Summertime means fun, but for homeschool moms, it means planning too! I’ve been busy figuring out our Charlotte Mason schedule for next year, and I want to share some of the tools and techniques that have made this year’s planning a breeze.
My daughter will be in second grade, Form 1A, this year. Last year, I planned out the curriculum resources we would use for the year and had a plan for what we needed to cover in each 12-week term. I didn’t have a daily schedule as life with a baby and toddler seemed too unpredictable.
We had a great year and accomplished so much. But this year, I’m definitely feeling the pull for a more consistent homeschool schedule. I’m clearing out out morning activities so that we have time each day for morning lessons.
How to create a Charlotte Mason schedule
Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy incorporates a broad feast of subject with short lessons. You can read more about her philosophy and the subjects she included in Home Education Volume 1.
The first step in creating a schedule is determining all of the subject areas you want to cover. I will do a separate post outlining our curriculum choices, but for now, the subjects we’re including in our homeschool are:
- American History
- Natural History
- Music Appreciation
- Art Appreciation
- Physical Education
Fitting it all in
Looking at this list of subjects is a bit daunting! How can we fit all of these subjects in every day? Well we can’t. And the good news is that we don’t have to. Some subjects do happen every day, but other only happen two or three times a week or even once a week.
If you’re following a curriculum plan like the free plans available from Ambleside Online or Wildwood Curriculum, your plan will likely tell you how many times each week you will cover each subject.
If you’re designing your own curriculum like we are, I’ve discovered an awesome tool to help plan out your Charlotte Mason schedule.
Putting together a Charlotte Mason Schedule
I purchased the scheduling cards from A Delectable Education to help put together our schedule. These cards are well worth the $5!
A different set of cards is available for each form; I purchased the Form 1 cards for my Form 1A student.
For durability, I printed them on cardstock and laminated them as I can use these each year I have a Form 1 student (the next eight years!). I will absolutely get my money’s worth from these little cards!
Tips for Using Charlotte Mason Scheduling Cards
Cut out each card and the timeline showing 10 minute intervals of time. Begin to arrange your schedule with these points in mind:
- The set of scheduling cards includes the exact amount of cards you need to cover each subject in a week; for example, there are five Math cards because math is covered five times each week.
- Layout your cards in five columns to represent the days of the week with Monday on the far left and Friday on the far right.
- Each card is proportionally sized to fit the amount of time allotted; for example the Singing card with 10 minutes has twice the height of the Poetry card with 5 minutes.
- The moon shape on the right will help you figure out how much assistant your child will need with each subject; a full moon means your child will need your full attention. This is especially helpful when you have multiple children.
- The symbols on the left help ensure that we are alternating the sides of the brain we’re using in our lessons. Don’t put two of the same symbols together.
- Watch your timeline and fit lessons within the time allotted.
Schedule vs Reality
In a perfect world, our schedule would include 2 hours and 30 minutes of work each day, but the reality is that extracurricular activities and other commitments affect our schedule.
We have a music class on Wednesday mornings and plan to do field trips and nature walks on Fridays so I adjusted our schedule cards to fit our real life time available. That made our other days a bit longer but I’m counting on it all working out.
Turning a Schedule Into A Plan
With a solid schedule in place, I gather up all of the books and resources I want to use. This is where I get a dose of reality and the schedule helps keep me in line.
There are sooooo many good books out there! There is absolutely no way we can fit them all in. I can research and research and research and come up with new and better books every where I turn.
When I look at the schedule, I realize there is only so much time in each day. When I know that we only have two American history lessons each week, I have to pick two solid resources to fit in those slots. There isn’t time for lots of extras, and I find that comforting!
I can’t focus on what we’re missing out on. Instead, I aim to pack the schedule we have with beautiful living books and trust in the process that my daughter will learn and grow and we’ll have a great year.
I made a spreadsheet with the subjects down the left hand column and the five days of the week across the top. I highlighted the slots to cover each day and then started filling in with the specific lessons for the first week of school.
This weekly plan will have the specific book or resource we’ll use on each day, but I won’t determine exact pages for readings or lessons until the week of. If I plan out that much detail, I’m bound to be disappointed because things rarely go as planned! I’d rather leave myself with a higher level view that I can adjust the night before.
I like to plan three weeks at a time. That’s enough of a plan that I don’t feel rushed to plan more, but enough flexibility that I can make changes as needed throughout the year.
Beyond the Charlotte Mason schedule
I have to mention that one of my homeschool mom traditions has been to read For the Children’s Sake each summer. This short read is a beautiful narration of Charlotte Mason’s own words.
Susan Schaeffer Macaulay does an incredible job demonstrating the beauty of what a Charlotte Mason education in action looks like. It’s motivational, inspirational, and always gets me ready for the year.
I hope this post was helpful in seeing how a Charlotte Mason schedule can make a curriculum come to life! If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’d be happy to try to help!