Tag Archives: Education

A Day in the Life

Someone said she’d like to see what a typical day looks like for us, so here is a “normal” weekday during this season (with 4 school age kids, a preschooler, a toddler, and me in the sick/tired first trimester with Kid Siete):

6:45       DH wakes up with the the two youngest, gets everyone breakfast, changes diapers, gets ready for work. The older kids trickle out of bed and the more motivated ones can start on their school lists (which I leave on the kitchen counter the night before).

8ish      Or 9ish these days, with early pregnancy fatigue. I wake up, eat, clean up breakfast, do some laundry, clean. DH leaves for work. If the kids are playing nicely together, and we aren’t going anywhere that morning, I let them play for a while. If we have an outing, we start the long process of  getting ready to go. If they are fighting, or if someone is eager to get his list done early that day, I have them start on chores or independent school work. This includes handwriting, drawing, typing, music appreciation, nature journals, math for the older kids, some art projects, memorization, assigned reading, written or drawn narrations, and so on.

10:30       The little kids are ready for a snack and I am ready for all the kids to have outside time. This is a minimum of one hour daily (lots more in warmer weather). Sometimes I do yard work or take them across the street to the playground, sometimes we all go on a “nature walk”, sometimes I run (taking one or two with me in the jogging strollers), sometimes I get caught up on indoor stuff while they pester me play outside. I’ve also been doing food prep in the morning when I can since my morning sickness gets worse throughout the day. About once a week, we hang out with friends, or go the zoo or museum or somewhere special outdoors. This is also when I schedule doctor or dentist visits.

12 or 1    Either Kid Uno or I make lunch. While they eat, I check my email or the news or finish whatever I was working on earlier. If we’ve had an outing in the morning, I try to get home by 1:30 or 2. After lunch, Kids Cinco and Seis nap for a couple hours, so it’s straight to the books for the rest of us. I alternate among kids. This is when I do math and phonics, poetry, read alouds, hear narrations, get out supplies for art projects, check handwriting and Miquon, sing, etc….everything they can’t do without me.

3:30       Twice a week, I take Kid Uno to her ballet class. The younger kids often watch Wild Kratts while I’m gone, or finish their independent work. On other days, I frequently doze off during someone’s times tables or phonics, thanks again to pregnancy fatigue, so when I wake up we try to pick up where they left off (unless Kid Seis already woke up from her nap, in which case everything just goes crazy).

4            The two younger kids wake up sometime around now, and everyone has a snack. We usually have a few school things left to finish, like correcting math. Then chaos free time descends. And chores. And neighbor friends. Lately I’ve been sending them out for more outside time before dark but that will probably end when it starts snowing, because it’s not fun getting into snow clothes twice a day. I do more laundry, pay bills, make dinner, etc.

6ish       DH gets home. We usually eat dinner around 7. Kid Uno needs to be picked up from ballet twice a week, Kid Dos has a horseback riding lesson once a week, and we have house church one night a week, so our evenings feel pretty full. If I haven’t worked out during the day, this is usually when I do it.

7:30       We clean up dinner, DH usually supervises the kids picking up the house, plays with them, does baths, and reads Proverbs to the kids while they eat something sweet. I check off all the boxes we completed today, and write out tomorrow’s school lists for the four older kids. Occasionally I read stories or play a board game to assuage my mom guilt if I haven’t spent much time with a kid that day 😉

8            Bedtime for Kid Seis.

8:30      Bedtime for Kids Cinco and Cuatro

9            Bedtime for Kids Tres, Dos, and Uno. They can do something quiet till 9:30. Meanwhile, I have crashed and am doing something low energy like online shopping, reading, or talking with DH.

11ish     DH and I go to bed. The end. Unless someone little wakes up in the night 🙂

 

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How We Do…History

So this is where I part ways with Charlotte Mason (and a lot of other popular curricula). History is NOT the pivot upon which our curriculum turns. It is of equal, not greater, importance with other content subjects. I don’t try hard to match literature, music, art, or anything else to certain time periods. Unlike neo-classical curricula like The Well Trained Mind, I don’t plan to cycle through history chronologically three or four times over twelve years. Unlike Sonlight, I don’t schedule much (if any) historical fiction as required reading. We own plenty of historical fiction, but the kids read it as free reads. And I’m not a fan of specializing in our own country’s history while excluding most of the rest of the world. My own history education was the typical American-centric Columbus-Pilgrims-Slavery-Pioneers-Wright Brothers over and over, with a semester of Eastern Hemispheres, and one measly year of World History.  Charlotte Mason seemed to have a similar view; she thought that there was just too much world history for children to connect with, so they should focus only on their own country and delve deeply into the lives of a few important people. I just flat out disagree with that; I want my kids to have a much more global overview of history. So, I make it up as I go along, and don’t worry about following Charlotte Mason’s history method. Here’s an overview of our themes for each year, and some of the material we use:

The tools we use for learning history are biographies, narratives, and a timeline. The Eclectic Manual of Methods (beginning on page 211) heavily influenced my use of biographies, and probably my overall approach to history. My kids also engage more with biographies than with narratives; none of them (so far) are history buffs, and they are pretty young to be interested in causes and themes and repercussions of events. I love the older Signature bios and Landmark books. They are well-written and cover a decent variety of people. We use some picture book bios. Narratives are what a lot of people consider spines, except I don’t tie in anything else. We just read through a longish book like A Child’s History of the World, or Our Island Story, or Makers of the Americas, narrate, and fill in some people or events on the timeline. They also use the timeline across subjects. So if they are listening to hip hop for music, reading Vikram Seth’s poetry for the term, and looking at Mary Cassat’s paintings for picture study, they might put those in the appropriate century.

Year One: Stories of historical characters (world and American) using Fifty Famous Stories Retold and Viking Tales, and picture book biographies of Pocohantas, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Buffalo Bill. We also read short bios of saints for Spiritual Reading, so they get a little bit of Christian church history. We begin a timeline which continues through Year Three.

Year Two: World History using the first half of A Child’s History of the World, world biographies using Signature biographies, and more church history with bios of saints. Little Duke (which I may drop in the future) has early English and French history.

Year Three: World History using the second half of CHOW, continue world biographies using Signature biographies. Begin British history with Our Island Story. The Geography/Cultures focus for the year is Russia, China, and India so the kids get a little exposure to the history of those countries.

Year Four: History/Geography/Cultures are very combined this year. We finish OIS and British history. There are three Western focused narratives (one per term): Builders of the Old World, Medieval Days and Ways, and Makers of the Americas. For Geography/Cultures, there is an explorer biography scheduled every 2-3 weeks, with a focus on the “New World” explorers such as Cortez and Pizarro, but also including Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Zheng He, Captain Cook, David Livingston, the North and South Poles, and the Himalyas.  This is the year for a new, more detailed timeline. Every three weeks, the student picks about six interesting characters or events to add to her timeline.

This is as far as we have gone in practice; Year Five and up are all in the planning stage right now. I’ve probably forgotten some odds and ends which also tie into history, but those are the main themes.

Year Five: North American History. The first term will be pre-Columbian history, probably using Native Americans: An Illustrated History and two modern Native American memoirs, Maria Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina and  Code Talker. The next two terms will be mainly with Landmark books up to 1776. Geography/Cultures is Book of Marvels: Occident. One of the Science themes for the year is inventions, so that also adds to the history. We begin Plutarch this year, and which is supposed to continue through high school, for a bit of Greek and Roman biography.

Year Six: North American History from 1776-present, mainly reading books from the Landmark series. They were finished in the 1960s, so I’m not sure what I’ll use to bring it up to present day. I want to include the development of modern Mexico and Canada since they are our geographical neighbors. State history seems kinda silly to me, but our state is obsessed with pioneer history, which would tie nicely into this year. Geography/Cultures is Book of Marvels: Orient.

Year Seven and on: This is still two years out, but I have some goals and ideas. One goal is to begin reading primary sources. Another goal is to start reading opposing viewpoints. They will read Daughter of Time this year; it will be a good intro to how history is very open to interpretation. I’m hoping history will become somewhat interest-led at this point. Some ideas are studying the history of art (or music, religion, architecture, technology) , “sideways” history with Genevieve Foster‘s books, the history of a particularly interesting culture or region, how things affected history (like the potato, diamonds, malaria, air conditioning, drought, etc.). There are all sorts of interesting ways to look at history. I think continuing to read more extensive biographies (like Unbroken) will give the kids a deeper connection to specific eras or events. Homeschooling at the Helm is a good resource for developing interest-led studies, and I think age 13ish is an appropriate age to start encouraging our kids to start having some input in what they study.

And that is how we do history…so far 😉

 

 

Year 1 Wrap Up for Kid Tres

Average weekly time: Together (5), Kid Tres alone (5), Total hours (10ish)

 

Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments (my comments are italicized).

Any changes for next child?

Bible/Spiritual Reading

AO Selections

Neutral. Some was good and some was bad. I liked the part where Saul pooped in the cave where David was.

Dislike. It’s good to cover Bible highlights, but these are stories any churched kid will get at some point, so I would rather read other parts of the Bible.

James & Philippians

Dislike. Cuz it’s very boring.

Like. Kids Dos and Tres didn’t like this much, but I liked combining them (in the interest of time), and reading books of the Bible kids aren’t usually exposed to.

More Saints

Dislike. Because I’m always the one who has to tell you about it first and it’s very boring.

Neutral. I think the first book was more engaging. A lot of these saints were very recent, and I’d rather cover older saints and martyrs, but this was a decent multi-cultural assortment.

Psalms with Daddy and other kids

Neutral. Some of it’s very fun and some of its very bad.

Like. I really appreciate DH reading a Psalm with the kids in the evenings.

History/Bios

50 Famous Stories

Like. I love it! There’s lots and lots of fun stories.

Like. I schedule all of them. Short and well-done.

Viking Tales

Like. Very, very, very, very good. Cuz it’s all fun.

Like. I think Kid Tres got into this book much more than Kids Dos or Uno did. He learned the geography well, too.

D’Aulaire Bios: Pocahontas, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Buffalo Bill

Like. Buffalo Bill was very interesting, and BF was neutral, GW was fun, P was fun.

Neutral. I can never decide whether or not to schedule these. Kid Tres loved them; I think the childhood parts are more interesting and understandable than the adult parts. And I get tired of the inherent racism, but since I’m reading aloud I can edit on the fly.

Little Duke

Neutral. At first I didn’t like it, and then I loved it.

Neutral. It’s not worth reading for the history, but I think the character development is good. If I am stretched for time, this is droppable for future kids, at least in YR 1 when so much goes over their heads.

Geography

Tree in the Trail

Like. I loved it, cuz it was very, very interesting.

Like. We spent a little more time looking at the maps than I did with Kid Uno, and that makes it more worthwhile as a geography book.

Seabird

Neutral. I liked when the boy dived in the water and saved Seabird. Did not like when the guy threw Seabird in the water.

Dislike. I still don’t understand why this is scheduled as geography. It’s hard to follow the 4 generations, and I may sub or drop this for future kids.

Science

One Small Square: Backyard, Rainforest, Swamp

Like. I love it! Very, very, very much.

Like. These are always fun and interesting.

Among the People

Like. I loved it, all those nice fun stories, about tree frog and the frog thought herself sick.

Like. These are keepers.

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding

Neutral. Some I didn’t like and some I loved.

Neutral. I spent a lot of time planning and using BFSU to organize science readings and demonstrations, and not nearly as much time implanting it. It’s just not easy to use. Now that I have the whole Let’s Read and Find Out Series and a lot of other good science books, I may just read through those in future years. And if I have time and motivated kids, BFSU can be a good resource for additional discussions and projects.

Nature Journal

Dislike. Cuz it’s very boring drawing.

Like. It’s fun to watch his observations develop. I liked making a list of options for the kids to pick from at the beginning of the year.

Literature

Shakespeare

Dislike. Very boring.

Neutral. It’s worth reading. Several plays are quite confusing. I made drawings for Comedy of Errors, and that helped us keep people straight.

Understood Betsy

Like. I loved it! Very, very fun stories.

Like. Love this book.

Robin Hood

Like. Except for in the ending cuz he died.

Like. Very time consuming, so I scheduled it in winter.

Wind in the Willows

Like. Very much. Very fun stories…when Toad got captured, and the police station, and when Toad said, “I need a doctor”.

Like. Some of it went over his head, but he understood the main bits.

Poetry

Dennis Lee

Like. I love it.

Like. I was surprised how much Kid Tres loves poetry! These were fun books to start YR 1 with; much better than Stevenson.

AA Milne

Like. I love all of my poetries.

Like. Milne is great.

Book of Poems

Neutral. Some are not very fun, and some are very fun.

Like. Good assortment of poetry, nice illustrations.

Math

Rays Primary

Dislike. It’s so boring and stuff.

Like. Simple and effective.

I Love Math

Neutral. I don’t really like it and I like it at the same time.

Like. Worthwhile.

Miquon (Orange and Red)

Neutral. Some’s really fun like evens and odds. And the bad part is some are very hard.

Like. I spent time doing it with him, and I think that helps make it less frustrating.

Writing

Printing

Neutral. Some was very hard for me (I was like 5 that time), and some was very easy, like Bs.

Like. Quick and efficient.

Pentime 2

Dislike. It’s very boring and hard and stuff.

Like. Also quick and effiecient.

Reading

100 EZ Lessons

Like. It was very fun, and short stories, and stuff.

Like. This was so easy with Kid Tres! He flew through it.

McGuffey Primer

Dislike. They’re very short stories.

Like. I intended to start with Phonics Pathways after he finished 100 EZ lessons, but it was packed deep in the garage for our basement construction, so we started McGuffey instead and it has been good practice.

Foreign Language

Salsa Spanish

Neutral. I don’t know what they’re saying, but I also like it when they’re like crying and stuff.

Neutral. The kids pick up some Spanish vocab by watching them, and they are free and short.

Art

Drawing

Neutral. Some is very hard and I cry about ‘em.

Like. Kid Tres is a perfectionist and very hard on himself, so when he starts crying over a short drawing lesson, I have him take a break or do it the next day. His drawing is very nice.

Art Treasury

Neutral. Some I love, and some I hate.

Like. This is such a good book with plenty of variety.

Youtube Videos

Like. I only like the robots.

Like. Letting him pick some instructional drawing videos is a nice way to mix up art lessons.

Picture Study

Caravaggio

Dislike. Hate. I have to tell you all about it.

Like. I think it’s funny that he dislikes picture study.

Escher

Dislike. I hate all picture study.

Like. I thought he would like this, but I guess not.

Van Gogh

Dislike. Not at all.

Neutral. Not my favorite artist.

Music

Hymn

Dislike. I don’t know.

Like. We have all learned some good worship music.

Classical Kids CDs

Like. I like all of them, they’re all very interesting and fun.

Like. I think the Magic Flute is the best. Kid Tres and the other kids listen to these for fun A LOT!

Memorization/Recitation

Bible

Dislike. Cuz I have to memorize it, and I never get it memorized.

Like. The Isaiah passage I picked was a bit too long and hard for everyone, but the rest have been manageable.

Poetry

Like. Only snowy day and jelly belly ones.

Like. Short and easy and cute at this age.

Handicraft/Skill

Pudding, Grocery Shopping, Building Chicken Coop, Meal Prep, Paper Dolls, Pumpkin Carving, Tie Dye, Paper Snowflakes, Making Lunch, Legos, Glue Gun, Boat Building, Snap Circuits, Building Snow Fort, Painting Mugs, Weaving, Kiwicrates, Puzzles, Painting, Cooking, Move Concrete, Gardening, Replacing Batteries

Like. Like, like, like, like!

Like. He’s very motivated to do most of this on his own.

Outdoor Exploration

Hiking Cecret Lake, Peace Garden, Perseid Meteor Shower, Pineview Reservoir, Ensign Peak, Thanksgiving Point Farm, Millcreek Canyon, Uintas Lofty Lake, Cross E Ranch, DC Arboretum, DC Rock Creek Park, Jordan River—Rain, Muskrats, Beaver, Ducklings, Alantic Ocean, Indian River, Fishing, Florida Zoo, Tulip Festival, Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Like. Like all of them except Peace Gardens.

Like. Including the Peace Gardens. Gilgal was weird, as were parts of Thanksgiving Point.

Sport/Physical Activity

Running, Swimming, Playgrounds, Roller Blading, Biking, Hiking, Sledding, 5k, Boogie Boarding, Kayaking, Sledding, Jump Around, Ice Skating, Snowboarding, Basketball, Bowling, Tennis, Baseball

Like. All of them.

Like. What he said.

Horseback Riding at Luki Arabians

Neutral. I want to take bowling instead of horseback riding. And horseback riding is fun but hard.

Like. Not sure if he will continue or not.

Cultural Event

Parade, Bees Game, Summer Olympics, Bluegrass Concert, Tuacahn Plays, Memorial Service, Weddings, State Fair, DC trip, Museum of American History, Nutcracker, Discovery Gateway, Indian Restaurant, Polynesian Food, Ash Wednesday, Leonardo, Paquita Ballet, Coppelia Excerpts Ballet, Orthodox Church 

Like. Except for stuff I didn’t like. I hated the Orthodox church, the Ash Wednesday service, the DC trip, and Polynesian food.

Like. I don’t think he really disliked DC though.

Service

Hosting Friends for Dinner, Babysitting, Hosting Housechurch, Taking Food and Flowers to Friends and Neighbors, Sunday Serve, VOA with Housechurch, Helping Mommy after surgery, Pioneer Park w/ Rescue Mission, Visiting Grammy

Like. All of those I like.

Like. I think we could do more, but we were more intentional than last year, so that was an improvement.

Overall evaluation: Kid Tres is a super-sweet kid to work with. I combined him with Kid Dos for several readings to reduce my workload. They are pretty close in abilities at this point. I was a bit concerned that it would be too hard/too much for him, and I think Little Duke, Seabird, Robin Hood, and Wind in the Willows were tougher for him than they would have been next year, but he really did well. The year began with single word or phrase narrations and he grew a lot over the year in his descriptions and comprehension. He loves stories, and I’m looking forward to doing the Year 1 readings like Aesop and James Herriot with him next year. He was so easy to teach for reading lessons; it was a relief! Kid Tres is also fairly self-motivated with projects, especially if they involve figuring out how things work. We started strong with all the readings this year, but it got hard in the middle with my unexpected surgery, and toward the end with basement construction. I pared down some reading in the middle of the year. We had so much travel and so many activities—it’s been a very full year! There’s not a lot I would change for future children; I feel like the books and all our activities are enjoyable and well-rounded…it’s just a matter of fitting in so much good stuff.

 

Year 2 Wrap Up for Kid Dos

 

Average weekly time: Together (5), Kid Dos alone (10), total hours (15ish)

 

Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments (my comments are italicized).

Any changes for next child?

Bible/Spiritual Reading

AO Genesis & Matthew

Neutral. Hard to understand, it’s the Bible, I like God, but other times I just don’t feel like listening to it.

Dislike. It’s good to cover Bible highlights, but these are stories any churched kid will get at some point, so I would rather read other parts of the Bible.

James & Philippians

Neutral. Hard to understand, it’s the Bible, I like God, but other times I just don’t feel like listening to it.

Like. Kid Dos and Kid Tres didn’t like this much, but I liked combining them (in the interest of time), and reading parts of the Bible kids aren’t usually exposed to.

More Saints

Like. Loved! It’s so fun, and like exciting, and it’s just fun to hear.

Neutral. I think the first book was more engaging. A lot of these saints were very recent, and I’d rather cover older saints and martyrs, but this was a decent multi-cultural assortment.

Psalms with Daddy and other kids

Neutral. People sometimes take the things that I remember, and sometimes  I just want to keep on reading.

Like. I really appreciate DH reading a Psalm with the kids in the evenings.

History/Bios

Child’s History of the World (first half)

Neutral. Except for a few chapters that were about Christians.

Like. I love CHOW for a read-aloud overview of world history.

Signature Bios: Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Queen Bess, Crazy Horse, Helen Keller, Annie Oakley, Edith Cavell, JJ Audubon, Betsy Ross, Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR, Buffalo Bill, Kit Carson, Mozart, Louisa May Alcott, Geronimo, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Leif Erikson

Like. I love them! Fun and everything.

Like. She read quite a few of the 51 options this year.

Little Duke

Neutral. Hard to understand, and it’s not a place in Germany.

Neutral. It’s not worth reading for the history, but I think the character development is good. If I am stretched for time, this is droppable for future kids, at least in YR 1 when so much goes over their heads.

Joan of Arc

Like. Loved. She’s a saint, and she’s so courageous and brave and determined. And she follows God’s orders that she feels like he’s saying.

Like. We read the Signature bio instead of the Diane Stanley, and it’s so much better. Better writing, and easier to follow.

Geography

Tree in the Trail

Neutral. It’s boring sometimes.

Like. We spent a little more time looking at the maps than I did with Kid Uno, and that makes it more worthwhile as a geography book.

Seabird

Neutral. It’s fun and other times it can be hard to understand, and the pictures are so tiny.

Dislike. I still don’t understand why this is scheduled as geography. It’s hard to follow the 4 generations, and I may sub or drop this for future kids.

Science

One Small Square: Backyard, Rainforest, Swamp

Like. Love. It’s about animals.

Like. These are always fun and interesting.

Among the People

Like. It’s fun and about animals, but some of the stories are a bit short. Interesting.

Like. These are keepers.

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding

Neutral. I spent a lot of time planning and using BFSU to organize science readings and demonstrations, and not nearly as much time implanting it. It’s just not easy to use. Now that I have the whole Let’s Read and Find Out Series and a lot of other good science books, I may just read through those in future years. And if I have time and motivated kids, BFSU can be a good resource for discussion and projects.

Nature Journal

Dislike. Hate. It’s so bad. The things you put on my list are so hard, especially the one that goes “follow the seed and things all year round”.

Like. Kid Dos likes recording (like listing all the birds she’s seen) better than drawing. I liked making a list of options for her at the beginning of the year.

Literature

Shakespeare

Like. It’s fun, and active, and Shakespeare wrote it all, and he wrote such good stories like Much Ado About Nothing. That was my favorite one.

Neutral. It’s worth reading. Several plays are quite confusing. I made drawings for Comedy of Errors, and that helped us keep people straight.

Understood Betsy

Like. It’s fun, and it’s about a girl.

Like. Love this book.

Robin Hood

Like. It’s so fun, and so adventurous and exciting and sad and scary. I especially like Little John.

Like. Very time consuming, so I scheduled it in winter.

Wind in the Willows

Like. My grandma gave it to me for my birthday, and it’s so fun and it’s about animals, but it has no girls, or hardly any.

Like. We read the edition she was gifted (just different illustrations from our other version).

Fiction: mostly Black Stallion, American Girls, Harry Potter

Like. All of them. They’re so fun and exciting, and about girls.

Like. Her reading really took off this year.

Poetry

Walter De la Mare, James Whitcomb Riley, Christina Rossetti

Like. Cuz I memorized it, and my grandma’s father used to read it to her, and I memorized it for her birthday.

Like. These were all fairly enjoyable to read aloud.

Math

Rays Primary

Dislike. Hate even more than Miquon. It’s math, boring, hard, especially the man measurement ones, and different kinds of money.

Like. Simple and effective. There were several times during the year when I think she wasn’t developmentally ready for the next lesson, so we went sideways for a bit, and came back to it later.

I Love Math

Neutral. I’ve read all the books, and they get boring, but they can be fun, like a few stories.

Like. Worthwhile.

Miquon (Red and Blue)

Dislike. Hate, hate, hate. It’s so boring, and so hard, and it’s math.

Like. Kid Dos gets a mental block sometimes; doing the pages with her can help.

Writing

Rod&Staff 4

Neutral. It can be boring, but if I keep on writing I’ll learn how to write soon, and I really want to learn how to write.

Like. Her cursive is great.

Reading

McGuffey’s Second and Third Readers

Disike. Hate. So boring, and I have to read words, and there are no exciting stories, not fun at all.

Like. Very good practice at reading every word, not skipping or guessing, and sounding out syllables.

Foreign Language

Duolingo

Neutral. They always send me reminders when I don’t have time to do it. German is so hard, and when I try Greek it just sends me back cuz I don’t have the right letters on the keyboard.

Neutral. I wanted her to wait till next year to start, but she was very excited about German this year. I need to look into how to change the keyboard for different alphabets.

Salsa Spanish

Dislike. I can’t understand a single word they say.

Neutral. The kids pick up some Spanish vocab by watching them, and they are free and short episodes.

Art

Drawing Textbook

Dislike. It’s boring, and so hard sometimes.

Like. Not sure what to use for her next year.

Art Treasury

Dislike. I hate every single one, except the ballerina one. And I hate having to get out all the art stuff and put it back for something I don’t even like.

Like. This is such a good book with plenty of variety.

Scott Foresman 1, 2

Dislike. Same reason.

Neutral. The books are decent, but I might find something else that would engage Kid Dos in some type of art…it’s not her favorite subject.

Picture Study

JJ Audubon

Like. Love. It’s my favorite picture study.

Like. She spent extra free time looking at all the birds.

Cassat

Dislike. It only has babies. Or mostly babies.

Like. There were also several dogs.

Picasso

Dislike. It’s naked. And it’s boring dull colors, not very many bright ones.

Neutral. She’s right about the colors. But I always give the kids other options if they don’t like nudity in art.

Music

Hymns

Like. It’s so fun and musical and exciting and melodic.

Like. We have all learned some good worship music.

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

Like. Three: showtunes, marches, celtic.

Like. Plenty of variety.

Piano Lessons

Neutral. It can be boring and hard to learn, but other times I like copying Dad and Granddad that they play.

Neutral. Good teacher, but maybe not the right instrument for Kid Dos.

Memorization/Recitation

Bible

Like. I liked the James one best.

Like. The Isaiah passage I picked was a bit too long and hard for everyone, but the rest have been manageable.

Poetry

Neutral. I liked Little Orphant Annie best. And Three Little Girls.

Like. She is fabulous at memorization.

Handicraft/Skill

Pudding, Grocery Shopping, Building Chicken Coop, Salamander Habitat, Parakeet Toys, Meal Prep, Paper Dolls, Pumpkin Carving, Tie Dye, Paper Snowflakes, Making Lunch, Hand Sewing, Embroidery, Building Snow Fort, Painting Mugs, Weaving, Kiwicrates, Birthday Cards, Puzzles, Painting, Cooking, Moving Concrete, Gardening, Caring for Chicks and Baby Rabbits

Like. Love. It’s so fun, and most of it is animals. I love playing with them and caring for them.

Like. A lot of variety this year. She tends to like animal-related activities more than crafts.

Outdoor Exploration

Hiking Cecret Lake, Peace Garden, Perseid Meteor Shower, Pineview Reservoir, Thanksgiving Point Farm, Millcreek Canyon, Uintas Lofty Lake, Cross E Ranch, DC Arboretum, DC Rock Creek Park, Jordan River—Rain, Muskrats, Beaver, Ducklings, Alantic Ocean, Indian River, Fishing, Florida Zoo, Edible Plants, Tulip Festival, Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Like. It’s so fun with salamanders [Cecret Lake].

Like. I love outings.

Sport/Physical Activity

Kids Community Ballet at Missio Dei

Like. It’s fun, and I have lots of friends, and the teachers are nice there, and I get to be very flexible. I can do the splits now.

Like. This was a good place for her for relationships and skills.

Running, Swimming, Playgrounds, Roller Blading, Biking, Hiking, Sledding, 5k, Boogie Boarding, Kayaking, Sledding, Jump Around, Ice Skating, Snowboarding, Basketball, Bowling, Tennis

Like. Love. So fun and exciting and cold and warm and wet and fast and bumpy and windy.

Like. All good stuff.

Horseback Riding at Luki Arabians

Like. Love. It’s horses, and the teachers are very nice, and I get to learn posting, and a hundred other loves!

Like. We need to figure out when and where for future lessons.

Cultural Event

Parade, Bees Game, Summer Olympics, Bluegrass Concert, Tuacahn Plays, Colorado Christian University trip, State Fair, DC trip, Museum of American History, Nutcracker, Learning German, Discovery Gateway, Grand America Tea, Weddings, Indian Restaurant, Sleeping Beauty Ballet, Ash Wednesday, Leonardo, Paquita Ballet, Coppelia Excerpts Ballet, Orthodox Church 

Like. Love, love, love. So fun and beautiful.

Like. So much fun stuff. She especially loved visiting St. Peter & Paul.

Service

Hosting Friends for Dinner, Babysitting, Hosting Housechurch, Taking Food and Flowers to Friends and Neighbors, Sunday Serve, VOA with Housechurch, Helping Mommy after surgery, Pioneer Park w/ Rescue Mission, Visiting Grammy, Decorating Church Building for Easter

Like. It’s fun and I actually get to be busy instead of doing school.

Like. I think we could do more, but we were more intentional than last year, so that was an improvement.

Overall evaluation:

Kid Dos’s suggestions for next year: More horse riding lessons, no math, maybe stop piano, get a dog, learn to write, go to FL and see my friend.

I think this year has challenged Kid Dos in a good way. A step up in the workload from last year, and this year instead of working with Kid Uno, she worked with Kid Tres, so she got to be the older and more experienced one. She has an amazing ability to remember stories in great detail, and narrate them verbatim, even weeks later. Her volume of free reading has increased a lot. She reads depending on what kick she’s on—animals, horses, Harry Potter, Star Wars.  I think some days it’s really hard for her to concentrate and “do school” but she generally has a good attitude about it. She spends a lot time imagining and acting things out. Next year, I may change her art to something more interesting for her. Maybe focus on theatre/drama/film instead of drawing/painting/crafting. She has grown a lot in responsibility over the year. We started strong with all the readings this year, but it got hard in the middle with my unexpected surgery, and toward the end with basement construction. I pared down some reading in the middle of the year. We had so much travel and so many activities—it’s been a very full year! There’s not a lot I would change for future children; I feel like the books and all our activities are enjoyable and well-rounded…it’s just a matter of fitting in so much good stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Year 4 Wrap Up for Kid Uno

Average weekly time: Together (4), Kid Uno alone (16), total hours (20ish)

 

Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments (my comments are italicized.

Any changes for next child or next year?

 

Bible/Spiritual Reading

Joshua, Judges, Romans

Dislike. It’s boring.

Like. I liked the consistency of one whole book per term, rather than jumping between bits of OT and NT narratives. She drew illustrations to narrate Joshua and Judges, and narrated Romans orally.

My Path to Heaven

Neutral. It’s boring but I like looking at the pictures.

Neutral. A bit dry, some theology I disagree with, but some interesting discussions.

Psalms with Daddy and other kids

Like. It’s fun to listen and to think of things to say.

Like. Love how the kids (usually) respond to DH reading a Psalm with them in the evening.

History/Bios

Builders of the Old World

Dislike. Boring—it doesn’t have stories. I don’t like telling things back to you.

Like. Kid Uno doesn’t like narrative history, but I think these three books (Builders, Medieval, Americas) are very well done, interesting, and similar to CHOW but good for independent reading. They would be awesome spines for a more in-depth study of history. I just wanted to her to do an independent survey of world history, so that’s how we used them this year.

Medieval Days and Ways

Neutral. Some of it was dislike. Most of the parts told about interesting things, but some were boring, just telling about things like churches and where they were found and stuff.

Makers of the Americas

Dislike. It didn’t tell about anything I’m interested in.

Our Island Story

Like. Sometimes it had stories, most of the time it didn’t. I liked writing narrations in the book.

Like. I still haven’t read more than the first several chapters, but I think having Kid Uno reading it to herself in YR 3 and 4 was more appropriate than me reading it in YR 1. Will continue with future kids.

Timeline

Neutral. I didn’t really like thinking of people I’d read, but some of the people I googled were interesting, more interesting than in the stories I’d read about them.

Like. I actually didn’t even look at her timeline till the end of the year…she had nice entries and seemed to enjoy looking up people on Wikipedia.

Geography

Biographies of World Explorers: Vikings, Marco Polo, Ibn Bttuta, Zheng He, Columbus, Balboa, Magellan, Cortez, Pizarro, Raleigh, Hudson, Cook, Livingston, Perry, North and South Poles, Himalayas (Everest)

Neutral reading them. Dislike mapping them.

Like. These are all good biographies. Kid Uno is more familiar with the globe now, although she focused on the storyline and paid minimal attention to the geographical aspects of the books and had to do some re-dos.

Where the Flame Trees Bloom

Like. It was fun hearing about the little stories of what her grandma did, living there, especially the lightning part.

Like. Easy reading about Cuban culture.

Maya Quest and Africa Trek

Dislike. Boring to read about, nothing interesting, and I dislike mapping them very much. I hate mapping stuff!

Like. Maya Quest is mostly pictures. I think she was more interested in these two books than she sounds in this evaluation, although she does dislike mapping.

Science

Ultimate Building Book

Dislike reading it. Like doing the projects.

Like. Architecture for kids.

Human Body Book

Neutral. Some lessons were interesting to learn about; most of them weren’t.

Like. Good overview of anatomy, nutrition, and health.

All About Electricity

Dislike. It was boring and I didn’t like learning about it.

Neutral. Good, but dated (written in the 50s), so newer electrical stuff isn’t covered, but still covers basic info.

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding

Neutral. Ugh. I put a lot of time into using BFSU to organize science themes, and it’s such a good resource, but I just don’t get around to the discussions, projects, or even videos…Maybe next year. Or I may just use it to organize all the science books we have and which years we read them. Or just to brush up on my own science knowledge for Q and A with the kids.

Nature Journal

Neutral. Sometimes I liked the projects, sometimes I wished I could do other projects (that weren’t listed).

Like. I liked making a list of options at the beginning of the year. She is old enough to do longer projects now, too.

Literature

Shakespeare (Arkangel Recordings)

Neutral. I could barely figure out the story, and it was basically just people talking. I liked Midsummer Night Dream because there was a story to it. I liked the videos much better, like the Romeo and Juliet we watched.

Neutral. I haven’t listened to any of them so I can’t comment on quality. I didn’t want to emphasize Shakespeare this year, so I think they were a good, quick way to cover a play each term. I meant to have her watch the plays after listening, but never got around to it. Maybe over the summer.

Robinson Crusoe

Neutral. It was fun hearing how he lived but some parts were a little bit boring.

Neutral. I read the first 2/3 and need to finish it. It was better than I thought it would be.

Gilgamesh Trilogy

Like. I loved those.

Like. Good picture book mythology. Wish I’d had them for one of my college anthropology classes!

Bullfinch’s Mythology

Like. I love it. Because it has awesome stories in it and I got to hear you read it…you almost never read books to me anymore because I’m not a little kid.

Like. Kid Uno knows the myths better than I do (maybe from Hawthorne and Magic Treehouse?); I enjoy reading these aloud with her. We skip Bullfinch’s commentary and poetry references at the end of the chapters.

Treasure Island

Dislike. It was sort of hard to understand; I didn’t really like the way the story went. Didn’t bring the characters to life the way other books do.

Neutral. I liked the beginning but it was kinda anti-climactic. I agree about flat characters.

Arabian Nights

Like. Most of the stories were fun.

Like. I’ve read about half the book so far–another one I need to finish.

Short Stories

Like. They were all different. And I liked guessing which door in “The Lady or the Tiger”. Those were fun.

Like. I had fun picking 12 famous short stories, and it was a nice switch from a novel for a term.

Poetry

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Emily Dickinson, Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson

Neutral. I don’t really like poetry. I only half do and I half don’t.

Neutral. I liked the Australian poets better than Dickinson and Tennyson, but Tennyson was better than I anticipated.

Math

Ray’s Intellectual, Practical, and Test

Dislike. Hate. It’s so hard and boring, and it doesn’t have good problems and I hate it so badly.

Neutral. I still think Ray’s is effective and so good for mental math. But she hates it. I’m considering making SU the main curriculum, or switching to Singapore. Or keep it…dunno yet.

Strayor Upton Red (2nd half)

Like. It often has very fun things, except when I have to do all those boring non-word problems and I don’t get to do a test.

Like. Although I think it’s a bit below grade level, it’s really perfect for Kid Uno to do independently since it’s written to the student.

Miquon (finished)

Dislike. It’s so hard and I don’t like doing it. I like SU.

Like. And I’m glad she finished it after 3.5 years!

Writing

Pentime (finished grade 8)

Like. Loved it, love it, love it. I love doing cursive, and seeing the pretty ways it loops and twists.

Like. She will be moving into typing for YR 5, and I will probably just have her do some cursive copywork once a week or so to maintain good handwriting skills.

Reading

McGuffey’s Fourth Reader

Dislike. Most of the time doesn’t have stories and it’s really boring to read.

Dislike. This is the worst of the four readers as far as subject matter and quality writing. But I will have her finish it because it’s excellent for pronunciation and vocabulary. She only reads 2x per week.

Grammar

Rod & Staff Grade 5

Neutral. Most of the time it’s fun. I like doing stuff orally but not written.

Like. Solid and super easy for me to use with the teacher’s guide. We do a lot of it orally to save time. She’s about halfway through after doing 2-3 lessons per week.

Dictation

Various passages from poetry, lit, Bible

Dislike. It’s not fun.

Dislike. Time consuming and Kid Uno always has tons of mistakes. I’m not sure if I’m doing it the most effective way possible. Need to read up/video up over the summer.

Foreign Language

Duolingo

Like. It’s very fun because I get to learn a new language [Spanish], but I’m thinking about doing a different language now.

Like. Great free resource.

Salsa Spanish

Neutral. It’s fun to watch it, but it’s hard to understand because I don’t know that much Spanish yet. I’m only 39% fluent.

Like. Short and fun once in a while.

Art

Colored Pencil Drawing, Drawing Workbook, Drawing the Head & Figure, Fashion, Fourth Year Drawing.

Dislike. I don’t like drawing. They’re boring and I don’t get to draw what I want. But I like the fashion book.

Like. But I don’t think she is being challenged enough.

Ultimate Building Book projects

Like. They’re fun to do.

Like. Plenty to pick from!

Photography, Computer Animation, Nature Art

Dislike. I didn’t really do anything, and couldn’t figure out how to put in color.

Neutral. They were good ideas, but I didn’t execute them well, except for Nature Art since we have some good books for that.

Choice of Medium: Origami, Oil Pastels, Watercolors

Like. Fun to do. Especially watercolors and origami.

Like. These worked well.

Picture Study

Frida Kahlo, Peter Paul Rubens, Leonardo DaVinci

Dislike. All of them. They’re not exactly the pictures I’d like to study.  I’d like to study the covers of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty [illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft].

Like. I’m surprised she disliked Rubens, since Craft reminds me of Rubens.

Music

Hymns

Dislike. I’d like to have more exciting, fun songs.

Like. Good for us all.

Wagner, Harpsichord, Buena Vista Social Club, Grieg, Arabic, Blues, Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Didgeridoo, Slim Dusty, Mendelssohn

Neutral. I can listen to them while I’m doing stuff. I’d like to have one each week and be able to pick which ones.

Like. She actually liked some of these (Wagner, Arabic) more than she remembers.

Violin Lessons

Like. I’ve grown to like it more and more. I think I’d like to continue. I think practicing in the basement helps.

Like. We are at a natural break, so we’ll need to see about continuing.

Memorization/Recitation

Bible

Dislike. I don’t like memorizing Bible.

Like. And she is capable of more.

Poetry

Neutral. Sometimes it’s fun. I’d like to do something really long through all three terms.

Like. And I think her idea for next year is great.

Handicraft/Skill

Baking, Grocery Shopping, Building Chicken Coop, Fairy House, Meal Prep, Paper Dolls, Pumpkin Carving, Tie Dye, Paper Snowflakes, Making Lunch, Hand Sewing, Snap Circuits, Building Snow Fort, Painting Mugs, Weaving, Kiwicrates, Bead Jewelry, Origami, Cooking, Moving Concrete, Gardening

Like. Cuz they’re fun—except for move concrete!

Like. A lot of variety this year.

Outdoor Exploration

Hiking Cecret Lake, Peace Garden, Perseid Meteor Shower, Pineview Reservoir, Thanksgiving Point Farm, Millcreek Canyon, Uintas Lofty Lake, Cross E Ranch, DC Arboretum, DC Rock Creek Park, Jordan River—Rain, Muskrats, Beaver, Ducklings, Alantic Ocean, Indian River, Fishing, Florida Zoo, Edible Plants, Tulip Festival, Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Like. They’re fun, and it’s interesting, especially Cecret Lake.

Like. I love outings.

Sport/Physical Activity

Kids Community Ballet at Missio Dei

Neutral. I’d like something higher technique, and harder and more advanced. But it was fun being with my friends and dancing.

Like. Mainly for the relationships this year.

Running, Swimming, Playgrounds, Roller Blading, Biking, Hiking, 5k, Boogie Boarding, Kayaking, Sledding, Jump Around, Ice Skating, Basketball, Bowling

Like. Especially kayaking, swimming, boogie boarding.

Like. Lots of variety.

Ballet at SLC Ballet

Like. Love, love, love. It’s so fun, and I make new friends, and it’s hard, and I love performing and huge performances, and dancing there.

Like. She loves it, and it seems to be the best studio for her right now.

Cultural Event

Parade, Bees Game, Summer Olympics, Bluegrass Concert, Tuacahn Plays, Colorado Christian University trip, State Fair, DC trip, Museum of American History, Nutcracker, Weddings, Discovery Gateway, Grand America Tea, Indian Restaurant, Sleeping Beauty Ballet, Ash Wednesday, Leonardo, Paquita Ballet, Coppelia Excerpts Ballet, Orthodox Church 

Like. Love, love. They were very fun, especially the ballet, state fair, wedding, Grand America tea.

Like. These were all good.

Service

Hosting Friends for Dinner, Babysitting, Hosting Housechurch, Taking Food and Flowers to Friends and Neighbors, Sunday Serve, VOA with Housechurch, Helping Mommy after surgery, Reading to Kid Cinco, Pioneer Park w/ Rescue Mission, Visiting Grammy, Decorate Church Building for Easter

Like. It’s fun, especially helping Grammy and decorating the church.

Like. I think we could do more, but we were more intentional than last year, so that was an improvement.

Overall evaluation:

Kid Uno’s suggestions for next year: Doing that big poetry I suggested, more ballet classes, going on pointe, private ballet lessons,  drawing videos online.

This year, Kid Uno did most of her work independently. We did poetry, mythology, My Path to Heaven, grammar, dictation, and a lot of math together. The rest she did on her own, and I heard narrations and checked written work in the evening or the next day. She’s very good about following her assignment list, especially when motivated by ballet classes in the afternoon. I increased her reading volume quite a bit this year. Duolingo has been surprisingly useful for language learning—and it’s free!. I started her in 5th grade grammar, and she did just fine without previous grammar instruction. I’m not sure what to do for drawing and art next year…I feel like she needs something challenging and interesting, but what? I think she also needs something for geometry. Maybe Khan Academy? Or switch to Singapore? We started strong with everything I scheduled for this year, but it got hard for me to keep up in the middle with my unexpected surgery, and toward the end with basement construction.  Kid Uno was very consistent throughout the year. We had so much travel and so many activities—it’s been a very full year! There’s not a lot I would change for future children; I feel like the book choices and all our activities are enjoyable and well-rounded…it’s just a matter of fitting in so much good stuff.

 

 

 

 

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!

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!