Friday, September 23, 2016

An Even Simpler Charlotte Mason Schedule with Lesson Basket

The first few weeks of our fall term got off to a bumpy start. With a public swimming pool still open in our area until Sept. 10, the continuation of summery weather, our county fair coming to town, and illness in our family, it felt like we would never settle into a routine. But with autumn's official arrival yesterday and this past week being the first full week of homeschooling we've been able to manage, I think it is all falling into place. Life happens, and homeschooling gives us the flexibility to roll with the tide. 

Believe it or not, I streamlined our Catholic Charlotte Mason schedule even further. I am determined to hit that sweet note between a rich liberal arts feast and classical simplicity! The addition of Emma Serl's Primary Language Lessons will bring together basic language skills with all of those various aspects of the CM way, incorporating copy work, dictation, memory work, poetry, recitation, letter writing, narration, and even picture studies and natural history. 

While the goal of a great education isn't to complete every book in the curriculum for a particular school year, I believe we do want to finish a certain number of those which serve our purposes well. One way to assure that happening is to teach less subjects at once and to use less books to cover those subjects. 

I pared back what we are using for this term even further than before and organized a basket of those books for easy access. The updated loop schedule shows what I have set up to begin next week. Most of the resources listed will be used for the rest of the term, but as we complete a book, another one from the curriculum plan for the year can slide into its place. 

Learning is not about checking off boxes. Real learning is about living joyfully today and building the skills necessary to keep learning for the rest of your life. It's the understanding that mastery of a subject takes practice and self-determination. With diligence and consistency, the wise turtle wins the race.

This is the first year that my daughter has not played soccer since she was five, because our town's parks and recreation program only goes through age 11, and she is 12 now! Beezy will be taking gymnastics this year instead. The regular art teacher at the Catholic school where she has taken a la carte classes is on a medical leave, so we decided that we would opt out of the class until the 2nd semester. But maybe by then we will have found our own artistic groove!

I am grateful to be less busy than usual this fall, to have fewer activities and not so much driving around. We will even be able to walk to gymnastics! With this simplified CM schedule, we will have time to go more thoroughly and consistently into the subjects being studied. We can be at home more, and we will also have more time and freedom to take nature walks and field trips, to visit with friends and family, and to just live life with depth and meaning. There will be more time for exploring personal interests, for contemplation. For a divine silence in which to better hear our Lord's plan for our lives. 

In the next post to come, I'll give you all of the details about what's in the basket... If you have any questions about the loop schedule, please feel free to ask in the comments!

Daily Core: (open with Pure Faith: A Prayer Book for Teens)
- Literature: Island of the Blue Dolphins (O’Dell)           
- Spanish
- Hamilton’s Arithmetic
- Piano practice
- The Baltimore Catechism (No. 1)

Writing Loop
- Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons
- grammar workbook (Catholic Heritage Curricula)
- written narration
- cursive writing (Seton Handwriting 3)

Extended Loop:
- The Rosary in Art (Seton): picture studies; Rosary prayers &      
   mysteries (Holy Bible, 1952 Catholic Confraternity Edition);
- Bible History 6 for Young Catholics (Seton)
- Nature Study (Anna Comstock Handbook, mammals)
- A Child’s Geography of the World (Hillyer); Usborne Atlas

Gymnastics class
Piano lessons
Religious education class 


  1. Your loop for writing: Do you do one of those books daily, in other words, do you do a daily rotation?

    1. Yes, I choose one item from each loop each day.

  2. Also, do you do copywork at the table, or do you allow comfort on the couch?


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