Math CM way vs Traditional Math


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  • Lily Kiewitz


    I am new to the CM style of learning and this has been the first year we have completed using this method of learning ( 2023-2024 school year).

    Overall, it has been a wonderful switch for us. I have loved that we can learn and not have to use textbooks but can enjoy living books instead!

    I am still pondering through Math though and the amount of time and investment needed from the mother/teacher. I used the SCM Arithmetic with my two older kids this year and it was a very successful math year. My son was not able to successfully complete the traditional math worksheets in previous years and he has grown so much in his skills since using the SCM Math.  I loved the benefits we got from this curriculum, but I found the amount of time I was needed for, to be quite an adjustment and with 3 children in school  ( one is 5 and just was doing K stuff this year) and a toddler it did sometimes feel like too much on me. Next year I would have 3 children doing the SCM Arithmetic which would mean even more time from me just for Math and that’s all individual time that can’t be combined for group learning obviously.

    Can anybody speak to why they think I should continue doing math the CM way? Any thoughts or encouragements to share? I don’t have any friends using the CM method, so hoping for a bit more community in this regard too. 🙂


    I think math is something that really needs to be individually taught to each child no matter what homeschooling philosophy you ascribe to. It is also a subject that builds on itself each year and switching curriculum can leave gaps and holes.

    I don’t actually use SCM math. It wasn’t available when my oldest was little. We use RightStart though (an old SCM recommendation). I teach each child separately for 10-20 minutes. I think it’s important and work it into the day. A schedule really helps if I stick to it. The upper levels are more independent. I would imagine that SCM math’s upper levels have more independent work in them too. I have also used some math with confidence with 1 child K-2 is teacher heavy. Children really need that. I think 3rd can be a bit less so, but not always.

    I have 6 children from almost 1 to almost 13. You can do this with a routine, discipline (mom and kids), and the Lord (most important;) We use some pretty teacher taught stuff and we don’t always get to all of it. I have handed off more history to be independent than I like at times and we don’t always get to all of LA but the children are learning and we do prioritize math.

    If you care we use SCM history and science, RightStart math, All About Spelling and Reading, enrichment from SCM but not the plans.

    Lily Kiewitz

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    I do like routines and schedule and I think I can figure out a way to make Math something we complete first so that it’s done as a priority.

    The SCM Math Level 5 ( the newest one) is where my oldest would be. She did the Level 4 this year. The Geometry book looks like It’s written to the student, but the Arithmetic book is still written to the teacher, with answers right in the text and work to assign to the child, but it doesn’t end up being a lot because of the focus on mental math and oral math which I did find a lot of benefit from.

    On another note, you mentioned All About Reading. I have one child who did Delightful Reading 1 this year, but I am considering using All about Reading Level 1 next year. I have not used this curriculum before. I know I started this post about Math, but can you give any helpful information or opinions on AAR?


    AAR is pure phonics. This is not the way Charlotte Mason taught reading. In my experience many children need pure phonics. AAR is based on the research of Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham. Some children will learn to read no matter what you use. Some struggle. My oldest is dyslexic, so I knew I needed a pure Orton Gillingham based phonics program. I then had it and am continuing to use it with everybody.

    The lessons are not meant to be completed in one session. You work with your child for 15-20 min then pick it up the next day. This fits well into my school day and is CM friendly.

    It is scripted for the teacher and my children have all enjoyed the games (which I laminated and saved) and readers. It teaches all the different sound and letter combinations. It’s ungraded. You go as fast or as slow as the child needs

    They have a placement test on the website. There are different editions so make sure if you buy used it all matches up.

    I can answer more questions;)


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