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You may be wondering what a Charlotte Mason homeschool day looks like. Well, each family will have a different look and feel. What works for us may not be a great option for others. With that caveat, I’ll share our basic schedule. In addition, I’ll mention some resources we use in our Charlotte Mason homeschool.
Scheduling our Charlotte Mason Mornings
I’m not an early riser these days. There have been seasons of life when I’ve had to be an early riser. While I was in graduate school, I went to a 6:30 am spin class. Then for years, I caught a 6:45 am Metra train to my job in downtown Chicago. Then I had kids and rising early became harder.
These days my goal is to start our school day at 9:00 am and finish our morning work by lunchtime. Some of you may be appalled by our late start. That’s fine! If an early start works for you, do that. After a stint of insomnia last year, I try to listen to my body. Furthermore, if I’m tired, the day will be much more difficult for everyone.
I usually get up between 7:30-8:00, shower, and start getting breakfast for the kids. (Shhh. Don’t tell my mom, but sometimes I skip breakfast if I’m running late.) After we’ve eaten, the kids get dressed, and then we go downstairs to start our school day. If my husband is working from home during the morning, I let our almost 3-year-old daughter play upstairs so she’s not distracting us.
Scheduling Our Homeschool Subjects
As far as resources go, our most significant one is the Alveary. I wrote about our decision to use the Alveary curriculum in an earlier post. This provides a full feast for us every day. We usually schedule 9-10 subjects in the morning. I generally try to complete our Bible, math, reading, and writing lessons before our movement time.
Of course, movement time is a hit. Kids like playtime. But I was a little bit surprised by how much they have enjoyed the playground type games and songs I remember from my childhood. However, it is remarkable how much coordination you need to sing a song, clap your hands, and stay on the beat at the same time. No wonder it’s a subject!
Probably the most challenging aspect of movement time has been learning to jump rope. I think my son thought it would be a breeze. After all, even his old mom could jump rope. Mind you, I was a superstar on the playground as a child. I could rock double dutch, perform jump rope tricks, do Chinese jump rope, dominate four-square, win at tetherball, and do all kinds of tricks on the bars. But jumping rope is hard! It requires a lot of coordination. I don’t remember learning how to do it. But it’s safe to say I’ll be the jump rope queen at our house for a bit longer. 🙂
After our movement time, we regroup and finish the other subjects. These subjects vary since we only schedule some of them 2-3 times per week. This includes history and natural history, Spanish, recitation, music, literature, art, geography, and handicrafts. Fortunately, most of these subjects are ones my daughter finds a bit interesting, so she is content to participate or play around us.
Our Charlotte Mason Afternoon Schedule
After we finish our morning work, we are ready for lunch. I usually let the kids play while I get lunch ready. We keep it pretty simple for lunch. We eat things like Greek yogurt with a little jam mixed in, hot dogs, or corn tortillas with cheese with a side of fresh raw veggies, and fruit. Sometimes I’ll add leftovers to their lunch to keep it interesting.
When lunch is over, we clean up and play. My daughter still naps most days, and I usually read to her and put her down about 2. Two days a week my son is in a community children’s choir that one of the music professors from Covenant College directs at a local elementary school. He has learned all kinds of music and comes home and promptly teaches his sister everything he has learned.
During the afternoon, we have quiet time. This is a 1-2 hour block of time for me to work, write, and prepare for school and time for my son to have quiet reading time and masterly inactivity (Lego, magnetic tiles, wooden trains, etc.). To be honest, this is also my sanity time. Even though I’m an extrovert, I find the relational demands of homeschool draining. This break is a breath of fresh air for me.
After quiet/nap time, we play. When it’s not too hot and humid, we go outside for free play. There are several neighbor kids my son’s age, and he loves to play with them. I usually practice masterly inactivity during this time unless they start fighting or get too close to the street.
Evening Homeschool Schedule
Then dinner time approaches. Meals. Food. Comida (we’re doing Spanish for our foreign language!). I’ll talk more about my approach to meal planning in another post. But in general, planning is a necessity for me because my son has multiple food allergies: wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and bananas. One doesn’t just declare it breakfast for dinner at our house. My “go-to” resource for years for meal planning has been Plan To Eat. I upload and store all my recipes there, plan my meal schedule, and create a shopping list based on the schedule.
In addition, I cook from scratch most of the time. I’ve started letting our son help me with dinner, which he enjoys. It definitely takes more time, but I want him to have some practical kitchen skills.
We are also teaching other practical household skills. I have him help with emptying the silverware from the dishwasher (plates and bowls go in upper cabinets, so he can’t put those away) and wipe the table after meals. In addition, we have him help empty the trash and put it on the curb.
Winding Down Our Homeschool Day
After dinner, we have devotions. Sometimes we do this as a family, but often my husband does them with the kids so I can have a break. That’s a perk of having a theology professor for a husband. 😉
We’re also working on weaving current events into our evening conversation. Often this begins with my husband and me having a conversation about a particular current issue. But let me just say, it can be challenging to do this subject in a meaningful way with a 6 and almost 3-year-old who would rather argue about who finished dinner first. Alas, we persevere.
If there is time before baths, we will play games or read until bedtime. By the time the kids are in bed, we’re tired. But this is our time to read, do our work, and connect with each other. This parenting task certainly isn’t an easy one. There is no nanny, cook, or housekeeper like there was for many in Mason’s day. But I trust that by God’s grace the sacrifices I make by doing the next thing day after day will be forming our children into godly, intelligent, thoughtful persons for his purposes.
Are you using a Charlotte Mason method in your home? What is your daily schedule like? Pop over to the Ambleside Tales Facebook or Instagram page and share what you’re doing, and be sure to join the Ambleside Tales community via email!