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!