CM Open House – Multiple Children


Today, we have Rose, mom to three, who are all in various early years of Ambleside Online, giving us a look into a typical day at their home.
I am so grateful for her willingness to share with us how she encourages beauty, truth, and goodness into her family’s day through Charlotte Mason methods and philosophy, with multiple students.
Follow along, will you?

I feel I must preface any sharing I do of a typical homeschooling day using Ambleside Online with a declaration that I still have much to learn about Charlotte Mason, her beliefs on education and living a CM lifestyle with my family!   We have been homeschooling since the Lord allowed me to when my oldest daughter, now 9, was a little one.  We have moved through a couple of other curriculums, discovered Charlotte Mason through the process, and have landed at Ambleside Online over a year ago with complete satisfaction and peace about our choice.  A big kudos to all the wonderful women who put their passion, time and energy into this wonderful resource for homeschooling families and supporting those of us who are learning and growing through it!

I had no plans to participate in this video open house.  I was excited to keep tabs on it and glean much from it, but then I started to feel this nagging desire to get past my insecurities and just go ahead and film a day in our homeschool.  One morning, I just decided to go for it, so here it is.  I am sure it is not a perfect picture of a Charlotte Mason homeschool, but I am a work in progress and hope to continue to grow as I read Mason’s original works and receive help and support from other AO moms who have been there and done that.  I encourage all who are just beginning a Charlotte Mason education using Ambleside Online to utilize their amazing website and AO Forum to receive support on your journey.

There are videos below that are clips from a day with my 3 children ages 9,6, and 4 who are in year 3, year 1, and year 0 respectively.  There is no “typical” day as each day brings with it different challenges and issues with which to deal.  We have a general shape to our day and week, but remain flexible due to the nature of children and their inevitable unpredictability!  Below is a list and brief explanation of the general shape of our day:

-Breakfast and Bible with Daddy

-Chores and getting ready for the day while listening to Composer for the term

-Gathering at table with all 3 kids for Scripture memory and more Bible reading

-2 older kids get school checklist and books ready in a stack for the morning and begin independently on piano or Spanish while I spend time with my youngest Y0 daughter. When we finish, she joins in with the other 2 as she pleases, usually choosing to play, draw, create, and dress up like different princesses. She joins us for the riches like picture, composer, hymn, and nature studies.

-A good chunk of time is spent reading the history, natural history, biography, and literature books to my children and listening to narrations by my Y1 and Y3 children, helping with copywork and math as needed.  They know to try their best to alternate between a reading from their weekly list and a different subject on their list, like math or copywork or Spanish.  My Y3 daughter chooses 3 readings a day while my Y1 son chooses 2 readings a day to get all readings in for the week.  I move back and forth as needed between each child.  If one is ready to narrate while I am reading to another, they can wait patiently for their turn with me sometimes listening in on the other’s reading.  (Since my oldest didn’t do Year 1, she likes to hear what she’s missed 🙂 If I am tied up with one child, the other finds something independent to do while they wait.  It’s all a bit of a juggling act, but it usually works itself out after a few weeks of getting into a rhythm of this.

-At some point during all this, when everyone is ready for snack (usually earlier than later…I think they are always on a growth spurt!), we break and eat and I introduce a picture by the current term’s artist we are studying.  On another day, we would learn a new verse of our hymn or listen to a song from our composer. Then it’s back to our other subjects.

-When all our school work is done, it is free time to just play a bit as we are nearing lunchtime.  I help the children make sure all our books and supplies are placed back where they belong so our home can stay organized.

-Lunch, chores and then it’s outside we go!

-The beginning of outdoor time usually looks like riding bikes, scooters, playing golf, throwing balls, building teepees with fallen branches, making mud pies, building mazes for bugs, and a general anything goes time.  After an hour or so, we will aim to go on a short walk when we notice, observe, discover, chit chat about nature.  Only one day a week is spent actually focusing on one particular aspect of nature and using our abilities to pay attention to details by sketching what we see.  Sometimes this is in our own yard, other times we get in the car and go on an excursion to a park or join our local Nature Study group.  We aim to stay outdoors for 3 hours.  When done on a consistent basis and there is decent weather, this is quite easy.  When the weather is not ideal and we have been inside more, it makes it all the more difficult to enjoy a 3 hour time outside.

-We usually include Handicrafts into our day at least 2 times a week in the afternoon.  We have done paper mâché, painting sea creature artwork for my son’s bedroom, string bowls, embroidery, friendship bracelets, and attempting to use a loom.

-We end our day with free reading in our separate rooms.  I call it “room time”.  Everyone gets time on their own to read, including mommy!

-Then it’s free time, maybe more crafts, dinner prep, and cleaning up before Daddy comes home.

-At night before bed, we try to read one of the free reads together as a family. Currently, this is Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

As I continue to read Mason’s works, read the AO forum, listen to podcasts, and we pray over direction for educating our children, our days and lives continue to get further shaped. I don’t find this a burden, but a great joy that Jesus has given me to continue to learn and revise. Again, I’m thankful for all the Ambleside Online contributors and other homeschool moms and encourage those hoping to carry out a Charlotte Mason home education to consider this resource. I am hopeful that we will all see the fruit of our hard labor!

7 responses »

  1. Thanks for being so open and vulnerable in sharing your homeschool day. I am reading, thinking and learning about Charlotte mason as much as I can right now for when my kids are ready to start. I have four 4 and under so once we get going it will quickly be doing multiples who need assistance from me for readings, etc. I’ve been trying to get some tangible ideas on different ways people have done ambleside online with multiples in the younger years and appreciate the view of your families rhythm


  2. I loved watching these videos! Thank you for letting us into your home! Your doing an amazing job! I am curious what spanish your son was doing on the ipad? I like that I he could work on it independently 🙂


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