Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ambleside Online Year 1 Wrap Up

This is our 2nd year using Ambleside Online and it has been such a blessing to me personally and to our homeschool as well.  This was Zane's first "official" year using AO and my 2nd (and last!  Already?!?!) time going though Year 1.  In Ambleside the year don't necessarily line up with grade but if you start at the beginning they usually do.  So, Zane was 6 for most of the year (he turned 7 at the end of April) but he reads quite fluently for his (at least in my experience).  I feel like we had a great first year and he's ready for year 2! 

I do have one caveat if you're reading this and thinking about starting AO for the first time.  When you read what he did/does remember that he's the youngest of 4.  I feel that makes a big difference in some areas.  He's been listening to books way above his reading/comprehension level since he was born probably.  lol  He did get the shaft when it came to picture books for sure and I feel bad about that but he seems to be surviving.  :p 

We used Memoria Press for our phonics/read for him and once he finished it I just had him read to me every day out of good books at his level (not our AO books).  I didn't make him do most of the writing that MP assigns and we also didn't go over most of the questions, he would just narrate.  I simply chose to use MP because I had it already and didn't want to buy something new.  You really can modify most things to fit your needs. 

So, with MP, and after he finished, he read these books to me (I think there might have been a few others too but I'm blanking right now):

He ended up LOVING the Billy Blaze books and has collected all of the re-printed one and read them and he also REALLY loved the Little Bear books.  It was a new story to him and it was sooo cute to listen to him as he discovered the story.  "Mom, who do you think it is??"  "Mom, what do you think is going to happen???"  Also, do you see that Cowboy Andy book?  It's one my mom picked up at a yard sale when my older brother was little.  It's a short chapter book written by Enda Walker Chandler and it's soo good!  Apparently there are multiple Cowboy Sam books (in the above book Andy is a "city boy" that goes to stay at Cowboy Sam's ranch) but it looks like they're rather hard to come by.  *sad face*  I did buy one on Facebook just yesterday so we're excited to get it!

His Billy and Blaze collection.

We didn't add on much "extra" work or busy work to his Ambleside readings.  When we first started reading Burgess' Bird Book I gave him the option of drawing the birds as we read...he did two birds and then stopped.  lol.  Oh well.  Ambleside has one chapter from this book scheduled every other week but I really wanted to read the whole book so we did a chapter every week for most of the year and we'll finish it over the summer.  Most chapters talk about two different birds so we would read about one bird one day and the second bird another day and he always narrated (told back) what we had read after we were done.  

When we first started the school year he was doing AMAZING at narrating and paying attention and seemed very engaged.  I would generally read an entire reading in one sitting and then have him narrate at the end.  As we neared the end of first term (so 12 weeks in) I noticed that he was complaining and whining a lot more about his work and his narrations had gotten significantly worse. 

So when I started planning Term 2 I split up his time with me even more.  We would do poetry and a short reading (Paddle or Aesop usually) and then he'd go do something else.  Later he would come back and we'd do another shorter reading (or even part of a reading) and then he'd do other things and even later he'd come back and read to me and we'd do his copywork together.  This arrangement seemed to help a lot with his attentiveness and the complaining (although don't think we didn't still have problems with them!  lol).

This is his copywork from November around the time I realized he might be picking up some bad habits and I needed to be doing it with him.  CM says they should be doing very little work but doing it "perfectly" so I backed off, started sitting with him while he did it (to ensure proper letter formation), and when he was done he would tell me what he thought he had done best and which letter he thought needed the most work and then he would usually write that letter a few times. 

Below is a passage he did over probably 3 days in April or May.

We took lots of nature walks, watched lots of birds, talked about a lot of fungus, and can even identify a decent amount of plants...but we did NOT do well at actually journaling things.   I'm hopefully that we'll do better this coming year. 

In addition to the Ambleside readings for Y1 we did several books together as a family (but I'll probably talk about those with the children they belonged to) and he also finished Saxon 1 and is a decent way into Saxon 2 (honestly I don't know that I would go with Saxon again but it's what we have and we're sticking with it), he and Grace listened to Song School Latin most days and went over Bible verses that they were memorizing for Bible Drill and AWANA.  In addition to this he did a little Spanish with the family and listened to Spanish books and songs. 

Below is an example of his weekly schedule.  During "rest time" he started out just listening to some of his longer free reads for the year (Peter Pan, Pinocchio, etc), around the middle of the year I started asking him to read 4 or so pages of a book like Billy and Blaze and then he could play quietly and listening to another audio book.  By the end of the year I've been requiring him to read a chapter in a beginner chapter book (he just finished The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and is reading The Matchlock Gun now) and then listen to something while he plays quietly for the rest of the time. 

I'm also going to add the YouTube videos of the passages he memorized this year as I get them up. 

(Side note, I'm doing these year in reviews mostly for my own benefit, to help me think through how the year went with each child, things that I need to do differently, etc.  I also hope maybe they'll be useful as a reference for others using AO.  I don't post them to brag about what we're doing or what we've read or anything like that.  I just like having a personal record that's easy to store and access!  lol)

Friday, April 6, 2018

A Classic Travel or Journey Narrative

This book was such a pleasure to read I almost feel like I'm cheating!  Plus, Zeke, my Year 4 student in AmblesideOnline, had to read it for school and I always pre-read their books.  

The Incredible Journey.  We've all seen the movie.  We all know about Shadow, Chance, and Sassy...but do you know about Tao, Bodger, and Luath?  There were moments in the storyline that just worked out a little too perfectly (you know the moments, things that ONLY could happen in a book) but despite those few moments this book made me cry, cheer, and smile.  It is a quick and easy read and WELL worth your time! 

(And just a note that this is the book I'm using for "A Classic Travel or Journey Narrative in Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge.) 

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Classic with a Color in the Title

I had planned to read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for the Classic with a Color in the Title (and I've started it and will finish it) but I found Agnes Grey on Librivox and ended up listening to it first. 

The recording I listened to was by "various" readers and that fact alone was quite distracting.  The first 7 or 8 chapters were all read by the same reader and then after that there were two or three different in particular that I had a really hard time listening to. 

Aside from the readers the story was simply ok.  I found it rather boring in parts although overall I was entertained and it had a happy ending.  Overall, only three stars. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Classic by an Author that is New to You

     Continuing on with my Back to the Classics challenge!  I read Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy for the "A Classic by an Author that is New to You" category and I thoroughly enjoyed it!   My copy had a lengthy introduction to Thomas Hardy that was quite interesting since I knew nothing about him. 
       Bathsheba Everdeen was a woman through and through.  I feel like some women might be insulted by the way she was portrayed but I just thought it showed a very good understanding on Hardy's part and often made me laugh!  lol
        There was great character growth and development and I'm so excited to discuss it with my book club.  My only complaint is that the ending felt rather abrupt to me. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

20th Century Classic

I finished my 20th Century Classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge today!  (That was a classic written between 1900 and 1968.  Animal Farm was copywritten in 1946)  

This book is assigned in term 2 of Ambleside Online for Year 6 and I had never read it so I was excited to read it along with my 11 year old (we didn't read it together, I just "pre-read" all her books...usually I'm only about a week ahead of her!  lol)

I actually had no idea that it was a social commentary on communism when I started it.  I had no idea what it was about at all.  It is blatantly about communism though.   So far Kessa hasn't made that connection and I'm not sure if she will until we study communism more in-depth.  We covered it very briefly at the beginning of the school year.  For now, that's fine.  She's enjoying it simply as a novel.  I'm interested to hear her final thoughts after she reads the last two chapters though!