General Advice + Abbreviations for curriculum are confusing me?


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  • Lilygold

    I’m just starting out with CM (which I figured out was Charlotte Mason) 🙂

    I homeschooled after years in public school but math/science have always been my biggest struggle. I kind of just memorized things to pass grades. I did pretty well in all my other subjects, so my teachers never really thought I had a problem. For me though, at least, memorization doesn’t = learning and understanding.

    Considering I want to go into a scientific field though, I need to have a very good grasp of math and science, including optional, higher level subjects. I’ll be 20 this summer and wanted to fill some gaps.

    I’ve moved a LOT, so even when I started homeschooling, my routine was always disrupted just when I “Settled in”, and we had to move again. Besides that, I dealt with some very serious health issues throughout the last 10 years, so compared to that, school was always second in my mind (even though I LOVE to learn). I still have some of the same issues, but things seem more regulated now.

    I’m basically just wanting to start over with math, so I’m even looking at elementary math.

    I have tried some of the other learning programs out there, workbooks etc. but they were either too boring so that I didn’t learn anything from them, or clearly designed for children. Which of course they would be. I don’t care about using a program that normally teaches kids, but I mean really young children, to the point that while it might have entertained me when I was really young, the little cartoons and explanations are so distracting.


    On the flip side, I’ve tried learning from ‘distraction free’ black and white, plain workbooks, textbooks etc… that didn’t do much for me either. I was bored out of my mind.


    The Charlotte Mason method seems like a really great option for me to try using to ‘re educate’ myself.

    I’d really love some advice, if anyone has any.

    If it helps, I have ADHD. I have some trouble concentrating, so things have to be interesting for me to learn. I’m the kind of person who has to know the “why” and “how” and basically “everything” about a subject to really understand it.

    I also have high functioning autism (Asperger syndrome). Most people who I tell say that I don’t seem like I have it (e.g. socially), which is pretty common in girls with it I guess, but mentally I have a lot of the same problems; a lot of autistics also have other learning disabilities, like ADHD, and I also have dyscalculia and dyslexia. My dyslexia, I’ve pretty well learned to cope with, but I haven’t really ever found a way around dyscalculia.

    The only thing I can think of is to find some really good, unconventional math curriculum and study it and become really good at math anyways.

    Also, I’ve never been diagnosed with it or anything, but I “present” like maybe I have some audio/visual processing disorders, since I usually have to focus really hard on what I’m hearing or read something several times before it sinks in.

    I know that not everyone here is a doctor, but I appreciate any advice I get. Over the years I’ve been told to do XYZ by various doctors, and even though they meant well, most of their advice didn’t help me.

    Usually the best advice/encouragement I got was from other people who had to deal with the same things I did, or parents who had to help their other kids overcome these issues and find the best learning strategies with them.

    I was going through this website trying to see which math and science curriculum would be best suited for me but everyone seems to use abbreviations when referring to them; since I’m completely new to Charlotte Mason I don’t know any of these mean.


    Could someone maybe make a list of what things like ‘CLE’ and ‘AO’ and so on refer to, so that I could look at these?


    Welcome! How amazing you are. Many people your age would have no interest in re-educating themselves. Especially when it sounds like it will take hard work. I am so proud of you and I do t even know you. I cannot really help with advice on the issues you describe, although One particular math curriculum came to mind, it is designed for middle school and is supposed to cover everything from the beginning in a very unconventional way. It is called Principles of Mathematics, maybe it will be helpful. I imagine spending money on 12 years worth of grade level math is unreasonable. Here is a link:

    Here are some abbreviation explanations that I can think of at the moment:

    CLE Christian Light Education, a curriculum company

    AO Ambleside Online, a free CM curriculum guide, mainly booklists

    MUS Math U See, math curriculum

    SCM Simply Charlotte Mason, this site

    I know ohers will chime in with more, I am having brain freeze and cannot think of any others, if there are other specific ones just ask.

    Good Luck to you.






    Thanks so much! That clears up a lot.

    Well, I’ve always wanted to kind of understand everything around me.  I’m sure I was pretty annoying. When I was still really young, way before I started homeschooling and in public school still, my mom always encouraged this (she is more or less the same way). There was no such thing as “because I said so”… even back then I had to GET IT. So, when I don’t understand it’s very frustrating.

    Learning is one of the things I actually find fun. A lot of the “regular things” I’m just not interested in. For the sake of going to college, getting the degree I want, I hope I’m not set back 12 + years, but I hope I’m always learning something new (especially something complex) long after I’ve graduated. So I don’t mind if I have to spend some extra time.

    Actually, because I feel like since I moved so many times/was in and out of the hospital throughout the last 10 years and I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy school, I’d love to get a graduate degree of some sort; just so I could “enjoy school” for several good years. Even though I want to go to college to be a programmer and that doesn’t need a grad degree.

    I was my parents’ only child, so my mom never homeschooled any kids  before me. I definitely wasn’t getting what I needed out of the public school system, but I don’t really think she knew what to expect from homeschooling.  She kind of picked a curriculum that did most of the teaching and grading. I’m kind of a person who needs to be “taught”, though.
    Not necessarily by a teacher in person – I actual like to self teach – but I do need to understand things more than a lot of other people. I don’t think the curriculum she picked did me any favors. I loved the idea of homeschooling, since I’m a self learner anyways, but I always felt like I could be getting more out of it.

    Now I’m old enough, I feel like I have a good grasp of my strengths/weaknesses, what I need to learn, and could judge on my own what program would be a good fit for me; but I don’t really have any experience picking anything out.


    Lial’s Basic College Mathematics, and Bridgeway math books might work.

    For a different approach,  Life of Fred has many books that are outside the box.



    Doug Smith

    Here’s a helpful list we’ve compiled of SCM Forum Abbreviations for reference.


    My son went back to the beginning and started over with math (after graduation) using Learn Math Fast. He didn’t feel it was babyish and it didn’t move too slow. Hope you find what works for you!

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