Tag Archives: homeschool

Ella Frances Lynch vs. Charlotte Mason

If I had discovered Ella Frances Lynch before Charlotte Mason, our home education probably would have been based on her methods. As the size of our family grows, and my responsibilities increase, I think Lynch’s methods will be easier than Mason’s to incorporate in our family. Mason’s approach (for educating a child older than 6) was to make her private school methods available to parents/governesses who needed to use them in a home setting, something like a correspondence school. Lynch’s writings are directly to the mother and make the education of young children (up to age 10) simply an extension of the parenting which has been ongoing since babyhood. Charlotte Mason has a much larger following in the homeschool world, and there are people discussing and explaining her philosophies, so her methods are easier to implement in some ways. There are books, blogs, websites, and curricula based on Mason’s philosophy of education. There are at least two books (Bookless Lessons for the Teacher-Mother and Educating the Child at Home) and several newspapers and magazine articles written by Ella Frances Lynch (there are some links on the Well Trained Mind forums). Within those two books, she gives very detailed directions starting at age 3, maybe earlier, as far as discipline and habits and education. Charlotte Mason assumed an audience who were already familiar with the current methods of teaching. In 1916, everyone seemed to know how to do an object lesson and why it should be done, and Mason doesn’t really explain how to do it. As an educator in 2016, I have no idea how to conduct a traditional object lesson, but Lynch goes into great detail as to the whys and hows. She assumes the mother is starting from scratch and builds her methods using articles already at hand, and methods which could be used anywhere and at any time.  And I love how she is very clear about the goals of education, and very practical in how to attain them.

Lynch and Mason share many similarities. A goal of educating the whole child, morally, mentally, physically, socially. An emphasis on nature study, short lessons, good habits, early math using concrete objects, learning useful skills, and reading good literature. A belief that a loving mother is capable of educating her own children. However, Lynch was an American, and seemed more aware of the day-t0-day responsibilities of mothers (especially mothers with large families, limited means, and no help in the form of cooks and nannies). She wrote for popular magazines and newspaper columns, so her writing is much more concise and practical than Mason’s six flowery volumes. Charlotte Mason seems to have a bit of a cultish following these days. There are people who are very concerned about studying her works and divining “what she really meant”. But you don’t have to dissect Ella Frances Lynch; she just tells you exactly what she means! She was Catholic, while Mason was Anglican, and she is more directive in how to oversee a child’s spiritual and moral development, and puts the responsibility in the parents’ hands. Both women were educators; neither of them had their own children. How ironic 🙂 Charlotte Mason’s ideal mother takes a 20 minute ride out into the country where she sits on a blanket while her children play and explore for 4-6 hours, and teaches them observation skills part of that time by describing the landscape around them. Ella Frances Lynch’s ideal mother supervises her toddler peeling potatoes in the kitchen with her, while the other children are counting forks or reciting lines from a poem (the mother has just refreshed her memory on the meaning of several archaic words in said poem). Guess which mother I resemble most days???

Lynch ideas that resonate with me:

  • The mother is the best teacher for a young child. She loves him, cares for him, knows more than him, and is just as or more competent than the best available teacher. A child is better being with his mother until age 7 or 8 (or later). Lynch emphasizes mother-education: brushing up on vocabulary and scientific knowledge so you can pass it on to your children, memorizing poetry so you can teach them to recite, forming your own faith so you can instruct your own children in religion and morality.
  • Poetry is the language of childhood. Poetry is the cornerstone of a child’s education. This idea seemed odd to me, but after reading her reasons, it is very attractive. I really like the idea of using a beautiful epic poem, and expanding to nature study, language study, history, geography, oration, and recitation. I probably wouldn’t pick Longfellow’s Hiawatha, though. 🙂
  • Memorization and observation are the main skills for a young child to develop. She has detailed instructions for object study, listening and answering, memorization.
  • The goal of education is to develop a child who is more or less able to self-educate around age 10-12, and who is ready for a lifetime working in his or her calling, whatever it may be. Lynch mentions different “tracks” depending on whether the child is headed for a trade or for higher education.
  • School reform. Educating the Child at Home contains a lot of great ideas for public school reform. Lynch worked hard at this; maybe the Department of Education should take a strong dose of her ideas again.

And some that don’t:

  • Left-handedness is a fault, and children must be corrected to use their right hands. Eek! I will not be taking that advice for Kid Cuatro.
  • What does one do after a child reaches age 10? Lynch seemed to assume sending him off to school. But if I plan to oversee our children’s education through age 14 or later, she doesn’t cover that age in detail at all. I suppose the same philosophy continues, using more difficult material, but some concrete examples would have been nice.

So this is a brief comparison of Ella Frances Lynch and Charlotte Mason, after reading Bookless Lessons for the Mother Teacher and Educating the Child at Home by Lynch, and Volumes 1, 3, and 6 by Mason. And if anyone is considering Charlotte Mason, but is overwhelmed by reading her volumes, I suggest starting with Ella Frances Lynch instead.

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Thinking Out Loud…Halfway Through 2016-2017

How are we doing this year? On track to finish at the end of May. We took a week off for my unexpected surgery and then spent 3 lovely weeks in Florida on vacation.

 

I’m glad we started in August last year; it gave me a mental buffer even though we weren’t expecting a baby this year…and recovering from abdominal surgery has been harder than recovering from a birth. On paper, our schedules are very balanced and doable. In reality, I am struggling with very long days for myself, generally 8:30 am to 9:30 pm without much/any margin. Kid Seis is Super Destructo Toddler–she can destroy our entire house in 3 minutes.  And send us all into hysterics watching her because she is so FUNNY!

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But she is very hard to keep up with, and it seems like someone else is always getting the short end of the stick. My elegant solution is to hand the stick to a different person every day 🙂 We are doing well covering the skill subjects and readings. It has worked well combining Kids Dos and Tres for several readings. They have a sweet relationship with each other, without the competitive element between Kid Uno and Kid Dos. We are doing great at spending 1+ hours outdoors daily, even though it’s been a COLD winter. img_20170119_123554738

DH takes the kids on an outing most Saturdays, which is fun for the kids and gives me some very appreciated. I’m starting to get into planning mode for next year; I always enjoy planning.

It’s all the “extras” that feel very rushed to me; I assign something to a kid, and then nag and say “hurry up and finish, we have so much other stuff to get done”. But really, I want them to dive into their art projects or handicrafts or outdoor exploration, and really spend some time enjoying it.  So that is something for me to improve over the next 18 weeks. I’ll have the 3 older kids doing the same thing every day, to see if it streamlines things a bit. So everyone does picture study one day, nature journals another day, sports another day, art project another day, handicraft another day…

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Also–the little kids. I want to grab a bunch of picture books, Five In A Row Style, and read them a couple times, and do a few activities that we are inspired to do. Kid Cuatro is a little academic. She spends hours drawing, and now writing, as long as she has a willing parent or sibling around to spell it for her. She doesn’t even listen anymore when we read her stories because she is too busy sounding out words on the page. She’s begging for reading lessons. And she’s not quite five yet! I think I’ll start reading lessons with her when Kid Tres finishes 100 EZ Lessons, probably in March. SONY DSCKid Cinco needs more cuddling, more stories, more playtime WITH me, and lots of music. He loves music! I bought a CD player to replace our broken one, and showed him how to use it so he can put on CDs by himself. SONY DSCThe little kids also need more art, and more board and card games through the rest of winter. Kid Dos has been dying for horseback riding lessons, so she and Kid Tres will start weekly lessons in March. Then we’ll have one day with music lessons, one day with horseback riding lessons, and three days with ballet classes. Plus house church, Sunday church, fitting in visits with friends, family outings,travel and hosting people, etc. It feels like so much. img_20161109_110652916

How can I streamline? Maybe clustering kid chores in 3-4 days per week, instead of every day. Maybe cutting out Bible with each individual older child, and just reading Egermeir’s as a group (DH has been reading the Bible with all of them at night). What about not scheduling drawing on nature journal days, and not scheduling handwriting on days when Kid Uno has lots of written narrations? Perhaps making math lessons a bit shorter. Maybe scheduling a few things which seem less “schoolish” for the weekends (music appreciation, handicrafts, longer readings like Robin Hood). Sometimes I could save a bit of work with older kids for after DH gets home in the evening and can watch the noisy little ones. Maybe having older kids help with the baby during the day while I take a turn with another one. And next year, I may try scheduling a 4 day week or an 11 week term, and see if that helps. Or maybe just drop all of my very detailed plans and unschool instead 😉img_20161230_111011926

There have been a LOT of books written about homeschooling. Here are my top recommendations published from the 1960’s to the present.

The Colfaxes: they are THE original modern homeschool family. I love how they just went for it, pre-internet, out in the boonies, their strong family culture of learning, and their academic results. Homeschooling for Excellence and Hard Times in Paradise.

John Holt: a single, childless educator, but you gotta love his deep faith in childrens’ natural ability to learn, if they are allowed time and surroundings conducive to their unique development and interests. Teach Your Own, How Children Learn, How Children Fail, and others.

Raymond and Dorothy Moore: their slant is Better Late than Early, School Can Wait, and others. Service is one of their unique aspects of a balanced education. Their concern about too much reading damaging eye development is outdated, but there are some recent interesting studies about nearsightedness and outdoor time.

David Albert: And the Skylark Sings With Me. He blew my mind with community based education. His family circumstances are about as opposite mine as you can get [a dad educating two daughters widely spaced in age], but this book completely inspired me to embrace our community resources, and just get out there and experience life as much as we possibly can.

Marva Collins: the only other person I know of with this much energy is my MIL. Marva Collins’ Way is an exuberant book . It’s also nice to read something by an educator who is not white and middle class. I guess she could be described as more cottage school than homeschool but her drive to provide individual inner city kids with a classical-ish education is very inspiring.

Dorothy Sayers and Susan Wise Baeur: Lost Tools of Learning, and the Well-Trained Mind. I don’t buy into neo-classical educational theory at all and don’t follow either of these philosophies, but reading the essay and the book helped me articulate some of the ways I don’t want to educate our kids. 🙂 And the Well-Trained Mind forums have been incredibly helpful as I decide on curricula every year.

Ruth Beechick: she has some really strange ideas, and her books sound like the 90’s version of fortress homeschooling, but these two books are what I would want if I had no internet. The Three R’s and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully cover how and when to teach the basics K-8, they are simple and concise, and have a very can-do, encouraging tone.

Grace Llewellyn: caveat–The Teenage Liberation Handbook was published just after I had been homeschooled through the middle of 10th grade and  graduated from community college at age 17. It was a great read about non-conformist kids. I was an anarchistic and a hippie then; now I’m just a libertarian wanna-be hippie, and I haven’t read the book since then, so it might not be as great as I remember. 😉 But back then it was awesome!

Daniel T. Willingham: Why Don’t Students Like School? is a strangely named book. It’s really about brain science, and debunks the myth of learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) while explaining how people DO learn and how to use those ideas in education. Sounds dry, but it is quite readable and has strongly influenced me in how we do what we do at home.

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!

Kid Uno’s Year 1 Course of Study

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

Reading

Writing

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

Math

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

Bible

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

Poetry

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

History

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

Geography

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

Natural History/Science

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

Literature

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

Art

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

Music

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

Foreign Language

Handicrafts

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

Free Reads

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

Sports

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

Extras

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

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

Exams

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

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

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. 🙂