AO Year 4, Term 3, Weeks 5-6 | AO Year 2, Term 3, Weeks 7-8

I decided I would switch over to an “every two weeks” update as we close in on the end of the year. Honestly, things aren’t changing that dramatically anymore and a lot of the books are coming to a good stopping point (to be resumed next year) or wrapping up in general.

I’m really quite pleased that the Burgess Animal Book is moving into some of Moose’s favorite animals – deer, elk, bison and other animals that tend to live around where we are at. I know he desperately wants to just stop for the year, but the Burgess Animal Book has provided enough hook to keep him moving towards the end without hassle or drama.

Peanut is excited for fifth grade and also has pretty much had it with fourth grade. She doesn’t find the books she’s reading overly interesting (I think she’d rather read the Burgess book above), and is just ready to move on to a new time period. That will come with the next school year, so she just needs to hang in there for the rest of this year.

It’s really wonderful seeing all the connections rapidly appearing now. We went on a nature walk to a local lake yesterday because the weather was that nice, and Moose was constantly connecting the animals we saw to the animals in the Burgess Animal Book. We talked about observing the wildlife without disturbing them, and talking with the fishermen that we saw around the lake. It’s just a great way of life, now that we’re (hopefully) done with the perpetual winter.

I am looking forward to summer break, and have been working on the next school year’s schedule and plans.

I’ll be making some tweaks:

  • all three kids will start at the same time as opposed to the staggering approach I did this year. While it was really good for me at the beginning of the year; now that we’re at the end I’d rather everyone finish together. I suppose it’s easier in the long run to front-load the amount of chaos vs dragging something out (for me it feels like we’ve been doing this school year for yearrrrrrrrrs now).
  • adding and dropping some things to and from AmblesideOnline. I want to focus more on science this next year, as well as typing classes for Peanut and coding for all three kids.  Peanut also needs to do our state’s history, so I’m working on finding books, artists, and music for that.
  • habit training or bust during the summer vacation
  • working more with each kids’ strengths and weaknesses and making sure we aren’t neglecting anything in terms of character and development

And there are some things that will stay the same:

  • the six-weeks on/one-week off model works really well for us; it provides enough regular breaks that there isn’t too much burnout, and it’s a good to know that the next break is just around the bend. I’ve sat down with a calendar and massaged the schedule enough so that we have breaks when we need them (like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holy Week, Easter, New Year’s etc). This means we aren’t exactly following 6 on/1 off but close enough.
  • sticking with AmblesideOnline whenever possible. I don’t know how much modifying I’ll be doing but the brunt of what we’ll be doing will definitely be AO.
  • continuing documenting what we’re doing and general life here and over on Instagram.

AO Year 4, Term 3, Week 3-4 | AO Year 2, Term 3, Week 6

Holy Week really threw me off on recording how our weeks have progressed. We are nearing the end of our school year, which is exciting for everyone. Moose has six weeks left and Peanut eight; so we’re beginning to do the final push for Moose and start thinking towards his last batch of exams. Peanut still has a break week left and then her final six, so I don’t have to think of her exams quite yet.

Right now we are on schedule to finish all thirty-six weeks of each kid’s Ambleside years and satisfy the state’s hours requirements. It’s a nice feeling to be able to start wrapping things up, soon books will be finished and our workload will gradually lighten up.

Hopefully the snow will leave and we can go outside way more than we have been lately. Everything is either snow-covered or muddy; and so while we take any and all opportunities to go outside and play; they’re hard to come by.

Some things I want to focus on for the kids as we end the year are more of the keeping aspect of things. Nature notebooks, commonplaces, timelines, and ensuring mapwork gets done. Those haven’t happened as much as I would have liked, and I’ll have to figure out how to make sure they get more emphasized in the next year.

This week I will be putting Moose into the Scrum-esque style of homeschooling. I am not quite sure if he’ll enjoy it as much as Peanut, or if he’ll see it as “another boring thing to do”. The goal of making things Scrum-esque is to help everyone get on the same page, see what they have left to do for the week, and make sure that I am receiving all narrations that need to be done (mainly from Peanut, who likes to just move on to the next subject without stopping to give me a narration).

So, we’ll see what the week brings and maybe we can get outside more – or even get a nature walk in!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

I had to do some rearranging of my books, as reading Annals of the Former World along with Superintelligence was really proving to be a bit too much. I figured it would make more sense to read through Superintelligence as I hadn’t gotten too far into Annals.

I finished The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and enjoyed it, although not as much as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Still, it was a great “zone out” book and one I’ll probably revisit in the future. On to the third book, once I can get my hands on a copy.

I actually made really good progress on Superintelligence and now I’m about halfway through the book. The first 3 chapters are really jargony and somewhat dense, and it was hard for me to orient myself and keep track of all the details. But after all that it gets drastically easier and I find myself not making as many notes in my notebook (right under the book in the picture) as I did with the first few chapters. I should be wrapping this book up sometime in the next couple of weeks. Go me!

The Physics of Everyday Things is a new arrival to the library and one that intrigued me. I took physics classes in undergrad for my degree, but I was really, really bad at it (extra ironic given that I somehow ended up as the secretary for my school’s Society of Physics Students chapter for some reason…). I do want to have a better grasp of physics, and I figured this book would be a good book to do that (or at least, explain the concepts that eluded me in university). This is a good book to do that, in simple and non-threatening language. Bonus: the diagrams in the book look hand-drawn and definitely have that “Physics 101 lecture” quality to them. I’ll probably be putting this book in to the kids’ school, probably around middle or early high school.

Underneath that is Tesla’s autobiography which is short but 100% better than Margaret Cheney’s biography. Unsurprisingly it talks mostly about his inventions but does give a little more information about his life. I definitely should have started with his autobiography first. There are some other Tesla biographies out there that I’ll give a whirl to, because it would be really nice to find a really well-written biography of him.

Quirky is … I’m kind of disappointed, actually. The writing is really quite good but it’s not in the format I was expecting. There’s been a run on Edison biographies at the library, which is who I wanted to read about right after reading Tesla to see how Edison thought about Tesla. This book talks about eight different people who are all inventors, entrepreneurs, geniuses, and just outside the norm; including Edison and Tesla. What I was hoping is that each chapter was devoted to one person, so I could just read the stuff about Tesla and Edison. What it actually is that the author points out common traits and shows how it appears in each person’s life. It flows really well. It can start with Tesla, segue into Steve Jobs, talk about Marie Curie, and end up with an example from Elon Musk. Which is great and a really good way of illustrating the “quirky” characteristics of each. But it isn’t what I’m looking for at the moment. The index is really in-depth and I can pull out some information about Edison, but I think I’ll have to wait until all the Edison biographies are back.

I’ll probably come back to this book because I do want to read it all the way through; but probably later on in the year.

Not pictured, because it’s a Kindle book:This book actually does double-duty for me. I want to learn about Scrum because it’s part of my long-term plan and I think that it can be beneficial to include in my homeschool. I’ve done a little bit with Peanut based on what I’ve read from this book as well as the official Scrum guide available online. The results have been OK – a little mixed which I think is due to the fact that I need to do some tweaking and more reading. I’ll write a post later once I (think) I have it understood to the point where I can use it in homeschooling, I’m not trying to become a Scrum master or anything at this point in my life.