Monday, September 12, 2011

Ambleside Online - year 1 we're half done!

I've had a busy busy few weeks, and came back to my blog to discover a few new followers, woohoo! I'm an introvert and my blog reflects that - so 31 followers was good; I'm actually amazed to see the number go up suddenly and so I'll be coming your way to check you all out soon my new followers:)

In the meantime I want to let you know we've been busy celebrating a certain someone's birthday, nursing a sick guinea pig with a few visits to the vet thrown in, organising play dates and attending homeschool park days with two different groups for extra measure :) - an essential when one homeschools an only child, working two part time jobs, volunteering at church and celebrating 10 years as a local church! So, please excuse my absence from your bloggy worlds but I will catch up with you all soon.

I told you some time ago we switched curriculums this year, so I thought I'd post an update with how it's all going with Ambleside Online seeing that we're in week 18 of the 36 week curriculum!

Well, the ladies over on those discussion boards are not wrong, it surely is a rigorous curriculum; don't let first glances deceive you:)

The books are quite challenging but not overwhelming for Rebekah which is right where she needs to be.
We follow the curriculum pretty closely but do our own thing for art study and hymns; we also added in and substituted some Australian material. And oh, we haven't gotten around to folksongs yet!

I started off adding in Australian material but quickly found out that this was just going to overload us so I have decided to substitute instead (where possible).
We now use "Old Bob's birds" by C K Thompson instead of the "Burgess Bird Book". This book was filled with American birds and while Rebekah enjoyed the stories I felt reading an Australian Bird Book would be far more fruitful in bringing natural history to life for her.
We still add in "My place" by Nadia Wheatley to the history selections but since this is a fairly easy book to follow we are managing.
Also, we don't do narrations for every reading; we just read and discuss "Tales from Shakespeare" and "Just so Stories". I felt narrating every reading was overkill for Rebekah and I didn't want reading for school to become a drudgery.

One thing that has happened ths year (due to the increase in work load for school work) is that our nature walks and craft activities were falling by the wayside, the latter to my dear craft-loving daughters chagrin:(
So, a rethink was done and now we have decided to make one day of our four day week an 'arts' day.
We do all our academic subjects from Monday to Wednesday and leave Thursdays for the arty subjects like picture study, composer, hymns, handicrafts (knitting) and craft. Those of you familiar with Charlotte Mason would know she didn't place too much emphasis on what we would call 'craft' activities, but one of my daughter's love languages would be doing craft together (if there was such a love language) :)
So, to fill her love tank in this area I schedule them in on Thursdays.

I've also decided to aim for one nature walk per fortnight at least. This way I don't beat myself up over not doing one every week. This is not to say that she hasn't been on nature walks this year! My husband is a nature lover so he does take Rebekah on bush walks regularly and while this covers that subject a little, I still want to do 'focused' nature walks with her and hence my new goals. Our backyard and informal nature study still continues due to her being exposed to it since she was much younger, so we have managed a few nature journal entries too.

I'll be heading over to yours soon.....


Anonymous said...

I'm glad the new curriculum is going well and is challenging. It's nice when everything falls into place :)

Jeanne said...

Sounds like a wonderful year! We mostly substitute, not add as well.

Clara said...

Glad it's going well for you and your little family! :) So good that Rebekah likes being creative - keep encouraging it! :)

Jo said...

Thank you for the update, I am glad things are going well. As Clara said, keep up the creative activities, I am a strong supporter of arts and craft, creativity is as important as anything else.

tea said...

It's great to see a post from you again! I love hearing about your homeschooling experiences!! ♥

Beloved's Bride said...

I always like to see what you are doing in your homeschool day! I would love to know some of the Ambleside books that you have really enjoyed. I pick and choose from the list and some times I just don't know what I should pick! Most recently I bought "The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubor" We really enjoyed it.

If you don't want to share a list do you know any other Ambleside sites that keep a record of the books that they enjoy? IT would be most helpful

joyfulmum said...

Carmen (Beloved's Bride),
We have enjoyed ALL of the books so far on the list:) I dropped Burgess Bird Book as we can't relate to a lot of the birds being in Australia but it was a lovely book (not as good as Thornton Burgess's individual character books though imo). I'm sure this is not helpful but we truly enjoy all the books (we don't do Trial and Triumph though) A lot of the books are free online, if you click on the link you could get a sample view of it to see what you think. I closely follow Jeanne's blog (oh peaceful day) you can get there from my blog list on the right and you could click on the corresponding years in her archives to see what she has blogged about the various books...hope that helps:)

Susan (HomeGrownKids) said...

Oh I think that it is very wise to substitute and not add new books in. AO (when done properly and not just used as a booklist) is very rigorous and we wouldn't want to see our children burnt out.

I totally get that your dd's love language and yes, it is valid! It's valid because it is time and interest. Good on you Rosemary... keep it up because the rewards will be worth it. :)

Amy said...

Well done! Phew, it IS a busy season right now, isn't it? Don't know how you manage it all, plus homeschooling too! If I ever decide to homeschool, can I pay you to do it? :) lol

Mrs Adept said...

Super well done on the half way mark. I like your "arts" day. :o)

You know, I really do love the idea of AO but I just can't make the jump. I think I'm too addicted to workbooks or something.

Beloved's Bride said...

Thanks. I will take a look at the site.

If I hadn't bought all the curriculum that I adored from when I taught I would make the jump over to AO. But, right now we are set for the first couple of years. However, what we are doing is pretty hard too and it is classical. I am amazed at how much of it overlaps with AO.

Penney Douglas said...

I totally agree with you about not narrating every single book. We would not get half the books read that we do if I had them narrate them all, especially if I had all 6 kids narrate! I like for school to be enjoyable, not drudgery.
And definitely make time for crafts! That is way too important to her and obviously a gift of hers to not allow her to do it.
You are doing a great job!


Sarah said...

Hey Rosemary, where did you find "Old bobs birds? I really want this book for next year! xxx

joyfulmum said...

Sarah, I got it through ebay, I think I paid around $20 for it. I had 'saved' a search for it for quite a while before it came up for sale. I have quite a few 'saved searches' of hard to find books.