AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 8 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 10

It’s hard to believe that we are almost finished with Moose’s first term! Peanut is not far behind, and soon we will be switching some books and moving on to new ones. I’ll be quite bummed to finish Understood Betsy, but we’re moving on to The Wind in the Willows which I haven’t read; so it’s not totally a loss.

This week was another crazy week – scheduling a new doctor appointment for me, a nature walk (the weather was GLORIOUS for it and it was just great to be outside and enjoy some sunshine), choir and therapies, homeschool swim class and a park day with a friend and her daughter. I think I need to readjust the school schedule to allow for some afternoons to be truncated or some mornings to be removed because we’re busy with therapies.

I had some glimpses this week of learning with Moose and math. Math isn’t the easiest subject for him, and lots of patience and manipulatives and S.L.O.W. learning. I contemplated even giving up on his current math and going back to absolute core basics, much like I did with reading – lay off and wait, and try again in a couple months. But, I don’t think we need to go back to absolute basics, or wait a few months; because the connections are being made and it IS coming together. Even if it feels like we’re treading water in molasses sometimes, it’s good for both him and me to see the little successes and that YES, he is learning math;  just at his own pace.

I gave the kids reading level assessments this week, and both kids are above grade level. Moose was sort of reading CVC words in January, which is when we began systematic phonics instruction and ta-da he completely caught up and surpassed where he “should” be. Hot diggity dog.

Peanut is finding her friend, Benjamin Franklin quite the person. We had a spirited discussion about taxation, the Stamp Act and its repeal, why the colonists were SO unimpressed with the taxes and how that relates to our lives today. A lot of aha moments happened. I love these times of discussion, to see how her wheels are moving and what she’s thinking.

Peanut and Moose unearthed a rabbit skeleton with their friends on the mountain behind our houses, which has been THE highlight of the week. Earlier this week they had found just the legs, and so I was enlisted to help ID what they were looking at. Today the skull and jaw was found, along with ribs and other bones. Triumph! Peanut was ecstatic that “it still had its bunny teeth!” Thankfully no one has taken to calling the skeleton “Peter Rabbit”, which may put a slight damper on Moose’s enjoyment of Burgess’ Animal Book. 🙂

AO Year 4, Term 1, Week 4 | AO Year 2, Term 1, Week 6

And now, for this week’s work! 🙂

Year 4

We had the return of “elastic time”. I gave Peanut one of my Happy Planners that I had no use for and wrote out her assignments, breaking them down into “by yourself” and “with Mama”. I came across this post on Afterthoughts, and I will be definitely incorporating that into our days. It should help Peanut begin to manage her time better.

Some things I’m noticing this year with Peanut:
– copywork has drastically improved her cursive writing.
– math is coming along really well. We use Math Mammoth and Simply Charlotte Mason’s Living Math. I use Living Math to explain the concept and Math Mammoth for practice problems.
– Latin had a giant leap and not only is she learning it well, she’s correctly spelling everything
– English spelling is also improving and I suspect it will take a giant leap forward when we start dictation and written narrations

I’ve found some problems with introducing the actual plays of Shakespeare and beginning Plutarch. My plan is start Plutarch again but use Publicola instead of Julius Caesar. I’m also going to either go back to Shakespeare retellings that we did last year or perhaps s l o w l y read the play of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as we read the retelling of that last year and the kids really enjoyed it.

Year 2

I am absolutely loving this Ambleside year. Moose is growing and learning so much through it, it’s exciting to watch him grow. Based on his excitement in narrations, Understood Betsy is his current favorite book. I’m really enjoying it as well. I was the spoiled youngest of my family so I definitely relate to Betsy, especially as she begins to stretch her wings, so to speak. 🙂

Moose finished six weeks of work which means he gets the next week off for a break week. He won’t be left feral, but it will be good for him to take a week off the books and have some relaxation time.

His major accomplishments so far:
– handwriting is massively improving. We finished the cursive Handwriting Without Tears book and went to printing.
– math is also improving. I’m the same setup that I use for Peanut – Math Mammoth and Living Math – and it’s been the key to unlocking math for him.
– his narrations are really developing well, and I’m quite pleased with how he’s doing. He used to just repeat the last sentence, then he pretty much told me back word for word everything I read. He’s understanding that I’m not looking for a regurgitation, but rather in his own words what he’s heard. What’s impressive that he completely GETS that he has one only one listen through and I think only once or twice has he been not paying enough attention to give any narration. Way to go, Moose!

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The biggest event this week was, of course; the solar eclipse. We saw about 93% of totality, and it was awesome. We had our solar glasses on and watched everything from the beginning up to peak. We saw crescent shadows on the ground, we felt the temperature get cooler, we saw the surreal haze – it was excellent. The kids were a little disappointed that it didn’t get really dark – but it’s a good lesson that a smidge of sun is still really bright. The kids drew the stages of the eclipse in their nature journals, and even Wok (five next month) has been drawing little eclipses on pieces of paper since Monday. 🙂

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. 😉

 

Please note: some links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for using them for your Amazon needs. The very small commission I make enables me to purchase more great books!

Sweet summertime

Summer is officially upon is, and I have to say it’s rather enjoyable.

Everyone is taking a nice break from school while I plan out the upcoming year. I’m done with the hard stuff (laying out a 180 day schedule for me – the kids won’t see it – so I know how to move through the year). Now I just need to put maps in binders, print off art prints, print off biographers for composers, etc.

The kids are enjoying a simpler routine – all the outside classes are finished so we are mostly at home. Each day we have breakfast together and I read something to them. There’s chores and lots of time outside. On the freakishly hot days we hunker down and watch something worthwhile. At the end of the day, I read to Peanut and Moose individually. Then there’s a little playtime and then tuck-ins for bed.

Habit training is in full-swing, and there’s a lot of sadness breaking old habits and developing new ones. My goal for the summer is to uproot some of the more nasty ones so that this fall is easier on everyone. I have been using this resource with much success, and a review is forthcoming.

I’m also working on my habits – when the weather is hot and I feel like I could melt into the floor; it’s hard to stay on top of the kids and stay on top of the housework. Somewhere I heard the phrase, The lazy man works twice, and so I try to keep that in the back of my mind when it comes to getting stuff done when I just want to be a slug.

Obviously, I’ve been puttering around here, bringing over my posts from my old blog, and working on getting everything moved over. It’s slow-going but at least it’s going. 🙂

Eventually the pace will pick up and we will get back into our school routine; but for now I’m enjoying the daily life equivalent of floating down a river in an inner tube.

Hits and Misses for the 2016-2017 School Year

We’re close enough to the end that I can do a good “year in review” on our most recent homeschool year. Hip hip hooray!

The Hits

The biggest hit was switching to Ambleside Online and just going all-in. I tried to stay as close to the philosophy and methodology put forth by Charlotte Mason and used by AO as much as possible. I only substituted books based on religion (eg Trial and Triumph) or if I legitimately couldn’t get my hands on them without spending a lot of money (thankfully which are few and far between). I also haven’t plunged into using the method of reading Charlotte details in her books, as BOB books and MCP Plaid Phonics are working well for Moose.

Math Mammoth has served Peanut well, and we did use with Peanut until she became hung up with division. Moose was still having problems in math as well, no matter what we did with him. It was at this point that I purchased the Living Math Bundle over at Simply Charlotte Mason. Richele basically took all of what Charlotte wrote about math, and put it into an easy to read book, with a  DVD explaining the lessons, so you can SEE how lessons function and how even to teach math. I decided to use Math Mammoth for practice and the bundle for teaching (well, teaching me how to teach CM style math) and we are off to the races. Both Moose and Peanut were frustrated and dreading Math, but Peanut again declares Math is her favorite subject and she begs for the math lessons all day long. Division makes sense now, and the MM worktexts give me great practice sheets for her to use. Moose is also making progress, but one of the great things about CM style math is that you move at the child’s pace. Peanut is flying through multiplication review (and division is taught at the same time – eg, 6 four times is 24, how many 6’s are in 48, etc).

Other resources that helped immensely:

* A Delectable Education podcast – although it’s really hard to listen to podcasts around here because of noise, it’s a great resource to have available in that I can get a lot of the WHY learned in easily digestible bites.

* Online reading groups on Facebook – one is reading through Volume 1 together, and the other is reading through For the Children’s Sake currently, and is hosted by Leah at My Little Robins. I am probably the worst active participant ever but reading and watching the discussions are super helpful for me.

* stepping WAY outside my comfort zone and starting a local Charlotte Mason group. All we are doing right now are nature walks but we have to start somewhere.

* Scheduling cards. Love these things because they make my schedule so easy to play with and I don’t feel entirely overwhelmed getting everything figured out.

* An occupational therapist for Moose. Worth every cent right there.

The Misses

Sooo, the misses for this year are mostly on me. Lots of disorganization, as Greg and I basically decided on a whim to try out AO and go “all-in”. I need to do some work in the summertime doing things like printing off the picture study prints, getting maps together, and the like.

Non-existent habit training. Another one on my part. Moose’s leg break threw us all out of kilter and we are just now righting the ship in terms of habits and the like. But it isn’t just Moose with bad habits, we all do. I know what we’ll be continuing this summer.

For the first time ever I don’t have any real curricula related misses. It’s all been on my shoulders, which isn’t a bad  thing, just more of a ‘this is where I need to focus on’. Plus, it’s nice to have an idea of what to fix and how to fix it vs feeling entirely in the dark.

* * *

I’m looking forward to wrapping up our loose ends and taking the summer off. I plan on doing my best to get as organized as I can, so come the fall we can start Years 4, 2, and 0 without much hassle.