Starting Module 1

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  • LindseyD

    Even though I have been using SCM for nearly a year, I am just now discovering the Modules, thanks to the addition of the new Curriculum Guide. Before I ask my questions, I’ll tell you what we’ve done so far:

    • ds6 has completed Math-U-See’s Primer and is set to start on Alpha next week. He has also been reading for about a year, since completing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. He does copywork daily, and has been for about 4 months. He does weekly spelling words, with a “spelling test” every Friday. (I have wanted to starting Spelling Wisdom for a while now, but money has been a bit tight.)
    • dd4.5 is working through Teach Your Child to Read right now and is on Lesson 60. She has also been taking weekly ballet and tap lessons for over a year. I just started her on copywork (2 or 3 letters a day plus her name) two weeks ago.
    • As a family, we have done 12 picture studies (6 by Degas and 6 by Rockwell). We are currently on our second painting by Monet. We have also learned hymns/songs: Amazing Grace, I Love You Lord, Nothing But The Blood of Jesus, Jesus, Holy and Anointed One, and The Old Rugged Cross. We have memorized 5 poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and are working on our sixth right now. For literature, we have read 12 of Aesop’s Fables, Storytime with the Millers, The World of Pooh, many, many short stories from library books, and are currently reading Stuart Little. We have memorized Psalm 100, Psalm 23, Phil. 4:8, and are working on 1 Cor. 13:4-8 right now. We have done a character study of David Livingstone. We have done composer studies of Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy, and are currently doing Gershwin. And we are *haphazardly* working through 106 Days of Creation.

    There, that’s an overview of what we’ve done over the last year.

    My question is this: I would really like to follow the Module schedule. I just don’t want to start over with Module 1, except we have even started history yet. (I’ve been waiting for the updated Genesis thru Deut. to come out.) How would you, in my shoes, get on the Module schedule without getting behind?

    Also, I’m getting through this school year faster than I planned. Ds and dd are so close in age that they really could be in the same grade, but I feel that it’s important to keep them separate so that ds has that “first born” identity, if that even makes sense. I love the organization of the Module schedule and really want to follow it, but I just don’t know where to start, given all that we’ve already accomplished on our own and all we haven’t accomplished on Module 1.

    Any ideas??



    Sonya Shafer

    Looks like you’ve been doing a great job, Lindsey! One side suggestion and one question for you:

    Suggestion: Don’t start Spelling Wisdom until your son is 9 or 10. You don’t need to be doing formal spelling lessons until that age. (So you can take that off your schedule and not feel guilty now. Wink )

    Question: What you refer to Module 1, what exactly are you looking at? Do you mean the first History/Geography/Bible module, or one of the artist modules, or one of the composer modules? We try to break down several school subjects into one-year chunks (called “modules”), but really the only one that works best in a certain order is the history modules. The others can be done in any order. If you can clarify what you mean by Module 1, maybe we can give some ideas for you. Thanks!


    I just took all the information in all the first module of each subject and wanted to use it as a first year curriculum. I wanted to do everything in the curriculum guide for the first year with Ryan. But since I had already done some things and not other things, I didn’t exactly know where to begin. I don’t wan to start over at the beginning but I also like to do things in order. I believe you have already saved me so much work by having suggested reading, books, scriptures, poetry, hymns, etc. But I didn’t start at the beginning because I didn’t know about those suggestions until you put the curriculum guide on the site.

    For example, I read out of the Child’s Story Bible everyday. We are about to read the story of Jonah if that tells you how far along we are. But if I’m going to start Genesis thru Deut. next month, I’ll be re-reading stories that we covered months ago. If I had started at the beginning back in the summer, I wouldn’t even be asking this question.

    I like to know exactly where I’m at, and right now, I seem to be a bit random. I just wish I wouldve known about the module suggestions back in the summer when I was planning for this school year.

    Of course, I know we’ll start Genesis thru Deut. From the very beginning since we haven’t done history or geography yet.

    I hope this makes some sense, Sonya.


    Sonya Shafer

    Yes, it makes sense. I think I would agree that since you’re already up to Jonah, you can go back to Genesis and it won’t be too recently covered. Plus you’ll be adding history and geography. As you go through the history modules, there will be ebb and flow. As you get more comfortable with them, you’ll feel the freedom to skip some lessons or omit some books, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself right where you hoped to be in the cycle. You can still do things in order, just choose which small parts of those things you want to set aside this time through as desired.

    As far as the other modules go, I encourage you to change your thinking from “we’re behind” to “we’re ahead on some things”! Smile You can use the modules as you described, and when you come to an artist or composer whom you have already studied, give yourself a pat on the back that you’re ahead of schedule. Then either substitute a different one (because, after all, they are just suggestions) or take those extra weeks as freedom to spread out your other selections and take your time with them.

    It sounds like you like to have a plan and stick with it. So I encourage you to take the modules and pieces you’re looking at and walk through the planning process to customize them for your situation. It’s not that hard if you go step by step. We’ve described the process in these blog posts about planning. I think you’ll feel much more confident once you have a game plan laid out.

    Does that help any?


    Yes, Sonya, that helps. Thank you for helping me see this from a glass-half-full perspective. I do like to have a plan and stick to it. In fact, when I made our plan for this school year, I was so excited. I love your suggestions and their organization in the modules. That’s why I want to use them just as they are. 

    Thanks for helping me see this as a positive instead of a negative. You’re the best!

    By the way, I am attending the conference in Jacksonville with my sister-in-law. I can’t wait to meet you finally!




    I do have another question along the lines of “following a plan.” When I planned our school year back in the summer, I planned to begin on the day after Labor Day and do school year round with 12-week terms. We were doing great and made it through our first term right on schedule. Our first 6-week break was from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s. When we began our second term, I realized I had made a mistake is taking such a long break. The children had forgotten so much, especially Addie who was very new to learning to read. I realized that we could not follow that schedule with such extended breaks. We’re are now half-way into our second term, and we have only taken a couple of day-long breaks.

    When I think about beginning Module 1 of Gen. thru Deut., the planner in me cringes to think about starting it in the middle of our second term. However, I don’t want to wait until September before beginning it either. With the way we’re working through this school year, we’re going to be finished before September, but then that throws off my scheduling.

    Do you see my predicament? Or am I making something out of nothing?




    I can’t wait to meet you in Jacksonville. The conference is at my church.

    Let me start by saying I understand your frustration & feelings of being behind all too well. I am a recovering “over-planner” Undecided  known to plan and plan for the perfect … only to have no time left for the … Over the past year, the Lord has told me to simplify again and again. When I finally gave my plan up for His plan, things really fell into place.

    Some background…

    • DD9 is 3rd grade, DS6 is K & I have dd2 and ds3 months

    • Pre-K & K for dd was Sonlight w/ some Alpha-Phonics & SWR

    • 1st for dd was 1/2 year AO year 1 (ancients & British History), switched to HIFI year 1 (ancients & US history) w/ SWR

    • 2nd for dd was HIFI year 2 for 1 term (middle ages & US history) & then switched to SCM module 2 (ancient Greece) & SWR, then AAS

    • 3rd for dd & k for ds has been SCM module 3 (ancient Rome) & AAS w/ SW – we’re in term 2 now. Term 1 took us from 7/5/09 – 12/31/09 b/c I had morning sickness & then a new baby.

    • Some years start in July, some in September. We just keep plugging away & whenever we finish a year, we start another. 

    • I make my plan, but hold it in open hands out to the Lord to change as He sees fit. My time is really His & i want to use it that way. I sometimes fall back into over-planning, but it’s becoming less frequent as I heed His still small voice.

    Some thoughts…

    • Whatever your kids get the first go round is more than I got and most ps kids get in high school.

    • Kids are making hooks for future in-depth study & make connections quite well, even when we change things too often.

    • Don’t get hung up on the calendar! Learning happens as life happens. Patience with the baby is more important than any particular history lesson occurring on a specific day.

    • Pick your starting point & just start. You can drive yourself nuts over-thinking & over-planning.

    • It doesn’t matter if you finish a module per year, but if it’s a big deal to you, just skip some of the material to line up your schedule with where you want to be.

    • Try a different year round schedule. You will find what works for you. When planning, I plan for 6 weeks on and 1 week off year-round with 2 weeks off at Christmas & 2 weeks off in Spring. In reality, we school most of the time & take scattered days off each month according to field trips, travel, sickness, etc. I like the flexibility!

    • If you average 15 days per month, you will meet the 180 day mark in 12 months.

    There’s more I’d like to share, but I’m hunting & pecking  while nursing right now. I pray for peace for your heart & mind. 



    Sonya Shafer

    Excellent counsel, Christie.

    Sounds like the three of us are going to have some fun in Jacksonville!

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