Lucy and all her Year 1 books (except those that I only have on the kindle)
We started Ambleside Online Year 1 last week. I'm only planning on us doing four days of school a week so I'm treating each week as a unit so I don't feel behind when we are on week 5 six or seven weeks from now. We are almost done with "Unit" two and still have yet to have a bad day. I know we'll have one eventually, but getting through even a whole week without one is certainly nice, let alone two. I'm sure part of it was getting back into a regular routine again after the holidays but I think at least as much of that was just that Lucy's mind was needing this extra work. She was ready for some deeper ideas to think on.
The kids and their handicraft for this semester - paper folding!
Lucy's doing great with narrating although I knew she'd have a natural bent for it. She's even been disappointed once or twice when I told her that was all the books for the day. "No more narration?! Not even a little bit?" We've been able to keep it at an hour or less (excepting piano and reading aloud practice which we do later on) which left us plenty of time for free play. And even with a yucky day or two, weather wise, we still managed to get outside for over 6 hours each week. I'd say we are off to a strong start. A few memories I want to save:
- After several really good narrations, we did have one "Uhm, I don't really know what's happening" response after we read a portion of the Sword of Damocles. I tried not to panic and told her to think and she what she could remember. Then I bit my tongue and waited patiently until she eventually she came up with a one sentence narration. But that night when I asked her if she wanted to tell her dad about what she did in school, she had a whole bunch to say about that very same story!
- I loved the morals she came up with at the end of our first Aesop Fable, the Wolf and the Kid. She said the lesson for the wolf was that he shouldn't have been distracted, which is pretty close to the original of "Do not let anything turn you from your purpose" (and I hadn't read the original to her yet) and she said the lesson for the Kid was to "listen to your mom!" which is, again, quite true :-)
- We listened to Vivaldi on our way to and from tumbling class. It's a cd of the four seasons and every time the music changed, Lucy would ask, "Is it still spring? Is it summer now? When is winter?"
- We had a late start one morning. Except it wasn't really a late start. Lucy saw a bird at our new window bird feeder. We got out the binoculars and I showed her how to use our field guide. I'm not sure we correctly identified it but it was a good morning. And eventually we did get to the schoolish part. We had to cut math a bit because we had plans for later that morning but nobody felt rushed and it was well worth the detour.
- Tea time this week was actually hot chocolate and popcorn. We're now joining the AO picture study rotation whereas before I was selecting artists that I think are especially young children friendly. I was a bit nervous but no need. Both kids liked Belasarius begging for Alms. I wasn't planning on explaining it but we were unsure which person was Belsarius was so I pulled up the extra description AO linked to and summarized it. Once I did, both Lucy and I made the connection back to...The Sword of Damocles! We talked a bit about how power can be dangerous. It was a very cool mommy daughter moment and I can't wait to have more.
- Since Lucy's getting all these new books, I went ahead and decided to let Jonah start MEP Reception. He loves it and at our last midwife appointment, had to tell her all about what's he's doing.
- While hiking, Lucy found some sort of pod that looked like a little canoe and yelled, "It's paddle to the sea!" Then she started worrying about how the boy is going to get the boat back at the end of the story if it really does start flowing down when the snow melts. I've never read the story but I'm guessing he doesn't. Hope she's ready for that when the time comes. Luckily, we have a while!
- We watched a free kid's knife class (the one from Real Kids Cook Food, only available until Jan 18th!) and then practiced. That night, Jonah and Lucy helped me make breakfast for dinner. I tried to be very hands off and between the two of them, they did almost all of the pancakes and fruit salad, even flipping the pancakes! I realized I had been holding them at a lower level of skills out of habit but they were ready for more and when I gave them the opportunity, they did great!
I got a request for a little more information about AO Year 1. The original booklist can be found at the wonderful ambleside online site. I am so grateful for all the work these woman have put into planning this curriculm and offering it to anyone for free!
I'm still working out whether I prefer hardcopies or kindle (if I have the option). For this first year, free reads excluded, the only ones I think I had to purchase were the James Harriot book, the three D'Aulaire books, Paddle to the Sea and the A.A. Milne and Gyo Fukikawa poetry books. I was able to get all but the D'Aulaire books used for very inexpensive (less than $4 each) and I manged to get all the D'Aulaire books for Year 1 and 2 on sale a few months ago.
I also choose to get physical copies of Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry book, the Aesop for Children, and Just So Stories when better world books was having a sale and again, I bought used hardcovers for less than a new paperback would have been. And we already owned not just one but two versions of Lamb's Shakespeare so we are certainly set on the Shakespeare front!
I'm still not sure how the e-book versus physical book comparison will go, at least right now while I am the one doing the reading. Right now we are doing school inside at the table but in the spring I'd like to get back to outside schooling so the e-books may win on the front but for now we are enjoying the hard copies. Either way, Ambleside Online is a great deal. I don't consider cost to be the number one priority for picking a curriculum but I certainly won't complain about the low cost either!