In this episode of the Thinking Love podcast, Amy and Leah talk about the principles behind Charlotte Mason scheduling, so you can find a schedule that works for your family.
“This idea of definite work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only as training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not 'as good as another'; that there is no right time left for what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child's attention to his work.” Home Education, page 142
(1:25) Tell us a little about Ambleside Online's schedule that you're using, Amy.
(2:04) There limited value in having a schedule that's too cookie cutter.
(2:25) The things that usually come up are short lessons. Ambleside Online gives guidelines for short lessons. I have a video up about how I scheduled year one so we'll link to that in the show notes.
(3:15) Sometimes too much freedom of choice is hard!
(3:35) Let's talk about short lessons first.
Again, the lessons are short, seldom more than twenty minutes in length for children under eight; and this, for two or three reasons. The sense that there is not much time for his sums or his reading, keeps the child's wits on the alert and helps to fix his attention; he has time to learn just so much of any one subject as it is good for him to take in at once…” Home Education, page 142
(5:22) Attention is a habit, so if we let our lessons go too long that they struggle to pay attention, we help get them in the habit of not paying attention. It's far better to start before this habit of inattention creeps in.
(6:15) There's something really neat about leaving our children wanting to hear more from a book! That is a tool, and sometimes I waste it.
(8:40) We don't want to go so fast through our curriculum.
(9:15) We set a timer for accountability so we stick to our allotted time. It also helps if you have young kids around.
(10:53) There's another principle of scheduling: varying the lesson type.
(12:45) What do varied lessons look like in your house, Amy?
(14:27) There is so much reading that it's kind of difficult to get those lessons varied. We learned this year not to leave those riches out until the end of the day.
(17:25) I think we can look at this as an opportunity for growth. If I don't get it all done now, it's going to come.
(18:13) It's good to have a balanced attitude- not just giving up if things are tough, but trying to do your best with lessons.
(20:20) We want our kids to want to do the right thing for the right reasons. "Something in the shape of a reward...." We have to think about how we go about doing that.
(24:20) I made my own schedule and timed it all out using math. I took the books that we wanted to read and I divided the number of pages by three. Three pages is about what we can read in a short time frame. That left me with how many days I needed for each book.
(26:20) Math is done daily, along with Bible lessons, copywork, and poetry (for us.) Literature and history we get to about 2-4 times a week.
(27:00) If you're not following someone's exact schedule, you really should just pick what works best for you. It doesn't make you a non-Charlotte Mason homeschooler if you do literature 4 times a week and not 3 times a week.
“The details of family living will give him the repose of an ordered life; but, for the rest, he should have more free-growing time than is possible in the most charming school. The fact that lessons look like play is no recommendation: they just want the freedom of play and the sense of his own ordering that belongs to play. Most of us have little enough opportunity for the ordering of our own lives, so it is well to make much of the years that can be given to children to gain this joyous experience.” Home Education, pg 194
(29:46) This is one of the main reasons we're home educating. I want my children to have the opportunity to order their days and to play!
(32:30) It's really easy to schedule up the rest of our days, because there are so many opportunities for homeschoolers right now. We want to leave you with this though- character formation always comes before the academic part of education. Schedules make a good servant, but a bad master.