AO Year 2 Term 1 Week 3

Within the last week, I ended up extremely frustrated with the State of the House and its occupants. Despite my best intentions, chores slowly were piled on my back, too much technology had crept in, and attitudes were everywhere. Obviously the problem was too much unstructured time – idle hands and idle thoughts and all. So, I sat down and thought “what are the things that I want to incorporate into our family culture” and “how will that be accomplished?” I ended up generating a schedule like so:

Breakfast – Wake up, make beds, get dressed, brush hair. Eat breakfast, clear off table, load dishwasher. Morning prayers.

Morning – Chore of the Day. Everyone plays with the baby. School for those old enough, Nugget naps. Everyone else is playing, coloring, or reading a book.

Snacktime – Only if people are respectful during school and Nugget’s nap (we’ve had a problem with people deliberately waking up the baby, grr).

Lunchtime – Mom and Nugget eat, everyone else plays, prays, reads, or cleans. Big kids eat with Dad during his lunch break. Afterwards – clear table, load dishwasher, sweep floor.

Afternoon – Big kids finish up school. If school was finished in the morning, then afternoon occupations. Little kids can play, color, be read to, etc. When Nugget is napping everyone has quiet time.

Snacktime – Only if people are respectful during Nugget’s nap.

4 o’clock – Quick tidy so Dad doesn’t come home to a disaster area. Make dinner, eat when Dad is back from work. Clear table, load dishwasher, run it.

Evening – Playtime with Dad while Mom eats chocolate in the bathroom. Final clean up. Bath/showers for all kids. Read aloud. Bedtime prayers, tuck in, lights out.

I made several copies of the schedule, and gave one copy each to Peanut and Moose. Everyone else gets it read to them and reminded regularly about what they should be doing and what’s coming up. It’s working out rather well – I’m not as frustrated, the kids aren’t as aimless, and everyone is understanding that Mom Means Business if you dare to wake the baby from any kind of sleep!

When I broke the readings into their daily components, one thing I did for Moose (year 2) is leave one day a week as a “light” day. He’s the kind of kid who will burn out quickly without regularly scheduled breaks. In addition to trying a six week on/one off break schedule this year; we’re testing out a four day on/one day “light” day for five days of school each week. He still has to do reading, math, handwriting, literature, and religion but the rest (British history, history tales, etc) isn’t done. Thursday is our “light” day, which worked out well yesterday. At 11am my husband called me to let me know that at 2pm, I needed to take our dog to the vet to get his rabies shot updated. Okie-dokie. Thanks to our “light” day, everything was pretty much done and so it was easy to work into our schedule (although it did make it so Nugget couldn’t nap, but oh well).

On Monday we add in Peanut, who will start Year 4. It shouldn’t be too chaotic as she’s pretty independent and Moose is off to an acting camp for the week. The following week the juggling will begin as both will be doing school at the same time. 🙂

‘What I’m Reading’ Wednesday

I’m working on my “to-read” pile, as there are always new books to be added to it!

(Almost all of these links are all Amazon affiliate links, thank you for using them and supporting my humble blog.)

This short and unassuming book is a gem. Written in a question and answer format (akin to the Baltimore Catechism), it discusses what mental prayer is, how to go about it, difficulties in performing it, and more. I’ve always been confused about mental prayer – everything I’ve read about it (until now) made it seem exceedingly difficult and confusing. After reading this book, it’s really not hard (for me) at all. Deo gratias! I can definitely see this being added in to our studies down the road.

Brandy at Afterthoughts has come out with a glorious reprinting of In Memoriam. The entire thing is free online at AmblesideOnline; but I really like a hard copy to hold (and not max out my printer in the process). This is a collection of essays, tributes, and thoughts about Charlotte Mason after her death. There’s so many great “quotable quotes” in this book, and it’s very interesting to see her influence far and wide.

For a family read-aloud, we’re reading The Jungle Book. I was happy to find this version at Costco and that it contains both Jungle Books (after chancing a used one online that has only the first Jungle Book – looks like that one is off to a Little Free Library). I don’t think it’s abridged, so that’s definitely a plus.

This is Moose’s read-aloud. I have had to do some slight editing (there’s some discussion of abuse, heavy drinking, and a crude reference to breasts) for Moose, but other than that I’m reading it as it’s written. We are getting a lot of discussions generated by this book – is Josh in the right for his actions? At what length do we go to to defend the defenseless? How do we deal with a law we may feel is unjust? And more, more, more. This book is also set locally so there’s the thrill factor of hearing about places that we already know about.

Finally, I am thrilled to finally have found a vintage copy of the Mother Love prayer book. It’s not the first printing, but the printing from 1962. I have the most recent printing of it, but have always wanted the older one. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I found the 1962 copy on Amazon for $15 (!). When it came I noticed it smelled (and still does) of incense. Glorious! I gave my red copy of Mother Love to a family member, so hopefully she can get some good use out of it.

AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 2

We finished week 2 last week, after Peanut and Moose returned from a week-long trip with their Grandparents. I am very pleased with how well Moose is doing with all the subjects.

What makes me the most thrilled is that this year looks to be the Math Year. Last school year Moose had many a struggle with Math, but after switching over to Simply Charlotte Mason’s Living Math bundle to help me figure out how to teach Math Charlotte Mason style; I can see the difference. The biggest thing that I’ve taken away from the bundle is that children need to discover the laws of Math on their own (as in, not be fed it), and that they need to prove what they memorize. Memorizing the addition facts is useless in the long run if they have no idea why 2+4=6. Looking back at my own Mathematical career, I can see that this is what threw me off in elementary school – which pretty much started a spiral until I reached college (and remedial math).

This school year I’ve added in Math Mammoth and it is working absolutely flawlessly.

Reading continues to improve, we are 2/3 through the second BOB books collection. After we finish the third collection, we will give the Frog and Toad series a whirl.

British History is always requested first, and happily I scheduled it out so we spend four days each week reading one chapter. Moose absolutely adores all things medieval and is thoroughly enjoying hearing of knights, kings, dukes, and more. We finished Story of Civilization Volume 1, and am eagerly (desperately! Excitedly!) awaiting for Volume 2’s release in Kindle format. The kids were excited to discover that our Cathedral has a very large stained glass window depicting Constantine’s conversion. 🙂

The one book that surprises me the most that Moose is enjoying is – Understood Betsy. I honestly thought this would be pigeon-holed as a “girl’s book”, or mad that we had already done this book (the kids listened to it as an audiobook last year).

This coming week, we will finish cursive and move back into printing. Moose is READY to move into printing for something new. We’ve been working on cursive for a while now and it’s very exciting to be DONE!

All in all, I am very thrilled with how this year is going. Having a rolling start for the kids is proving to be a game-changer. Peanut’s school year starts soon, so I need to finish up preparations and be ready to fold her into the mix, so to speak. I’ve placed all her school books on the “school shelf” for her, with a “look but don’t touch” admonition. She’s getting pretty antsy to start, based on the books that are waiting for her. 😉


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AO Year 2: Term 1, Day 1

I’ve decided to do a “rolling start” to the school year this year. Rather than start everyone at the same time, I’m starting kids one at a time, based on their year, their level of independence, their needs, and more. As things roll on, I’ll add in the other kids.

Moose, my Year 2 student this year; is my first one to begin this year. Of all the kids, he needs the most flexibility in his schedule and still needs my help for almost everything. After giving him a little bit of time off, we hit the books today.

Honestly, things went well. Very well. He has had a lot of maturation recently and was able to do the entire day’s work without drama. We utilized the baby’s nap, and the girls all played Playmobils downstairs while we worked upstairs. He was done in about 2 hours, which shocked him as he said it didn’t feel like two hours at all (with a couple of breaks). 🙂

There was some slight whining about why he had to start now but no one else did; but I explained to him that as long as we don’t overdo it on the breaks (or take months off at a time), he should finish Year 2 before Peanut finishes Year 4. Additionally, he saw the stack of Year 2 books and was super excited to dive in, although he desperately wanted to start with Robin Hood. Sorry buddy, going to have to wait until the third term for that one.

I am waiting until Peanut begins (next month) to do “the riches” with them. In order to keep Moose’s days varied and fulfilling, I am using other composers/hymns/artists that strike our fancy. Tomorrow is the U.S. Independence Day, so there’s a lot of Sousa and patriotic songs currently playing.