Fall Planning

Have you started planning for the upcoming school year? While it might be hard to think about it while enjoying the summer flowers and sipping lemonade on the porch  -  I have, amidst swimming lessons, vacations, planning the Living Education Retreat and a million other activities (like sipping lemonade on the porch).  It's true that I'm looking forward to the fall - I need the break!

The planning process reveals how deft the teacher, especially a homeschool mom, needs to be.  Even Charlotte Mason acknowledged the big challenges a homeschool mom may face.  She states, "it is much easier to work a class of twenty, all doing the same thing, than a school of five children in three different classes."  She's so right.  I've had six in six different classes and it's not easy.    I've also had the experience of teaching 17 children all learning the same thing in our CM Truth, Beauty, Goodness Co-op.  It's obviously very different but it also has great advantages and joys.  Truth be told, I love both ways.

So, for what it's worth, I thought I would share a slightly over-simplified, brief article I wrote about three years ago on how our days were scheduled.  A few  things have changed since then, but perhaps it will give you some ideas for your fall planning. - Nancy

What does a day in our homeschool look like? I’ll try and describe a typical CM day with my children ages 5,7,9,11 and 17 years old. The much-missed 19 year old is at Hillsdale College in Michigan.  Occasionally there are unplanned events that change things around, but I try to make sure that my days are clear until late afternoon. This helps our schedule stay roughly the same.

School starts at 9:00 a.m. This means everyone is done with getting dressed, doing chores and practicing instruments. For some children , this means waking up at 7:00 and for others 8:00. Either way, we all gather in the living room for Bible time at 9:00. We read a short passage from the Scriptures, narrate and then pray. Now that the tone has been set for the day, we go right into some group readings. These are selections that everyone is involved in and require an oral narration. History reading, Plutarch, poetry, literature and science selections are included here. All from time-tested living books. This first morning time takes about an hour. Short readings allow us to cover many books. Even within this reading time, I vary the types of books to keep minds fresh and attentive.

Now everyone is ready for a different type of lesson, so we move over to the table. Here we do mathematics,copywork and dictation. The older children can independently work on their subjects, but the littles are guided by my instruction at this point. We do this seatwork for about 30 minutes.

There is probably 1 hour left before lunch. The youngest two may go and play, and I am available to answer any questions of the 11 and 17 year old as they work independently but always in the same physical area as everyone else. I’ll meet the 9 year old on the couch for some reading practice, then perhaps call the 7 year old in to work one-on-one with her phonics. After this comes lunchtime.

After lunch, we finish up any more group activities and tie up loose ends. This may include hymns, folk songs, Shakespeare, recitation and drawing. Hopefully, we are finished by 2:00 p.m. To make this all run smoothly, and it usually does, each child has their own spreadsheet/checklist that they get on Monday morning that lists everything they will be doing for each day. It takes me about 20 minutes on Sunday night to prepare. Good habits which have been worked on for many years, a plan for the year and discipline in my own life all contribute to having my homeschool days run smoothly!


  1. Your schedule is inspiring.
    I see you've added the subscribe by email or in a reader buttons, but I'm missing one more LOL! The subscribe to all comments that you have in the blogger gadgets as a choice, so I can subscribe to the comments via any reader as well. (I don't want to push you to have one more button, but I haven't found another way to have access to the posts AND comments in my reader if I don't see the feed for the comments).
    Ah, I don't know if I told you I like the new look of your blog, too. Though the content is what draws me to your blog, the nice design always causes a good impression :)

  2. Wonderful day at school and very similar to how we did it. I will only have 1 home next year. I love your new look here and loved your old look! Praying for the Retreat next weekend and that all goes smoothly. The Lord bless it
    and you!

  3. Ask and you shall receive! Thanks, Nancy! I can't believe you just wrote this and I have been pondering our schedule all week! Thanks for the simple example. I love it. And it will help me. It reminds me that Homeschooling is something I can do. It will be fine. Another year. Kids I know and love. Time to be with them and watch them learn. I will enjoy it! Sometimes the details overwhelm me, but I know it will all come together if I keep focusing on Christ and teaching my kids at home for His glory! I like how you commented on your own good habits and discipline in your life; care to elaborate? How long do you spend on each reading; poetry or Plutarch, for example?
    Also, when do you do nature study? And Picture study or Composer study? Maybe alternate them during group activity time at the end of each day, hitting them each once a week? Thanks for sharing your day! Wish I were a neighbor so I could pop in and see your school and watch and learn! Blessings, Jodi

  4. This post is in the 239th Carnival of Homeschooling, history of home education edition, which now is up at The Common Room, http://tw0.us/LUJ My theme is 'the history of homeschooling in America.' It was very interesting to research and I learned some fascinating things along the way (do you know why we have age segregated classrooms in America?).

    Please pay us a visit, and reciprocate in the publicity the carnival brings you by passing along the link along so others can visit as well.

    Please consider other ways to spread the news about the carnival as well- the more people who visit the carnival, the more link-love you get- If you have a facebook account, you could pass on the link there (fb doesn't like tiny url links, so here's the long one: http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com/2010/07/carnival-of-homeschooling-239.html, and if you have a twitter account, please tweet!


  5. Headmistress,
    Thanks for the comment and carnival plug! I have my links to the current carnivals on my right sidebar. Great carnival - thanks for all the hard work in putting it together!

  6. I like how your day sounds. Mine is too scattered for my liking. I need to work on that!

  7. I appreciate you sharing how your day with your kids goes. It gives me some ideas to think about, too.


  8. Thanks Nancy, it's always helpful to have a glimpse into the days of other homeschoolers & more so when they have a variety of ages. I've always struggled with the constantly changing make up of ages & stages.
    Kind regards,