Year 1 Wrap-Up for Kid Uno (my version)

If you’re wondering what we really think of the Ambleside Online selections for Year 1, you’ve come to the right place. These are my thoughts and notes to myself from the end of the year (my Year 1 page has links to everything we used):


  • Average weekly time: Together (5 hours), Kid Uno alone (2.5), total 7.5
  • Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).
  • Add a few comments.
  • Any changes for next child?

Poetry and Recitation

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Neutral. Sentimental and a few racist. Classic, and several fun poems. Nice illustrations.

When We Were Very Young & Now We Are Six

Like. Funny and child-like and fun to read.

A Child’s Book of Poetry

Like. Nice selection. Beautiful illustrations. Rosetti was Kid Uno’s favorite poet.



Classical Kids CDs

Like. Kid Uno liked stories. Not as much emphasis on music as I hoped.


Like. Need to re-type and correct the gender-neutral versions for future years.



Tales From Shakespeare

Like. Very long. Difficult to read aloud (vocabulary, names, dialogue, long sentences). Need to look up name pronunciations in advance. Read and narrate in very small segments. I usually narrated instead of Kid Uno. Review characters frequently. Listen to on Librivox after reading. Watch play after reading. Kid Uno especially liked the female characters.

Blue Fairy Book

Like. Very long. Change schedule so they don’t coincide with Shakespeare readings. Kid Uno’s best narrations were probably from this.

Just So Stories

Like. Very long. N-word and some other racism in Leopard. Hard to read aloud at first but got easier and will be more fun second time around. Kid Uno enjoyed.

Aesop’s Fables

Like. Very short. Almost verbatim narrations. Kid Uno enjoyed and finished rest of book.


One Small Square Cave

Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount.

One Small Square Swamp

Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount.

One Small Square Arctic Tundra

Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount.

James Herriot’s Treasury

Like. Good stories, beautifully illustrated. Old, but not dated. One of Kid Uno’s favorites.

Burgess Bird Book

Dislike. Boring, repetative,  and conversation is dull to read aloud. Birds are difficult to keep straight with nicknames and without pictures. Kid Uno may have learned a bit about identifying birds based on plumage and nests, but I will look for something better (Arnosky?) and either ditch this or use as free read with next child.

Among the …. People

Like. Old and quaint. Nice combo of accurate animal descriptions and slight moral. It grew on us.

Nature Connection

Like. Practical and versatile. Weather section was good for Kid Uno’s current interests.



Trial and Triumph

Like. Difficult to read aloud, and mostly over Kid Uno’s head. Specialized and advanced vocabulary. Need to look up name pronunciations and define lots of words in advance. I learned a lot of church history. An older kid would get more out of it, but it’s ok as a read-aloud at this level. Slight Protestant slant so far but not anti-Catholic.

50 Famous Stories

Like. Short and interesting. Good narrations from Kid Uno. I learned a lot too. Schedule in entirety and in chronological order for next child.

Our Island Story

Neutral. Well-written, but more appropriate for older kid. I ditched after 2nd term; decided that much detailed British history was not what I want to focus on this year or next 2 years. Maybe for student to read alone in Year 4 or 5. Not much retention except for Boadicea 🙂

Viking Tales

Like. Need to define lots of vocabulary in advance. Good mapping. I learned a lot, and Kid Uno had good narrations. Nice combo of anthropology, mythology, battles, and history. Incorporate 2nd half of book with next child.


d’Aulaires Pocahontas

Like. Nice to have a female history character.

d’Aulaires Benjamin Franklin

Like. He came alive. Lots of mapping.

d’Aulaires Buffalo Bill

Neutral. Mostly like, but uncomfortable with “savage” Native American depictions. May ask DH for second opinion. Lots of mapping.

d’Aulaires George Washington

Neutral. Mostly like, but uncomfortable with “happy slave” depictions.



Paddle to the Sea

Like. Short. Lots to map. Fairly engaging story. Positive (if slightly stereotypical) depiction of Native American.



Rod&Staff Penmanship 2

Like. Mostly self-directed, takes about 10 minutes a day. Beautiful penmanship, and I like that the copywork is Bible and bird/animal themes.

Rod&Staff Penmanship 3

Like. Mostly self-directed, takes about 10 minutes a day. Beautiful penmanship, and I like that the copywork is Bible and bird/animal themes.



Life of Fred

Like. Kid Uno loves it. Fun, and concepts I’ve never heard of (commutative principle). Apples, Butterflies, most of Cats.

I Love Math books

Like. I actually haven’t looked at them much; Kid Uno likes to pore over them for about 20 min. as an assignment 1-2x week.

Ray’s Primary Arithmetic

Like. Methodical and easy to use (with Eclectic series teacher guide). Have thoroughly covered addition and subtraction with single digit carrying and borrowing up to 100. Boring for Kid Uno, but we do it daily and she spots patterns and likes the word problems.


Like. Have done most of orange and some of red. Takes a lot of preparation for me since it’s an unfamiliar method. Will be easier for me second time around. Love that it introduces concepts (like equations and negative numbers) far earlier than traditional math. Also measurements and geometry and time not covered (so far) by Rays. Kid Uno does several pages 1-2x per week. Usually enjoys it.

Bible and Memorization

Ambleside Online Bible Selections

Like. Good selection; maybe a bit short and sparse. Frequently need to provide context. Would like to discuss a little more than we did. Kid Uno reads aloud from NIV.

Simply Charlotte Mason Verse Packs

Dislike. Liked at first because free and self-directed, but dropped after 2nd term as the verses were so random and out-of-context. Memorized Ps. 136 together for 3rd term. Big improvement.



Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

Dislike. SO BORING for us both. And at least 2 typos and weird formatting. Flew through the first .75 of book. Last .25 helpful for covering phonics, syllables, roots, etc. but there’s got to be something better for phonics follow-up of 100 EZ Lessons.

McGuffey’s Second Reader

Like. Great for student read-aloud skills. Great for vocabulary. Will be great for spelling and recitation if we need it in the future. I find the extreme moralistic tone highly entertaining, and Kid Uno loves the stories. Covers interesting topics.


Art Appreciation

John Singer Sargent

Like. Pictures are small.

Van Gogh

Like. Not as many familiar paintings as I anticipated.


Like. Good size pictures.

Art Instruction

Art Treasury

Like. Kid Uno complained about it but produced nice art. Great selection of artwork. I bought and consolidated all the supplies at the beginning of the year, and it was nearly all self-directed after that.

Drawing Textbook

Like. Kid Uno complains but does one lesson daily and seems to have incorporated some principles into her regular drawing. Usually self-directed, but pretty easy for me to demonstrate if she needs help.

Youtube Drawing Videos

Like. Free. Kid Uno loves them. Lots of variety.

Nature Journal

Like. Combo of observation and art. About 1x per week. Might help to make it a bit more methodical but I think it’s ok as-is.

Mesa Art Classes

Neutral. Kid Uno and Kid Dos loved them, but I don’t think they learned much art for the amount of my time and money invested. More of a social experience.



Soccer at Rec Center

Like. A fun family experience if not a lot of skill-building 🙂 Kid Uno loved it.


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