Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Day

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Click here to print out a copy of my Weekly Schedule CM

smithMany years ago, due to frequent requests from my regular web-page visitors, I wrote out a general outline and description of our family’s daily homeschooling schedule.

I had our weekly schedule printed out as a chart for each child which I hung on the refrigerator at the beginning of each week (they each had their own printed copy with their name and the date at the top).  We marked off the subjects as we finish them and added notations of any specifics we needed to remember (page numbers, art viewed, poem titles, etc.) on the lines next to the topic on the chart.

We used these charts to keep track of what we’d actually accomplished and not as a pre-planner.  It was essentially a record and not a plan.  “Planning” consisted mainly of gathering a big pile of books on a variety of topics that we kept on the bookshelf next to the couch.  Because it was difficult to tell in advance how much ground we’d cover with each subject each day, we would put the bookmark in at the end of each lesson time period and then start up again the next day where we’d left off.  Some books would stay in our pile to be read for several weeks, others would be there for only a day or two.

When reading through this day-by-day schedule, some people have commented this is a lot to accomplish in any given day.  But keep in mind, we were using Charlotte Mason’s idea about short lessons (only ten to twenty minutes for each topic) so our academic part of the day only came out to around 3 1/2 hours per day.  We tried to always have academics finished by lunchtime, and would save Nature Study, art, music, and handicrafts for the afternoon.  I’d often save our poetry reading and read it during lunch.  It was just something we enjoyed doing while we ate.  Your mileage may vary.  🙂

I discovered after implementing this schedule, my children enjoyed having a set task to accomplish in a set period of time. Since I’m not a particularly rigid person (I tend to “go with the flow”), I thought this type of schedule would crimp my style — but I actually found it to be incredibly freeing. What a surprise!

With many school subjects, I found I could teach all of my children at the same time by reading aloud to them together.  The older kiddos were doing a great deal of independent work, so they often did additional reading on the various topics we covered together as a group. Any independent reading time was followed by oral narrations for each subject (and occasionally written narrations after they’d been doing oral narrations successfully for several years).  Most narrations were always oral, by the way.  The written ones really were just an occasional thing.


I was inspired to put together my own daily schedule after reading the books, A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison. The author had printed out samples of her own weekly schedules and also included examples of the actual schedules used in Charlotte Mason’s schools back in the early 1900’s (the schedules appeared in a December 1908 article in the Parent’s Review).

While my schedule was inspired by Levison and Charlotte Mason, it by no means is representative of their actual schedules. This is simply how our family adapted the idea to our own situation at the time.   If this all seems too overwhelming or you’re just starting out, be sure to read Where to Begin?  It’s okay to take baby steps when just starting out.

For an easy-to-print version of our schedule, click here: Weekly Schedule CM


  • Literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • Math
  • Copywork/Dictation
  • Nature Study
  • Daily Walk
  • Art Appreciation
  • Music
  • Poetry
  • Handicrafts
  • Life Skills
  • Misc.


  • Daily Walk
  • Literature
  • Activities
  • Groups
  • Field Trips
  • Misc.

And then every night at bedtime, I would read to my children from their “just for fun” books — no official narration with these books except for a question when we first sat down such as, “So, what was happening in Old Yeller last night?”

There was space on the schedule for any educational weekend activities we did as a family, and space for random notes about the week.  If I discovered that one of the kids needed extra work on a particular subject, I’d make a note of it.  At the end of the week, each child’s schedule chart would be put into their yearly binder.  It was not only an excellent way to stay on task each day, it also gave us something to look back on at the end of the year to see how much ground we’d covered.  It was also handy to show to the teacher who did our annual homeschool evaluations.

I hope this brief overview of how we scheduled our homeschooling day when our kids were younger proves helpful to someone.


Don’t forget to download and print your own copy: Weekly Schedule CM

51BlGAcUHnL(Excerpted and adapted with permission from A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Timeless Educational Ideas.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Deborah Taylor-Hough is a long-time homeschooling mother of three (now adult) children as well as a freelance writer and the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets cookbook series and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide to Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity.  Visit Debi on Facebook.

NOTE: Stop by and “Like” Charlotte Mason Home Education on Facebook:-)

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14 responses to “Scheduling a Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Day

  1. The Momnipresent Mother

    Thank you for you ideas. I am trying to make sure I am covering everything I want to with my boys in a day. I am loosly going off of AO, but I am also kind of making our own curriculum. We used to be very structured, but I think the CM approach works much better but I also think it is important for the kids to know what is coming. I like the idea of having a loose outline somewhere they can see so they know what is expected of them.

  2. We use AO and it shouldn’t be too much work. CM starts from the age of 6. Depending on your child’s age and ability you read a lot aloud to your child, so they can learn the art of narration, a high level thinking process. Everything on the AO schedule is laid out in weeks so all the books mentioned are to be spread over the week, or like in many families longer. Go with your child. My eldest flies through everything but my middle daughter needs more time. That is ok. Education is not a marathon! The aim is to instill a love for (life long) learning. There is an AO Facebook page and an AO forum where you can ask your questions specific to AO. I find them very helpful. It took me a while to get my head around the schedule but giving my children and myself grace it really does work! My middle child is only at week 10! But it is only her first year and now she is getting the hang of it we are finally able to finish a weeks work at a time. As I am learning more about CM’s philosophy I am more able to enjoy the richness of her education and really enjoy learning with my children, you will get there!

    Ps Happy to share my schedule for AO with you if you think it is helpful 😊

    • Thank you!! For all your information! I have purchased all of Catherine Levison’s books and reading them and rereading Charlotte Mason’s home education and vol 6 books. And rereading Ambleside website so hopefully I will be ready to restart this next school year!

  3. Hi I have a couple of questions ( you probably have them here somewhere on here😊 I just can’t find them) I started CM way about a year or two ago but my daughter found it to be to much work. So I must have done something wrong. I was using ambleside plan. My question is do you read all the books every day and who reads them students or the mom??? I need help…. Thanks for your help…..

    • I never used Ambleside so I can’t really speak to their program or how to implement it. I’m fairly sure they have information on their site or in their forums that could help you decide how to use their curriculum for your needs. S0rry I can’t be more helpful.

  4. Thank you for this! Do you try to do music, art, handicrafts, life skills all in one day? Or just whatever happens to work for that day? (In other words…JUST music one afternoon? Or all 4 subjects every day?)

    • Hi, Beckie … No, I didn’t do all of these things listed every day. I used the chart as more like a checklist for what we did accomplish rather than a to-do list. I found that if it’d been several days (or a week) since we’d done something, I’d know we needed to be sure to do that particular activity or subject. Hope that makes sense. The chart gave me freedom to do what worked for each day. (FYI: My children are all grown and finished with homeschooling now.)

  5. Thank you for sharing your schedule and how you implement it. What kind of things did your children do for life skills? Many thanks!

    • Cooking, cleaning, yard work, mending, laundry, childcare, basic household and auto maintenance, etc.

      • Suzanne France

        Thank you for your prompt response! I think it is a great idea to put this on my planner too, so these things do not get forgotten and actually get done!

      • It’s so easy to forget things, isn’t it? “Oops, I forgot” should be my nickname. 😉

  6. Thank you for sharing your schedule! I’ve been homeschooling for years and I have a wide range of ages. I’ve been searching for a more simple, yet thorough approach. My question is were you able to continue with a Charlotte Mason approach with older children, like Jr/Sr High? If so, how did you change things to fit those ages?
    Thank you!

  7. Oh I like this idea. I’m also a ‘go with the flow’ almost ‘unschooler’ person, but our days are actually fairly chaotic and we don’t get a lot of very much done at all.

    We’ve had times of being more structured, which have worked well, but the structure/framework has always been inside my head, but the older the kids get, the harder it is to get them to read my mind 🙂

    I do like lists, and this looks like a good method.

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