Family-centered learning vs fostering independence

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • HLewis


    I’m trying to sort some things out in my head and thought I’d come here for different and more experienced perspectives. 🙂

    I have 5 kids ages 9, 7, 5 and 2 year old twins. We have been using AO with combining the two eldest and of course with the younger three nearby. We’re currently in year 3 of AO. I am aware that AO isn’t “geared” for combining multiple kids in the same year; even though it has been working well so far I don’t think it will likely work well for much longer. I know a lot can happen with reading abilities in the next several months but I wonder about the maturity levels and then the 5 year old will officially start his lessons before too long. I’m not a fan of my kids being in different history periods and juggling all the reading as I don’t think the older two will be able to efficiently read all of those AO books on their own.

    I’m thinking of switching to SCM or combining AO and SCM. I want to balance fostering independence for the older kids but they’re also young yet. I like us doing a lot of our learning together and fostering family relationships and I like the one room school house feel.

    I’m not sure what I’m asking exactly but some more experienced perspective would be helpful.

    Thank you!


    Tamara Bell

    Here at Simply Charlotte Mason we have found that school subjects can be divided into two groups: Skill-based and topic-based subjects. Topic-based subjects can be taught as a family since there are no prerequisites. For example, history or art study. Skill-based subjects are subjects that need to build concepts up over time as the child progresses in skill, such as math. There are only three skill-based subjects: math, upper-level science, and language arts. Everything else can be taught as a family.

    With that said, there is a lot of independence built into the lessons as the children get older.  In the history guides there are family readings scheduled along with grade level books that go into further depth of the time period that is appropriate to the grade level.  These grade levels are broken down into grades 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12.  We encourage families to allow children to begin taking over those grade level readings around 4th grade.  In 7th grade, additional Bible studies are scheduled to be completed by the older students…not the entire family.

    The family will also enjoy the “feast” together through the Enrichment guides with the possible exception of literature.  Older students may be assigned the upper level literature.

    Independence is found through the use of the schedule mentioned above alongside their “individual studies” (math, science, and language arts).  This includes a personal Book of Centuries, a Book of Mottoes, dictation and grammar, written narrations (increasing in weekly amount and variety over the years), personal development, Latin, an additional foreign language in high school, math, science, and more.

    My family is finding a wonderful balance of learning, discussing, and growing together all the while yearly growing in more independence.


    Thank you for your reply. I like a lot of what I see of SCM and may try to incorporate a mix of SCM and AO along with other resources as well. There is a certain freedom in having the confidence to use a mix of resources to make it all work better for our families.

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • The topic ‘Family-centered learning vs fostering independence’ is closed to new replies.