What do you use from each? I'm really struggling with planning for next year. I'd love to just go with ONE plan, but like different aspects of each. I think I've read every post on this, but still don't know what to do. I love the simplicity of this site and the character formation, and combining my kids in history. But I can't seem to get past the rigor of AO and feel like I'm not challenging my kids enough if I don't use it. But some of those AO books look so intimidating...I also fear that my kids might not enjoy or understand history as much. Any input or guidance is much appreciated!! Blessings, Gina
Those who combine SCM and AO...(17 posts) (8 voices)
Ok, here is my 2cents....
My opinion is to drop AO. That is coming from somone that did AO for 2 years (took 2 years to do 1 year of AO), and found it so stressfull. You go on the AO boards, and there are so many people saying it is the best thing in the world that it is easy to "drink the koolaid"... and then there are the posts from the people struggling,.... I found AO stressful, yet was hearing everyone tell me that my kids needed to do this and that and to push through it..... And there were some books that I never saw the point of (We hated Blue Fairy Book, and I didn't even attempt the Red Fairy Book!!!)
Now that said, there are a lot of people that do love AO. But I think that SCM will give a very good education, a lot more enjoyably, and with a lot less stress. But of course, that is just my opinion....
I am actually making my own plan for the next year, combining my Year 3 and Year 1 student. We are doing 6 stories from Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare because my son grew to love it from AO. We are going to do the Burgess Animal Book. I am not directly doing any SCM modules, but am picking books from various sources including SCM. And I am making my plan from the Planning your CM Education from here.
After reading the Year 1 selections from AO (without the US history, and a few other changes) - I couldn't see the point in that much British History. I did like the book Our Island Story, and so did my son.... but I don't need THAT much British History. Some, yes... that much - no.
And I was looking at this upcoming year, with a 3rd year student (going into AO Year 2) and another going into AO Year 1 - both would need almost everything read to them... and probably most things read to them until about Year 4 (by which point I'd have another Year 1 student....) No Way.
This coming year with my plans, most of the things will be done together except Math, Copywork, and some Reading Practice, and the odd other subject.
If you are stuck on doing both....
I'd probably do SCM history modules as a family, and pick from AO literature (keeping in mind that some of their literature picks are tied to the history time for that year, so you might want to change some of those, or not as they fit...) Originally I'd say to do the AO picture study (with their resources on their yahoo groups) - but if you can afford the picture portfolios here, I'd probably say do them instead now. Science is really up to you... AO uses living books for the first few years, then has living books or Apologia.... SCM has a list of living books or the choice of Apologia.
Keep in mind that (if I remember right) after year 4, AO does 3 shakespeare plays a year! (I did a total of 3 in school...) SCM (if I remember right) does a shakespeare play every other year. How much shakespeare do you figure you need to do?
I will admit that I go back and forth... we all want our kids to learn a lot so that they will be prepared.... We all want to think that our kids could do the toughest academic program out there. It took a lot of thinking for me to decide that the stress it was causing me and my son just wasn't worth it, when he could get an education still much better than he would in school, without so much stress.
Does that make sense?
I second Suzukimom (funny...didn't we just talk about this in my last post LOL). We ventured into AO year 1 two years ago, and we had a similar experience. It came down to the AO "MO" being a bit irrelevant to our needs, especially in the area of History. I love how SCM integrates History, Geography, and Bible, something even SL doesn't do well (IMHO) Now, there are a lot of neat resources at AO (we do use their Yahoo! group's art prints) and there are some neat articles, access to the old Parents' Review Articles, the CM books in "modern english" you can read online, and whatnot, but for us, SCM is more relevant to what we want to learn-especially considering that my children are spaced out (4 1/2 years between the first two, 2 1/2 years between the second two, and there will be exactly 2 years between my third and fourth) so that, like when we used SL, we'd end up with all these "years" going when I could more effectively teach all of my children together for the most part, leaving me more time for things like, well, breathing LOL.
This year we're doing History/Bible/Geography Module 2, MUS for math (we've always used it) Apologia Science (again, we've found we like it, so we're sticking with it), BJU Handwriting (same thing) SCM Art, Composer, and Hymn suggestions, and then various other tidbits-Nature Study with Jack's Insects and the Comstock Book (btw, AO has a handy "schedule" for using that book too-see! Pull stuff from all over!)...the list goes on.
Like I said, AO has some great resources, and I certainly am glad that we were introduced to things like James Herriot's Treasury for Children, Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare (especially since one of my children is named for one of Shakespeare's characters, so she loves hearing other Shakespearian stories) and Holling C. Holling, but on the whole, it just didn't work for us.
It all comes down to the beauty of homeschooling: you have the freedom to pick and choose. Oh, and for sure, Sonya's planning book and DVD sure helps sort through all that!
However you choose to do it will be great because, as I was reminded in my "need a pep talk" thread, you have your children's best interest at heart, you're researching your options, and whatever decisions you make will be based on what you know of your family and what will work for you.
If you see something you love at SCM, use it. Then if there's something else you love at AO, give it a shot too. You'll do great
Thanks, Suzukimom and LillyLou! I appreciate your responses. I do have "Planning Your CM Education" (and the picture portfolios---wonderful!!!) I was just getting a bit stessed with tweaking/making my own. I bought a bunch of SCM history books for Mod. 6. But made things more complicated by buying from two modules for ea. kid! My upcoming 'old' 3rd grader thinks young books are 'babyish' so bought him seveal 4-6. I bought some 7-9 books for my upcoming 'old' 6th grader, because I think she can handle them fine and after comparing to AO....but that may cause me trouble when they're in the 10-12 age range.
I thought ONE plan would make me less stressed, but if one is not a 'perfect' fit, I guess I just need to do the planning work and not fuss about it:) Thanks for all the input. Any others do this? What do you bring over from AO? Thanks:) Gina
I started out using AO when I learned about Charlotte Mason. When I was just reading to one child it was amazing. I also didin't start AO1 until my son was half way through first grade and we finished it in a year and a half. Fast forward to contemplating reading two separate years of school work and I froze. Currently we are doing SCM history, finishing SCM1 and moving onto SCM2 - I use the literature, natural science, biography etc from AO and make my own mixture on other subjects. The books we learned to love - reading slowly (1 chapter per week over the school year) will always be my favorites. I plan to put those ao books back in for my younger child.
We chose to listen to the history selections for AO rather than reading them aloud. That made it less tedious and yet the kids got a flavor of the world.
I think the most important consideration as you are planning is to make time for what you want to do. It is overwhelming to have 4 hours of reading you have to do daily.... Why not assign some books as audio books for the car - listen to selection X when you are going to ____ weekly. Other books might be good to have as a regular Sunday read... and still others which are too good to miss could be read or listened to independently. Make a schedule that allows you to be successful.
Watch out if you have a voracious reader and try to have them at least write down what they have read independently, and better yet do some type of narration. My DS 10 has read many books on my shelf w/o me knowing that he met that great friend of mine.
Enjoy the adventure!
I've done AO for a while before coming here. There is a lot of very good stuff there. My personal preference is to take the basic framework of SCM here, and add in some of the AO books. There ARE selections at AO that just were not right for us personally, and if I was going to do the work of coming up with my own plan, the basic framework and the Organizer here made that sooo much easier. So I use this basic framework and plug in books I wanted. I actually have printouts where I printed out the SCM basics here, like history and literature, and then took out the AO book lists, and plugged all the books I wanted to take from AO and put them in the SCM lists. It was some work but it's been a GREAT resource as I get books together for my kids now.
Things I like to bring over--we LIKE doing more Shakespeare. We LOVE Shakespeare. We also love Plutarch, so we bring those over with us. We like having at least one biography set per term, a la AO, so we do that. We also include many of the geography and nature reading books from AO. Some of these we read aloud but as my kids are getting older (sigh) they do read the greater part themselves. We also think AO a bit too Anglocentric, lol, so we omit some of that, and we just didn't ever like the heavy mythology emphasis either. My kids actually rebelled against some of that.
Thanks, heathershats, good idea about audio...I've yet to incorporate and know it would help!
And thanks, Bookworm, I always glean much from your insights on this! No problem if not, but I'd love to see your list if it's easily available. I'm behind the times electronically, still a paper sort of girl:( I do have SCM's planner. If not using the organizer, do you see any issues with using AO as the base and adding many lovely SCM things, too?
My thoughts (today:) are to use the AO schedule as my base. I like how it's laid out plainly to make me think about things down the road like health, current events, logic, etc. And love the challenging lit. But I prefer SCM for history/geography/bible, so was thinking of using the SCM guides for those subjects. And maybe add in some AO history or SCM lit. in the mix as we go. Also thinking of 1-2 Plutarch's lives and Shakespeare plays yearly instead of 3...need to cut something back since we use Classical Writing (if I can keep at it, anyway). How does this plan sound? Main thing I like is that it's mostly laid out for me...just a bit of tweaking. See any problems? Thanks for any input. I really need to figure this out and get off the computer and enjoy more of summer:) Gina
it sounds like a pretty good plan to start - why don't you try it out for a year, and make adjustments if needed?
Starting Year 4, I plan to do 1 shakespear play, 1 plutarch's lives, and 1 Dickens book a year.... probably one of those for each term. That is my general plan for those... but haven't got a Year 4 student yet...
Well, my lists are all on paper too, and worse, in handwriting. I have NO idea how to scan & send stuff; my son can usually figure stuff out but he's away for the summer. I'll try to think if there's a way to do it.
Re: Plutarch and Shakespeare--we often just do one of those at a time--this year we are doing two plays and one Life, then the next year two Lives and one play, when we are pushed for time.
Suzukimom, thanks for sharing how you do it. Sounds like a great plan!
Bookworm, thanks, but don't worry about the list!! I can try to figure something on my own, love the idea:) Beauty of homeschooling...we can each what do what's best for our family. Just need to figure out what that is!
Thanks for all the input, this forum is such a blessing. Gina
I could have written the first post myself! I, too, struggle with whether or not to do SCM alone, or with AO. I've done AO for the last three years. My oldest has finished years 2, 3, and 4. My second son has finished years 1 and 2. We did drop the mythology and we did not read as much Shakespeare as AO recommends, but otherwise we just followed the schedule. I was planning on continuing with AO next year, but then I found SCM. I LOVED what I saw at first sight. I love the resources available to me such as Spelling Wisdom and Picture Portfolios. I love the idea of schooling all my children together on the same topic. And yet I'm drawn to AO in some ways as well. I plan on doing some of both, even though I don't have it all ironed out just yet.
Best wishes in figuring it all out. And thanks for all the ideas ladies. It's great to have the support.
I am adding in a few books here and there from AO (from numerous subjects) that I don't want the kids to miss, but if it becomes too stressful, we will drop those and do SCM exclusively. Obviously, I am more loyal to SCM than to AO... I didn't really do any AO books this 1st year of doing SCM (CM in general, that is!), and I am just now working on the details for next year, so I don't have a complete list yet of AO books we'll be adding in this year (I will have a 3rd, 2nd, K, and 2yo this upcoming year).
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