Saturday, February 20, 2016

Our Weekly Amble for February 15-19, 2016

Despite a bout of strep throat for one child, we had a really good week of school.

We do 9 of 10 days in a two-week rotation, with every other Friday off formal lessons. Friday was our off day ... I have Bible Study and the children have other opportunities to play and learn with friends. Some weeks, M-girl has the opportunity to be a Mother's Helper.

We did Circle Time every school day this week. Circle Time this term has been really, really good. I'm not sure why. We aren't doing new things than what we did last year. However, I think we may have hit the point of buy-in from long practice - "this is what we do."

Every day after Circle Time, we have a 30 minute break. That's when I make the assignments for the rest of the day. AmblesideOnline makes this so easy for me. I take their 36 week chart, pick and choose readings, add math, penmanship, Latin, and music practice and we're off.

Because all of my children are very close in age (M-girl is 32 months older than R-girl), we are able to all all be working on the same "Year" of AmblesideOnline. Therefore, the children's checklists look essentially the same with slight variation. Essentially, I aim at the middle and add for M-girl and reduce for R-girl. R-girl doesn't take organ lessons. The older children have written narrations daily (one of the things Cindy Rollins said made a huge difference in her children's writing). R-girl does have spelling lessons. M-girl does Plutarch. Etc.

Before AmblesideOnline, we had always done all of our "content" areas together - Bible, history, science, etc.- and our "skill" work - Math, grammar, etc - individually. It would have been a big culture shock to begin assigning different years when we moved to AmblesideOnline. We've compressed even those skill areas with AmblesideOnline (with the exception of math) by moving Grammar and, soon, writing into Circle Time.

Anyway, from the outside, our day likely looks chaotic. After Circle Time I write out our daily assignments:

The children essentially work their way through their list. No day looks like any other day.

Recently, I've been saying, let's all come back and get Latin done first. We've struggled with getting Latin done at all, so doing a set thing all together first helps us to get it accomplished.

Then, after Latin, they work their lists. They negotiate to take turns at the piano or math with me.

Some readings are done together with two or three children sharing reading aloud to each other. Some I read aloud for everyone together, this week was 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' which the children were all moaning about. We got a nice snuggle for it, though. Some assignments they read on their own.

Narrations come in many forms: some written, some oral. Some acted out. Some acted out with Lego.
Here are some written narrations from this week. M-girl (age 11), N-boy (age 10), R-girl (age 8). I allowed them to type narrations this week which is always a hit and I get more thorough, longer narrations. I suppose I'm used to thinking and writing at the keyboard, too. Anyway, they have to take turns with a laptop after doing a reading.

Music lessons are a big part of our week. All three children have piano lessons on Wednesdays and must practice daily. M-girl and N-boy both take organ. There's a harpsichord at the church where they have organ and their teacher was tuning it this week (which is a big ordeal!). She let M-girl and N-boy have a turn playing it. I posted a short video on IG, too.

I've been working on walking more steps this year. Sometimes it's too snowy or cold. I streamed a YouTube Leslie Sansone video for me and the children were excited about it ... they asked a couple of mornings to do some exercise before lesson time. That was pretty wonderful!

We did daily math. We did penmanship daily. We're finishing up George Washington's World and Abigail Adams.

We have one more week in our term and then a break. I think we're excited to be finishing up Year 4.


  1. Dawn, what a great idea to plan your planning time into your day right after Circle Time. :) I always feel I do better planning during the day, than at night.

    1. Thanks! I like the freedom it gives me to say something spontaneous like let's go to the zoo.

  2. I want to combine my kids for some history using AO but they will be 5th and 8th. 5th grader is dyslexic so I'll be doing most of his reading to him anyway and 8th grader doesnt enjoy reading so thought I could keep them together for history time period using years 3 and 8. And then some science reading together, too. However, I have rec'd nothing but discouragement from the AO forums. Glad to see you are having some success combining. I just really want to do some history reading aloud together with these 2.

    1. Sorry. On FB, they seemed somewhat open to combining forms.

  3. I had never heard of walking videos before you mentioned it, but I've been walking with Leslie Sansone on Youtube every morning since! Thank you, friend!


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