Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ambleside Online Year 4, the transition

With the recent transition to Ambleside Online, the most time I spent in researching was in deciding where to place each of the children.  From there, I just kind of jumped in the deep end.

For my 10 year old, I felt like Year 4 was a good place for him.  The beginning of this school year was already a big change for us.  We started doing the enrichments - picture study, folk songs, hymn, composer and Shakespeare, in full CM style, before even making the switch.  Additionally, he has added dictation, typing and map drills.  We're also not consistent with doing Nature Study, and there are more Form II subjects - like Latin and Plutarch - that we have yet to add.  He's also just gotten to the point where he has stopped telling me he hates reading.  (He's never struggled with reading, he's just never enjoyed it.)  I felt like Year 4 would offer him the opportunity to build is reading stamina and he could start at the beginning of some of the books that are used across multiple years, which was a good choice because he balked a little at not starting at the beginning of the history book.

I've made a few tweaks to the AO schedule, but here's my disclaimer - these changes were not recommended or endorsed by the AO Advisory, and are not a reflection of the quality of the curriculum; I made these changes to suit my family's needs when we switched things up.  That it is all.

We will continue with our own readings and AWANA

I'm leaving the history streams alone, and following the schedule as written.

History Tales/Biographies
I have opted to remove Trial and Triumph for now, though I'm considering putting the boys on the same schedule eventually, or else I'll use AO's alternate recommendation to cover this material later.  He does enjoy modern missionary stories with The Brinkman Adventures, and we'll probably do more seasons.

For first term, I have substituted Poor Richard and we're using Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia, because I already owned it and the number of chapters fit the term readings.  This also allowed me to start Y4 immediately the week I made the sudden decision.

Instead of doing the Y4 selection, I have him currently doing Tree in the Trail with Emory.  (We already had the large maps and the guide from Beautiful Feet Books, so I'm blending the two programs together.)  However, we're running into the problem of why I split them up in the first place--this is one area that isn't going smoothly because of them goofing off and competing for narrations and such.  So I may split them back up and just have Elliott do Minn of the Mississippi in two terms instead of across all three as originally scheduled.

I haven't bought the extra "coffee table" style geography books, because I have other books that can be browsed at this point, but he has started map drills.

We're using the core books as scheduled.

I think since Physics Lab in the Home is optional, I'll just occasionally offer Lucky Science - Accidental Discoveries from Gravity to Velcro that I already own.  I'm not looking for a direct, week-to-week replacement, just something to fill in every now and then, and this fits the bill for me, for engaging text and relatively easy hands-on activities.

I also have the guide to A History of Science from Beautiful Feet Books already.  I'll look through it when we're doing a corresponding biography (Y4 is Isaac Newton) to see if any of the activities/experiments are appropriate.

Foreign Language
We're just getting started with Spanish again.  He's doing that with Emory (and Eleanor tags along).  I'm not ready to add Latin yet.

Language Arts
We haven't been doing copywork, but he's reviewing his cursive handwriting, and I'll transition that into copywork eventually.  He's doing dictation with Spelling Wisdom, and we're starting to do some written narrations.

Plutarch - I haven't added him to Term I.  Maybe next term.  Maybe next year.
Shakespeare - Kind of a Y2/Y4 combo going on here, as we were already doing our own thing and we're just going to keep plugging along.
Poetry - We were already doing a family reading at lunch, so I'm keeping that for now.
Age of Fable and Robinson Crusoe are still on the schedule.

Free Reads
For the most part, I will be pulling his independent reads from Years 3-5 for his independent reading.  I'll be more intentional about the ones marked by term, but otherwise, I'll let him choose.   For family read-alouds, I've been pulling mostly from Years 1-2 because they more suitable for the younger siblings.

In addition to AO and CM style enrichments, and his skill-level math and language arts, he also has church activities and co-op.  So far, everything is going reasonably well.  We're starting to ease into a routine finally, but when we finish up the first term, I'm sure I'll share some of our thoughts about the books and what we've learned!

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