Topic | First Timer!

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • WendyRickaye

    I am feeling so green and so overwhelmed with the 3948 choices for curriculum out there! I have narrowed it down to the CM method, as I love how it works and it fits with our family style well as far as I can tell. However, I still am not fully sure I know what I should buy! I am starting my 1st grader and my Kindergartener at the same time in the fall. Is there one curriculum that will work for both of them? Which guides should I grab?


    There is a lot out there!

    We haven’t used the full guides for anything but history.  We have used many of the programs and books scheduled in the guides though.  I’d definitely recommend Outdoor Secrets for both of your kids.  We had so much fun with that program!  We’ve also enjoyed Picture Study Portfolios, Singing the Great Hymns, Laying Down the Rails for Children, the scripture memory system, and the scheduled literature books.

    I’m a big fan of slowly adding in all the extras.  Don’t feel you have to do it all right away!  You have years ahead of you.  At that age, I like to focus on learning to read, Bible stories, and basic math skills.  Anything else is a bonus!


    This depends on how much guidance you need.  I started with a Sonlight Guide and halfway through felt behind and overwhelmed.  I began to question the book selections.  I kept what I liked (the living books, Explode the Code and reading program) and sold the rest.  I ended up making my own planner/schedule each week that was a better fit for our family.  I don’t regret starting out with the guide because I needed something to get us started and tell me what to do each day.  But I have outgrown the need for it.  I tried other guides through the years (BF History & SCM History) and tweaked them where I needed to.  Now I put together our own plan.  This thought would have overwhelmed me at first.  But now it is very freeing.

    At their ages, you can use just living books that interest your children.  And add in math and language arts programs (letter of the week, beginning reading, penmanship).  Then add in CM weekly extras like composer, picture study, nature study, hymns, poetry, artwork (painting, chalk art, play dough, drawing, etc), and lots of outdoor time.  Visit various parks and bring along a picnic basket and some picture books.  Allow time for imaginative play.

    If you need help selecting good books to read aloud, go to a trusted book list.  SCM has a good one.

    If you want more guidance, Five in a Row is great to use together as a family for grades k to 4.  They are literature rich unit studies.  You can use CM methods with it.

    Look at samples of the ones you are interested.  Read reviews.  Pray about what is right for your family.  The beauty of homeschooling is that you can change it if you try something and don’t like it or find it to be a bad fit.

    If you are drawn to CM methods, read more about her methods and implement them with the books you want to use.


    I am new to homeschooling. I have a 10 and 12 yr old that have always attended public school until 4 months ago. I’ve been basically winging it since we started. I’m trying to discover what homeschooling method is the best fit for our family. As you all know, researching, planning, organizing, and gathering resources is very time consuming and stressful, and here I am wanting to start all over so we can take more of a CM approach to learning. I feel my kids are going to fall even further behind while I learn how to do all of this and get a plan in place to implement. As much as I love the thought of implementing the CM methods, I have this lingering anxiety that my kids might completely reject a literature, living books based approach. Then what?! I’d have to start all over again, all the while they’re falling further behind while I research, plan, organize, and gather more resources for a different approach!! I feel paralyzed at this point and don’t know where to start or which step to take first in my homeschool overhaul. Also, how do I implement the CM methods with a 12 yr old who doesn’t enjoy read alouds and wants to do all her work independently? How does that work with a reading and narration/discussion approach to learning? How will I know she’s learned the material if she goes off to work on everything alone as opposed to reading it all aloud together? Will that require me to pre-read everything she’s going off to do by herself so I can confirm that she’s learned what she’s studied as she narrates it back to me? I’m really stressing about all of this and hope that someone out there is willing to offer me some guidance. I would be so very grateful! Please forgive me as I’m feeling very overwhelmed.


    Welcome, mmcgee9.  I can give you some links to start.

    Start with short passages: a paragraph or an Aesop fable.  Grow to narrations from a full page, then two pages.  Eventually, they will narrate whole chapters and even whole books.  Then you can begin transitioning from oral narrations to written narrations.  Again, start small with just a few sentences, then a paragraph, then half page, full page, two pages, and more.  But it is a gradual process.  Part of it is building up their confidence.  It is okay to work alongside of them and even write parts of it down for them as they learn and grow.

    CM encourages self learning.  As they grow older, they should be doing more work independently.  You will know a good, detailed orderly narration from one that is not.  You can help by asking open-ended questions, not yes/no questions.

    It is nice to keep at least one family read aloud going at least a few times per week.  It brings all of you together, knowing the characters in the books.  They will come up in living the everyday together.  It is like you are in on the joke by knowing the book referenced to in conversation.

    As far as transitioning all subjects to the CM methods, this can be a gradual transition, with one or two subjects at a time.  Add or change another one or two subjects once you are comfortably implementing the first ones.

    You can do this!


    Thank you for your response and willingness to help. I have sent you an email so we can continue the discussion.

    Karen Smith

    Our blog series Making the Transition to the Charlotte Mason Method may be helpful to you.

    There are many other blog articles and videos in our Learning Library that can help you understand better how to implement a Charlotte Mason education with your children.


    You could pick a textbook math and perhaps grammar that is independent to give her some of what she wants. (Abeka, christian light, bob jonrs, rod and staff…) The consultants at rainbow resource center are a big help, and know a lot about many different curriculum. Then start with perhaps history as a together subject with narrations. You could pick any period to start with and use a SCM guide if you want. Add in nature study 1X a week and perhaps Berean Builders science in the beginning, or a SCM science, or a science study from Memoria press. This is eclectic but it may not be to overwhelming and give each of you what you want. As long as math and some language arts are happening I wouldn’t worry too much about being behind. With a good math foundation she can do hs dcience and public schools dont do that much history :)I was homeschooled and liked to be independent so I understand;)  I am now a mother and like to be together…I understand here too;)

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • The topic ‘First Timer!’ is closed to new replies.

Free basic shipping on USA orders over $75!