August 31, 2012

Year 2, Week 4

This ended up being a 4 day week for us, because we got 3 foster kids Wednesday night and there is no public school today (Friday).  So yesterday, we did a little extra so we don't get behind in our AO readings.

Ambleside Online, Year 2, Week 4, with the following changes:
The Bible - we worked through Genesis 13, discussing Noah's flood, descendants, and Abram and Sarai
Tree in the Trail chapter 5 and 6  7-11
Pilgrim's Progress Dangerous Journey ch. 3

We also did one lesson of Rosetta Stone, one episode of Salsa, and about 20 minutes on Noah Comprende for Spanish this week.

For typing, we used a program on my Mac and  Dance Mat Typing from the BBC.  He seems to enjoy it, and is improving on the home row.

We have gotten through lesson 8 in handwriting and lesson 3 in spelling, right on track with the schedule I made.

female rainbow scarab, caught in Sonic's bug catcher
We finally got a real nature study in this week - we had read the introduction to insects and I was trying to figure out which insect to learn about when a Rainbow Scarab (type of dung beetle) showed up.  We captured her and drew her in our nature journals after watching how she tucked her wings back under the exo-skeleton.  Very interesting bug!

top of rainbow scarab
bottom of rainbow scarab
Its also fair week here in our county.  DS entered his casserole carrier (2nd place for craft without a kit) and rock collection (1st place in nature collection).  We'll have to pick up his $5 or so tonight when we go back!

Our best pic of the Rainbow Scarab - notice the red spot on upper-middle back

Here's a fun look back at where we were this time last year.

August 24, 2012

Year 2, Week 3

This post wraps up my introduction to Year 2 (see part 1 & 2). My goal is to post the readings we've done every week, along with any interesting stories or new resources I have discovered.

Week 3 readings were completed with the just a couple changes:

The Bible -we have read through nine chapters of Genesis, with him narrating each story.
Tree in the Trail chapter 3-6
Poetry of Walter de la Mare (poems 11-15)
Pilgrim's Progress  Dangerous Journey - finish chapter 2

For Dangerous Journey, we watch Answers in Genesis video of each chapter after reading.

What do we do other than read those books?

Handwriting (copywork): Rod and Staff's Penmanship for grade 2  This goes from print to slant to cursive, using short lessons; he does this 2 days a week.  Bible verses and other phrases are done on other days, if spelling doesn't take too long.

Spelling: Rod and Staff's Spelling for grade 2 (1 lesson weekly, which we are breaking into 2 days)

McGuffey readers (free at Gutenberg or Amazon) for introducing new words - once or twice a week.  I have him read aloud something everyday, but he is still very resistant to this.

Math: Graded Work in Arithmetic, book 1.
Hopefully, we'll get through all of 1 and part of 2 this year.  We did more than one lesson a day at first, but now we've slowed down a bit.  Finished up lesson 20 this week.

Spanish: 2-3 times a week.  Rosetta Stone (new!) and Salsa episodes (once a week).

We are following AO's rotation for music and art appreciation, using resources found for free online, and some composer's pieces purchased through Amazon and iTunes, as well as from the Homestead Pickers CD's we purchased last year.

Term 1's artist is Renoir.  For weeks 1 and 2, we studied his Girl with a Watering Can.  This week and next, we are looking at Girls at the Piano.  The composer is Claude Debussy, and this month we are listening to Suite Bergamasque (Prelude, Menuet, no.3 Claire de Lune, no.4 Passepied).  Our folk song for August is Gypsy Rover and the hymn is the Rock that is Higher than I.

Girl with a Watering Can, from NGA
The Handbook of Nature Study, which is to be used as a teacher's guide, is leading us through insects this term.  Right now we are just working on the life-cycle of insects, and what exactly IS an insect...did you  know that bugs are technically just one part of the insect family?  I love learning right along-side of him. :)  The nice things about studying insects is that there is no shortage of them in our yard to investigate!  Ick.  We are also working through the Bob Jones 2nd grade science book.

Last year, his handicrafts included hand and machine sewing.  This year, his Pa is introducing him to leather crafting.   So far, he has looked at the tools, played with the hammer and visited the Tandy store.   He is also working on hand-sewing a stuffed puppy from a kit and hopes to get that done in time to submit it for the local fair.

For his instrument, he decided to stick with piano.  We are using Free Piano Lessons 4 Kids.  We have gotten through the first 10 lessons, which hasn't taken us any farther than we got using KinderBach or pianolessons4children last year.  However, this guy really knows how to get kids involved, and does it using little stories and simple games, which DS really enjoys.  Now, the videos themselves are free, and there pdf downloads for the first few lessons are free...then he starts charging.  If you like the first couple of lessons, make sure you pay the $26 or so to get all the pdf's instead of purchasing individually.  I think its worth it, to support his efforts.

There you have it!  Hard to believe it took me 3 posts to get it all down!  Doesn't a Charlotte Mason education sound fantastic?  Its deep, and its wide...and will hopefully open many doors for the future.

*submitted to the CM Blog Carnival, hosted Sept 4, 2012 by Amy in Peru*

August 23, 2012

The Rest of AO Year 2 Plans

See the official AO Year 2 plan in my previous post, along with Bible and Shakespeare plans.  Now here's the rest of the story!  You can also see some of what we are doing on Pinterest.

We are already nearing the end of Week 3 (will post tomorrow), and I still haven't finished blogging my plan.  Thank goodness my planning and implementation powers are better than my blogging power. :)
The only other difference in Week 1 was that Tree in the Trail took longer to get through inter-library loan than I had hoped, so I didn't receive it until the end of Week 2...and it is due back in early September.  The official schedule has one or two chapters a week scheduled, so I will speed that up.  We will get through chapter 6 this week, and I will try to do at least 4 chapters next week (about 1 a day should be doable).  This is a geography book about plains Indians hunting buffalo (so far).  The chapters are short, and he is doing a great job narrating.

Week 2 introduced most of the rest of the books we are using this term.  (Click through to see the weekly AO recommended schedule).

We are using Child's History of the World (CHOW), and it is written differently and more personal-ably than any other history text I've seen.  I like it so far, although it is strange to be starting it at chapter 47 instead of from the beginning.  So no Synge or  Story of Mankind for us this year.

The Little Duke is a great little book, and we are both enjoying it.  I forgot to only read 1/2 a chapter this week, though, and we were both wondering how much longer I had to read!  So, next week will be a little lighter, LOL.

We are using a free version of Burgess Animal Book that an AO user (J. Elliott) formatted for this particular schedule, and added pictures.  Its great!  I converted it from doc to pdf and uploaded it to Google Drive, if you would like to use it.  (I just put the pdf files into iBooks and read on the iPad.)  This is written in the same style as the Burgess Bird Book we used last year, and introduces different types of animal and how to categorize them (taxonomy).

Understood Betsy is historical fiction, similar in feel to the Little House on the Prairie series.  After 2 chapters, I'm not yet sure what to think about it.

For poetry class, I purchased the Kindle version that AO's advisory has put together.  We read a new poem each day, and re-read the previous 4.  I had never heard of Walter de la Mare, but I am enjoying his writing.

August 12, 2012

Plans for AO Year 2

Its back-to-school time!!  We've had a great summer, much of it spent without foster kids and enjoying the simplicity that brings.  I felt prepared for this week, which always eases the stress and makes things go better all around.

Below is a picture of our weekly schedule.  At first I was going to use Homeschool SkedTrack, which is a free online homeschool planner.  Its good, thorough, but time-consuming to enter everything...and you have to remember to log in daily or attendance doesn't work correctly.  Glad I tried it this summer before entering in our entire school year!

The original planning page, which I tweaked a little, came from Robyn's Master Planner on the AO schedules yahoo group (must be a member to see the files).

UPDATE: Robyn has granted me permission to share her files!  I've uploaded them to Google Drive and all you need is the link!  These schedules/planner are for AO years 1-8, and most are available as pdf and excel files.  (Current for 2012-13 school year only.  For updated versions, please join the AO forum!)

Here is the booklist for AO Year 2.

Here is Year 2's Weekly Schedule from Ambleside Online's website.

Sample from AO, for Year 2, Week 1:
The Bible
An Island Story ch 22 Harold
Trial and Triumph 10. Charlemagne Protector of the Church (742-814 AD)
The Little Duke - first half of chapter 1
Tree in the Trail chapter 1
Burgess Animal Book I Jenny Wren Gives Peter Rabbit an Idea, II Peter and Jumper Go To School
Poetry of Walter de la Mare
Lamb's or Nesbit's Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Pilgrim's Progress: about 800 words every week (you can download a text file that is broken down into weekly readings for two years, or 72 portions)

Now, here are my actual plans, which differ a bit from the above.

For Bible, I am using Calvary Curriculum.  Free, downloadable coloring sheet with Bible verse, plus word games (crosswords, word searches, etc.) for each lesson.  Calvary takes you very slowly through the entire Bible - no skipping around.  Since we did a good overview last year and got through all the major stories and highlights, I thought it would be a good time to start digging deeper.  My plan is to go through 2 of these lessons each week.  (For the record, its not a very CM way of Bible study, but I will have him narrate instead of answering the questions Calvary provides.  I tried using their questions yesterday.)

Along with Bible, we are doing character study, using Kids of Character from The Learning Parent.  We started this last year, doing one trait a week, and should be able to finish it by Christmas this year.  Then I plan to start it over from the beginning, digging deeper with it as well.  The first time around, we defined the word, copied the verse and discussed it, then did the application "what if" questions and skipped the fill-in-the-blanks and looking at other verses to support the importance of the trait.  I can already tell that he is ready to go a little deeper than he was last year. (Update - we did not go through this book again when it was completed, but continued to work on and review the memory verses that were included.)

I'm using the Lamb's version of Shakespeare like we did last year.  We are using Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim's Progress this term, and then will move onto Pilgrim's Progress.  Everything else we are doing as scheduled...provided the interlibrary loan comes through soon on Tree in the Trail!

(This got long, so I'll have to do a part 2!)

August 4, 2012

My Favorite Pinterest Boards

As my Pinterest following has increased, I have added a few collaborators so I don't feel as obligated to pin everything myself (see where the project started).  During this process, I have discovered some fantastic boards and wanted to share them with you.  Of course, mine are the best. ;)  I have over 900 followers and will throw myself a Pinterest Party when I hit 1000, LOL.  Watch out for virtual confetti!

You can click the link over there ------> to follow me, or go to  There you will find a board for each Ambleside Online year, as well as other  AO subjects.  I have boards for general homeschooling, homeschool blogs, things for the home, for kids, and for me.  Its great fun to discover new things this way!
Here are the people I find myself repinning from the most, as well as my AO collaborators, and other favorites.  Most are homeschooling and Charlotte Mason related.

Women Living Well
Simply CM
Jimmies Collage
Linnette Doyle
NL Home
Amy in Peru

Enjoy browsing!