Friday, November 3, 2017

A Peek into our Homeschool: October 2017

Curriculum wise, there were big changes in our homeschool in October!  I made a sudden but necessary change, and we did a rather abrupt move from my "planned" relaxed CM year to Ambleside Online, and trying to more fully embrace everything about CM.  It happened rather quickly, because I knew if I took the time to research and plan, I would end up going down rabbit holes and delay the switch.  Jumping into the deep end was definitely the way to go this time around.  I made the decision during the first week of October, and all I did was print schedules and download ebooks, and we switched almost every subject during the second week.

Why did we switch?  It is hard to explain.  I had big plans for History, Science and Geography this year.  History of Science isn't going to work for the boys right now.  It's a solid program, but too heavy for the lower end of the age range (says 3rd-7th, and I feel 5th-7th is a better target for using the program as written), and there was a bit more busy work than I anticipated.

However, many of those science biographies are used in AO, so I do plan to utilize the guide for hands-on activities alongside the biographies when relevant and appropriate.  I am still going to use the Geography and kind of blend BFB and AO geography so that I can at least combine the boys there, at least this year, since I have those beautiful maps already.

Ambleside Online covers History, Science, Geography, and Literature.  I'm making very minimal changes to the AO curriculum otherwise, but I'll share more about the switch and how we're using it for 3rd and 5th grade soon.

The boys are continuing to use CTCMath.  I'm really liking how flexible it is.  I love that they can repeat exercises with new questions or move between lessons as needed, getting the most out of the program.  It's reduced the amount of whining from my child who is good at math, but complains about everything.  He even said today that it's the best math program he's ever done!  I'll take it!

Language Arts
3rd Grade - Emory is focusing on copywork (passages from his books) and cursive.  Copywork really does offer a lot of opportunity to talk about basic spelling, grammar and punctuation, without it feeling formal or boring.

5th Grade - Elliott is using Spelling Wisdom for dictation (and I'm addressing additional language concepts as the need arises through this program) and I'm very pleased with it so far.  He doesn't whine over language arts anymore either!  He's also practicing cursive/copywork, and doing typing lessons.  I do let him skip an occasional Spelling Wisdom lesson on days when he has a lot of writing in his AWANA book.

Literature Free Reads - Read Alouds 
A lot of my family books are free reads from AO Years 1-2, since Emory's in Y2 and this way the boys don't miss all the books from the lower years.
The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Anderson's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson (a tale here and there between books)
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl- We read the first book last month, and the boys wanted to know if there were more.  I found the audio book of the sequel on Overdrive so they could listen to it, and I wouldn't have to read another Dahl book again so soon.

Personal Free Reads
I give them a list of "free reads" as they're called on AO, and they can choose the order.  I ask for a chapter a day.  They're free to read extra (they usually don't though) and they do not have to narrate regularly, though I occasionally ask for updates.  They usually choose to read read their own picks at bedtime.

Elliott's Free Reads - He read The Whipping Boy (sometimes 2-3 chapters a day, as they're short) the chapter from Homer Price that I never did read aloud earlier this year (he realized he remembered all the other stories and didn't want to reread them), and is now reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Emory's Free Reads - Emory wanted to read The Whipping Boy after Elliott finished.  The chapters are short but there are a lot of them, so his chapter a day is taking him awhile.


Hymn - My Jesus I Love Thee

Folk Song - Nice Field of Turnips
This one is kind of catchy!

Composer - I am still playing Mozart in the background.  I even catch Emory turning Mozart on through Alexa to play while he's reading.  We're finally at the end of our 12 weeks, so we'll be switching to a new composer and artist next week.

Drawing & Art - I do want to pick back up on our drawing lessons, as we've slacked since switching curriculum and trying to adjust, but I'm not going to stress over art since both boys have art at co-op.

Picture Study - We went at a slightly faster pace for picture study than recommended by Charlotte Mason (picture a week, instead of every two weeks) so we went through all eight pictures in the picture study portfolio, and had four weeks to fill.  I did continue to rotate the pictures on display, and we spent a couple weeks reviewing.  One week, each of the big kids described a picture and I had to guess which one.  One week, we flipped through the book Linnea in Monet's Garden and I read the bio from the back.  Last week, we did a Monet inspired art project (reflections) from ARTistic Pursuits. It didn't quite turn out as they had hoped, but you can faintly see the "reflection" in the water.

We haven't really been doing Before Five in a Row in the "read a book and do an activity every day" style of FIAR, but if you read through the manual and read some of Steve Lambert's comments (Mr. Lambert is husband of FIAR author Jane Lambert) online, Before wasn't even written to use like that.  It is supposed to be of the more spontaneous and casual and informal nature.  That suits my needs and this phase we're in much better, and is more  in line with CM anyway.  We're still reading lots of good books, and I'm playing math and phonics games with her occasionally.  She does nature study, art, music, picture study and lots of family activities with us.  She also tags along on Emory's Burgess Animal Book (and Birds, when he requests it) and loves to draw pictures to go along with it.

Red-wing black bird.  I love how it has four legs.

Overall, we're trying to get into a better rhythm with our new choices, and I'm still working on getting my oldest to be a bit more independent.

In other news . . . the bat signal in honor of Adam West.  Then I had a Luke Skywalker, a Batman, and Everest and Skye from Paw Patrol.

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  1. What a beautiful home learning lifestyle your children enjoy! They are blessed. I failed at AO and have moved over to I drooled over your books. :)

    I popped over here from The Homeschool Review Crew specifically to tell you how much I love your children's names!

    Have a fantastic November!

    1. Thank you! :)

      We are using a lot of materials from Simply Charlotte Mason, but I really needed to separate my boys, so AO for core subjects made more sense.

  2. Hope the changes in your line-up work out well. It looks like a good selection of studies, and I've heard a lot of good things about Ambleside. :-) Thanks for linking up!