Where have I been???

My last post on this blog was…September??? Of last YEAR????  What happened? Where did the time go?

I guess life just happened.🙂  Honestly, what happens is that if I’m  not working on the computer and the kids are asleep, the last thing I want to do is sit on the computer longer! I want to SIT and take a breather.

There have been some major changes around the house as far as school goes, and I always want to “talk it out” here, but I never get around to it.

So, looking back here’s what I’ve changed:

  • I’m not doing hymn, artist, poetry, composer, or music study. Ever.
  • I’m not doing history the way I lined it all out before.
  • We’re not using the math texts I selected.
  • I’ve dropped AO completely.
  • I’ve dropped the extra science and the grammar and the copywork.

In short, I’ve kept Apologia science for Evie and the Bible Study Guide for all Ages. That’s it! I don’t even know if I am considered a Charlotte Mason follower. I guess I’m more relaxed eclectic or something. I LOVE the ideas of Charlotte Mason, and if I could have controlled my own education, that would have been how I would choose to learn. However, it didn’t work for my children.

So what do our days look like? I’ve cycled through a few ideas and different things through the year. This is what I’ve landed on.

Evie: Bible Study Guide for All Ages, Math on the Level, Life of Fred, Sequential Spelling, Easy Grammar and Daily Grams, cursive handwriting from Abeka, Apologia land animals and journal, Trail Guide to Learning (Paths of Exploration), and extracurricular things like ballet, co-op, gymnastics, and lots of art and drawing.

Jacob: Bible Study Guide for All Ages, Math on the Level, Life of Fred, McRuffy reading and handwriting, limited Trail Guide to Learning portions, and Magic School Bus science kits along with lots of computer learning games like Study Dog, Starfall, Mathseeds, etc.

Anna:  Bible Study Guide for All Ages, Life of Fred for listening only, Magic School Bus science, and the above computer learning games (Starfall, Mathseeds, etc).

Anyway, I hope to go over some of the new things we’ve added and talk about the things that didn’t work for us and why they didn’t work. I’ll be posting more lately I hope!

Posted in curriculum | Tagged | 4 Comments

Finalizing Plans – Fine Arts for a Charlotte Mason Education

I’m putting together our fine arts portion for the 2013/14 school year. This includes hymns, folk songs, composer study, artist study, and poetry.  We will mostly do this together (in the car on the way to co-op). However, poetry will be done individually. Jacob (in 1st) will be listening to Robert Louis Stevenson’s poetry as well as some from the Real Mother Goose, and Evie (in 5th) will be listening to Christina Rossetti, Eugene Field, and James Whitcombe Riley.  I’d really like her to listen to these poems performed by professionals, because I never really seem to do them justice.

Anyway, we will do one hymn, one folk song, one composer, and one artist per month, listening to the same song weekly. For poets, we’ll do one poem per week.

Hymn study for the year:

  1. Holy, Holy, Holy!
  2. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
  3. This Is My Father’s World
  4. O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  5. Amazing Grace!
  6. Take My Life and Let it Be
  7. What Can Wash Away My Sin? (Easter)
  8. Away in a Manger (Christmas)
  9. Be Thou My Vision

Folk Songs:

  1. My Country Tis of Thee
  2. This Little Light of Mine
  3. All Through the Night
  4. America the Beautiful
  5. I Love the Mountains (Neat option by Discovery!)
  6. I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy (other fun lyrics here)
  7. Star Spangled Banner
  8. Aiken Drum
  9. Cockles & Mussles

Composers:

  1. Hildegard von Bingen: O Ecclesia
  2. Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee
  3. Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G
  4. Beethoven: Fur Elise
  5. Brahm: Hungarian Dance No. 5
  6. Chopin: Nocturne E Flat Major Op.9 No.2
  7. Debussy: Clair de Lune
  8. Handel: Water Music
  9. Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3

Artists:

  1. Giotto

2. Jean Francois Millet

3. Rosa Bonheur

Eugene Field

  1. The Duel
  2. Sugar Plum Tree
  3. Night Wind
  4. Little Blue Pigeon
  5. Flyaway Horse
  6. Pittypat and Tippytoe (I cannot believe there is no audio for this. It’s my favorite! Here are the words.)
  7. Good Children Street
  8. The Ride to Bumpville
  9. Seein’ Things
  10. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
  11. Little Boy Blue
  12. Jest Fore Christmas

James Whitcombe Riley

  1. Little Orphant Annie
  2. The Raggedy Man (or here or here)
  3. Nine Little Goblins
  4. When the Frost is on the Punkin
  5. The Bear Story
  6. The Old Swimming Hole

Christina Rossetti

  1. What is Pink?
  2. Who Has Seen the Wind?
  3. A Birthday
  4. Hurt no Living Thing
  5. A White Hen Sitting
  6. In the Bleak Midwinter
  7. Goblin Market
  8. The Lambs of Grasmere
  9. An Emerald is as Green as Grass
  10. Holy Innocents
  11. Uphill
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Middle Ages History Selections

Here I am doing what I do best. CHANGING things.

I had a poignant conversation with my soon-to-be 5th grader about Ambleside and the readings, etc. It went something like this:

“Hey Evie, what were your favorite stories from last year?”

“Ummmmm…”

Do you remember any of the stories?

Thinking quietly…”Not really.”

Did you like Little Duke? No – except for the part where he saved the bird. Did you like Wind in the Willows? No – the animals are cool but it was pretty boring. Did you like the history readings about kings of England? Some of it when something interesting happened. Did you like the Burgess Animal Book? Yea, that was okay but kinda for little kids.

She liked Understood Betsy and Pilgrim’s Progress. That’s about it.

So, I started to worry. A few friends of mine have altered the AO selections, but I really, really like it all laid out. I like how rigorous it is! But when I honestly prayed and questioned myself, I think I only like it because I want to pridefully produce smart kids. “Well, you know they have done 10 years of Ambleside Online” I could envision myself saying with a smirk. I want well-cultured, educated, polite kids who can discuss Plutarch. Is that so much to ask?

I asked my FB group for advice. And everyone told me that if it isn’t working, change it until it is. Ugh. This is why I don’t send them to school – so that they can have individualized plans, right? Sigh. Yes.

So, I’m starting with Evie’s history. She’s at the last part of Y2 still because we’ve not managed to do much this summer. That’s okay though. We’ll just change grades over Christmas break. We’re in the heart of the Middle Ages. I want to stick with the AO history rotation schedule but just use different selections.

An Island Story (AO selection) is interesting to me, but it is “battle heavy.” This has been confusing to both of us, and yes we could timeline all the different wars, but for what? Also, I have an animal-loving sweet girl, and she’s more interested in the culture, lifestyles, animals, and stories than she is in the battles. I started to look at different history spines that could be used for the middle ages period that covered battles but also people, stories, etc. Thankfully, I had already purchased the All Through the Ages Ebook by Christine Miller, which gives hundreds of recommendations broken down by time period OR geography and even further by grade and type of book (fiction, bio, culture, literature, etc.). If you don’t have it, get it!

After looking around (a lot), I settled on using Story of the Middle Ages by Christine Miller.

Story of the Middle Ages

Here is a description from the site:

Christine Miller has taken those portions of The Story of Old France and The Story of the English by H. A. Guerber which do tell the story of the Middle Ages, and has woven them together into a single, seamless narrative, carefully preserving Guerber’s own style. Several chapters were also taken from Charlotte Yonge’s A Young Folk’s History of Germany, and The Story of the Christians and Moors of Spain. Where necessary, the chapters authored by C. M. Yonge were re-written in Guerber’s unique style to preserve the continuity and consistency of the narrative throughout.

This will be what we read from twice a week. If we pick up where we left off, we’re about half way done with this book. I’ll have to decide if I want to cover anything else we missed while reading AIS.

From this spine, I plan on branching out into other readalouds and assigned (but fun) reads. Here are the selections I’ve chosen:

Historical Biographies

Famous Men of the Middle Ages by Greenleaf Press will be great for further exploration of important people.

This is an AO recommendation for historical biographies.

Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Queen who Rode off to Battle

What could be cooler than a queen who doesn’t want to sit and be pretty but would rather get out there and do something?

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

This is a short bio on Saint Francis of Assisi. 

Adventures of Marco Polo

This is a recommended geography book for AO Y3, but I think we’ll cover it during this time frame and do some map work with it while we read it.

Specific Events:

The Tower of London

Short book on this famous castle and what went on inside.

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You wouldn’t want to be a Crusader!

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The Middle Ages

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Medieval Messenger

This is in newspaper format. That makes it more fun I think.🙂

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Magna Charta

We will probably do the Magna Charta as a read-aloud.

Historical Fiction: We will see how many of these she gets to and which ones she’s interested in. I tried to select the ones I think she’ll like but not necessarily choose for herself to read.

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Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine, France, 1136 (The Royal Diaries)

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Adam of the Road

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Crispin: The Cross of Lead

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The Door in the Wall

Likely, The Door in the Wall will be a read-aloud. Because I want to read it too.🙂 This is an AO Free Read.

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Favorite Medieval Tales

Literature:

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

There are some great dramatized audio versions of this that I will likely explore. Blackstone Audio is one that my library has. This is an AO selection for Y2.

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Chanticleer and the Fox

This is an AO Y2 Free Read.

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin

We’ve already read this as an AO Free Read, but I listed it here because you should read it. It’s a TRUE story…documented. Check it out! It gave me the creeps.

Culture:  Lastly, we have the culture section, which is going to be longer. These are fun, coffee table type books for kids. There’s nothing too serious. I just plan on getting out a few at a time from the library and having her look at them and tell me what she learns. They are all short, picture-rich books.

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Exploring the Past: The Middle Ages

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What do we know about the Middle Ages?

Hwys...Middle Ages (How Would You Survive?)

How Would You Survive in the Middle Ages?

A Tournament of Knights

You Wouldn’t Want to be a Medieval Knight

See Inside a Castle

You Wouldn’t Want to be in a Medieval Dungeon!

Medieval Cathedral: The Inside Story

Gabriel and the Hour Book

Picture That: Knights and Castles

Pictures to study from the era.

The Glorious Impossible

The story of Jesus told with Giotto frescoes.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!

This is a book, but there is an audio version as well. It is a play where each voice tells something about the character they are portraying. It looks really neat! I thought maybe she could pick one and get really good at the delivery and present it to family or at a homeschool display fair.🙂

I haven’t worked it all out yet on a schedule. I still need to factor in literature selections (of which Robin Hood is one of them for instance). Basically most of these are for fun to explore more about the time we’re studying. Hope this helps someone else planning for the Middle Ages!

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Schedules

Schedules. I’m not sure I like them. They tend to make me a tad nervous. What if something happens and we fall off track? Do we skip it? Add it to the next day and throw everything off? I definitely don’t like to plan days and days in advance. This last year, I’ve made a list each day of the subjects I’d like to accomplish on that day for each child. Since we use Ambleside Online as a springboard, there are about 8 to 12 readings generally), but I think of them as modules and just get through one by one without regard for getting it done in a 4-day period.

But this coming year, we’ll be doing more co-op type stuff. So I need to try to be purposeful with our time at home. So I thought (after looking at a friend’s rough copy), it might be good to get it down on paper just to see what each day would look like and if I have too much planned! (A common thing ’round here.)

I’ll be danged if I can figure out how to put a table in here, so I have to bullet point it…sorry! Also, if you’re wondering what something is, check the bottom of this post because I gave links to all the interesting things.🙂

Evie (grade 5 doing AO Y2&3)

Monday:

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Strayer-Upton + Life of Fred
  • Copywork, Intermediate Language Lessons, McGuffey Reader
  • Apologia Zoology 3
  • History reading (together)
  • Literature reading (audio)
  • Beautiful Feet History of the Horse lesson
  • Easy Peasy fine arts choice + Fun Extras (see list)

Tuesday:

  • Prayer
  • Strayer-Upton
  • Copywork, Simply Grammar
  • Apologia Zoology 3
  • Reading (together for history or literature)
  • Biography reading
  • CREW Homeschool co-op (science experiments, art & art history, and literature)

Wednesday:

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Strayer-Upton + Life of Fred
  • Copywork, Intermediate Language Lessons, McGuffey Reader, Spelling Wisdom
  • Sassafras Science
  • History reading (together)
  • Literature reading (audio)
  • Beautiful Feet History of the Horse reading
  • Biography reading
  • Easy Peasy fine arts choice + Fun Extras (see list)

Thursday:

  • Homeschool classes at Res Life 9-11:10
  • Composer study, hymn study, and folk song in car
  • Volunteer at Critter Barn 12-3

Friday

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Strayer-Upton + Life of Fred
  • Copywork, English for the Thoughtful Child 2, Spelling Wisdom
  • Sassafras Science
  • History reading (together)
  • Literature (audio or alone)
  • Beautiful Feet History of the Horse reading
  • Extra Reading (if necessary)
  • Nature study (group?)
  • Artist study/art project (group?)
  • Possibly get together with neighborhood kids for the above 2 plus science projects and group sports

Each night – I want her to do a Bible study/devotional, write in a prayer journal, do some free reading, and then I’ll have a read-aloud with her too.

Her Easy Peasy Fine Arts Choices are:

Her Fun Extra choices are:

  • Read magazines (Nature Friend, Answers, God’s World News, Clubhouse, or Ranger Rick)
  • AHG badge work
  • Free Read time
  • Sheppard Software games
  • Dig-It Mayan game
  • Typing class (BBC)
  • Mango language online
  • Feed My Sheep art curriculum

There is always time between when we are “done” with school and dinner time. Sometimes she comes up with things to do quite easily (read, play with friends, go outside, etc.) and other times it’s harder. So I’d like her to pick from these things to do when she’s bored. TV and video games aren’t allowed until after dinner here.

That brings us to Jacob! I realize this is probably only helping ME, but I need to get it down.🙂

Jacob (grade 1 doing AO Y0.5)

Monday:

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Arithmetic for Young Children
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • AO Reading 1
  • AO Reading 2
  • AO Reading 3 (if necessary)
  • Fun Extras (see list)

Tuesday:

  • Prayer
  • Living math book
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • AO Reading 1
  • CREW Homeschool co-op (science experiments, art & art history, and literature)

Wednesday:

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Arithmetic for Young Children
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • Intro to Science
  • AO Reading 1
  • AO Reading 2
  • AO Reading 3 (if necessary)
  • Fun Extras (see list)

Thursday:

  • Homeschool classes at Res Life 9-11:10
  • Composer study, hymn study, and folk song in car
  • Open gymnastics for homeschoolers at GR Gymnastics

Friday

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Arithmetic for Young Children
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • AO Reading 1 (if necessary)
  • AO Reading 2 (if necessary
  • Nature study from Intro to Science (group?)
  • Artist study/art project (group?)
  • Possibly get together with neighborhood kids for the above 2 plus science projects and group sports

Each night – I will read him a page from The Real Mother Goose, read a story Bible with him, do some free reading, and say prayers.

Jacob’s Fun Extras are:

  • Look at magazines (Nature Friend, Answers, God’s World News, Clubhouse, or Ranger Rick)
  • Reading Eggs
  • Starfall
  • Click N Read
  • Math Seeds
  • Sheppard Software games

We also have some Lamplighter Audio books I’d like to put on from time to time. I’d like to listen to some of the His Kids radio stories, the Keys 4 Kids devotionals online, and the Liberty’s Kids cartoons. I think we should be able to do the audio stuff at lunch time and maybe the Liberty’s Kids cartoons before bed.

Okay, okay. I’m ALMOST done rambling. I’d like to put it into one GINORMOUS schedule to see what on earth MY day will look like. Green will be done together. Pink will be Evie’s assignments she will do primarily alone. Purple will be things I have to do with one of them. (Blue for Jacob will only be his extras.)

Monday:

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Strayer-Upton + Life of Fred
  • Arithmetic for Young Children
  • Copywork, Intermediate Language Lessons, McGuffey Reader
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • Apologia Zoology 3
  • Lunchtime listening to audio books
  • Reading 1 (Evie)
  • Reading 1 (Jacob)
  • Reading 2 (Evie with Librivox)
  • Reading 2 (Jacob)
  • Reading 3 (Evie)
  • Reading 3 (Jacob if necessary)
  • Easy Peasy fine arts choice + Fun Extras (see list)
  • Fun Extras

Tuesday:

  • Prayer
  • Strayer-Upton
  • Living math book for Jacob
  • Copywork, Simply Grammar
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • Apologia Zoology 3
  • Reading 1 (Evie)
  • Reading 1 (Jacob)
  • Reading 2 (Evie with Librivox)
  • Composer study, hymn study, and folk song in car
  • CREW Homeschool co-op (science experiments, art & art history, and literature)

Wednesday:

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Strayer-Upton + Life of Fred
  • Arithmetic for Young Children
  • Copywork, Intermediate Language Lessons, McGuffey Reader, Spelling Wisdom
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • Sassafras Science
  • Intro to Science 
  • Lunchtime listening to audio books
  • Reading 1 (Evie)
  • Reading 1 (Jacob)
  • Reading 2 (Evie with Librivox)
  • Reading 2 (Jacob)
  • Reading 3 (Evie if necessary)
  • Reading 3 (Jacob if necessary)
  • Easy Peasy fine arts choice + Fun Extras (see list)
  • Fun extras

Thursday:

  • Homeschool classes at Res Life 9-11:10
  • Volunteer at Critter Barn 12-3
  • Open gymnastics for homeschoolers at GR Gymnastics

Friday

  • Bible, prayer, Scripture memory, & character lesson
  • Strayer-Upton + Life of Fred
  • Arithmetic for Young Children
  • Copywork, English for the Thoughtful Child 2, Spelling Wisdom
  • Copywork, Easy Peasy McGuffey Reader
  • Sassafras Science
  • Lunchtime listening to audio books
  • Reading 1 (Evie)
  • Reading 1 (Jacob)
  • Reading 2 (Evie with Librivox)
  • Reading 2 (Jacob)
  • Reading 3 (Evie)
  • Nature study (group?)
  • Artist study/art project (group?)
  • Possibly get together with neighborhood kids for the above 2 plus science projects and group sports

Add at the end of the day: Poetry with Jacob, Bible story for Jacob, Bible for Evie, prayer journal for Evie, Free read for Evie, Read-aloud with Jacob, Read-Aloud with Evie, and prayers with kids.

Wow! That was helpful! I’m going to print off all my hard work. Do you think it’s do-able??? Am I nuts??

Do you need links to what I’m talking about? Here’s everything interesting linked:

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Language Arts the Charlotte Mason Way

The language arts curricula I picked out at the beginning of last year didn’t work the way I wanted it to, and now I’m looking forward to the fall and making some decisions about the things we will use. My daughter will be in 5th grade, so as a Charlotte Mason educator, that means I need to introduce grammar officially, move through it, and then simply reinforce in later years. My son is starting to move into learning how to read right now, so he needs a language arts program that will support that. I have so many options that I’ve picked up at used book sales very inexpensively, and I love things out of each of them. I need to iron this out, and writing is the best way I do that, so bear with me here!

Narration – I’ve been doing oral narration all year with Evelyn, and she does really well with it. This year we’re going to do one written narration per week with oral narration for the other times. I’ve just started to research what it means to do written narration. My thoughts right now are that I will ask for her oral narration as usual, write down a few highlights in outline form on a whiteboard, and then ask her to write down what she just told me. I’m sure it will take some time to get things going just right. Then I’m going to have her read it to me. I won’t correct her writing or spelling at all, and I expect about a paragraph. Most likely, she will begin learning how to type so that she can type up her written narrations.

Copywork – Jacob will do one or two words of copywork a day – most likely the words he is learning to spell and read. He’ll work on his name, our names, our address and phone number, months, days, etc. I’ll use Penny Gardner’s Beautiful Handwriting program in italics for penmanship during this time.

Evelyn will continue with copywork once a day. For starters she’ll be doing George Washington’s Rules for Civility and Decent Behavior. Here is a copywork link to a PDF. I’ll expect her to also use italics from the Beautiful Handwriting program, and she might need a time of instruction on how to form italics printing and cursive. I’ll also have her copy hymn and folk song stanzas, Scripture, poetry, etc.  This will probably be about 2 sentences in length each day.

Grammar – (Evelyn only.) Here is where things get dicey. I have 3 programs that I really like. I’m going to start out using all of them and see which ones don’t work out. I have Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl (also available free online here). I have Simply Grammar by Karen Andreola. I also have English for the Thoughtful Child 2. Right now I’m thinking we might do SG once, EFTTC2 once, and ILL twice a week. (Remember we do a 4-day school week.)  Some things in ILL will probably be skipped or done orally instead of written. SG is only grammar. EFTTC2 has some grammar and lots of creative writing prompts. ILL has a little bit of everything – picture study, creative writing, grammar lessons, poetry, readings to study, etc. My favorite of the 3 is ILL right now. We’ll see how it all pans out as the year gets going though.

Elocution – (Evelyn only.) Is this something Charlotte Mason advocated? I am sure she had her students reading aloud in the classrooms. I’d really like my kids to be comfortable reading in front of others. I plan on using the McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers for this (Revised Edition). The readings are short. There are a list of words before the reading that may be difficult, and we go over those first. I have her read it over silently and then aloud to me.  I will probably have her do this only a couple times a week.

Phonics – (Jacob only.) We have been working on sounding out words. I use letter tiles (from Bananagrams), sugar in a pan he can trace in, and a floor mat with the alphabet on it that he can hop around on to spell words. He also traces them in the air. Blending the words still takes him longer than I’d like, so right now we’re “frozen” until he’s comfortable doing that quicker. CM advocated teaching reading and spelling together (sort of). So, when he learns how to sound out the word “rat,” he also has to spell it using the above methods. This won’t continue with bigger words really – just the basics. I’ve been using Joyful Shepherdess’s blog plan and word lists for this.  I also have some of the Bob readers and the I See Sam books online. He was able to read a Bob book successfully, and he thought that was pretty cool. So when it works out, we’ll do that too. Once he’s ready to move to the next step, I’d like to use Easy Peasy’s method of reading the McGuffey primer. Of course, by that time we’ll see where he’s at and reassess things.

Spelling/Dictation – (Evelyn only.) This will also be the first year of Charlotte Mason inspired spelling here. I’ve purchased Spelling Wisdom 1 for us to use. It advertises we will “Learn today’s 6,000 most frequently used words presented in the writings of great men and women of history.” Sounds good to me! I’ll plan on doing this twice a week. (Hey, maybe we can do elocution on the other 2 days!) The instructions are all laid out in the book for how to do it, and you can read that portion in the sample on the site.

Well, that wasn’t so hard now was it? I had it all swirling around in my brain, and it was nice to finally get it all down! I hope it helps someone else.🙂

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Scheduling Ambleside Year 0.5

My son is 6, and he’ll be 7 right after the start of the new school year. I don’t think he’s quite ready to move into some of the longer readings that will take place in Year 1. However, I want him to get used to the idea of formal school time that gets more serious. Thankfully, there is an informal Year 0.5 that some AO moms put together. You can see the book list here.

Here is our weekly plan.  It translates out to about 10 readings per week (not counting bedtime Bible stories, character, or poetry). That will be 2 or 3 readings per day, which is what I aim for now with him. I’ve only been using picture books and encyclopedias up until now though, and this will be more of a cohesive plan covering lots of topics.

– Bible:  Together we will all do Bible time.  We all work on Scripture memory together and pray together to start our school time.  At bedtime, I will read from the Jesus Storybook Bible with him, and when we are through with that, I’ll read Storytime with the Millers and other books in that series.

– Character: This will be done at the table after Bible time together as a family, and I’ll be working over the summer to come up with exactly what and how I am going to add this to our school time. Suffice it to say, we’ll have a character concept for the month, and we’ll spend each day just going over what this concept looks like in real life. It will only take minutes.

– Fine arts:  For composer, artist, and hymn study, we will all do that together as a family as the AO schedule maps out.

– Math:  We’ll be working through Horace Grant’s Arithmetic for Young Children as our spine, but I’d like to read 1 living math book per week with him. This includes the MathStart Level 1 books as well as some other ones I found on the Living Math website:

  • Richard Scarry’s Best Counting Book Ever
  • 26 Letters and 99 cents
  • Mathstart Books (level 1)
  • Mystery of the Farmer’s Three Fives
  • The Money Tree
  • Ten Sly Piranhas
  • One Lighthouse, One Moon
  • One Hundred is a Family
  • Much Bigger than Martin
  • Math Man
  • Inch by Inch
  • How Many Snails
  • How High Can a Dinosaur Count
  • Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On
  • Even Steven and Odd Todd
  • Each Orange had 8 Slices

– Literature:  I’ll read 2 or 3 pages from the book “For the Children’s Hour” each week, making sure to skip any fairy tales or fables that might be planned for Y1.

– Poetry: I’ll read a page from The Real Mother Goose every day.

– Geography: I’ll read a chapter from The Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball that Floats in the Air once a week. After this book is finished, I’ll either continue to the next book in the series (Each and All) or begin The Twins series – (The Irish Twins, The Dutch Twins, etc.).  It’ll depend on whether the Seven Sisters is a hit or not.

– Nature Study/Science:  In addition to getting out and doing nature study as a family, I’ll read 1 chapter from Clara Dillingham Peirce‘s series (Among the Farmyard People, Among the Pond People, etc.) per week. I also will read 2 books each week from the Let’s Read and Find Out Science Level 2 series.

– History:  I’ll read 2 chapters (one from each book) from Stories of American Life & Adventure and Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans per week.

– Phonics:  I’m going to begin using Easy Peasy’s method of using the McGuffey Primer for reading instruction. We’ve been using letter tiles and making some words up, and we will continue to do that through the summer, but when the new school year hits, this seems like a nice way to do it.

– Copywork:  I’m going to have him write the words he’s learning to read. Just one or two words a day.

– Free Reads: I’m going to read 1 picture book and 1 chapter from a chapter book recommended on the 0.5 book list per week. I’ll add to this list as I stumble across great book recommendations, which happens pretty often!

  • A Bear Called Paddington (C)
  • Big Susan (P)
  • d’Aulaire’s Book of Animals (P)
  • Ivy Cottage & sequels (P)
  • Little Tim & the Brave Sea Captain & sequels (P)
  • Miss Suzy (P)
  • Miss Twiggley’s Tree (P)
  • My Father’s Dragon & sequels (C)
  • The Hundred Dresses (C)
  • The Princess and the Admiral (P)
  • The Story of Holly & Ivy (P)
  • Two Bad Ants (P)
  • Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farms (P)
  • The Book of Cowboys (C)
  • The Book of Indians (C)

Our weekly schedule might look something like this:

  • Monday: Bible, character, fine arts, math, living math book, poetry, science reading, phonics, and copywork.
  • Tuesday: Bible, character, math, poetry, literature, geography, phonics, science reading, and copywork.
  • Wednesday: Bible, character, math, poetry, phonics, copywork, history reading, free read picture book.
  • Thursday: Bible, character, math, poetry, phonics, copywork, science reading, history reading.
  • Friday: Bible character, math, poetry, phonics, copywork, nature study, free read chapter book.

I hope this helps someone else trying to organize their year! If you have any free read suggestions, please leave them in the comments!!!

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Math for Young Children

You might have already read about my math plans for grades 3 and up: a combination of Strayer-Upton with Life of Fred. Once I figured THAT out, I began to prayerfully consider what in the world I would do with my Kindergartner!?

Strayer-Upton begins at 3rd grade. The recommendations prior to that are no formal math instruction. This fits in well with my better late than early/Charlotte Mason philosophy. Once again, I stumbled across a gem while reading discussions and blogs about this very issue. It’s called Arithmetic for Young Children by Horace Grant. This math program was published in 1880, so the book is free in the public domain. You can print, read it from your computer, download it as a PDF, or load it onto your Kindle or other eReader.  It is a simple, game-like program. None of it is written. The child doesn’t even SEE a number until the end of the book. Instead you read the items to the child, and math calculations are done by making marks on a dry erase board (slate work), using manipulatives (beans, blocks, counters, etc.), and by just plain thinking and imagining mentally. It goes through math facts up to 13 – no higher than that to avoid confusion. Please read through the introduction that Mr. Grant has given in the beginning of the book. It really explains the methodology quite well – along with the problem of most other approaches to young math.

After the introduction, some general instructions are given, and it is mentioned that this book is geared toward starting between the ages of 3-7. I’ve started it with a 6-year-old, and he finds it fun and challenging. The instructions say to go over each section of the book twice – sometimes 3 times (skipping anything too simple). I’m impressed at the simple math he is able to do in his head, and I love the use of manipulatives throughout. Here are some descriptions of the math problems we’ll be doing:

  • How many things are 3 chairs, 2 candlesticks, and 1 fiddle.
  • Try if you can find out without looking, and only by feeling, how many counters are in each of my hands. (Let 3 be in the left hand and 5 be in the right.)
  • How many legs must be put onto a dog for him to have 5 legs?
  • If a sailor had half as many hands as you, how many hands would he have?
  • Say the numbers from 1 to 7. Say them from 7 to 1.
  • How many “twos” can you put 8 counters into?
  • How many legs have 2 horses?
  • Two dogs that were fighting were run over by a coach, and each dog had two of his legs hurt. How many sound legs altogether had these poor dogs to hobble home upon?
  • How many ways can you arrange 3 counters or cubes?

There are 134 pages in all, and much of it is to be repeated 2 or 3 times. These math lessons are fun but REALLY make the child think and manipulate the numbers either in his head or with manipulatives. There is no writing (save for drawing marks on a slate), so there isn’t any stress for children who don’t like to write yet.

My goal is to use this slowly right up through the start of SU. If we finish the book before 3rd grade (might finish some time in 2nd), we’ll start reading Life of Fred daily until I feel he’s read to begin the SU/LOF combo I mentioned above.

I hope these posts have encouraged you that you don’t need expensive, fancy curriculum with all the bells and whistles to teach your children math. There is nothing wrong with using them if that is what the Lord has led you to, but if you’re not finding a good fit, don’t be afraid to look at these vintage texts because they did a lot of things right back then!🙂

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