This Year in Our Home School: AmblesideOnline Year 4, Part 4

Welcome back to my series on AmblesideOnline Year 4 and how we are implementing the curriculum in our homeschool this year. In this final post I am going to write about how I have scheduled subjects and a little about how this works in our daily routine.

Before I get any farther with that, however, I want to emphasize that currently our daily routine is quite fluid. Some days we get everything done more quickly than I expect. Other days are a slog. Many times we have to move things around to make room for outings, grocery runs or appointments. Since we aren’t in any kind of co-op at this time, we have a lot of flexibility, and I LOVE that about our homeschool life!

I also should point out that my daughter is still only 4 years old (turning 5 next month, though!), and I do just a light preschool lesson with her 3-4 days a week. That generally happens while my son is doing this independent work. If you want me to write more about that, I can, but it really is just a few minutes of learning a different letter of the alphabet (weekly-ish), reading some Mother Goose and a folk or fairy tale, and going through a lesson from MEP’s Reception Year math.

In making my son’s schedule, I try to take into account the recommended time allotted in the PNEU’s programs for Form II. I also do my best to switch up subjects so that we don’t do too many challenging books on the same day or have several reading-narrating sessions back to back. Ok, with all that said, let’s look at our “ideal” day AO Year 4 schedule!

AmblesideOnline Year 4

Again, let me reiterate that we do not follow this schedule to a T every day, or every week. In fact, I need to point out that we are not even doing Latin at all this year. But when I made out this plan in the fall I thought we might. So it’s there—just in case sometime I get a crazy idea and decide to add it in anyway! Also, my son has some very bad feelings about Swedish Drill at this point, so when I do actually remember to get some movement into our school time, it almost always looks like doing a Cosmic Kids yoga video on YouTube or freestyle dancing to our composer of the term. Nobody’s perfect, so that’s what actually happens here, in spite of what the schedule says!

Morning Time has evolved in our homeschool, changing a little every year. Currently we are doing Morning Time at the breakfast table as soon as I’m done eating. This is what we do:

  • read a chapter of whatever book of the Bible we are reading together for devotions,
  • read about one country highlighted in the Voice of the Martyrs Global Prayer Guide,
  • pray our prayer of the month and for the persecuted church,
  • work through our Scripture memory cards,
  • sing our hymn of the month,
  • recite our poetry selections,
  • sing our folk song of the month,
  • read a poem or two from our current poetry book,
  • practice our skip counting,
  • work on a Spanish lesson, and
  • do a piano theory activity from my son’s piano curriculum.

As you can see, this packs quite a punch in our school day and squeezes a lot of subject material and goodness into a relatively small amount of time. After Morning Time, my son does his morning routine of chores, personal hygiene and piano practice. When that’s finished he comes back to the table for a brief math lesson with me before completing his practice page on his own. Copywork and one reading for the day are also done during this independent work time. When we are both done with our other morning tasks, we come back together for the remainder of the day’s lessons and finish in time for lunch.

If we are pressed for time, I will often hand off another reading assignment for my son to do on his own in the car while we drive somewhere or in his room while I do whatever else I needed to do. By the end of the year, my goal is to have him reading 2 assignments a day and only reading one thing aloud. But we are easing into that gradually.

I think that’s about it….at least it seems like a lot of caveats and details for one post! Let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to chat with you in the comments!

This Year in Our Homeschool: AmblesideOnline Year 4, Part 3

This week I am continuing my series on our current homeschool year using the AmblesideOnline curriculum. I meant to have this post ready to go last week, but I went to the Nashville Teach Them Diligently homeschool convention and was too busy to actually write it until now. (By the way, if you have a chance to attend a TTD conference near you, definitely go! I was so encouraged!) So here we are at last, adding a little more information about what supplemental resources I am using with AO Year 4.

Supplemental Resources for Year 4

  • MathMEP and Khan Academy
    • We have been using MEP math since Year 1, and I am still firm in my appreciating on this curriculum. It teaches concepts in a different way than I learned them, which is sometimes a challenge for me. But it is strong in the problem solving, logic and mental math skills that I wish I had had growing up. This year we started into long division, which was discouraging for my son. So when he started struggling, we slowed down a bit and added in one day a week doing some review work on Khan Academy, just for a change of pace and something to remind him that he can do math and have fun!
  • Artist Study–picture study aids from A Humble Place
    • We are using the AO art rotation again this year, and I have found Rebecca’s resources a nice supplement to looking at the pictures every week. She has a brief biographical sketch about each artist, along with some information or things to look for in each painting. Also, if you are unfamiliar with how to do a Charlotte Mason style picture study, she always includes that information at the beginning of each artist packet. Best of all, she makes these PDFs free of charge!
  • Art Lessons–Brushwork and What to Draw
    • This year I wanted something that would lend some loose structure to our art lessons because what I have tried over the past couple of years has not really worked out that well. I found two lovely vintage books to start with and will likely add more as we finish these. The first is Brushwork by Marion Hudson, which gives several simple layouts for practicing brush forms with watercolors. The second is What to Draw and How to Draw It by Edwin George Lutz. This is really just an old-fashioned version of a step-by-step drawing book, but the vintage pictures are fun to copy, and the kids have both enjoyed making their own creations using these instructions as a jumping off point.
  • SpanishPoco a Poco and Duolingo
    • The last two years we have used Song School Spanish from Classic Academic Press, but this year I wanted to try something a little more conversational. I found an other free resource in the public domain Spanish text book Poco A Poco, as well as the Teacher’s Manual for said text book. We are going through it very slowly, but so far I am liking it. We also continue to use the Duolingo app for practice one day a week.
  • GrammarWinston Grammar (Basic level)
    • In my previous post in this series, I mentioned that grammar lessons were new for us this year. While I was at the Teach Them Diligently conference, I visited the Home Works book sellers and stumbled upon a Winston Grammar kit. I looked up some reviews on the AO forum and elsewhere and decided to give it a shot. We’ve only done one lesson so far, but I’m looking forward to getting farther into the method!

Whew! That ended up being a bit longer than I had expected! I hope that some of this information has helped you if you are planning for AO Year 4. I will be back again soon with an outline of our current schedule/routine and how it is working out so far this year.

This Year in Our Homeschool: AmblesideOnline Year 4, Part 2

Last week I shared some of our favorite books so far in Year 4 of AmblesideOnline. This year my son is in Form II of Charlotte Mason’s programs, and as such, there are a few changes and additions to the curriculum. AmblesideOnline gives some suggestions for these subjects, but there are not specifics given for dictation and grammar. Here is what we are doing that is new.

New Subjects in Year 4

  • Shakespeare–Where in Form I we were only reading retellings of Shakespeare plays, this year we are reading full plays together. Instead of using the AO current rotation for plays, I decided to start with A Winter’s Tale because that is the one that I am already reading along with The Literary Life podcast. While we look at the text of the play, we are also listening to the Arkangel audio production of the play. Both of the kids love Shakespeare day, and so do I!
  • Plutarch–We are using Anne White’s lesson guide for Plutarch, and it worked out nicely that this year’s new study guide starts with Alexander the Great. I think it has been helpful for us to start in reading Plutarch’s Live with a historical person with which we are already familiar. Many moms are scared of Plutarch, but so far it really has not been that hard at all.
  • Dictation–In addition to continuing copywork for spelling and handwriting, this year we started studied dictation. Somehow I came upon a link to “The Dictation and Spelling Book” compiled by Mary B. Rossman and Mary W. Mills. Each week I write one paragraph out for my son to copy, and when he is finished with it, I dictated a few of the sentences for him to write out without looking.
  • Grammar–We are doing a very gentle, organic introduction to basic grammar concepts this year, also using the sentences from the dictation book. So far I have been teaching my son to identify nouns and verbs and the fact that every sentence must have a subject and a verb.

Charlotte Mason also recommended beginning Latin instruction in Year 4. We have not started that yet, however, both because I feel that we still need to shore up our modern language study and I need some more time to consider Latin curricula. I am not sure if we will begin Latin until Year 5 or even Year 7.

In my next post about our homeschool curriculum, I will share some of the resources we are using for the “riches” and other subject areas not directly laid out in AmblesideOnline. I hope some of you will find these posts helpful as they plan for your own new Year 4 students.

Where Am I?

Testing, testing…Is anybody still out there in blog-land? I feel like I need to apologize for not being here myself. But supposedly, you’re not supposed to do that, at least according to the blogging gurus. Well, I gave up doing things according to them a long time ago. SO…..sorry I’ve been AWOL! There are reasons, and I want to explain.

Last time I posted, I was getting ready to go to the AmblesideOnline retreat. I thought I would come back and be able to write a post about all I learned. But life got so busy that I just haven’t had the time to do that. But I can say that it was an amazing time. I am still processing and recalling to mind some of the things I heard and learned at the AO Camp Meeting. I am so grateful that I had the privilege to attend!

One of the main reasons I have not had time to get back to blogging again is that at the retreat I started working with some new podcast clients! I am so blessed to be able to serve homeschool veterans Angelina Stanford and Cindy Rollins with their new podcast The Literary Life. They needed someone to build a website, create show notes, and help with other behind the scenes technical work. My husband is taking over their audio editing after Episode 4, but I plan to start doing it myself as soon as I am able to afford a new laptop. It is such a joy to get to work with these two amazing women, not to mention getting to listen to their content before anyone else! 😉 And getting to bless my family by contributing to our finances is a gift, too.

Another thing that is taking up more time these days is homeschooling and building local homeschool community. My son has taken some local enrichment classes at the nature park in our town this spring. We try to attend park days with other Charlotte Mason families a few times a month. And now the kids are both in swimming lessons a couple of times weekly. Plus, I am trying to start a Charlotte Mason moms’ fellowship and study group in our part of Middle TN. Real life community always takes precedence over online life, so I have to make time for that.

But as with many good things, there is a downside. In this case, the more time I spend working online for other people, the less time and creativity I have left for my own blog. Since both of the podcasts I am currently working on drop early in the week, I can no longer keep up my commitment to Wellness Wednesdays, even on a monthly basis. I hope that in some future season, I can come back to that, but right now I just can’t. I am also going to take a break from posting our monthly memory work plans. I have a good year’s worth (maybe more?) of those in the archive, so I feel like it is time to move on from that for the time being.

My hopes is that I can continue blogging on a sporadic basis, and probably most of those posts will be about our homeschool or Charlotte Mason/classical education or books, because those are the areas in my wheelhouse in this season. I hope that if those things interest you, you will hang in there with me even in these quiet times. So, all that to say, if you’ve been wondering where I am these days, that’s what’s going on! See you here again, maybe soon!

March 2019 Memory Work Plans

Here we are, marching into March already! I must say that February simply flew by around here, excepting the part of the month in which it seemed to rain for a week straight. (We did get over 13 inches of rain here in Middle TN in February, so I didn’t exactly imagine all that water!) I had to scramble to get this month’s memory work in order for today, though to be honesty, we won’t actually use it until next week. No need to start a new batch on a Friday, in my opinion! But I wanted to get it out semi-on time for you all anyway. I do want to apologize that this month there will not be a free printable, though. I have been thinking about the fact that several of the texts I am using this month are not technically in the public domain, even if they can be found online. So I am just going to link to what I can and leave it at that. I hope you enjoy learning some of these songs, hymns and texts along with your own family this March!

March Memory Work:

Prayer: a Morning Collect from The Book of Common Prayer
Hymn: What Wondrous Love is This
Folksongs: Leatherwing Bat, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Poetry: Spring by Harry Behn
Scripture: Colossians 3:12-13
Catechism: Questions 13 and 14 from the New City Catechism (children’s version)
Motto: Family Way #8 from Our 24 Family Ways