Merging Forms to Create Your Own Schedule

It’s finally time to put pencil to paper and actually make your own schedule! This video will take you through the entire process that I use. I hope it helps you. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below. If you are wondering about something, someone else might be too.

Here is a PDF version of my matrix, that is easy to print out.

Here is a copy of my matrix that you can download to excel, or save as your own Google Doc and manipulate as I have done in this video: Matrix to download and manipulate.

I mentioned the blog posts Initial Questions and Considerations, and Is Following a CM Schedule Impossible? and you can check out the rest of the posts in this series by going to the Preparing a CM Schedule Main Page.

38 thoughts on “Merging Forms to Create Your Own Schedule

  1. Brandy Vencel

    This was just excellent, Nicole! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I have always said that to survive multiple forms, we must "combine everything that can be combined" but…you are combining some things I hadn't considered…which means I really, really look forward to your post on dictation. I still only have one student who is dictation age, but that will be changing soon. 🙂

  2. Kjlb37

    I cannot wait to have some time this afternoon to really study this. I have been sort of dragging my feet in making our schedule this year. I think this will be a great help, thank you!

  3. Jennie Schlegel

    Thank you so much Nicole! This is such a blessing to me as after my first year of being all over the map to see what would work best for my 6 girls have decided to go strictly CM. This is so nicely laid out on how to schedule 4 different forms and work so many different subjects together. I will now be adjusting the several AO years I was trying to do into narrowing down some to be done together. Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank YOU!

  4. Amanda

    Yes, thank you! The video was really helpful and I am working through it and the spreadsheet. Thank you for sharing so much! This is a big blessing.

  5. Amber

    Thank you! This is wonderful. I've managed to watch it twice today and I'm thinking, thinking, thinking. I absolutely love seeing how you work with the spreadsheet, and doing a video was such a wonderful way to present the material. I'm going to try manipulating the schedule for my own family tomorrow. Thank you for making the CM time tables into something that might actually be helpful instead of overwhelming and confusing.

  6. Amber

    I was watching your extremely helpful video again and remembered I wanted to comment on My Family and Other Animals. 🙂 I bought the audiobook and we finished listening to it in the car a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful, although I rather wish I was reading it out loud so I could censor Larry! We started Birds, Beasts and Other Animals (also from Audible) but the whole part with the pregnant peasant woman got to be a bit too much for the ages of my kids. I can't decide if I should skip ahead in the audio book, read it out loud myself and censor, or just put it aside. The narrator of the audiobook is so good, it would be a let down to read it myself! Have you read that one too?

  7. Kelly

    This entire series has been AMAZING. Thank you so much for putting it together and for making the big picture and the small details so clear. I know for a fact it would have taken me years to put my head around it; now I have a bit more of a head start. I feel like the PUS schedules are actually something I can utilize now instead of just marking them off because they look like too much. I don't have multiple forms to contend with yet, but I am sure I will find an even greater renewed appreciation for the matrix when I do! Two questions about the form I schedules you've mentioned in previous posts. What exactly was meant by the Natural History? Also, reading happens for 30 min 6 days/week. Does that include a read aloud AND reading/phonics instruction? I didn't see reading instruction listed anywhere else.

  8. Nicole Williams

    Yes, there are times when you have to make substitutions. I crack myself up, however, when I make a substitution for a word used, and then the other character in the book responds by chiding the bad language – and my kids saying, what bad language? My big kids laugh because they know what I've done. I think it's best if you can just skip over a bit, rather than throw out the whole book. I haven't read Birds, Beasts and Other Animals, but I have started The Overloaded Ark.

  9. Nicole Williams

    Ahhhh, Natural History. My very favorite subject. The short answer is that it is the science we do in the elementary years. I have a whole page devoted to it: Elementary Science/Nature Lore ( It tells why we do it, how much we do it at what ages, and gives a list of books.

    Regarding reading on the schedule, children this age would definitely be learning to read, but not for 25 minutes at one time per day. In the article, Is Following a CM Schedule Impossible? she says, "with a number of children ten minutes does not seem enough for reading." Ten minutes. She also comments at the end of his article that, "A second daily reading lesson of about quarter of an hour for young children attending school in the afternoon is a tremendous help. Their progress compared with that of others at the same age attending only once a day is very marked." So based on these quotes, I think they were spending 10 – 15 minutes of this time on reading instruction and the rest I suspect was spent on literature and history. I draw that conclusion because they are included on the programs, but there is no time specified for them on the schedule.

  10. Daphne

    I have a couple of questions and I hope it doesn't sound stupid,
    1. what does it mean when it just says yes in the box
    2. What would LA Reading for a Form 1 be? and Form 2?
    3. They are doing CW only 1x a day? Mine had a couple of CW assignments before I saw this.
    4.Under Science what is object Lesson Form 1 says 10mx3 and 2 says special study?
    5. What is Citizenship in Form 2?
    6. I am a little confused @ the History breakdown since we are using AO.
    So sorry for all the questions and any help is appreciated
    I have a 11 1/2, 10, 7, 6, 4, 3, and 3 months.
    I am using AO pre yr 5 & Yr 2. I have 2 forms but in Jan I start the 6 & 7 in yr 1. I am not quite sure how to do this I am somewhat confused.
    We have been doing the following together
    Shakespeare, Hyms, composer, memorization, and Plutarch but now I will not do Plutarch with my littles,,was making our Circle time LONG.

  11. Sandi Verfurth

    I have tried to comment several times and am having technical difficulties. If you see a couple of comments that are very similar, it's because I keep retrying and can't remember exactly what I wrote before!

    This series is such a blessing to me. I'm transitioning to a CM education with my 6th grader. I've tried before, but scheduling it all in and figuring it out was just so daunting that I didn't get very far. But this time I'm in the middle of the process and actually doing it because you've made it so understandable. Thank you! I also really appreciate your sweet spirit. It really comes through. I just wanted you to know that all of your hard work in figuring this out for your own family and putting together this series for others is definitely not in vain! You are really making a difference for so many women. Thanks again.

  12. Karla A

    I am reading this series for the second time around and learning even more than a year ago! Thank you so much for this resource. I have tried watching the videos in both my pc and ipad but they are not available anymore 🙁

  13. Karla A

    Thanks! I had just found you on YouTube 🙂 and funnily enough, now that I'm back to the blog (after watching them in YouTube) I can see the videos working! This is like when you take your sick child to the doctor and they get all hyper and apparently healthy looking once the doctor enters the room 😛
    I loved the videos! I'm making my schedule right now and can't wait to put it into practice! Thanks!

  14. Emily B.


    This video was so helpful! Thank you. As a follow up to this post, I was wondering if you have any other videos or posts that address how you break down your matrix and booklist into daily plans for the year? I am planning on using Ambleside Online this fall, but I am struggling to plug in their curriculum to my spreadsheet and break that down even further into a daily schedule. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!

  15. Nicole Williams

    Emily, at about the 10 minute mark in this video I put together what I use as my weekly schedule. In that schedule, noted below each topic I write in my books. For instance, I might have a slot for Geography, and I have noted below it "Lewis and Clark". So that is when we will read that book. You will probably find that not everything AO has listed will fit in the schedule you made for your family, or that you have to find other things that aren't on their list. Trust your schedule.

  16. Rochelle Wells

    Thank you for this video!
    I have a question for you that I'm finding hard to get answered concerning teaching in true CM style: aside from her first volume (which is taking a while to get through), is it a good choice to purchase SCM's Learning and Living dvd set so that I can be sure I'm teaching using CM's methods and not just using the AO curriculum? If not, is there another dvd or audio series you suggest that will spell things out for me? I own For the Children's Sake on Audible and love it, but I feel like I'm still missing a piece of the CM puzzle.
    Thank you ahead of time for your reply.
    P.S. My kids will be in Yr 3 and Yr 1 beginning August 1st.

  17. Misty

    My oldest daughter just turned 9 in June. I am having a hard time deciding what to do. She's going into '4th grade,' but should I complete year 2 for AO, or just move up to Year 3. I want her to get the rich education, and not miss anything, but I also don't want to hold her back because her abilities are great when it comes to reading, comprehension and all things natural 🙂 (Math we're working on). Thoughts? Thank you so much for this whole series!!

  18. Misty

    Hi! I found your blog from Brandy Vencel and have been perusing for hours (can't sleep – allergies :/). I have a question. I started using AO last fall, my then 8 year old I started her in year 2. However, we ended up spending 3 months in Uganda adopting my youngest and then transitioning back to the states, selling our home and moving (april – june), needless to say, we only made it through 1 1/2 terms, not all 3. It was a very crazy year.

    My oldest daughter just turned 9 in June. I am having a hard time deciding what to do. She's going into '4th grade,' but should I complete year 2 for AO, or just move up to Year 3. I want her to get the rich education, and not miss anything, but I also don't want to hold her back because her abilities are great when it comes to reading, comprehension and all things natural 🙂 (Math we're working on). Thoughts? Thank you so much for this whole series!!

  19. Nicole Williams

    You are asking a very good question, Rochelle. One that I wish more people would ask. The truth is, that I'm not familiar with any of the DVD options, and have learned all I know just by reading CM's volumes. It sounds like both of your kids are in Form I, which means you are in the right place reading through volume 1. Everything you need to know is in there, and I would try really hard to make the reading of it a priority. Oddly enough, you will better understand her principles by reading that volume and will have a strong foundation which will make all of their later school years much easier.

    That said, there is also some specific information after the midpoint in Volume 6, that can be of help to you as well. Look at the table of contents for the section about curriculum.

    As the years go by you will understand more and more by both homeschooling this way, and reading her own words. I'm not sure we will ever be perfect, but by doing both of these things we will certainly go further than just taking someone's "word for it".

  20. Nicole Williams

    The short answer is that you should build your schedule and hence, her curriculum, around both her age, her abilities, and the time period your family is studying, not a a year of AO. Once you have prepared a schedule for the year, based on those things, you can fill it out with books from both AO year 2 and 3. In other words, pick what suits her. You might even find that looking at the TruthQuest guides will help you find more options that suit her well. There are so many wonderful books out there, and frankly, she WILL miss many of them. But this style of homeschooling is not about not missing something. It is about getting the most out of everything we do. Let what you can get to be a joy, and always put the schedule before the books. I, for one, am so happy I did not get to read every great book when I was a kid, and therefore can enjoying them with delight for the first time with my own kids. I hope that answers your question.

  21. Jo

    Hello – i just tried to comment but i think it didn't load up…..
    Just starting cm in a few weeks with my previously public schooled 12 and nearly 14 year oldboys, my 5 1/2 year old boy and a 1 year old tagging along.
    I appreciate your 'keep the schedule rather than the booklist' approach as i am looking at AO and freaking out trying to juggle it all in my head – much less in reality!
    When you combine forms for all those things in your chart – how do you handle the readings? Do you read aloud to all of them? or do they all have a copy of the book and read to themselves?
    Given the ages of my boys – which cm volume would you advise me to start reading first?
    Like a previous commenter – I am so 'awed' by the work of the AO booklists and experienced ladies, I feel like it has to be followed to the letter else I would be wrong or missing something vital out of our cm education. We are starting late (with the older 2) i feel like I'm closing my eyes, waving a gun around shooting randomly instead of accurately aiming for a target…..does that make sense?

  22. Rochelle Wells

    Nicole, thank you for your reply!
    I think sometimes I place too much pressure on myself to get it right the first time when learning is a process from infancy to death, really. I will go ahead and purchase books 1 and then check out AO's volume 6 at your suggestion.

    I have seen several versions, well maybe they are the same book with a different cover. Hopefully I can find the red covered one.

  23. Nicole Williams

    Jo, I have SO MUCH to say on the topic of starting your kids with CM at a later age. Too much to say right here in a comment, but be reassured that you are preparing them for life, not graduation day.

    Regarding reading, things change depending on the book. If we are all reading the same book and it is at a level the kids can manage, then we take turns – maybe 10 minutes each. Otherwise I read it aloud to them. If they have their own book for that time period, then everyone reads quietly during that time.

    Volume 6 is going to be the best place to start for the homeschooling of your older two children, and it has practical advice for teaching your littles as they get started as well. But volume 1 will also be very useful to you. It will tell you what you need to know to start your little ones off right, and the philosophy you will learn there will be very valuable in teaching your older children too.

  24. Jo

    I wonder if you have written (somewhere on your blog maybe?) more about starting CM at a later age? I could really use some support/direction and encouragment. So much of cm stuff on forums and websites is about the younger years, very little on the older years – and hardly anything on starting late. Do you have anything ….pretty please? 🙂

  25. Nicole Williams

    I hope the title doesn't offend you, but I did write about my siblings, which I began homeschooling in middle school in a blog entitled "Renewing the Minds of Damaged Learners" ( I talk about the various subjects, and how they received them, and how I had to make accommodations. You are right, it is a topic that is not written about as much, and maybe I will take the time to write more about it soon. I talked about it in a workshop at the CMI conference this year, so I have more than enough info gathered. In the mean time, you might listen in to our new podcast A Delectable Education. I talk about my siblings quite a bit there, and how things looked a bit different because they didn't start this kind of education from the beginning.

  26. Michelle Davidson

    I see that history gives room for weekly lessons of US, English and World History all at the same time…If we follow a chronological history (such as the modules from Simply Charlotte Mason, or even TruthQuest) would we just give 20 minutes to that 3 times a week?
    Technically studying the Medieval times would be England and France, but in the same period right?
    Every time I think I get it right, I start changing things in our school and I want to give a bigger feast than I have been.

  27. Barb

    Hello! I am wondering if there is a list of what subjects to not put next to each other. As I’m sitting here working on our schedule I’m doubting myself. Thanks for any tips/help! And thank you for this video and for your fabulous resources!! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us.

    1. Nicole

      Hi, Barb. The ADE Schedule cards include this information, but we just based it on our opinion. There is no list anywhere that I know of. Just think of things like what part of the body is being used, hands, mind, mouth, ears; and how hard the lesson is for your child, for example, compare Plutarch to singing. I hope that helps.


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