Category Archives: Ambleside Online

Kid Uno’s Year 3 Course of Study

This is how we PLANNED to do Year 3 with Kid Uno. I’ve noted where we have dropped, added, or substituted books. There are a lot of changes from the Ambleside Online suggestions. Here’s the evaluation of how it went: Year 3 Wrap Up for Kid Uno

Disclaimer: Kid Uno is a strong, voracious reader. She will read anything I throw at her. This year will probably look different for my other kids, who may not be at a similar reading level at this age.

Reading

  • (Daily) Continue reading Third McGuffey Reader aloud daily (probably moving on to the Fourth). Define vocabulary words, talk about grammar and types of writing, correct pronunciation.

Writing

  • (Daily) Copywork from the Pentime Grade 6 Cursive book, about 1/3 of a lesson each day. Move to next level when she finishes.
  • (2-3 Weekly) Begin dictation: study a sentence from McGuffey or a lit book, write as it’s dictated slowly, compare, and correct.

Math

  • (Daily) Work through the third year of Ray’s Practical and Ray’s Intellectual as recommended by the Eclectic Manual. The Ray’s Test Examples has extra problems for more practice, and the Ray’s Key is coming in handy for checking. Memorize multiplication and division flashcards at the beginning of the year to improve speed.
  • (2-3 Weekly) Work through the rest of Miquon series (starting with Blue), probably 6-9 pages weekly.
  • (Weekly) I’ll read her one or two lessons from the Life of Fred series (picking up where we left off in Edgewood). Or she will read independently because I am getting tired of Fred. She’ll write the answers on paper or a whiteboard.
  • (Weekly) Choose a living math book to read for 20-30 minutes. I need to find more titles from the living math list.

Bible/Spiritual Reading

  • (Weekly) Kid Uno will read aloud the passages scheduled by AO, and then narrate. Sometimes we’ll discuss the reading.
  • (Daily) We usually read to all the kids from Egermeier’s or The Jesus Storybook Bible or DH reads through a book of the Bible.
  • (2-3x Weekly) We (or I) will pick 1-2 lengthy passages per term for Kid Uno to memorize.  I might also assign some lists to memorize (like the books of the Bible).
  • (Weekly) Read one Saints: Lives and Illuminations with Kid Dos.

Poetry

  • (Daily) We’ll take turns reading the scheduled AO poets. I’m dropping Longfellow (he’s scheduled again in Year 5, I believe) and replacing him with Vikram Seth and Marilyn Singer (for fun, and to branch out from American/British poets).
  • (2-3x Weekly) Kid Uno will memorize and recite 1-2 poems per term.

History

We are not at all following the AO history progression anymore.

  • I’m not using Our Island Story nor This Country of Ours. They are a bit dated, a bit imperialist, a bit racist, and a bit more detailed than I want for a six to nine year old. We still may use Our Island Story later, but probably not the This Country of Ours.
  • We are doing an overview of world history by reading A Child’s History of the World (the updated, not-racist version). One or two chapters a week. We read half in Year 2, and will finish it this year.
  • We aren’t using any of the AO scheduled biographies this year. They are scheduled based on AO’s history progression, so I’m subbing my own biography choices. I have all 51 titles in the  Signature series. Kid Uno read most of them in Year 2, and if she doesn’t finish them during vacation (for fun–not assigned), she can continue reading at least one each week.   She will read the book, narrate to me, find some places on the globe, and put some people/dates on her timeline. When she finishes that series, I will probably select some of the easier ones in the Landmark series, and assign them the same way. And/or read the bio of Teresa of Calcutta, scheduling about 1-2 chapters per week. Another option might be some of the Who Was series, which a friend of ours really likes (but I haven’t looked at them yet). They might especially be good for reading about more modern (post 1960) people.
  • Trial and Triumph: I dropped this permanently. Dislike the writing, and disagree with the religious POV.
  • I printed a free timeline from SCM and put it in a 3 ring binder. Every couple weeks, Kid Uno will add some names and dates from our readings. This will probably be the last year; in Year 4 she will probably start some version of a century book.

Geography

  • I’m moving Minn of the Mississippi from Year 4 to Year 3. I’d like to be done with the Holling books this year, and it will tie in nicely with my literature substitutions this year. 🙂 I’m scheduling one chapter per week.
  • I will probably move Marco Polo to Year 4, as I’m planning some sort of explorers theme for Year 4 history and geography. I like the Demi, Freedman, and Walsh Landmark versions best.
  • When we finish Minn (week 20), I’ll schedule a couple books from Mater Amabilis geography people and places for this year. They are a nice intro to Russia and China as big countries with many regions and people groups, and a gentle introduction to communism. Sovietrek: A Journey by Bicycle Across RussiaThe Children of China: An Artist’s JourneyA Little Tiger in the Chinese Night: An Autobiography in Art. We will map them as we read. The other Mater Amabilis geography books are on Kid Uno’s free read pile (they are fiction).
  • We’ll continue using the globe and maps to find places we read about.

Natural History/Science

Our science is also not looking at all like AO!

  • Handbook of Nature Study: I don’t use this at all. It’s for the teacher, not the student. It’s not open-and-go, and I think there are better modern options. Instead, we did the first half of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding for Year 2, and will finish the second half this year. I try to find the suggested supplemental books at the library, and let Kid Uno pick a few to read.
  •  I may (or may not) have her do Nature Connection again this year. There are still activities she can do in the calendar section, and it might be neat to see how her work is different from Year 2. But if her workload is too heavy, this will be the first to go (or maybe do it once a month).
  • (Weekly) She’ll also keep a nature journal through the year. I usually assign her something specific outside to draw or paint. I might make it more methodical this year. For example, pick six different trees in our neighborhood. Spend one week drawing the shapes, another week the twigs and leaves, another time the flowers (or seeds, cones, berries, etc.), another week a bark rubbing and leaf rubbing…Another theme could be drawing an insect, an arthropod, a crustacean, a mammal, a bird, etc., paying attention to the differences.
  • We will read four of the One Small Square series, with Kid Dos. There are twelve books, and I plan to read them all in Years 1-3. They cover various habitats, with the various animals and plants that live there.
  • Pagoo: one chapter per week. Maybe we will get a horshoe crab? 😉
  • Secret of the Woods: dropping this (I find it annoying, and not the most effective way to learn about nature) (if I can find a cheap copy, I’ll add it to free reads). Subbing Wild Season, which I like a lot, two chapters per week.
  • (Daily) All our kids spend at least an hour outside daily, regardless of the weather. They get lots of nature time!
  • Continue explorative activities (rock tumbler, camping, nature walks, raising caterpillars, mixing liquids…)

Literature

  • We will read most the AO selections except
  • Parables from Nature. I pre-read a couple of the stories, and couldn’t stand the moralizing. Also, most of the forum comments I read said that the Year 1 children couldn’t understand much of it at all, and it took one or two years to grow into. So I decided not to bother, and instead we like
  • Among the….People. They are much more palatable. If we read 33 chapters per year, we will read all the books by Year 3. Kid Dos will be listening too, this year.
  • I’m also dropping Children of the New Forest and subbing Tom Sawyer. Kid Uno has been begging to read Tom Sawyer, and I think it is a much, much better book than COTNF (but is only a free read in Year 5???) I’m glad I pre-read COTNF–it was very long, predictible, unbelievable, and had such flat characters…or maybe I just didn’t like it and can’t imagine reading it aloud…it’s going on the free read pile.
  • And I am scheduling American Tall Tales much faster, and adding The People Could Fly. Great African-American folk tales.
  • For Shakespeare, we read Lamb’s. Then sometimes listen to it on Librivox. Then sometimes watch a movie version. Kid Dos will join this year.
  • Pilgrim’s Progress: Read Christiana’s journey.
  • Non-fiction: This is NOT Kid Uno’s favorite genre, but I think it’s important. We started strong in Year 2 (requiring one book per week) but lost it about half-way through the year. Will put more emphasis on it for Year 3. I have a bunch of short-ish books on the shelf for her to pick from 😉

Foreign Language

Music

  • Continue violin lessons
  • Listen to various genres, composers, styles, and instruments
  • Learn three hymns/songs per term

Art

  • (Daily) Drawing Lesson: She is interested in fashion and figure drawing, and wants to work on colored pencil. I have a couple of books she can pick from, so I think I’ll let her choose what she wants to work on each term (or month), and do a little bit daily.
  • (Weekly) Continue art projects from Scott Foresman. I think she left off on Grade 3.
  • (Weekly) I picked one artist per term (Georgia O’Keefe, John James Audubon, and Salvador Dali), and bought a coffee table art book by each artist. I’ll pick one painting each week for Picture Study.

Handicrafts

  • Chores: She will learn some new ones 🙂
  • Maybe introduce some weaving that is more advanced than the potholder loom
  • Clay has been very popular here lately…experiment with some different types

Free Reads

  • Kid Uno is a reader–she has read most of the the AO Free Reads for Years 3 and 4, so I’ve been using other book lists to compile a large stack for her.

Sports

  • She and Kid Dos have been asking about gymnastics
  • Maybe soccer again in the spring? Maybe ballet again? Maybe baseball with Kid Tres?

Extras

There’s so much we can count as “school”! Pretty much just life in general. But I will try to keep track of the extras we do like

  • Tracy Aviary nature walks
  • A new baby!
  • Trips and camps
  • Maybe children’s theatre or a membership to the natural history museum this year?

Exams

  • At the end of each term, DH will do exams with Kid Uno. I’ll use the AO exams for Year 3, tweaking to fit the books we used.

So that was the first time planning Year 3!

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Kid Uno’s Year 2 Course of Study

This was how we PLANNED to do Year 2 with Kid Uno. I’ve noted where we have dropped, added, or substituted books from the AO Year 2 schedule.

Here are the updated evaluations of how it went: Year 2 (my version) and Year 2 (Kid Uno’s version).

Reading

  • (Daily) Kid Uno will read aloud from the Second McGuffey Reader (probably moving on to the Third). We will define vocabulary and talk about punctuation.

Writing

  • (Daily) She’ll work through the Grade Four Rod & Staff penmanship workbook.
  • Then she’ll move on to the Pentime series, starting with the Grade Five workbook, spending about 5-10 minutes a day completing a lesson or half a lesson.

Math

  • (Daily) We will work through the multiplication and division sections of Ray’s Primary Arithmetic. The first time through sequentially with beans and marbles and matches; the second time through alternating multiplication and division, mostly working out the problems in her head. If we finish the book, and whatever other exercises are in the Eclectic Manual, we may move on to Ray’s Intellectual Arithmetic. Or I may use Kitchen Table Math or some of Ruth Beechick’s suggestions for more practice.
  • (Weekly) I’ll read her one or two lessons from the Life of Fred series. She’ll write the answers on paper or a whiteboard.
  • (Weekly) She’ll do several pages from the Miquon books. I’ll assign the pages, sometimes explain how to do things, and correct them.
  • (Weekly) She’ll pick a book from the I Love Math series and read whatever she wants (for about 20-30 minutes)

Bible

  • (Weekly) Kid Uno will read aloud the passages scheduled by AO, and then narrate. Sometimes we’ll discuss the reading.
  • (Daily) We usually read to all the kids from Egermeier’s or The Jesus Storybook Bible.
  • (2-3x Weekly) We (or I) will pick 1-2 lengthy passages per term, and will memorize them together. I might also assign some lists to memorize (like the books of the Bible).

Poetry

  • (Daily) We’ll take turns reading the scheduled AO poets. I dropped Eugene Field because he sounds too sappy for me; I may replace him with an Australian poet or some haiku, or just read extra poems by the other scheduled poets.
  • Kid Uno will memorize and recite 1-2 poems per term.

History

We are not really following the AO history progression anymore.

  • I’m not using Our Island Story nor This Country of Ours. They are a bit dated, a bit imperialist, a bit racist, and a bit more detailed than I want for a six to nine year old. We still may use Our Island Story later, but probably not the This Country of Ours.
  • We are doing an overview of world history by reading A Child’s History of the World (the updated, not-racist version). One or two chapters a week. Half this year, and half in Year 3.
  • I’ve been buying lots of the Landmark and Signature series, and plan to assign one per week for Years 2-6. Haven’t decided yet whether to assign them in a particular order or just let Kid Uno pick whatever strikes her fancy. She will read the book, narrate to me, find some places on the globe, and put some people/dates on her timeline.
  • Trial and Triumph and The Little Duke: We’ll read as scheduled by AO.
  • I printed a free timeline from SCM and put it in a 3 ring binder. Every couple weeks, Kid Uno will add some names and dates from our readings.

Geography

  • (Weekly) Seabird and Tree in the Trail: Will read as scheduled.
  • We’ll use a little globe and a big US map to find places we read about.

Natural History/Science

  • Handbook of Nature Study: We didn’t touch it last year, and I don’t plan to. It’s for the teacher, not the student. It’s not open-and-go, and I think there are better modern options. I’m considering using The Amateur Naturalist and/or The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors for the other kids and future years.
  • (Weekly) Instead, we’ll finish Nature Connection. We started with the weather section, since Kid Uno is into weather, and then finished with the naturalist section. We’ll do the monthly section in Year 2.
  • (Weekly) She’ll also keep a nature journal through the year. I usually assign her something specific outside to draw or paint.
  • (Weekly) We will read four of the One Small Square series. There are twelve books, and I plan to read them all in Years 1-3. They cover various habitats, with the various animals and plants that live there.
  • The Burgess Animal Book for Children: Dropping this…it’s going in the Free Read pile because I can’t stand reading Burgess. I may sub The First Book of Mammals, and maybe something by Jim Arnosky.
  • (Daily) All our kids spend at least an hour outside daily, regardless of the weather. They get lots of nature time!
  • (Every other week) This is the year I’ll implement Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. Half this year; half in Year 3. I’m considering doing it as a family, or at least with Kid Dos, too. That way, I’ll only need to teach it every other year. I may also try to find the suggested supplemental books at the library, and let Kid Uno pick a few to read.

Literature

  • We will read all the AO selections except
  • Parables from Nature. I pre-read a couple of the stories, and couldn’t stand the moralizing. Also, most of the forum comments I read said that the Year 1 children couldn’t understand much of it at all, and it took one or two years to grow into. So I decided not to bother, and instead we’ll read from
  • Among the….People. They are much more palatable. If we read 33 chapters per year, we will read all the books by Year 3.
  • For Shakespeare, we read Lamb’s. Then listen to it on Librivox. Then watch most of the plays on YouTube.

Art

  • (Weekly) I picked one artist per term (Mary Cassat, Raphaelle Peale, and Picasso), and bought a coffee table art book by each artist. I’ll pick one painting each week for Picture Study.
  • (Daily) Kid Uno will do about one lesson daily from the Drawing Textbook (unless she has another art project scheduled).
  • At the beginning of last year, I bought all the art supplies for the Usborne Art Treasury, and set them aside for school. Kid Uno picked one project every other week, and did it herself. There are about six projects left, so she’ll finish them up at the beginning of this year.
  • Then, she’ll probably move on to a couple of Scott Foresman art books…I’m still deciding how to use them. (Chapter by chapter? Concept by concept? Randomly?)
  • On alternate weeks, she’ll choose from free YouTube drawing lessons by Shoo Rayner, Mark Kistler, and Jan Brett (and others).

Music

  • (Weekly) I’m picking three genres of music per term, and we’ll use Pandora, Songza, and CDs to listen to a variety.
  • Hymns: I asked DH to pick some favorites, and then printed and filed them. We’ll sing them together a couple times a week (and go over the vocabulary).
  • Folksong: Does watching WeeSing DVDs count?
  • Kid Uno wants to play violin, so we are looking into music lessons. If we get a piano soon, we may add that this year, too (or instead).

Foreign Language

  • We may continue Spanish very informally

Handicrafts

  • Chores: She will learn some new ones 🙂
  • Possibly a pottery class?
  • Probably continue sewing or weaving…

Free Reads

  • Kid Uno is a reader–she will probably fly through all the AO Free Reads again, so I will be consulting all my favorite booklists again!

Sports

  • She and Kid Dos will probably start ballet again in the fall.
  • Sledding in the winter. Maybe learn to snowshoe or cross country ski?
  • Maybe swim lessons? We’ll see what she’s interested in this year.

Extras

There’s so much we can count as “school”! Pretty much just life in general. But I will try to keep track of the extras we do like

  • Zoo membership

Exams

  • At the end of each term, DH will do exams with Kid Uno. I’ll used the AO exams for Year 2, tweaking to fit the books we used.

And that was our first version of Ambleside’s Year 2!

Kid Uno’s Year 1 Course of Study

This is how we did Year 1 with Kid Uno. I’ve noted where we have dropped, added, or substituted books. I’ve also noted changes planned for Kid Dos.

Reading

Writing

  • (Daily) She worked through the Grade Two and Grade Three penmanship workbooks from Rod & Staff, spending about 5-10 minutes a day completing a lesson or half a lesson.

Math

  • (Daily) We worked through the addition and subtraction sections of Ray’s Primary Arithmetic. Twice! The first time through sequentially with beans and marbles; the second time through alternating addition with subtraction, mostly working out the problems in her head. Then we worked through the addition and subtraction exercises in the Eclectic Manual.
  • (Weekly) I read her one or two lessons from the Life of Fred series. She wrote answers on paper or a whiteboard.
  • (Weekly) She did several pages from the Miquon Orange and Red books. I assigned the pages, sometimes explained how to do things, and corrected them.
  • (Weekly) She picked a book from the I Love Math series and read whatever she wanted (for about 20-30 minutes)

Bible

  • (Weekly) Kid Uno read aloud the passages scheduled by AO, and then narrated. Sometimes we discussed the reading.
  • (Daily) We usually read to all the kids from Egermeier’s or The Jesus Storybook Bible.
  • (2-3x Weekly) At the beginning of the year, I had printed the free verse packs from Simply Charlotte Mason. Kid Uno picked one each week to memorize. They were short, but totally out of context, and she didn’t really remember them. So for the 3rd term, I picked Psalm 136, and we memorized it together. That was much more satisfying!

Poetry

  • (Daily) We took turns reading the scheduled AO poets.
  • She memorized one poem (the shortest poem in each book) per term

History

  • We read the three scheduled American History bios and also added Pocahontas by the d’Aulaires.
  • Our Island Story: We read this as scheduled the first two terms, and then I dropped it. I am thinking of using it in Year 4, but it’s too much British history for us, and a slightly over the head of a 7 year old.
  • Fifty Famous Stories Retold and Viking Tales: Read as scheduled but not all the chapters were scheduled. I assigned the remainder to Kid Uno to read herself, and narrate. For Kid Dos, I plan to schedule all the chapters in these two books in lieu of Our Island Story.
  • Trial and Triumph: Read as scheduled.
  • I printed a free timeline from SCM and put it in a 3 ring binder. Every couple weeks, Kid Uno added some names and dates from our readings.

Geography

  • Paddle to the Sea: We read as scheduled.
  • We used a little globe and a big US map to find places we read about.

Natural History/Science

  • Handbook of Nature Study: We didn’t touch it, and I don’t plan to. It’s for the teacher, not the student. It’s not open-and-go, and I think there are better modern options. I’m considering using The Amateur Naturalist and/or The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors for the other kids and future years.
  • (Weekly) Instead, we used Nature Connection. We started with the weather section, since Kid Uno is into weather, and then finished with the naturalist section. We’ll do the monthly section in Year 2.
  • (Weekly) She also kept a nature journal through the year. I usually assigned her something specific outside to draw or paint.
  • (Weekly) We also read three of the One Small Square series. There are twelve books, and I plan to read them all in Years 1-3. They cover various habitats, with the various animals and plants that live there.
  • (Daily) All our kids spend at least an hour outside daily, regardless of the weather. They get lots of nature time!
  • James Herriot’s Treasury and The Burgess Bird Book for Children: We read these as scheduled. James Herriot was great; Burgess Bird not so much. Kid Uno picked up a little info about birds, but I can’t stand reading it aloud, so it will go in the Free Read pile for the next kids. For Kid Dos, I will probably keep the AO theme of birds, but use The First Book of Birds. And maybe something by Jim Arnosky or John James Audubon. 

Literature

  • We read all the AO selections except
  • Parables from Nature. I pre-read a couple of the stories, and couldn’t stand the moralizing. Also, most of the forum comments I read said that the Year 1 children couldn’t understand much of it at all, and it took one or two years to grow into. So I decided not to bother, and instead we read from
  • Among the….People. They are much more palatable. If we read 33 chapters per year, we will read all the books by Year 3.
  • For Shakespeare, we read Lamb’s. Then listened to it on Librivox. Then watched most of the plays on YouTube.

Art

  • (Weekly) I picked one artist per term (Caravaggio, Van Gogh, and John Singer Sargent), and bought a coffee table art book by each artist. I picked one painting each week for Picture Study.
  • (Daily) Kid Uno did one lesson daily from Drawing Textbook (unless she had another art project scheduled).
  • At the beginning of the year, I bought all the art supplies for the Usborne Art Treasury, and set them aside for school. Kid Uno picked one project every other week, and did it herself.
  • On alternate weeks, she did free YouTube drawing lessons by Shoo Rayner, Mark Kistler, and Jan Brett.
  • Kid Uno and Kid Dos took four lessons at a little art studio.

Music

  • (Weekly) We bought the Classical Kids set of CDs, and I split them up fairly evenly (and in chronological order) to be listened to through the year. I’m not sure they were worth the cost; we’ll see how Kid Dos likes them.
  • Both girls love watching ballet on YouTube, so they also listened to a lot of classical music.
  • Hymns: I asked DH to pick some favorites, and then printed and filed them. We sang them together a couple times a week (and went over the vocabulary). We sang four Christmas hymns during Advent, and about one per month the rest of the year. They aren’t memorized, but they are more familiar now.
  • Folksong: Does watching WeeSing DVDs count?

Foreign Language

Handicrafts

  • Weaving potholders on a little loom
  • Helping build and paint a treehouse
  • Baking and chopping vegetables
  • Planting, weeding, and harvesting a garden
  • Sewing
  • Caring for bunnies
  • Chores: washing dishes, putting away laundry, emptying wastebaskets
  • Helping care for a new baby brother
  • Organizing toys and books
  • and so on

Free Reads

  • Kid Uno is a reader. She flew through the AO suggested free reads in the first couple weeks. So I pulled heavily from other booklists the rest of the year.

Sports

  • Swim lessons at the rec center
  • Soccer at the rec center
  • Playing tennis with grandparents
  • Hiking and bike riding

Extras

There’s so much we can count as “school”! Pretty much just life in general. But I tried to keep track of the extras we did like

  • Keeping a bird feeder and hummingbird feeder
  • Taking a trip to Washington, DC
  • Having a zoo membership
  • Camping and hiking
  • Writing letters
  • Selling lemonade
  • Visiting family and hosting friends

Exams

  • At the end of each term, DH spent about two days doing exams with Kid Uno. I used the AO exams for Year 1, tweaking to fit the books we used. He took notes for me to read later, and I listened in when I could.

And that was our first version of Ambleside’s Year 1!

How We Do…Schedules

I like to plan…It’s so much prettier and more perfect than actually implementing the lessons 🙂  It goes in spurts–there’s no set time I spend planning. I just get in the mood and start working on the future.  It’s fun to change things till they fit us just right. The Ambleside Online schedules for each grade are my framework. We school year-round, with a couple weeks off here and there (for camping, for out-of-town visits, for vacations, for new babies, for spring fever). In theory, I’d like to accomplish the bulk of our academic stuff between November and April, when the weather here is not as nice, and we spend more time indoors than outdoors. The AO schedules are based on a 36 week school year (broken into three twelve week terms), plus one week of exams at the end of each term. So I round up to 40 weeks of school, and 12 weeks off. Our state requires no reporting, so we basically have complete freedom in the scheduling department. We can also teach whatever subjects we want, when we want, which is nice! And the compulsory education ages are 6 to 18, although there are so many exemptions for 16 year olds, I kinda look at it as 6 to 16. Which means I need to plan 50 years of education…so far 😉

For grade levels, we consider the kids to be whatever they would be at the local public school. So Kid Uno (age 8) is 2nd grade, Kid Dos (age 6) is Kindergarten, and so on. But their personal new school years start on their half birthdays (or a bit later). So Kid Uno started AO Year 1 when she turned 6.5, and Kid Dos is still Year 0. I try to get to a good stopping place in their schedules before we take time off, especially if it will be several weeks off, but I can see that getting complicated as we have more kids moving up into school age. Unless there are unforeseen issues, we will always have a kid in alternating years (so next year the three older ones will be Year 3, Year 1, and Year 0).

I’m thinking about combining them when possible, but I also think one of the great advantages of homeschooling is that kids can work at a very individual level. Some things–some readings, singing, and memorizing–could be easy to do together (in Year 1 and 3).

OK, now for the actual scheduling. For Year 1, I used the AO Year 1 Schedule pretty much as is, while adding and dropping a couple things. Then I printed and stapled each term. Every day, when we completed something, I marked it off (or wrote in the box), and sometimes added notes on the bottom. Not very hi tech but it worked great for me. When I plan  Year 1 for Kid Dos , I will be making a lot more changes. It seemed like the readings weren’t spread out very evenly, and next time I can adjust that.  For example, the D’aulaire and Holling books need to be sped up. And I will be treating a week of camp at a working farm as part of nature study. And so on.

For Year 2, I made several more changes, and the subject categories were very different in my head from AO’s. So I used the AO Year 2 Schedule with a lot of modifications. Actually DH did most of the formatting, since his skills are far more up to date than mine. This year I had a much better idea of how long certain readings and projects would take, and the weekly flow has felt much smoother than last year.

For Year 3 (it’s only in my head so far), I think we will be departing quite a bit from AO’s schedule, and somewhat from the booklist. Mainly in science and history.  I’m feeling much more confident in knowing what materials are available, what is important for our family, what our kids’ interests are…and I’ve bought lots of books I’m more excited about using than some of the AO selections. 🙂  I feel like I have a good handle on how to do Charlotte Mason without being married to the AO way. So I can use it as a starting point, and then tweak it. And after completing a couple years, it’s getting easier to just choose a book, decide how long it should take, and divide up the chapters or pages or whatever into weekly readings. Or to look beyond books, and recognize a birthday origami kit as a handicraft, or raising bunnies and chicks as nature study, or future violin lessons as part of music appreciation.

I don’t really schedule Year 0. I print the Sonlight P4/5 book list, highlight the ones I like, and cross them off as we read them. Same for the Five in a Row booklists. And once the child is age six , I aim for 3-4 days per week of reading, writing, and arithmetic, plus lots of reading aloud, time outside, music, playing with friends…just regular family life.

in a nutshell, my scheduling method is

  • Pick the books, projects, activities, DVDs, or whatever else I want to use for a year
  • Divide them into three terms
  • Divide into weeks
  • Check them off as we go along

That way, I never really feel like we are behind; if we take time off, or miss a day, we just pick up where we left off. There’s no daily schedule. I like trimesters better than semesters or quarters. Enough variety, but enough time to get into a groove.

Oh, and I use the exam questions (modified to fit us), and DH spends 2-3 days or evenings administering the exam to Kid Uno at the end of each term. He records the answers, and I eavesdrop a bit; it’s entertaining! I like having him do it–it’s a bit of a safety net in case there is some huge gap or misunderstanding or weakness somewhere that I might have missed–he can alert me to it.

These two blogs have some helpful posts on scheduling:

http://sabbathmoodhomeschool.com/preparing-a-cm-schedule/

http://wildflowersandmarbles.com/2011/07/21/a-considered-booklist/

And it’s been very helpful to me to hash things out with a good friend whose kids are in the same year, and to bounce ideas off DH and my mom when I’m changing things around.

So that’s my rather anal box-checking scheduling…sometimes I wish I could just grab random books and say “Read this”…but I really like those nice little spreadsheets with things crossed off….it feels like such an accomplishment at the end of a week! 😉

Purpose of This Blog

Why add yet another blog to the billions out there? And why blog about a Charlotte Mason education when there are others far more expert than I? The short answer is that Charlotte Mason lived about a hundred years ago, and while her educational principles remain the same, the world has changed, and we have access to lots of more up-to-date material than what she used. The internet, for example!

We are loosely using the resources and schedules at Ambleside Online  to homeschool our children. The hard work put into that free curriculum is amazing, and has made it easy for me to get started without starting from scratch. It has its weaknesses (for our family and goals), but I love to tweak, so I’ve made lots changes to fit the curriculum to our family.  I’m hoping to use this blog to keep track of all my changes (and the reasons for them), and do a yearly wrap-up of what worked and what didn’t. And maybe it will be helpful for other homeschoolers.

One goal of AO was to make the curriculum cheap and accessible by using mostly public domain texts. Another goal was to re-create as nearly as possible the type of education Charlotte Mason provided her students. Neither of those are my goals, so a lot of my tweaking reflects my attempt to modernize some of the content (especially history and science), and to use books I prefer over some of the free, vintage books. I’m using  “modernize” loosely; lots of our books were published in the 1950s and 1990s 🙂 And lots are from the 1800s.

Many homeschool curricula these days revolve around history. For us, it’s not the center. My academic tiers are skill subjects first:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Arithmetic

and then all other content subjects are second tier, have more or less equal value, and may depend somewhat on the interests of the child. For example:

  •  Geography
  • Music theory
  • Astronomy
  • Botany
  • Public speaking
  • Drawing
  • Art appreciation
  • Poetry
  • History
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Test-taking skills
  • Zoology
  • Ballet
  • and so on

So I want our children to develop strong abilities in the first three areas, and then to have at least a taste of all the other areas. This is for ages 6-12…I haven’t planned much past that…yet. 🙂