A Gentle Feast?

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  • Aimee

    Crystal, the credits listed for grades 10 – 12 are: 1 credit science, 1/2 credit American History, 1/2 credit world history, 1 credit fine arts, 1 credit English, 1/2 credit government and economics, 1 math, 1 foreign language, possible electives are Bible, handicrafts, geography.

    Doug, the other ladies did well at laying out the differences. I think SCM is a high quality company and all your resources are beautifully done! Some things that swayed me this year are…

    Price – when I put all the resources for the enrichment studies, history, individual lesson plans, Bible study ect. In my cart, it really added up. I don’t find your products expensive, just more than I can spend right now.

    Your products are excellent but like I said in my earlier post, I was just in the mood for “easy.” I made one purchase and everything is planned.

    Four year history cycle – maybe my attention span is too short or maybe I’ll change my mind on this later but I just don’t want to spend 3 years on ancients.

    The student pack that correlates with what we’re studying keeps me on task and insures I have something physical to show my evaluator at the end of the year.

    The other thing is that some of us homeschool moms like to try new things and find what works best. My senior will use SCM history as was already planned, but my younger children and I will give A Gentle Feast a try next year. If it doesn’t work well for us and/or we’re in a different place financially etc… We know where to find some great CM  products!😉


    Doug-I’ve always thought this website could use a curriculum tab with a drop down menu for each grade. I know that is what I look for when researching curriculum. I’ve noticed that many new moms have to be pointed to the free curriculum guide to see SCM’s offerings and recommendations for each grade level. It would be really nice if one could just click on curriculum, choose a grade, and see everything at a glance.

    I realize my suggestion has nothing to do with this particular discussion but I jumped on the chance to share when you asked for input. 🙂 Hope you don’t mind!




    Since you asked for feedback, I figured I would share my experience with discovering SCM curriculum. I originally found SCM when doing a Google search for reviews of Math U See. Google directed me to the SCM forum, and so naturally I started browsing the rest of the site. Maybe I’m behind the curve, but it was at least a year of browsing the SCM site before I realized that SCM was a curriculum company, not just a bookstore of Charlotte Mason resources. Now that I’ve discovered the SCM curriculum, I am sold. I love having it all planned for me. We’re using mostly SCM for next school year, and now that I own the guides and additional resources, I am not swayed by things like A Gentle Feast. When I compare the two, I prefer SCM. However, if I had decided a year ago that I wanted to go full CM methods for school, I probably wouldn’t have used SCM, simply because I didn’t know  that you offered a (mostly) full curriculum. So to answer your question, yes, I do think that the issue is that you all haven’t communicated everything you have to offer in a curriculum. I hope this helps!

    Doug Smith

    This is excellent feedback, everyone. Keep it up!

    I’d like to mention one thing regarding our history rotation and this comment that we hear frequently.

    I just don’t want to spend 3 years on ancients

    We actually chose to do this on purpose to provide an in-depth, solid Biblical education. In those first three years we’re using the Bible as our main history source, while bringing in other materials to offer understanding of people, places, and events going on in the world at the same time. Our goal is for children to have a deep understanding of the Bible and its truth so that becomes the measuring rod for everything else to come.



    Doug – I wonder if maybe there is a way to have a one year Ancients course that does NOT use the bible as the main source (so just a year with things more Greece, Rome, and other early civilizations with a lighter coverage of Biblical civilizations) and then a separate Biblical history course that could be used as a full year or as a once or twice a week supplement for several  years? It would give people the option to keep the Biblical grounding but spread in out while they are moving forward in a more typical 4 year cycle. This reminds me more of having multiple streams of history – a biblical stream, then whatever time period they are in of the 4 year cycle.

    I know we already add in our own Church history too (LDS) where it fits chronologically as well as our own scripture reading that includes more than just the Bible (though we love lots of Bible reading too so we do that every year too!), and many Catholic families I know do the same thing to their own history curriculum adding studying saints and such.


    The solid Biblical teaching is what I love about your products and your philosophy.  I love that the Bible studies teach the kids to dig in for themselves. I love that I can be confident that none of the recommended reading will have i appropriate content. (This is something that has been an issue for us with other book recommendations) And to be honest I enjoy a slower pace with history, I just feel so rushed by “requirements”. If I do a six year cycle, which would be enjoyable, my middle child wont get a required American History credit. Its one of the reasons I have considered A Gentle Feast. I know there are many posts about combining modules in high school but that doesnt quite resonate with me. It seems there is no solution to my dilemma, at least none that I have found yet. I think what SCM offers is wonderful and fills a definate need. You guys have a way of making the CM method simple and doable even for those of us who are starting out. Sonya feels like a close friend mentoring us through the process. I dont think it is about one product or another, but more about what fills a need in a particular season.

    Tamara Bell

    I purchased the original white year.  I contemplated using it last year, contemplated using it this coming year (the green year instead).  The reality is that while I liked A Gentle Feast on first inspection, I don’t care for it the further I dug.  I dislike reading books online and there are several throughout the year that would have to be used online.  Some books are VERY hard to come by and VERY expensive if you do come across them.

    I also tweak things (even my SCM modules) so there is no point for me to purchase something that is so thoroughly laid out the way AGF is when I know I’ll tweak.  I was interested in the geography reader for green yr form 3 so I read the sample on Amazon.  A Voyage Long and Strange sounded so intriguing.  Upon reading the prologue I noted immediately that the author states that while he was driving around he decided to stop somewhere for beer.  Hmm.  Not horrible but this is the start of the book.  What’s the point of writing that?  Does it add value?  No.  I pressed forward.  Ch 1 pg 12 talks about Eirik the Red and mentions that his wife converted to Christianity and “refused to sleep with her pagan husband ‘much to his ‘displeasure'”.  I honestly don’t care for my 7th grader to read that.  A sentence later the author mentions that Eirik had an illigitement daughter who was hotheaded and homicidal like her father.  While I don’t shelter my children as much as some, I don’t want to hand them a book that is full of this sort of talk.  It’s not needed.  We have such little time to read, we are supposed to give them the best of the best.  If these three incidents are in the first 12 pages what else is to come in the book?

    Lastly, I asked the creator of AGF (who is very kind and gracious) about subbing out particular books due to expense (one of the science books is near impossible to find) she said that it is doable but she strongly stressed not doing so with particular books.  She suggested that we use our library.  The library is hard if a) you live in a small town like us with no interlibrary loans b) you are using that book over a term or year.

    I am  cautious because she put together books for 2 different years of plans both with 4 different forms.  That is a LOT of work to accomplish well on your own.  Was she able to read all of the books?  How discerning is she (that became my concern after reading the geography reader sample on Amazon).

    Lastly, while in theory all kids will be in the same “span” of history, it is different and not quite what I thought it would be.  Form 2 kids would be reading Our Island Story and getting the history of Britain.  I had hoped the same coverage for my form 3 but she emailed me and said that she wanted to move away from Britain for form 3 and have the children get more world history.  It’s similar and yet not similar at all to SCM.  With SCM I understand that my older kids will be reading different books than my younger students and will get more depth BUT they will still be in the same period, general events, etc.

    I wish the author the best of luck with AGF.  I pray that it blesses others.  For now, I’m thoroughly content with SCM history modules and the ability to tweak them to my hearts content.  Example:  module 6 term 2.  We finished reading Wright Brothers early and Where Poppies Grow so I’ve thrown in a bio of Sergeant York and a bio of Winston Churchill.  It’s just so thoroughly doable with SCM.  When we go back to module 1 next year, we will use it for Bible and Egypt but my kids have requested a British/American thread so we’ll meander and take our time going over British history (utilizing TQ) simultaneously with module 1.


    Tamara Bell


    I initially wasn’t drawn to the idea of 3 yrs of Ancients but after prayer (for a year!) I was thoroughly convicted that what you guys do with the Bible for a spine is exactly what we (our house) is supposed to be doing.  God’s Word must be the very foundation of our education.  Understanding that it is not a separate subject or a separate history.  It IS history.  It IS intertwined with all those other “Ancients” that we study.




    Side note – if you need to print PDF materials from anywhere or other printing needs, the best prices I’ve found are online at Best Value Copy.  Less than $0.10 for color copies.  I do this for math mammoth and misc other stuff yearly.


    Doug, if you want a bit more feed back…😊 SCM seems like a company that does well at putting all the information and products out there for people (spreading a feast) and letting them put together their plan by using all or just some SCM products. You’ve laid it all out with the curriculum plan to walk people through step by step. I just wonder if it would help, when people started browsing your site, to see package options. I’m a big picture thinker and can only put up with the details after I’m really familiar with something. I know it’s not how you’re set up but it’s really appealing to me to visually see what a whole year’s going to look like and what it’s going to cost. To have  customizable bundles or packages for one child in a certain age range and then state anything that you’d have to purchase for additional students. I hate to suggest it because it sounds like a lot of work for you but I think it would help people who are new to CM, not wanting to take the time to figure everything out and just want to know what it’s going to cost. You have so many products now that the possibilities for packages seem endless. They could be by grade or form (my preference), basic or complete, enrichment or core subjects, single child or whole family bundles.

    I also like Tristan’s idea about an optional one year ancient history. I like your reasoning for the 6 year cycle but it always seems hard for me to implement. Especially with high school.

    I hope our suggestions are helpful! Thank you so much for being open to feed back.


    I looked a lot at AGF but ultimately, I decided to stay with SCM.  I really hate when an entire year is planned out for me like AGF does.  I absolutely LOVE the flexibility of SCM products.  I don’t want everything combined into one guide.  I like having options for what will work for us each year.

    I would love an option for a one year Ancients year.  I plan to combine the 3 ancients modules for an Ancient history and Bible credit when my kids get to high school.  It would be nice to have it already planned out for me (but really it’s not a huge deal.) I do think that the slower pace for ancients is great for younger kids though.

    My main wish for SCM is to offer “packages” for each history/Bible/geography guide and for each Enrichment guide.  It would be soooooo nice to just add “Genesis/ Egypt family studies+ books for grades1-6” into my cart and call it a day.  I’m envisioning book packs available for each age range listed in the guide that you can add to your cart in addition to the “family studies” bundle.  I suppose you could also offer book packs for the geography guides too since some people use those as a stand alone curriculum.  Of course, having all materials offered in a package deal for the Enrichment guide would be wonderful as well!  I’m sure that would be a TON of work, but it is still my wish 🙂


    The only suggestion I have is to have a separate tab for questions on the product pages so they don’tget mixed in with reviews.


    My main reason for considering AGF is because it seems to align more with what I’ve been learning about a CM education through listening to the ADE Podcast episodes.

    Last summer, I had a consultation with the ADE ladies which was extremely in-depth and helpful in wrapping my head around a CM education. At the end of the consult, I was emailed a complete plan for our year which included book suggestions for each subject for the Forms my children were in, suggestions for which subjects/books to combine as much as we could as a family, as well as scheduling cards to help me plan out our day in keeping our lessons short as Charlotte instructed. I went full force with it and we had a successful year. It made me love the CM Philosophy so much more.

    The reason I am highly considering using AGF over going with the ADE ladies again is because I LOVE how AGF is open and go and all ready for me to use. I just need to have the books on hand and we are good to go. I am terrible at planning, so having it already done for me is like a breath of fresh air. I have yet to purchase anything from AGF so I cannot speak more in-depth of it, but from what I’ve seen/read, it looks like it is very flexible where you can tweak it however you like. Huge plus for me! The AGF student packets are, honestly, what sold me. Also, AGF seems to follow the same History Streams as outlined by ADE which I love as well.

    All that to say, there is truly not a one size fits all Homeschool Philosphy/curriculum/program. And I love that we have options. I love that we have homeschool moms and dads willing to share with us what they have learned to help encourage us in our homeschool journeys. I love several of the SCM products and will continue to purchase them…Picture Study Portfolios, Shakespeare Guides, Music Study Guides, and Spelling Wisdom.

    Thank you for hearing our feedback and allowing us a safe place to come and discuss our many options and learn from one another! 🙂


    I, too, want to mention how much I appreciate the humility with which Doug asked for suggestions and the kindness in all the answers he’s gotten! (I’ve seen other discussion forums/facebook groups where this was not the case.)

    My two cents: I LOVE the SCM history modules.  In my mind, they can’t get any more perfect!  Having book bundles would be cool, because then I could see the covers of each book…..but I’d never buy a bundle! Too expensive.  I’d shop the used book sales that are held in my area and order used from AbeBooks, so bundles wouldn’t do me any good.  But seeing all the covers in one place would help me keep in my head which books I would need.

    I would second (or third? *L*) the motion to have a one-year Ancients option.  I do it myself (not nearly as well), but it’d be great to have the SCM masterminds pick the best books and tell me which ones to use.  🙂

    I don’t think I’d ever use an all-done-for-me-in-a-box curriculum — I like tweaking too much…..and then there’s the issue of life just getting in the way, and so if we “get behind” we just skip what we have to  and deal with it.  If it was all perfectly coordinated, I’d be eating WAY more chocolate, and feeling WAY more stressed. (That’s why I don’t buy the Keep it Simple guide things.)

    🙂 SCM, you all do a great job of coming up with fabulous resources! I absolutely love the Picture Portfolios — so well done!  And the Shakespeare guides are great, too.  I’m too cheap to buy the Composer studies (I’m a former music teacher, so I just wing that with my own supplies…..but that doesn’t mean I don’t look longingly at the Composer studies! *L*)  The spines for Module 6 is what won me over to SCM in the first place.  The Planning Your CM Education solidified it (and gave me confidence to do some tweaking Modules 1-3 into one year). And now that we’ve been through Modules 4 and 5 as well, I’m thoroughly looking forward to next school year and Module 6 again.




    I have a love/hate relationship with all in one guides.  On the surface it seems more organized to have it all in one place.  But I am one of those obsessed with box checking and it bothers me when there are sections of the grid that I must either ignore or cross through and change. I suppose it is kin to my yearly dilemma of wanting an all in one, done for me curriculum and also wanting the freedom to customize our schooling to our individual needs.  The SCM guides are thorough without being overwhelming.  I find I sometimes add to it, but never feel I need to delete or ignore offerings found in the SCM guides.  I personally find a mix of AO with SCM to be the best fit for us.  I have looked, and will look again at the gentle feast offerings.  But, SCM has a permanent place in our homeschooling.


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