One thing that drew me to the Charlotte Mason method of teaching was it’s simplicity and beauty! I can easily get overwhelmed with all the curriculum choices and pressure to do it all. I crave a restful but enriching teaching experience, and my children thrive in this type of environment. This school year I took a simplified approach to my lesson planning and have enjoyed it so much more. Plus, it has taken less time and energy to plan.
So, how am I applying Charlotte Mason’s method of education to our curriculum this year? One thing I did was to plan out a basic overview of the curriculum topics I wanted to cover. I combined as many of the subjects as I could, and spaced them out over 36 weeks. These I divided into three terms. What is great about homeschooling is that you can tailor it to your individual family needs. Our family is a part of a Parent Partnered Program two days a week. My students take history, science, and writing through that program. This year, though, my eighth-grader has opted to do science at home, using Ambleside Online plan for Year 8. Then, using this basic overview, I record what we have completed each week. This allows me to be more flexible in our schedule and take breaks when needed.
I really wanted to make sure we got in those enriching subjects that seem to get pushed to the wayside in favor of core work. So, halfway through last year we started implementing Morning Time. I stumbled on this beautiful concept through Pam Barnhill’s Podcast, “Your Morning Basket.” This is the first thing we do each day and lasts only about 30 minutes or so. During this time we cover Bible, memory verses, poetry, hymn, nature, artist, and composer studies. That sounds like a lot, but really it’s not. I read a short devotional, then we recite our memory verse and have prayer. I then loop the hymn, composer, artist, and nature studies for the month. Each month I choose to cover one hymn, composer, artist, and topic of nature study. The first two weeks of the month, we learn about the hymn and composer chosen. The last two weeks of the month, we learn about the artist and topic of nature. I do this so that we don’t become overwhelmed and try to cram too much into a week. This worked beautifully last year, and I am excited to include it this year also.
Charlotte Mason’s method of short enriching lessons have blessed our family and given us the ability to learn at a more effective pace. This also has given our children time to dive into what they are passionate about.
Below are links to the curriculum we are using for our Morning Time, and a blank version of my planning spreadsheet:
“Your Morning Basket” Podcast by Pam Barnhill
Hymn Study – Ambleside Online – Hymns
Composer Study – Ambleside Online – Composers
Artist Study – “Discovering Great Artists” by MaryAnn F. Kohl
Nature Study – “Exploring Nature With Children” by Lynn Seddon