Our Simple Schedule, Part 1 (Math)

A reader recently left a comment in a post from March about homeschooling.  I'm going to share her comment with you, and then reply to by way of a series of posts.  I figured that's better than taking up a bunch of space in the comment box of an old post, and maybe it will be of interest to others, too.

Here's her comment:

I know this was a while back, but I really love the simplicity of that schedule you shared (the picture in the other post of your school schedule). I'm curious what resources you're using for things like math and dictation (are you using Spelling Wisdom or just choosing something each week, etc.). Anything in particular for Bible, memory, poetry, etc or just choosing as you go? What about geography and science? And, written narrations ... are you just letting Ella choose what she will write from? Thanks so much! You really know how to simplify and make it feel calm (or at least appear that way). :)

Here is the schedule she's referring to:


Okay, first up- resources for math:  After waffling in three different math curriculums, for three different kids, over the course of a few years, this past year we made the brilliant decision to stick to just one.  Mark and I chose the one we thought was the most comprehensive, and each of our kids is doing Rod & Staff.  We purchase the student books and the teacher manual and we pick and choose problems from each lesson for the kids to do.  Rod & Staff is a very thorough math curriculum, and each lesson incorporates review/drill work from previous lessons, so while we do some review and drill work, we do NOT do every problem.  It would simply be too much.  PLUS: We do Charlotte Mason's 20-minute lessons, remember?  (I talked a little bit about that in this post.)  So I set the timer, they work diligently until the timer goes off, and then we close the math books.

We also incorporate flash cards.  And occasionally-- just to change things up-- we'll do either math drills or this fun math game.

Next up I'll talk about Dictation.


  1. We do Charlotte Mason-style short lessons here, too...except when it comes to math. Math seems to take up so much time! My kids are doing well, but I'm afraid if we cut back on the time they spend in math, we'd never make enough progress. Do you feel as though you have to rush through the 20 minutes in order to finish the lessons?

    1. This is a great question, Kristin! I admit that we did MUCH better at the setting-the-timer thing at the start of the year. After the timer would go off, most of the time my kids would say "We're ALMOST done! Can we just finish these few problems?" So I would let them.

      Because that happened so often, I ended up skipping the timer altogether, but then found that math was taking way too long- as in: 40 minutes or more.

      I ended our year back at the 20-minutes, but before I set the timer, I would go over their lesson with them and make sure that they understood what was ahead. This helped a lot. I also became better at assigning work to them, making sure that they were not just doing a lot of busy work with things that they already knew.

      And whatever they didn't get to, they could finish the next day.

      I will say, though, that my kids are each 6 months to a year behind in their math.... (they tested well, so I think Rod & Staff must be a bit ahead), but they're behind for their grade level. (Because we're not zipping through with the goal to complete a book each year.)


    2. I just re-read my comment and wanted to clarify the part at the end there about them being "behind for their grade level". What I meant by that is that they are in BOOKS that are a grade year younger (Ella is completing her 5th grade book right now, but she just wrapped up 6th grade so technically should have been wrapping up her 6th grade text.) Isaac is finishing his 3rd grade book but will be entering 5th in the fall, thus doing a 4th grade book.


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