where do i begin?

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • chairofbowlies


    I’m new to CM, although I’ve been homeschooling for a few years.  My kids are 7, 4.5, 3 and 6 mos.  I’ve been using an ecclectic approach which parallels some of the CM methods.  But there are so many things I want to add to what we’re doing; however, we are on a limited income. 

    What would be the top 3 CM basics you would recommend implementing for a beginner on a budget?

    Thanks so much!


    There are lots of people here who are better qualified to help so I will let them do the talking in that area. I just wanted to jump in and say that you can do soooo much for little to no cost. Library!!!!!! Especially if you can do interlibrary loans in your state. Love that!!!!!

    And welcome to SCM!!!!    🙂


    Hi Christian! 

    Welcome! I think I can speak for everyone when I say we’re glad you’re here! 

    First of all, you’re in a great spot to begin because your children are so young. According to Charlotte, children don’t need formal lessons until the age of six, although many children show readiness around 5. The Early Years section of this site will be invaluable to you. Here are my top 3 CM basics for any beginner:

    1. Living Books and Reading. Whether they’re beautifully illustrated picture books or classic litereature, the living book is the means by which you are going to feed your child a feast of ideas. It is so vitally important that you’re reading lots to your children, even the baby. Read two or more hours a day. Read after breakfast, during lunch, before naptime, before bedtime. Read, read, read! Let your children see your love of reading. Since you’re on a budget, I recommend you make good friends with your librarian. I find about 1/3-1/2 of my books at our library each year. 
    2. A Good Math Program. We use Math-U-See, and have found it a very good program. It is the most expensive resource we purchase, but it is worth every penny. Our children (5.5 and 7) love it! Whatever you use, make sure that it’s hands-on. Use buttons, beans, blocks, whatever you can to help your children associate a number with a thing. Group two beans together, then add two more and show your child that it equals something. Many people are a bit daunted by math, especially if they found math hard themselves. Starting early with hands-on math makes all the difference.
    3. Excitement. Your excitement and love of learning will spread to your children like wildfire. Likewise, they will pick up annoyances, bad attitudes, or frustrations you have. The great thing is that a love for learning is totally free! Your children will be excited about hearing a new composer or browsing the artwork of a new artist or memorizing a poem if you’re excited as well.  

    And I know you asked for three things, but my last suggestion is a freebie too. 

          4. Habit Training. Learning good habits will be foundational to your success as a homeschool family. For us, memorizing God’s Word and habit training go hand-in-hand. When we were implementing the habit of first-time obedience, Hebrews 13:17 was the go-to verse. If you haven’t seen Laying Down the Rails, I highly recommend this resource. You can download a free sample of the book to see how wonderful it is. Reading the Bible daily and hiding God’s Word in our hearts is the most important thing we do each day. And it’s free as well, as long as you own a Bible. This site has a great Scripture Memory System that you might find helpful.

    I hope that’s not more than you were asking for. You’ll find that we’re all very passionate (and sometimes long-winded, hehehehe) about what we do!




    Hi Christian!

    If you are going to plan out your own CM education, one thing I would buy is the book “Planning your CM Education”.

    There are a lot of great free resources, and I make use of lots of them!  As mentioned, definately make use of your library if you have a good one.  If you can make friends with the librarian, it can be helpful!

    One other expenditure that is worth it if you can swing it is a Kindle or other ebook Reader.  I use so many public domain ebooks, and my kids cuddle around me.  I also use my math lesson plans (for the “teacher” on the Kindle too.)  We have saved the money for sure!

    I use a free math program – MEP math.  It is free except for my cost to print the student practice books.  I find it fits very well with CM principles.  Here is a quick link to a blog post telling about it (with other links.)  http://ohpeacefulday.blogspot.com/2009/06/mep-101.html.

    Another free math program I have used once or twice is Khan Academy.  It is online, and the student is given suggestions of what he/she should be working on.  When they answer 10 right in a row, it is considered mastered and they can move on (or choose not to.)  There are videos to learn the skills.  I know people who use this as their math program.

    I’m not sure if you were planning to use the Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum guide/plan or not – I use a modified version of Ambleside Online becuase so many of their books are in the public domain and can be downloaded (for the computer or the Kindle) for free.  Another site, called An Old Fashioned Education has a lot of links to free resources.

    Of course, Simply Charlotte Mason has provided many free ebooks of great CM subjects (THANKS!), plus good articles in their blog.

    One other thing to look into (do a google search) is Book Samaritan.  They will send books to homeschoolers that need them (for free!)  The rules are you can not sell them, but that when you are finished with them, you either pass them onto another homeschooler for free, or you send them back to Book Samaritan.   Also – plug for them… please anyone that has books they don’t need anymore PLEASE donate them to Book Samaritan.  The more CM resources they have, the easier it is to help us CM’ers…. (or if you changed from something else, bless someone that wants to use that system).

    Hope these tips help1

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • The topic ‘where do i begin?’ is closed to new replies.