Your Questions about High School the Charlotte Mason Way

Charlotte Mason High School Questions

It’s exciting to talk to more and more homeschoolers who are educating their children through high school. Those high school years can be very rewarding and challenging at the same time, and Charlotte Mason’s methods give a great balance between discipline and enjoyment in high school.

But those same parents with older students often confide that their approach to the high school years is accompanied by a bit of anxiety, some second-guessing, and a lot of questions.

For example, here are some questions we’ve been asked recently:

  • Is narration enough for high school?
  • How do you keep lessons short in those upper grades?
  • Should I give my high school student a weekly checklist of assignments and the order in which they should be done or let him manage his time? If he manages his own time, how can I make sure he is varying the sequence of subjects?
  • Which is more important: page count or number of books?
  • What would an exam week look like at that level?
  • My main concern is doing enough but not too much. How do I know if I am overdoing it or if he needs more of a challenge?
  • How do I award high school credits for subjects that are mainly reading and narrating?

All good questions. And we’re sure you have more.

So we want to spend some time answering your questions about homeschooling high school students with Charlotte Mason’s methods.

While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we are more than willing to share our thoughts and ideas and give encouragement as best we can. Between us, Karen and I have graduated seven high school students using a CM approach, and we’re happy to share with you what we’ve learned along the way.

And of course, as each question is discussed, we welcome other veteran CMers who have high school students or graduates to join in the conversation by leaving their suggestions and ideas in the comments section.

We realize that some of you are just starting on your homeschool journey and won’t be facing high school for many years yet. That’s okay. It’s always good to get a preview of what lies ahead. We hope that these posts will help you clarify what direction you’re heading. You move toward what you focus on; so hopefully, by getting a picture of a CM high school clearly established in your mind now, you will be able to progress along that way with confidence.

So we invite you all to send in your questions. We’ll gather them and answer them in future blog posts. You can post your question as a comment on our blog, post on our forum thread, write your question on our Facebook wall, tweet to @SimplyCM, or send your question through our Contact form. You can even write it on a piece of paper and mail it to us here in Georgia. Just get those questions to us, and let’s see if we can help you walk with confidence through the high school years the Charlotte Mason way.


  1. 1. how to do CM way high school period – what does a day look like? schedule? layout of the years 9-12th? How do they do in college. I have done parts of CM but not all. It just didnt’ work with our life the last 5 years of selling our home and moving 2 times and setting up a homestead – it was just survival. Now we are settling in and I would like to jump back in but the oldest are sophomores. I tried Sandy queen material and I found it way too weak my children were not grasping concepts at all – we tried several and then I gave up – feeling like CM just was not a good fit and not mastery based as the material was not meaty enough for anything to stick. But maybe it was just Queen material. Ihave had other friends who felt the same way so it wasn’t just me.

    • Wendy,
      I don’t know if this would help. I’ve been researching a lot regarding high-school as well. I’ve just started the CM method for my middle-schooler. We love the Simply Charlotte Mason products and if you give it a try, I’m sure they will help.

      I also found that using an online planner like the SCM Organizer helps SO much with record keeping!

      I started CM last school year, and it was a bit wobbly, but then this year is going better. I found some other sites that have podcasts with the high-school questions addressed.

      They are: and
      Also, you can try this site for general homeschool high-school help:

      Hang in there, and I hope that at least this points you in the right direction for other resources 😉

  2. How do you do a high school transcript and grade using CM methods. It seems very arbitrary. I am not sure how to assign grades when I am not testing in most subjects. Thanks for your help!

  3. This is wonderful! Thank you! 😊 I did not see, would that be Karen Andreola respomding with you??? ❤️

  4. This article is very timely. I’ve begun to look at how to translate this wonderful CM experience into the language of college admissions with things like grades, course descriptions, a transcript, credits, GPA, CLEP, portfolio, etc. I also share some of the other questions about the “how-to’s” of high school that others have posted. Thank you for taking on this topic.

  5. How does one cover the feast all the wonderful things about a CM education while satisfying college entrance requirements without overwhelming the child and make it a delight instead of a drudgery? How does one teach the higher maths like algebra and geometry and higher science like biology and chemistry in a CM way? How would a daily and weekly schedule look like? How does one go from narration to writing different types/forms of essays, research papers etc. that colleges are looking for? Thank you for imparting your experience and knowledge with a mom who feels like I’m in the boat with only one oar limping by. I want learning to be a soaring experience verses a march to the guillotine as we check our boxes of what is required. Your time and wisdom is so appreciated.

  6. How do I convince my teen of the inherent benefits of a CM education? I know I’m the parent but surly helping them to understand where this is going and how it helped from a student’s perspective would lighten my drag load a little. I get questions like, “ANOTHER narration, why?” And my generic response is, “You COULD answer all of the questions in each section of a textbook or do several workbok pages, and take quizzes, pop quizzes and tests for every chapter and unit.” There is just nothing out there directed at students, and my kids stopped listening to me YEARS ago they want peer opinions; I sometimes wonder if their eyes will get stuck rolled up at me. “Why do I HAVE to do THIS? My friends don’t have to do this!” They see no value in “short” lessons, “difficult books”, many different books going slowly at once, no matter how many times I try to explain it. It just seems so unconventional for today’s education (Thank God!) that I get LOTS of push back from people, even my kids. I would LOVE a CM graduate to explain to current students what they loved about it, how it worked for them, did it help with further education (and how that differed from peers in their classes), what didn’t work for them (or what they found was hard), etc.

    • Thank you for this comment Sandra! I am dealing with exact same issues! I hope to find some answers in these posts. I am a little teary reading it and I feel less alone:-) Thanks

  7. I can’t say I am a CMer. I have heard Sonya speak at a few events, I know many CMers, I even co op with some! But I do still feel a little… lost. I LOVE the ideas. I even see ways that I could implement some of them with my elementary children, but not with my middle schoolers and high schoolers. Especially starting as a newbie. How can you start a CM education when you aren’t starting at the beginning?

  8. I would benefit to hear testimonies of students who were home schooled the Charlotte Mason way and graduated, AND then went to college. Where did they thrive? Where did they struggle? What field? Are they enjoying now a viable job with an income appropriate to provide for a family (or supplement one)? I have met many who homeschool the CM way like me, but none who have graduated students who then went to college. There must be some!?

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