So, I thought that for posterity’s sake, I would update how our year is going so far! In case you weren’t aware, we are using Ambleside Online for our curriculum! Christian is in Year 1 as a newly 7 year old! I did a little bit of Year 1 last year during our official kindergarten to get a feel of how he listens and narrates. Oh my word! My boy has grown so much! His retention and narrations have come along so well! In fact, while we were in the car today we did a reading from Librivox.org and I had him narrate after finishing the recording. I was amazed at how he remembered some of the details and how he was able to construct his sentences in order to tell me back what he heard in the story! I love seeing those little cogs working in their heads!
So, let’s update on our curriculum in order of what we do each day:
Morning Basket – Bible, Hymn, and Memory Verse
Over the past 5 weeks we’ve done the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Flood, Tower of Babel, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, and Jacob’s Ladder. We also have memorized Proverbs 3:5-6, and Romans 8:28. We sing the books of the Bible and some days I have Christian pick out a passage from the Gospels so he can see the “red letters” of what Jesus said. I have a Bible activity book that we’ve used a few times to do a word search, or coloring page. It’s usually if they just want something extra to do and ask for it. The main purpose of our Bible curriculum this year is to get used to hearing the verses and stories read from the actual Bible and not a storybook.
I have found the hymns that we’ve been learning to be so beautiful! We actually started with “Be Still and Know.” I think it was the only hymn listed this summer for term 1 and they have since updated for a monthly hymn during this term. One of the memories that I will hold dear is hearing Eva Mae’s sweet little voice singing the chorus while she plays with her toys on the floor. I love that her little ears are picking up on so much that we do! We just started “Lord, I believe Thy Power I Own” this week.
We do our Morning Basket while we have breakfast and are at the table all together. I try to make sure we don’t get up until we have prayed over our day but that hasn’t always happened as Eva Mae is usually first to escape and go play! We’ll also go over the chalkboard recitation boards! I have our Latin practice on one board and our Bible verse on the other. Sometimes I also have him do his poetry recitation.
After our Morning Basket time we spend the next hour or so getting ready for the day. Picking up toys, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc. Once we’re all ready, we start our schedule:
Christian is zooming through the Red Book of the Miquon series. I purchased the lab annotations book and all workbooks that will take him through about 2nd-3rd grade. I love the lessons that they outline for teachers to teach concepts in the book. Christian loves the Cuissenaire rods and so far has been quick to understand all the math concepts introduced to him. The only issue that I think I may have to work more is I would like him to memorize his addition and subtraction facts when they get up to the 7-8-9 digits. Like 7+8 is still tricky because he has to count it out. We may start on making our own flash cards next week!
AO Reading (Ambleside Online Reading)
On my list, this is where we rotate through the readings for our history, science, literature, and some geography! The Aesop Fables is most commonly read each week. We have 2 a week that we read and narrate! He doesn’t always get the “moral of the story” but he’s able to tell back what he reads! We also alternate between me reading one and having him read one to me. So far our favorite story is the one about putting the bell on the cat!
Burgess Bird is one of our sciences right now and we have done a few activities along with the readings. I have a coloring block for him to work on after I read a story and he narrates. We look up the picture of the bird and he picks the colors that best describe the bird in the picture and story. We’ll also listen to the bird call. So far it’s just been the Wren and Sparrow. I look forward to learning more birds along with him!
Paddle to the Sea is part of our geography. This is a fast favorite! I love the illustrations in the book and how the pictures are an easy narration prompt. I want to do a few of the activities I’ve found here but so far we’ve just finished chapters 1-4 by reading and narrating. I thought about using our water table to try to build a dam like the beavers in chapter 4. Maybe we’ll do that tomorrow while we go out and play! I also need to read up on when I start to introduce the map work with him!
Fifty Famous Stories is categorized as citizenship. Today we read about Regulas and it was a great chapter to talk about what it means to be a “man of your word.” I don’t think Christian had ever heard that phrase before and the story was a perfect example! We were at the library when we read it and looked up a child’s atlas to find Rome and Carthage to help solidify the story in his mind a little more. Then tonight, he complained that he didn’t like his spaghetti for dinner. I made the connection that spaghetti is from Italy which is where Rome is and where our story took place today! He responded “I like stories from Rome but I don’t like food from there.” Ah, if only he knew!!! He’ll come around if he is my son! Italian food is the best! I feel like today’s story is the first from the book that he really connected with. The other stories seem to have been hard for him to narrate back. We’ll see how the term continues and what I’m able to notice with how he responds to the stories.
Parables from Nature was the book I was kind of dreading to do with Christian. I heard that it was really hard for kids. The vocabulary is pretty advanced, but the stories are right on point with this age!!! It just takes us a little longer to get through. I do like to do one story on one day. We’ll just break it up a little throughout the morning. The first week we talked about faith and the butterfly. After narrating and discussing the principals of the story, we had a great time watching Youtube clips of a Butterfly life cycle! Today we read about obedience and the role of the worker bee. It was perfect timing because we had just been to a beekeeping demonstration on Friday! Christian had already spent time drawing in his nature journal about some of the bee facts (types of bees, what they do, how honey is made and harvested, etc.) The story was fun to listen to today and it did take some discussion to understand the meaning of the story. He narrated every couple paragraphs and was able to give me the facts of what he heard with a good narration, but I had to help with some of the vocabulary and basic points of the story. I wanted to make sure not to give my own opinion or ideas to him. I want him to eventually come to his own conclusions and form his own ideas from these stories. I can’t wait to see how the next story goes!
Trial and Triumph so far has only been 1 reading. I thought that Polycarp was really powerful and we talked a while about his statement about fire. I’d be interested to see how much Christian remembers from that week.
We did the Our Island Story, Just So Stories, and James Herriott’s stories last year for term 1. I’ll pick up with the readings scheduled for Term 2 when we get there!
We are still working on manuscript. There are some letter formations that I have to remind about correct placement, but for the most part, he is doing great with his handwriting and copywork! I’ve been using his poem recitation as his copywork assignment. He is memorizing “My Bed is a Boat” by R.L. Stevenson.
I will update also on how Eva Mae is doing! She’s Pre-K so not technically starting the Ambleside Curriculum. What I’m working with her now, is a Pre-K book of easy letter and number copying. It also has some math counting that we’ll do while Christian does his math. She’s a lefty so it is sometimes a struggle not to let her crook. I’m hoping to establish good habits with her this year!
Tea Time and Poetry
This is their favorite! They enjoy the break from work and we usually take our tea tray outside with tea and snacks. They play outside for a while why I put away the morning work and then I’ll play with them for a bit and read a poem before we come back to the table!
this is where I have the green subjects! (My favorites!) I’ve loved all the work we do on the “riches” of arts and music!
Composer this term is Dvorak and we’ve done several activities. I posted some here. Christian drew the red tanager bird while listening to the American Quartet. We read the picture book “Two Songbirds” about Dvorak’s visit to the Midwest and how he was inspired by the bird’s call. We listened to Humoresque #1 for the piano and danced to the form (A was jumping in a circle clockwise then turning and going counter clockwise – all the other sections were soft motions and taking a break from the jumping for mom!) I played the Largo theme from New World Symphony on the piano for the kids, and we also listened to the Classics for Kids show about Dvorak’s life. I also have the Leonard Bernstein DVDs of his Young People’s Concerts and there’s a section on nationalistic music that he talks about Dvorak so we watched that. I have plans to teach Christian this easy version for piano that I wrote. Click here to download! We’ll do a few activities with Humoresque #7 in September!
Artist study this month is Cassatt and we haven’t done anything other than picture study of looking at the selected art, hiding the picture, and then trying to recall what we felt or saw while studying. We’ll look again and I will ask questions about the picture. I wrote a post here and included some prompting questions. Click here to view! I thought it was funny that my friend commented in our local CM group that her daughter thought the picture of the woman and child driving was a picture of them fishing! That’s exactly what Christian thought too! After he narrated to me what he remembered from the print, I showed it to him and pointed out the wheel of the carriage and the backs of the horses! It clicked after that!
Drawing hasn’t been very formal. I’ve pulled up YouTube tutorials and he loves ArtHub for Kids! We’ve done some Angry Birds and Star Wars! Probably not so much a Charlotte Mason education. I have Drawing for Children by Mona Brooks but it is a LOT to read and prepare. I would like something that is easily opened up and straight forward to do for lesson 1, lesson 2, etc. My friend Liz has a book I want to check out. I’ll update after I research this a little more!
Folk Songs are an almost every day occurrence instead of on the weekly loop! haha! We’re having lots of fun and I’m trying to keep my Facebook page updated with whatever folk song we are learning. We’re doing the AO schedule and also supplementing with a few of my favorites! I have a tab at the top of the blog with my folk song lessons! So far all the folk songs we’ve learned this year will pop up in their spontaneous singing while they play with toys! Blue Tail Fly, Blow the Man Down, Canoe Song, and Old Dan Tucker have been the songs we’ve done with a formal lesson!
Formal Nature Study around here looks like something we purposefully do to go out and learn. So far, it’s been becoming a Junior Ranger in the Sawtooth Mountains, Listening to a Beekeeper give a demonstration and show us his bees, and participating in the Bowie Nature Park Homeschool program last week! Bowie has a monthly program and we’ll be supplementing on the other 3 weeks with a lesson from Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon, and nature study meet ups with our local co-op group! We do go outside almost every day and talk about something. Today we found a cicada shell! My kids hate bugs so I had to coax them to see the shell!
Foreign Language this year is Song School Latin. I know it’s not very Charlotte Mason”y” to start Latin this young, but the book and CD are geared toward young learners and Christian is enjoying it! We do a lesson once a week and practice the vocabulary daily. His little mind has picked it up quick!
Geography is partly Paddle to the Sea and partly Long’s Geography. We’re going through this book first with reading a chapter a week. The Adventure Science Center is also a great companion to what we’re learning so far about positions. I’ve been thankful for the extra connections! I plan to go all the way through Long’s and then start Mason’s Geography in Year 2/3.
This is my weakness in teaching – we haven’t really done anything in regards to what Charlotte Mason would recommend. For us, we’ve actually just raided my craft supplies and played with things to create “art.” I have been researching Paper Sloyd and will be implementing that this term. I’m going to make a tutorial e-book for download once it’s finished! You’d think with all my “handicraft” experience it would be easy to teach my own kids! haha!
Christian is on Lesson 9 in the McGuffy Reader Level 1. We don’t read from McGuffy every day. Sometimes I’ll allow him to pick something else to read to me. As long as he is reading and practicing his fluency and comprehension I am happy! We also are continuing to work through the Plaid Phonics Level 1. Blend sounds are the topic for this unit and he has it down pat. I’m so proud of him!!!
I’m also working with Eva Mae on letter sounds and we’re reading through the beginning BOB books! She also loves the BOB book app on my phone!
It’s last on the daily schedule but I don’t mind when he practices. If he wants to work on his songs during a school break, or after dinner, as long as he fits in some practice each day! He’s playing Octavius the Octopus this week that introduces Bass C and loves the song! I’m so glad he’s not resistant to me teaching him! I think he’s going to love the Dvorak! The only new notes will be the last few measures of treble A,B,C,D and E.
Hope you enjoyed the update! I didn’t realize how long it would take me to type it up! haha!