After years of CM, Not seeing the *SIMPLICTY* of it. Doing it wrong?

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  • kellywright006

    Sorry, one more thing, I am very excited to learn about English Lessons Through Literature. It really looks great.  🙂

    It has many CM components all tied up into one and has it all planned out. That would be so much nicer than me pulling different resources together in the summer.

    Thank you for that recommendation!


    Could you let your younger ones listen to an audiobook for history and call that good enough for now? Child’s History of the World has an audiobook, as do all the Story of the World volumes, and there are some free choices for American History from Librivox like Pratt’s History stories and This Country of Ours.


    I just wanted to pop in and say that this thread has been so encouraging to me.  As a mother to 6 children ages 2 to 8, this has been such practical information.  I am in my 4th year of homeschooling and am not burnt out, YET, but there will come a day when I’m sure I will be.  Right now, I only have 3 that are school aged,  but, as I add more in…. well, it’s going to get challenging I’m sure!!!  The one take away from these great comments is that there are seasons of life where it’s okay to not have our ideal approach or curriculum.  Sometimes simplifying for a season is what is most beneficial.  Our children will still learn.   I have found that if I don’t get around to a particular book I wanted to read for History, I just read it in the evening.   We also took a week off of most of  the enrichment subjects this week because there has been so much going on this week. Lots of grace for yourself.  I also found RightStart to be extremely time consuming.  We now do Strayor Upton and Ray’s Primary Arithmetic.  It has brought such a simplicity to our homeschool.  We may eventually switch to Teaching Textbooks in the next year and give that a try.  Grace and peace to you.  May God give you a fresh perspective on your homeschool.  I don’t know if you will find this helpful, but  I ask myself… is this beneficial or profitable for our homeschool, for this student, for our family????  Sometimes it isn’t beneficial and/or profitable.  Sometimes it is but it needs to be used differently!  That’s okay!   I make plans for every year, but I almost always find myself simplifying in some way!   I am actually interested in TruthQuest in some way being used in our homeschool in the future so it was good to see all the feedback on that!!!  We are also combining Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome into one school year.  I have not found that challenging at all thus far 🙂  So thankful for all these encouraging seasoned moms for sharing their insight!  Also, I am thankful for moms like you who are vulnerable when you are struggling so we less seasoned moms can learn from you during the challenging seasons too 🙂



    Bless you for your efforts!

    I have 8 children , 10 th grade down to baby…

    Here are my best time savers:

    Spending a few minutes weekly: planning our days (generously plugging in time slots with margins and allowing for out of home activities, lesson times, exercise, husband time, fun, meal prep…if I don’t do that then we can’t function. Right now I’m even planning when I can spend 15 minutes on laundry upkeep). I have found that at best I have 4 hours, usually 3 to spend on all schoolwork involvement.

    Daily: quiet time hour.  Everyone in his own quiet spot reading, writing, thinking, drawing, napping…including me! Sanity saver.

    Fly for inspiration on running home maintenance and letting go of martyrdom and perfectionism.

    I heard a podcast recently where the mother said they don’t aim for all the arts/ nonacademic subjects weekly, but one at a time: an artist study for a few weeks, a poet study , a nature study , etc. But only one at a time before moving on to the next.

    Our latest fun/food/beauty of late is poetry tea time. Put the poetry books on the table, get out the fine china cups and saucers collected from thrift shop, put on the kettle for some black or herbal tea, set out a heaping plate of some goodie, sit down and enjoy a cup while letting the kids read a poem of their choice.Sometimes a picture study is thrown in. ( At this time, we are able to do this 2-3 afternoons a week. Even my surlier teen can’t resist joining in the delight. Takes 5 prep mins., 5 clean up mins., and it is a good 1/2 hour or so of relaxed enjoyment for us all. )

    <span style=”line-height: 1.5;”>When I have priorities in place, we can make progress. Maybe not on someone else’s lesson plan schedule, but moving forward in the academics, faith, character, and beauty that comes with a CM education to the best of our family’s abilities. Ie/ just finishing up an unplanned half hour of baby napping in my lap. Oh well, my laundry will still be there waiting 😉 I’m off to get ready for table time with my primaries. I pray you will find a rhythm , *for this season* that blesses you and helps you see achievements in you homeschool and family life.</span>

    Katie Mitchell

    This thread has been great❤

    My kiddos are supposed to be in 9th, 7th, 4th, 2nd, plus I have a 4yo & 2yo twinkies. I want so badly to keep implementing CM but I’m so overwhelmed & know that I’m not enjoying ‘us’ the way I desire to. I don’t think it’s any one curriculum that it getting in the way of that, I think it’s me…I feel like I need a tutor!

    Quick question: how do you combine the first 3 History Guides for one year?

    Anyhoo, I’m going to be thinking on & revisiting this thread for awhile. Thank you!


    Wow, I love this forum! I wrote a post last week (or maybe a week and a half ago), feeling overwhelmed and wanting to give up, and I haven’t even gotten back to that thread to thank those who responded.  I, too, have a larger family.  One I graduated and is off at her first year of college, and four still at home:

    DS 14yo, 9th grade

    DD almost 12yo, 6th grade

    DS 9yo, 4th grade

    DS almost 8, 2nd grade

    This is my 10th year homeschooling, and I just feel stressed and weary!  I, too, am really really struggling with implementing CM in the way I’d like.  It’s not simple enough, and I don’t know where else to streamline.  BUT, I’m trying to make sure that my kids are each getting what they need, and when I look at the CM forms, I am wondering how to implement that…I’ve always always combined for as many subjects as feasible.  This year I chose to keep my 9th grade son “with us” for some subjects.  I have a lot of struggles with his work, and with him staying on track, and with him fulfilling the expectations of which I know he is capable.  He has ADHD and a serious lazy, indifferent streak.  I have to oversee him quite carefully.  And it’s exhausting.  Then I have the other three.  My daughter just wants to get everything done as fast as possible with no regard for actually learning anything or doing her work neatly or thoroughly.  My 4th grade son was just diagnosed with ADHD too and he’s, well, all over the place, literally.  He really really struggles with his reading comprehension if he reads on his own, silently.  So then we have to do a buddy out loud reading or I have him read out loud to me.  Which takes a long time to even get through a short chapter or passage.  (He’s actually a good reader, but his focusing issues really interfere with his ability to narrate or comprehend or process.) This DS needs A LOT of my presence and redirection.  Then finally, my youngest is an emerging reader yet, who still needs me for several subjects and actual instruction.  So, quite honestly, I feel like there’s just not enough of me to go around.  sigh.

    I have been wanting to post nearly exactly what the original poster did.  There are great suggestions here.  Many I have used myself.  I don’t know why things are not “clicking” this year, but it’s wearing me down.  I spend so much time herding children, and correcting, and dealing with hearts/behavior, and checking over what people are doing, and waiting for people to pull it together so I can move us on…that every lesson takes twice as long as it should and our day goes on and on and on, while I get crabbier and crabbier…and my sinful response ruins the atmosphere.  I’m actually thinking of getting the scheduling cards from just to get a good visual on pulling it together better.  My highschooler cannot afford to slack or not get things done. This stress trickles down…sigh.

    All this to say.  I’m in the same boat.



    Something I keep reminding myself of when planning the *ideal* CM education is a broad generalization that most of the parents homeschooling when Charlotte penned her methods and schedules and curricula had house help (and no distractions of forums and facebook). Do you agree? It’s been a while since I’ve read that but what I’m getting at is this: in 2016, most of us don’t have full time house help and nannies.  Our homes and therefore homeschools will not be and should not match up with what Miss Mason devised so long ago. While CM is an educationally romantic method, and certainly worth emulating to an extent, we must give ourselves a break in our expectations of today.

    Sonya wrote an inspiring blog post this week. I surmise those of us who can’t figure out how to do it all are probably trying to do too much. I think I’ll pull out the More is Less audio and dump out my backpack. It’s gotten very heavy lately.


    Have you looked at Memoria Press?  No way is it CM, but it is CM friendly, especially at the young ages, and I love that I can ditch parts of the literature guides and have my child narrate.  It still supports me as a framework.  I only mention it because of the large numbers of mothers on the MP forum with large families who say they finally found peace through that curriculum.  I know Latin isn’t emphasized in my circle of CM friends, but if you look at the CM list of attainments by age 12, there had to be some heavy Latin going on, right? And if not MP, then maybe these products by SCM?  I am loving having a curriculum laid out for me; it is my first time!


    Great post Amy! 🙂 We would all do well to listen to Sonya’s Less Is More talk at least once a year.


    I use memoria press Latin — first time this year.  It’s good.  I just wish Latina Christiana I was more self-directed.  I still have to actually teach lessons to my two kids in that level, where as Prima Latina (the level my 2nd grader is in) seems pretty straight forward, with all the needed info in the workbook. And my oldest, who is in First Form Latin, has the simple student text…it’s very self teaching.  Why is Latina Christiana not that way.  Harrumph.  Anyway, the program is good.


    I think I need to listen to Less is More.  I just keep looking at our schedule, our list of what we’re doing this year, and I just cannot seem to figure out how to do less?  The only expendable thing that I see in my kids’ list is Easy Peasy Reading.  The EP reading course is quite challenging, CM friendly, no busywork.  But I do have my kids doing some other language arts type things, and plus reading some lit for History, so EP is probably not necessary, but I really like what it’s teaching and exposing my kids to. And it’s quite short.  So.

    If I listed what each kid was doing, and what resources I’m using, would someone be willing to take a look and see where I could trim the fat?


    MamaWebb – yes, always willing! And I hear you! Sometimes I have to remind myself that I can let one thing stand for several subjects. The writing in history counts as writing for language arts too. The reading of great books in history or science counts as our literature to a large degree, so we may choose to only do 1-3 literature titles outside of history in a year.


    @Tristan, thanks!  This is what we are doing this year.


    Bible (we just read a chapter that correlates to our History) 10-20 mins, daily

    Fine Arts: Study the Masters Bach from SCM 20-30 mins. We just finished reading his story + listening to a track or two.  Now we’re just listening to a few tracks a day while kids paint or sketch. 3-4x a week

    Memory work:  I just choose a quote, poem, or Scripture to recite together until we all know it. 5 mins, 3-4 x a week

    Habits: LDTR, 5-10 minutes, 2x per week

    Read Aloud: something for History, usually 1-2 chapters per day depending on length, 30 mins, 4x week

    History: BiblioPlan Ancients Year 1.We read from their spine, The Companion, 3 times per week.   We narrate this sometimes, not enough.  We might look at SCM’s The Stuff They Left Behind, or some other books with cool pictures or info.  30-40 mins.  Once a week, I also use BP’s Discussion Guide for some discussion questions, about 10-20 mins.

    2nd grader:

    MUS Beta 1 lesson per week, broken up across the days.  We aim for 10-20 mins tops

    Prima Latina from MP, about 10-15 mins. We usually just review and do one small little section of the exercises.

    CopyWork Reader from SCM, just one line a day, 4 days a week.

    Reading Lessons Thru Literature by Kathy Jo DeVore, 4 days per week.  10 minutes on reviewing phonograms, 10 minutes on doing about 5 spelling words via a phonogram approach.

    Reading Aloud to Mom from Christina Liberty Nature Reader or RLTL for 5-10 mins, 3-4 x a week.

    Cursive: New American Cursive, from MP. 1/2 – 1 page depending on what it is, 10 mins 4x a week

    Geography 1 time a week, he colors a map or labels a river etc, that goes with our History

    Sometimes I read him a book or we read together something that goes with our history, on his level. 10-20 minutes

    Science (with his two siblings): Science in the Beginning 20-30 minutes, 2 x a week

    4th GRADER:

    MUS Delta, 1 lesson per week, broken up over the week, usually 20ish minutes a day

    RLTL for phonogram/spelling review 10 minutes each, 3-4 x a week

    Cursive: New American Cursive 1 page a day, 3-4 x a week, 10-20 minutes

    Queen’s language Lessons 1 lessons, 4x a week, >10 mins

    Easy Peasy Reading level 2, 3-4 x a week, 15 mins or less

    Latina Christiana 1, 3-4 x a week, about 20-30 minutes (depending on his behavior, as we do this with his older sister)

    we reading something together at his level for history, and we narrate.  He really really struggles to read silently to himself and retain anything.  It’s his ADHD. So I have to read with him;he reads aloud or buddy read.

    Science: Science in the Beginning (with his little bro and big sis), 20-30 mins, 2x a week,

    1 history review page a week

    1 map work page a week


    MUS Epsilon, 1 lesson per week

    SW 2 & ULW 2, 1-2 exercises a week, 4x per week, 10 minutes

    Usborne Write Your Own Adventure Stories, 1-2x per week, 20 minutes

    Latina Christiana 1, 4x a week, 20-30 minutes

    Easy Peasy Reading Level 5, 4x per week, 10-20 minutes

    Reading and narration to go with our history, 3-4 x a week, about 20 minutes

    Science: Science in the Beginning (with her brothers), 2x a week, 20-30 minutes

    1x a week, a history review page

    1 map page per week

    1 Commonplace entry

    1 x per week of entering things into a BOC

    9th GRADER: for him, i will put the time it SHOULD take to complete

    MUS Geometry 1 lesson per week, prob 20-40 mins a day, depending on the lesson

    Easy Peasy High school Literature and Composition, 5x a week, 20-30 minutes

    Easy Peasy Foundations course 5 x a week, 10-20 mins

    Apologia Biology 4-5 x a week, 40-60 minutes

    First Form Latin 4-5 x a week, 10-20 minutes

    The Fallacy Detective 2x week, 10-20 minutes

    God and the History of Art, 2 x per week, 10-20 minutes

    Reading to go with History, 30 minutes 4-5x a week (sometimes, he uses a reading guide, such as Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Literature, or Any Novel Study Guide, depending on book.  I only assign 1-2 pieces of lit per unit.  Units range from 5-9 weeks in length.)

    1 history review page per week, with some short essay ?’s and a research essay.  He doesn’t do all of it.  I pick and choose what I want him to do. So he will write one longer thing every week to week and a half, either a narration or a paper for History or Literature.

    1 map activity page a week

    1 BOC entry session a week

    1 commonplace entry a week


    We begin our day together with Bible, memory work, habits, and sometimes fine arts.  Then the kids take a trampoline break.  Then we begin independent work, usually about an hour’s worth or 1.5 hrs.  I usually have to separate the 4th grader bc: ADHD. I work pretty one on one with the littlest (at the dining room table) as his reading is still emerging. My 6th grader works pretty independently, usually at the kitchen table.  My 4th grader is very difficult.So he often need to work on my bed, bc my room is right across the hall from the kitchen, so he’s nearby but can shut the door.  My 9th grader works in the living room, down the hall a bit, fairly separated from the rest of us. Just before lunch, we break again, and try to come together for read aloud and history or science (sci is just for younger 3, this time is when my older son does his art). Then we have lunch, and another trampoline break. Then I do Latin with the 4th and 6th grader, often phonogram review and any reading or listening to narrations left over.  Oldest works all. darn. day, pretty inefficiently I suspect, but he’s also an ADHD kid and simply canNOT do his work around the rest of us. And I have to look over EVERYTHING he does, bc he answers as tersely, sparsely, not thoroughly as possible and “forgets” a lot of things or “doesn’t see” a lot of things on his daily list. So then I have to make him do it after dinner or add it to his list for the next day.

    If we got through our stuff in the actual time it would take, the youngest two would be done around lunchtime, the 6th grader just after lunch, and the oldest by 2 or 3.  But there’s a lot of behavior and redirection and correction and heart stuff going on here.  And if I have to go to the bathroom, or take the dogs out, or any such thing, even though they have a daily written list, no one seems able to carry on doing what they are supposed to, no matter what I have said.  I’m out of ideas for dealing with this. Our day runs from 8 or 9ish til 4 or 5 some days.  Some days are good and we are done by 2 or 3.  Sigh.

    So that’s it, I think.  Any thoughts?


    Ok, I’m not familiar with some of your programs, but here are things that raise questions for me. 2nd grader – Why does he have copywork separate from cursive? And what is the Reading Lessons through Literature? Does he need all of those? I would have them do copywork in cursive, and skip spelling. Or have the copywork be spelling words in cursive. I wait on spelling until they have been reading well for a couple of years to give them time to self correct with a large bank of reliably correct words having been read, then we can tackle the things they haven’t naturally sorted out after that. (And my kids so far have been a variety of natural speller, one who sorted things out after a couple solid years of reading, and one who never sorted spelling out and now in 6th grade is doing direct, formal spelling lessons.4th grader – Similar question – why does he have cursive separate from copywork and spelling/RLTL? And does the RLTL and Queens Language Lessons overlap? If so, drop one!  6th grader – Do SW, ULW, Easy Peasy Reading, and the Usborne Write your own overlap at all? Cut out what you can. What is the Easy Peasy reading? Because with history reading if it is more literature to read I would eliminate it and simply choose 1 good literature book to read from a couple times a week until it is finished, then take a break for a couple weeks, then choose another one. (In other words, on top of all the literature imbedded in history or science I add about 4 literature books to their reading for the whole year that we will also discuss. More than that is extra to me. 9th grader – What is EP Foundations? Is it needed on top of the EP Literature and Composition – or does it overlap something else you are using and could be dropped? Would your 9th grader be better served by doing more of a subject for half a year instead? Does the switching between so many things throw him off? Maybe do science for half the year and then do history for half the year? Or do art one half the year and logic (fallacy detective) the other half? Or anything else that isn’t a foundational skill like math? Also, maybe for a while you need to have him set an alarm to go off every hour on the hour and come show you what he’s done for that hour/report in. Then have him tell you what he’ll tackle for the next hour. Sounds like he may need a bit more accountability so he can’t get away with ‘not seeing’ his assignments. 😉  The other possible things that come to mind for me:- Do they need Latin from so young? Do they need it at all? If they are doing Latin do they need Language/grammar lessons on top of it (ULW, for ex)? – Do they need the history review page? What is it? If they are narrating (in writing, drawing, or orally) their history during the week then is this more than you need? As a possible example, I have my 6th and under kids drawing and writing about twice a week for history in their notebooks. The younger ones (3rd, 2nd, K) draw and do oral narration that I write on their paper, while the 5th and 6th graders do their own writing on the page they drew a picture on. My 10th grader does more discussion questions/written responses or reports, but still some oral narration days too if she’s been doing a lot of writing for other subjects. It sounds like you’re doing a great job, truly. Sometimes it just helps to try and step back and see what is redundant (like copywork and cursive separately). And each family has different priorities so different subjects matter more to them, so do what matters to you! In the end, we try to give them a solid foundation and the ability to know how to learn what they need or want to learn. We can’t cover everything and we can’t do the learning for them. ((HUGS))


    I read most of the replys, though not word for word, so sorry if this idea was mentioned. What has helped me relax most when I fret about trying to “do it all” when it comes to CM is the idea of “looping”, suggested in the book “Teaching from Rest” by Sarah Mackenzie. The link to a blog post about the idea is Basically, you add a “loop” time block into your days, and make a list of all the “extras” you’d like to get to (poetry, composer, handicrafts,artists,…) and when you have a “loop block” scheduled in your day, you do the first thing on the list. Then the next time you have “loop” in your schedule, you cover  the next subject on the list. This way, when “life” gets in the way, there isn’t as much pressure to complete an activity you have scheduled on a certain day, instead you know you’ll get to it soon enough. This idea has been so freeing to me, as well as the concept of a “morning time” basket that a previous person mentioned. I am only homeschooling two, but the stress is so much less than last year when I had things like poetry, nature study, composer scheduled on a certain day of the week. If we missed it I was frustrated. With a loop, I am confident we will hit the things we want to get to. Hope this idea is helpful.

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