Tag Archives: tweaks

Kid Uno’s Year 4 Course of Study

Here’s what I planned for Kid Uno:

She will be almost totally independent this year, although I may read something aloud with her because she and I both enjoy it, and it would be sad to give that up completely. We are waiting till next year to begin Plutarch, and probably two more years for Latin (I want to cover some English grammar first). (??) means I’m still waffling among options:)

Bible/Spiritual Reading: She reads and does oral narration

Joshua, Judges, Mark

The Great Divorce (??): We could read 4 pp. per week and discuss this together. It might be a good fit for her spiritual journey. It’s written in first person, which Kid Uno hates, so that might be a drawback.

Memorize and Recite one Bible passage per term

History/Biographies/Geography/Cultures: Theme for the year is world history and geography with a focus on exploration. She will read, map, and write narrations. I help her enter people and events on her timeline every three weeks–she’ll start either a Book of Centuries or a new timeline this year.

Our Island Story: Finish reading the book with written narrations for each chapter.

Builders of the Old World, Medieval Days and Ways, Makers of the Americas: We spent the last two years covering world history by me reading aloud from CHOW. This year she will cover most of world history by reading these three books herself. They include a fair amount of social history, which is more engaging to her than battles and politics. There are some good discussion questions at the end of each section. I would like to move away from narrations which are mainly re-tellings (who, where, what) and move toward deeper discussions of why, how, and ought.

Landmark and other biographies about Vikings, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Zheng He, Columbus, Balboa, Magellan, Cortez, Pizarro, Raleigh, Hudson , Cook, Livingston, Perry, Amundsen/Scott ??, Himalayas [Everest].She’ll spend 2-3 weeks reading each book, filling in blank maps of their journeys, and writing a brief narration at the end of each book. I’d also like to supplement with some travel or cultural documentaries so she can see the places she’s reading about, but I may wait till next year when she reads Halliburton’s Marvels. Instead, I might assign her Maya Quest and Africatrek since they are short but vivid.

Nature Study/Science: This year, I am revamping how we use Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. I used volume two to organize Kid Uno’s science readings. These are mostly books from the Let’s Read and Find Out series. I may also use some books from the All About… series or the First Book of …. series, which are a little more (or a lot, depending on the book) advanced. The Body and Building books also tie into these themes. We will read, and discuss (rather than narrate), and I hope to incorporate projects, experiences, and some documentaries. We may do some of this with another family.

BFSU Topics for this year: Term 1–How Things Fly; Center of Gravitiy, Balance, Wobbling Wheels; Energy in Motion: Momentum and Waves; Mechanics: Levers and Discovery of Underlying Principle; Inclined Planes, Pulleys, Gears, and Hydraulic Lifts   Term 2–Electricity: Electric Circuits, Switches, Conductors, Non-conductors; Static Electricity, Sparks, Lighting; Parallel and Series Circuits, Fuses, Ground Wires, Light: Basics of Light and Seeing  Term 3–Cells, Microscopes, Observation of Tissues, Cell Theory; Cell Growth, Division, Differentiation, Introduction to Reproduction; Integrating Cells and Whole-body Functions; Cause and Effects of Seasonal Changes; Water Cycle and Its Ramifications

The Human Body : this is a great age to study some anatomy! She will read one chapter per week, and narrate or discuss.

Ultimate Building Book: a lot of this ties in with BFSU, so she will read and discuss. There are plenty of projects to do, so this will be one of her art options.

Nature Journal: draw assigned topic every week. I’ll probably line up the topics with BFSU  or outdoor explorations as much as possible

Literature: read and narrate orally or with drawings

Shakespeare: I’m still waffling. Leaning toward watching one play per term. But maybe listening to the audio. Or both?? We are not going to actually read them yet (although I have the Complete Works so if she listens to the audio she could follow along).

Mythology: probably Bullfinch, according to the AO schedule. Although I also have Hamilton, which looks like easier reading.

Gilgamesh trilogy: these are short and easy, and will be scheduled at the same time she’s reading about the ancient world.

Arabian Nights: These are scheduled while she’s reading Medieval Days and Ways, and after Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta

Robinson Crusoe

Treasure Island

Short Stories: one per week during Term 3. Rip Van Winkle, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, To Build a Fire, Thank You, Ma’am, Gift of the Magi, Gold Bug, Tell-tale Heart, Lady or the Tiger, Three Questions, Sound of Thunder, Fun They Had. These might be good read alouds to do together. I might introduce a bit of literary analysis.

Poetry: read aloud together daily, one poet per term, memorize and recite one poem per term

Tennyson, Dickinson, Paterson and/or Lawson


Ray’s Intellectual, Practical, and Test–daily: Mostly fractions this year. I explain, assign, and check her work.

Strayer Upton Red book: second half. Probably alternate with Ray’s

Miquon–2-3x per week; she can do this mostly independently and will finish the series this year


McGuffey’s Fourth Reader: she reads aloud to me 2x per week

Non-fiction: she does not love reading fiction (prefers fiction), so I will have her choose one book from several non-fiction options to complete about every four weeks


Prepared Dictation: this will be our first year, so I’m not sure how it will look. I think I will choose a literature passage, she will read it, then study it, then I will dictate it to her and she will copy it from memory. All that is spread over 4-5 days. I may do dictation one week, and grammar the next.

Grammar: this will be her first year with formal grammar, and she’ll start at the beginning of Rod&Staff 5. It  is very thorough, so I won’t assign everything. I’ll probably alternate grammar weekly with dictation, or daily with handwriting.

Handwriting: Pentime Grade 7, then 8. When she finishes those books, she can begin keyboarding.


Drawing: She will pick an area to practice and do a bit daily. Probably fashion drawing, though I haven’t found a good book yet.

Art Project: Alternate between Private Eye and Ultimate Building Book every four weeks. I want to emphasize continuity, and working at something over a period of time.

Handicraft/Skill: work on a project or skill every week. I have a feeling cooking/baking will continue as a favorite 😉

Picture Study: one artist per term, one painting each week, Leonardo da Vinci, and two others ??


Violin Lessons: weekly

Hymn (T): three hymns/worship songs each term, sung together 2-3x per week

Appreciation: 3 genres ?? per term to listen to 2-3x per week

Sport/Physical Activity: probably weekly, depending on her interests this year. Probably ballet.

Foreign Language: Duolingo languages of her choice or Salsa Spanish (T) episodes, a little bit every week.

Outdoor Exploration: at least monthly. This is usually a family activity, like camping or playing in a stream or visiting a farm or zoo…

Cultural Event: at least monthly. This is usually a family activity like attending a ballet or concert, visiting a museum or art show…

Service:at least monthly. This is usually a family activity like community service with our church, doing something kind for a neighbor, visiting a nursing home…

And that is….a lot! We’ll see how it turns out.

Here’s what Kid Uno and I thought of how it actually  turned out:



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Dislike. It only has babies. Or mostly babies.

Like. There were also several dogs.


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.



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.



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.


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

Like. She is fabulous at memorization.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.



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.



Dislike. I don’t like memorizing Bible.

Like. And she is capable of more.


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.


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.


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.





Year 1 Wrap-up for Kid Uno (her version)

If you want to know what a Year 1 student really thinks of the Ambleside Online selections, you’re in the right place. Here are Kid Uno’s year-end summaries, in her own words (my Year 1 page has links for everything we used):

  • Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).
  • Add a few comments.


A Child’s Garden of Verses

Dislike. It’s hard to read and not very interesting.

When We Were Young & Now We Are Six

Neutral. There are only a few poems that I like. One is the Sailor and there are a few others.

A Child’s Book of Poetry

Neutral. But I loved Christina Rossetti.  I kind of didn’t like the rest.

Classical Kids CDs

Like. Mostly Song of Unicorn, Hallelujah Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart’s Magical Fantasy.


Neutral. My favorite was Crown Him With Many Crowns.


Tales From Shakespeare

Like. It was fun and there were lots of exciting stories.

Blue Fairy Book

Like. It was fun–lots of magic fairies, beautiful girls, and stuff.

Just So Stories

Like. There were lots of animals, and my favorite was How the Elephant Got his Trunk, Leopard, Butterfly.

Aesop’s Fables

Like. I loved it because it has such fun stories.


One Small Square Cave

Like. Really fun. I liked how it told me about the caves.

One Small Square Swamp

Neutral. It wasn’t very interesting.

One Small Square Arctic Tundra

Like. It told me lots of things about the tundra.

James Herriot’s Treasury

Like. I loved it. You should know I loved it! It had lots of stories about animals and I like animal stories a lot.

Burgess Bird Book

Neutral. Told a lot about animals but just about birds. I like animals but not really birds. One bird I loved in that story was the Welcome Robin.

Among the …. People

Like. That was fun because it was about lots of animals.

Nature Connection

Neutral. It was just about nature not animals or stories.


Trial and Triumph

Neutral. It had not very fun stories; just about people and not what that said.

50 Famous Stories

Like. They’re really exciting. It tells a lot about people, and I get to read some [independently], and it tells about a few people I already know.

Our Island Story

Neutral. A few fun stories and a few not good stories.

Viking Tales

Like. I love them….King Harald the Great!


d’Aulaires Pocahontas

Neutral.  I liked it but it’s not very fun. It had just Indians and I don’t like just stories about Indians because they scare me [I think this response actually arises from Kid Uno’s immersion in the Little House books…I need to find some good books where the Indians aren’t constantly portrayed as “savages”].

d’Aulaires Benjamin Franklin

Like. I loved him and Washington. Wasn’t he [Franklin] a president?

d’Aulaires Buffalo Bill

Like. You already know that I like it! He’s really exciting. The only people I don’t like in it are the raiders that try to hurt him and the Indians even though they are his friends.

d’Aulaires George Washington

Like. That he was so brave.


Paddle to the Sea

Like. I loved it–it was so exciting.


Rod&Staff Penmanship 2

Dislike. They are so hard.

Rod&Staff Penmanship 3

Dislike. It’s hard to copy the words, and it’s long.


Life of Fred

Like. I loved LoF. It helps me do it and then it has fun stories.

I Love Math books

Like. I loved them when I first did them but they aren’t interesting anymore.

Ray’s Primary Arithmetic

Dislike. It was really hard.


Dislike. Because they are so hard and take a lot of time.


Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

Dislike. No way, Jose. I don’t like reading out loud.

McGuffey’s Second Reader

Like. I love it. I get to learn a few things…like about sharing…and about selfishness.


John Singer Sargent

Dislike. It’s so hard to remember.

Van Gogh

Like. I got to see a few interesting and beautiful pictures.


Neutral. It’s hard.


Art Treasury

Neutral. It’s kind of hard, and I did the first easy ones which were really nice but then I didn’t really like the others.

Drawing Textbook

Dislike. It’s too hard. At least the first easy ones were fun but I didn’t like the last ones which were hard.

Youtube Drawing Videos

Like. Because I got to draw a lot of things.

Nature Journal

Neutral. I have to draw things that I don’t want to do.

Mesa Art Classes

Like. Loved! Because I got to draw a whole lot of things that I liked to do. And I got to learn a few things about drawing. That you should draw it carefully and not hurry. That you can mix things together and make pretty colors. And you should draw a line like this–a horizon line.



Like. I loved it because I got to learn a whole lot of things like kicking it with the side of your foot. But with your toe if you are kicking in in the goal. And you should shove a little bit if the person has the ball. And that I should be happy if I lose or I win, and that everyone wins. A— told me that everyone wins. Does everyone win? I got to have the ball a few times, and got to kick it to the goal. And I had a few friends. And there were a few people cheering for us. The one thing I don’t like about soccer is that I don’t like that one team said we look easy, and we’re not easy, we’re hard. And I got to run a lot, and A— talked to me a lot and helped me. And soccer was the funnest sport of my life. And I get to be with my friends.