A Charlotte Mason Afternoon Schedule

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”.

12 thoughts on “A Charlotte Mason Afternoon Schedule

  1. Pingback: My Matrix | Sabbath Mood Homeschool

  2. Pingback: A Charlotte Mason Morning Schedule | Sabbath Mood Homeschool

  3. alexandra Nelms

    I am really enjoying this site. I love AO, but just don’t see it working for the long run because we already have 4 kids 6 and under and LORd willing will have more. I want a Charlotte Mason schedule not just curriculum. Here is my current issue two/ sometimes three of my children nap every day from about 12:30- 2:30… Then everyone wants a snack and if we get out it’s usually not close till 3 and then I have to think about being home around 4:30 to make dinner… Any suggestions? I try to get our school work and house work done in the morning and my baby also naps from about 9-10:30 every morning.. We are doing a full on year 1 with my 6 year old and my almost 5 year old daughter is begging to read and write and learn math.. Every day she asks me to spend time teaching her; so I know she will require some time as well

    1. Nicole

      It sounds like you are doing a lovely job. Remember that every season of our lives includes challenges, but having those 4 little ones should be seen as a blessing. Enjoy them every single day, because time goes by fast. Your form 1 student (grades 1-3,) only needs about 2 1/2 hours per day of school. Keep trying to work that into your morning. And do let your 5 year old participate as much as she wants, just don’t require it. There are pre-reading activities you can be doing with her. In fact, consider all the subjects that everyone can participate in – coloring at the table during copywork time, listening to the Bible, literature and a poem together, etc. Don’t require your little ones to narrate, but they can certainly be in the same room, quietly playing with a special activity that is only made available during this time. You’re doing good! Remember, you won’t always be in this phase of life, so just keep a smile on and do your best. Your family will be blessed for it.

      1. alexandra Nelms

        Thank you Nicole, for some reason I just saw this comment. I am acutally doing Mason’s Alveary this year and am very excited! I was able to push morning naps back to 1:30, so we are able to fit a daily nature walk in every day after lunch : )

  4. Lauren

    Hi Nicole. I have just been introduced to Charlotte Mason and am really feeling motivated to have our family begin to follow her model. I have a couple of quick questions 1.) Where did snacks and meals fit into Charlotte’s schedule? Were students expected to go from 9:00-12:00, 9:00-12:30, or 9:00-1:00 (depending on their form) without any additional food? Or do you think a snack was permitted during the 10 minute “play time”? What was consumed during tea time? And at what time did they have dinner? More importantly, are there any insights to be found (either from Charlotte or from your own experience) regarding how to handle food during the day with 4 boys who are forever hungry? Food breaks were a big distraction last year, so whatever we do, I know that it needs to be scheduled as opposed to spontaneous. 2.) I’d love to see some “modern day” homeschooling schedules that encompass the entire day (including morning routines, chores, evening activities, etc.) . . . both for students AND for mom. If you or others would be willing to share their full day schedules, that would be awesome! Thanks so much!!!

    1. Nicole

      Lauren, about 7 years ago we were forced to change our eating style, which eliminated things like cereal and pancakes for breakfast, and limited us to things that included more protein, such as eggs, meat, and oatmeal for our morning meal. I found that with the increase of protein, the need for a morning snack diminished. (An added benefit is that morning protein is so helpful for growing kids ability to use their brains.) Then, when snacks are needed, I limit them to an apple, a handful of nuts or a piece of cheese. Something that requires no prep and isn’t so fun that they want to get distracted by it. Fun breakfasts and snacks should be saved for weekends. Good grief that sounds so militaristic! But let’s face it, food can be a big distraction for children, and it doesn’t need to be if it isn’t too much “fun” or empty of needed protein, fat and good carbs to sustain them. Regarding the rest of the day – I’m working on a scheduling 201 lecture right now, and as soon as I have that ready, I will make it available here. That will include a little more about how to make the best use of the rest of our day, while considering that we are mom’s without maids/cooks/laundresses, most of us!

      1. Jo

        Hi Nicole,did your ‘scheduling 201’ that you mentioned in July in a comment here, make it on to here? I have looked but can’t see it – really in need of seeing how to fit in my other duties in the home like lunch for example in a house of 4 hungry boys!

  5. Tina Paul

    I always love coming back to this post for a fresh overview of our afternoons. It makes me wonder about the mealtimes that were scheduled for children during Charlotte Mason’s day. When you mention tea time in the later afternoon, was this actually a child’s evening dinner time? I am curious to know their mealtime and even bedtime schedules.


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