Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Catholic CM Homeschool Curriculum Outline

Let's face it, sorting through all of the possible approaches to homeschooling can make one's head swim, especially if too much time is spent surfing the web and reading ad nauseam descriptions and opinions. It might be easiest to just be eclectic, choosing from the homeschooling buffet the things one likes from various methods and putting them together in a hodge podge manner. This may work well for some. My belief, though, is that one needs an underlying purpose, a guiding philosophy. Then one needs a method that works with the child's predominant temperament and learning style. Some of this, for me, is provided by Marianna Bartold's Keeping It Catholic Series Home Education Guide. The rest can be found in the sources listed below, in the curriculum outline that I will be providing to our school superintendent (for the state of OH). 

I intend to continue with the Charlotte Mason method, relying upon Mater Amabilis and Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum for Catholic book recommendations for the relevant age group, and also potentially using choices provided by the other resources listed.  Despite Keeping It Catholic's red flag, Charlotte Mason is an adapted form of classical education, the teaching methods of which Bartold herself says can be used with any worldview, be it Protestant, Catholic, atheist, etc...

I wanted to get this done early so it is ready to submit as soon as the school year has ended. I am not primarily relying on my Montessori manuals at this point, but I still reference them occasionally for ideas. While the idea of unschooling still appeals to me and will be incorporated, I do think my daughter needs some structured learning time that is teacher-led. The CM method designates this and also provides for the free time, real world experiences, and child-led pursuits that unschooling champions. It's really the best of both worlds, the middle path between the "school at home" and the "freedom without limits" ends of the spectrum, neither of which is appealing. So think it out for yourself, but keep your homeschooling simple. Remember the "Little Way". In the end, the best way to learn to teach your children is to just do it!!

Curriculum Books and Resource Materials:

- Mater Amabilis: a Charlotte Mason style curriculum for Catholics (
- The Original Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Series (6 volumes by Charlotte Mason)
- A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison
- A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
- Keeping It Catholic Series Home Education Guide, Vol. 1 by Marianna Bartold
- When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper
- Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura M. Berquist
- Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
- Montessori Resource Manuals: Language, Science, Mathematics, Geography, Art,   
   Music, and Movement             
- Corresponding Montessori materials and similar manipulatives
- The Holy Bible, RSV, Second Catholic Edition
- St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism

*Involvement with the Keystone Homeschooling Co-op for field trips and special programs, such as fire safety 
*Religious Education at Sacred Heart Church

Classical Education, Charlotte Mason (CM) Method: The Charlotte Mason method of narration will be used in the teaching of all relevant subjects. The child is read to, or reads for herself, from literature and retells (or writes) what has just been read. The use of what Ms. Mason termed “living books” will be the predominant choices, with minimal use of textbooks and workbooks. Living books are those written by an author who takes a special interest in his subject and in which the facts are presented in story form. Classical learning tools such as copy work, dictation, and recitation will also follow the CM method. Many resource materials will be borrowed from the library.

Subjects and Books/Materials:

Language Arts – handwriting (printing and cursive); reading curriculum and reading and writing journal; Ginn readers; Beatrix Potter book series; Little House on the Prairie book series; The Harp and the Laurel Wreath by Laura M. Berquist; children’s classic literature; Poetry for Children and Other People; Native American literature; public library programs; beginning Latin; American Cardinal readers (Neumann Press); The Velveteen Rabbit

Geography and History – United States puzzle map; Native American history and tradition; history of cultural, seasonal and holiday traditions; American Girl book series; visits to Sauder Village living history museum; Ignatius Press lives of the saints (biographical novels); A Child's History of the World; Hurlbut's Story of the Bible; National Geographic for Kids magazine; observation of the liturgical year

Mathematics – Montessori Tens Boards; Time & Money workbook; Total Math workbook; measurement; fractions with manipulatives; place values; addition and subtraction with regrouping; continuing multiplication; beginning division

Natural Science – Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth by Herman and Nina Schneider; nature walks and keeping a nature notebook; study of trees and leaf collection; study of flowers and flower pressing; study of insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and dinosaurs; the seasons; climate; sustainable living and organic gardening; science museum visits; daily calendar; ecosystems/animal habitats; 4-H project: pets (dog)

Health Education – study of bacteria, mold and viruses; personal hygiene; nutrition; food preparation; herbology; vegetarian diet

Physical Education – dance classes; Parks and Recreation soccer program; yoga practice; daily outdoor play; hiking; sledding; trampoline; local running races; swimming

Fine Arts – painting; poetry and art appreciation; Come Look with Me Series by Gladys Blizzard; art museum visits; attendance at plays and concerts; dramatic play; Parks and Recreation/library arts and crafts programs; ArtSpace (WCAC) programs; West Bethesda folk concert series; St. Patrick School art classes; 4-H project: cake decorating

First Aid, Safety, and Fire Protection – Continued reinforcement of these subjects through library materials, field trips, and home safety plans


  1. This sounds great! I am Catholic, but used to teach at a CM school. Her philosophy and methods pair so well with Catholicism and Catholic education. Wish my children were young again just to tag along with all that you're doing! Remember that they'll be out of the nest before you can turn around. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond! Where was the CM school?


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