School's out for summer! (Ambleside Online Year 2 Term 1 Exams)

Actually, that should read School's out UNTIL summer but that doesn't have the same ring. I'm not sure how long this break will last but probably at least through May. I'd be fine waiting to start the next term until July although we tend to have attitude issues if let our routine slip too much so I'll be playing it be ear.

To be honest, we kinda limped over the finish line of this term and not really for school reasons. We did manage to get through exams but I didn't do much prep work. I don't normally mix up the exams too much just make a few edits or additions so that it reflects what we focused on a bit more and gives her a chance to really shine (like adding more picture narrations, etc). I actually wanted to skip exams but she insisted. And I'm glad she did.

Which is why I'm doing this post. I need to do this so I don't get discouraged. April kinda chewed me up and spit me out. But there is really no reason for us to be discouraged when it comes to school! We did have a great term until the last few two weeks. And really, her exams are quite good.


 Tell about how God created everything.         
So one time there was just nothing, just space all over the place. There was nothing. Nothing at all. And then He created the light and dark. And then he created the world. And then he created Adam. And then he created Eve. And then the next day he just rested.

 Tell the story of the flood.
God said to a man named Noah build an ark because there is going to be a flood. And so he built the ark and they went and the flood came and they were safe in the ark. And God said bring two animals of each kind of animal and put them in the ark. So when the flood came they were safe in the ark. The end. (Jonah interrupts, "You forgot the dove" Lucy: Well, it's up to me and I don't want to add it. But fine, okay.) So it began to dry up and so he sent a dove away and it came back and he sent it a couple times and one time it didn’t come back so Noah knew that it had found a place to live. There. 

What did we read in Matthew about the birth and very early life of Christ?
So an angel came to Mary, the angel’s name was Gabriel and he said you are going to have a baby and you will call him Jesus. And so she had a baby in a manger, in a stable, where donkeys and cows and oxen lived. And an angel went to the shepherds and said “come to the stable because Jesus was born” and there were some wise men and they saw a big star and they followed the star and came to the stable where they saw Jesus. There. Done. (She wanted exams but she's had a rough few weeks too ;-)

     Write your fox poem and illustrate

I don't normally select her copywork from her own writings but for this exam, I made an exception. This is the first stanza of the 4 stanza poem she wrote for American Heritage Girl's creative writing badge:


   Tell about William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings.
Okay, so he came and he fell down and he scooped up some dirt. Then he said “I’ve already concurred the land, I have some dirt!” and he was not a good king. And he took some land where they used to be houses and he took the houses away and made it hunting land and the people were mad. There.

Tell the story of the White Ship.
So the king and his son were in a place and they wanted to go back home and they had to take a ship. And then a man said there is another ship called the white ship so why doesn’t your son go on this ship so he said okay. So it started to sink and everyone else was drowning, even the prince and only one man survived, he was safe.
Tell about little 'Lias.

So he wasn’t very tidy, he was all dirty. And he lived with a man that was not nice. And Betsy and Molly and some other people in her school sewed clothes, nice new clothes that were like trousers and shirt and that and socks and they put them at his house and knocked on the door and ran away back home and they hide and looked and he took the big bundle of clothes. And then next time they saw him they were, well, he looked even messier because his skin was dirtier but his clothes were clean but the next time he came he was all clean. This other boy had given him a bath at a swimming pool at the school and then Betsy and the girls and this one boy and some grown-ups found him and he didn’t have nice clothes on again. “The person that I live with took my clothes away and sell them to get money”. And the man said, I’ll take you to get new clothes.” The end.

Tell about two things Christian saw in the House of the Interpreter, or about Mr. Worldly Wiseman.

So here are two things Christian saw in the Interpreter. Well there was a man that had a bad dream, he was getting out of his bed. And there was a man in the cage. He saw a castle. He saw a man with a book and a crown on his head. And he saw a very dusty room and he saw the two kids, one of them wanted stuff now and the other wanted stuff later. One was called Patience.

So Mr. Wordly Wiseman sent him off to a place where there was fire and the hill was going to fall over his head. Mr. Wordly Wiseman did that, he said, “That’s the way to go.” And Christian met Evangelist and he said “You are going the wrong way, go back to the road you started on and go along that road”

She loves Pilgrim's Progress and is doing a wonderful job on the map she is making as part of her narration.

    What is a butte? Can you describe one? Or, Tell everything you know about the plains.
Some Indians used to live there and it was in the middle of a buffalo track. It was flat. Grass and there was only the one tree. There weren’t a lot of trees.  

Tree in the Trail hasn't been a favorite. She doesn't complain about it but neither of us really seemed to connect with it, at least not yet. We were able to go to a trail museum in Kansas City on a recent road trip and I think that helped spur up a bit of interest that will help us finish strong with it. We have enjoyed adding things to our blank map of the United States and connecting the trail with local rivers and cities she recognizes but again, the no prep part meant I didn't include that as part of the exam and I probably should have because I'm pretty sure I would seen that she did make some good geography connections. Next term maybe?

Packing our wagon to head west. Can we get in all the essentials before it's too full? Or before Norah steals them all away?

   Describe a compass. What does it tell us?
It tells us which directions. So there is a circle and then it’s like, there is an arrow and you want to line the arrow up to the N which is North and then whichever way you are going, it’s gonna be like that. And there is North West and North East and South East and South West and all those. And you can be going those ways too, you’ll just know which way you are going.

One of the big highlights of the new van is that it has a compass on the rear view mirror. They are super excited about this! When I announce a turn, they'll see what direction we are going and try to guess which way we'll end up after the turn. Lucy is pretty much always right; Jonah's got about a 10% accuracy rating ;-) It's kinda like him and getting shoes on the right feet, you think random chance would give him a better probability than real life shows. 

Natural History and General Science

  Describe a favorite nature walk, and tell about something you found.
I didn’t really find anything much, anything interesting. Mom gives a look. Well, I went on a long long hike and I found some interesting rocks, a blue rock, it was tealish. It was sandstone but it was blueish. And I picked up a piece. I also found a round rock. And I drew a dogwood blossom in my nature journal.

      Tell what you know about a squirrel or a beaver.
So a beaver cuts down trees and he makes a dam and he lives in a pond and he goes on land and cuts down trees and has a big flat tail. His front feet are not webbed but the back feet are webbed. The dam is made out of sticks and mud and his house is made out of sticks and, uhm, he cuts down the bark and he eats it.

The same trail museum I mentioned earlier had a stuffed beaver and some pelts so we were able to see one up close and feel the fur just a few days after we read about it. I thought she'd mention the orange teeth because she mentioned her original narration included that and its oddness and then we saw it and, yes, they are really orange!

We're also really enjoying the Burgess Animal Book and making our animal tree with the stickers for this coloring book.

 She doesn't want to color them the way she did the birds but I think that might change as we get past all the mice. Apparently the mice are all boring brown, so there!  But in terms of caring, she clearly does. And while we didn't do too many nature walks, we did lots of nature around the house with our baby chicks and vermin and all that.

 But I'd like to get back to walking and drawing pretty things like flowers and butterflies. I also plan on doing a lot of the next term's fish study while we are on the break itself because field trips are easier so we started early going through the basics of fish anatomy.

Foreign Language
  Recite or sing something you have learned in your foreign language. Uhm, here is where the lack of preparing on my part combined with no french for two weeks kinda killed us .

Lucy, can you just make up a sentence in french using words you know? (That is a terrible narration prompt. Fellow moms, don't follow my example, don't do this to your child!):

Uhm, Une fleur et deux crayon et trois le livres et quatre le cahiers. 
(One flower and two pencils and three the books and four the notebooks)...eh, works for me!

Okay, I'm going to say something and you respond:
Mom: Le Christe est ressuscite! (Christ is Risen!)
Lucy: En verite, il est  ressuscite! (Indeed, He is Risen!)

French was probably our low point of the term. I like our program a lot but Jonah started speech therapy so I cut French out of the days we take him so that our days weren't too long. It really needs to be daily. Since we only do school 4x a week, going down to twice a week really halted our momentum and she got frustrated being on a section so long and still not knowing it. But no speech over the summer means a chance for more consistency! 

Picture Study
   Describe your favorite picture from this term's picture study.

I liked the one of the painting of a statue that had the two things in each hand. And the painting was all colored grey, like a real statue. And then under the picture of the statue was some smaller pictures. It was the injustice one. 

     Father should choose a poem, and two Bible verses learned this term for student to recite. 

She recited the Vulture. The only new bible memory we worked on was The Apostle's Creed. She really enjoyed that because now she can follow along when we say it at church. We mostly did lots of review of old passages because I found they were forgetting them since we have so many. I'm not sure what the solution to this because I don't want to have to review 5 old selections every day to get through them all in a reasonable amount of time. 

    Sing your favorite folksong and hymn from this term.

We really enjoyed our hymns and folk songs this term and I think we got a good portion of each actually memorized. Everyone adored Swag Upon My Shoulder and we still sing it all the time around the house. We are now in level B of Solfa and really enjoying it as well as piano lessons but no exam prep meant sadly, this was left out of exams. 

We did a ton of Art projects and started some drawing lessons. 

Mom confession. I took this picture then went to place it back on her shelf but dropped it and broke off all four legs. I put it back on her shelf and I hope she doesn't notice. Oops. 

Her bas relief cat climbing a tree.

Jonah's dragon. 

We're still working through Artistic Pursuits and enjoying it. We also did a whole lot of chalk pastel tutorials from HodgePodge and Lucy's hoping to get a bigger set of pastels for her birthday this month. 

Jonah's springtime nest

Jonah (L) and Lucy (R) St. Patrick's Day Art. 


 Show some work in handicrafts from this term to someone outside your family.

 We've already given away some potholders but this is her latest creation. She's started to do some patterns but I've got to order more specific colors so she can have enough to do her next idea. She really wants to do sewing next so I gotta get excited about that. (I mean, I love the idea of teaching her sewing. I don't love the idea of trying to teach her sewing with two inquisitive little tag-alongs making a mess of my craft room.)

Overall, Year 2 books are quite a big step up but she's doing good. Little Duke is a challenge but we're getting through it. I'm still working to find that balance in how long of a passage to read. Last year she wanted short passages and tried to fit in every detail she could remember. This term, I really tried to stretch it out in most of the books and overall that's good, she's not getting so caught up in the details and stressing out about being perfect. Understood Betsy became much more enjoyable when she didn't try and "narrate" each conversation but I don't want to go to the other side of that and miss details either, or feel like we're just reading through them to get it done and I think I've started to overshoot toward too long and a couple times I've looked at the clock and realized we'd been going way too long so I need to be more contentious at limiting us to 15 minutes on a book. It's a hard balance for two perfectionists!

I didn't do any math exam questions because - prep. Ack. But she's doing good. We switched Math to the afternoon when Norah is still asleep. That helped a lot! She has always loved math so it was hard seeing her struggle a few months ago but when I took a step back, I could see the struggle was not with the math, it was with the craziness that comes with trying to do it while working around a toddler. Now she and I can sit and she can do a lot in 20 minutes with no issues at all and life is good again.

And that's a wrap on First Grade! We finished exams and she turned to me and said, "Am I in Second Grade now?" and I realized that yes, she is!

I don't want to neglect Jonah either. He's doing great. He's really interested in words and spelling things. His speech is improving all the time. He's always wanted to tag along with art projects but his drawings are looking really great (and I'm no longer having to figure out what it is without him realizing it! That's always nerve wracking for a parent!). He's only got 2-3 lessons left on MEP Reception. I'm gonna have to get a couple Kumon workbooks or something until he's ready for Year 1 as Math is probably the most requested thing around here. These kids, they keep me busy.


  1. This is so wonderful! I'm doing Y1T3 exams next week with my daughter and it's nice to see a comparison to what it "should" look like. Did you record her narrations and then transcribe them?

  2. Glad you found it helpful. I tried recording her narrations but it made her freeze up so now I just speed type. It's a bit of a mess but as soon as she's done I go back and add punctuation and fix my spelling errors so it works. I'm sure as she gets older and has more to say, I'm going to be in trouble!

    Hope you have a good exam week. Ours are very "real-life" but they are a lot of fun for everyone.