Returning to my CM roots

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  • Karen Tryon


    I am kind of new here, at least to posting in the forum.  I have lurked for a long time though.

    I have been homeschooling for 15 years.  I used quite a bit of CM principles with my three older children.  Through different circumstances and a move across country I kind of got lost in my homeschool journey in general.  I switched to Tapestry of Grace which is a classical curriculum so that was driving a lot of it too.  But I have recently picked a book by Karen Glass called “Consider This” and it’s making want to take a complete 180 in my schooling (not curriculum but application).  I’m wise enough now to know that I can’t do that all I once.  LOL!!!!  So I am using my summer to make a few changes to bring back some CM ideas into our school that we will continue when we start school full time in August.

    This book has also given me the opportunity to recognize in my older children that they took in so much when they were younger.  We stopped narration after a while but even with what we did when they were younger seemed to help them all become great writers and communicators.

    But this brings me to my 13yod.  The middle child.  The one that seems lost.   He wonders aimlessly.  I really see him just checking off the list to get school done.  I am constantly finding him reading WAY below his reading level.  It’s not a learning disability.  I have a dyslexic child.  He’s definitely not!!  He was reading by age 4.  We are required to give standardized tests in our state.  He’s testing at High school level on some things.  But that doesn’t mean he’s well educated.  He doesn’t love learning and I feel lost in how to bring him back to a love of learning.  (Although I am doing an awful lot of praying over it right now.)

    So I am looking for some suggestions that might help me get started with him this summer.  Here are my main goals for his summer.

    *work on habits

    *start practicing narration again

    *start up some copy work again

    *help him get started on his own study of sports science (ordered a book today that looks very good to get started)

    *catch up with math and science but dong it with short lessons and more note booking pages than answering comprehension questions (for science, at least) – he is behind because he was telling me they were getting done and in my busyness I failed to follow through with him.

    Is there anything you might add to this.  I would appreciate any ideas or encouragement here.

    In His Grace,




    I think your direction is good, my one thought would be does he have any passion or interest in anything? Maybe add in something that really interests him to help him get motivated 🙂 Side note some kids are just not “love to learn” kids, they want what is required so they can move on to what is next. My good friend was like that. He was in 7th grade when he decided what he wanted to do, and he was set. He was not going to do extra so did what was required to finish highschool (amd did quite well) and chose a great tech school where he could do focused learning with no extras. He is a dedicated hard working, highly motivated person, but school did not “inspire” him, what “inspired” him to learn was to have a goal and work towards that.

    All this said, he sees value in things even if it is not something that highly interests him, he appreciates things that others do and learn as well. He was not a “I love learning” student, he liked getting right to work, it is his personality. 🙂

    As my kids are getting older I am starting to realize that it becomes a bit of a team effort, have you gotten any input from him as well as to the coming changes?



    Hi there,

    I have a 13yo son. He is the 2nd of our 6 children. He has always been more of a wanderer, doing his own thing—would rather longboard than do team sports, although he has played football. I agree with helping him to find something he likes. Get the checklisty stuff accomplished but let him find something he likes to get into. Books, too. My son read Alive this year and is currently reading Unbroken. He got into forging about a month ago after watching a forging competition on the history channel. I bought him a $20 anvil and he has been paying for the rest, a little at a time. He has made 8 knives! I also took him shark fishing while we were on vacation, just the two of us, for fun. I see him light up when he is allowed to do manly things. Just my two cents based on my recent experience.


    Do you read aloud much?  Maybe have him help pick out a bedtime read aloud for just you two to share together once or twice a week, a little above his reading level.  If there is a movie of the book, the two of you could have a special mommy and me movie night when you finish the book.  Don’t worry about narration at bedtime, just enjoy the time together and discuss it naturally.  (And you could do something similar for your other children, dividing your time equally between them, following each one’s interests.)  Family read alouds are good, too.  Consider going to museums, zoos, history festivals, tours of old buildings, etc. to help spur a love for learning.  Add in hands-on projects too?


    Do you normally take the summer off from academic work or school year ’round?  I was thinking that if he has lost his love for learning (or didn’t really have it to begin with), perhaps he needs to be “de-schooled” as is often recommended when parents have pulled their child out of a brick-and-mortar school to begin homeschooling.  Perhaps he would benefit from a period without specific schoolwork to complete.

    I would keep a bedtime read aloud (nothing too deep) or a read aloud at another convenient family time.  Definitely museums, zoo trips, lots of time outdoors if you live near good parks and/or forests, hands-on projects.  Let this be a time for him to discover interests and hidden talents that can be used to spark activities and reading choices for the scheduled school year.  I would keep working on habit training, though, as it can be hard to stick with that during the busy school year.  Summer can be a good time for this.

    I attended a talk given by Dr. Temple Grandin, who is autistic and has a very inspirational story of how she became who she is today (both in spite of and because of the autism diagnosis).  Her newest book is called “Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor.”  She told the audience that she thinks that too often we have not been giving kids basic tools and materials to design and create things on their own, and that kids learn so much more when they are encouraged to work with their hands.  I wonder if you could gather some tools and scrap materials and let your child have at it this summer to see what he comes up with.

    Just my two cents.

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