Sonya… I love when you hint at works in progress. Narration help as kids are ready for more… squee!Kayla NicholsParticipant
Sonya, what a perfect post. You hit on what I was so curious about in such a succinct way. As I learn more about the Charlotte mason approach I wanted to know why scm implements their program the way they do, even if it is different. Thanks so much for explaining the why!!!! I can’t wait to see the narration help you mentioned!!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.
I can’t express how much I appreciate the heart of SCM. I am one who loves a simple plan that I can add to if needed. I love the fact that SCM tries to apply CM principles to current times. And I love the flexibility.
My phone cut me off…I love many other things about SCM. But right now what I love the best is the secret hint about a narration resource. 😊 I’ve been hoping for one. It’s the last missing piece of my family’s CM puzzle.😊SueParticipant
Oh, sure…..now you come out with this cool stuff….while my youngest is in 11th grade and I’m heading towards the Homeschooling Retirement Village….
Grandkids–I need grandkids! (Actually, that’s my youngest’s plan, to work on her farm while I homeschool her kids. However, her plan also includes 4 years in the U.S. Army followed by 4 years of college for an agricultural degree. I’ve got awhile to wait.)
Thank you for coming here and sharing your heart. It’s one of the many things that keeps me here.
I have found SCM the easiest to add too AND the easiest to take away from. When I first began researching the CM method I was a diehard. You weren’t CM unless you were doing something similar to AO and then AO isn’t CM enough because of the lack of multiple streams, and then…you get my point I hope. 😉 The reality was that I was tied to exactly replicating CM leaving out that CM didn’t have nursing babies keeping her up at night, teething kids, 3 square meals a day to cook for all of the said kids, lived in a completely different time with different state requirements (that we all face), little boys who get horribly ill and just need snuggle time with Momma, etc. I tried SO hard to be a copycat CM. The reality was that I wasn’t looking at the beauty of the method but the nitty gritty details and “laws”. I was being like the Pharisees. I wasn’t seeing the heart and the beauty anymore. I was so focused on the letter of the law to a ‘t’. Oh my how my heart hurt. I was trying SO hard and wanting to do such a GREAT job.
The reality is that we do live in a different time period than CM. We have different activities (some I don’t believe she’d agree with at all). I dropped dance, Swedish drill, etc because my kids are part of a sports co-op 1 day a week for 24-28 weeks a school year. This takes away 3 hrs from our school day on Tuesdays. It’s a valuable time for my kids as they are interacting with other children but also learning the different rules to games, learning sportsmanship, etc. I know the Bard weighed high on CM’s list of things to do but honestly, I was convicted over and over because of his crudeness. His brashness. He may have added much to the English language but I am not comfortable having my children begin reading full plays 3x a year starting in 4th grade. SCM gave me the pat on the back and the “it’s ok Momma. You are allowing the Father (and not CM) to direct your home and education.”
Plutarch ranked high. it still does for many. We are working our way through Weston’s Plutarch for Boys and Girls slowly (with my 6th and 7th grader)…ever so slowly but again, I was convicted that there are so many wonderful examples beyond Plutarch of good character and leadership. Modern leaders, modern missionaries, etc. SCM included this for me. Truth be told, I would have never picked up a book about George Meuller had it not been scheduled. Truth be told again, my older children and I did NOT like him when we first started reading the book. Oh we almost despised him. He seemed arrogant. At the end of the book though? The conviction the three of us walked away with. It hurt our hearts. He challenged us. His faith!!! His unwavering faith! Yes, I can learn from Plutarch but equally I can learn so much from our modern leaders of the faith.
Anyways, I can keep rambling but should end it. lol. My take away now from CM is that I try to focus on the Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. I try to see the philosophy rather than the nitty gritty list of to do. I no longer allow myself to believe I’m not a CM educator if I don’t do this, this, and that. Perhaps CM wouldn’t agree with my take and what we leave out or add to our days but I’m finally okay with that. The One I ultimately answer to is God the Father.
Wonderfully said, Tamara. I have gone through much of the same journey that you described. We spend more time on things we feel are important and give much less emphasis to Plutarch or Shakespeare. Many others of your thoughts completely resonate with me also.
I like your comparison to Pharisees. I keep reminding myself to keep the intent of the law rather than the letter of the law. Nature study is an area where this comes to mind lately. For awhile I believed that if we weren’t doing nature walks or sketches, then we weren’t finding time for nature study. But what is the reason for nature study? To become familiar with and closely observe nature. My family spends hours and hours out of doors. We have had gardens and chickens and other pets. We watch birds and animals closely in our yard and learn their names as well as the names of the plants and trees around us. We hike often and randomly collect things. We watch tons of nature documentaries. We have memberships to zoos and nature museums. We read numerous books about nature. etc. etc. I’m ok with calling all of that nature study…even if we never draw it. 🙂Kayla NicholsParticipant
Tamara, what a beautiful post. Thanks for taking the time to write it. You must have a lot of experience and I have a lot to learn from you.
There are certainly things I do different than CM. Sometimes it feels like my dirty little secret. I start Latin early. I use Classical Academic Press’ Writing and Rhetoric program starting in third grade. I hope I don’t get kicked off the forum for admitting such😜
I’m also realizing from these posts that there are Momma’s who feel like it is easier to add to a program than decide what to cut out. SCM is doing a great job meeting this need.
Alveary apparently takes the philosophy that it is easier to cut things out. Alveary stated on their sample program page, “First, we want them to be a tool for you. Slavish adherence is not required or even expected. If you don’t have time to do everything listed or if you think of something else you would like to do to go along with the reading, then feel free to change things up.”
I suppose a family could create the same homeschool experience using either company. Choosing a curriculum would depend on how much the family prefers to add/subtract from SCM vs. how much they prefer to add/subtract from Alveary and which of these proves easier for that family. I doubt there are many people that find a curriculum that they don’t tweak in some way
Thanks for letting me think out loud. I think I’ve finally settled this in my mind and have a way to help me choose which curriculum would most help take away some of the burden of planning in our homeschool. Thanks for everyone’s input. I’ll be thinking their posts over for quite some time.
No booting aloud for your dirty little secret. lol. I begin Latin (and used CAP Getting Started with…) when the kids were in 3rd grade. 🙂 We are now using Getting Started with Latin (the bigs are 5th and 6th). While CM gave her reasons for WHY to start with a language fairly local to you, I decided that we needed Latin to help my son who has a speech struggle. I have never regretted starting with Latin. It has expanded their vocabulary and understanding of said words SO much! It helped us with grammar etc. Want to know my dirty secret of this school year? I am using Good and Beautiful Language Arts yr 3 for my 6th and 7th graders. We’ve tried many things over the years. I always put whatever it was to the side and went back to CM’s ideas regarding Grammar. This year I decided to give G&B a try. I would NOT recommend it younger than 5th grade (maybe 4th) but it’s not drill and kill either like Abeka or Rod and Staff. It’s the highlight of my kids’ day. Seriously! It mixes art work (study and drawing/painting skills) with grammar, mapwork, geography terms (different types of maps, geographical terms, etc), and some writing instruction (minimal but right now they are working on a personal narrative). Will I continue with it next year? Not a clue but for this season, it is a perfect fit for us. Yep. My dirty secret. 😉 lol. Oh…and my 7th grader is using a science textbook this year and thriving! Like Keri, we are a family that is outdoors a lot. I tried to force nature studies (beyond our chickens, gardens (big veggie garden and mini orchard…urban garden yo!), camping, hiking, etc. the forced studies left us feeling…inadequate….feeling like we were failing yet my kids love nature at any other moment. This year I decided to let my 6th grader continue with a more living approach to science and she is blossoming. My 7th grader requested to use Science in the Beginning and it is truly the 1st time he has ever been completely wrapped up in science…and is retaining it!
Keep plugging away Momma. Study, gather your thoughts, pray, determine what is most important for your home, for your particular season in life. Don’t compare to other CM Mommas. Believe me, I’ve tried it. It’s not worth it.
Side note about adding vs taking away….When we add…it’s a great feeling. Like we are doing SO well, we can handle a little more. When we take away, we tend to feel like we are underachievers and push harder…often robbing us of joy. I use the SCM history modules but only call it my skeleton. I was utilizing TQ for a bit but we just weren’t moving along in history. Almost an entire school year was spent over a 50 yr period in history. lol. SCM is my skeleton. I use it to help me move forward and find that very few books in the guide are absolutely critical. I tend to keep the spines but the individual books can easily be subbed out. I still feel the freedom to stop completely and linger (we are taking 3 yrs to get through guide 5 and 6…we have not stopped at WWII and adding lots of lit from different areas of the world). Any and all curriculum SHOULD work for you, not you for the curriculum. Unfortunately that is harder to do with some than with others.
I wish we had big fat emoji’s and I could heart or hug your post.sherazParticipant
Tamara and Keri – love your posts. Sonya’s always gracious and well written reply was wonderful!
Kayla – sorry for being so abrupt sounding on earlier post and not seeing what you were truly asking. I have mixed feelings about Alveary because of a few personal experiences and I probably came across a bit ornery. I also feel a bit strongly about situations when people try to come on as the CM police and I have had several experiences with a person or two involved in Alveary that really brought that out in me. So when I hear people claiming that there is only one pure or true CM curriculum, I feel a bit growly. 😉
I really appreciate Karen Glass of the AO Advisory who constantly is trying (especially now at this particular time) to remind us that it is the 20 Principles that guide our path, and thus our decisions, as to what we choose as curriculum and the methods are how we use curriculum.
It is very freeing to know that Charlotte Mason herself did not choose to preserve her schedules and booklists because she said that 50 years from now, in order to have a living education, the books and materials will have to change somewhat. Notice she did not say the philosophy or methods, just the books and things we will choose to work with. This means that if you are working with her philosophy and her methods, your school can look much different than mine and still be appropriately labeled a CM school.
I find it much easier to add than take away, and I use SCM materials for my basic outline. I feel less concern or guilt about what I am doing when I add versus cut. If you are concerned about adding books to SCM, look at AO, Yesterdays Classics (aka Mainlesson.com), or Heritage History for additional books to round out the level your kids are on. I use them a lot.sherazParticipant
Also, just for fun – we read Famous Men of the Middle Ages for our Middle Ages study last year, along with a few others. I just finished listening to a Great Courses class on the Middle Ages and was very surprised to realize how much we had covered in that book was covered in the Great Courses. I found myself saying “I remember that story or event” a lot, so don’t under-estimate what a slow reading can do for a person.MissusLeataParticipant
I smiled at the question about which books for which age. I pour over reading lists from My Father’s World, Sonlight, Veritas and SCM. And I think SCM does a better job with age appropriate books than Veritas. I love the idea of my kids being able to do the Veritas books, but it’s not reality in my house!
I’ve only done one SCM guide (Ancient Egypt) and I loved that it was so doable. And they were such great books! The booklists from some of the other classical or CM guides just overwhelm me to look at. There is no way I could get all of that done while schooling 4 children and running a home.
It helps me to realize that probably any of these programs will work fine. But don’t try to do all of them. 🙂 It’s so easy to hear about a new or new to us program and feel like we have to incorporate that, too. But we can’t. We don’t need to do everything. Pick something and do it well. 🙂ClaireParticipant
Over and over we see these issues ….
- What subjects to teach?
- What specific materials to use to teach each subject?
- How often to do a specific subject in a week’s time?
We CM folk seem to get really bogged down in “choices” and seem to often flail and flop around when things are not spelled out succinctly and directly. We yearn for someone else to spell it out. Yet this same abundance of choice and freedom are the essence of a CM education. I put myself in this boat too from time to time but maybe a little less so. I don’t say that to sound like I’m some kind of wonder parent over here and a CM guru. Hardly! I just think that for me, and in my experience with CM thus far, I approached it as a methodology and a philosophy more than a curriculum. That seems to have helped me a great deal as the years go on and we now find ourselves in high school.
I accepted the full list of subjects that were taught or suggested to be taught by CM from two sources – SCM and AO. Together they made up a very rich and full list of subjects to teach k-12. I don’t think it ever occurred to me to try to figure these out myself or create my own list. Nor do I think it ever occurred to me to try to do someone else’s combination of these subjects. I knew enough of the philosophy of CM to know variety was key and I continually focus on providing that variety and try not to look too long at the combinations that others are doing. What works for one family, works for that family. Every season is different and you can always change things around – add, delete, do mini periods of study.
I used the suggestions of everyone everywhere on what materials to use and I also decided for myself what books I liked and wanted to be reading along with my kids. If one didn’t work, we dropped it and got another. We never purchased much but instead used the public library, used book sales and the internet. Sure, sometimes it is frustrating when something doesn’t work but it’s also a challenge we accepted when we took this leap to homeschooling.
More than the search for the perfect CM curriculum, the real issues seem to be: 1) embracing (through knowledge of) the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason and 2) our own confidence. We are boldly stepping in to a non-traditional role for education and we must act with confidence that we are what we believe we are – totally, utterly qualified and the perfect people for the job.
If a family embraces the CM philosophy and by doing so learns the methods for it and practices those methods consistently then that is where the results come to fruition. I’d argue that aside from the universally accepted “stay away from twaddle” there aren’t any choices in materials that will lead to failure in and of themselves. It’s more likely a case of user error – meaning a failure to consistently apply the methods in the CM philosophy. I know that’s been true for me over and over.
Just my two cents … please know I put myself firmly in the same court as anyone who has struggled or struggles in this passion of CM homeschooling. I’m not being a know-it-all but I did want to share observations that seem obvious when you scroll our posts and elsewhere in the CM realm.
I think sometimes it makes me sad to see us struggle with an educational philosophy that is, by its very nature, a wonderful parade of goodness and also a rigorous and relaxed way of life for the whole family and especially the child.
I printed off the Alveary example for the upper grades to see how we compared this year – out of curiosity. I really didn’t find us lacking. I was a little surprised but then I remembered what Sonya taught me years ago …. to recognize lessons where they were happening and to not be afraid to count things twice if I felt I could. What a great guide you are Sonya. Thank you!
Okay … mind cleared; thoughts shared. Check. 🙂
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