There are things I really like about a few different CM programs that are out there. The problem I am running into is that it is really hard to place my oldest two kids in any of them now. ( SCM would be the absolute easiest to place them in. They are 15 and 13). We have been doing our own thing, but really just winging it without much of a plan in place. This is fine, but it makes me feel frazzled. I love so many of the books choices from specifically 3 different programs and I have a really hard time choosing books. We have an extensive home library so I hate to stick to just one program that requires certain books because then it seems we never get around to reading ALL of the other books on our shelves. I know we will never read every book, but I like having the freedom to choose. Does anyone else relate to this? We desperately need to step it up in terms of reading biographies of famous and/or influential contributors to the world and our country. That is one goal I have for this coming year. I had thought about doing something like Master Books for history and then requiring the kids to read certain biographies, classics, etc. Does this sound feasible? In my mind it seems like about the easiest plan, but I am not completely sure. I need to decide soon though.
I plan my own CM education most years (did SCM one year and loved it…but I have this book problem, too!) I look at book lists from places like SCM, MFW, Sonlight, and Heart of Dakota and look at the books I have available and books I can find inexpensively. Then I divide the year into 3 12 week terms. So, last year looked like this (we did Rome to the Reformation period): term 1: Rome. Family read alouds included The Living Tabernacle (story of the fall of Jerusalem) and St. Patrick. Assigned reading for older kids were books like City, Martyr of the Catacombs, St. Paul and Mystery of the Roman Ransom. Then, we moved to the middle ages and read books like The Door in the Wall, The Viking Bow, and Lief Ericson. Then we moved to the time of the Reformation and read books like The Beggars Bible, Spy for the Night Riders and Along Came Galileo.
That way, I can use the books I really want to use and we’ve really enjoyed doing it this way.
We have never used Master Books history, but my experience with Master Books has been that I want to love them, but we really haven’t. I like a lot of the books they publish, but the curriculum has just not been loved here. My oldest son used one of their science programs last year. He enjoyed the reading material, but hated the book work part. And he also did their Logic course and was bored almost to tears. I ended up having to read it out loud to him just to keep him kind of engaged. We haven’t liked their math, either. But, some people love it! But we just design our own program and it keeps working.
May I jump in here with a question as well? I can relate some to the OP
MissusLeata, your way of doing history intrigues me and one I have considered but felt lost to know how, and which books. I appreciate you sharing a bit of how you’ve done this. One thing that my children have all needed is some kind of book or books that give the basics of what was happening in a time period and then they were able to better appreciate the added books such as you mentioned. I discovered this when we used MFW for a couple elementary years & they told me that was what they liked because otherwise they didn’t know how these other living books fit into that time period. So, do you have any suggestions for what to use for that type of book, not necessarily a textbook, but something that gives the basics? I usually end up going with a curriculum because I just can’t get it together, very overwhelming. The curriculum usually is a fail. (which i don’t quite understand why as they’ve also needed some kind of plan to follow! I’m quite frustrated) I’m especially looking for American History for my upcoming eleventh grade son. And possibly Middle ages for my eighth grade daughter.
You are looking for a spine. We have used spines before, but I don’t always. We have a timeline up in our schoolroom so they can see where things fit in the whole scheme of things. But, if you want a spine, the SCM guides have good suggestions (we really enjoyed Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors as a spine). The Story of the World series works well, too. MB. Synge’s books from Yesterday’s Classics make a good spine. My oldest will be doing American History next year and my plan for a “spine” is the Light and the Glory series for children (though I have some issues with it, so we’ll see how it goes.)I don’t use a spine for the younger kids. I try to add picture books and crazy, fun books like the “You wouldn’t want to be…” series or fun time travel books for them and they learn so much from them.
okay, so I have had the Light and the Glory series sitting in my cart for the last couple weeks, but it is not the children’s version… I have been hesitant but heard they were good books. They have been revised and expanded.
The reason I decided to use the Light and the Glory is (at least the adult version) shares details that are hard to find in other books. They did some amazing research!
My concerns with it are: the authors are quick to speak for God (I don’t know if that’s in the kid version….I need to read it a bit and see). When I was reading it, I was shocked at how they would just say what God’s plan was in xyz, what God was thinking when Columbus was doing something, etc. If I were doing this as a read aloud, I’d just explain or skip some parts. But, I’m planning on just having my oldest read it and I think he can exercise his discernment on it. I’ve already told him there might be some of that in it but that I wanted him to read it simply for the historical details.
Thanks for that bit of explanation. Which would you recommend a high school student read, the adult version or the children’s version?CrystalParticipant
I felt the same way about the Light and the Glory for children. I have the 3 book series. I wanted to love it but felt it was very sappy sweet toward Christianity. I am a Christian, and I know God is ALWAYS in control and His hand is ALWAYS in history. But this series felt very “Christians are always right, always good, and always doing God’s will.” I did not feel it was accurate and thought it dangerous to imply we can do no wrong as believers. I didn’t feel they painted an accurate picture of history. Just my two cents. We liked SCMs Stories of America or Story of the World as a spine, Genevieve Foster’s stuff is also great, though more World History. Sometimes just a simple Encyclopedia like Kingfisher or Usborne can tie it all together. Read the few pages for the period under study, do a little library or internet research on the events that interest you, read great literature, write about what you read, put it on your timeline. History done.
I would think that the adult version would be good for a high schooler and probably less sappy. But, I would still tell them to put on their discernment.TristanParticipant
You can absolutely plan your own ‘curriculum’ and pull from your shelves and from the book lists and for sale curricula you see. Simply Charlotte Mason has a great blog post that walks you through the process (and they sell a more in depth planning book too, if the blog post isn’t quite enough help). Here is that post: 5 Steps to Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education
The key is to be realistic about yourself and each of your children. While I would love to read and read aloud stacks and stacks of books, and assign my kids hefty stacks of books to read, in reality, we get through fewer read alouds and not all my kids love to read or read as quickly as some of them do.
This means you will have to cut your list down. Be aware of how many pages of reading is in each book option, and how much reading you are assigning.
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