My Matrix

Now that we know the importance of a schedule and the need for flexibility in making one of our own, let’s consider how we go about preparing one that works for our family.

I’ve talked a lot about the schedules and programmes that the P.U.S. schools used. I think it is worthwhile to really study these.

Every year things change, your children change forms, you add another piece of the CM puzzle to your schedule, another child becomes old enough to officially be schooled, so it’s important to go back to the true foundation each year as you begin making your schedule.

(Click on any of the images to look more closely.)

After years of studying all of this myself, I created a matrix of subjects based on both the PUS schedules and programmes. I needed a more orderly look at what the students were doing, and found that by re-ordering the schedules I was able to see so much more.  (Click here to print it out or save for your own use as you work on your own schedule.)

Matrix

If a subject was on the PUS schedule, then I marked how long the schedule noted. If it was not on the schedule, but it was listed on the programmes, then I marked it with “yes”. Sometimes I marked “afternoon” if it was noted to be done during that hour before tea time.

This way, I am able to see clearly what all forms have in common. What subjects ALL students were doing, and therefore, what subjects I might be able to combine:

  • Bible and hymn
  • Much of the language arts: copywork, poetry, some literature, and memorization
  • Shakespeare
  • Foreign language (if your children are at the same level)
  • Nature Study
  • Some geography
  • Some history
  • Folksong
  • Picture Study
  • Drawing/Painting
  • Handicraft
  • Drill or Dancing
  • Singing
  • Music Appreciation

There are other subjects that a Form I (1-3 grade) child would not do, but the rest might be able to do together:

  • Composition (written and oral)
  • Grammar
  • Other foreign languages and Latin (again if they are at the same level)
  • Maybe math, particularly mental math
  • More history
  • Plutarch/Citizenship

Remember that a Form I student should be done earlier that the others, and even more so if you have them do some of their scheduled morning activities in the afternoons with your other children, such as handicrafts.

Your Forms III through VI (grades 7-12) students take longer to finish school, and there are a few things they can all do together as well:
  • More foreign language
  • Botany
  • Upper level sciences
  • Current events

And there are a few other things here and there:

  • Dictation
  • Natural history
  • Some science
  • Map quizzes
  • Some history

This is all very reassuring to a mom who is trying to school several children. Overlapping is possible. It is not necessary to have your children all doing completely separate work.

Related:
Preparing a CM Schedule Main Page

33 thoughts on “My Matrix

  1. Amanda

    I am just loving this series. I'm excited to see how and where you decided to combine. My students are 10, 8, and two just turned 6 year olds who will more formally join us this year, along with a 3 year old and baby. Thank you so much for thinking this through. I have attempted to look at the forms in the light you did here: https://www.amblesideonline.org/ProgrammesFormIII.html, though with Form II, about a year ago, and ran out of steam. I'm so glad you are sharing what you have found.

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  2. Nicole Williams

    Thank you for your encouraging words Amanda! I'll be showing how I combine forms on Wednesday. I decided to do it as a video, so I can better explain what I do. I hope it helps!

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  3. Nicole Williams

    This is a great question Laurie. The schedule for Form I lists "reading" but not literature or history. However, if we look at the programmes for Form I, we find books for English History and Tales.

    Children this age would definitely be learning to read, but maybe not for 25 minutes a day. In the article, Is Following a CM Schedule Impossible? (linked from the main scheduling page,) 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."

    All that just to point out that they were not spending that entire 25 minutes learning to read, and they were completing English History and Tales. So, when you make your own schedule you will need to allow time for all three.

    I hope I have answered your question. Please let me know if I have not.

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  4. Nicole Williams

    Kerstin, I'm so glad to know you came to my class at the conference. I had been so sick leading up to that day, and it was a blessing that I did not cough once through the whole thing! I hope this follow up on my blog helps clarify some of what I said there.

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  5. Laurie Gardner

    Nicole,

    I have a child in form 1 who has finished reading instruction, but still reads aloud to me daily as she is working on fluency. So I would use those remaining reading times then for tales, etc.? Correct?

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  6. Laura Lee

    Your blog is wonderful. I'm reading all your scheduling posts right now and plan to go back and read all your old posts over time. Right now I have a question for you. I will have a 16 year old student working at approximately a 5th grade level next year. She is not what I would consider a damaged learner, but more learning challenged. She came to us as a non-English speaker at age 5. School is just hard for her. My question involves scheduling. Would you recommend scheduling her lesson times more in keeping with her age or with her level of ability?

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  7. Nicole Williams

    Thank you so much for writing Laura! I got chill bumps when I read your comment because I can relate so well. I have an almost 15 year old son with severe dyslexia. He reads at a confident 3rd grade level. One of the biggest blessings we have as homeschool parents is that we can teach them, or provide the feast at their level. That means that we must consider both what they can accomplish on their own, AND what they can understand. I find with my son, that he can understand very high level stuff, but of course, he cannot read that stuff. So I have made the choice to read most of his work to him, or utilize audio books, of which there are many. He and I still sit down every single day to do a reading lesson, but I do not let his reading level hold up his education. I hope that makes sense. The take away is that you have to figure out how long of a day she can handle, and what material she can handle. Then you have to decide whether to have her read all of that material of just some of it. You will come away with a completely customized schedule for her. Which is so great! Think about it – we can only learn what we have a foundation for. We cannot start algebra, without learning basic arithmetic. So, the only thing we can do is start at the child's level and move forward. Moving forward like this creates success. Skipping things leads to failure. So the answer to your question – scheduling lesson times based on her age, or her level of ability – I say the level of her ability. But don't necessarily get stuck in one form. Work across 2 forms if needed. They did it in CM's time, so we can do it too.

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  8. Nicole Williams

    I'm sorry I overlooked your comment Laurie. I think this is the correct use of the time. Do you know that reading aloud continued all through school and is even included on the schedule in forms through high school. Of course, by that time they were focusing on eloquence, but the point remains that reading aloud should continue all along.

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  9. Brandy Vencel

    Hi Nicole! I hope you mind answering another question.Mine is this: In Form II, it says that Natural History is 25 minutes 3x per week. Then it says in parenthesis "1 lore." Can you explain what the difference would be between the lore lesson and the other 2 lessons? I tried googling, but "lore" seems to be "nature mysticism" to google. 🙁 Thanks! 🙂

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  10. Brandy Vencel

    Another question: do you have an explanation on why copywork would be longer for a younger student? I ask because my Form I students can only write for 6-8 minutes before they are no longer capable of "perfect execution." Because of this, that is the amount of time I've always required, and no more. What do you think? Is there something I'm missing here?

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  11. Nicole Williams

    I'm glad you asked Brandy. There are so many little oddities in this Matrix that I have picked up here or there, and sometime I have to work to remember where!

    Form II begins to look at general science a bit more using books like The Sciences, which is somewhat akin to our Storybook of Science, but at this age they still had some of the nature lore that was included in Form I. In Form I that was all the "science" they were exposed to. In CM's books you see the use of the terms Field-Lore or Naturalists books. (see vole 1 pg 64) CM actually uses the term folk-lore, bible-lore, fairy-lore and nature lore throughout her writing, and I think we can assume she just means "story". Anyway, my point in adding that to Form II is to specify that we aren't supposed to abandon these seemingly childlike stories just yet, even though we are beginning to take the next step with regard to science.

    I have written a bit more about science in the elementary years at the top of my Elementary Science/Nature Lore page. (You can find that on the right under Living Science Books.)

    Reply
  12. Nicole Williams

    I must say that my initial response would be the same as you, but we have to keep 2 things in mind. First, Form I covers ages 6-8, and when you consider that CM thought they should not do ANY formal schooling before that time, which would definitely include learning to read and write, then you must assume this would including the brand new beginner here. But then by age 8 they could possibly be flying! (Or not, as was the case with 2 of mine.) My only point here being that there is such an age range in Form I, so I think you have to consider your particular child when scheduling this.

    My next thought would be with regard to what was done during this time. Copywork for a brand new reader/writer would not be the same as copywork for an older student. Primarily, not out of a book. It would include instruction on the correct way to write the letter A, and then B, and so on. How to hold a pencil even. Maybe even writing in shaving cream or whatnot. So that might take more time. Still, as I pointed out in another comment above, even reading lessons didn't take more than 10-15 minutes, even though 25 minutes was scheduled. So something else very likely was going on at this time too.

    I'm sorry I don't have the best answer for you, and am mostly just brainstorming with you. I can tell you what I did – I only scheduled 10 minutes.

    Thank you Brandy. I do appreciate you!

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  13. Brandy Vencel

    Goodness! How did I miss that you had a nature lore *category*?? 🙂 Thank you. I have three forms this year, and so I'm combining a lot more than I've ever done in the past. It dawned on me that while my two older students need some real science reading, any lore could be combined…if only I was sure what lore was. 🙂

    Thank you so much!

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  14. Brandy Vencel

    I have to say that I feel relieved to know you were only scheduling 10 minutes. I will need to keep in mind what you said for my youngest, who is just beginning reading lessons this year. Now that you say it, it make sense that part of that time would be consumed by instructions and some one-on-one help…

    I appreciate YOU, by the way. This scheduling series has been oh so helpful.

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  15. Brandy Vencel

    Okay…one more question. I'm leading a CM study group on math tonight, and I noticed that Form I has "number" while Form II and up have "arithmetic." I'm trying to figure out the difference. I've combed through all the volumes, and I'm not getting it, because I do see her setting problems (using manipulatives — is that the difference?) in the early years…Any idea?

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  16. Nicole Williams

    I hope I'm not too late on this Brandy. I think you have to look again at the ages included. Your six-year old is going to have their first introduction to numbers, but the 8 year old will be beginning multiplication. I think the idea that they had "numbers" on the schedule is a little deceiving, because, again, there is a huge change in levels in those years.

    I hope your study group goes well. I love my study group and would be nowhere without them!

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  17. Brandy Vencel

    I did manage to see your comment right before I left. I checked my email one last time. 🙂 Thank you so much for answering me so promptly. I have been looking at your matrix on and off for two weeks, but the question didn't come to my mind until I was finishing my prep for the meeting! So: thank you so much!

    I completely agree on the value of study groups — my life is SO much richer because of these ladies. 🙂

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  18. joanne

    Just starting this journey. Thank you for a great resource: for giving, serving and sacrificing for your children and for posting it and benefiting our children as well. God bless.
    You've been so thorough but I'm still wondering about a few things.
    1) How did you come up with the notes on Citizenship in the Matrix? I can't find it on Forms II & III.
    2) How did you come up with the Geometry notes? I can't find it on Form III.

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  19. joanne

    Ha! Literally two seconds after posting I saw the combination of Plutarch and Citizenship. I don't know how they fit together, but at least I know how it fits in the puzzle. I'm still unsure of question #2 though.

    Reply
  20. Amy

    I also read a PR article on the use of the Time-table and it happened to mention that in Form 1 they used to just have 10 minutes for Copywork but then they realized for the students to really learn that the teacher needed to model by writing the passage/letters on the board while students watched and then they did it on their own, so it took double the time. I think by Form 2 they then could just copy the passage directly without the teacher modeling so it goes back to just 10 minutes.

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  21. Jennifer

    I've been wondering about expectations for my sons regarding their reading. Both are fluent (10yo, Year 4 and 13yo Year 7), but I've heard that they should be 'doing their own reading'. I love reading together, alternating turns reading portions aloud; it gives me a great opportunity to hear their progress. But it takes time. And, if they're 'supposed to' be doing their own reading, how does that work? I'd be thankful for any thoughts.

    Reply
  22. Catie

    I just wanted to say thanks for this great series! And I really appreciate you posting the Matrix as an “Excel” type document. SO VERY HELPFUL!!! 😀

    Reply
  23. Bonnie

    In the video, you talk about modifying the matrix electronically, but the only type of download I see is a PDF. Did I miss something? We are at the end of a term, so my brain is getting into vacation mode. 🙂

    Reply
  24. Samara

    This is incredible! Thank you! Can you tell me what “object lesson” is under science? I would assume that is journaling an object into your nature journal but am not sure?

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  25. Melanie

    I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you for all your hard work and for sharing it with all of us! You and the other ladies at A Delectable Education have been a great blessing to me! This particular post has been very helpful to me in making sure that I am spending the right amount of time on each subject.

    Many, many, many thanks,
    Melanie

    Reply

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