Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ambleside Online Year 2 - The Transition

When making the transition to Ambleside Online, I didn't want to spend much time planning, or I'd spend too much time following rabbit trails and we'd never get started, but I did need to figure out placement.  Ambleside Online uses quality living books, but they are advanced, thus the years do not correspond to grade levels.  Additionally, the years continue to increase in workload, difficulty and mature themes, so from what I could find on the website and forum, it is common practice to often place a child a year or two below their current grade level.  The objective is to find a year that is challenging without being overwhelming.

Ambleside Online Year 2
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Emory is a 3rd grader and is doing great, but he is still "young" for his grade (late summer birthday) so I needed to take all of this into consideration.  After looking over the content from two years below to two years above his grade level, to look how how the material progresses, I felt confident that Year 2 was a great choice for him.  I knew he would love the content and could mature steadily with the curriculum.  I would have two years to prepare him for the jump to Y4, and since he's not doing phonics/reading instruction (which is often assumed of a Y2 student) that time is freed up to have him work towards more independence in his school work.  (From what I've read, everything Y7+ is high school level, so I'm not worried if we only get through Y11, but there are also plans to do three upper levels in two years, if desired.  This is a well-thought out curriculum!)

I'm trying to do minimal changes to the curriculum, and what changes I have made are not a reflection on the quality of the curriculum, rather they are just for practicality or personal reasons.

We will continue to do our own readings and AWANA

I want to trust the process so to speak, with the history streams, so I am mostly leaving the history as-is.  I am removing Trial and Triumph for now, though I'm thinking of putting both boys on the same schedule for this book soon enough.  If not, we'll use AO's alternate recommendation to cover the material in later years.  (We have, however, done some missionary stories with The Brinkman Adventures, which the kids love.  They want to do other seasons!)

We were already planning to use Geography through Literature from Beautiful Feet Books, so I'm using the BFB guide for the geography elements.  I already have their nice maps, and this way I have a tad bit more guidance on the mapping. I've been following the reading schedule in the BFB guide instead of the AO schedule, which puts us on pace to finish one book per term.  We'll see how that goes.

The geography concepts to be taught conversationally aren't entirely new to Emory, so I'm not going to worry about "teaching" them for now, though I'm thinking we might just read through the recommended books as a family eventually anyway.

My little naturalist was thrilled to find out he has an entire year of animals for science!  He doesn't always find it enough though, and he often begs to add a chapter from Burgess Bird Book.  We had already started that book with our Learning About Birds adventure, and since it was also a Y1 science, I don't mind to occasionally add a bird chapter if we only have one Animal chapter for the week.

This is the area with the most tweaking.

Shakespeare - We were already doing our own thing with both boys, so I'm just continuing with that for now.
Pilgrim's Progress - I already owned Little Pilgrim's Progress, and I am reading that to both boys.
Poetry - We were already doing this as a family, so we'll continue that way, at least for this year.  We were already doing A.A. Milne first term before switching, and are now on Shel Silverstein.
Parables from Nature - As is!
Novels - Following the schedule for this one!

Free Reads
I am pulling his independent reading mostly from Years 1 and 2 free reads.  I'm also using some of these free reads for our lunchtime readings, since Eleanor (4) is with us.

So far this has worked well.  He has some books that are easier, some that are right on level, and some that are challenging and stretching him.  It has been really good for him!

In addition to the delightful feast of core subjects from AO, he also does the following:
  • Copywork and cursive practice
  • Recitation with Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization
  • Math with CTC and Xtra Math
  • Foreign Language - Spanish
  • Player Sloyd - we're just starting!
  • Fine Arts - See the Light (drawing), picture study, composer, folk song, and hymn
  • Nature Study - we do the study; we're still working on the journaling
  • AWANA, Sunday School, Junior Church 
  • CO-OP with Art, Literature and Science classes
I'm still working on slowly adding a few more elements and fine tuning the process, but so far I am really happy with the changes!  

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