Thursday, June 9, 2011

Year 2 - Leaving Living Books Curriculum to do Ambleside Online

I'm finally getting around to posting what we do for year 2 which we began early April!

I had been looking into Ambleside Online for many years but had been too overwhelmed or too intimidated by it all to really take the plunge and start it:)

I think two years of Living Books Curriculum has given me the confidence I needed to step out and do Charlotte Mason on my own without the need for a teachers manual.
So, even though I like LBC, I found that after a while I was tweaking it so much that I thought I would be better off to just do it on my own.
Not that you have to do it on your own with AO! There is a very active discussion group where mums discuss the curriculum and it is a great support network for those who decide to use it. This was actually one of the things that kept attracting me to AO and not to mention the great books used as well! I must also add that most of the books AO use are free online, a great bonus for those on a tight budget!

So, even if you don't home school or use another curriculum, may I recommend you look at their booklists? You're sure to get some great ideas from there!

Anyway, back to our year 2! I had heard that AO was quite an advanced curriculum and that one is better off waiting till the child is close to 7 to begin year 1. (hanging around that afore mentioned discussion group for years was great for me!)
So, Rebekah turning 7 this year I decided to take the plunge and do their year 1.
Now, for the purposes of extra curricular activities and for the Board of Studies I need to 'grade' Rebekah so we are calling it Year 2 and also I believe that this curriculum is quite advanced so calling it year 2 is quite appropriate in my opinion!

We are using the curriculum pretty closely to how its laid out with some small adjustments. I am adding some Aussie poetry, literature, art and history in this year by either substituting or adding it in as an extra.

Here is our take on it:


We are following Charlotte Mason's PNEU curriculum along with the leftover pages of the Early Reader Wonder Devotional Book from last year and Leading Little Ones to God which we've been doing very slowly for the last couple of years!

Language Arts:


Continuing with Italics Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner.


Rebekah is a very fluent reader so we will continue buddy reading.


A Child's Garden of Verses by R.L. Stevenson
Now we are six by A.A. Milne
The Animals Noah Forgot by A.B. Paterson (Australian poetry)


Aesop for Children by Milo Winter
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty
The Way of the Whirlwind by Mary Durack (Aussie literature) (We intended to use this book last year but didn'nt as I felt Rebekah would get more out of it this year)


We are continuing with Singapore Maths, doing the 1B and 2A books this year.


Charlotte Mason emphasised nature study as a foundation for higher level sciences so we will be continuing our focus on nature study using The Handbook of Nature Study as outlined in AO along with our own field guides and other nature books we've accumulated.

In addition to this we will be using (as outlined in AO):
James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot and
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

We will also be completing 'Growing Strong and Healthy' from LBC Year 1. This is a great book on the human body and nutrition and if you are looking for something free which is also good, it is available online!


Early history, focusing on people rather than events-
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula (we are omitting this book)

An Island Story by H.E. Marshall
Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
Viking Tales by Jennie Hall

To this we are adding My Place by Nadia Wheatley for Aussie history.


Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling (This is a book covering the great lakes in America but it is such a lovely book that we just had to use it!)

Foreign language:

We are continuing Spanish with Play and learn Spanish by Ana Lombarda.


Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks


We will use the many craft books we have in our home library!

Picture Study:

Here we are not following AO, instead we will be using:
Come look with me, exploring Landscape art with Children by Gladys Blizzard
Roy and Matilda: The Golden Locket by Susan Venn (Aussie art)


We will be following AO for this and listening to the music of Beethoven, Vivaldi and Chopin.

Hymns and Folksongs:

AO have scheduled these but I am not doing them for now but will add them in later in the year after we are more used to this new curriculum!

P.S. I am deeply indebted to many that have gone on before me in this homeschooling adventure that I have learned from over the years. I especially wanted to mention Jeanne (ohpeacefulday) for her mentoring me in Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online in particular! I also want to mention that I glean from various resources for my Aussie stuff, in particular I want to make mention of Ruth (From Wonder to Wisdom) and Michelle (Homeschooling Downunder) whose websites / blogs have also helped me immensely. You will find many many wonderful Aussie resources on each of these ladies websites.


Beloved's Bride said...

This looks like a great year! I have been looking at AO a good bit. I am gathering up some of their book suggestions for our home.

Thanks so much for recommending some of the AUS blogs. I took a look at Jeanne's blog already and adored it. I am headed over to Ruth's and Michelle's too.

Richele said...

Oh, I'm so excited for you! We really enjoyed that particular year of AO - especially the James Herriot stories...oh, actually, we enjoyed it all. We omitted the Hannula book as well and read from Voice of the Martyrs "Jesus Freaks".

Have you started Mona Brooks book? I'd love to know what you think.

Sarah said...

Wow...fantastic! We love the Holling books too, just beautiful! Good on you! xxx

Rebecca said...

That looks like a wonderfully full curriculum... but I looked at your schedule and you only do a little school each day! I like it. She is only seven, after all.

joyfulmum said...

Rebecca, yes our book work is done in under two hours:) Charlotte Mason used 'short lessons' of about 15 to twenty minutes for each subject for this age group. It's amazing what they can learn in that short time space rather than dragging it out.
Richele, we are loving Mona Brooks' book. I am learning alongside Rebekah:) I took her advice and read the whole book through once before attempting lessons. Even though it looks textbook-y it's all very acheivable if done in small portions as she advocates. Drawing is one of Rebekah's favourite subjects now thanks to Mona Brooks:)

Jo said...

I love hearing about homeschooling and what you have been doing. It sounds very interesting.

Sheila Carroll said...

We are so pleased that Living Books Curriculum has given you the confidence to go it on your own. As we often say, "It's not the books, it's the method." We wish you all the best.

joyfulmum said...

Sheila, oh I didn't realise you read my blog (embarassed grin)! I am deeply appreciative of your work and thank you very much for all you do through Living Books Curriculum! I may need your help again in the future :) I am often asked how LBC was as it's still new here in Australia and so I will write a blog post on my thoughts and hopefully you will read it too:) Thanks very much, Rosemary.

Jeanne said...

Thanks so much for the nice words, Joyfulmum! I too appreciate the support I gain from you and other of my online pals. Where would we be without blogging, eh?

I am sure you'll really enjoy AO. The books are marvellous, and AO1 is a particularly good year. Do let us know how you find it!

Penney Douglas said...

This sounds like a great year ahead. I love Paddle to the Sea and all of Holling C. Holling's books. I really want to buy them. I'll put them on my wishlist on Amazon.

I really appreciate your comments on my blog. It's so nice to hear from somebody who is reading!

I have never actually followed a certain curriculum except for one time when I tried to follow Sonlight's Teacher Guides. It wore me out! I'm too laidback for all of that. Our workload is much lighter than any teacher's guide I've ever seen. Our main activity is me reading aloud from 2 or 3 books to the kids every day. It is what I've found that works the best for us. The other subjects are covered through books the kids do on their own. They come to me when they get stuck on something. That's the only way I've been able to make it work for us.

I'm so glad to see that you're growing in confidence. That's always a good thing!

Mom of Five said...

What do your children do while you are reading all these subjects? And where's writing? I'd love to do this curriculum it I'm confused

Joyfulmum said...

hi Momoffive! Sorry my blog has not been updated in a while! Ambleside Online has a great forum where you'll find many of your questions answered and also a facebook group (if you're on facebook).
Ambleside online follows the Charlotte Mason method which you'll need to read up about in order to understand how the curriculum works. However I believe AO does answer a fair bit of that on it's webstite.
All the best!