Anyone with a large family try something besides SCM/CM?

  • This topic has 16 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 9 years ago by Wendy.
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  • amama5

    Has anyone with a large family felt like SCM/CM methods are too overwhelming at times and tried something more like a boxed curriculum, Queen’s, Apologia, etc?  Or just certain subjects outside SCM?  I am really having a hard time planning school this year because I’m overwhelmed, and we are supposed to start in three weeks!  I realized it’s because I just feel so drained from how many teacher led things there are (science, bible, history, geography, dictation, foreign language, etc).  I’m glad we can do it that way because it’s been almost free with library books, and a few purchased SCM books, but I’m really feeling like I would rather have them all doing independent things, and then grade them, which would cost money for the workbooks/student books, etc.  I do have personal money that I earned that I could use for homeschool this year.

    I don’t like busywork for them at all, and want them to love learning, but I also need to keep myself wanting to homeschool!  I never wanted to be a teacher, and it’s hard for me for sure. 

    I was just wondering if anyone felt the same way, or tried something different in the past and it didn’t go well, or maybe you have found a good combination of other things along with SCM?  Thank you


    I use AO in a much more independent way….  although I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of adding in our 3rd real AO year next year…  (This year we did Year 3, 2, and 0.5)… 


    I’ve done other things (I was a homeschool curriculum reviewer for a few years so we tried quite a few different things). My children have been pretty independent the last two years because of Mason’s medical needs (Many appointments and surgeries since he was born plus I had another baby after him, #8).  I give each child an assignment sheet with daily work listed.  Ex: read ch. 5 in Beauty and the Beast, do copywork for 5 minutes with a timer, read 2 pages in science and do any experiments, do 1 math worksheet unless it is Monday (new lesson day). 

    I think you have to find what is right for you.  It drives me batty to have to grade 25 different pages per day (8 kids doing even 3 pages puts you over that, so with my 5 old enough for ‘school’ if they each did 5 pages I would be at that.  So 1 math, 1 writing, 1 language arts, 1 science, 1 history, 1 health, etc gets you there very quickly).  How old are your school ages?  Do they read independently yet?  That has been a huge blessing to me, as each child reaches the point where they can read on their own.  I’m really not needed as much once they reach 3rd/4th.  If all your children are waiting around dependent on you for every lesson it gets overwhelming.  Find ways to adapt whatever you choose so they can move on without you.


    I find myself thinking that workbooks are the answer to my stress about planning subjects, but part of that is because I liked worksheets as a kid. Several of my kids don’t and it is a fight to get them to do them daily and for many subjects.

    Curriculum decisions are difficult because there are so many options.

    I read recently somewhere that what is most important is how the kids prefer to learn, not what I like best. I try to compromise and teach what is needed most to each child, and use some curriculum. I do prefer to teach Bible and history together.

    I will pray that you figure out what is best for your family soon.


    I really like workbooks too, they are comforting:)  I actually chose CM methods because I didn’t want my kids to be like me, so black and white with my education. 

    I have a 5th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st, K, and the toddler.  Actually the older 4 all read independently, and work independently, so that helps a lot, but if we do science/geog/history/language, etc. together it takes a lot of the morning with them sitting around the table, that is the part that is wearing me out.  I’m thankful they have been independent for a few years in the math/copywork, etc. but if I add more in with transcription and then dictation, that’s just another subject requiring me to be very involved. 

    So Tristan, do you still do all those family subjects then?  I’m assuming you do so you aren’t grading all the papers.  Thanks

    Alicia Hart

    I don’t have time for a long response but i just wanted to say that I have 5 kids 12 and under and we have tried many things.  SCM has worked best for us.  The reason I chose, last year, to go CM all the way is that it seems, to me to be the most efficient form of educating my kids.  There are other reasons we do CM as well but that was a big one.

    We did most of the subjects but did not always get to the enrichment subjects as much as I liked.  But that was okay – we needed to spend extra time this year in behavior training and chores!  Laughing

    Does that help any?

    In Him



    Can your oldest read aloud the science and history read alouds? My dd reads history aloud most of the time because she loves to do it. I have my son read sometimes too. It gives them the reading aloud practice they need, and I am still there to lead a discussion, request narrations, etc.

    I dictate spelling to my group twice a week for grades 4 and up. The youngest drops out after a few sentences. That is the extent of dictation for us, unless one comes up in Queens Language Lessons(my favorite workbook:) ).

    I used Queens last year some and plan to use them on my busiest days this year.


    I have 4 kids – 13, 10, 7, 4. Dd13 takes science online with Landry Academy. We have used the scm modules for years, but my older kids read the family work on their own. I have issues getting family work accomplished so we do it independently.


    Yes, we do family work and then children do individual assignments like:

    • personal scripture study
    • math
    • copywork
    • personal literature book
    • science (this is independent for my oldest doing Apologia, the younger children are a group for science)
    • independent history reading (besides the family read aloud, they have books to read on their own once they reach 4th grade, before that I read to them).

    Does that make sense? 

    In the coming year we will shift things to more group studies and few individual studies.  However, I have a large grade gap between kids.  Next year I’ll have 8th (doing some high school work), 4th, 3rd, 1st, K, preK, preK, and toddler. So the 8th grader is obviously doing some things on her own still that others will be grouped for (science especially).  If it is a family subject we do it together and then they break apart to do further work with that subject on their own level.  So we would have a family history reading together, then oldest may narrate in writing and go on to read more books on her level, 4th and under may do oral narration or draw a picture, do a play, etc, then 4th will read somethings on his own while I read things to the 3rd and under crowd, still on history.  For science for the 4th and under we’ll do the lesson together (God’s Design for Science, short reading, allow for narration, then do the experiment or activity).  Then the 3rd and 4th can take it further if they are interested in the topic.  We’ll do picture study, hymns, etc as a family. 


    I have six children, ages 3-13.  We have always homeschooled and this past year was our first year of SCM.  We have used My Father’s World, Heart of Dakota, and other things.  This was our best year of school ever.  We do family subjects:  Bible, history, scripture memory, and then rotating subjects (like poetry, picture study, hymn study, composer study, character development, etc.)  Then they do their individual subjects:  math, grammar, spelling, reading, and the three older ones are working through an Apologia book together.  My 6 year old does reading, math, writing, and Outdoor Secrets with me.  I really feel less overwhelmed than ever using SCM, and kick myself for avoiding the switch for a couple of years. 🙂


    @amama5:  I have no wisdom to offer, only empathy!  I understand how you feel.  Sometimes it seems so stressful to have to sit on the couch and read history, read the family history read-aloud, read the Bible lesson, go over the memory verses, and whatever other thing is on that day.  And then I have to remember to ask for narrations if they read on their own!  And then I have to some how remember to fit in a composer study or artist study!  It sometimes seems like we’re sitting on the couch for an hour.  And then, later in the day, sitting on my bed for a half hour (it’s how I get my youngest to take a nap – Together Time leads right into a nap for her).

    I have wondered if I should switch to something more independent and workbook-y.  Some of my children would like that.  But then I am reminded that those together times are what’s important.  And those are the times that my children remember and talk about.  So, I’ve determined that it’s my desires that are making me discontent.  I am desiring to do laundry instead of sitting around reading.  I am desiring to cook supper and get it done instead of sitting around reading.  I am desiring to have a clean kitchen.  Not that those things are bad, but I have to prioritize.

    On the days when I have my wits about me (I have thyroid issues – my wits are often at their end or nearly so! *L*) and can remember the BIG goal in my life, and let the pebbles fall into place, we have good days.  It’s often my fault I’m so stressed about school.

    So, my empathy to you! And best wishes for renewed vigor in homeschooling and wisdom!




    Thanks ladies, great wisdom and advice. 

    Bramble, that was a great idea to have the older ones work on the Apologia together (although I’m sure sometimes mine would chat too much:)  Are your kiddos doing their math entirely on their own?  It seems like even though they are independent there is still a lot of time they need me for math too.  Which grammar curriculum do you use? 




    I don’t have a large family, but as missceegee mentioned my kids can do SCM family work independently. How old are your kids? My 5th grader is mostly independent. This is what he does pretty much on his own:

    Math-U-See: I just watch the video of new concept w/him once a week, then he’s pretty much independent. I just grade and do corrections w/him.

    Grammar: He used Jr. Analytical Grammar this year. I just do corrections w/him…he reads and does lessons on his own.

    Science: We use Apologia Elementary. I bought the notebooking journal. He follows the schedule on his own and I just listen to narrations and help w/experiments, as needed.

    History/Geo.: SCM module. We did module 2 this year. It was 4 ch. of Story of the Greeks each week, so I just scheduled  him to read 2 ch. on 2 days per week, plus always had one of the age appropriate books going.He just narrates what he reads. He did the Geography Notebook(Middle East) on his own.

    Bible: Unfortunately we had to drop this from the module because he may go to private school for high school and I’m trying to go through the modules a little more quickly. But he reads a devotional and from the Bible on his own. And we have family devotions w/dad.

    Voc.: Wordly Wise. Workbooky:)

    Literature: Ongoing classics on his own.

    Writing: Writing Tales, pretty much independent. Plus a weekly written narration from history reading.

    Spelling: Spelling Workout  2 days per week(workbooky/independent). Spelling Wisdom(dictation) w/me 2 days per week.

    Spanish: Duolingo (free online and independent)

    Piano and Drum practice


    The only things I do w/him are Scripture Memory, English from the Roots Up, Logic w/sister, a read aloud of literature or character book, and the arts(which I haven’t been as consistent w/as I’d like). And of course, listening to above narrations and helping him when needed. His school day is only 3-4 hours per day. 

    With kids not reading yet, of course it’s more challenging. I have a friend w/8 kids and she follows Managers of Their Homes. She schedules out 15 min. increments all day so that during any given time frame she may be working w/eldest on math, another child is working independently on something, another child is playing or helping a younger child, etc.

    Hope you find a good fit for your family! Blessings, Gina



    My children use Teaching Textbooks for math, so it takes very little of my time.  We were using the DVDs for Junior Analytical Grammar, which also saved time.  They do use Spelling Wisdom but it doesn’t take much time for me to dictate to them.  My second and third children, who will be 11 and 9 this summer, are highly motivated to get done with school and move on to other things.  That attitude helps tremendously with their willingness to move through the Apologia book together.  We started the book with me reading to them, but I needed to take it off my plate and they have done well.  Actually, they seem to be retaining more this way.  We also have the experiment kit so everything is ready to go.  

    I really love our family subjects time together at the table in the morning and the children do, too. 


    I only have 4 young children; however, I have gained lots of wisdom from Kimberly at She has 11 children and manages to educate them using mostly CM ideas. She has many articles on how she does it and she seems to do it well. Just thought you might take a look at her site.

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