used in this term as one of the less common definitions:  the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties, especially by education.

Mother culture is not learning how to be a better mother, a better cleaner, a better cook, or become more content in the role of raising children.

Mother culture is the purposeful act of taking time out of your day to cultivate your mind.

Then it is that, in her efforts to be ideal wife, mother, and mistress, she forgets that she is herself. Then it is, in fact, that she stops growing.

Mother must have time to herself. And we must not say "I cannot." Can any of us say till we have tried, not for one week, but for one whole year, day after day, that we "cannot" get one half hour out of the twenty-four for "Mother Culture"? --one half-hour in which we can read, think, or "remember."

Narration

Narration is the primary form that is used by the student to cement the information just learned.  It is the simple act of retelling in their own words what they remember from either the lesson or the reading.

It is not an outline or a summary, and the student may or may not be able to tell you the main point or central idea of the passage.  

The purpose of narration is for the student to interact with the material, to have to remember what was listened to or read, and then use his own words to retell it.

Narrations are entirely oral in the beginning, then gradually shift to both written and oral.

Because they are also the foundation for composition, they are an a very important part of a Charlotte Mason education.

Narrations of any kind should not be expected before a child is 6 years old.

Picture Study vs Picture talk vs Drawing vs "Picture painting"

Ah, the different forms of art in a Charlotte Mason education.

Picture Study and Picture Talk 

Generally these are two different terms for the same thing, what we now call Art Appreciation.

Rather than a lecture, however, a student looks at a piece created by the term's artist, then without looking at it tries to narrate (or tell back) what he remembers of it.

For the youngest students it can be as simple as that. Older students might have the teacher set the scene and draw their attention to certain aspects of the painting (read this blog post for step-by-step instructions). Still older students might learn about the art movement (Impressionism, etc).

drawing

Specific instruction in drawing techniques. The PNEU programmes almost always had a note that "pencils should not much be used."

"Picture-Painting"

Completely separate from art, this actually refers to "taking mental photographs, exact images, of the beauties of Nature", and developing the visual memory.

From Home Education:

Get the children to look well at some patch of landscape, and then to shut their eyes and call up the picture before them, if any bit of it is blurred, they had better look again. When they have a perfect image before their eyes, let them say what they see.

Thus: 'I see a pond; it is shallow on this side, but deep on the other; trees come to the waters edge on that side, and you can see their green leaves and branches so plainly in the water that you would think there was a wood underneath. Almost touching the trees in the water is a bit of blue sky with a soft white cloud; and when you look up you see that same little cloud, but with a great deal of sky instead of a patch, because there are no trees up there. There are lovely little water-lilies round the far edge of the pond, and two or three of the big round leaves are tuned up like sails. Near where I am standing three cows have come to drink, and one has got far into the water, nearly up to her neck,' etc.

Scaffolding

Not a Charlotte Mason term, but you will see the term used in Charlotte Mason communities.

Scaffolding can have different meanings depending on the context it's used in.  Some people use it to refer to "preparing a lesson" (vocabulary, geography of the passage, etc) and also linking back to the previous lesson in that subject by asking the student to recall the previous reading.

More properly, however, scaffolding in the educational sense refers to teachers providing "successive levels of temporary support that help students reach higher levels of comprehension and skill acquisition that they would not be able to achieve without assistance. " (The Glossary of Education Reform)

Some examples of scaffolding strategies are:

  • giving the student a simplified version of a lesson and then gradually increasing the difficulty over time
  • describing a concept in multiple ways to increase understanding
  • giving the student a model for the assignment
  • going over vocabulary before beginning the reading
  • the teacher explicitly making connections between previous lessons and the current lesson

There is definite controversy in the CM community over whether or not scaffolding is a legitimate Charlotte Mason practice.

Sloyd

The word "sloyd" is derived from the Swedish word Slöjd, which translates as crafts, handicraft, or handiwork. It refers primarily to woodwork but also paper-folding and sewing, embroidery, knitting and crochet.  --Wikipedia

The Sloyd educational system trained students in skills by building or creating a series of carefully graduated items, each of which introduced basic tools and skills, and built confidence.

In the Parents' National Education Union programmes (the booklets sent each term to families and schools enrolled in Charlotte Mason's program), the children first did paper sloyd and then cardboard sloyd up to age 12 or so.

Some consider it to be a precursor to geometry and therefore vital for math education.

Also termed paper modelling or cardboard modelling in the Programmes, sloyd was always listed under "Work" or "Handwork".

A search for "sloyd" at archive.org yields many instructional manuals from the turn of the century.

Spread the Feast

Again not a term that Charlotte Mason herself used that I am aware, but a phrase that is common in the CM community.

A Charlotte Mason education is a liberal (broad) education, and as such has been likened to a feast.

We put before our children a large amount of choices and subjects, and they sample small amounts from these many choices.  Just as at a feast you aren't expected to fill your plate with one or two items, the same applies to a CM education.

The student isn't supposed to concentrate all efforts on just a few subjects, but instead take small amounts of many different subjects.

"Spread the feast" is the act of giving your children a wide range of experiences and resources in many areas.

It also commonly refers to making sure that what other philosophies consider "extras" are a fundamental part of the school day: artist study, art appreciation, art instruction, music appreciation, music instruction, singing, nature study, and handwork.

That's it, Folks

Once you understand the terminology, new doors are opened. Use these definitions as your key to unlock those doors.

If there are other terms you can't figure out, please let me know in the comments. Let's keep adding to this list so it becomes a resource for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.

beginner's guide to cm lingo

napping kids using a relaxed schedule

Learn to create a CM routine with no timers or alarms.

Does the thought of keeping a rigid school schedule with a timer make you feel like you're back in public school drudgery? Does it give you flashbacks to gray hallway lockers and cliques of popular kids laughing as they walk past you?

Does a niggling part of your brain tell you that if you don't follow a time table, you're just not doing it right?

You're not alone in your dislike of bells and rigid lesson times. 

This year, I've tried to keep the timetable for Form I students (ages 6-9) for my 7 year old, and when we're able to follow it, it works wonderfully. Short and varied lessons, and neither of us --usually -- gets bored.

But I'll be honest:  we started our first term the last week of July. It is now the last week of March, and we've just finished.

Our first term.

Why? Because many days I would look at that schedule, shudder, and think "hmmm.... those blinds look like they really need dusting."

And then my daughter would ask to please please please make some homemade whipped cream for the picnic she's planning... and who can resist that

Because what I'm really avoiding is the feeling of a straight-jacketing schedule. The feeling that someone else is telling me what to do when.

And then I came across this in an article in the Parents' Review, the periodical edited by Charlotte Mason until her death:

I arranged her day in the following manner:  From the age of five or six to nine--Scripture, hymn, and English reading with me at 10; easy French lessons with her French bonne at 10.30; walk at 11; sleep at 12 to 1, or as long as she wished. I may add here that she slept regularly up to the age of nine, when this rest was had by lying on the floor for thirty minutes or so in the schoolroom.  In the winter, if fine, another walk or run till 3 o'clock, when a young daily governess came for an hour and a half or so for easy lessons in geography, sums, music, and writing.

Parents' Review alternate schedule

A-ha!  Not everyone followed a strict time table, even back in Charlotte Mason's day.

Writing that out into a schedule of sorts, we get:

10:00 Scripture, hymn, and English reading

10:30 French lessons

11: 00 walk

12:00 nap

(outdoors until 3)

3:00-4:30 geography, math, music, writing

Put more simply, an hour of lessons in the morning and an hour and a half in the afternoon, with plenty of time for both sleep and to be outside.

The article doesn't say what "English reading" consists of. Is this learning to read and literature, or does it also include history, tales, and natural history readings? 

Regardless, this is a very simplified schedule that most of us can apply to our own lives.

It's a rhythm

What strikes me the most after its simplicity is the easy rhythm. There is a daily walk as well as a daily rest.

It's rhythmic. It's regular. It's routine.

Lessons are naturally kept short not because of a timer, but because there were time blocks-- that is, blocks of time that were designated for a set of subjects.

Scripture, hymn, and reading for half an hour, then the French teacher came. An hour and a half to do geography, math, music and writing in the late afternoons.

This builds flexibility while also keeping lessons short. Not an hour and a half of geography one day, but an hour and a half of geography, math, music, and writing.

AND. 

Not or

Do you know what else is nice about this? It's not a checklist.  It's not a list of page numbers or even an amount of time that "should" be spent in each subject. It's a block of time in which you work on certain subjects.

Maybe today you want to spend 20 minutes on geography, but tomorrow only 5 minutes, or none. That's ok. This rhythm flows with you.

I love this idea. It feels so organic and natural. Create time blocks and a general order of subjects, but leave the details loose.

This is another example of how you can make Charlotte Mason fit your lifestyle, rather than molding yourself to fit Charlotte Mason.

If you can't do a timetable-like schedule, it's ok to have rhythmic one instead. Keep lessons short, but make Charlotte Mason homeschooling work for you.

WANT TO REMEMBER THIS? SAVE THE Easy ELEMENTARY SCHEDULE TO YOUR FAVORITE HOMESCHOOLING PINTEREST BOARD!

easy charlotte mason schedule


Insert Content Template or Symbol

form 2 timetables schedule for featured image
Learn the frequency and duration of upper elementary subjects in a Charlotte Mason education, and update for today!

We've looked at modernizing the Form 1 time table (approx ages 6-9); now let's do the same thing to the Form 2 time table (approximate ages 9-12).

Looking for scheduling help for other ages?

In general, students were in Form II for a total of 3 years, approximate ages 9-12 depending on when their birthday was and also when they began with the PNEU (the educational program that Charlotte Mason administered to both homeschools and brick and mortar schools).

The first year of Form II was called Form IIB (or 2B).  This was a transition year from Form I, or also can be used as a transition to Charlotte Mason schooling if you and child are new to it.

Once a student completed that first year, they spent two years in Form IIA (or 2A).  The same books and pages would be read by all students in Form 2A, regardless of how long they had been in that Form.  A student who was doing 2A for the first year would be called 2A Lower, and the second year would be called 2A Upper.

I've taken this original from page 43 of the 1928 edition of A Liberal Education for All and brightened it:

charlotte mason form 2 time table

To make it easier to work with, I've retyped it into this table:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

N. B. -- No "Home Work."  "Narration" (oral or written) at the end of each lesson.  Form A two written narrations at the end of two lessons each day (10 min).  B. one.  

General Overview

The Form 2 timetable is a bit different from Form 1, but still retains some of the same elements.

While in Form 1 subjects were done in 10-20 minute increments, in Form 2 we extend those into 20-30 minute increments, with a single 10 minute segment for repetition or map work.

Just like in the other Forms, there is a start and end time for each subject. What that means is that we don't "do math" for 30 minutes.  We "do math" from 9:20-9:50.

What's the difference?  If something happens in the middle of math time, say the bathroom floods because the toddler threw a matchbox car down the toilet, you don't "finish the 30 minutes when the mess is cleaned up". 

Instead, when the mess is cleaned up you pick up the schedule at whatever time it is.  Yep, sometimes this will mean that you only actually do 5 or 10 minutes of math that day.

It's ok.

Charlotte Mason said that one time is not just as good as another to do things.  We don't push aside other subjects, other learning opportunities, other times of rest, to make way for academics.

Every part of the day is as important as the other parts. Rest is as important as studies. Family time is as important as rest.

Form 2 time tables are also a tad longer than Form 1. The students still start at 9, but instead of ending at 11:30, they now finish at 12 noon. That's 3 hours of lessons in the mornings.

Another difference is that there are fewer different things to be done each day. While Form I had 9 time slots (actually 10, but Drill and Play were broken into two slots while in Form II, they are put in one), Form 2 time table has only 7 time slots.

We still get a good deal of variety, but the attention span of a 9-12 year old is expected to be a bit longer than that of a 6-9 year old.

Yet another difference between Form I and Form II is that Form I had handicrafts, drawing, and brushdrawing as part of the morning lessons, while in Form II those are shifted to the afternoons.

Let's work through the table a few subjects a time and see where it leads us.

Bible and Natural History

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Old Testament and New Testament alternated, doing each for 20 min each 2x per week, for a total of 20 min 4x per week of Bible reading.  Notice how four out of the six days, spiritual instruction starts off the day. 

Natural History is 2x per week for 30 minutes each.

Bible: 4x per week @20 min per session (one was a Saturday session)
Natural History: 2x per week @30 min per session

Arithmetic and Geography

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Math is a bit different depending on if your student is in Form 2B or 2A.  (2B is approx age 9-10, while 2A is approximate age 10-12.  Form 2B is the first year of doing the more difficult work of Form 2, so it's a transition year).

For Form 2B students, Math was all arithmetic, and done 5 times per week for 30 minutes each. Notice how, unlike Form 1, it is done always at the beginning of the school day, right after spiritual instruction, when the mind is still very fresh.  

In the 2nd year of Form 2A (also called IIA Upper), a student would add Geometry or Algebra to their day. This was done 1x per week for 30 minutes, and took one of the early arithmetic slots.

Interestingly, that same day there is another 30 minute arithmetic slot at the end of the day for 2A students.

It's unclear if this was only for the second-year students who were doing Geometry or Algebra earlier in the day, or if this was for all 2A students.

Math had become an increasingly important part of the day's work.

Geography was 2x per week for 30 minutes, plus working with the map of the world for 10 minutes once per week.

The PNEU programmes state "map questions to be answered from map before each lesson; then reading and narration; memory sketch maps.  All Geography to be learnt with atlas. Ten minutes' exercise on map of the world every week; know something about foreign places noticed in the current newspapers."

Map work was done at the start of each geography lesson, but there was an additional 10 minutes of work on the world map every week, with particular emphasis on places that were in the news.  Charlotte Mason had a really strong focus on both geography and current events!

Math:  5x per week for 30 minutes;  2nd year of 2A adds 30 min of geometry or algebra once per week; 1st year of 2A might have an additional 30 min of arithmetic instead of geometry. (One session was a Saturday session)

Geography: 2x per week at 30 minutes per session, plus 10 minutes world map work

Dictation, Writing or Transcription, and Latin

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Here's another area where 2B is different than 2A.

Form 2B students had 4 sessions of 30 minutes each of Dictation and Writing, and 1 session of 30 minutes of Dictation and Transcription.

This is interesting.  What is the difference between Transcription and Writing?

The PNEU programmes have three headings for what we could consider "writing" for Form 2:

  • Writing
  • Dictation
  • Composition

Let's say that the "writing" part of "Dictation and Writing" falls under the Writing category. 

The PNEU instructions are:  Transcribe some of your favorite passages from the Shakespeare play or poetry books set.  Two perfectly written lines every day.

And then it gives the handwriting resources to be used, either A New Handwriting or Print-Form Writing Exercises.

If Writing equals "Transcribe some of your favorite passages", then how is that different from Wednesday's slot of Dictation and Transcription?

It could mean the second part, "Two perfectly written lines every day" but again, how is this different from transcription?  

It's possible that Writing refers to penmanship exercises, while Transcription is when the child is taking from his favorite passages.

It's possible, though I find it less likely, that Writing refers to Composition.

Composition in the programme says:

Stories from the term's reading. Children in B who cannot write easily may narrate part.

And again, very ambiguous.  Does this mean that "a child who cannot write stories easily may instead do written narrations as part?"  

Or does it mean that "a child who is not fluent at handwriting may orally narrate part"?

The fact that there is significantly more time for writing in 2B then in 2A could go either way. It could be that 2B student are writing more stories before going to the more academic subject of Latin 2A.

The Writing part of Dictation and Writing could refer to additional handwriting practice for Form 2B students, because they are still developing the fine motor skills needed for fluent handwriting.

This is different from Transcription in that with Transcription, the child chooses his favorite passages to copy rather than doing specific penmanship exercises.

When they move into 2A, students lose three of of the Dictation and Writing slots, and two of them are replaced with Latin. 

This is one of those times where you need to use your own judgment with your child. If you feel he needs more handwriting, then spend more time on handwriting in 2B. If he has handwriting down, but needs more explicit instruction in writing, like using more descriptive words in his narrations, then spend more time on that. You can mix and match depending on what your child needs.

2B -- Dictation and Writing: 4x per week @ 30 min each (includes one Saturday session)
           Dictation and Transcription:  1x per week @ 30 min

2A -- Dictation and Writing: 1x per week @ 30 min each
           Dictation and Transcription:  1x per week @ 30 min

Latin:  2A only, 2x per week @30 min per session (one was a Saturday session)

English Grammar and French

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

English Grammar is done 2x per week for 30 minutes.  You might be wondering, what's the difference between analysis and parsing?

That's a great question! (and one that I had to look up because I wasn't sure, either) 

Parse comes from the Latin pars orationis meaning parts of speech, while analysis refers to the parts of a sentence like subject, predicate, objects, and clauses.

So one day during the week you'd be concentrating on identifying the parts of speech, and another day you'd be focusing on identifying the parts of the sentence.  For Form 2, this would be subjects, simple predicates, and objects.

French was done 3x per week for 30 minutes each, plus one session of French Songs combined with Play (combined 30 minutes).

English Grammar, with Parsing and Anaylsis:  2x per week at 30 minutes per session

French:  3x per week at 30 min each (one Saturday session), plus one session of French songs

Drill, Play, and Singing

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

A Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Unlike Form I that had two 15-minute sessions per day of either drill, play, or singing, in Form 2 those are combined for us into one 30 minute session each day.  I'm not sure why the change.

However, notice that every. single. day. there is time to play mid-way through the lessons, even for students as old as 12. 

Drill referred to Swedish Drill, a series of specific movements meant to strengthen and tone and based on military drill. The Manual of Swedish Drill for Teachers and Students is one resource that was available in the time period.

Drill was done 3x per week, on alternating days.   The other days were singing, either English songs, French songs, or sol-fa (singing instruction based on the Curwen method).

Regardless, every day had a half hour movement, singing, and play break midway through the lesson time.

Start with an hour and twenty minutes of lessons, then this half hour break, then an additional hour and ten minutes of lessons.

Drill, singing, & play:  6x per week (daily) for 30 minutes

Repetition and Map Work

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

A Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Right after the 30 minute movement break, we start with 10 minutes of something easy. Repetition is either pure memorization, or reciting poems or passages with feeling while the student is reading, much like public speaking practice.

Notice that this is a 10 minute transition from play, so that our students aren't expected to come in from playing and immediately sit down to a grammar or geography lesson.

Repetition is almost a mindless task.  This small interlude lets the body settle down while at the same time not being too taxing on the brain.

Poetry is alternated with Bible passages, and Old Testament is alternated with New Testament.  Variety, variety, variety.

Once a week there is a 10 minute session on the map of the world.  Map work is also done at the start of every geography lesson, but this is a specific 10 minute session to look at the entire world and get familiar with it.

The last Repetition says Week's Work after it.  There is nothing under Work on the on the PNEU programmes (the term programs that were sent to the homeschools and other schools that Charlotte Mason's program administered) that could be considered repetition.

It may be that since the items under "Work" were done in the afternoons (note that there is no longer a space for Handwork during the lessons, though there was in Form I), that this slot was an opportunity for kids to show their parents what they had worked on during the week.

Repetition: 4x per week for 10 minutes, with an extra Saturday session of 10 minutes

Map of the World: 1x per week for 10 minutes

History and Reading

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

A Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Here's something noteworthy. People often ask how to do the multiple streams of history in a Charlotte Mason education. The answer is in the timetables.

The different streams were done on different days of the week. The English History book was read on Tuesday, the French History book was read on Thursday, and Saturday was for Ancient history or for 3B, possibly catching up or working on the Book of Centuries.

English History:  1x per week for 30 minutes, with an extra Saturday session for 2B

French History:  1x per week for 30 minutes.

General History:  1x per week for 30 minutes for Form 2A (Saturday session)

Reading:  1x per week for 30 minutes

Citizenship, Plutarch's Lives, and Picture Study

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

A Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Citizenship for 20 minutes 1x per week and Plutarch's Lives for Form 2A for 30 minutes 1x per week.

Here's an interesting tidbit:  We also have access to A Liberal Education for All with a 1933 publication date (the timetable we are using here is from 1928), and in that one it has A: Plutarch's Lives, B: Stories from the History of Rome in the Friday slot.

There was no citizenship book for the B level in the programmes other than Stories from the History of Rome.

This means that that 20 minute slot first thing Wednesday morning is open for 2B to do with what we wish.  Or, if you are able to easily get Stories from the History of Rome done in 20 minutes, you have a 30 minute slot on Friday that is free.

Picture Study is once again scheduled into the day, but though in Form I it was only for a 10 minute slot, in Form 2 it is lengthened to 20 minutes.  We are expecting a longer look, more in depth narrations, and more discussion of the picture from this age group than we did for Form I.

If you're wondering how to do Picture Study with this age group, here are instructions using a Parents' Review article as a guide: Artist Study with Charlotte Mason.

Citizenship: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Plutarch's Lives (2A):  1x per week for 30 minutes

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Each subject easily identifiable:

Bible: 4x per week @20 min per session (one was a Saturday session)

Natural History: 2x per week @30 min per session

Math:  5x per week for 30 minutes;  2nd year of 2A adds 30 min of geometry or algebra once per week; 1st year of 2A might have an additional 30 min of arithmetic instead of geometry. (One session was a Saturday session)

Geography: 2x per week at 30 minutes per session, plus 10 minutes world map work

2B -- Dictation and Writing: 4x per week @ 30 min each (includes one Saturday session)
           Dictation and Transcription:  1x per week @ 30 min

2A -- Dictation and Writing: 1x per week @ 30 min each
           Dictation and Transcription:  1x per week @ 30 min

Latin:  2A only, 2x per week @30 min per session (one was a Saturday session)

English Grammar, with Parsing and Anaylsis:  2x per week at 30 minutes per session

French:  3x per week at 30 min each (one Saturday session), plus one session of French songs

Drill, singing, & play:  6x per week (daily) for 30 minutes

Repetition: 4x per week for 10 minutes, with an extra Saturday session of 10 minutes

Map of the World: 1x per week for 10 minutes

English History:  1x per week for 30 minutes, with an extra Saturday session for 2B

French History:  1x per week for 30 minutes.

General History:  1x per week for 30 minutes for Form 2A (Saturday session)

Reading:  1x per week for 30 minutes

Citizenship: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Plutarch's Lives (2A):  1x per week for 30 minutes

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Important observations

A few observations I'd like to make about the Form II timetables:

Movement and Play

Even at this age, 9-12 years old, there is still half an hour of movement, singing, and play every day midway through lessons. We tend to think that kids at 10 or 11 "should" be able to sit through 2 1/2 hours of lessons easily, but this is not something that Charlotte Mason expected.

Play was

Every. 

Single. 

Day.

Handicrafts and other artistic pursuits

Handicrafts, brushdrawing, and drawing are no longer scheduled during morning lesson time. This is expected to be done in the afternoons. Presumably the habit has already been set in the earlier years. If not, definitely make it a point to schedule handicrafts, art, and music lessons for the afternoons.

If you find that you are simply never getting to them, then cut back on a few of the morning "academic" subjects and slide handicrafts, art, and music into the mornings. These are just as important as the academic lessons in a CM education.

Saturday School

Not everyone did Saturday School, even if they were enrolled in the PNEU. Though not as easy to cut out as it was in Form I, we can still do it.

Reading

Reading is only scheduled for 30 minutes once per week.  Lighter portions were meant to be read in evenings, on weekends, holidays, and breaks.  This 30 minute weekly session may have been for the more difficult reading like Bulfinch's Mythology, or for focused instruction.

If your child is not reading easily yet, you will want to cut back on a few other subjects to get the daily reading practice and instruction in.  

Similarities to Form I

Bible/spiritual training still starts off most days. There is still that half hour per day for movement and play.  

We can also see that the "B" level is, like Form 1B, a transition year. It is a slightly lighter year than the two years of Form 2A, and serves to transition the student from the easier work of Form 1 to the more demanding work and schedule of Form 2.

Modernizing the Time Table

Let's take a look at how we can use the time table as our guide but adjust it for modern life.

As with Form I, the first thing we'll do is trim it back from a 6-day week to a 5-day week. Realistically, very few of us are doing school six days per week.

For Saturday, we have Bible, math, Latin or dictation/writing, sol-fa and play, repetition - week's work, history, and French.

Bible, math, repetition, and dictation/writing for 2B are all done several other times throughout the week, so we can feel comfortable just cutting those out.

This leaves Latin for 2A, Sol-fa, history, and French. 

We have 3 days of Drill, so I'd put swap out one of those for Sol-fa.  Either that, or shift English Song (folk songs) to be sung while doing chores or dishes, and put Sol-fa in that place.

History I don't feel comfortable just chopping off, especially since Form 2A's General History doesn't show up any other place.

Where else can we find some extra time?

We have a lot of Math slots, and 2A has an extra one even over 2B.   What if we take that extra Friday Math out?

We also have both a Citizenship slot and one for Plutarch's Lives (2A only).  Let's combine them into Citizenship/Plutarch's Lives (alternate these for 2A) so we free up the 20 minute Citizenship slot.

French is done 2x per week without the Saturday slot.  This could just be cut off, but we also are losing a Latin slot for 2A.  I would put either Latin or French in the Friday Arithmetic place.

Which one?  Well, depends which is more important to you:  more time on Latin or more time on a living foreign language?  That's a decision only you can make.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Citizenship

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

Arithmetic (oral and written)

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

A Plutarch's Lives

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition

Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

A General History

B History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A Arithmetic

B Dictation and Writing

French

Once we make those changes, it looks like this:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

A General History

B History

Old testament

Picture Study

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

French History

Plutarch's Lives/ Citizenship 

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

Sol-fa and Play

Drill and Play

French Song and Play

Drill and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

11:30-12:00

French

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

French

A French or Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Modernizing the subjects

Now let's modernize the subjects.  We did this for the Form I time tables, too, and it's pretty much the same.

Bible

We know that Charlotte Mason was Christian, but that doesn't mean we have to be Christian in order to use her method.  Read this blog post for a more in-depth look at my thoughts on this.

What do we do then if not Bible?

  • Your own spiritual or religious instruction
  • Moral training
  • Philosophy, logic, or ethics
  • World religions
  • Stories about your ancestors

Repetition

Rather than Repetition Poem and Bible, do recitations (either memorized or not) of speeches, poetry, or inspirational passages.  

Anything that you or your child feels is worth memorizing, from the Kings and Queens of England to the Declaration of Independence to a Shakespearean speech to ...

your favorite passage from Twilight (yes, I said it).

French

Whatever foreign language you would like to study, if you do not want to study French.

French History is what we at Wildwood Curriculum call "Second History". It is the history of another country that is tied to yours, either politically or geographically or both. This could be a country whose history is tied to the place where you live, or even one that is tied to your ancestors (or you, if you are an immigrant).

In the Southwest United States, this "Second History" could be Britain because of the ties to the founding of the U.S. Government, Spain or Mexico because of historical ties of the land and many people who live here, or Poland if your family recently immigrated from that country.

Drill

Drill was not modern drilling of facts, but was Swedish Drill and Drill in Good Manners. Swedish Drill was based on military movements and calisthenics, also called Swedish Gymnastics, and was specific muscle movements rather than free play.

You could do any sort of mindful movement here like yoga or dance, or you could just extend the play break to a full half hour.  I would, however, make sure that this is a movement break and not a build-a-lego-tower break.

New Time Table for Today

After we take off Saturday, shift a few of those subjects to the week, and modernize the remaining subjects, this is what we have:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

9:00-9:20

Spiritual or Moral instruction

Spiiritual or Moral instruction

A General History

B History

Spiritual or Moral instruction

Picture Study

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Natural History

Arithmetic (oral and written)

Arithmetic  or II.A (2nd year) Geometry or Algebra

9:50-

10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar and Parsing

Dictation and Transcription

Second

History

Plutarch's Lives/ Citizenship 

10:20-10:50

Movement and Play

Sol-fa and Play

Movement and Play

Foreign Language Song and Play

Movement and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition 

Repetition 

Repetition 

Map of the World

Repetition 

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

English Grammar and Analysis

Natural History

11:30-12:00

Foreign Language

A Latin

B Dictation and Writing

Reading

Foreign Language

A Latin or Foreign Language

B Dictation and Writing

Spiritual or moral instruction: 3x per week @20 min per session

Natural History: 2x per week @30 min per session

Math:  4x per week for 30 minutes

Geography: 2x per week at 30 minutes per session, plus 10 minutes world map work

2B -- Dictation and Writing: 3x per week @ 30 min each
           Dictation and Transcription:  1x per week @ 30 min

2A -- Dictation and Writing: 1x per week @ 30 min each
           Dictation and Transcription:  1x per week @ 30 min

Latin:  2A only, 1-2x per week @30 min per session

English Grammar, with Parsing and Anaylsis:  2x per week at 30 minutes per session

Foreign Language:  2-3x per week at 30 min each, plus one session of Foreign Language songs

Movement, singing, & play:  5x per week (daily) for 30 minutes

Repetition: 4x per week for 10 minutes

Map of the World: 1x per week for 10 minutes

English History:  1x per week for 30 minutes, 1x per week for 20 minutes for 2B (if your 2B student doesn't need this extra 20 minutes, you could add an extra session of Foreign Language here)

Second History:  1x per week for 30 minutes.

General History:  1x per week for 20 minutes for Form 2A

Reading:  1x per week for 30 minutes

Citizenship/Plutarch's Lives: 1x per week for 30 minutes

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

There should be a half hour movement/singing/play break midway through the lessons.

By dropping Saturday and modernizing the subjects, you can make a schedule that will work for you.

Play around with it.  Use this as a template or as-is. Adjust it as needed for you family and your situation. 

If you need to cut back even further to a 4 day week, or you have multiple children and so need to trim, try to cut fairly evenly across the board. Perhaps do some things every other week rather than weekly. Trim page counts rather than letting the lessons drag on all day.

Remember that it's not just your kids who need down time.  You do, too.

Feel free to play around with this schedule, tweaking where needed. Make it work for you.

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pinterest clock with charlotte mason late elementary modern schedule
pinterest image How to make Charlotte Mason's elemenary schedules work for you

5 tv shows for charlotte mason homes

Discover interesting and twaddle-free TV programs for preschool to adult that are good for homes following Charlotte Mason’s methods of education.

When your child is too sick to spend a lot of time playing, but not sick enough to sleep most of the day, what do you do? 

Randomly flip through the channels hoping something catches your eye before your kid sees something you don’t want to watch?  (“No, we are not watching Robin Hood Men in Tights, because we watched it 5 times last week and you need some nutrition in your brain…”)

Ban all TV and play endless games of Gin Rummy and Canasta, while searching for the cards that slid down between the couch cushions?

While we generally don’t watch much TV during the day, times like these I do revert to TV to keep my little one resting. 

Most TV shows, especially ones created for children, are too loud and too obnoxious. They show attitudes I don’t want my kids picking up.

There are a few, however, that we do use in moderation. Hang around for a minute while I share our favorites with you.  Keep these in your back pocket to pull out the next time the flu makes its rounds and feel like an awesome mom.  And bonus points: these either directly or indirectly support a Charlotte Mason lifestyle!

Here are 5 mom-approved TV choices for kids ages 3 to adult.

(this post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you)

For the Little Kids

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 

This old standby has been around for 40 years for a reason.  Background music is minimal, there are no flashy colors or two-minute sound bites.  My 6 year old calls this “The Calm Show”.  Mr. Rogers teaches our children to handle their emotions, to be nice to each other, to make simple things for themselves, and to visit the Land of Make-Believe on a regular basis.

 

What’s not to love?

Little Einsteins

Flashy.  Loud.  High pitched children’s voices.  Ugh.

 

Normally Little Einsteins is the type of program I’d stay away from, but it’s ok in moderation.  Each episode has a composer and artist of the day, and my kids have become familiar with several pieces of classical music through the show.  (Charlotte Mason felt that we should be familiar with beautiful music and art)

Too much of this program puts my little one on edge and makes it so she has trouble going to sleep that night.  This is best watched sparingly.

Kids – and adults – of all ages

Documentaries

We love documentaries.

Particularly good for a Charlotte Mason lifestyle are those about animals or nature.  Nat Geo Wild is a favorite around our house, with cheetahs and lions being our daughter’s current obsessions.

She also loves Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter.  His enthusiasm and attention to detail are contagious, but as with Little Einstein, he can put kids on edge after too much.  He, too, is best watched in moderation.

Besides nature documentaries, there’re also history and other science documentaries.  History in particular should be screened for age-appropriateness, especially biographies.

The Farm vids

A few years ago, the BBC filmed several seasons of re-enactments that were later collectively called The Farm videos.  They consisted of a small group of experts who lived for a year in a period-correct manner, recreating what it was like to live in Victorian England, Edwardian England, and Tudor England.

 

My kids from 4 years old to teen/adult have all loved these.  We often let them play in the background, as quiet motivators to do handwork or other useful skills.

There are no bright colors, quickly changing subjects, or obnoxious music.  The pace is gentle and slow.

In the series are:

  • Tales of the Green Valley
  • Victorian Farm
  • Edwardian Farm
  • Wartime Farm
  • Tudor Monastery Farm

Teens

TED Talks

You can find these short or long talks on any subject your heart desires.  From an innovative method of re-grassing drought stricken land, to hearing the experience of a North Korean defector, to pushing through failure:  if you have an inkling, TED will have a talk on it.

A word of warning:  you can get lost for days in TED talks …  like when you start out watching a Youtube video of fixing the brakes on your car and 6 hours later you’re watching a kitten and giraffe become best friends.

All TED talks are informative in some way, and almost all are extremely interesting.

Where do you find these shows?

Some you can get through Netflix, a documentary website, your local library, or even Amazon.

My go-to site, however, is YouTube.  If you can stream or cast YouTube to your television, that’s ideal.  

TED talks are often on YouTube, and they are also available with a Smart TV or just through your computer.

While I don’t recommend day in and day out watching TV, when we’re sick and I use TV, I can feel good about these shows.  They don’t spin my daughter up or let her pick up undesirable attitudes, and many of them are sneakily educational to boot.

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are lessons required at 6

Your six year old isn’t ready for lessons – is she doomed to a life of failure?

Your little one just turned 6 years old and you can finally start homeschooling! You’ve been waiting for this for months, dutifully following Charlotte Mason’s suggestion to delay academics until 6, and now you’re raring to go.

At first everything was fine. You were excited, little Junior was excited … but soon (was it days? weeks?) your once eager student started hiding.

Throwing himself backwards on the couch and screaming when you brought out the math book.

Putting his fingers in his ears and singing “La La La La Laaaaaaa” at the top of his lungs.

What is wrong? Are you just not cut out to homeschool?

Nah… what’s really happening is that your eager child is just not ready for formal lessons.

If you’ve read up on Charlotte Mason and have a young child, you know that she opposed formal lessons for children younger than six years old.

I know it’s tough to wait when you’re chomping at the bit to offer the richness of a CM education to your child. Some moms start sit-down lessons the month – or even week – their child turns that magical age.

But is this really the right choice?

Many children simply aren’t ready for academic sit-down lessons when they are newly six years old. Six and a half or even fully seven is often a much better choice for most. I’m not a neuro-anything-expert, but it has to do with brain development. If your child isn’t ready, it doesn’t mean that he or she will never be ready.

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How to know if your child isn’t ready for lessons

The first question you’re probably asking right now is, “But how do I know if my child isn’t ready?”

There are no hard and fast rules here. In general though if you see any of the following signs:

  • resistance to lessons
  • tears (theirs or yours)
  • throwing himself backwards on the couch and screaming
  • spinning in circles laughing and not paying attention
  • running out of the room and giggling

or any variation thereof… wait for a few more months.

… Even if your child has already been to public or private school and could sit through the entire day there.

… Even if your child has made it through a few weeks or even a few months compliantly and with flying colors.

Even if you are sure that your child is different and is perfectly capable at the ripe old age of six of doing this thing and is simply choosing not to ….

Wait.

But won’t I be sentencing my child to a life of “Behind” if we wait?

In a word, no.

Children catch up quickly when they are ready.

Not only that, but you can always skip ahead if you feel your child is ready for higher level work at a later time. Don’t worry about missing things – there is no way that you can possibly learn All the Things in even an entire lifetime.

Remember that “can start at six” or “children begin at six” doesn’t equal “must start at six” or “all children regardless of circumstances or readiness must begin at six or they will be lifelong failures and eating Cheetohs in their parents’ basement when they’re 42.

Would you ever tell a mother with a 10 year old child who wants to bring Charlotte Mason into their homeschool, “Nope, sorry. If you didn’t start when your kid was 6, there’s no way it will work now. You’ll have to find a different educational philosophy.”

It sounds absurd when we frame it that way, doesn’t it?

Then why do we think that our own children must definitely start at six years old?

What would Charlotte do?

Not all students entered the PNEU schools at 6 years old. Some started at 10 or 12 or even later. (The PNEU was the correspondence-type school that Charlotte Mason administered)

We know that in general, children were put in the form appropriate to their age range. However, sometimes a student would be started in a lower form. This student, she says, always interacted with the material in a manner appropriate to his age, regardless of the difficulty of the material.

What does this mean to us? It means that if you wait a year until your child is 7, you will probably want to start your child in Form IB.

But if you wait until your child is 8 or 9, you wouldn’t start at the very beginning of a curriculum in IB (1st year) but instead in IA (2nd or 3rd year) or perhaps even IIB (4th year), depending on where you think your 9 year old child would fit the best.

But remember this: year or form levels in a Charlotte Mason education are not grade levels.

What should I do if not lessons, then?

I don’t recommend that you do absolutely nothing.

Though this can be a viable option.

Instead, give your child that fertile ground in which to grow.

  • Develop a healthy home rhythm with regularity and simplicity if you don’t already have one. (Not sure how? Find out in How to Create a Healthy Home Rhythm)
  • Spend as much time in nature as you can. If you don’t already own the book Coyote’s Guide to Nature Connection by Jon Young, I highly recommend that you get it. If you’re not in the US and shipping is too expensive, you can get it in .pdf form from 8Shields.org
  • Play with letters. Letter blocks, letter tiles, point out letters, make them with pasta shells or draw them in the sand. Just play.
  • Count everything. Sparrows, eggs, ants, acorns. Make up simple math problems using these, but do it in a natural way. “If Henrietta hadn’t laid an egg today, how many eggs would we have?”
  • Use Math Games by Peggy Kaye
  • Tell stories. Then tell them again.
  • Play in sand and mud and water. Go to swimming lessons.
  • Work through the free Phonemic Awareness curriculum at Sight Words
  • Sing. Always. Sing while folding laundry, while kneading bread, and while finger knitting. Sing when you’re getting dressed. Just sing.

If you’re looking for more handholding, A Quiet Growing Time: Charlotte Mason with Your 3 to 6 Year Old is full of practical ideas to use with your children who aren’t yet doing academic lessons.

catching snake in a jar nature study

Go see children’s theater. Go to museums. Go to homeschool park days. Visit local fields to learn field crops in all stages of growth. Draw lizards in a notebook and let your child dictate to you what to write in it. Talk about the natural objects your child finds.

Don’t Force Your Flowers Before They’re Ready

Not being ready for lessons at six doesn’t mean your child is a failure, or has a lower-than-average-IQ. It doesn’t mean that you’re a failure at being a homeschool mom, or that CM won’t work for you.

It just means that your child needs a bit more time.

Remember that children are like flowers and they will bloom when they are ready. We simply provide fertile ground and nourishment.

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