How to do “All-the-Things”, the Charlotte Mason Way

Doing all-the-things isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but it’s something we moms try to do anyway. We try to take care of the kids, the laundry, the dishes, the bills. We want to please our families, and stay in good standing with the boss. We want to work hard for our clients, and serve well in all our ministries.

And it’s no different when it comes to homeschooling. Especially if you have a type-A personality like I do. More tasks to complete, more boxes to check. Then you throw in what Charlotte Mason called the Feast of Subjects, and you’re in real trouble.

Miss Mason encouraged educators to spread an abundant and delicate feast in the programmes and each small guest assimilates what he can (Vol 6, p. 183). In regards to curriculum she said:

In devising a syllabus for a normal child, of whatever social class, three points must be considered:––
(a) He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body.
(b) The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite (i.e., curiosity).
(c) Knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language because his attention responds naturally to what is conveyed in literary form.
Vol. 6, p. 154

By presenting our children with a variety of subjects we allow their imaginations to run wild with possibilities.

So how do you manage the overwhelming number of subjects suggested?

How to do “All-the-Things”, the Charlotte Mason Way

Here’s a peek at our middle & high school homeschool schedule.

Step 1 – Create a Plan

Once upon a time, I spent all summer mapping out each subject by grade and day. I was homeschooling six at the time. Imagine that nightmare. Then as the years went on I realized all I needed was a blueprint.

Step 2 – Adjust Your Expectations

That’s when I learned to adjust my expectations. Children are born persons. Each with different traits, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Instead of checking things off, I learned to play.

Step 3 – Have Fun

The more I understood each of their personalities, the more fun we had collectively. The more subjects we try, the more excited they are to learn, and I am to teach.

With all that said, here’s a peek at our week, and how we get all-the-things done in our homeschool.

My summer-long planning has been cut to just one week before each term, and these past few years I’ve done my best to use what we have when teaching the feast of subjects, also known as out morning time, or our together subjects.

What a typical day looks like:

8-9:30AM – Breakfast and Morning Chores
9:30-10AM – Bible
10-11:30AM – Morning Time Subjects 
11:30-12PM – Lunch
12-12:30PM – Read Aloud
12-4PM – Independent Subjects/One-on-One Time
4-5PM – Afternoon Chores/Dinner Prep

Our morning time subject focus varies by day of the week:

Monday - Critical Thinking

Monday subjects include apologetics (30 minutes) currently reading The Case for a Creator. Current events (15 minutes), my girls are loving this by the way. There’s a few stories we’re following almost daily. Logic (30 minutes) Traditional Logic, and philosophy/citizenship (10 minutes) currently reading The Works of Plato.

Tuesday - History & Geography

Tuesday subjects include biography (10 minutes) currently reading Bradbury Speaks. For U.S. geography (10 minutes) – we’re using state fact flashcards and State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols. Lastly, we’re reviewing U.S. Presidents (10 minutes) with these cards from Fandex Family Field Guides

Wednesday - Science & Nature

We’re trying to be more intentional with nature studies this year, so we planned one outing every other week. Here’s a list of what we’re using on the field: field notes notebook (pocket size and lightweight), pocket microscope, Nature of California field guide On non nature study days, our focus shifts to science labs.

Thursday - Literature & Writing

On Thursdays we spend 10 minutes on poetry, this term we’re memorizing  Sonnet 29 and selections of A Little Treasury of Modern Poetry. For recitation and copywork we’re spending time on Psalm 45, and reading Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor Lost (Ambleside Online’s recommendation for term 1) every other week. 

Friday - Fine Arts

We love Fridays for so many reasons, and art is definitely one of those reasons.  Our focus is on artist study, this term we’re switching between black and white photography, and selections of Pictures Every Child Should Know (10 minutes). For composer study, and folksongs & hymns, we’re following Music in Our Homeschool’s A Year of Charlotte Mason Music Lessons (10-20 minutes). And this term’s handicraft is embroidery. We’re just getting started on this so we’re taking an average of an hour per week. We also rotate subjects, so we don’t do everything every week.

Co-Op, Field Trip Days & Independent Subjects

  • On Tuesdays, we meet with 3 other families for Chemistry (11th grade) and American History (middle school & high school). 
  • Every other Wednesday, we meet with 3 families for Nature Study co-op.
  • One Friday a month we head out to local museums to continue learning. 
  • Independent subjects include Latin, math and science (everyone’s on a different level). 
  • Though typically all my girls read the same works of literature, we work on these during one-on-one time, since reading comprehension and composition levels vary.

I’ll share more specific curriculum choices for the individual subjects each of my girls are using next week.

Though it may seem like a lot of stuff to get through, most of these subjects take an average of 10 minutes, and my girls are all in middle school and high school, so I’m ok with increasing their workload.

Plus, we’re not obligated to completing everything everyday, and we have a lot of fun doing what we do.

As you’re trying to get all-the-things done, remember to simply adjust your expectations, and have fun.

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