Friday, July 20, 2018

Great Wolf Lodge

We live rural, and it takes us about 30 minutes to an hour to get anywhere worth going.  Longer if we're looking for somewhere "big" to go.  We were going to visit one of the small/local water parks about an hour from our house, but at the last minute decided that a weekend trip to Great Wolf Lodge was in order.  We were in much need of some family time away.  

We've had littles for so long, that this was the first time we were prepared to do a water park without an extra adult with us, so this was our first time visiting Great Wolf.  It's about a 3 hour drive for us, which is the perfect amount of time to drive straight through, or take nothing more than nothing more than potty break. It was a relatively quick and painless trip.  We went to the one in Cincinnati/Mason, and also made a side trip to the Loveland Castle, because it just sounded neat!

There really is a wildlife, lodge, woodsy feel to the whole place.  There's lots of "stuff" to look at.  They gave the kids wolf ears when we checked in, which some of my kids appreciated, and some just kindly tucked away.  There's supposed to be some type of clock tower show here, but we never made it down for that.  

We got one of the Kid Cabins.  The bunk beds and twin bed were inside a "cabin" with cute details.  (We really did have a lot of geese and ducks outside our window - we were on the first floor, and they would peck our door and beg for food.)

Even though their little cabin was enclosed, it didn't have a door, and it had two little windows, so it didn't feel claustrophobic in there.

There's a lot to do in the resort.  We made it to the arcade the first night, but that was all we did.

They also have child-size bowling, glow in the dark mini golf, MagiQuest, one of those "make your own stuffed animal" stores . . . a handful of restaurants and souvenir type stores too.  They also had tons of statues and "things" to keep my 3 year old busy while we waited for food.  I'd ask her to count the sprinkles, and she'd ask me to take everyone's pictures!  {If you're looking to save money, skip the restaurants and eat outside of the lodge; most are priced like other amusement park/attraction restaurants.}

Yes, my 11 year old has reached the stage of being too cool for pictures.

They also had a list of free activities that would have appealed to my younger kids - balloon animals, face painting, dance parties, story time - but we somehow kept missing those.  Maybe next time!

We spent most of our time at the waterpark, since that was the purpose of our trip.  We spent two nights, which meant we could do a lot of short plays at the park.  Eloise still needs a nap most days, so we found a couple hours of play was perfect for us  Then we'd go back to the room, grab a bite to eat, rest...then play some more!  However, I do think one night would have been enough for a "quick" getaway, because it gets you nearly two full days of play.  You can use the waterpark as early as 1 PM (they have changing rooms and lockers in the waterpark if your room is not ready, as check-in was 4:00 p.m. I believe, but we preregistered online and our room was actually ready) and you could continue to use the facilities after you check out, until close.  You only need more nights if you're going to do all the extra activities or go to King's Island next door or otherwise be in and out of the resort a lot. 

The waterpark really does have things for the whole family!  There were several slides, a wave pool, tree house, lazy river, hot tubs, an outdoor pool and some pools designed for "play" for kids.  The tree house play structure has medium slides, water coming up from the ground and sprinkling from above, hanging buckets you fill and dump, water shooting gadget thingies.  You like those technical names, don't you?  It was just a fun place for the kids to play and experiment with water.  The kiddie area was shallow water with different size slides for toddlers.  There were a few things we could do together (pools, tree house, lazy river), but sometimes we split up so the boys could do more slides and the girls could hang out in the kiddie area.  

This girl is a goofball!

There were lifeguards everywhere.  I do mean everywhere.  They provide towels and lifejackets, and there were plenty of chairs and tables around the whole waterpark.  There was sometimes a short line for slides, but it never felt busy, even though it was the middle of summer.  I was kind of surprised at how relaxed and enjoyable it was throughout the water park.

Daddy decided to get some more group pictures.  I had just taken a shower, but Elliott actually smiled for us, so here you go.  

On the way out, Eloise wanted us to take their picture one more time.  She just doesn't always cooperate!

Overall, it is a fun place, and we would definitely go back.  The best part is that most of it is indoors and out of the sun, but it also means it's open year round so we can go off season and get better rates next time.

I think this was our first field trip of the next school year.  Yes, I count "fun" stuff as field trips.  This trip in particular included geography (the drive-we crossed state lines, and they pay attention to the maps and road signs and such), Physical Education and water safety, and some basic science through water play for the Kindergartner.  I will share our trip to the Loveland Castle soon, which tied in perfectly with Emory's history from last year!

©2011-2018 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Our Family Free Reads 2017-2018

Every year, I try to read a few books aloud to the kids as a group.  I want the kids to experience living books and enjoy them for what they are - wonderful stories!

These are the main books we read together, or that we listened to as audiobooks.  I try to choose books that are targeted at different age ranges or that are widely appealing.  My kids range from 3-11, though the 3 year old rarely listens, and the 5 year old only enjoys certain books.

The Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins
Set in Bangladesh, this book is about a young girl who does traditional paintings with her mother, but must later find a way to help her father, despite her role as a female.  Gender inequalities in other nations and cultural awareness make this an interesting book for boys and girls alike.

Captain Bayley’s Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions
Based off the G.A. Henty novels, these audio productions are stellar!  This book has a very "wild west" feel to it, and has some good history and adventure.  {This series can sometimes be intense for young/sensitive listeners, but my kids like them.}

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
This is one of those quirky, fun books that most children will enjoy.  It gave us an excuse to watch the movie, too!

Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
We borrowed this audio book through Overdrive or Hoopla.  It's further adventures of Charlie and his family.  The kids listened over lunch, because I couldn't handle another Dahl book.  While they're entertaining for the kids, they can be a little too much for me.

King of the Golden River by John Ruskin
This was the first free read I chose after we switched to AO.  I wanted to pull from the Y1 list for the boys, since they started at higher levels, so they wouldn't miss everything.  Elliott seemed to follow it better during the reading, but Emory remembered it really well at the end of the year.  It has the feel of fairy tales and fantasy, and is advanced writing compared to the other books on the Year 1 list, so it is good preparation or future years.

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
I've tried to read this book aloud at least two other times over the years.  I finally committed to finishing it, for the sake of AO.  It's another Y1 free read.  The kids loved it.  I barely got through it.  When our new puppy destroyed it, I was only upset for the sake of the book, not necessarily the title. It's just not my cup of tea.

St. George and the Dragon retold by Margaret Hodges
We read this as a complement to the picture study "St. George and the Dragon" by Peter Paul Rubens.  It is a gorgeous picture book and all of the kids enjoyed it.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
I snagged the audio book of this for free years ago, so we listened to it mostly in the car, and sometimes at home over lunch.  This is a Year 3.5 book (not an official year) so I didn't mind pulling it in.  All the kids liked this book, and we watched the movie afterwards, because the kids had never actually seen it.

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
This was free on Audible Channels with Prime, so we listened at home over lunch.  It's a Year 0 free read, but is great for all ages!  I read it to the boys when they were Year 0, but they definitely appreciated some of the humor more than my current Year 0 kiddos.  Such a fun book!  The illustrations are a must!

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
I started reading this aloud, but after awhile we switched to audio.  The kids enjoyed it at first, but then found they liked Wizard of Oz better, so it took us awhile to get through and then we lost momentum.  They didn't dislike it, but this wasn't a favorite.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell {currently in progress}
We are slowly listening to this one.  Since it's summer and we're not in the car as much for weekly activities, it'll be awhile yet.  My 5 year old is the one that requests "the horse story" the most!

If you're interested in what the kids did for school books, check out our return to Ambleside Online.

©2011-2018 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Year 0 in Review

Year 0 isn't really an official year.  It's all the years leading up to formal schooling, so for my 5 year old (and to some extent my 3 year old), it means working on habits, exposing them to good books, simple handicrafts, letting them tag along for the riches, and enjoying nature study.

Eleanor is a precocious child, and she enjoys doing.  Worksheets, crafts, nature journals, learning to read.  It doesn't matter - she will ask for something and puts forth a lot of effort and really enjoys what she does!

Eloise is our wild child.  She didn't really do anything formal this year, but she did tag along on nature study of course, some art/handicrafts, and she enjoys books.  She chose Panda, Panda Bear, What Do You See? as her favorite.  She also really likes The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

I was going to do Before Five in a Row with the girls, but that just didn't happen.  We did a couple of rows, and they were fun enough - but when I switched the boys to Ambleside Online, it was so easy to switch the girls to Year 0.  AO Year 0 is more in line with my natural tendencies, and the 5 year old already liked listening to their readings.  Eleanor enjoyed Emory's Burgess Animal Book for awhile (and Birds, when we read that together) and even listened in to other readings.  I know she was making connections with Age of Fable from Year 4, because when our co-op's drama club did a skit based on a greek myth, she recognized it!

So here is a peek at our year, not necessarily in chronological order . . .

Nature Study
Eloise is a bit more in the thick of things.  She catches bugs in a bug catcher, and probably going to be a bit more adventurous like Emory.

Whereas Eleanor adored starting her own nature journal.  This was an American Toad, based off a picture I took of one splayed out in the water.

She doesn't mind getting dirty though, especially if it means helping pawpaw, because then she will do anything for her favorite person!

Puzzles & Patterns
We do lots of blocks, puzzle play, and pattern blocks, and other hands-on activities.  It's an easy way to engage the girls while the boys are working.

Sometimes it's for play, and sometimes it's for extracurricular activities.  Eloise was in a small class of girls and they were told they could dress up as princesses.  She picked Princess Leia!  Totally sums up her personality!  {She was also a mighty cute cow for the Christmas program.}

Eleanor was Mary for the Christmas program.

Arts and Crafts
This was Eleanor's red-winged blackbird from listening to The Burgess Bird Book with her brother.

In addition to drawing, Eleanor loves any kind of handicraft type activity.  She's very artsy crafty, so I'm always looking for easier activities to introduce to her.

Handicraft - Homemade Necklace - Stringing Beads 

Super Beads - an fun beginner handicraft that she adored!

Trying her hand at origami for the first time!

Decorating her first pinch pot! 

 A sticker-by-number unicorn craft that she bought at the AWANA store.

Queen Eleanor from ARTistic Pursuits Art of the Middle Ages 

Play-doh is a great beginner activity to build fine motor skills and prepare for other handicrafts.

These are a sampling of the type of quality picture books we read this year.

The Real Mother Goose
The Gingerbread Man
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Katy No Pocket
Angus Lost
The Snowy Day
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
The Big Green Pocketbook
Caps for Sale
I Am an Artist
Yellow Ball
My Blue Boat
The Story About Ping
The Poky Little Puppy
The Shy Little Kitten
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
Peter Rabbit

Of course, she joined in on the family free reads, which I'll share later.

Final Thoughts
The girls had a good Year 0.  So many lovely stories, so much fun outdoors, and creativity and imagination running wild!  An AO Year 0 allows littles to be little.  I look forward to another rewarding year of this!  Eleanor will technically be K and transitioning to formal lessons since she turns six, but Eloise is only three, and we still have a few years left of this informal, but beautiful way of exploring and learning!

©2011-2018 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 {review}

I typically start light grammar instruction around 3rd or 4th grade, so when I was offered the chance to review the new Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 from Hake Publishing, I was certainly interested.  I used this with Emory, who was wrapping up the 3rd grade when this arrived.  He has had little grammar instruction, so we were basically starting fresh.

The Grammar and Writing 3 program is designed after the popular Saxon Math, which is very familiar in the homeschool world, and is the newest addition to the lineup that already includes fourth-eighth grade grammar.  It includes three major components:  Student Textbook, Writing Workbook and the Teacher Guide.

Teacher Guide - The Teacher Guide includes an overview and instructions to the teacher for how to use the program.  Every lesson has a scripted meeting, which includes Speaking & Listening and  Vocabulary.  The student can read along in their book.  Then the lessons instruct you to begin the actual Grammar Lesson from the Student Textbook, followed by the Review.  Suggested time to complete each activity is included.  The Teacher Guide also includes the tests and more practice sheets, as well as an answer key for the textbook, tests and practice pages.  A suggested schedule is included as well.

The first 10 lessons are completed before the first test and writing lesson, and then they occur after every five lessons.  Some writing lessons are extended for two days.  The schedule includes 146 days of instruction and testing, so if the lessons are completed as scheduled, there is room in a typical 180 day schedule, or it allows some wiggle room for those on a 4-day week schedule.

The only minor issue I can foresee with this schedule and pacing is that they suggest 40-45 minutes for completing every lesson, and they insist that every single exercise in every lesson be completed to benefit from the incremental design of the program.  The idea for the longer lessons is to omit homework, but as a homeschool family, homework isn't an option anyway.  So it has to be done in one day, or broken over two days anyway.  We are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, and find that her insistence on shorter lessons really is beneficial.  Short, varied lessons are far more efficient for us.  At this time, Emory completes the lessons in about 20 minutes, so it's not a real issue, but should it ever arise, I would just break the lesson into two shorter sessions during the day.  It would be easy to do the main lesson, and do ether Review Set later in the day.  Otherwise, frequently spreading a lesson over two days would extend the program and be difficult to finish in one year, if that's important to you.

Student Textbook - The student textbook contains the lessons and exercises.  Everything is laid out in clear print, black and white, with no pictures, though some pages are very full so it can sometimes still look busy.  The instructions are easy to understand and Emory does well with the workbook and exercises, without much input from me.  Concepts are introduced quickly, but he seems to catch on quickly with the frequent review.

Writing Workbook - This element contains direct writing assignments.  The writing lessons are scheduled to be completed on test days, or sometimes over two days.  The introduction encourages the student to create a notebook for collecting ideas, memories, questions, and drawings, to use as inspiration for future writing.  There are also instructions to keep a three-ring binder for their daily journals and the writing assignments.  These pages are perforated and hole punched already, making it easy to slide them into their personal binder.  Since the writing lessons are scheduled with the tests, the assignments often reinforce the corresponding grammar lessons.

So What is Taught?
When using the complete program, you'll find the grammar book includes instruction on the sentence, verbs, nouns, vowels and consonants, spelling rules, capitalization, prepositions, sentence diagramming, adjectives, dictionary information, punctuation, and much more.

The writing program starts simply, with the sentence, then works up to the paragraph.  Finally, it teaches different types of writing - persuasive, expository, narrative, descriptive and the chapter summary.  It also works through brainstorming, fact and opinion, and evaluating your writing.  This program doesn't cover reading/literature, spelling or penmanship, but when used as written, this is a complete grammar and writing course.

The website claims that this is a rigorous curriculum, and I can see why they make this claim.  The topics are introduced quickly, and it's a lot of material to cover for just third grade.  The other grade levels all cover the same content, just at different reading levels and depth of instruction, and they recommend a minimum of two years of grammar.  I am inclined to think that a mid or upper elementary level, and one middle school level should be sufficient.

What Do We Think?
I like that there is no teacher-prep.  Emory has done well with it.  He can work semi-independently in this book, because the instructions are written clearly in the student workbook.  He knows to ask for clarification, and I always check his work as he finishes.  I don't know that we'll do all of the writing exercises, as they conflict with our preference Charlotte Mason philosophy for this age range, but I like having it as a reference.  {Please note, this program does not claim to be Charlotte Mason, but I am happy to adapt any curriculum that works for us to meet our needs.}

Overall, I feel it's a thorough grammar curriculum laid out in a traditional format, but since it's a quick and easy lesson, he doesn't mind it.  We received it late in the school year, and we're very ready for summer break, so we'll just pick this back up next year to finish.

More crew members are reviewing this level, so be sure to check out the other reviews for more perspectives!

©2011-2018 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ambleside Online Year 4 In Review

Ambleside Online Year 4 in review

I recently shared (AO Y2 in review) that we have officially ended the 2017-2018 school year, though we're still working on a few things here and there to wrap up some loose ends.  When we looked back over the year, I was very happy with our transition to Ambleside.

Just as I did with his brother, I asked Elliott to look over everything and think about his favorites from the year.  Even if they don't see the feast in the same way I do, I want them mulling over and thinking about these books and their ideas, and I know the seeds are planted.

When we called the year complete, we had about 5 weeks left on the AO reading schedule.  A few things, I'm not concerned with, and a few things can be worked out this summer, I think.  So now it's time to share our thoughts on Y4 and the books, and what our plans are going forward with books that continue into next year.

Bible/Church History
We did not do the AO Bible readings, mostly because we do AWANA during school hours--that includes Bible readings, study and memorization.  We didn't do Trial and Triumph, because with the age ranges of my kids and the long use of this book across the curriculum, there will be a few years I'll have three children in this book at one time.  I'm thinking it will be easier to just put it on the family rotation soon.

This Country of Ours - He read this book along with the librivox audio.  The chapters were usually short, but it was his last choice every week.  We are going to miss out on a few chapters, but I skimmed them and don't feel it will affect next year's history.  He certainly won't mind.  We will continue to use this book next year, but I'm considering how to approach it differently so he doesn't lose enthusiasm when it comes back out.

George Washington's World - I though this book was interesting, but a bit disjointed.  He still narrated it well most of the time.  We did like that the weekly readings could easily be broken down into five short passages.  We do four day weeks, so we always combined two shorter ones.  I'm going to skim the last few weeks of reading material from this book to decide what he should 'free read' or we should discuss before starting back next year.

Poor Richard - We didn't use this book.

Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia - I already owned it, it's a living book, and it fit neatly into the AO schedule.  Being new to AO and a heavy reading schedule, I think having this book was a good choice for him.  He gave good narrations for the most part, and we used this book for a couple of written narrations as well.

Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution -  He read a couple chapters independently, then asked me to read it to him.  He gave decent narrations, but this is one of the books he didn't particularly love, and we got far enough that I will not require him to finish it.  I think I am going to finish it myself though!

Timeline/Book of Centuries - Neither boy did timelines, and I didn't have Elliott start a BOC yet.  Because of the level of thoughtfulness and neatness required for a BOC, I'm thinking I will have him start in Y6 when the history rotation starts over.

I decided early on to combine the boys for Geography since I already had the maps. It made more sense to do Y2 (two Holling books instead of just one, plus I wouldn't have to figure out Y4 geography for Emory down the road) so Elliott did those books.  We used the maps from Beautiful Feet Books, though we didn't exactly follow the guide - mostly just the mapping and a few drawings.

Tree in the Trail - He liked this book, and gave quality narrations.  He even said geography was one of his favorite subjects at one point.

Seabird - He liked this book too.  He's not much for coloring, obviously, and neatness isn't a forte, especially with these larger maps, but understanding and appreciation for the topics being learned are my goals.

Map Drills - We use the seterra website that is recommended on AO.  He enjoys this, and works at beating his previous scores.


Madam How and Lady Why - We used this book as scheduled for 15 weeks, before he suddenly asked to replace it.  His reasonings didn't have to do with "boring" or "hard" and it wasn't about just giving up on the book or topic (unlike history) so I honored his request.

Rocks, Rivers and the Changing Earth: A First Book about Geology - This is the book we used instead.  I found the title on the AO forum.  I know it can't replace everything unique about MHLW, but he found this book very engaging, gave excellent narrations, and enjoyed the activities.  Since we started it later in the year, it was easy to spread it out enough to carry two years like MHLW, but I may have him work on this as a free read over the summer, to lighten his Y5 load a little, since we would like to maintain 4 day weeks.

The Storybook of Science - He read this with audio, and narrated well.  We found it a solid mix of familiar information and "new but random" factoids.  We didn't finish the last few weeks, but this is one of those books that can be left unfinished without consequence, or he can finish over the summer if he chooses.

Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas - This book is scheduled in one week, because it's a picture book biography.  He read it alone and narrated well.  It's a good book for a written narration too.

The Ocean of Truth - We didn't use this.

Isaac Newton: The Scientist Who Changed Everything - Already owned; It doesn't appear to be of the same caliber as Ocean of Truth, but being an easier read was a good thing for this year with a non-bookish kid.  I'll definitely keep Ocean of Truth on my radar for the next round.

Nature Study
He isn't quite as hands-on as his brother, but he does like using different apps to identify things.  We didn't intentionally follow AO's rotation, but we did loosely/informally study the three main topics of the year:
  • Birds - He's been active in birdwatching with us this year, and we put up a bird feeder to assist
  • Mammals - He's watched some of the videos we've watched to go along with Y2 science, and we have many mammals as pets and on the farm for observation
  • Wildflowers/Flowerless Plants - We were intentional this spring about observing and identifying some wildflowers 

We didn't follow the AO poetry rotation, because we were already doing poetry together when we started.
  • AA Milne: quite a bit juvenile for him - definitely suited for Y0/1 as listed
  • Shel Silverstein:  The boys loved him!
  • Walter de la Mare: He was a Y2 poet, and we didn't read as much as we probably should have, so I'll try to read a little more over the summer


Plutarch - Not this year.

Shakespeare - We didn't start full plays, since the pre-7 list suggests doing retellings with students unfamiliar with Shakespeare.  We did a few stories with Emory.  "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Lamb's version) and Bruce Coville's retellings of "The Tempest" and "Romeo and Juliet."  He didn't care for Shakespeare, but I am hoping his brother's enthusiasm will rub off!

The Age of Fable - The introduction to this was long and tedious, but once we got into the stories, he did fine, especially since this was his first formal exposure to myths.  He was quite curious as to why they would create these false gods but not create them perfectly.  Interesting discussions followed.  Some of the stories captured his mind much more than others, but I think that's to be expected.  I really like that they are short, so my goal is to transition him to reading with the audio in Y5, then independently by Y6.

Robinson Crusoe - I read it to him, because it was challenging.  The readings were long, so we had to spread the weekly readings out over several days.  He did okay with his narrations, but didn't seem captivated by the story for the most part.

Kidnapped - I tried to get him to read this along with the audio, but he just couldn't gain momentum.  I struggled to read it out loud, so we rearranged the literature schedule.  I decided to have him do Robin Hood with Emory this year, though that's going to be a summer read at this point.  He can do Kidnapped later as a free read.

The Incredible Journey - This book was easy for Elliott to read independently, and he gave excellent narrations.  When we went over favorites, he chose this book.  (I half expected a science book.)

Rip Van Winkle - I read this story to him, because our book is older with tiny font, and I wanted to make sure he was following appropriately.  He understood and followed it well, and gave decent narrations.  

Paul Revere's Ride - We've read the suggested picture book multiple times, so I didn't worry about getting it in; plus Longfellow is a poet for both Y3/Y5 next year, so we'll get to again.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - We didn't get to this last story, but he's familiar with the storyline.  We can get to it as a free read, or when Emory gets to Y4.  

Language Arts

Penmanship/Copywork - He did some review of cursive, and did plenty of copywork.  Handwriting is not a hill I'm willing to die on, though I always encourage improvement and neatness.

Dictation - We used Spelling Wisdom this year.  It's easy to implement, and we will keep using it for now.

Grammar - He did a bit at the beginning of the year, but I just chose to pick some out from his dictation and written narrations occasionally.  We'll hit it full throttle in middle school.

Typing - We used the free for practice, and it works well.

Written Narrations - This was our first year doing written narrations CM style.  I could see a steady progression in his narrations as the months went on, even though we didn't always do them weekly.  I think next year we should hopefully see more improvement as we focus on grammar and he's had more experience with narrations in general.

He used CTC Math, and it was the first year he didn't complain all the way through every math lesson!  He is fairly good at math,  but has always claimed to hate it.  He now chooses to do math FIRST every day!  We're sticking with it!

Foreign Language
Our attempt at Spanish was not worth mentioning, and we didn't start Latin at all.

Composer Study
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ludwig Van Beethoven
John Williams
Music Appreciation Book 1 {we reviewed, but I'll use supplementary to composer study next year}

Picture Study
Claude Monet
Leonardo da Vinci
Peter Paul Rubens
He did really well with our first year of picture study.  He chose Ruben's Daniel and the Lion's Den as his favorite.  I think he liked the intensity of Rubens overall, compared to the tranquil nature of Monet, or the formality of da Vinci.

Hymns/Folk Songs
We didn't follow the AO hymn rotation for long, but we did essentially follow the Folk Songs for the 2017-2018 year.  He said his favorite hymn was "I'll Fly Away" and his favorite Folk Song was "Camptown Races."

I wasn't as intentional about art or handicrafts this year as I should have been.  I was just happy they were taking art at co-op.  We did do a handful of drawing lessons with See the Light, a few random handicraft activities (origami, clay) and we finished up our ArtAchieve lessons!  I think next year we'll just focus on drawing and see where that leads us.
working on a pinch pot

Free Reading
He is a reluctant reader, so although we use the AO free read lists as a starting point, I gave him a lot of flexibility in choosing independent/quiet time reads.  I also let him alternate some easier (high quality picture books) between the chapter books.  He took on a heavier daily reading load for the first time this year with our switch, so I wasn't as strict about daily reading for him.  I think next year, we'll be in a better rhythm with AO, but I'll also plan on doing some free reads in the summer.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White {he's heard audio before, but read it again.}
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
The King's Chessboard by David Birch
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot (select stories)
Footsteps on the Moon by Alexandra Siy
If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake by Ellen Levine
The Secrets of Vesuvius by Sara C. Bisel
Who was Elvis Presley? by Geoff Edgers
The Green Ember by S.D. Smith {currently in progress}

We read more as a family, but I'll share those in another post soon.

We went on a variety of field trips, and he is involved in church (Junior Church, Junior Choir, VBS, Sunday School, AWANA) and co-op.  At co-op he took gym, art and science, and he elected to take the basketball class as well.  Their are cookouts and

Final Thoughts
If you look at this one way, we "didn't do" a lot of things.  We did, however, exercise perseverance by pushing through things we found difficult.  He was engaged in science, and we read a lot of thought-provoking literature.  I was reminded of how much he likes geography.  Looking at this list, just like Y2, it can fee like a long overwhelming list of books and subjects - but it's so much more.  It represents all the ideas that were planted, all the exposure to the arts, the great discussions we had, and the connections being made.  I am really glad we made the switch back to AO.  While I don't regret the years or books with other curriculum, there is a part of my homeschool heart that does still mourn the "lost years" where we strayed from the purest and simplest elements of Charlotte Mason.  Ahh well, it is what it is.  We're here, and I really want to stick it out this time and reap the benefits!

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