Topic | Long Range Planning Questions – "Course Development"

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  • missceegee

    I’m using the SCM Bible, History, Geo. modules for our family and they are working out great. I like that we study the same period of history, but at our own level. This is our framework and I plan to use all 6, cycled through 2 times. I did have to drop the GOAL study this year as James was a bit too tough for my 9 & 6 yo kiddos and last year A Traveller in Rome was too much, so we found a substitute. Overall, however, this long range plan is working very well.

    Where I’m having a bit of trouble is with things like literature. We always have a read-aloud or two going and dd9 is always reading something (this year, I picked various books for her to read through). However, I don’t feel like I have a long range plan. I like the predictability of lists like guide here on SCM or at AO or Higher Up Further In, though not necessarily all of the same books. I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile to make out a list of books to read through at each age level for my kids so that I don’t have to think about it each time, but how do I pull out what we’ll read aloud together and what they will read on their own? 

    I have this same issue when I think of things like geography. Yes, we do the geo. in the modules, but I have other great books on maps, landforms, etc. that are esp. good at elementary ages, but I’ve no plan to use them, so they sit unused.

    What about things like grammar, would it be a good idea to say Grade 2 & 3 – Serl’s Primary Lang. Lessons, Grade 4 or 5 – JAG, Grades 8,9, 10 – AG and file this in my Mommy Planning Book as our family’s grammar plan?

    Science – Should I make a list of books for ea grade in elem. to refer to for ea. kid as they come along, so that I don’t have to do it again?

    I’m thinking about subjects that have individual components.

    I’ve overtired and not putting this well, but hopefully it will make sense. Maybe I’m overanalyzing and should just re-plan for ea. kid? I just feel better if I have that list for some reason.



    I have done something similar for each of my children that I call “The Big Picture”. I very much need to see the long range plan, but I am also flexible with it. It’s just a document of chart for what I plan to do for each child (and what I have done). I can send you a copy if you email me.

    My children are 15, 13, 11, 6 and 3. I was so glad I had made a booklist of different science living books from the library with my older children, because now it’s time for my 6 year old to use them and I had forgotten everything! The more I have down on paper the better I feel because then the “brain space” can be used for something else.

    I hadn’t kept a list of the younger children’s readers and literature, though, so I’ve been doing that this summer. This way when I order books from the library via the computer, I don’t have to draw a blank as to what to get.



    Christie – I don’t have any practical wisdom – just a vote of confiedence!

    I don’t think you’re overanalyzing at all. I think it’s a good idea to have a flexible long range plan, as Nanci said. And as you mentioned already, the modules are a long range plan and in Planning Your CM Education a person creates the framework for a long range plan anyway. Seems to me you’re just looking to flesh it out a bit and save yourself some time later on when the younger kids cover material your older ones are doing now. It makes perfect sense have a way to record book titles in each subject area for future reference. I wholeheartly agree with Nanci that anything down on paper saves all that brain power that can be used for something else Smile. Couldn’t you make a long range plan, and just coustomize it for each child as the enter that grade (adding or deleting a book for example) Then you wouldn’t be reinventing the plan for each child completely – would that save more time than planning each child’s year indivdually? (I have no clue as I haven’t done it yet, but it seems it could work)

    I’m just starting out myself so I’ll be following your thread – thank you for posting this question, I had been wondering myself how to keep track of the long term things, I often come across a book for science or history that would work in a few years, but haven’t organized a way to write down the titles. And I know this is off topic, but briefly how is your Mommy Planning Book set up? 


    Thanks Nanci & Morgrace for your replies. Nanci, I pm’d you with my email address as I’d like to see what you do. I’m very visual, so once I see something in the right vein I’ll run with it, but I just don’t have a clear picture yet. 

    Morgrace – My Mommy Planning Book is where I’ve printed out all of the SCM modules (our framework), my Master Booklist for reference, articles about CM style educ., I have a preschoolers category. It’s basically like a little file cabinet in a notebook of the things I ref. most. Currently it’s misplaced in my mountain of a mess school room, but I will be tackling that this weekend!Undecided

    If anyone has an example of how they do this, I’m all eyes and ears!

    ~ Christie


    I should clarify a bit. I have the Planning Your CM Education book/dvd and have used it faithfully for a couple of years. It is terrific in every way! I’m just having a hard time figuring out how to sequence books and determine what is a read aloud with my multiple ages of kids – 9, 6, 3, 9m. If I did them all separately and had a list of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th . . .grade books, it would be easy and maybe that’s what I should do and realize that I’ll read them until they can read on their own, but if I do that, then the oldest will hear the same books over and over.

    For example the SCM Lit Guide lists the following…

    Grade 1 – Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, Trumpet of the Swan, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Winnie the Pooh, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan

    Grade 2 – Pollyanna, Pollyanna Grows Up, Black Beauty, Wind in the Willows, Heidi, Wizard of Oz, 

    Grade 3 – Chronicles of Narnia series

    Grade 4 – Swiss Family Robinson, Rascal, Misty, Stormy, Sea Star, Pinocchio, Just So Stories

    I also created a Master Booklist that lists every AO book, every Higher Up, Further In book, and every book from the Honey for a Child’s Heart book. This is my reference for when I want to add to or step outside of our SCM framework. 

    We have family literature read alouds, the 9yo reads on her own and I read aloud to the 6, 3, 9m olds, too. My 9yo has heard or read all but 2 of the above selections, but the younger 3 have only had a few of them. 

    How do I go about planning this out so that each child gets to hear great books geared for their age, but still doing lots of family read alouds without lots of repetition? 


    • Family RA – Little Britches  by Ralph Moody
    • 6yo RA – Mr. Popper’s Penguins which I read to the 9yo when she was about 6 or so
    • 9yo self reading – King of the Wind, Gentle Ben, SCM Module 4 readings, The Saturdays – some are for school/narration, some for fun

    There are sooo many great books that I know we’ll never read them all, but I feel like if I had a more directed plan, we’d get to enjoy more of them. Does that make sense or just muddy the waters even more?

    Keep the great ideas coming! You all are always so helpful in clearing things up for me!





    I don’t know if this will clear the muddy waters….I have a list of books I want to use as read-alouds for younger kids (mostly picture books) and older kids (up to a 5th grade reading level or so).  I read the younger list to my younger boys (ages 6 and 4), but the older boys listen in most times.  I read the older list to everyone.  When I am through with the older list, I’ll start back through again.  Then again if I have to.  I figure if I make sure I hit the ‘classics’ or ‘must reads’ then my kids can read the rest on their own.  Read-alouds are to help develop a love of good books.  Once you’ve done that they take off!!!!  Sometimes literally…if a boy doesn’t want to be a part of the read-aloud (because he’s read it) he can either read silently in the same room, read to the family from the book, or work on something else quietly in the room.

    I may update, add to, take away books from the list as we read them…I may read to them even when they’re in high school.





    Thanks explaining your Mommy Planning Book, I will round up a binder and start something similar for myself!

    About the family read-alouds/literature list organization, I have a question and observation from looking over the curriculum guide, maybe they will help you find a solution. As I mentioned before, I am just starting out, so I’m really on the outside looking in, but maybe a question from a newbie will help you sort it out for yourself. (I’ve done early years/preschool, planned a light kindergarten year for my oldest which I haven’t started yet, and printed grade 1 from the curriculum guide so I know what to watch for at garage sales. And asked a lot of questions on the forum.) So if I’m completely off base here, please forgive me!

    Here goes with the observation/question: While the SCM curriculum guide literature list is under combined family subjects in 12 modules, the books are grouped by grade level. Depending on the ages of the children involved I can see how it would be easy to duplicate or miss books. For example if my family is in module 3 of history/bible/geo and I choose to do the Narnia books (grade 3/module 3 literature book from the list) for a family read-aloud, I don’t know that my younger child would be ready for it as a first grader, oldest yes, but I doubt the younger would. While I understand the point of a family read-aloud would be to choose something in the middle range for everyone, I’d likely end up repeating a book my oldest had already read. So what are the other things that make a book a good family aloud? Could you either mark these as such on you master book list or make a separate list of family read-alouds? I don’t know which idea would be more practical. From my limited expeiernce reading to my kids, I would find in very difficult to predict exactly which book would be the best for a family read-aloud for a specific year ahead of time (too many unkown factors such as interest, maturity level, life in general, etc.). But, I could choose a book from a list to fit where we are currently easily enough.

    So where I’m going with this thought is, I’d consider breaking your literature lists into TWO basic groups. Family read-alouds and individual literature based on grade level, using the SCM literature list as the backbone for the latter. I’d do the long range planning for whatever books I felt I really wanted to make sure each child had an opprounity to read (without counting on hitting them as family read-alouds) I’d put these on the indivdual grade level literature lists. These books don’t seem to me that they really need to match up with the history modules anyway. The books you read-aloud to the younger children I would not count on the family read-aloud list, as they’re really age specific and you’re only reading aloud because the children either can’t read at all or are just learning too. So the younger kiddos have their literature books read to them that’s all.

    This would allow the freedom to choose a family read-aloud based on current interests, or even the history modules. Even so, I’d still find some way to list the family read-alouds either by just marking them on the master book list or having an additonal list to choose from. (or even writing down which titles we finish each year as family read-alouds, with the grade levels of children listed, that way I’d just keep a running list of what we’ve done together. I haven’t a clue as to which one makes the most sense yet!) I know it’s duplicating book lists, but I can see myself madly flipping through lists or coming up completely blank as to what book to read to everyone. So, I’d personally need some starting point or method to choose, until I got comfortable picking out the family read-alouds. I suppose eventually a person may not need a family read aloud list, and maybe you wouldn’t yourself.

    While I don’t think my idea would eliminate duplicating every book as I may end up reading aloud Black Beauty or Stuart Little when my oldest would have already read it – but it may relieve some concern about skipping books. At least I’d know that we’d be reading the ones I don’t want to miss, like Treasure Island indivdually. Being a book fan myself and having mini bookworms, it doesn’t seem awful to repeat something as a family read-aloud. Heck, I still read the Little House books myself for fun. My extended family finds this hilarious! After I said “bother!” (Winnie the Pooh) as an adult one day out of frustration, my mother pointed out that I’ve been saying for years – since I was a child apparently. I guess my point is, good literature is good literature, some of it really is timeless and does fit all ages. So, repeats can’t be all that bad right? As a side note, if your family is a bunch of avid readers, you may end up getting through more books both indviualy or even together anyway. Wink So in that regard at least, it’s nice there are so many good ones out there! I hope something here either helps you or aids in you finding the solution that best fits your family. And again, if I’ve completely missed something obvious, please disregard!




    Would you be willing to post a link of your Mommy Planning Book? I’ve been wanting to start something like this, especially for organization, and I have no idea where to start. 



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