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CLAA Sample Homeschool Schedule

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Without question, the #1 question I receive from families starting in the CLAA is:

“What type of schedule do you recommend for CLAA studies?”

I have heard families using the Seton home school curriculum talking about having their daily homeschooling done in a few hours.  If that’s your goal–to get done quickly every day–fare well.  The reason such a schedule is possible is because Catholic homeschool families are taking the minimum standards of modern K-12 education and are making a rule of them.

Modern K-12 requirements have nothing to do with Christian education, and we should be embarassed to even speak of them in homeschooling discussions.

Can you imagine presenting such a curriculum to any of the saints and asking what they think of it?  They would have no idea what they’re even looking at.  Imagine the conversation:

St. Thomas:  “What is this?
Parent:  “It’s the modern K-12 curriculum.”
St. Thomas:  “When did the Church establish this?”
Parent:  “Oh, it was never established by the Church.”
St. Thomas:  “What philosopher established this?”
Parent:  “I have no idea.”
St. Thomas:  “Where did this curriculum come from, then?”

Parent:  “I don’t know.  It’s just what all the schools do today.”
St. Thomas:  “So, you’re giving your Catholic children a secular education, at home?”
Parent:  “Yes–but we do study Latin.”
St. Thomas: “Why?”
Parent:  “I don’t know.”
St. Thomas: “Grammar and Reasoning?  Ethics and Scripture?”
Parent:  “No. There’s no time for that–and, we get done in just a few hours each day.”

That’s the reality we’re dealing with.  It’s approaching the craziness that most Christians mock in liberal political circles.

On the contrary, the classical liberal arts, which, before the Scientific Revolution and Protestant Schism, was the only curriculum known anywhere among Catholics, requires everything a student has.  Their study is a way of life that one must choose instead of inferior pursuits.  This is taught plainly in the inspired book of Sirach, which teaches us, honestly, the separation of the mechanical arts and the liberal arts (both of which are valuable):

“Whoever is free from toil can become wise.”

In other words, we must choose to pursue wisdom instead of other things, and those who do not cannot have it.  If a student will devote his hours to playing sports, or studying computers, or building furniture, or practicing the piano, he will do so at the expense of liberal studies.  We must choose to pursue the noblest work in this world, and very few are choosing this work today.

The Schedule

The recommended schedule can be viewed here:

It is important to understand that for any schedule to “work”, it must be able to handle the unavoidable interruptions that come in the providence of God.  To maintain an inflexible schedule is selfish and unsustainable, and to have no schedule because of interruptions is unreasonable.  The schedule provides a default routine, or goal, to which everyone returns as soon as any interruption has passed.  Children in the home assumes that the schedule is to be followed unless told otherwise.  The family can always maintain the schedule while individuals attend to their own tasks and appointments.  The schedule is the norm and goal, not the rule.

How the CLAA Helps

In the Classical Liberal Arts Academy, we don’t sell books to homeschool families.  We are a home-schooling family and live the life we recommend to others.  Our program is arranged to serve the true classical liberal arts curriculum and we provide all of the resources and services required to succeed in it.  The schedule we recommend is tested and proven not only effective but sustainable in real-life circumstances, where family members are busy as parishioners, relatives, neighbors and friends.  We’re not ashamed of talking about the practical details of family life and home-schooling.

Please feel free to ask any questions about the recommended schedule here or on the CLAA Support Forum, which offers a little more privacy.

Mr. William C. Michael, Headmaster
wcm@classicalliberalarts.com

2 thoughts on “CLAA Sample Homeschool Schedule”

  1. I’ve given a lot of thought to this since it landed in my inbox yesterday. It adds to the framework of the philosophy of education for your CLAA classes. With due respect, Charlotte Mason’s principles of education, format of lessons, and timetable pursue a very different and, dare I say, perhaps a higher calling for the formation of the person outside studying theology, philosophy, the trivium, and the quadrivium. The formation of a child is not merely what is put into him that he draw from later in life, but also includes having time to think on living ideas and concrete truths, and create like his Creator. These are just as valuable for the child as for a grown person in a profession, though in a different and appropriate dose. You and I may disagree on what that “appropriate dose” is. There is good reason Charlotte Mason has been called “The Accidental Thomist.” I invite you to check out her principles and volumes. (I do not refer to just the first part of Volume 1: Home Education, which is devoted to nature study in children under age 9. Many stop there but there is so much more to unpack.) They are in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Thank you for your excellent blog and for posting more about your philosophy of education.

  2. Thanks for commenting. I don’t necessarily disagree with anything Charlotte Mason teaches, but I disagree with how her teaching is transformed into a marketing gimmick to sell books, which is the problem in modern circles. Most of Mason’s teachings are just obvious observations in the context of real life, where conditions are ideal or close to ideal. The problem in modern society is that this natural, family-oriented learning environment is almost non-existent, and artificial institutions seek to replace it–which I reject and write against constantly. I support homeschooling because of what it CAN and SHOULD be, not because of what it actually IS in most places, and I’d say the same thing of Charlotte Mason’s ideas.

    My online courses are intended to supply the material for the FORMAL times of study, not as a replacement for good culture and Catholic living. If you’d read more of what I write and learn more about my family’s life, you’ll get a fuller picture. This is one article sharing my family’s schedule for those who might benefit from it. It’s not a rigid schedule actually imposed on anyone or required. In the Classical Liberal Arts ACademy, I provide the content and assessments, along with tutorial resources to help, but the method used by a parent to teach and “knead in” the content is not mandated in the lessons. All courses are self-paced, with no artificial deadlines or time restrictions. Parents are free to use it as they wish. The schedule I shared is a *default* schedule and, again, if you’d read more of what I write, you’ll learn that my family lives on a farm and we take days away from this schedule to work in the gardens, enjoy beautiful weather, etc., but I would never pretend that my family life is to be presented as some kind of necessary “method” of education since every family’s circumstances are different. What the “Charlotte Mason method” really boils down to is having a child learn to be a good and wise adult by living with a good and wise adults (again, basic biblical teaching from Proverbs). When this adult doesn’t exist in a child’s life, the “method” goes out the window and turns into the ugly “unschooling” mess we see today, where children simply live like animals. For every parent to pretend that they are this good and wise adult Mason has in mind is not reality. Few have the education they covet for their children and “No one can give what he does not have.”. Finding a balance between “natural” or “personal” learning and “artificial” and “formal” instruction from outside sources is the real challenge of education. We seek to help with the artificial part, making my classical knowledge available for parents who need an outside source for it. I can teach my kids the classical liberal arts on the beach or in the garden…others can’t.

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