Topic | Practical Application of CM methods

This topic contains 13 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Sue 6 years ago.

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  • tonilyn18

    I’ve read through lots on this and other CM websites, but I tend to learn visually.  In lieu of that, I just look for practical, put-it-into-application kind of advice on subjects.  No one I know personally uses a CM approach to learning, and it’s what I’m leaning towards this year (preferably to continue in the future).  My girls are 10 & 12, and are working on various grade levels.  We haven’t had much history or science, and we struggle a bit in math, but in a lot of this, I think we’ve just been bored.  Can anyone tell me where I can find resources that will give me the practical advice I so desperately need right now, in order to make the right decision and learn how to truly put CM methods into practice?  Thanks so much for your help….!


    I would invest in some of Sonya’s seminars.  The All Day seminar is wonderful and I especially like Book and Things.  That one will really give you the practical teaching you need to put the philosophy into practice.

    I agree about the SCM seminars.

    Also have you explored the free curriculum guide yet, it is a real gem of practical help :o)


    I agree. The single most helpful thing has been Sonya’s seminars, all of which are available on DVD. I highly recommend all of them, but would start with The All Day Seminar.


    I agree too.  This is absolutely the right place to find the rubber-meets-the-road stuff.  Wish there’d been resources like these way back when I was starting.  If you are visual I second the videos- Sonya has a real gift in explaining and making it real. 


    Somya’s books and seminars are amazing.  I always get up and feel that I can start NOW and give my kids an incredible education, simply.  I also enjoyed reading the Catherine Levison book that is easy and gives the practical how-to’s to start.  I think Sonya said she used it to help get started herself.

    These are so practical and inspiring to get started with!Laughing


    I agree with all of the above:) Also, if you mentioned it to the other hschool families around you it might spark some interest and you could all watch them together. Our group did this a few years ago and even the families who weren’t ‘doing’ CM found the seminars extremely helpful in the planning process and in the whole ‘big picture’ area. Well worth the investment!


    Ok, I was leaning toward the seminars, it will just be later than I had hoped to get them (finances, ugh.).  Anyway, this solidifies that I do want to get them, though.  As far as the curriculum guide, I have looked at it, and may be just getting overwhelmed, but am I missing something?  I know it gives tremendous advice on what materials to use, but I’m not sure I understand how it helps with practical application.  Not being disrespectful, just checking to see if there is something I’m not grasping….

    I will say that I’m finding lots of helpful info on this site, as well as on Ambleside.  I’m just afraid we’re going to fall further behind if I’m not sure how to do this.


    It does help to “see” CM’s method carried out.  If you lived in my area, I’d say to come to our upcoming CM talks or our CM group meetings.  I do know that Sonya has done some videos that describe some of the curricula they have come out with.  For example, there is a video that shows how CM taught spelling on the Spelling Wisdom page.  A video for teaching reading is on the Delightful Reading page, etc.  I haven’t looked at everything, but there may be others that would demonstrate narration, etc. 


    I understand the finances thing…..

    If you can, I like the fictional story “Pocketful of Pinecones” to get a glimpse into CM methods in a school.  It mostly focuses on Nature Study, but you get a glimpse into a couple of other things.  The seqel “Lessons at Blackberry Inn” lets you peek into some of the other subjects – but spens a fair bit of time on the storyline, which is “extra”.  I also like the book by Karen Andreola – I think it is called “A Charlotte Mason Companion”… she explains how to do lots of topics.    Maybe you can get them through an interlibrary loan or something?

    And yes, Sonya has some video clips that can get you glimpses for various subjects…  you can probably find a bunch here… or on you-tube.  There is a clip showing how to do a picture study, and one on using delightful reading…



    Well, since money is a never-ending issue for all of us, here are some things we implemented quickly and (mostly) free:      free maps for geography and map drills     timelines, figures, maps, games, ect. For history (not free but full of suggestions on how to make inexpensive timelines or book of centuries, etc)    hands on kits for history studies  ($)      free – another awesome artist study   free foreign language lessons     – organized by history period lists of’s public domain audio books and lots of extras  ( is free – I just haven’t spent losts of time there yet)   free ideas for living math stuff like books, etc   free typing class   free multiplication games  free drawing lessons    some free picture and composer studies   ($) organizing your life and homeschool   free artists bio and their works    ($) worth every cent!!  Pages for every subject and style!!  LOVE this.     free lessons on Donner Party/Pioneers in American history   free lessons and activities for Laura’s books  free history, LA, science, and art lessons and DVDs from the National Gallery of Art – they send it to you on loan for  free – you have to pay to return it  They have LOTS of things, including a DVD of Ancient Egyptian and Greek art.  (I just ordered that one)

    Practical put it to use (sorry no visual)  😉

    Once a week, you have a picture study.  This is just a picture by an artist (like Mary Cassatt or Giotto  where you and the kids look at a picture for about 5 minutes.  Then turn it over (or off if on the computer) and tell each other everything you can remember about it.  Look at it again and enjoy it.  Then you have the option of displaying it as wall paper or in a picture frame for one week.  Then the next week do a new picture from the same artist.  Do this for 6 weeks before choosing a new artist.  During that 6 weeks read a short biography about that artist. This should take no longer than about 15 minutes. 

    Like picture study, music study is easy.  Choose a composer and listen to a song or CD by that person for 6 weeks.  Most of us choose someone and listen to the CD during lunch, art, music study etc.  Read a biography of the composer.  Do this once a week.  (Free classical music is available online to listen to).

    Folk songs and hymn study are the same as the others, a new one either once a week or as kids master them.  We do a new hymn each week – I am only going for familiarity.

    Nature study is simple.  Once a week, give your kids a pencil (or colored pencils) and a paper.  Go in the yard or a park and LOOK around.  Feel the tree bark, watch the clouds, study the flowers, watch the bee flitting from place to place.  Have your kids find something that they are interested in and draw it.

    Read books aloud (or listen to an audio book) – have kids tell you what they remember (short passages first) do this everyday.  If it is a literature one, I don’t require narrations, although we usually talk about them.  For other subject narrations, here are some ideas   My girls like to make puppets or paper dolls and act out the stories.

    Geography can be as simple as choosing a contintent, a country or similiar and having the kids look at a labeled map of it for about 5-10 minutes.  Then on a blank map have them write down all that they remember from that map.  Check the work against the labeled map and make corrections.  Put map in folder.  =)  Do once a week until they have it down.  This takes about 20 minutes.  You can choose to watch a video, read a book, cook a treat, make an art project, or something from that country or continent as a fun re-inforcer.

    The SCM history, bible and geography modules are simple, effective and easy to use.  If you want a consistent program, I recommend these.  They don’t overwhelm my family.  =)  This module schedules all your readings for history, geography practice and bible study for each week in a 36 week year.  There are ideas and links that are provided for the modules on the bookstore page for each module.

    I don’t know what you have chosen for science or math, but we only do science 3 times a week, and math is daily.  I am still trying to figure out my math =)

    I don’t know if I have helped or not, but …  Wink


    Sonya has a bunch of videos on youtube as well, which really helps you visualize what she is speaking about.



    Sheraz- awesome post! Thanks for sharing that wealth of info!! Already printed Africa maps for map drill.  Will be checking the other links you posted.


    I, also, have had to put purchasing Sonya’s dvd’s on the back burner due to finances. But when I first researched CM methods, a friend told me to do a search on “Sonya Shafer.” That search led me to one of her video clips on Youtube, and soon I found even more. While not as complete as the entire dvd sessions, each one I viewed gave me a more solid idea of how to go about planning and implementing CM methods….and in turn, led me to this wonderful, most helpful forum of ladies and gents.

    I would suggest searching “Sonya Shafer Youtube” and you’ll come up with several of her video clips. Once on Youtube, you’ll see the rest of them listed for you to view.

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