LEARN THE FREQUENCY AND DURATION OF Middle School SUBJECTS IN A CHARLOTTE MASON EDUCATION, AND UPDATE FOR TODAY!

Making a homeschool schedule can overwhelming.  What is realistic? What's too much? How often should we do math every day?

Moving into middle school/junior high can feel even more daunting.

We don't just want to hand our kids a list of assignments and pages to be read at the beginning of the week and then say "have at it" with no other guidance.

While that may work for some small subset of kids (not mine!) most will need help building their week.

And when we start with just a list, it's so easy to say "we got the big stuff done, let's just skip the rest today."

And that happens again, and again, and again.

Before you know it, you're two months into the school year and you're no longer feeling the joy because while you're doing the "important things" (who decides what's important, anyway?) you're routinely skipping the things that actually bring joy to your homeschool.

Or suddenly it's Winter Break and  (whoops!) you realize that you're still on the first lesson in Latin and you vow to yourself that NEXT term, by golly, you'll get it done!

The answer to both problems is having a weekly routine, one that allows all lessons to be done in a timely manner, without spending too long on this subject but also not skipping that other subject altogether.

Charlotte Mason's member homeschools were sent sample time tables that they could then adjust to their needs. We can use these original timetables from the PNEU (Parents' National Education Union) as our guide, but we need to bring them to our modern world, both in the subjects and the in the amount of time that a modern homeschool typically spends on lessons.

I don't know about you, but I am not about do lessons six days a week!

This post is about Form III (approximate ages 12-14). If you are looking for a different age group, I've broken down the other Forms, too:

Form I Timetables for Today (approximate ages 6-9)

Form II Timetables for Today (approximate ages 9-12)

Original schedules

Let's get started.

We have two originals from A Liberal Education for All that we can use to guide us. One is from 1928 and the other 1933.

Are you struggling to figure out how to take Charlotte Mason's timetables and apply them to our modern life? Let's work through them together.

This time we are working through Form III (approximate ages 12-14). If you're looking for the other Forms, here they are:

Form I (ages 6-9)
Form II (ages 9-12)

As always, let's start with the originals from A Liberal Education for All.

original table of pneu timetables form 3

Oooh, but here's an interesting tidbit: that's the 1928 edition. The 1933 edition has one significant change.

Form 3 timetables from 1933

Do you see it?

Look at the 12:15-12:45 slot.

Every block in that time slot has "A" at the beginning of it. This means that only students in Form IIIA should do that part. Form IIIB doesn't

(Remember that the first year in Form 3 is called B, and the second year is called A. Think of it like Beginner and Advanced).

So why is this important? Well, for one thing it means that Form 3B students are stopping half an hour earlier than the Form 3A students.

Some of these subjects for 3B students are moved to earlier in the day, while others are dropped altogether. 

In the 1928 time table, there is no distinction between 3A and 3B, but do you notice that there are some changes penciled in? Most notably, Picture Study, Composition, Reading, and Singing are shifted to the afternoons.

I think this is an important consideration in our own planning. You could do this several ways.

  • You could use the 1933 guidelines and have your Form 3B student end at 12:15, waiting on certain subjects (2nd foreign language, Composition) until next year.
  • You could use the 1928 time table as is.
  • You could use the 1928 time table and shift Picture Talk, Composition, Reading, and Singing to the afternoons along with Nature Note Book, Handicrafts, Gardening, and Drawing.

Because it's already marked as A and B, we'll use the 1933 time table as our guide this time.
And let's make this easier to work with by typing it up into a table:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

N.B. -- No "Home Work." "Narration" (oral and written) at the end of each lesson. At least two written narrations each day. B Works till 12 noon only. For afternoon work see General Notes on the Programme.

General Overview

Similar to Form I and Form II, lessons are kept generally to the morning hours. But we do see a gradual lengthening of the lessons. If we look at only the 1928 timetable, students worked in 10-45 minute sessions, for an overall time of 3 hours, 45 minutes.

We don't know who penciled in the changes, whether that was a parent or an administrator of the PNEU.

Looking at the 1933 time table, one of the notes reads "B Works till 12 noon only." This is important because it shows that these subjects weren't pushed aside for the afternoons, and that second-to-last time block goes until 12:15. If "B" students work until 12 noon only, then that 45 minute session is only a 30 minute session for them.

It makes you wonder why this change. Had they been getting feedback that the almost 4 hours of work was just too much for most 3B students? Did they see in the exams that many 3B students weren't getting all the subjects in because their attention flagged towards the end?

Was it a unilateral decision from upper management?

I don't know, but it gives us "permission" in our own homes to cut back.

I mentioned in the Form II post that I think of "B" years as transition years.  Form 3 itself is a transition from the elementary years  into high school.

If we look at the 1933 timetables of Forms 3 & 4 as a whole (Form 4 being the first year of "high school" and itself a transition year), we see that similar to Form 2B, Form 3B eases the student into the higher level work but with slightly shortened hours.

Everything I see in the timetables and the programmes reiterates to me the gradual progression of a Charlotte Mason education. Not many would call Forms 5 and 6 "light" education, but the students aren't expected to start out there. They gradually build up to that level, piece by piece.

Students generally spent two years in Form 3, unlike the three years spent in each of Form 1 and 2. The first year in Form 3 was designated "B" and the second year designated A. Students are generally ages 12-14.

And did you also notice that these early teenagers still had a half hour movement/play break? I love that!

Just as in earlier Forms, the timetables have specific times. It's Geography from 11:00-11:30, not Geography: 30 minutes.

This is important! Charlotte Mason wrote that one time is not as good as another to do things.

When we keep our lessons on a time table, it prevents them from overflowing into the afternoons and evenings. We see that this is also reiterated with the bottom note "No Home Work."

If a student doesn't get their assigned work done in the time slot, other time is not taken away "until you get it done."

Books and resources should be interesting and engaging, not something that you need to drag your kids through. If that's the case (that you have to drag them through their lessons), you should take a hard look at what needs to change.

Family time and time for individual pursuits is just as important as lesson time. That doesn't mean that lesson are not important. We have specific times each day for them. It means that lessons should not become the sole focus of our or our children's day.

Let's work through the table a few subjects at a time and see where it takes us. We will be using the 1933 table as our main one, but referring to changes from the 1928 table, too.

BIBLE and picture study

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

As in earlier Forms, Spiritual Instruction (Bible Study) is the start of almost every day. Old and New Testament are alternated, and this study doesn't include memory work that is done a bit later in the day.

Picture Study again has a designated time every week, also. 

Bible: 3x per week for 20 minutes, plus a Saturday session of 20 minutes

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

As with Forms 1 & 2, Bible was done for 20 minutes 4x per week, at the start of the day. Old and New Testament readings were alternated.

Once again, Picture Study also has its own slot in the timetables. It's not something to be set aside and gotten to whenever, but a scheduled part of the day. 

In the 1928 version, it's penciled in to shift Picture Study to the afternoon, which is certainly a viable option. If you do so, though, make sure that it's not something that's forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of afternoon activities.

Perhaps make a point to do it at lunch on Fridays, for example.

Bible: 4x per week @20 min per session (one was a Saturday session)

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Natural History, botany, and general science

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

In a change from the lower forms, we now have separate time slots for natural history, botany, and general science.

What's the difference? Natural history is the study of natural objects in their environment. It includes animals, plants, fungi, and even rocks and minerals and is often based on observation.

In General Science, the PNEU programmes (the course of study sent out by Charlotte Mason to her member schools and homeschools), General Science included such things as electricity, space, and various other topics that we'd still put under a "general science" course now.

General Science in the 1933 time table is listed for Form A only, so if your child is in the first year of Form III (so Form IIIB) it's ok to skip this part if you're overwhelmed.

Natural History and Botany were expected for all years of Form III.

Natural History was for 20 minutes 1x per week. Botany was 30 minutes once per week, and the books assigned often contained experiments.

General Science was for 3A students, though the 1928 schedule had it for all Form 3 students. Because of that change, I consider it optional for 3B.

Natural History: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Botany: 1x per week for 30 minutes

General Science: 1x per week for 30 minutes for 3A, optional for 3B

arithmetic, Geometry, and algebra

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

The second block of the day is usually filled with math of some kind. This is a 30 minute block, and it makes sense to do it at this time because "the mind is still fresh". I find it very interesting that there's one random block at the end of the day for 3B once per week.

All students did Geometry, Arithmetic, and Algebra, but 3A did an extra block of Geometry, while 3B did an extra block of Arithmetic. This means that the younger students get a bit more practice on "numbers" (calculation) and then the following year when that is more solid, they shift a bit to get more of the spatial/logical training that comes with geometry.

Notice also that Tuesday has Geometry OR Arithmetic. You could therefore call Geometry optional for Form 3, especially if you're at a point in your curriculum that your child's brain needs a bit more time to develop before being able to understand it. A lot of connections are made around the 12-13 year time frame, so it's not surprising (or anything to feel bad about!) that some students need to wait an extra year.

Another thing I want to point out is that students weren't doing a full course of Algebra, Geometry, and Arithmetic each year. The programmes have 10-15 pages assigned per 12-week term in Algebra and Geometry. That's about 1 page per week, and if you think about doing one session per week of geometry and algebra, again that makes sense.

I used to think that when people said Charlotte Mason did Algebra, Geometry, and Arithmetic all at once, that that meant she recommended an integrated program (a program that covered all those topics).

It wasn't until I dug into these timetables and the PNEU programmes that I realized that no, she did use 3 separate programs, she just worked through those three programs a little bit each week.

Another thing to pay attention to: Arithmetic was both oral and written. Don't hand your kids a Saxon math book and expect them to work through it independently. Oral work was rapid work with tables, oral computation, and even oral word problems. Arithmetic should be a mix of oral and written, and not rely exclusively on one or the other.

Just as in earlier Forms, math of some kind is done every day.

Arithmetic: 3-4 sessions of 30 min per week, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3B, and an additional Saturday session of 30 minutes

Geometry: 0-1x per week for 30 min, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3A

Algebra: 30 min 1x per week

Geography, Plutarch's Lives, and citizenship

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

In the PNEU progammes, Plutarch's Lives is listed under Citizenship. so having it's own slot in the time table may mean that the PNEU (and Charlotte Mason by extension) felt that Plutarch was important enough that it needed a dedicated time each week (do you think it's possible that families were skipping Plutarch, so they gave it its own time slot?).

Also, notice that it's an entire 30 minute block. Reading through a single life over a term, sometimes even over two terms for the longer ones, means that you are reading it very slowly and leaving plenty of time to discuss it.

But also notice that Geography gets just as much time as Citizenship and Plutarch do, and for 3A students they get an extra slot of Geography. Learning about other cultures and people is a high priority in a Charlotte Mason education.

Citizenship and Plutarch's Lives: 30 min 2x per week (1 session each)

Geography: 30 min 2x per week, plus an additional 30 min Saturday session for 3A

Dictation and writing, composition, and latin

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

Dictation and Writing were done by both Form 3B and 3A students twice per week for 30 minutes, though at different times. If they were both doing it for the same amount of time, why split them up? Why not have both 3A and 3B students do Dictation on Friday morning at 9:20?

I have no idea what the logic is here. My first thought was that 3A is doing Geometry as the second subject of the day, to keep with the same rhythm as the rest of the week, but then 3B's Arithmetic session on Friday is shuttled to the 11:30 slot.

So who knows? The PNEU sometimes worked in mysterious ways....

Dictation continued along the same lines as Form II. The student (with a parent's aid) works through 2-3 pages of a chosen book, noting grammar and punctuation. Any words the student finds tricky to spell are visualized until the student feels he has them firmly in his mind.

This may take one session or several. Go at the pace of your student.

When the student feels confident in his knowledge of the passage, the parent chooses one paragraph and dictates it while the student writes it down.

"Writing" on the time table refers to continued handwriting practice, either drill pages or copywork or writing favorite passages or poems in a notebook.

It could also be used for written narrations after the fact. Form 3 instructions say to occassionally read something on Tuesday and then write a summary of it on Thursday. Because one of the Writing slots is set for Thursday, I'd feel just fine using it for that purpose rather than continued handwriting practice.

Now here is where Composition finally comes in. In the 1928 timetable, it's set for both levels of Form 3, but it's also been penciled in to shift it to the afternoon.

Contrary to popular CM mythology, there is actual instruction in composition. It is not all "the natural method". We just wait on specific instruction until junior high, rather, which allows time for a child to experience years of good writing without pressure.

This 30 minutes of weekly instruction in Form III is when the student finally gets focused instruction on different modes of composition.

Latin is 2x per week for both B and A, but note that the 1933 timetable says that B works till noon only. That means that the 45 minute time slot from 11:30-12:15 is actually only a 30 minute slot for Form 3B.

Dictation and Writing: 2x per week for 30 min each

Composition: 3A- 1x per week for 30 minutes (optional for 3B)

Latin: 3B- 2x per week at 30 min each (one is a Saturday session)
             3A - 1x per week for 30 min (Saturday), 1x per week for 45 min

English Grammar and French

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

Here's another area where there is a slight change from the 1928 to the 1933 timetable.

The 1928 timetable had English Grammar & Parsing, and then another slot for English Grammar & Analysis. The 1933 timetable (shown above) has one block for English Grammar, and one block for Analysis and Parsing.

What's the difference between Analysis and Parsing? "Parse" comes from the first element of the Latin term for "part of speech" - "pars orationis". It means to tell the parts of speech of the individual words of a sentence, and how they relate to each other.

"'of' is a preposition; 'the' is an adjective (article) modifying 'words'; 'individual' is an adjective modifying 'words'; 'words' is a noun and the object of the preposition 'of'."

Analysis is the breaking down of a whole into its parts. It would be not breaking down a sentence into parts of speech (parsing) but the parts of a sentence: subject, predicate, the various clauses.

We don't have access to a copy of the grammar book that was assigned in the PNEU programmes, but my guess is that Grammar was specific instruction, and perhaps also instruction on the various tenses of verbs (past perfect continuous, anyone?) while analysis and parsing was actually doing exercises on the parts of a sentence and parts of speech.

Regardless, students spent 30 minutes 2x per week doing various grammar exercises.

For 3B, French was 30 minute sessions, 2x per week with an extra Saturday session. For 3A students, those same French sessions were 45 minutes per week. And we still have scheduled time to learn a French Song once per week during the singing/movement break.

Grammar, Analysis, and Parsing: 2x week at 30 minutes each

French:  1x per week practice a French song
                 3B - 2x per week at 30 min each, plus a Saturday session of 30 min
                 3A - 2x per week at 45 min each, plus a Saturday session of 45 min

Drill, Singing, and Play

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

That brings us right into Singing, Play, and Drill.

It is at this age that we typically start to think that kids don't need that play break anymore. Sure, we can embrace it for under-12's, but shouldn't they be past this by now? They're teenagers!

But no.

We still have a half hour play/movement/singing break every day.

Midway through the lessons. 

Every.

Single.

Day.

Let me share a little secret with you --

Students had a play/movement/singing break scheduled all the way through Form 4 (approx age 14-15).

And ages 15-18 (Forms 5 & 6) still had a movement/singing break.

Please do not expect your students to sit for 3 hours doing schoolwork without a break.

Ever.

Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It's a productivity technique developed in the late  1980s, where you set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted for that time. Then you take a 3-5 minute break, then go back for another 25 minutes of uninterrupted work.

Repeat that for four 25-minute chunks, then take a 15-30 minute break. Then start again.

Hmm.... these timetables look suspiciously like that, though instead of taking a 3-5 minute break after each chunk, the student merely changes to a subject that uses a different part of the brain or body to refresh the mind.

Productivity experts say that we work best in 1-2 hour time blocks, then need a break.

Do not skip this step.

Every day for a half hour the student either does Drill and plays, or sings and plays. Singing and Drill are alternated.

Drill referred to Swedish Drill, a specific set of movements based on military drill and similar to calisthenics, though not as vigorous.

Singing alternated between English songs, French songs, and then just ... singing. Regardless, get your child to stand while singing and get that blood pumping!

Drill, Singing, and Play: 30 minutes every day that lessons were done, an hour and 20 minutes into lesson time.

Repetition, week's work, map of the world

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

Right after the movement/singing/play break, we start with a 10 minute slot for Repetition or Map of the World.

When I look at this I wonder, did Charlotte Mason do a 10-minute slot here to bring the rest of the timetable back on a half hour schedule (so they ended at 12 instead of 11:50) or did she do it to ease the students back into lessons after being given a break, or was it for some other reason?

Remembering back to when my older daughter was this age, I always had a hard time bringing her back to lessons once I let her play outside.

I tried to get around this by not letting her play until lessons were done, which wasn't actually a good idea and didn't work well.

I wonder if I'd used this strategy, to do a quick 10 minute easy block, if that would have helped?

Whether or not that was Charlotte Mason's thought, I think it's a great way to reel our kids back in.  It's also done in Form 4.

We have that 10 minute slot of Repetition daily after the play break, alternating between poetry and Bible memorization, with Latin memorization thrown in there for good measure for 3A students.

3B students will be working on the Map of the World for 10 minutes. 3A students do as well, but that's included as part of their Geography studies while the 3B students have a dedicated time block of it.

Week's Work again is a stumper. It's scheduled for Forms I and II also, but shares a 10 minute slot with Repetition once per week on Saturday.

There is a category for "Work" in the PNEU programmes. It consists of "definite house or garden work", needlework, cardboard modelling, claymodelling, toymaking, sewing and mending, making Christmas presents, leatherwork, putting on plays, and Scouting tests, among other things.

For the 12-14 year old child, this could not possibly all be completed in a short 10 minute weekly time span.

One idea is that this time is for the parent to review the student's progress, to look over what has been done for the week. Inspect the mending, show off the clay models or toys, see how much was done on the Christmas presents.

Repetition: 3A - 5x per week, 3B - 4x per week @10 minutes per session, plus an additional Saturday session for both

Map of the World: 3B - 1x per week for 10 minutes 

History and Italian or german

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

As in Form II, there are separate days for the different history streams of a Charlotte Mason education.

English History has its own half hour slot, and General history has another. General history was Indian or world history, and ancient history. Indian (or world history) and ancient history were both under the heading of "general history" in the programmes.

This is how multiple history streams were handled in a Charlotte Mason education. They were simply done on different days. We don't try to cram all three history books into a single "history" slot every day, but instead we have specific days for reading English, Indian (or world), and ancient history.

Italian or German was reserved for Form 3A students in this time table, though in the 1928 version there was no distinction between 3A and 3B for languages.

History: 1x per week for 30 minutes for English history, 1x per week for 30 minutes for general history plus a Saturday session of 30 minutes

Italian or German: 2x per week for Form 3A, one session of 30 minutes and one of 45 minutes

Literature and reading

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study

New Testament

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

Arithmetic (oral & written)

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

Latin

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

Singing and Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

Repetition Week's Work

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

General History

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Italian or German

B Arithmetic

French

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

A Geography

Recall that 3B students stopped at 12 noon, so while 3A did Literature for 45 minutes, 3B only did it for 30 minutes once a week.

Reading for 3A was a half hour slot.

I sometimes wonder about this, because the Reading selections in the programmes were the same for both 3A and 3B, and the notes say that lighter portions of the program like plays and novels should be read in the evenings and on holidays.

I'm not sure why 3A got their own dedicated time slot here for Reading. It could be just another way to help ease the transition to the higher grade levels. By having a Reading slot here, it meant that the student didn't need to spend other afternoon time doing more reading, and was a way to keep the book work manageable.

Literature: 30 min 1x per week for 3B, 45 min 1x per week for 3A

Reading: 30 min 1x per week for 3A (3B students had assigned reading also, but no designated slot for it)

all the subjects easily identified

Bible: 4x per week @20 min per session (one was a Saturday session)

Picture Study: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Natural History: 1x per week for 20 minutes

Botany: 1x per week for 30 minutes

General Science: 1x per week for 30 minutes for 3A, optional for 3B

Arithmetic: 3-4 sessions of 30 min per week, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3B, and an additional Saturday session of 30 minutes

Geometry: 0-1x per week for 30 min, plus an additional 30 minutes for 3A

Algebra: 1x per week for 30 min

Citizenship and Plutarch's Lives: 30 min 2x per week (1 session each)

Geography: 30 min 2x per week, plus an additional 30 min Saturday session for 3A

Dictation and Writing: 2x per week for 30 min each

Composition: 3A- 1x per week for 30 minutes (optional for 3B)

Latin: 3B- 2x per week at 30 min each (one is a Saturday session)
             3A - 1x per week for 30 min (Saturday), 1x per week for 45 min

Grammar, Analysis, and Parsing: 2x week at 30 minutes each

French:  1x per week practice a French song
                 3B - 2x per week at 30 min each, plus a Saturday session of 30 min
                 3A - 2x per week at 45 min each, plus a Saturday session of 45 min

Drill, Singing, and Play: 30 minutes every day that lessons were done, an hour and 20 minutes into lesson time

Repetition: 3A - 5x per week, 3B - 4x per week @10 minutes per session, plus an additional Saturday session for both

Map of the World: 3B - 1x per week for 10 minutes 

History: 1x per week for 30 minutes for English history, 1x per week for 30 minutes for general history plus a Saturday session of 30 minutes

Italian or German: 2x per week for Form 3A, one session of 30 minutes and one of 45 minutes

Literature: 30 min 1x per week for 3B, 45 min 1x per week for 3A

Reading: 30 min 1x per week for 3A (3B students had assigned reading also, but no designated slot for it)

Some observations

Before we start to modernize this time table, I want to re-iterate a few things.

The 1933 timetable is an easier transition to the higher level grades than the 1928 one. I'm of the opinion that most students will be most successful if the transitions are small.

Remember that every day there is a mid-lesson break for movement, singing, and play.

Do not think that your young teen is too old for recess.

We tend to think that our 12-14 year-olds should be able to sit through a full morning of lessons, but this is not something that Charlotte Mason expected.

Please don't leave this part out. It provides a much needed refreshment in the midst of focused lessons.

In general, start off most days with spiritual instruction, then do math next while the mind is still very fresh.

Handicrafts, brushdrawing, drawing, painting, modeling, toymaking, hobbies, and the Nature Note Book were done in the afternoons.

These aren't scheduled, but again are not something that should be left out of a CM education.

In fact, the programmes for Form 3 state that "the work of the programmes cannot be fully carried out unless each child keeps a Nature Note Book and a Century book."

You should be insisting on a Nature Note Book at this age. It doesn't need to be (and in fact, shouldn't be!) an artist's portfolio of perfectly drawn specimen.

Think of it more as a field notebook, where the student draws quick sketches with arrows and bullet points of what she sees.

Saturday School

Not everyone did Saturday school, even if they were enrolled in the PNEU. As we go higher in the forms it gets harder to bring the schedules to a 5 day week, but it is still doable. If you are going to make a 4 day week, adjust subjects proportionately rather than leaving off entire subjects, if you can swing it.

But if you can't, don't sweat it either.

I never managed to do Latin with my older daughter, and we didn't do Plutarch until she was 15. As an adult, she is still an engaged citizen who understands both her rights and duties as a citizen of our country.

No on to creating a timetable that fits your life!

Modernizing the Time Table

Let's look at how we can use the time table as our guide but still adjust for modern life.

The first thing we'll do is to revise to a 5 day week rather than 6 day week. Very few homeschoolers do lessons 6 days a week. If you do, more power to you, and you have it easy to update the time table!

The Five Day School Week

On Saturdays, the schedule has Bible, math, Latin, Singing & Play, Repetition, General History, French, and Geography (3A).

Bible is done 3x per week otherwise, so it's safe to kick that Saturday session out.

Math, Repetition, and Singing & Play are also done daily, so we can delete those, too. However, since it's not just "Singing" but Sol-fa in particular, let's shift Sol-fa to the English Songs space and we'll just sing English Songs around the house throughout our days.

That leaves us with Latin, Week's Work, General History, French, and Geography.

Latin

What to do about Latin? There's only one other time Latin is done during the week, other than some repetition work for the second year (3A) students.

I would put this in the Italian or German space on Friday afternoons for Form 3A students, and not worry about it for the 3B students.

What are we doing then with Italian or German (second foreign language)?

In A Liberal Education for All on page 41, it has a note that "Less time may be given if desired in any Form to Science and Modern Languages and more to Classics and Mathematics. The English periods may not be altered."

Taking advantage of this, I would delete that second Italian/German slot for 3A in favor of Latin.

If you don't want to do that, you could either have your student do a stand-alone session of that second foreign language on a Saturday (this would work especially well if you do an online tutoring session, or if you're using the ULAT), or you could cut back on Latin in favor of that second Italian/German slot.

Week's Work

Keep this on Saturday, or even Friday evening. Just don't have regular lessons around it.

Regularly check on your child's household responsibilities as well as admire the handiwork he's doing. 

General History

General History is penciled in as "A" (Form 3A) in the 1928 time table, so again it would be safe to skip this extra period for 3B students.

There is still another time slot for General History on Thursdays, but it might be difficult to try to fit both Indian/World History and Ancients into that one slot.

However, on the 1928 time table, Picture Study is also penciled in as "afternoon". We can either shift Picture Study to afternoon entirely, or we could alternate Picture Study with an extra session of General History on opposite weeks.

Which way would be best? I would say that if you tend to skip Picture Study in the afternoons, then it would be better to schedule it in in the mornings.

French

As with Italian/German, I'd just throw this Saturday session right out.

If you want to get more practice in, then do a standalone session on Saturday instead of Italian/German.

Geography

Geography already has two 30 minute slots on Monday and Wednesday, and it's penciled in as "A" (for Form 3A) on the 1928 time table.

Let's just take that Saturday session out altogether. With those two time slots the rest of the week, you'll not even miss it.

For Form 3A students, do 10 minutes work on the world map once a week at lunchtime. It's scheduled in for Form 3B students, so that's already covered.

This is what we are left with.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

9:00-9:20

Old Testament

New Testament

Natural

History

Old testament

Picture Study or General History

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

10:20-10:50

Drill and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Drill

French Song and Play

Drill and

Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition Bible (O.T.)

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition Bible (N.T.)

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

11:30-12:15

French

Latin

Literature

French

A Latin

B Arithmetic

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A Italian or German

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

At lunch: 10 minutes Map of the World for 3A students, English songs throughout the day

Saturday: French or Italian

Modernizing the Subjects

Starting at the top, we'll change Old and New Testament to Spiritual or Moral Instruction, because Charlotte Mason's methods are for everyone, regardless of your religious background.

Instead of Repetition: Bible, your student could learn more poetry, speeches, motivational sayings, or spiritual passages from your own tradition.

We'll add the notes from the 1933 time table to the end.

French becomes the foreign language of your choice, and Italian or German becomes the 2nd foreign language of your choice. I'm gong to designate that as Repetition: Choice to make it easy.

Most of us don't do Drill anymore, but if you'd like to do it I found Swedish Drill Revisited, written by a Physical Therapist (I haven't used, but would love reviews if you do). Instead of specifying Drill, let's change that to Movement.

And there we have it: A modern Charlotte Mason timetable on a 5 day schedule.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

9:00-9:20

Spiritual/

moral instruction

Spiritual/

moral instruction

Natural

History

Spiritual/

moral instruction

Picture Study or General History

9:20-9:50

Arithmetic (oral & written)

Geometry or Arithmetic

Citizenship

Arithmetic (oral & written)

A Geometry

B Dictation

9:50-10:20

Dictation and Writing

English Grammar

Algebra

General History

Plutarch's Lives

10:20-10:50

Movement and Play

English Song and Play

Play and Movement

1st foreign language Song and Play

Movement and

Play

10:50-11:00

Repetition

Poem

Repetition

Choice

Repetition Poem

A Repetition Latin

B Map of the World

Repetition

Choice

11:00-11:30

Geography

English History

Geography

 Analysis and Parsing

Botany

11:30-12:15

1st foreign language

Latin

Literature

1st foreign language

A Latin

B Arithmetic

12:15-12:45

A Reading

A General Science

A 2nd foreign language

A Dictation and Writing

A Composition

Notes -- No "Home Work." "Narration" (oral or written) at the end of each lesson. At least two written narrations each day. B works till 12 noon only.

Afternoon work -- 3A 10-minutes on Map of the World once per week.  Singing throughout the day. Handicrafts, drawing, Nature Note Book, Gardening, Reading (lit)

Saturday -- conversational foreign language practice (consider a Skype tutor or italki.com)

Making it your own

This is only a guide to one way to change the time tables. If you have multiple students, you'll need to adjust because there is only one of you, and you are not Super Woman.

If you want to do a 4 Day Schedule, I wouldn't advise just chopping off another day. Instead, try to trim back the subjects evenly so they stay proportionate.

I did just that this year by figuring out the percentage of time spent on each subject, then multiplying that percentage by the new amount of minutes we'd be working each week for my Form I student.

Everything got cut back a little, but we're still able to get everything in with no stress.

It did mean cutting back on the amount of reading in a term we're doing in some subjects, but that's simply an adjustment that has to be made.

We can't expect to cut down from a six day to a four day schedule yet still do the same amount of work.

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