Tag Archives: Ambleside Online

A Helpful Resource for Scheduling

I came across these printable Subjects by Form charts at A Delectable Education, and I really like them! They’ve done all the work of deciphering what Charlotte Mason’s students did each year, but without the constriction of listing specific books. I find them much easier to use than Ambleside’s schedules where I have to look at each book and try to figure out why it is scheduled that year, and for what purpose it is assigned. I’m pretty comfortable picking my own books now, and these charts provide a nice framework for putting it all together. Anyway, I’ll be using them as I plan next year, and thought I’d link to them in case anyone else finds them useful.

 

 

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Year 3 Wrap Up for Kid Uno

Year 3 Wrap Up for Kid Uno

Average weekly time: Together (3 hours), Kid Uno independently (13), total 16 hours

 

Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments.

Any changes for next child?

[My answers are italicized]

 

Bible/Saints

New Testament AO Selections

Dislike. I don’t really like reading the Bible. The thing picks out a lot of stories that I don’t like.

Like. She narrated well.

Old Testament AO Selections

Dislike. It’s very boring.

Dislike. The AO schedule was so confusing. I need to change it for coming years.

Saints

Like. It’s very fun, it has good stories.

Like. I think Kid Uno mostly liked the beautiful girl martyrs, but they were all good. I thought the level might be too easy for her, but it wasn’t.

History/Bios

Child’s History of the World

Neutral. Some parts I like, and some I don’t. Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s boring.

Like. I love this book—I have learned so much. The last chapter about world peace was fluffy and skippable…I think I might read the Matthew passage about wars and rumors of war instead. 

Our Island Story

Dislike. It has a lot of dates I should memorize. All those battles.

Like. I actually haven’t read this. I wasn’t going to schedule it but Kid Uno asked to read it so I said yes as long as she wrote a narration after each chapter. It could be as long or as short as she wanted. I gave her a spiral notebook with some suggested questions to answer or help prompt narrations. She did well, and her illustrations were pretty great.

Timeline

Dislike. Very, very dislike. So boring. Well, neutral—it’ll help me remember stuff but I don’t like writing it.

Neutral. Kind of a drag, but it’s only every three weeks, and it pays off later.

Theresa of Calcutta

Like. She helped the poor and it was a very interesting book.

Like. I haven’t read this since I was a kid, so I skimmed each chapter and we went through some concepts and vocabulary before she read and narrated.

Geography

Minn of the Mississippi

Dislike. Very boring.

Neutral. It’s okay. I like Holling C. Holling, but his use of dialogue to narrate doesn’t work very well, especially for read alouds. it gets confusing, especially in this book. I think Kid Uno liked the turtle parts, but didn’t learn much geography from it.

Soviettrek

Neutral. It had some exciting parts but it’s all “I” [first person].

Like. We discussed communism and the USSR before she read. She filled in a printed map with some of the locations of the bike trip. I think it gave her a taste of Russian culture.

Little Tiger in the Chinese Night

Neutral. Like and dislike.

Like. We discussed communism before she read it. She filled in a printed map of China but she did it at the beginning of these two books, so I don’t know if she remembers much.

Children of China

Dislike. It wasn’t a very good story. I like stories, not like history. I don’t like non-fiction at all.

Like. We discussed communism before she read it. She filled in a printed map of China but she did it at the beginning of these two books, so I don’t know if she remembers much.

 Science

One Small Square Woods

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

Neutral. Very Eastern—we don’t have those kinds of woods around here, so when we tried doing a small square on the Jordan River, it didn’t work so well. And it was winter 😉

One Small Square Seashore

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

 Like. Read right after their trip to Florida, so some of it came alive.

One Small Square Savanna

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

Like. This one is easy to follow.

One Small Square Pond

Dislike. They’re boring and I know all those safety tips and stuff.

Like. Fairly interesting. Some overlap with Among the People.

Among the People

Like. It’s really fun, and it’s also interesting, and it’s also stories, but I still learn something.

Like. I thought the eels crawling through mud was totally out there, until I googled it and it is true! And the humor is great at times.

Pagoo

Neutral. Sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s fun.

Like. This is one of Holling’s better ones. We learned a lot about hermit crabs, and a little about the ocean and food chains.

Wild Season

Like. Cuz it shows the food chain, it’s also really fun.

Like. This is a great book; that’s why I assigned it. J Rather than verbal narrations, she had a little notebook and I told her to do a one page illustration of the main idea of each chapter. They were great. And I think she picked up on the food chain concept pretty well.

BFSU

Dislike. It’s science and I hate, hate, hate science, completely hate.

Neutral. This is such a great concept but I so dread implementing it. And Kid Uno whined about it. So halfway through the 3rd term, I just found all the non-fiction we own that line up with the ideas, assigned her a book to read, and discussed afterward. That worked a lot better. I have re-done my schedule for BFSU 1 and 2 for next year in the same format, but will be beefing it up with projects and videos.

Nature Journal

Dislike. Cuz I can’t pick what I like to draw, and it’s nature.

Like. Term 1 was the best, when I scheduled topics ahead of time. The other terms were haphazard, which was ok.

Nature Connection

Neutral. Cuz I ran out of projects and had to do it three years.

Neutral. I think it is worthwhile, but it is redundant now that I have more experience and more resources for nature study. This is Kid Uno’s third year with it, and that’s more than enough.

Literature

The Heroes

Like. Cuz it’s a story.

Like. Although I haven’t quite finished it 😦 I need to pre-read faster! A good, fairly short intro to mythology. Kid Uno read it on her own.

Princess and the Goblin

Like. Cuz it’s also a story, and it’s very fun cuz she finds her grandmother.

Like. Kid Uno had already read the abridged version, so she was a bit nonplussed to read this again. But she liked it, and kept asking to read ahead.

Shakespeare

Neutral. Cuz sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s not.

Like. Especially Hamlet, since I’ve never read it before. I get some of the others mixed up since they are formulaic, but they are all good.

Pilgrim’s Progress

Dislike. Hate. The worst story imaginable. The younger one [Little Pilgrim’s Progress] is much, much better.

Dislike. Thanks, John Bunyan, for making me explain rape to a nine year old, and victim-blaming while you’re at it. Ugh. I keep waffling on whether to drop this, but I keep thinking who am I to argue with previous generations’ acclaim for a lauded classic….or something. But I am postponing it till Kids Dos and Tres are in Year 3 and 2, so I don’t have to read it again next year.

People Could Fly

Like. It has fun stories.

Like. This is one of my minority tweaks that I am really happy with. The stories are great, and Kid Uno picked up on the allusions to death.

Tom Sawyer

Like. Love. It’s so fun, and he goes on the best adventures.

Like. This was a great sub for Children of the New Forest. We did three chapters a week for one term, which was a lot of reading, but it was a good one to do together since she doesn’t understand a lot of the context. There were a couple boring chapters, but most was much better than I remembered as a kid.

Jungle Books

Like. Love. Fun stories. Very interesting. And I learned a different language about how to say animal.

Like. Kipling has really grown on me. This was amazing. Took about 45-60 min per chapter, so it was a lot of reading, but again a really good one to do together.

American Tall Tales

Like. It’s not true but it’s really fun.

Like. Classic tall tales. She’d already read most of them in another book, so I think we skipped some narrations.

Poetry

William Blake

Like. It’s very pretty and nice and sweet.

Like. My only exposure to Blake was a terrible college class which took weeks to discuss Tyger and I hated it. Kid Uno and I read Songs of Innocence and Experience, and they were pretty cool, especially the original illustrations.

Vikram Seth

Hate. They’re not very good poems for me, and I don’t like what he writes.

Like. These were great story-poems (Beastly Tales), and another of my non-western additions.

Marilyn Singer

Like. They’re really good, and they’re backwards.

Like. We read Mirror Mirror and  Follow Follow. Very clever.

Sara Teasdale

Neutral. Some are good and some I don’t really like.

Like. But I think these would be more appreciated by an older someone, say 14ish. Kid Uno didn’t really get into them.

Math

Rays Intellectual, Practical, and Test

Dislike. Hate. It’s the worst schoolbook in my whole life. It’s hard, it’s confusing, it’s very un-fun.

Like. I know Kid Uno doesn’t like it, but it is so simple, effective, and short. Although I assigned way too much long division at the beginning of that section, until I realized 10 problems took her 2 hours!

Strayer Upton

Like. It’s easy and fun and it tells the stories that goes along with it, and it makes it easy for me to understand.

Like. We finished half the red book. Kid Uno loves it (compared to Ray’s), and I like that I can pick sections where she can use some easy practice. It could be fairly self-teaching. Not as advanced as Ray’s; it’s probably about grade level.

Miquon

Dislike. Hate. It gives me problems that sometimes I don’t understand; sometimes it’s really easy, sometimes it’s really hard. I like stuff to teach me but be very easy.

Like. The perfect complement to Ray’s. Kid Uno doesn’t love it, but she doesn’t complain about it much. She will finish it in Year 4.

Life of Fred

Neutral. I’d like to go into older books cuz it’s very easy. Some easy things I like, some I don’t.

Dislike. Actually closer to hate. Just inane, and she learns absolutely no math. The only redeeming quality is that she associates something funny with math. Kid Uno has been reading them on her own; I am done reading them forever; considered selling but will probably hang on to them and just let the kids read them when they want to.

Flashcards

Dislike. If it showed all the cards on the computer it would be faster because I wouldn’t have to flip cards over.

Like. She does multiplication or division a couple times a week, and has been getting faster. Takes about 10 minutes per set.

Writing

Pentime Grade 6 and 7

Neutral. I don’t like long things but I do like short things.

Like. Cheap, quick, effective, and pretty.

Reading

McGuffey’s Third Reader

Dislike. I like reading stories better than all that Bible stuff.

Like. This book is fairly boring, but it has been great for elocution. I’ve also used it as an early intro to dictation. She picks 2-3 spelling words at the end, studies them for a minute, puts the book down, and copies them.

Art

Scott Foresman 4, 5

Like. But I’d rather be able to skip around

Like. We’ve continued using these for art projects. She is self-directed, and there is some good variety. We’ll move on to something else next year.

Pencil Drawing Books

Dislike. Not at all fun because I can’t draw what I like, and I like drawing people. I don’t like drawing their way.

Like. She has been working through her choice four weeks at a time, and I think it’s added to her skill.

Theatre at Children’s Theatre

Like. Our teachers were really good and nice.

Like. It was rough getting Kids Uno and Dos to classes during the winter at naptime with a new baby. But they really enjoyed it, and I think they learned some vocal and public speaking and memorization skills.

 Picture Study

John James Audubon

Like. It’s fun, and interesting.

Like. Good way to learn observation.

Georgia O’Keefe

Neutral. Some of her paintings I liked, some I didn’t. It’s not my type of drawing.

Like. The book I ended up with was tiny so I may upgrade for future kids.

Salvador Dali

Dislike. Hate. All that scary stuff and weird stuff and naked people.

Like. I thought Kid Uno would dislike him, but she was pretty into it.

Music

Hymn

Dislike. I don’t really like singing it together the way we do it.

Like. I love when we have learned one, and then we sing it at church, and she is happy because she knows this one!

Haydn, Beatles, Harp, Aaron Copeland, U2, Steel Drums, Debussey, Selena, French Horn

Like. Love. SELENA—she’s the best singer in the world…

Like. This was a fun assortment. I’m pretty sure Selena was the favorite.

Violin Lessons

Like. It helps me learn about all the notes, and I’ve been able to learn a little piano, and it’s been very fun.

Like. Her violin lessons have been very worthwhile.

Memorization/Recitation

Bible

Dislike. Hate. Because I don’t like memorizing. Unless it’s songs from movies. I don’t like being made to memorize. Maybe we should memorize songs instead.

Like. She doesn’t like to put much time into it until the end of the term. I thought letting her pick a passage would be more enjoyable, but she just picked the shortest ones possible.

Poetry

Neutral. It’s not that fun.

Like. She doesn’t like to put much time into it until the end of the term. Maybe learning some techniques for memorizing would be helpful?

Handicraft/Skill

Emily’s Co-op

Like. Love. It’s so much fun, and I can make so many new friends, except I don’t get to see them a lot. Like A—he’s a friend of the C–. M—he was really fun, and we got to be great friends. Also A–.

Like. Emily was amazing to do this. Three hours every Friday morning for several weeks. The three older kids all learned some finger-knitting and Spanish, played parts in a fairy tale play, and did some nature journaling, and loved being with friends. The kids loved it.

Knitting, Weaving, Beeswax Candles, Microscope, Pet Care, Decorating Church for Easter, Clay, Making Rose Hip Tea, Origami, Making Lunch, Opening Pomegranates, Grocery Shopping, Legos, Beading, Gingerbread House, Baking Cookies, Brownies, Cake, and Pies, Felting Soap, Paper Cutting, Play Doh, Hand Sewing, Fairy House, Eco Art, Paper Fans, Building Fort, Harvesting Pine Nuts

Like. It’s fun.

Like. It’s all good!

Outdoor Exploration

Perseid Meteor Shower in West Desert, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Millcreek Canyon, Peace Garden, Sheepdog Festival, Week at Cabin in Grover, Tracey Aviary, Wheeler Farm, Neighborhood Seed Walk, Jordan River, Cattails, Aerospace Museum, Stockton, Treehouse, Tulip Festival, Thanksgiving Point, Discovery Gateway, Camping in Uintas, Week in Florida

Like. It’s very fun.

Like. One of the best parts of homeschooling.

 Sport/Physical Activity

Ballet at Missio

Like. Love. I even want to become a ballerina when I grow up. The teachers help me understand so that I’m able to do it right, and they are really patient and understanding. They always help me with it, even when I have lots of trouble. They say “you can do it”. Especially Laura—because she teaches my class and is always really helpful. They even give us breaks (which I don’t ask for).

Like. It’s free, the quality is equivalent to SLC Ballet which is not free, it’s nearby, DH usually takes them, and their performance was very sweet. It’s a keeper. Kid Uno is gifted at ballet; I need to look into whether she should take more or harder classes.

Running

Neutral. It’s pretty hard, but it’s kind of fun to get rewards for it.

Like. DH times the kids running around the block, and tracks their records on a spreadsheet. And Kid Uno ran her first 5k this year!

Hikes, Bike Rides, Tennis, Yard Golf, Bounce House, Snow Play, Sledding, Ice Skating, Swimming

Like. They’re really fun.

Like. All great activities.

Gymnastics

Like. It’s fun.

Like. All four older kids took several weeks of classes at the rec center. It was a good cheap way to see if they were all really interested like they said they were. I think we’ll do it again this winter.

Overall evaluation: Our family is very strong in spending time reading, crafting, sporting, socializing,  and spending time outside. We have acquired Legos and more board games this year; Kid Uno has enjoyed both. She is a very self-directed learner…needs a little instruction, and she’s off. Comes up with a lot of her own ideas and implements them on her own. She did most of her work independently, and is all set for complete independence in Year 4.  She took the ITBS and DORA/ADAM. The DORA/ADAM were much more useful for me. She’s at or above grade level in everything except geometry. I need to look ahead and see if our maths cover that more next year [since Kid Dos also tested low in that area], or if I should add something. Origami? 😉 She’s a super reader, and I am always scrambling to find more free reads for her. I’d eventually like her to enjoy reading books written in first person; they are the only ones she won’t read. We didn’t use much media again this year; next year I am putting some movies/documentaries/music right on the schedule so I remember to do them. Kid Uno does enjoy Storybird, Oregon Trail, online math games, and watching ballet and sports. I’m happy with the changes I made to Year 3 (compared to the AO version). It ended up being a bit more time consuming for Kid Uno than I wanted it to be (I was aiming at about 15 hours a week), but she rose to the occasion (and I eventually cut back on math). The distribution of work throughout the week was perfect, but I want to protect her daily free time, so I’m keeping that in mind in my Year 4 planning. No more than 20 hours a week next year, I hope.

 

 

 

Year 1 Wrap-up for Kid Dos

Year 1 Wrap Up for Kid Dos

Average weekly time: Together (4 hours), Kid Dos independently (4), total 8 hours

 Rate each book or activity (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments.

Any changes for next child?

(My answers are italicized)

 

Bible/Saints

AO Bible Selections

Like. It’s about God.

Like.  Short readings covering standard Bible stories.

Saints

Liked it a ton. Loved it. I don’t know; it’s just fun to listen to, and it’s about God.

Like. Short, concise, informative. Lovely illustrations. Part way through the book, I realized a lot of the words and ideas were unfamiliar, so I started introducing vocabulary before reading the story, and that helped Kid Dos’s understanding.

History/Bios

50 Famous Stories

Neutral. They were short but they were interesting.

Like. It’s kind of a weird collection of stories. Mignon? My second time through this book, and I still don’t get why that is included. And the Pocohontas version is terrible. But most are fine. I schedule all of them, in chronological order.

Viking Tales

Like. Love it! It was cool. It told a lot about different lands. It helped me find some on the globe and memorize it.

Like. This was even better the second time around. We did a lot of mapping, and I introduced vocabulary before readings.

 D’aulaires’ Pocohontas

 Like. Loved it! It was cool. It was about one of my favorite Disney princesses. It was about showing love, how she rescued the man. How all the animals were bigger than the people at the end. It was very interesting.

Like. It’s the standard version of her life, but all the illustrations maximize the interesting cultural aspects and minimize the rah-rah-pilgrims stuff.

D’aulaires’ Benjamin Franklin

Neutral. It was about a boy, so that was the bad part.

Neutral. Not the most engaging storytelling after the childhood part.

D’aulaires’ George Washington

Like. He had a horse.

Like. Fairly interesting.

D’aulaires’ Buffalo Bill

Neutral. It was interesting.

Neutral. Had to do some on-the-fly editing with Indian references. Some good mapping.

Timeline

Dislike. Hate it; terrible. Boring—it’s writing.

Neutral. Kind of a drag, but it’s only every three weeks, and it pays off later.

Science/Geography

One Small Square Woods

Dislike. Boring.

Neutral. Very Eastern—we don’t have those kinds of woods around here, so when we tried doing a small square on the Jordan River, it didn’t work so well. And it was winter 😉

One Small Square Seashore

Neutral. It has birds.

Like. Read right after their trip to Florida, so some of it came alive.

One Small Square Savanna

Like. Loved it. It had everything about animals—elephants, lions, zebras, buffaloes.

Like. This one is easy to follow.

One Small Square Pond

Neutral. It was kinda boring and hard to understand.

Like. Fairly interesting. Some overlap with Among the People.

 Among the People

Neutral. Kinda interesting, kind boring, kinda weird.

Like. I thought the eels crawling through mud was totally out there, until I googled it and it is true! And the humor is great at times.

James Herriot

Love. It was about animals—sheep, ton of cats, cow, dogs. It was so fun and interesting, and there were veterinarians which tried to help the animals. I liked all the color and detail.

Like. Such great illustrations, and he is such a warm writer. I look forward to Kid Dos reading his adult works  when she’s older (if she’s still obsessed with animals).

Paddle to the Sea

Neutral. Kinda boring.

Neutral. The first half is nicely paced and lends itself to mapping, but the last half seems rushed, and it is totally anti-climactic. Kid Dos didn’t even realize he had made it to the sea. I like Holling C. Holling, but his use of dialogue to narrate doesn’t work very well, especially for read alouds.

Nature Journal

Dislike. It’s all about drawing pictures and it’s boring.

Like. Term 1 was the best, when I scheduled topics ahead of time. The other terms were haphazard, which were ok.

Nature Connection

Dislike. Hate. The worst besides handwriting. You had to write, you had to go outside in bad weather when sometimes you wanted to stay in the house.

Neutral. I think it is worthwhile, but it is redundant now that I have more experience and more resources for nature study. I am dropping it or minimizing it for Kid Tres (trying to streamline); I may have Kid Dos do the weather section next year.

Literature

Blue Fairy

Like. Interesting, and it had Beauty and the Beast in it.

Like. I picked some different stories from Kid Uno’s Year 1.

Lamb’s Shakespeare

Neutral. Kid Uno likes it and I didn’t really like it. She always picked it to be last and I wanted Saints to be last.

Like. Especially Hamlet, since I’ve never read it before. I get some of the others mixed up since they are formulaic, but they are all good.

 Aesop’s Fables

Neutral. Short but interesting, and there were animals it.

Neutral. These are classic, of course, but I don’t know why everyone says they are easy. They are so short, it’s almost ridiculous to narrate afterward, and I’ve given up on expecting the kids to understand the morals. I’m going to do the Provensen version with Kid Dos to change things up a bit.

Just So Stories

Like. Story about elephant and crocodile that pulled its trunk out.

Like. I liked this so much better the second time around! Considering getting a nicer edition than Yesterday’s Classics, since the illustrations are worthless in our copy.

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Dislike. Boring, and all about rhyming things.

Neutral. I get this and Book of Poems confused. The illustrations are the best part. I don’t care so much for Stevenson. I may swap The Llama Who Had No Pajamas or something similar for Kid Tres.

A.A. Milne

Like. Cuz bears in the squares.

Like. Actually, I love Milne. I think his cleverness totally goes over kids’ heads, but he makes childhood so poignant. Kid Dos latched on to a couple of the poems, and wanted to read them every time 🙂

Book of Poems

Dislike. I had to read some, and I don’t like reading out loud.

Neutral. A lot of sappy poems.

Math

Ray’s Primary Arithmetic

Dislike. Hate. It was terrible, it was boring, and it was math.

Like. I know Kid Dos doesn’t like it, but it is so simple, effective, and short. We finished addition and subtraction, and began multiplication.

Life of Fred

Like. It was funny, cuz it was a five year old boy who had a math class, and a long pointy nose, and…

Dislike. Actually closer to hate. Just inane, and she learns absolutely no math. The only redeeming quality is that she associates something funny with math. We got through Apples and Butterflies, I am done reading them forever; considered selling since they were spendy, but will probably hang on to them and just let the kids read them when they want to.

Miquon

Dislike. Math again.

Like. Such a good complement to Ray’s. She worked through parts of Red and Orange. Got stuck on the multiplication parts, so that’s where we’ll pick up next year.

I Love Math

Neutral. It was reading.

Like. This is really a great set. The kids all read these books just for fun sometimes.

Handwriting

Printing Workbook

Dislike. Boring.

Like. Cheap, quick, and effective. But I didn’t spend enough time instructing her letter formation; she does some letters wrong, and I need to correct her.

Rod & Staff Penmanship Grade 2

Neutral. It’s hard.

Like. Cheap, quick, effective, and pretty.

Reading

McGuffey’s Primers and First Reader

Like. It’s better than Phonics Pathways.

Like. Those hit-you-over-head morals from the 1800s are something else! They make me snicker every time. Kid Dos liked reading them because they were real stories, compared with Phonics Pathways nonsense sentences.

Phonics Pathways

Dislike. Terrible, nonsense.

Like. Kid Dos hated this (“it’s all nonsense”) but the phonics were SO important for her. And it is way better than OPGTR!

Music

Hymn

Neutral. I don’t like singing very much.

Like. I love when we have learned one, and then we sing it at church, and she is so excited because she knows this one!

Classical Kids CDs

Like. Love. SO fun and awesome because there were grown up people singing and it was fun to hear.

Like. Papageno and the magic flute will forever be associated with Kid Dos’s Year 1.

Music Lessons

Like. Love. It was fun and I’m twins with Daddy.

Like. Her piano lessons have been very worthwhile.

Memorization & Recitation

Bible

Dislike. It was hard.

Like. I like being able to choose something meaningful for her to memorize. And she has a flawless memory.

Poetry

Neutral. It was fun to memorize Five Little Chickens.

Like. Her bears in the squares and little chicks recitations were adorable. Her whole life is animal themed.

Art

Drawing Textbook

Dislike. Hard and boring.

Like. Simple and effective.

Usborne Treasury of Art

Dislike. Hate. I hate art.

Like. It’s interesting seeing Kid Dos do these projects, since she doesn’t love that type of art. This book is well done.

Drawing Videos

Like. It was Jan Brett and she drew animals.

Like. Jan Brett on YouTube.

Theatre at Children’s Theatre

Like. Love. It was so nice. I liked singing Be Our Guest. I liked my teacher. It was fun. One of the bad parts was one of the girls was hyper and she was so loud.

Like. It was rough getting Kids Uno and Dos here during the winter at naptime with a new baby. But they really enjoyed it, and I think they learned some voice and public speaking and memorization skills.

 

Picture Study

Escher

Dislike. Hate. Boring and it was all about telling pictures.

Like. I thought she would love this, but she didn’t really. She liked the color prints better than the black and white. Anyway, I love Escher!

 Van Gogh

Dislike. Hate. Boring, terrible, it was all about studying some old pictures.

Neutral. But I don’t think this book is the best representation of his work.

Caravaggio

Dislike. It was not fun. It was a waste of time.

Like. She liked the ones with Biblical themes, but not the nudity. So we didn’t look at most of the naked ones. Most of the saints and Biblical characters tied in nicely with this year’s readings.

Handicraft

Emily’s Co-op

Like. Love. It was fun. Our teacher was someone who we know, one of the BEST teachers. We did a science project, we did some nice plays, I like how she designed it. It was  NOT a waste of time.

Like. Emily was amazing to do this. Three hours every Friday morning for several weeks. The three older kids all learned some finger-knitting and Spanish, played parts in a fairy tale play, and did some nature journaling, and loved being with friends. The kids loved it.

Knitting, Weaving, Beeswax Candles, Microscope, Pet Care, Decorating Church for Easter, Clay, Cutting Apples, Making Lunch, Opening Pomegranates, Grocery Shopping, Legos, Beading, Gingerbread House, Baking Cookies, Brownies, Cake, and Pies, Felting Soap, Paper Cutting, Play Doh, Hand Sewing, Fairy House, Eco Art, Paper Fans, Building Fort, Harvesting Pine Nuts

Like. Love, love, love. It’s fun.

Like. It’s all good!

Outdoor Exploration

Perseid Meteor Shower in West Desert, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Millcreek Canyon, Peace Garden, Sheepdog Festival, Week at Cabin in Grover, Tracey Aviary, Wheeler Farm, Neighborhood Seed Walk, Jordan River, Cattails, Aerospace Museum, Stockton, Treehouse, Tulip Festival, Thanksgiving Point, Discovery Gateway, Camping in Uintas, Week in Florida

Like. Love. It was fun. I love seeing the meteor shower cuz I was with cactus.

Like. One of the best parts of homeschooling.

Sports/Physical Activity

Ballet at Missio

Like. Love. I love my teachers. They’re very nice. They care for people, especially B– when he broke his arm. They teach us, and it’s not a waste of time.

Like. It’s free, the quality is equivalent to SLC Ballet which is not free, it’s close, DH usually takes them, and their performance was very sweet. It’s a keeper.

Running

Like. It was hard but fun, and I’ve done two 5ks in my lifetime.

Like. DH times the kids running around the block, and tracks their records on a spreadsheet. And Kid Dos ran her first 5k this year—and won her age group!

 Hikes, Bike Rides, Tennis, Yard Golf, Bounce House, Snow Play, Sledding, Ice Skating, Swimming

Like. Love. It was fun

Like. All great activities.

Baseball

Neutral. It’s a boy’s sport but I met a new friend.

Like. This was 4 weeks on a county rec team with Kid Tres. Low key, low commitment, her baseball skills improved, and they had fun being “baseball buddies”.

Gymnastics

Like. Love. I liked doing handstands, cartwheels, front rolls.

Like. All four older kids took several weeks of classes at the rec center. It was a good cheap way to see if they were all really interested like they said they were. I think we’ll do it again this winter.

 

Overall evaluation: Our family is very strong in spending time reading, crafting, sporting, socializing, and spending time outside. We have acquired Legos and more board games this year; Kid Dos has enjoyed both. She spends a lot of time with the bunnies and chickens. She is currently obsessed with horses, and  A Horse Called Wonder was the first chapter book she finished. At the beginning of the year, it was a struggle to get through her reading lessons, but after many doses of Zita the Space Girl, Billy and Blaze, and some other books, it finally started clicking. She took the DORA/ADAM which were useful to me. She’s at or above grade level in everything except geometry. I need to look ahead and see if our maths eventually cover geometry [since Kid Uno also scored low in that], or if I should add something. Origami? 😉 I wanted to use more media this year but we really didn’t. Better to err on the side of too little, I guess. Next year I am putting some movies/documentaries/music right on the schedule so I remember to do them. Kid Dos does enjoy online math games, Starfall, Wild Kratts, and watching ballet and sports. I’m very happy with the changes I made to Year 1 the second time around; I’m making a couple minor tweaks to streamline it for Kid Tres next year since he will combine with Kid Dos for a few things. The distribution of work throughout the week is just right; it’s only take me three years to perfect our schedules. 🙂

 

 

Thinking Out Loud…Old Books

I go back and forth on using old books (specifically from the late 1800s, which seems to be the majority of AO selections).

Pros:

  • Older books seem more literary. Maybe because they were more dependent on text vs. photos? Or assumed a high level of interest and ability in the reader?
  • Challenging material is good for learning, and it’s important to me that our kids grow in their ability to understand a wide range of subjects and styles.
  • Big vocabulary!

Cons:

  • The language and writing style are hard to read and understand for children living 100-150 years after these books were written. This is less of an issue for something in the literature or poetry category; more of a concern in history and science. I would rather give them something easier to read if they will understand the content better. So…Arabella Buckley or Allan W. Eckert…or both?
  • There have been an awful lot of books published in the last century! Some are high quality. I’d like them to read the best books regardless of publication date…but what determines “best”?
  • There’s criticism of kids today not being able to understand old books…but it’s hard for me too! We don’t talk or write that way anymore. It would be the same if a 19th century child was plopped down in the middle of texts and youtube and freeway traffic.
  • Some of the flowery, moralistic Victorian/Edwardian/Georgian style is really hard for me to stomach. And the personification and romanticism of nature is very period-influenced (i.e., the Nature Fakers). It may not be good just because it’s old…it depends on what is the purpose of the reading.

I guess it depends on the goal of the reading….if a book is used for literature (Treasure Island, Pride and Prejudice, Tom Sawyer) or poetry (Goblin Market), then I am enthusiastic about reading old books. They are part of our culture, and I’d like our kids to be able to appreciate them and enjoy reading them. If they are for history, I would like the kids to practice comprehension so they are able to read and understand original sources (the Declaration of Independence, Livingston’s Missionary Travels, Plutarch’s Lives). But if they are simply books about history, written in the 1800s, I’m inclined to look for more modern books. That way, the kids don’t have to decipher the language AND assimilate new content. Science seems similar. I hate Usborne and DK style books for science read-alouds (they aren’t literary or cohesive), although some have nice projects, illustrations, and photos. But I also dislike books like Madame How Lady Why or the Burgess Bird book–the personification is annoying and the science is outdated. They may have literary value, but I don’t really want to use them for learning science. There must be a sweet spot in the middle, something like Wild Season, or Jim Arnosky’s books, or Jean Craighead George…

Year 2 Wrap-up for Kid Uno (my version)

Average weekly time: Total 13 hours

Together (8 hours)/ Kid Uno independently (5 hours)

Rate each book or activity (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments.

Any changes for next child?

Poetry and Recitation

Walter de la Mare

Neutral. Not super memorable.

James Whitcomb Riley

Like. But holy cow—reading that dialect aloud!

Cristina Rosetti

Like. I liked her far more than I expected. Kid Uno loves her.

Memorize at least one poem per term

Like. Kid Uno complains, and picks the shortest possible poems, but she is good at it, and it’s good for her. Learned “Little Orphant Annie” for Gigi for Christmas; did pretty well.

Music

Celtic, Rag, Gospel, Bluegrass, Showtunes, Hip Hop, Polka, Jazz, Marches

Like. AO music appreciation is all classical music, which is fine, BUT there is so much other music out there! So I picked a variety—some I thought Kid Uno would like, and some she wouldn’t—and listened to each genre for four weeks. I think she liked it all except jazz and hip hop.

Hymns

Like. This includes some non-hymns we sing frequently at church, and she gets really excited and sings loudly when there is one she has learned. 🙂

Violin Lessons

Like. Found a teacher and rented a violin beginning of Term 3—yay! Practices 10+ minutes per day. Bought a piano, and she plays around on that too, and composed some music.

Literature

Tales From Shakespeare

Like. We both think they are a bit repetitive—two couples get confused, girls disguise themselves as boys, everyone pairs off in the end. Except Macbeth—that was a breath of fresh air.

Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 1)

Neutral. The theology was over Kid Uno’s head, she hasn’t read much of the Bible so all the Biblical references were over her head, and reading it aloud was a tongue twister (lots of giggles at “the which”). Halfway through the year, I debated dropping it. But I decided to keep it for the exposure to the older English, and it is a classic that lots of children grew up reading. I’m very glad she had already read Little Pilgrim’s Progress, so she knew the storyline. It’s very Protestant, of course, and there were one or two derogatory references to the Pope, but I didn’t have to do any explaining since it went completely over her head anyway.

Understood Betsy

Like. Actually, I loved it. How did I never read this one as kid?! Looking forward to reading it to Kid Dos.

Wind in the Willows

Like. I remembered this as a very boring book from my childhood, but I really enjoyed reading it aloud. The language is very lyrical…and I need to keep my phone handy to look up some words the next time around.

Little Duke

Like. Started slowly, but a very good story. This is one I wish I had pre-read, to know who the characters were, what the historical significance was, and how to pronounce all the French. Eventually I printed a map so we could see what was happening. And AO schedules half a chapter per week, which we eventually doubled because that pace was way too slow—we kept forgetting it between readings.

Robin Hood

Like. Loved it. Great stories, funny. The chapters are so long—about 45 minutes to read one aloud. I scheduled the entire book (AO only does the first half), so two chapters a week. I wish I had pre-read the first couple chapters to get a feel for the language before reading aloud.

Science

One Small Square Backyard

Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount. This one is the easiest for actually doing activities—Kid Uno made a little square in our backyard.

One Small Square Rainforest

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

One Small Square Night Sky

Like. Good illustrations and organization. Not easy to narrate but retained fair amount. This is my least favorite—I don’t think the small square idea works so well in the sky.

One Small Square Coral Reef

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

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (k-2; first half)

Like. This is not easy to use (it needs an editor and better formatting) and is time consuming. It requires some prep and pre-reading for me for each lesson. I did them in the order suggested by a mom online. But I love that it integrates all the sciences, and I love the discussion…we need to improve in discussion around here. I love that it explains so many scientific concepts (for me to teach) because I just don’t remember them from way back when. The activities are easy to do; some more engaging than others. Magnetism and gravity were big hits. I check out library books on most of the topics, and hope (not require) that Kid Uno reads them. I think it’s a more modern and comprehensive science resource than the Handbook of Nature Study used by AO.

Among the …. People

Like. Old and quaint. Nice combo of accurate animal descriptions and slight moral. I’m not tired of reading them yet, and we’ve learned quite a bit. Sometimes we look up pictures and info online or in a field guide.

Nature Connection

Like. Practical and versatile. Kid Uno picked activities from each of the monthly sections. I may use it again for Year 3 (there are plenty of monthly activities left).

History

Trial and Triumph

Dislike. Very much. It was ok until the end of the Francis of Assisi chapter, when the author’s offensive (and wrong, imo) theology suddenly poked its head out of its hole and started climbing out. That is not the kind of church history I want my kids to hear. So I dropped it, permanently. I might keep it around for later years (might be useful for analyzing a certain theological viewpoint). Or not. It was also difficult to read aloud, and finally I decided it wasn’t me…it’s poorly written, with lots of run-on sentences, and references to people and events with no background information, and long quotations that don’t mean much. Anyway, it’s a relief to have that book gone for good. Luke has been reading Acts to the kids at night, and next year we will read short biographical sketches of different saints (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant), so that will be our “church history”, which is plenty at this age.

Child’s History of the World (First Half)

Like. I skipped the first three chapters, since we were reading Genesis anyway, and we read through chapter 46 this year. Kid Uno narrates every couple of paragraphs, and we follow closely with the globe. It has been a great overview of world history and geography. I’m using the most recent edition, so there is almost no racism/classim. I edit (on the fly) very infrequently, and feel like the author gives pretty fair treatment to different religions and people groups (other than the many references to “Christian” nations and rulers).

Joan of Arc (Stanley)

Neutral. This is the fourth Stanley book I’ve read, and I’m not a big fan. The pictures are good, but the writing isn’t very engaging. We read the Signature biography of Joan of Arc, too, and it was much better (though longer). I’m not going to schedule any more of Stanley’s books in the future. There are more interesting authors.

Biographies

Landmark Biographies

Like. But I am postponing them for Year 3 and beyond. Kid Uno started the year reading one per week. Some were good, and some she just didn’t get. So halfway through the year, we switched to the Signature series, which are written for younger children.

Signature Biographies

Like. These are so good for this age. I have vivid memories of Pasteur and Audubon from reading these as a kid, and Kid Uno has been gobbling them up…2-3 per week. With good narrations afterward. I bought 50 of the 51 (couldn’t justify $14 for Jackie O), and she has read about 2/3 of the series. Minor drawback is that they were written in the 50s and 60s, so slaves are referred to as “servants”, and there are references to “Negros” and “colored”, so we have discussed those terms. But the Crazy Horse and Geronimo and G.W. Carver bios are nicely done; not stereotypical. And there are lots of bios of women, which is awesome.

Geography

Tree in the Trail

Like. Not as good as Paddle; the storyline doesn’t flow so well. But the pictures are great, and the mapwork is good.

Seabird

Like. But there is very little geography. I would classify it more as technology, with about 3 chapters of geography, if that.

Copywork

Rod&Staff Penmanship 4

Like. Completely self-directed, takes about 10 minutes a day. Beautiful penmanship, and I like that the copywork is Bible and bird/animal themes. We split each two-page spread into three days.

Rod&Staff Penmanship 5

Like. Completely self-directed, takes about 10 minutes a day. Beautiful penmanship, and I like that the copywork is Bible and bird/animal themes. Kid Uno liked the Braille and Morse Code bits. We split each two-page spread into three days.

Math

Life of Fred

Neutral. Kid Uno loves it. The bloom has worn off for me; I’m tired of reading the story, and don’t find it funny anymore. We do it once a week, and she rarely remembers the previous concepts. We did Dogs and most of Edgewood. I will probably hand it over to her next year; it is solely a fun supplement, so if she still enjoys it, it’s all hers.

I Love Math books

Like. Kid Uno learned quite a bit from reading these. Toward the end of the year, she complained that there was nothing new; she had read them all several times. So I won’t schedule them again for her next year.

Ray’s Primary Arithmetic

Like. Methodical and easy to use (with Eclectic series teacher guide). I LOVE that one little book covers two years of math. Have thoroughly covered multiplication and division up to 100. She is not solid (needs to memorize the facts) but understands the concepts and is pretty good with the lower numbers. Introduction to lots of measurements at the end of the year. She did most of the work orally, till we got to the tables section. I ordered the Ray’s Key, and am glad I did, since the problems take longer to check now.

Miquon

Like. Have finished red and some of blue. Love that it introduces concepts (like equations and negative numbers) far earlier than traditional math. Also concepts not covered (so far) by Rays. Kid Uno does several pages 1-2x per week. Usually enjoys it—sometimes complains, but frequently does extra pages because she’s been having fun. I plan to finish the series next year.

I think we have a strong math program combining Rays and Miquon.

Bible and Memorization

AO Genesis and Matthew Selections

Neutral. I like having some Bible scheduled, and I like not having to schedule it. But the AO selections don’t touch any passages with violence or sex, which makes it disjointed and kind of random. And starting with Genesis and Matthew is not the most creative system ever. It’s good enough for now, though. We’ve had some nice discussions.

Memorize Bible Passage Each Term

Like. Kid Uno complains every day, and gets a bit overwhelmed by long passages. But I think it’s a much better way to memorize than random single verses. We have some friends who organized some verses for their own memorization (I think they are topical or thematic), and I may incorporate their selections next year.

Reading

McGuffey’s Third Reader

Like. Great for student read-aloud skills. Great for vocabulary. This level has been a challenge for her (vocabulary, pronunciation, and content). It’s good for learning to read critically. I’ve been asking Kid Uno to find the main idea in each paragraph, or asking her to explain it in her own words, or asking a question that must be answered in the paragraph.  I find the extreme moralistic tone highly entertaining, and Shalom likes most of the stories. Covers interesting topics. She reads aloud every day, breaking up each lesson into 2-3 days. Have started dictation with the vocabulary words at the end.

Art Appreciation

Mary Cassat

Like. The mirror, and female/child theme was interesting.

Raphaelle Peale

Like. All the still life paintins started to look the same after a while.

Pablo Picasso

Neutral. I thought I liked him more than I do.

Art Instruction

Art Treasury

Like. Kid Uno finished the book during Term 1.

Scott Foresman Art Grade 1, 2, 3

Like. Kid Uno picked one of two projects each week. She didn’t like the first grade book, but was enthusiastic about the second and third. It seemed a bit heavy on the cut, paste, paper type projects, but some of her projects were really cool. Self-directed.

Drawing Textbook

Like. She finished the book this year, and I think the daily practice really developed her skills in perspective and shape.

Nature Journal

Like. Combo of observation and art. Kid Uno doesn’t put much effort into it, so the results are fairly mediocre. About 1x per week. Might help to assign topics more methodically, but I think it’s ok as-is.

Sports

Ballet at SLC Ballet

Dislike. She and Kid Dos took the fall semester together. Neither of them were very enthusiastic. Partly because they didn’t perform at the end (we were out of town), and partly because the teacher was not very good. High cost, low yield.

Soccer at Sorensen Rec Center

Like. All three older kids did a month of spring soccer (2 games per week). Good overall; low cost, short time commitment, coaches and refs ranked non-existent to mediocre, but it was fun. Would do again.

 

Outdoor Exploration

I aim for one outing a week, and include travel/vacations

Like. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling. Lots of zoo visits, This Is the Place State Park, lots of walks on the Jordan River trail, lots of parks, three weeks of FL beaches at Christmas, road trip to CA, Pacific Ocean, sledding, hikes, camping, Stockton visits, ice skating, exploring downtown SLC, Wheeler Farm, gardening, raising chicks and rabbits…It’s nice to keep track to see the variety of experiences over a year.

Handicraft

Skill building (chores, baking, big art projects)

Like. This category needs a different name. It includes art projects that are time consuming for me (clay sculpting and needle felting), chores she learned (cleaning the bathroom), skills Kid Uno wants to improve (baking—brownies, cookies, rice krispie treats, pie), and projects/activities she initiates (building forts, riding a bike, selling lemonade and paintings, cooking eggs and chili). About half way through the year, I realized she really wanted to do more cooking/baking, so I bumped it up on my priority list, and I’m glad I did.

Overall evaluation: We are very strong with all kinds of reading. I would like to use a bit more media (documentaries, listening to music, good movies, online games for rewards and drill, etc.) We love experiences and activities; I would like to make them a higher priority next year, but with a new baby, 3 school kids, a preschooler, and a toddler…we will see how much energy it takes. We are great at getting outside and being active. We have plenty of socializing (extended family, friends, nursing home, church, kid activities…). I have a good amount of art and craft materials available, and want to continue prioritizing crafts, art, music, cooking, building, etc.  I’d like to make board/card games more visible, and get some nice older-kid toys (like Legos). I plan to transition Kid Uno into mostly independent work for content subjects in Year 3, and to add some written narration toward the end of the year. It’s been a good, full year, and went very well overall.

Year 2 Wrap-up for Kid Uno (her version)

Average weekly time: Total 13 hours

Together (8 hours)/ Kid Uno independently (5 hours)

Rate each book or activity (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments.

Any changes for next child?

Poetry and Recitation

Walter de la Mare

Neutral. Liked some, didn’t like some.

James Whitcomb Riley

Dislike. Most were long, and I didn’t really like it.

Christina Rossetti

Like. Love it. She’s my favorite poem writer.

Memorize at least one poem per term

Neutral. I liked doing Rossetti, but not the others.

Music

Celtic, Rag, Gospel, Bluegrass, Showtunes, Hip Hop, Polka, Jazz, Marches

Like. Polk and Marches. Neutral. The rest.

Hymns

Like. Silent Night. I also loved Amazing Grace.

Violin Lessons

Like. Love it.

Literature

Tales From Shakespeare

Neutral. I liked some and didn’t like others. They sounded beautiful.

Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 1)

Dislike. So grown up and talking, and I didn’t really understand it well.

Understood Betsy

Like. She’s cute and I love the story.

Wind in the Willows

Neutral. It’s all about boys.

Little Duke

Like. It’s very exciting.

Robin Hood

Like. Loved it. It’s very exciting and fun.

Science

One Small Square Backyard

Neutral. Kind of all about animals and no people and stuff.

One Small Square Rainforest

Neutral. Kind of all about animals and no people and stuff.

One Small Square Night Sky

Neutral. Kind of all about animals and no people and stuff.

One Small Square Coral Reef

Neutral. Kind of all about animals and no people and stuff.

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (k-2; first half)

Neutral. I liked some, I didn’t like some. I liked the candles [evaporation/condensation].

Among the …. People

Like. Love it. Because it has exciting stories about animals.

Nature Connection

Dislike. It wasn’t that fun.

History

Trial and Triumph

Dislike. Lots of it was about men.

Child’s History of the World (First Half)

Neutral. It’s all about history [yes, yes it is].

Joan of Arc (Stanley)

Neutral. It’s not about what she says and stuff [no dialogue].

Biographies

Landmark Biographies

Dislike. It was hard to understand.

Signature Biographies

Like. Love them! Well, some I like, some I dislike, so neutral. They’re all very interesting.

Geography

Tree in the Trail

Dislike. Kind of boring.

Seabird

Dislike. Boring.

Copywork

Rod&Staff Penmanship 4

Dislike. Hate it. I hate writing.

Rod&Staff Penmanship 5

Dislike. I still don’t like writing.

Math

Life of Fred

Like. It has stories.

I Love Math books

Neutral. I’ve read them over and over again. They’re not really interesting after a few times.

Ray’s Primary Arithmetic

Dislike. I hate math. It’s so hard, and I just don’t like it.

Miquon

Dislike. It’s math.

Bible and Memorization

AO Genesis and Matthew Selections

Like. Because it’s the Bible. It tells about God.

Memorize Bible Passage Each Term

Dislike. So hard.

Reading

McGuffey’s Third Reader

Dislike. It’s so boring. The second had stories, but the third is just so boring.

Art Appreciation

Mary Cassat

Like. Love it because it’s so pretty.

Raphaele Peale

Dislike. It’s all so…things that can’t move.

Pablo Picasso

Dislike. It’s all so dark.

Art Instruction

Art Treasury

Neutral. It’s good art.

Scott Foresman Art Grade 1, 2, 3

Like. Because they’re fun.

Drawing Textbook

Dislike. It’s so hard. You have to do all the right things, and I don’t get to draw what I want.

Nature Journal

Dislike. Because I have to draw nature, nature, NATURE!

Sports

Ballet at SLC Ballet

Neutral. I didn’t know Charlotte that well, she wasn’t like Miss Hillary. She taught us the same things. Why can’t I go into level 2 or 3? I’m tired of learning the same things over and over again.

Soccer at Sorensen Rec Center

Like. It’s fun. Same stuff as last year.

 Outdoor Exploration

I aim for one outing a week, and include travel/vacations

Like. I loved all that outdoor stuff. Fun.

Handicraft

Skill building (chores, baking, big art projects)

Like. Love. It’s fun. Baking, selling [favorites]

Suggestions for next year:

Lots of crafts, less math, lots of stories, lots of outside time.

How We Do…Geography

Kid Uno’s first word was “map”. Which was not surprising, since when she was a tiny baby, DH had salvaged a world map as big as I am, and brought it home on the metro. With lots of comments like “You’ve got the whole world in your hands! Ha ha ha.” It was our main living room art for a long time.

DH is a geography whiz. I, on the other hand, was in my late teens when my friends discovered I thought Hawaii was in the Gulf of Mexico. In my defense, it WAS…on every map I’d ever seen. Which is precisely why one of my main goals was to get our kids a globe, which shows everything where it really is, or at least within a degree or two, depending on how well the paper is pasted. So last month, we got the Replogle Pioneer Globe (to replace our tiny Elenco 5″ Political Globe, which was far cheaper but just wasn’t cutting it). It’s awesome, and is easy to access because it sits on top of our piano, which we also acquired several weeks ago. A piano and a globe make me feel like a totally mature and very settled parent, maybe even a little middle-aged. Anyway…

We also have a huge US world map that I found on clearance at Target–it’s as big as our rug. Kid Uno likes to pull it out sometimes and trace the journey of the Ingalls family (Little House books), or find where she was born, where we live, where all our relatives live, etc. We do a lot of globe checking or map checking as we read through school books, whether they are biographies, history, Bible, science, or whatever. When a friend from a foreign country came for dinner, DH showed the kids the country and told them a bit about it before our friend arrived. We have a road atlas in the car, and on our last roadtrip, I printed some simple outline maps for the kids so they could follow our trip as we drove. The Miquon math books actually include some map reading/drawing and a basic understanding of scale. Pretty cool for a math workbook!  And then there are the Ambleside books which are scheduled for geography (mostly Holling C. Holling books so far), which we have enjoyed. On our weekly schedule, I included an empty box titled Map Readings, so that I remember to look at maps and globes as we read. Simple, but it reminds me to actually do it! So that’s the book/map/globe way we do geography.

And then there’s the local geography…we are still working on directions when we walk or drive somewhere. For some reason, it’s taking a long time for the kids to remember where the sun rises and sets. But they enjoy trying to guess “if that way is west, then that way is___”. Sometimes I let them direct me to the next turns, and we talk about how far this place is in relation to that place, and so on. We’ve been able to travel a lot, and I think that gives them an idea of what places are like. The coast where one set of grandparents live is far different from the mountains where the others live. And Kid Tres remembers Las Vegas as “the city that’s really really bright at night” because we arrived there after dark. I think travel is by far the most effective and memorable way to learn geography, though maybe the most time consuming and expensive. And the most fun!

I have lots of ideas for incorporating more geography, but haven’t actually incorporated them yet. There are lots of neat state, US, continental, and world map puzzles which the kids would enjoy. Kid Dos has been asking for a compass, and we could show the kids how to use topo maps when we camp and hike. Geocaching and letterboxing sound like very fun activities…but when I’m in the middle of first trimester pregnancy exhaustion, it’s too overwhelming to start something new. Maybe later 🙂 At some point in late elementary, I may spend a whole year on world geography (instead of history), possibly organizing it by continents. Or oceans. It would be interesting to do something not land centered. Still thinking about that one. Beautiful Feet Books has a lot of history/geography ideas; if Kid Dos continues her horse interest over the next few years, I might do something like their History of Horse, which would actually be a great geography study. Lots of time to think about that one, too. 😉

For anyone who is following Ambleside Online, or some other Charlotte Mason or vintage curriculum, I wanted to mention that “geography” used to be a subject which was much broader and more important than it is now. From what I gather, it included what we now consider earth science and weather and agriculture and a lot of practical stuff for which I don’t have a neat mental category (maybe technology?). At least that is my understanding after looking through vintage geography books like Long’s and the Eclectic Home Geography and some others. It’s an interesting lense for viewing the different subjects, and I kind of like it!

This post is dedicated to my sister, who I know will deeply appreciate that I spent the evening writing instead of mopping our dirty sticky splattered floor.