Well we are wrapping up another year of Ambleside Online and I am going to document my thoughts here probably with way too much detail to be interesting to anyone but an AO user. Mostly I want to be able to look back this in a couple years when I've completely forgotten what I've done!
Copywork - we are in book D of Getty-Dubay Italic writing. I have found that this provides very good instruction for writing, but very poor for spelling. Towards the end of the year I started introducing a more classic copywork from the reading approach which is beginning to help with spelling. I also do lowkey spelling tests from the 1st grade list.
Reading Practice - Since I have a great reader to work with I would just have her read out loud to me from the books scheduled. By the end of the year she had completely taken over the Seabird readings herself. She also read "parts" of Pilgrim's Progress. Whichever part was shortest of course!
Recitation - This is an area I can probably do better in. I would have her read "beautifully" the same poem from our poet of the semester for a month, then move on to the next one. She enjoyed Rossetti the most. Every poem she heard was one she wanted for recitation!
Math - We did Right Start C this year. For the first time we aren't finishing the book in a single year. Although we will be pretty close. I intend to just continue until we are done. While this book did introduce subtraction, I was surprised at how little it was practiced. I saw that a great deal more comes in the review for D so I continue to have faith that this is the right program for us. This was the first book where we did drawing on the drawing board, and this was enjoyed immensely. I'm grateful I had the correct tools available and didn't cobble something together though, as I can imagine that being more frustrating than it would be worth.
Spanish - We continue to make things up for Spanish. Salsa and Little Pim are old favorites. knowitall.com is used occasionally but she doesn't enjoy it. !Arte y Mas! is a new favorite. We read the Little Bear books in Spanish and still try to incorporate speaking in daily life. Now that she knows as much as my 4 years taught me I don't feel like I can lead this learning very well anymore. So more outside resources find their way in.
Physical Activity - This has been a hard one. We started the year loving dance, gymnastics and ice skating. Once Covid lock down occurred we were left with riding bikes. A fair amount of play still happens, and recess is a must, but the sports side is empty for now.
Art - An area I am completely out of my depth. Art Class growing up was being told how I did something wrong. So I compensate by leaving the direction wide open. She had a paint by number canvas. We did the first few lessons from Drawing with Children. We do pastels with hodgepodge.me. And tried out a couple how to draw Youtube videos. Nothing too structured, but she pursues her own interests here.
Timeline - I know I shouldn't have but I just couldn't do the timeline deal. We are still using the 100 grid homemade book of centuries from last year. I think we will through year 3 at least, maybe through 6. I'll upgrade it to a nice one at some point.
Handicrafts - Paper Sloyd! I was so intimidated by this book at first. The instructions seemed scant. Expectations high. It's been great. She loves it and I definitely credit it for making the geometry drawing lessons in math so easy. I'm so glad we ended up doing this, and it's providing built in ideas for Christmas gifts. So wins all around!
Folksongs we have done as scheduled. I try and get them from the library on CD whenever possible to play on my ipod wherever we go. Same with composer music.
Nature Study - This one got hard during Covid, and then harder after the derecho. Our local parks are still filled with debris! Fortunately Spencer really leaned into this with road trips almost every weekend visiting surrounding state parks. We also formed a local Nature Club that has helped lend consistency to my haphazard scheduling.
Art Study and Composer Study have been as scheduled. Can I say Thank you to the Met for the free daily operas! We did the Wheeler books for a couple of composers and honestly I haven't been as impressed with these books as I had hoped to be. They are simplistically written and leave out any hints of controversal or even interesting life moments while glossing over things that need to be elaborated on. Just not my style I guess.
History - An Island Story - Read as scheduled - Love it. Child's History of the World - Read as Scheduled - good, I wish we had read some of the skipped early chapters. I'll probably add those in for my next student. They cover some of the groundwork that I think would make early readings in Y1 make more sense. We did not use This Country of Ours at all. We used D'aulaire for Leif the Lucky and Columbus. We also supplemented with History or US by Joy Hakim. Reading from the beginning to Columbus. I think it is important that children are introduced to US history prior to Europeans setting foot here. There were thriving civilizations here that deserve attention. And this was my way of providing that. Hakim's book isn't great but it does starting with Beringia the land bridge and introduce various peoples. I also bought a book Legends of the Iroquois by Tehanetorens that we read as bedtime stories, no narrations, again just appreciating the cultures that were here.
History Tales/Biography - Tales and Triumph was as scheduled. The Little Duke there is a great map from the AO forums that we used. I printed the Anne White study guide but didn't use it. My girl was so sad when this book was over. Joan of Arc as scheduled.
Geography - Read Tree in the Trail and Seabird as scheduled. As mentioned she took over the reading of Seabird. We focused on Western states for Map study while reviewing the upper midwest. For Seabird we followed places mentioned in the book and reviewed continents. In retrospect I should have done Oceans. We built Dad's model of the sun to Earth with a flashlight to look at how the earth moves around the sun as well as the axis tilt and how that effects seasons. We used his science model to build a pulley and see how that works. We looked at and used a compass as well as measured shadows to see how comparing shadows throughout the day can help make a compass.
Nature Studies - We didn't finish Burgess Animal Book, and continue to read a chapter a week through break. The printed picture of the animals found in the forum were great, and while it does feel like the section on mice will never end, it was appreciated more than the Bird Book. Maybe because we are growing. We did also use the taxanomy key linked in the footers on AO to sort the pictures and discuss why things were sorted the way they are.
Poetry - we tried to read one a day - but not always succeeding. We used Living Press books for De La Mare and Rossetti. We had a book on Whitcombe Riley. And printed the AO booklet for Field. I don't think any of our recitations came from Riley, but we did have some for the other three.
Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare was another hit. I don't think we found videos for any of this years selections, and I think Midsummer is still her favorite.
Parables from Nature is still a groaner, although we enjoyed it more than in year 1.
Pilgrim's Progress took turns being a favorite and a groaner. Toward the end it was tough to read because plot gave way to conversation. The Orion's gate CD's are a hit, and make great time passers on road trips if the driver can stay awake!
Literature Selections of Understood Betsy, Wind in the Willows, and Robin Hood were all great reads. We are still doing Robin Hood on break with a free audio from stories.audible.com that is great (although the reader is a bit fast-pased.) I was surprised to enjoy Wind in the Willows, but it turns out all previous reads I had an abridged book! Reading it in full is a MUST.
Heidi junior deluxe edition is a poor translation - so next time we will do Wordsworth.
A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales were the surprise favorite! Although I did use an audio book just because it was a lot for my voice to do out loud.
Five Little Peppers was trudged through as an independent read - she loved parts but on the whole doesn't want to ever read it again. Mary Poppins was also read independently, she enjoyed it but not enough to want to read the sequel. Abraham Lincoln was read independently and enjoyed immensely. Maybe due to pictures, but this one has come off the shelf since for free time perusals.
Hans Christian Andersen, Mr. Poppers Penguins, Little House on the Prarie, Farmer Boy, Along Came a Dog, and Door in the Wall were read as bedtime stories. Brighty of the Grand Canyon was read with friends and enjoyed by all.
Pied Piper was read during Poetry Time one day. From the old Childcraft poetry book. Much love was given.
We have hopes to read Five Children and It, Otto of the Silver Hand, and Chanticleer and the Fox over break. We do not intend to read the Story of Doctor Dolittle, because I just happened to pick it up to pre-read it and really felt that the racism in it is beyond a conversation about "different times" or what my 7 year old is ready for right now. I'll leave it on the shelves, and curious minds may find it someday.