Term 2 has arrived, and after some weeks of introspection regarding Term 1 and seeing where we were struggling, I decided to change things up significantly.
After seeing how many books I was substituting and looking ahead to the upcoming years; I realized I would be changing a lot of AmblesideOnline in order to fit our family. I would feel disingenuous if I said: “we use AmblesideOnline but I basically changed everything in it.” So, until further notice; we are not using AO. The last thing I want to do is misrepresent AO. It is a well-done curriculum and so much work has been poured into it. It just wasn’t working out for us.
The biggest thing I’ve done is inject more STEM into things. Each kid has something to do with technology in their studies this term (and will continue on term-by-term). Year 1 will be learning about electricity (term 2) and motors (term 3). Year 3 will be learning to type, Year 5 will solidify typing and move into basic information about computers, the Internet, networking, etc.
I am in the (long) process of writing a Charlotte Mason technology course. My goal is that I can have an entire tech/computer science-esque course for grades 1-12 that builds on itself and gets into progressively more complicated ideas. I 10000000% believe any subject can be taught with CM’s principles, so this is no exception.
(This approach will probably make more sense once I get my “Technology in the CM Homeschool” posts written.)
(My husband says I’ve found my niche – combining STEM and Charlotte Mason because they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.)
The next big thing was to move everyone into a history rotation ala A Delectable Education. So, everyone is in the same era, but the level of detail is different between grades. I spent some time digging around in Volume 6 to see how Charlotte handled history and found ADE to be quite close to what’s written in Volume 6. I asked my husband (who is picky about history) what he thought about ADE’s rotation, and he was very enthusiastic about it. Getting everyone into the same era wasn’t easy and took some massaging for Year 3 and 5, but I’m not stressing because it will come back around again.
I added more science into our Family Time basket. My Y3 wants to blow up stuff so chemistry seemed like a good idea. My Y5 requested we do astronomy. Typically I don’t give in to every kid’s whim and fancy, but both chemistry and astronomy have been asked about a lot around here (my Y5 has asked about astronomy for the last year), and I couldn’t find a compelling reason not to include them.
For the subjects for each year, I used the ADE scheduling cards to see what subjects, how often, and how long; and put books in for each slot that fit our family. To get the books I basically scoured the internet and used book ideas from AO, Wildwood Curriculum, the Simply Charlotte Mason bookfinder, Facebook groups, Instagram, and more.
My Y5 is getting ancient history added – she selected Ancient Egypt. Nothing really changed too much for my Y3, except I’m adding All About Spelling because he needs focused spelling instruction. And my little Y1 basically stayed the same, except for adding in the technology component.
For Family Time, I added more books to our lineup. The original spine for Montana history was too much for us, so I removed it. Rather than have one book as a spine, I decided to have multiple books to read from in order to give us the perspective I was looking for with regards to Montana history.
Our Family Time books for Term 2 are:
- More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Montana Women by Gayle C. Shirley
- It Happened in Montana by James A. Crutchfield
- Montana For Kids: The Story of Our State by Allen Morris Jones
- Indian Why Stories by Frank B. Linderman (illustrated by Charlie Russell)
- My Hutterite Life by Lisa Marie Stahl
- The Hutterites: Life and Images of a Communal People by Samuel Hofer
- You ARE An Artist lessons – a smash hit in this household
- Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Foltz Jones and John O’Brien
- Focus on Chemistry (by Gravitas Publications)
- Rockets and satellites
- Astronomy (using the Sabbath Mood Homeschool science guide)
- Frontier/cowboy songs (not Roy Rogers songs, but songs cowboys would sing on the range)
- German with Felix and Franzi from the Goethe Institute
- Monte Dolack
- Philip Aaberg
(Both Dolack and Aaberg are Montanans, which ties nicely into our Montana history studies this year.)
- Men of Iron by Howard Pyle
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (second time for the big kids, first time for the little kids)
My husband is quite happy with how ADE does the history rotation. We’re both happy with the level of STEM involved. The kids seem happy that they had a little say in things, which helps the fact that they can’t choose the majority of their books. I tried hard to select books that will be appropriate for them without overwhelming them (or me) but also challenge and stretch them. I can tell some substitutions will need to be made, but so far everything is working wonderfully.
If there’s interest, I can post the books we are using for each grade once I make all my final adjustments.
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