How to Plan a Charlotte Mason Homeschool Year
Oh friends, have I learned the hard way that it’s better to shop our shelves for books and then plan our homeschool schedule! When I try to do it in the other order I get so overwhelmed. How do you plan your home school?
Also, how is it possible we’re entering our 5th grade homeschool and 3rd grade homeschool years?! I know it was just yesterday we were going to Mommy and Me activities.
Not that running up and down the stairs collecting books from the basement room, the living room, the shelf next to the front door, the shelves in the boys’ room, and my office – only to cover the dining room table in stacks – doesn’t make its own kind of stress 😉
Of all the homeschooling methods, Charlotte Mason is still my favorite! It’s rich, beautiful, and gentle while still creating a challenging homeschool curriculum. Once I have a general outline of what I want us to cover, I can grab resources, lay them out by student and subjects, and then put it all neatly into my Charlotte Mason Mother’s Homeschool Designer.
Which, by the way, I had printed by Family Nest Printing this year. I may never print my own again! They also printed The Homeschool Garden sessions pictured.
Charlotte Mason Morning Time
Let’s begin at the beginning because that’s a very good place to start. We use The Homeschool Garden morning time as the foundation of our day and as a resource from which to pull many of our reading selections.
The sessions we will be using this year are The Great War, The Great Depression, The Hobbit, World War II, The Iron Curtain, and France – together they total 32 weeks. That leaves us with 4 weeks remaining that we will be using to study two Shakespeare pieces in performance (movies and dramatic audios) and two operas.
You can see all the different subjects covered by The Homeschool Garden and how it breaks down daily by clicking here or on the image below. It really helps cut down on the amount of time we spend “schooling” because we are able to do so much together including: hymns, folksongs, poetry, copywork/grammar, art and composer study, etc.
Homeschool Read Aloud Choices
You can see how our Term 1 is broken down above. The read alouds are in the top left hand box. We are trying a new schedule this year. I’ve always loved planning our year quarterly – but we are going to try a Sabbath schooling schedule of 6 weeks on, 1 week off and see how that goes. If you follow that schedule, I’d love to have you chime in below and let me know how it’s worked for your family!
You can see the full stack above. These are our read alouds we’ll be using for morning time. They aren’t pictured in any particular order but the titles we are definitely using this year are:
- The Pilgrim’s Progress (We also really enjoy this DVD version for family movie night)
- The Hobbit
- The Fallacy Detective
- The Light Princess
- On the Banks of Plum Creek
- The Burgess Flower Book
- The Year of Miss Agnes
- Sarah, Plain and Tall
- The Red Umbrella
- Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry
Because we are working on the habit of gentleness of temper this first term (sibling struggles are real, y’all!) – we will also be adding Teddy’s Button. We are also revisiting Our 24 Family Ways. Here’s how we break down habits in our Charlotte Mason planner.
You can see our definition, Scriptures to reference and memorize, and books and games. If you have any suggestions we should add for this particular habit – please let me know! And thank you in advance.
Our history and civics for the year includes:
- This Country of Ours
- The Children’s Plutarch: Tales of the Greeks
- Stories from the history of Rome
- Capitalism for Kids
- Trial and Triumph (we’re working our way through till the end, but this book has been incredible!)
- Documentaries from Curiosity Stream
And to record what we learn, we are using a Book of Centuries that we purchased from Living Books Press. I much prefer this to a timeline wall.
Morning Basket, Evening Basket
We delight in learning, reading, laughing, talking, and cuddling. Morning time makes all those good things part of the start of our day. And winding down at the end of the day with a good book is a lovely way to close the day with a fond farewell, even if the day has been a bit rough. So now we have a book rotation we use at bedtime. For the start of this year, we are using the following.
The bedtime devotional for the boys is How Great is Our God. The other books we are rotating through are Mistakes that Worked, Number Stories of Long Ago, Some Writer!, Understood Betsy, Churchill: A Pictorial Biography (we found our copy at Thriftbooks), and Blockhead – the Life of Fibonacci.
That little lamb is a warmie. It’s filled with flax seeds and lavender buds and you heat it in the microwave. It’s delightful for kids and adults. It’s currently heating my neck as I write this 😉 But they are great for bedtime if you have kids with ADHD, SPD (they have a bit of weight to them), or anxiety, too.
Now – onto the rest of the curriculum!
Charlotte Mason Homeschool Geography Plans
Our geography lessons, in addition to what we cover in morning time, also include some history, map drills, and occasionally outdoor trekking. This year we are using:
- The Hungry Planet
- Letters from Afar
- The Complete Book of Marvels (We’re still working through The Occident)
- Marco Polo by Komroff
- Adventures and Discoveries of Marco Polo – Landmark series
5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum
This is such a fun year for us! Mr. T has made remarkable progress in reading. Dyslexia and ADHD give him a challenge to meet, but he does so with joy. He loves to read and even though he usually has to read a book twice or listen to the audio in addition to reading because of the processing challenges dyslexia causes, he’s always filling his mind with wonderful things!
He was genuinely excited to see this big stack for his 5th grade homeschool year!
You can see on his planning sheet below that we have 5 audios at the bottom. 3 of them are his Shakespeare plays for this year. (I can’t believe he’s hit the age where we are reading the real plays! Ack! Where did my baby go?) He’s also taken a profound interest in one of my favorite series from childhood – Redwall. It’s a magnificent fantasy series that has adventure, heroism, cunning villains, and all the things that make a series generally irresistible. So I included one of them in his stack on audio as a little treat.
Mr. T’s full list for his 5th grade homeschool year includes:
- King Arthur – retellings by Mary Mac Leod
- The Devil’s Arithmetic
- Treasure Island – Illustrated Junior Library edition
- Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
- When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
- Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Teddy Roosevelt
- Castaways of the Flying Dutchman
- The Little Lame Prince
- Charlotte’s Web
- Otto of the Silver Hand
- The Story of Winston Churchill by Malkus
- The Battle of the Buldge (We Were There series)
- Little Faith
- Breaking Stalin’s Nose
- God’s Smuggler (young readers edition)
- High Road to Glory (this is a vintage book and hard to find)
- Broken Strings
- The Father Brown Reader
- The Hobbit
- Anne of Green Gables (Audio read by Rachel McAdams)
- Mattimeo (audio)
- Hamlet (audio and Folger edition)
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (audio and Folger edition)
- Henry V (audio and Folger edition)
The next page in my planner is a reading record where I can record the title, author, the rating Mr. T gives the book, and the rating I give Mr. T’s narrations. But I forgot to take a picture so I’ll have to come back and add one later.
For math, Mr. T is finishing up My Business Math – Pet Store version from Simply Charlotte Mason. He has asked to go back to Teaching Textbooks when he’s finished so that’s what we are going to do.
Because of his spelling challenges with dyslexia, Mr. T is using the Phonetic Zoo program from IEW this year. So far it seems to be a great fit!
3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum
Mr. F is a good reader, he’s just a slow reader. We have found that he does better with the view-finder bookmarks so we’re making sure we have those on hand. Otherwise he loses his place on the page.
That is an area of improvement we are going to be addressing this year. Along with picking on his brother 😉 I have a special page for each boy that includes a place to record their strengths, challenges, Scriptures to pray for them, and a note about their personality.
Having these records is a good way for me to measure progress and to determine if we need to try something different when there isn’t sufficient progress. It is also sweet to look back on previous years. These sorts of records are a great way for non-scrapbooking mamas like me to still have these precious memories for posterity.
Mr. F wasn’t as thrilled as Mr. T with his reading stack. He’s a math guy at heart. And a bug guy. And a tree climbing guy. Yes, he’s very active and outdoorsy. He enjoys reading, but only when he wants to. Do you have any kiddos like that?
He was more excited when he dug through his pile to find Swallows and Amazons. Because it’s children on a big adventure outside and he loves the audio story. His reading list for his 3rd grade homeschool year includes:
- The Cricket in Times Square
- The Borrowers
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
- Theodore Roosevelt – by Genevieve Foster
- Shakespeare Tales – Lamb version
- Men of Iron
- The Hundred Dresses
- At the Back of the North Wind
- The Princess and the Goblin
- The Princess and Curdie
- The Blue Fairy Book
- Bard of Avon
- A Visit to William Blake’s Inn
- The Evergreen Wood (a beautifully illustrated retelling of Pilgrim’s Progress)
Mr. F will be continuing with Teaching Textbooks for his math. He’s already a third of the way through math 4 and we are moving up to more challenging logic games and puzzles. He keeps us on our toes!
For science this year, we’re finishing up the last bit of Swimming Creatures from Apologia before we chose the next Young Explorers set we want to do. We’re also using the Eric Sloan Weather book and will be making a weather phenology wheel as part of our nature studies.
For art, we are using Drawing 101 from The Masterpiece Society, the lessons in The Homeschool Garden, and this Brush Drawing course. These lessons will be done during the afternoon occupation hours along with the handicrafts the boys have chosen for this term.
For our foreign language this year, we are using Pimsleur French, reading The Cat in the Hat in French, and using this delightful bilingual cookbook by Jacques Pepin and his daughter. We are also studying Hebrew with our friend Ana on Saturdays to help us learn even more about Biblical times and the language of the Hebrew people.
I can’t leave out homeschool for mom! After all, Charlotte Mason includes mother culture and it’s very important. Above you can see my homeschool planner sheets for monthly and daily goals. Since we’re beginning “officially” July 27th this year, I only needed one week in July.
I consider a successful homeschool day one in which we get all our Homeschool Garden morning time, Bible time, math, and piano accomplished. So I track the days we get that done. I slip my daily tracking sheet inside my menu (we use menus to hold our morning time papers) and mark it with a china marker so I can just erase it and do it again the next day. This save a lot of paper! The monthly tracking sheet is in my planner after each monthly page spread.
And then I have my booklist.
My list (this is just what I’ve got to read when the boys are reading to themselves) includes:
- Awaking Wonder (it’s preordered and due out in August/2020)
- The Uses of Enchantment
- The Minister’s Restoration
- The Laird’s Inheritance
- The Amazing Dr. Ransom’s Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies
- Caveat Emptor (it’s about an art forger and my husband loved it!)
- The Gathering Storm
- The Lamplighter
- The Pastor’s Wife – a recounting of the lives of the founders of Voices of the Martyrs
And that wraps up our picks for this year! What will your family be using to home educate this year?