Rich Wide Education

Charlotte Mason advocated giving children a rich, wide curriculum.

Sewing and handicrafts in the afternoons

This generous curriculum can only realistically be covered by keeping lessons short.   I call it “short and sweet“, where these 10 to 20 minute lessons encourage a child to give her utmost attention, especially with subjects, such as maths, phonics, handwriting, spelling and grammar.

To keep the daily schedule enjoyable, alternate disciplinary lessons with Bible, poetry, history, fiction, art, folksong, outdoor nature study, chores and life skills like cooking.  This variety keeps a child’s minds bright and encourages enthusiastic and motivated participation.  Some children prefer to “get all the seat work done first” and then move onto the freedom of the rest of the subjects.  You may need to try each approach to find what works for your family.

It isn’t the number of subjects, but their duration that tires the mind.  What child wants to sit still and concentrate for long lessons?   Quick math drills every morning, practice spelling while jumping on a mini trampoline, or quick laminated chart handwriting practice, or play a quick round of the amazing arrow games, provides younger children the necessary stimulus and physical exercise, and a short review of the same facts before supper results in a better memory of facts and skills.

Memorizing Scripture (which is the living Word) or poetry (which opens the eyes of imagination) verse by verse takes just a few minutes every day. Scripture and poetry also provide deep and meaningful insights and enlarges the child’s heart and mind. They lessons are not dull, dry facts or tiresome workbooks, textbooks or worksheet lessons.

Daily themes 2015It is very easy to just “do the basics” and call it a day, but I found that the only way we could regularly cover all the diverse subjects was to use our “Theme of the Day“.  Allocate all these extra subjects across the weekly schedule, enabled us to maintain a full, rich, wide curriculum.

You don’t have to fear trying to “do it all”.  Just start with the basics, keep it short and sweet and do a little every day.  Ease into the rest of the schedule by adding one extra subject and you’ll be amazed how much your children will learn in a relatively easy, quick, daily schedule.  This way you will offer your children a banquet, but don’t rush them, while also avoiding “force feeding”.  A generous education is a homeschooler’s privilege and pleasure!

Blessings, Nadene

3 thoughts on “Rich Wide Education

  1. Pingback: F-Words to Avoid in Homeschooling | Practical Pages

  2. HI Nadene,

    Thank you for your posts they have helped me with some good ideas and lightened the expectations I put on myself. Do you have any ideas when dealing with boys? I find my daughter (10) is quicker to pick things up and more willing to sit by my side……but am finding my son (11) to be a different learner, wanting to be more independent and do things on his own….which I am fine with and would like to encourage, however he keeps putting everything off and doesnt want to be told when to learn….

    Your enlightenment in this area would be helpful….



    • @Tracey Botha, your son’s desire to work independently, yet responsibly, is a difficult transition. I am currently working through similar issues with my youngest daughter, and I also found myself at a loss with my middle daughter when she was 13 years old and didn’t want to work with me. Here’s what I found works for us ~
      * collaborate and decide together what subjects/ topics/ themes/ programs your child wishes to cover.
      * Decide together how to schedule that work over a week.
      * Allow your child freedom to choose what and where he wants to work, providing a certain standard of work is accomplished.
      * Schedule accountability sessions with your independent learner – start with daily check lists/ sign off his assignments, and then work towards weekly sign-offs and checks. These should be friendly, but focused meetings. I still find that my youngest child skips work or produces quick, but insufficient work which I re-schedule for her to redo.
      * Find alternatives such as a study group/ tutor or online course where there is conflict between you and your child.
      I will cover more on this reply as a blog post soon. Hope that these ideas help. Blessings!


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