If most of the book work was done during the morning hours, then what did the afternoon look like? Wouldn’t it be nice if I told you that the afternoons were just time off? Well, they are to some degree, but there was still a plan.
First, “afternoons” started at different times for the different aged children. Form I (1-3 grade) finished morning school work at 11:30, Form II (4-6 grade) finished at 12:00 and everyone else continued until 1:00. This might be tricky if you have a range of ages in your home.
From the time school ended until about 3:45, the children were free to run and play games. Nature study, drawing in a nature notebook, and taking a walk were other activities done during this time.
Marion Berry says of her time as a student at Scale How,
“If we were not out on organized nature walks, bird walks, Geog trots or playing hockey or netball, we were supposed to go for a walk for at least an hour and half in the afternoon.” (I Buy A School, pg 25-26)
She was 18 years old at the time, so I think we can brush off the idea, that outdoor time is just for the little kids. In fact, Charlotte Mason said,
“It seems to me a sine qua non of a living education that all school children of whatever grade should have one half-day in the week, throughout the year, in the fields.” (Volume 3, School Education, pg 237)
And to solidify the point, Charlotte Mason herself included a DAILY “nature walk or ride” in her own schedule from 2:15 – 4:00. (Essex Cholmondley, The Story of Charlotte Mason)
The hour before tea-time (3:45-4:45) was allotted for handicrafts (which often included housework,) singing, painting, picture study, practicing (music lessons maybe,) dancing, sewing and a certain amount of reading. Form V and VI (11-12 grade) students may have done another hour of some kind of schoolwork during this time or later in the evening.
In addition to all of this, there were optional Sunday and holiday readings included on the programmes. (As I mentioned in my last post, I suspect these optional readings were not optional for the child, but optional for the teacher to assign based on the ability or fervency of the students.)
This summer you might want to practice your afternoon schedule, so that when you officially start school this year, you will have that part down.
Tomorrow we will talk about the possibility of following a CM schedule in our own home.
Preparing a CM Schedule Main Page
A Charlotte Mason Morning Schedule
Summer is a Good Time to Practice
The Work and Aims of the Parents’ Union School by Miss O’Ferrall, an ex-student of the House of Education. *Note that towards the bottom of this article she refers to the student teachers as the “students”, and children and “children”.