Monday, April 23, 2012

AO1 is done, year 3 - here we come!

I've had to explain our 'years' and how we work our school years to many a friend in real life, so I thought I'd explain it to you all here as well.
You see, Rebekah began a year of Kindergarten when she was 5 (2009) for which I used Living Books Curriculum's Foundation Year for this.

The following year we began their Year 1 when she was 6.
But halfway through that, I found myself tweaking their curriculum so much, that I found I was pretty much doing most of it on my own and not following the teachers manul much nor using all of the suggested books.

I then decided I would use the Ambleside Online curriculum that I had been eyeing for many years but just didn't feel confident enough to take on. You see, it's a free online curriculum and there is no teachers manual to tell you what to do each day or give you lots of extra tips and such. Also it seemed quite rigorous to me.
However, as mentioned earlier, due to me changing what we were doing so much anyway in year 1 and gaining a bit more confidence in my home school endeavours, I set out to do AO with Rebekah when she turned 7. I blogged about that here.

This curriculum being quite advanced I started Rebekah in their Year 1. Now, you might say she repeated year 1, which would be technically true except that they are quite different curriculums and the recommended age to begin year 1 (from a lot of mums who've done it) was age 7. (It truly is an advanced curriculum, just a quick look at the book lists will prove that!). So, this is what we did but we called it our Year 2. Clear as mud?:) For all extra curricular activities, Rebekah needs to be in a 'grade' and I didn't want her doing ballet etc with much younger kids, so I decided to call it our Year 2!

Well, we've just finished AO1 (our year 2) and all I can say is that we love it so much we are continuing with it this year. 'This' year for Rebekah is 'Year 3' which we started today. More confusing I know! Not only do we not keep our years simple but to confuse everyone even more, our school year doesn't start till April! Hey, that's the beauty of homeschooling though isn't it! It's quite flexible.

So, often Rebekah is doing school when her friends are on holidays and vice versa. This time however, her holidays coincided with the schools, so she had even more fun with plenty of play dates and a sleep over!

I try to keep things simple but often they get a bit complicated, much to my amazement! I seem to have a talent for this:) It was the same when we decided to call her Rebekah and not spell it the traditional way - Rebecca. I sincerely apologise to everyone out there for the confusion related to this. I just didn't anticipate that it would throw people so much that her name would end up getting spelled as Rebekkah, Rebekka, Rebekha, Rebekahh and so on:) Sorry!

Anyway, back to our homeschooling: I feel such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at having completed a whole year of AO. It might seem trivial but I know for me, I was apprehensive about using this curriculum as I knew it would be challenging for Rebekah me:) But I am happy to report that yes, it was challenging but only to the point of stretching her us and not to the point of frustration. I can now say I truly love AO after doing it for a year, though I probably only did 70 to 80 % of it as laid out. We omitted a couple of things and changed a couple to make it our Australian AO1. I've got to say though, I absolutely love the books. The online discussion group is very lively and supportive and best of all it's a curriculum that's doable on a tight budget as most of their resources are free online. You've got to love that!

Here's Rebekah on her first day of Year 3 (AO2) with a few of the books we'll be covering this year, (more on that to come in another post):

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eight is Great

We've had a busy few weeks of celebrating Rebekah turning 8.
When we were talking about her turning 8 a few weeks ago, I came up with the phrase "Eight is Great". Well it ryhmes, it's catchy and it's a great proclamation about being 8, so it stuck! We've been saying it a lot over the past few weeks during which she celebrated her birthday with not one but two parties and one special family day (with Daddy taking the day off work on her birthday).
Being an only child certainly has it's advantages.
I think we should stop calling it birthday and call it birthweek or birthmonth!

So, the sequence of events went as follows:

A Sylvanian Family afternoon tea party with her friends.

It was really difficult to narrow down the numbers. She has heaps of good friends but for space issues we sadly couldn't accommodate them all. (She's already decided that her next party is going to be bigger as she wants to invite all her friends and not have to leave anyone out!) Yes, I did get out some of my nice china for the party despite the fact that the youngest attendee was 4! I'm pleased to report that nothing was broken in the course of the afternoon. One of the great things about homeschooling is the fact that Rebekah has friends of all ages. The youngest as mentioned was 4 and the oldest girl who attended was 11. It didn't make it difficult in anyway. In fact, they all sat around the dining table chatting like little ladies for a whole 20 minutes:) They understandably got bored of that after a while and played like little girls do with dolls and other things after a couple of organised games by yours truly!

A special family day on her actual birthday. Ron took the day off work and we spent the day together. A homeschool science workshop happened to fall on her birthday and it was fun to attend as a family! Lunch at McDonalds had to be done as it was her birthday wish and then a bush walk in the Blue Mountains where we probably burned off some of those calories only to put them back on again with a lovely dinner at my mum's place!

The following weekend we had another party, this time for all of my family! We squeezed 14 of us into our little house but my family are pretty easy going and didn't mind it.

Now, I think I'll go and have a lie down, but not for long as I'm now working on re-registering her with the Board of Studies!
Yes, our two year registration period as homeschoolers is coming to an end soon. I can't believe two years has already passed. I wrote about my first registration experience two years ago here. Coincidentally, that post was about Rebekah's sixth birthday (in case you read it). While I've grown in confidence in homeschooling, registration still seems like an 'exam' to me and I have a few nerves about it all, hoping we 'pass' again:) I'm hoping this will not be the case the next time I have to register her. We'll have to wait and see on that one I guess!