How To Make Your Charlotte Mason Schedule Work.
For a long time preparing a workable Charlotte Mason schedule eluded me. I really wanted to keep things simple and those complicated block timetable, schedule cards and teacher planning tools stressed me out. I needed something that was clear in my brain but didn’t require lots of administration.
I liked to keep things simple but to accomplish my goals I had to do some homeschool scheduling. Was a Charlotte Mason schedule any different to a normal homeschool schedule? I found out it was. There were similarities, however to make my Charlotte Mason schedule include the rich feast of education that her method offers, I discovered I needed to plan a little differently to a textbook homeschool schedule.
I hope some of these tips will help you plan your Charlotte Mason homeschool schedule.
Tip 1 – Charlotte Mason Scheduled Time Constraints
Homeschooling requires time. You need to carve out this time or you won’t get it done. If your weekly schedule is completely full before adding homeschool lesson to your day you will need to make changes.
Decide on your needed hours and then inform friends and family you are schooling and are not available. Put your phone on silent, if necessary.
A Charlotte Mason Homeschool schedule should include short lessons, afternoon free time, nature walks and read aloud time.
We had formal structured lessons four days per week in the elementary years. The other day was left for errands, field trips, visiting and special events.
Here’s a suggested guide for hours of homeschooling per week.
At My Homeschool we use a 3 – 4 day Charlotte Mason schedule per week in the elementary years.
Tip 2 – Have Group Work Time In Your Homeschool Schedule
This is sometimes called circle time or morning time.
This varies in family homeschool schedules but can includes:
- Bible study
- Nature study
- Art appreciation or picture study
- Music appreciation
- History and geography
At My Homeschool we have group work built into your homeschool curriculum schedule.
Tip 3 – Have Independent Study Time In Your Homeschool Schedule
In the early days of homeschooling everything was so dependent on me and if I fell off the rails so did everyone one else. My children were addicted to having me help them with their lessons, and if I was not there directly supervising them for all their work then they wouldn’t work. When I finally worked out a Charlotte Mason schedule for getting them to work on their own, I was 100% less frustrated because I could leave them for periods while I did other household tasks.
Now I must admit this gets easier as your children get older but there are still things that you can do in the early school years that encourage them to complete lessons on their own. Even if you need to assist them with part of an activity it is in your interest to let them do what they can without you hovering over them all the time. We use workboxes to help us achieve this.
Tasks that children can work on independently can include:
- Maths (depending on the lesson)
- Copywork or writing practice
- Assigned pages from readers
- Science notebook
- Computer activities
At My Homeschool we separate the group and family work built into your homeschool schedule.
Tip 4 – Decide Subjects On (and Off) Your Charlotte Mason Schedule
One of the hallmarks of a Charlotte Mason education is the rich feast of ideas it can provide. However, there are so many subjects that it can seem overwhelming when you hear someone talk about the: map work, copywork, dictations, narrations, picture study, nature walks, dry brush nature journaling, composer study, Book of Centuries, Shakespeare, Plutarch and the other 55 living books they seem to be reading. However, don’t let that put you off. Many of these activities only happen once a week, some may only be done once a year and a few of the books may take three years to read.
Our My Homeschool schedules make sure they incorporate all the key subjects needed for a rich Charlotte Mason education.
Tip 5 – Don’t Do A Strict Timetable For Your Charlotte Mason Schedule
There was a time when I had colour coded charts that I spent the holidays preparing and goal setting. Everything was slotted into a neat space and time. And it all worked beautifully on paper. The problem was within the first week it wasn’t working and I felt behind. So my response was to give up on the timetable altogether.
I got wiser as the years went on and I began to schedule not timetable. The difference was we had goals for the day of week.
In the elementary years I write up a general term schedule.
It needs to allow for:
- flexibility with reading. Some days the readings will vary in length.
- interruptions and special appointments.
- homeschooling when sick,
- personal stamina – the perfect day hardly ever happens.
First we plan our Charlotte Mason weekly schedule. I make a general plan for the term which I use as a guide. Then I make a weekly checklist of what needs to be accomplished over the week. This gives me the flexibility to go with the flow of the day.
Here’s an example of our high school Monday schedule – warning it’s a true record which includes the good and bad.
At My Homeschool we do this all for you and provide the homeschool resources.
Tip 6 – Use Bookmarks To Keep Your Charlotte Mason Schedule On Track
When you have a lot of books on the go it is good to have some sort of plan for how they will fit into your Charlotte Mason schedule. The way I did this was to get the book I was intending to read and set a realistic goal of what needed to be read. For this I used a book mark and I would write on the bookmark what needed to be read. For example I might write read 2 pages per day for a child. Or read a chapter per week. This way they knew what I expected. As they got older I might make the goal more general like finish this book by the end of the term.
Tip 7 – Organize Your Resources In One Easy Place
In the early years I didn’t really have much of a system for storing the resources that I was using. My husband was tidy and he was always putting things away by shoving them in the bookcase. However they were in a different place everytime. We had a lot of books so I wasted a lot of time locating resources.
Finally I got a system that worked for me and my neat husband was happy.
I put all of my children’s independent work together in their own individual baskets or workboxes.
You can also learn more about my Charlotte Mason workboxes here.
Teaching your children to work independently takes time and requires your input but this will help them develop good habits and help you when you cannot be there on the spot for the day due to illness or other commitments. They need to learn to work alone.
At My Homeschool you also have access to our Moodle learning platform which gives you all the resources in your online virtual cupboard. It also has a mobile app so you can access lessons on your mobile phone. How easy is that!
My Homeschool Charlotte Mason Schedules
After nearly 20 years of homeschooling, making homeschool schedules for my own children became easier and easier. I finally had it (mostly) worked out and then they all graduated. Now I’ve used those principles of planning in our Inspire My Homeschool Curriculum.