(Please note that I have linked to the book lists on the AO website to respect their licensing terms and the hard work they’ve put into such an amazing curriculum which they offer for free. Books that use affiliate links here are not listed on the AO website.)
It is much to be wished that thoughtful mothers would more often keep account of the methods they employ with their children, with some definite note of the success of this or that plan.CHARLOTTE MASON,HOME EDUCATION
And so we begin one of my favorite of the AmblesideOnline (AO) years we’ve done so far: Year 2! This will also be my second year homeschooling two school-age kids, and our first since C was school age that we won’t be in a homeschool co-op. I am both sad and excited about this as I will be teaching (and got to choose) all of our subjects this year. Another former co-op member also recommended a very casual local nature group that meets once per week during the school year. We were able to meet up with them this summer, and it went really well, so I think that’s going to be a good option for us a few times each term to meet up with like-minded families that include kids their ages.
I feel good going into this year because I’ve done it once before, and C responded really well to all of our readings last year. All of our plans are below, and there will be some duplicates from the post I did earlier this week on B’s Year 5 as several of these subjects I’ll be teaching both C and her big brother at the same time.
Our Morning Time routine will have a few changes from last year as I decided I needed to make this time a little shorter, at least until both kids are reading more on their own. Here’s the schedule I have planned:
- Proverb (based on the day’s date)
- Monday/Wednesday: hymn
- Tuesday/Thursday: folksong
- Seasonal Reading/Riches
- Monday: from that month in The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (good nature journal inspiration) or from one of the seasonal books listed above (I set the timer for 5 minutes and read as much as I can – no narration)
- Tuesday: Picture Study (see below for more details)
- Wednesday: from one of the season books listed above
- Thursday: Composer Study (see below for more details)
- Lord’s Prayer
I’ve also been thinking about adding a daily catechism reading, but I want to see how this routine goes first. I may add that later in the year.
I haven’t decided if I’m going to re-read the J. Paterson-Smyth commentaries (in the second book list link above) or go over the parts I underlined when I went through these readings with B. Either way, I’m glad we’re beginning the readings with the commentaries this year, as I found them to add more depth to our Bible lesson time. I read them ahead of time and pull parts out that I think would be beneficial to read aloud to my student (usually the parts where he sets the scene) and offer those after narration. I will do the same thing with C.
And the atlas…..I will try to remember to use the atlas!
History & Biography
Though she narrated it well, I think Our Island Story was a little challenging for C last year, mainly following which monarch we were reading about. B was the same way, and I’ve read that others have had this problem as well, so I’m not worried about it and glad she got the stories even if she can’t remember specific names. I am interested in seeing if it’s a little easier for her this year as the timeline does “slow down” a bit, she’s older, and we’ll begin coordinated readings from A Child’s History of the World.
She generally enjoys adventure stories, so I think she’ll like The Little Duke as well. I’m not sure if I’ll use the study guide link above, but I plan to have the map out so we can follow along with where he is. That was a little confusing for B when we read this during his Year 2.
We’ll also continue with Trial & Triumph, but I’ll censor the more violent descriptions (and leave out readings if need be) and negative commentary on Catholic beliefs.
I have no qualms about any of the literature selections and I think we’ll both enjoy this year’s readings. C listened along when I read Pilgrim’s Progress with B and she enjoyed it then, so I don’t think we’ll have any problems there. We’ll also continue with our Shakespeare readings from Lambs’ and I’ll use a whiteboard to help us with the storyline and characters.
I’m especially looking forward to rereading Understood Betsy and Robin Hood as these have been two of my favorite books from AO so far. Since Robin Hood can’t be finished in Term 3, we’ll read it through next summer as I did with her brother.
I also remember really liking the poetry from Year 1, especially with some of the links to YouTube performances on the AO website. Walter de la Mare and Eugene Field were very well-liked by both B and myself, so I think C will like them as well.
I’m still debating starting her on cursive. I began it with B in Year 1, but he was also older and his handwriting was already very neat. She forms her letters so they’re understandable, but she’s a little more sloppy than her meticulous older brother and I’m wondering if the cursive training will help.
Reading-Literature: The Primer
Reading-Literature: First Reader
Reading-Literature: Second Reader
Reading-Literature: Third Reader
Bob Books Collection 2
Father Bear Comes Home
Little Bear’s Friend
Little Bear’s Visit
Little Bear and the Marco Polo
Henry and Mudge Books
We finished Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons over the summer, and C is now reading everything she can get her hands on, so we’ll start on the first of the Treadwell Readers (or Reading-Literature books) three days per week and then work through the Bob Books one day per week. When we’re done with the Bob Books, we’ll move on to Little Bear and then Henry and Mudge if we get that far.
I’ll continue with C how I did Recitation last year and read the passages to her. I was not good about having her actually recite the passages at the end of each Term, so I’ll have to work on that as well.
We’re changing things a bit this year with Spanish as I’ll be switching B from the Salsa videos to Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and François. Because we’ll be doing that twice a week, I’m only going to play the Salsa videos once per week for C (though I’m 100% positive that B will still watch them too), and then we’ll practice our Spanish song once per week, which means we won’t be doing the Salsa activities anymore. I don’t doubt that she’ll sit with B and me while we’re working on the Speaking Spanish book, and I’m hoping she participates as well.
Tree in the Trail! Yay! I wrote when I did this year with B that I felt like we were reading about our own backyard when we read that book, and I’m looking forward to rereading it. Barring any COVID-related closures, we do really hope to get down to Bent’s Old Fort after we finish this book. I’ll also continue reading the selection, having her narrate, and then taking time to fill out her companion map as we did last year. This routine made the book more immersive, and I think the geography part stuck with her more.
Nature Study & Science
Changes: I’m not following the AO nature study rotation as I wanted to study something C was interested in. I asked her and she wanted to learn more about mice, so here we are at mammals for Term 1! B will be learning about Astronomy in Term 2 and Botany in Term 3, so I thought I would do those subjects with her as well. For C specifically, I’ll be using the Nature Study Hacking guides that have been so helpful in getting us to actually do the nature journaling part of nature study!
We did not finish RightStart Level B over the summer, so we’ll finish that up before we move on to Level C. As I said with B, since we won’t have co-op every other week, I’m hoping we can actually get through the book before the end of the year as we didn’t do math on co-op Fridays. We should at least be able to make it pretty close!
C has done really well in math and has much more of a mind for it than I did at her age. I think a lot of it has to do with her natural desire to learn and how RightStart has laid everything out, which has worked extremely well for both of my kids.
Term 1: Katsushika Hokusai
Term 2: Winslow Homer
Term 3: Mary Cassatt
Changes: Obviously, we’re not following the AO Artist Study rotation here at all. We studied van Eyck last year and I didn’t want to cover Botticelli just yet. I was torn on Friedrich as he’s my favorite of the Romantic painters, but Hokusai (technically a contemporary of Friedrich) won out as he’s another favorite of mine and I wanted to include a non-western artist this year. Homer will go well with B’s study of the Civil War. And we actually did study Cassatt when B was in kindergarten in 2016, but I was brand new to homeschooling, he was very young, and C didn’t participate (she was 2 ) so I’d like to study her again.
This plan also means that Picture Study Aids for these artists will be coming.
C really enjoys this book, and each week after she finished her “assigned” drawing for the week, she made a little picture using the concepts she learned from previous drawings, which I love. We’ll continue with this book and there are enough lessons left that she most likely will not finish it before the end of the year…unless she goes ahead, which she is prone to do sometimes.
I’m excited to be teaching composer study as this was a subject always covered in our homeschool co-op in the past and, at times, taught at the same time that I was teaching picture study (when we still divided our co-op by form), so I missed out on it. I’m glad we will be able to learn together and that I can teach it in a way I think will be more compatible with my kids.
Changes: I’m mostly following the AO composer study rotation, though we won’t be covering Berlioz in Term 1. However, we will be doing the selections from the Tillberry Table composer study guides instead of the AO pieces.
Term 1: Ye Holy Angels Bright (Michaelmas – 29 September) & Hark the Sound of Holy Voices (All Saints Day – 1 November)
Term 2: Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending (Advent) & As with Gladness Men of Old (Epiphany)
Term 3: The Glory of These Forty Days (Lent) & Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun (St. Mark – 25 April)
Changes: I’ve decided, for this year at least, to not use the AO hymn schedule and continue a few of our homeschool co-op practices instead. We only did two hymns per term (we switch at the six-week mark), and the mom who picked our hymns for the last two years chose them based on the liturgical year. I loved this practice, so we’ll be doing that as well. If these change later in the year, I’ll post the updated list in my recap post.
Term 1: The Song of Roland (an 11th-century battle ballad) & Arkansas Traveler
Term 2: King John and the Abbot (C will be reading about John in Term 2) & Follow the Drinking Gourd (B will be reading about the Underground Railroad and studying Astronomy in Term 2)
Term 3: Can She Excuse My Wrongs? (we sang John Dowland last year and enjoyed his music) & Galway Bay (I wanted to at least mention the 19th-century Irish diaspora this year as well)
Changes: We’re also not following the AO schedule for our folksongs either but, again, only doing two per term and I’m attempting to match them to the timeframes we’ll be studying. B will be from 1800 to 1914, so the second folksong in each term will match that era. C will be from 1000 to around 1500 AD, but finding folksongs that are confirmed from that era, instead of just maybe sung for many years before they were actually published in a broadside, is problematic, so I’m giving myself grace here and just doing my best. Again, this list may change before the end of the year, and I’ll share any changes in my recap post.
We’ll also continue with our Swedish Drill exercises two times per week during our lesson time. We’re still working through the first routine in this book, but I hope to finish the book this year and move on to the next one.
C mentioned that she’d like to take dance lessons, so I enrolled her in a local and extremely casual dance class she’ll be attending through most of Term 1 and part of Term 2. This plan is pretty far out of my comfort zone as we’ve never done any extra-curricular activities like this outside of our co-op, so I’m a little nervous but also excited for her to be able to try something new.
After we finished cooking in Term 1 last year, we did origami for Terms 2 and 3, which is basically what B did for Year 1 as well. I would’ve liked to have done more with her, but this did work well for us and she enjoyed it. The list above is pretty tentative, but I’ll be doing the beeswax activities with both of them, so I’m hoping that makes them more likely to happen. I’m also hoping to get at least a few of the projects made from that book to craft some potential Christmas gifts.
C has also expressed the desire to become a dollmaker when she grows up (if we’re ever in Vancouver, BC, Bamboletta will be a must-visit!), so I decided we will tackle sewing this year. B also began sewing in Year 2, though he did the majority of it on his own. I know C will need more guidance which makes me a little anxious, but hopefully, we can make this happen.
And the Term 3 craft is very, very tentative. B also did clay modeling in Year 2, but my friend Dawn led it in our co-op and she did an absolutely amazing job of it. I’m really, really anxious about this one as I know I won’t be as thorough or helpful as she was, but we’re going to at least give it a try.
So here are our plans for Year 2! I won’t be doing recap/planning posts at the end of each term this year as I have in years past, but I will be doing an end-of-year recap post with any changes I made along the way (which I’m sure will happen) as well as how things went. I hope everyone has a wonderful school year!