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CM Without a Curriculum
Tagged: no curriculum
- This topic has 22 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 1 week, 4 days ago by kernat.
For the past two years, I have considered using the CM method in our homeschool for at least my older 2-3 kids of 4. I have purchased nothing for next year because there are always aspects of curriculum I do not like. Or perhaps I want to swap out selections for something else, which I am finding with the SCM curriculum. I’ve looked at all the major CM curriculum providers, but I wondered–has anyone used the CM method without a curriculum guide? Basically, mostly put together your own? I do like when pacing/scheduling is available for individual products. Is that available for certain books, such as history books compiled by SCM, without buying the family guides?RuralmamaParticipant
Back a few years ago many more people on this forum were create your own types. Search through old posts sometime. SCM still supports this. Check out this link also https://simplycharlottemason.com/build-your-own-curriculum/.
I have some more ideas so I’ll post again later;)
Thanks so much! I have seen the form, and I certainly welcome any other thoughts. My rising 6th grader wants to study the middle ages, for example, but I feel he also needs an overview of American history again. So I was thinking we could do units. Then I start to think that the kids should really learn more about Canada, our neighbor to the north, lol. I guess it isn’t very classical of me to skip around like this, but maybe being “unmarried” to a curriculum will make it easier rather than harder for me. I just sometimes worry about piling on too much (since I have four) or doing too little (also since I have four and already feel stretched thin).CrystalNParticipant
It is totally doable to put together your own curriculum with the CM method, though it does take some work. There have been years when our budget was very tight and a math curriculum and used books was all we purchased. Are you just talking for history or for all subjects? For history I did it like this:
Decide how many days you will read a family spine for the year, and how many pages are reasonable for your family. For us: 5 pages a day x about 150 days = 750 pages. Thats a lot for us, we tend to have a lot of “life skills” days, so I would usually call it 500 and look for a spine about 500 pages long. I would search around for something for our selected time period, 500 pages, in public domain. If I cant find anything I would start with my favorite lists and see what I could find used. That would go on the family schedule 4 days a week. I would search the internet for maps of the geographical area to use once per week. We would also add dates to a book of centuries weekly (SCM offers a free one you can print out). I ask for oral narrations daily and one written narration a week in history.
Next I would determine how many pages of history each child can handle, and do the same basic math as above. So if I decide they can read 1000 pages of history in a year I search for books related to the time period, usually a combo of biography and historical fiction. Trying to keep the total pages to about 1000. I try to use the library for these. Or public domain, or used.
You can use the above method with the books recommended by SCM or your own. The great thing about he guide is the pacing of course, but also the teacher notes help with discussion, and the narration notecards are super helpful.
You can easily do artist, composer and poetry using the internet and the library, which I have done. I will admit we enjoy the study more when we are able to get SCM plans for those subjects. They include easy to follow schedules and interesting notes for people like me that don’t really know anything about those subjects.
I dont know if that is helpful, but it can definitely be done without a guide.
Thanks very much! Yes, history is one of those areas because I may want to cover multiple eras. I may go without a curriculum for literature and possibly writing if they are going to be doing written narrations. And I am not sure about grammar/punctuation. I like how the SW/ULW looks but my son did MCT this year and it would put him at an upper junior high level for grammar, but he needs more improvement in spelling.CrystalNParticipant
If I wanted to do three different history “streams” I think I would use the same method as above but break it into terms. Doing a different history each term.
We have used SW/ULW for many years now. I really love it. I think it could work very well for your 6th grader. If he is advanced in grammar it could be a little review/break as he focuses on spelling and well written sentences. My oldest student took a year off to do Analytical Grammar, but I will have her back in SW/ULW next year (her senior year) to reinforce grammar and also to see it applied to “real” writing. Grammar is a finite body of information so it is easy to wiggle around a bit there.
Thank you so much! There are just so many ideas I have, and none fit into a neat little curriculum package. I do need something concrete for certain core areas. That is a fabulous thought about ULW/SW being a grammar break and focus for spelling!RuralmamaParticipant
I did an extra American history stream with my kids (ages 6, 9, 11) this year. We used the SCM plans for Joshua through Malachi and Ancient Egypt mostly as written for their grades and family then about 2X a week I added in an American history reading for each one. The oldest read some landmark books mostly about transportation in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The 9 yr old read the first book of Notgrass our star spangled story to her little brother. Sometimes they did the notebook or and activity or listened to a song, but only if they wanted to. It did not add in too much. I am planning to have all 3 read the 2 book of Notgrass our star spangled story next year with the SCM Rome study.
I really like the planning book and DVD from SCM- great for DIY plans.
Thanks very much! I have found some very neat living books that I’d love to incorporate into next year. I also want to make our time with literature a little more “magical” but of quality.Melanie32Participant
I pulled from different resources to put together my own curriculum plans for most of my homeschooling years. I tried using curriculum guides a few times but never stuck with them long or used them as written. I loved researching different programs and books and incorporating my kids’ interests into our plans.
Briefly, we studied history pretty much chronologically, but if one of my kids wanted to study a certain time period, I was ok with that too. We just read great books from that time period or set in that time period, one after the other and they wrote age appropriate narrations or did them orally.
For literature, they read from classics every day. Science was very interest led until high school and still interest led when it fit in with their post graduation plans.
I can share more if you have any questions. 🙂Karen SmithModerator
I used the CM method without a guide. When I was homeschooling my kids there was not as much curriculum available as there is today. Remember that Charlotte Mason is a philosophy and a methodology for education, not a curriculum. If you have an understanding of the philosophy/methodology you can certainly “go solo” and not use any pre-made curriculum.
As others have mentioned, something like our Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education book may be useful to you. It was published for DIY moms to walk them through scheduling the books and resources that they want to use, not the resources someone else tells them to use in a pre-made curriculum guide.
I thought I responded, but apparently it didn’t post! Thanks very much. I have now peeked at the sample of this resource. I guess I am concerned about the specifics. SW/ULW look like a great combination to teach spelling and grammar. It is all laid out, but I also thought it was more organic for them to do this from the books they are reading. I’d love to be able to do that, but I am just not sure I am qualified, lol.RainneParticipant
If you’re wanting to do units- that is a very valid way of learning and having fun. I wouldn’t marry yourself to any philosophy or curriculum- Charlotte mason included. Pick something to study, in addition to LA and math. You can use premade units like gather round or campfire curriculum. You can create your own. Your children have lots of time to study all these different topics, so don’t feel like they need to do it all in one year.RainneParticipant
Charlotte Mason’s view on math: https://aroundthethicket.com/2020/05/04/charlotte-mason-living-math/#says
Singapore touches on all of these points. You might consider breaking up work (20 minutes at a time). Sitting until it’s done can take so much longer since they may lose their focus. Hope this helps.
Thanks very much! I considered doing units in a CM way. And I thought the same about Singapore Math. 🙂 I haven’t purchased a single thing for next year as I just need to sort everything out in my mind and then put it down on paper. I appreciate your thoughts!
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