Topic | simply charlotte mason, AO, or Higher Up futher in (CMH)–HOW TO CHOOSE??

This topic contains 12 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  swelb21 5 years, 2 months ago.

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  • swelb21

    New to CM, new to homeschooling and am loving researching it all.  How do you like these different set ups/”programs”?  I saw someone switching from AO, wondering if SCM’s module 1 was enough.  Thoughts?  I’m so excited!!


    I have read and studied each plan and all have their merits.  However, I choose SCM because it is laid out simply, has wonderful resources, and is thorough.  I also like that I can combine my children for as many subjects as possible and am not spread so thin as a teacher, mother, and wife.

    What I really like the most is that while thorough, it is NOT overwhelming.  I look at the others and know that we will be snowed under and unhappy in just a few weeks (if not days).  I very much appreciate the fact that I can actually ADD resources that my family will enjoy and have the knowledge that I am enriching their lives while being on top of our regular lessons.  No other plan that I have actually used is flexible enough to keep us on track while exploring topics of interest to us.


    Exactly. I agree completely with the things Sheraz said! 

    I don’t know what ages your kids are or how many you’re schooling and I do think that will make a difference for you. Maybe you could tell us a little about your situation and what you’re looking for?

    I think Christie switched from HUFI, maybe she’ll pop in and tell you some of the reasons she decided to go with SCM. 

    For us, SCM has been exactly what it purports to be: simple and doable, in my real life, even though with seven kids my real life is very busy. 

    And it helps that the message board is one of my favorite places to hang out on the internet. 🙂 The ladies here are so helpful. 🙂

    ~ Jenn


    It might be me that you saw that was “switching” to AO….

    but – let me let you know of some background…

    my family started with a modified AO – had some problems, but did it for over a year… then switched more because of an issue with the response the advisory was giving over a complaint about one book (that we wouldn’t even be using as Canadians.) 

    Then I started planning my own plan for the next year (using Planning your CM education) – but as I had things worked out, an online friend was starting a mentoring company and gave me a deal I couldn’t pass up.  We did that for most of this last year, and it was stressful.  My kids were loving many of the resources, etc – but we were so far behind, and the “help” I was getting from my mentor was just making me feel worse, even though she did say to just keep going and not worry about where we were in the program.  So then I bought the Module 2 here, and we started that.  I love how the plan is laid out… but my kids were not enjoying the spine (Famous Men of Greece – some families really like it, some really don’t…) – and so I looked at my homemade plan that we never tried…. but I realized it was too much…. and that AO would be easier!  (tells you how much I over-booked!)

    Anyway – I love the things i have gotten from SCM – but that Famous Men series weren’t going to work for us.  But bigger still – trying to have my family work together didn’t work well for my family.  I have health issues – and so if I wasn’t well, nothing got done.  I was starting to see rivalries appear in my kids over schoolwork.  My 6yo wanted to do everything as well as my 8yo, and was upset when she couldn’t.  I think for our family, it will be best to keep them seperate.

    And AO has always had a big draw for me… except that one issue, with the one book that my family wouldn’t be using anyways.  I do have to modify it for Canadian History, and some Canadian Literature, etc…. 

    All that said, I do love the SCM products, and use some.  I’ve enjoyed watching the dvd seminar, etc.  I use and love the organizer.  And this forum is perfect – everyone is usually so good to each other, and it is ok to discuss other products.  I think the SCM team figure that that is the best way to know what people really want/need.

    hth some!


    I have used only SCM of the ones you asked about, so no comparisons in that way.

    But I agree with Sheraz in every way. We have 6 children, 5 of them in school, and this just works for our family. It is enough but not too much. And one of my sons, our oldest, who is really into history, can read more while some of our others read just what I assing. I absolutely love that we are all studying the same time period, but that the SCM module gives me book suggestions for every age/ability level. REALLY LOVE THAT! The module is literally open and go IF you have the books ready to go (which could be purchased or borrowed from library and some on-line or on your kindle or similar device).

    And I too concur this forum is absolutely amazing. People are so nice on here and helpful. HTH


    I was initially drawn to AO because it’s CM and pretty rigorous. But it’s a bit much for us to follow fully.  I also really wanted my kids in the same history cycle (as SCM does).  My kids didn’t love This Country of Ours w/AO and were young so I was reading different sections of that same book to both kids…just didn’t enjoy that:) 

    We now combine both programs.  I use SCM for history/geo./bible (along w/Truthquest History guides for the biblical commentary and extra book and movie rec.’s).  I use mostly AO for literature.  I create my own plan for the arts, sort of inbetween the two in volume. For instance, AO does 3 Shakespeare plays per year, SCM does one every other year…we just shoot for one per year (a good pace for us now).  I love SCM’s “Planning Your CM Education.” It helps me to pull my resources together and make sure all my CM bases are covered, and we live by the printable schedules.  Just what we do:)  Oh, and I concur that this forum is a great place to be! Blessings, Gina


    oh wow wow–you are all super helpful and encouraging, thank you!  My kids are 6, 4, and 2–so I would start with Module 1 and try to bring in my 4 year old as much as possible.  We are all excited to learn (I can’t wait to actually LEARN history–so I am looking forward to looking more into the Truthquest stuff as well).  Again, thank you!  And suzukimom–I appreciated the different perspective as well–I am hoping we can all study the same stuff together to a large degree, but I guess I won’t know until we try 🙂 


    We choose SCM modules for:

    * ease of use – easy to follow/implement, achievable, expectations are realistic and take into account the full life of home ed families, allows you to chooses how much you do rather than tells you how much to complete, clearly set out, flexible, not overwhelming.

    * able to use with wide age range – I have a ds10 and dd4 (almost5)

    * Well written (quality content) and researched with online support if needed and an active online community

    * value for money and easily accessible (due to ebooks) for us who are overseas.

    I found AO overwhelming. SCM is definitely enough and you can proceed through the lessons more quickly if you like.

    Warmest wishes, Renelle


    I did use HUFI and enjoyed it, but with 4 kids all 3 years apart, I needed to combine for all of the same reasons listed above. I now use SCM for history/geography/some Bible and a mixture for everything else.




    My dc are 6&4. I love AO year 0 recommendations, and started out on a CM path planning to do AO in full.   AO was the first thing I came across while researching CM curriculum.  I was so glad to find an option to a boxed curriculum plan.   After starting AO year 0, I discovered SCM online.  Throughout this year planning a CM education for the long run, I have slowly replaced AO recommendations with SCM choices.  What I decided is that for our family, I want a “one room schoolhouse feel” during the elementary years teaching our 2 dc together on most subjects.  While AO does do composer, artist, and a couple of other subjects as a family, it doesn’t make sense for us to separate science and history.  AO follows the original CM curriculum more closely than any other CM curriculum that I know of, but our dc aren’t growing up in England during the late 1800’s.   Therefore, for them it should be fine to use CM methods without using all the materials exactly as CM would have done.  I originally was  hesistant to switch more to SCM recommendations vs. AO because of the rigor of the AO program.  However, I have since decided that SCM is more realistic for our family.  Also, while I plan for a study of Shakespeare, Plutarch, mythology, and fairy tales here and there I don’t care to spend time teaching these things to the degree that AO recommends.  My current plan is to use SCM as a spine for our curriculum tweaking it to fit into our family dynamics.  I do plan to add in some AO recommendations as able.   If our dc were further apart in age, were wired for more independant study, or had a struggle with competetion among them, I could see using an AO or HUFI plan more.  


    I love SCM.  We’ve used it from the beginning.  Mine are 8, 6, 4, and 2.  We’ll be starting the third module this year.  I reserached many programs including AO and the reason that I went with and LOVE SCM is because it IS enough!  Yet it is manageable.  I never feel overwhelmed by the guides from SCM, I know I couldn’t say that about AO.  I know that I would feel like a failure if I couldn’t get it all in.  I know that I wouldn’t be able to add things that I find along the way, because I wouldn’t even be able to finish the things I already had set before me.  With SCM, I’m a success.  We get it done, it’s meaty, it’s great even for a 6 and 4 year old and yet, I CAN add to it.  We have time to add things because we’re not rushing to do what’s laid out before us.  We can let a day slide without feeling like we’ll never be able to make up that time.  It’s truly the best, especially with lots of kids and especially with little kids.  ENJOY!


    You ladies are all amazing, thank you thank you!  This is sooooo encouraging!! 

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