February 15, 2013

AO Year 2, Term 2 Review

My goal of posting each week didn't really work out, but I still want to chronicle what we accomplished, so I'll try to capture the look and feel of Year 2, Term 2 in this post.

Here is the week by week break down of Ambleside Online Year 2.  Look at weeks 13-24.

During this term, we worked on 2 different poets (Eugene Field & James Whitcomb Riley).  I enjoyed quite a few poems from each of them.  As time went on, the poems got longer, so I went down to reading 4 a day instead of 5, then to 3 a day at times.  I made sure we heard each poem 4 times, since you often hear something new or understand it differently after some repetition.

For Bible, we continued using Calvary Curriculum, but towards the end of the term, I quit printing the coloring pages, and just took a bookmark sized piece of paper and wrote down the suggested readings to use as a check-list.  This saved paper, as well as my frustration as he would refuse to even look at the coloring page most days.  I kept thinking he would enjoy looking at an illustration while listening to the reading, but that never happened.  We made it through one lesson per day most of the time, although some of them were multiple chapters and had to be spread out over 2-3 days to keep the lessons short.  We made it from the end of Genesis to Judges this term.  In addition, we completed Kids of Character during week 21, so have one more day a week with which to work through CC.

Alongside Bible, I was more consistent about listening to and singing the hymns.  I put more on the YouTube playlist and hung the words next to the computer in case the video didn't have the words on-screen.  It was quite nice to start school off with pretty music and him cuddling up as we tried to learn the words to Anywhere with Jesus, Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow, My Song is Love Unknown (brand-new to me, and I loved it!) and This is My Father's World (a childhood favorite of mine).  As with most things, he resisted the new routine for a while, but I know he enjoys it now along with me.

Our folk songs for term 2 were I'se the B'y, Silent Night, Keys to Canterbury (his favorite) and this month is Mairi's Wedding, which is lots of fun!  I have a playlist for our folk songs as well, but normally am able to use what I've purchased in iTunes, so its not as thorough as what some others have created.  Composer was Bach, and artists were Dutch - de Hooch and Ruisdale.  Neither he nor I are fans of their styles, but did enjoy Bach! 

I tried to expand Spanish beyond Rosetta Stone, since its getting quite a bit harder for him now.  I'm finding some sites with fun children's songs in Spanish and doing those once a week, watching Salsa once a week, and doing RS just once a week instead of twice.  That's helped him groan less. :)  One days we don't do Spanish, he practices typing, using mostly Dance-Mat Typing from the BBC website.  His pace has been much slower than I expected, but I try to remember that its not a race!

As his resistance to reading has decreased, I was able to increase his McGuffey reader lessons from 3 painful ones a week to 4 mostly pleasant ones.  Whew!  He worked from lessons 23 through 57 this term, and I think we'll be able to finish it this school year.  I like how short the lessons are and the gradual introduction of new words.  It always seems the right amount of challenge.

Penmanship and spelling continue to offer resistance, but it has improved, in fits and spurts.  We are still on track to finish both courses before school ends.  I think he wouldn't admit it, but he's enjoying learning cursive.  The research shows that those with higher resistance to writing often do better with cursive, so I'm really hoping that will be true for him.  I haven't really focused on spelling, or offered tests at this point.  I'm using it more so he will notice patterns, review phonics rules, and practice handwriting.  I keep trying to help him visualize the words in his mind, but so far he's had a hard time with that.  When he's through the workbook, I will spend the rest of the weeks of school going back to Charlotte Mason's word-building exercises, like we tried last year.

Math lessons continued at a pace of 4 per week, with day 5 being needed to finish up a longer lesson or play math games.  (We purchased Wings for iOS, for multiplication practice, and I think it will help, since he can't stand flash cards, or me helping him review.)  Just yesterday, on the last day of term 2, he completed lesson 100 in the first Graded Work in Arithmetic.  This took him through basic operations through number 20.  So, term 3 we will start the second volume, which takes him through all basic operations with numbers up through 100.  He seems to have a decent grasp of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, although fractions and word problems are tough and I have to step him through those.

tools of the trade

I intended to add PE to the daily schedule, but it keeps skipped most days.  I bought Family Time Fitness, and love how the plans are laid out, but this just hasn't happened.    Handicraft is going along fine, with his grandpa doing leather-crafting with him.  He enjoys learning new stitches and creating gifts for us.  Another subject that's been almost completely neglected this term was Nature Study.  I'm sad about that, and not sure how to get it back in, but I definitely will be re-working the plan so that it gets in there.  Part of the problem was the cold weather (I despise winter), part was him dragging out other subjects so that there was simply no time for the fun stuff.  Yes, he and I both need to work on some more discipline, which would easily done if times didn't cause meltdowns on his part.  Works in progress, we are!

his first coin purse
He has kept on with piano, doing 1 or 2 lessons per week and practicing for a short time on the other 3 days.  He made it through lesson 43 at freepianolessons4kids.com and is pretty proud of what he can do now.  He does need more review as to how to actually read the music, but his finger control has improved much.  Here he is:

Now, for the Ambleside Online suggested readings!  We followed the schedule as written, and finished The Little Duke.  That was his favorite!  He didn't care for Wind in the Willows, but got through it.  He likes Pilgrim's Progress, and that is made easier due to reading Dangerous Journeys last term.   He enjoys the Burgess Animal Book, more so after we slowed from 2 chapters a week to 1.  We are using a spreadsheet another AO'er created that has picture and video links for all the animals mentioned, and DS really likes watching the nature videos.  He can take or leave Our Island Story; regardless, his narrations are improving.  He sometimes does a really good job telling back a story, and I get many fewer "I don't knows" or repeating the last sentence that was read.

I scheduled a few of the free reads to be done during school time, to be sure they geo read.  Others I read at bedtime, or listened to on his iPod.  He is not a pleasure reader, despite the rewards system we tried.  He loves to be read to, though, so for now, that's good enough. 
The free reads we've completed in term 2 are:
  As a testament to how any age can enjoy good literature, he now asks to listen to Lamb's Shakespeare for fun at bedtime!  All in all, it was a successful term.

February 3, 2013

Year 2, Weeks 9-12

I'll wrap up Term 1 of Year 2 in this post, just a quick recap since life got super busy (insert new foster kids here!) and I didn't keep up with blogging properly.

Week-by-week overview of Year 2

Week 9 began in October.  (Each month starts a new hymn and folk song, and every couple of weeks we study a new piece by the term's composer.)

Hymn study was a favorite of mine - For the Beauty of the Earth.  Our folk song was Early One Morning, which never failed to remind me of the Disney "Pollyanna" movie that I loved as a child.  Pollyanna sings a bit of that song while walking along and playing her "glad game".  Debussey's La Mer, parts 1, 2 and 3, where also enjoyed by my son and I that month.

We took Week 10 lightly, because public school was on fall break, then gave him a couple days off the following week to spend with his grandparents.  During week 10, we finished the poetry of Walter de la Mare and focused on memorizing The Bees Song, which he loved because of all the buzzing sounds when read aloud.
One child of a friend, plus one foster son and the shadow of my arms, oops!

We continued doing an average of 4 math lessons a week, with extra practice or math-oriented stories on the off day...unless he struggled and a lesson took a couple of days.  We kept on with 1 to 2 piano lessons each week, with bits of practice in-between.  We continued with Rosetta Stone Spanish, and the history and literature readings.

By the end of Week 12, we completed Understood Betsy, which we both enjoyed.  We also finished Dangerous Journey and read the intro to Pilgrim's Progress.  We got through chapter 5 in Bob Jones Science 2, through Lesson 53 in math, chapter 14 in Home Geography, started d'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln and The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.  We made it thought lesson 9 in spelling, and through the lesson 22 in the McGuffey second reader.

During weeks 9-12, we also successfully incorporated 3 new children into our home and did the Halloween thing, in addition to continuing taking out son to Minds in Motion twice a week (an hour and a half away).  Which is why I'm posting about October in February.  Such is life!  Its all worth it in the end. :)
He is getting some nice proprioception and vestibular input here!