FIRST GRADE! This is when it really begins! My oldest is six and a half and everyday I say to myself she’s so old and grown up!
I am super excited to share our curriculum choices. So I’m just going to get to it.
Here it is, are you ready? … Ambleside Online.
Yep, that’s pretty much it. Even though I’m a planner type person- I love to plan out my year in advance and love to spend hours upon hours creating my own planner book, and writing down everything we’re going to do, and making it all look so fabulous on paper – I’ve decided that I don’t have to “do it all.” In fact, it’s probably best that I don’t spend countless hours deciding on my booklist or figuring out what every 15 minutes of the day will look like. Been there. Done that. (Yes, already. Remember, I’m a planner type person.)
I’ve learned that even when I plan everything out until it’s “perfect,” life doesn’t allow for that. So, I’ve allowed for flexibility in my plans and I don’t expect that the plans laid out in my neat little planner book will be completed when it says they will. I’m okay with that and I’m not stressing. And, I think that using Ambleside Online really helps with that flexibility.
If you’re not sure of what Ambleside Online is all about, no worries, I didn’t really know the beauty of this curriculum until I took a closer look. But, in short, we are doing Year 1 this school year. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use or navigate the website this is a really great explanation from the Advisory Board on their blog.
What’s included in Ambleside Online? Is it enough? Is it everything you need?
It explains what to add in where, like math and phonics, but yes, it is everything you need.
Yes, it is enough. Trust the process and you will surely see your children thrive.
What’s “included” is a list of reading assignments in Bible, History, Natural History, Literature, and Poetry. The really cool thing about this is that you can get most of your books online, for free. The schedule has the following listed as weekly work: Nature Study, Picture study, Composer study, Timeline, Mapping, Geography, Recitation, Folksong, Hymn, and Handicrafts. Everyday you do short (10-15 minutes) lessons in math, phonics, copywork, and foreign language. This is not provided by Ambleside but they make suggestions for you to use and all of their suggestions are Charlotte Mason friendly.
Here is what we chose for daily work (these are probably not listed as any suggestions on the Ambleside site, but I was already using some of this last year for Kindergarten):
Math: Singapore Primary Math 1a and 1b US edition. This is a mastery approach to learning math versus the spiral approach. We are liking this very much so far.
Phonics: Logic of English Foundations I don’t use this program in entirety any more but I do love that it is thorough in teaching all the phonograms and spelling rules. I omit the handwriting (because we do copywork), and some of the reading practice (because I ask Elle to read to me from an early reader book every day). I teach the phonograms, we do the games, and we use the spelling lists. But only 10 to 15 minutes each day, so we usually don’t get through a whole Logic of English lesson in one day.
Copywork: I currently use Patriotic Penmanship, grade 1. Each lesson is intended for a week, and it’s the perfect amount of writing for a 6 year old. I love that they are copying Bible scripture or quotes from famous historical figures or lines from classic literature.
Foreign Language: This term I decided not to introduce foreign language. Once we get into a better rhythm and habit of doing school I will add in a foreign language. I am taking this time to find a good source. We will be learning Italian because my husband’s father’s family is Italian and it’ll be a fun language with which to start. I’m hoping Cherrydale Press, a company who teaches foreign language the Charlotte Mason way, will release an Italian version soon. If you all know a great resource – please share! 🙂
Logic: This is not Charlotte Mason, but it is something my husband and I feel is important that our children learn critical thinking skills. Again, we do short lessons so this typically is 5 to 10 minutes. Right now we are using Lollipop Logic Book 2. I have already purchased a couple of other books to mix it up. Primarily Logic and Logic Safari. Elle is enjoying the Lollipop Logic so in the future I may get book 3.
We are on week twelve of Year One in Ambleside and I am grateful for the booklist already completed and scheduled for me. The work of the Ambleside ladies is truly a blessing. The decision fatigue is absolute minimal, which is a win in my book. We are sailing along and enjoying the ride.