Saturday, January 26, 2013

Beefing up my 10 yo's Books: Combining AO years 4-6 into 2 school years.

My eldest son, Jonathan, is doing very well with his readings. I'm pleased with his narrations. He is technically a 5th grader, but I started him in year 4 because I didn't want him to miss the history, I had most of the books, and I didn't want to push him to hard.

Now, I know that AO years != grade years. But I also keep hearing how cool Ambleside Online's year 12 is going to be. So if I want him to do year 12, I'll have to bump him or do a combo year at some point.

I decided to do it now. I looked at years 5 & 6, and made a few observations: we're currently reading The Hobbit (that's half of year 6's literature), year 6 has very little geography, while our current year 4 (because I decided not to use Madam How and Lady Why) is very light on science (which he loves) & natural history. I'm also not super worried about history. It's very important, but it's not the center of our homeschool.

So I added year 5's science books (not biographies or Madam How) to this year. And I'm going to read Minn once a week, finishing it this term, leaving term 3 open for year 6's book about David Livingstone, which DS should be able to read himself.

The rest of this year will have ~16 readings a week. I'm hoping to do 4 days for individual work, and 1 day for group study, so that's 4 readings a day. If that is too much I'll spread his readings over 5 days.

In case anyone is interested, here is my plan:

5th Grade (this year)

  • Bible (4 days a week)
    • (4/5) Greenleaf's Guide to the Old Testament (Samson to the Divided Kingdom).
    • (4) New Testament focus on Mark (2 terms)
  • History
    • (4) This Country of Ours, George Washington's World
  • Biography
    • (4) Trial & Triumph (match with history)
    • (4) Ben Franklin & Abigail Adams
  • Geography
    • (4) * ** Minn of the Mississippi
    • (6) *** David Livingstone (Term 3)
  • Natural History/Science
    • (4) Storybook of Science
    • (5) Wild Animals I Have Known (read aloud) followed by Christian Liberty Nature Reader 5 (transition to him reading)
  • Science Biography
    • (5) The Story of Inventions (some will be left for summer reading)
  • Literature
    • (4) Age of Fable -- stay on year 4's schedule
    • (4) Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped, The Incredible Journey and the three short stories. Thankfully most of these have audio books.
6th Grade (next year)
  • Bible (4 days a week, but I'm not sure on schedule details)
    • (5) Finish Greenleaf's Guide to the Old Testament
    • (5/6) Life of Christ (48 readings scheduled)
    • (6) Answers in Genesis (year 6 history tales, which I don't want to miss)
  • History (modern)
    • (5) * ** This Country of Ours
    • (5) * ** Abraham Lincoln's World
    • (5/6) *** Story of the World volume 4 -- we'll probably extend this past the 'end' of the school year. We will use the MP3 version.
  • History (ancient)
    • (6) * Story of the Greeks - I might substitute a shorter book: Tappan's "The Story of the Greek People", since I don't want to overwhelm him.
    • (6) ** *** Augustus Caesar's World
    • (6) ** *** Story of the Romans (spread over 2 terms intead of 1)
  • Biography
    • (5/6) Trial and Triumph, scheduled to match history reading.
    • (5) * Of Courage Undaunted (because I love Lewis & Clark)
    • (5) ** Lilias Trotter OR Teddy Roosevelt
    • (6) *** Winston Churchill
  • Geography (I may only use 1 of Halliburton's books)
    • (5) Halliburton's Book of Marvels (I have the 2nd book, still searching for the first)
  • Natural History/Science (I may have to move some to free reading, I haven't seen these books)
    • (6) School of the Woods & The Sea Around Us
    • (6) It Couldn't Just Happen
    • (6) Secrets of the Universe
  • Science Biography
    • (5/6) Choose 3 biographies from years 5 & 6, one per term.
  • Literature
    • (5/6) Age of Fable - 2 readings per week.
    • (5) * King Arthur
    • (5) ** Oliver Twist OR Kim (other will be a free read)
    • (6) *** Animal Farm
What Was Left Out
  • Poetry isn't listed, but will NOT be left out - we will do one poet per term for Jonathan, but since we read everyone's poetry as a group, we will read them all eventually (and more than once), so I'm not worried.
  • Only 3 of 6 science biographies will be assigned.
  • Madam How and Lady Why is being skipped. (Because I just don't have the energy for it, and most people have mixed opinions. I'll try to read it with my 8yo when he reaches years 4 & 5.)
  • Year 6's Old Testament readings are the books of Genesis, Job, Exodus & Leviticus. I'm not sure how to handle those, but I haven't decided on Bible for the HEO years either, as I'd prefer to have DC do studies from Precepts, probably as a group (so it won't be in AO's order). But I will encourage DS to go through the books in his personal Bible time, and I may or may not use SCM's "Book of Doctrine's". I actually have a study guide for Genesis-Deuteronomy from Precepts on the shelf, if we go that route. I'll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • Year 6 has the "Story of Mankind" scheduled. I may or may not have him read from it. I imagine that SOTW4 is fairly complete.
  • Two (of 8) biographies will not be scheduled, but one of those is a WWII era book to be selected from the free reads, and DH is a WWII buff, so I'm sure DS will hear a few of those for bedtime readings anyway.
  • In literature, we are currently reading "The Hobbit" aloud (started before coming back to AO). And we will be reading "Tale of Troy" which is a retelling of the Iliad as a group. I would like to read the full version of the Iliad later on, perhaps during poetry time. The year 5 literature book that gets "skipped" will be a top-priority free read.

This may all change at any moment! LOL, hopefully not. I haven't seen the year 6 books, so I can't get a super accurate idea of how much reading to assign, and may have to move some to free reading / science shelf. I also don't know how much DS's reading skills will improve, but I've decided I cannot hold him back for one thing. I am completely willing to keep using librivox, purchase audio books for newer works, and read out loud as needed. He is loving CM's generous curriculum of living books, and I am so thankful to AO for having a frugal, high-quality program laid out.

I'm mainly posting this since I've put a lot of thought into it, and I want to have a summary stored online (because computers crash). I also find it helpful to read the ideas & experiences of others, and want to offer something back to the online homeschooling community. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Favorite Things: Book Shelves

You have to love the internet (and pinterest) for all the wonderful ideas floating around. So, here are some of my favorite ways to display books:

Rain Gutter Bookshelves

I've seen this idea in a few places, and since my brother owns a business installing seamless rain-gutters, I have these two in the living room. They are 4-5 feet long each, and sit about 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 feet from the floor. My sons also have a longer rain-gutter bookshelf in their room (about 8-9 feet long, and about 3 feet up). I've been rearranging everything, so my 3 year old daughter helped me re-add books for the picture. Hence these are some of her favorites. I wonder how many times my husband and I have read Goodnight Moon?

After I find the living room again, I will rotate picture books on the bottom shelf, and rotate biographies, living science, living math, history, etc. along the top. This is a great spot to highlight library books or any good books that are gathering dust!

The "Red" Basket

I've not seen this exact usage online, but I'm sure many have used this type of thing. I have seen morning baskets, and that's where I took this idea. This basket has our before bed read-aloud choices.

My husband doesn't read as often as I do, so he has the book Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin (I do recommend the Yesterday's Classics versions, as they are retyped and not just messy scans - I happened to score a hardback at the used bookstore). Usually we have a picture book as well (like Saint George and the Dragon or Winnie-The-Pooh), but I am trying to finish up Adam of the Road, so I'll add a picture book (probably Beatrix Potter) after that. The other book is one of my favorites: The Hobbit.

Next year I am going to attempt to wrap up the chapter books in November, and leave December free for advent and Christmas reading. We had a rather long break from our read-aloud books last month. Poor Adam has been stranded in the middle of winter at the de Lisle house, where he's not really wanted! (No worries, he's headed to Oxford now to find Nick, his dog. And yes, I read ahead because I couldn't wait to get to the end!) And Bilbo, Thorin and company have left Lake Town and just found the back door (but not the key hole!).

The Book Flipper

From another homeschooler, who blogged about her system here. This is actually where my 3 year old daughter's books belong. When I finish moving everything, it will go back on our little end table, in easy reach. I had considered this for the kids' schoolbooks, but most of our books are too thick, and we don't use many workbooks. I would like to get a second dish rack for the boys' Seeking Sammy books (kind of like Where's Waldo?, but funnier.. or weirder).

This has been a fun post for me to write. Writing a LOT more is one of my goals, so I hope to make many more posts this year.