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B turns 9 today. For some reason, I’ve really struggled with this one. I’ve always gotten a little sad on his birthdays as one more year slips through my fingers, but for some reason, 9 just sounds so old to me! Maybe because it’s halfway to 18? I know the feeling will fade as it’s not as though he’ll be a teenager when he wakes up tomorrow morning, but it feels that way. At any rate, this morning he and his sister are at a three-day, day camp put on by one of the teenage girls in our homeschool co-op every year with a theme of Little House on the Prairie (they call it “Little House Camp”). They’ll spend the next three days learning to play old-fashioned games, hearing stories, making things like ice cream and strawberry jam from scratch, folk dancing, and enjoying one of the few remaining weeks of the summer that they have. It may not sound like a terribly exciting way to spend a few summer days in mainstream circles, but I know he was pretty thrilled that it was on his birthday. 🙂
In just a few weeks, we’ll begin B’s third-grade year and C’s kindergarten year (which I hope to write more about soon). With B I’ll be using the book list and schedule layout for Ambleside Online (AO) Year 3. We also used AO in first and second grade and it has been a wonderful and rich curriculum and I’m so thankful for it!
Today I’m offering a list of what we’ll be doing for B’s third grade year and the minor additions and modifications I’ve made to the AO schedule. I’ll follow this up with a recap post after we’re done with our first term, as well as plans for our second term.
In year 2, we read through Genesis and Matthew and this year we’re continuing on in the Old Testament with Exodus and moving on to the gospel of Luke in the New Testament. I have J. Paterson Smyth’s Moses and the Exodus for our OT readings, but the NT readings will be more on the fly, which is also fine. I do appreciate Smyth’s commentaries and they were mentioned in the PNEU Programmes, but I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary as Ms. Mason emphasized reading to students directly from the Bible. I also hope to use our Bible Atlas more often, especially as we make our way through the desert with Moses!
We’re keeping with the same books we had last year in history, though we’ll have more readings from This Country of Ours (TCOO). I’m definitely pre-reading this one as the language is sometimes archaic and Euro-centric. I’m planning to use Charlotte Mason Geek’s wonderful Year 3 American history resources (primarily her notes with TCOO) to supplement and/or substitute where I feel it’s necessary.
I’ll be keeping Trial and Triumph in the rotation as well but also pre-read and edit as necessary. This year in AO’s schedule covers a lot of Reformation events, which can be a sensitive topic as, though we are not Catholic, we do have strong Catholic ties.
We’ll be reading all about Leonardo da Vinci in Term 1 which obviously has me excited. 🙂 Hopefully B finds him just as exciting. I spread all eleven chapters of the book out over the term so we have one chapter per week except week 4 which was already pretty heavy with readings.
In geography, I went with the Towle version of Marco Polo this year as Living Book Press offers a paperback version of it and I’ve been pleased with their quality. AO does offer this free online, but I prefer to read from an actual book when we’re having our lessons.
I’ve inserted the extra geography readings in weeks 2, 6, and 12 as these weeks had fewer readings overall. The Long’s and Charlotte Mason geography books I had printed even while B was in kindergarten have been so helpful and fitting these readings into our rotation has been a very good thing!
Based on what I’ve pre-read in Pagoo so far, we are going to love this book! I even looked into getting a hermit crab pet, but I think that’s probably more work than we can add right now as they require a specialized environment. I think the book will give us a wonderful idea of the life of a hermit crab, though, without having to observe it first-person, and I hope to be able to supplement with YouTube videos as we make our way through the chapters.
Ironically, the other book in the Natural History category was a birthday gift for C last year from E’s dad, so we had that one on the bookshelf already. The readings are extremely short, but I think that’s a good thing as it gives us time to also do the experiments described. I’ll need to keep on top of planning for this one to make sure I have the necessary supplies each week.
I think all of the literature and tales books look wonderful this year. I’m especially excited about The Princess and the Goblin as I remember reading parts of this when I was little in some kind of anthology I had and enjoying it so much. For Shakespeare, we’ll be reading the Lambs’ version of Merchant of Venice and Pericles at home, and then in our co-op Shakespeare time (which I’ll be teaching to the younger forms this year!), we’ll be reading Lambs’ Macbeth. We read the Nesbit version of this one at home last year, so it should be review for B.
I found a better version of Pilgrim’s Progress in the library book sale room that has annotations, so I’m switching to that copy this year as there were a few things that were a little unclear to me as I read it with him last year. We’ll be reading the second part which is the journey of Christian’s wife, Christiana, over the course of the year.
Our poet for the first term will be William Blake. We had a week of him during B’s kindergarten year (and will again this year for C), but other than that I don’t have much experience with him so I’m looking forward to reading through his work with B.
We’re finishing RightStart Level C over the summer, so we’ll start the school year with Level D. Toward the end of the Level C book, the lessons were taking more time which is why we had to do it over the summer, so I’m interested to see if that continues with Level D. If they do start taking longer and longer, I may have to break our math time up into different, 20-minutes sessions and we’ll do math more than once during a school day. There is some wiggle room as there are 140 lessons in the book (including a few supplemental lessons as well as assessments and reviews) but we have school at least 172 days by state law, so I don’t feel like we absolutely must complete a lesson every day. And despite the fact that the lessons are taking more time, I still really love this math curriculum as I think the games, which he loves, and manipulatives are the best way for him to learn math concepts.
We’ll continue on using the copywork resources from the AO Copywork Yahoo Group and making cursive copywork sheets with Worksheetworks.com. I debated making generic copywork pages with no text on them and have him copy straight from a book or other source, but I think we’re going to do one more year of the copywork sheets with everything printed on them and then switch next year when he’s doing more independent reading and writing.
B is a strong reader, but we’ll continue practicing reading one more year at ten minutes per day. We still have about half of Treadwell’s Third Reader left and then we’ll switch to AO’s additional reading practice suggestions for Year 3-4.
Foreign Language (Spanish)
I’m throwing the towel in on Speaking Spanish with Miss. Mason and Francois, which is what we’ve been using the last two years. It’s most likely due to user error, but I’m tired of the tears and frustration that happens nearly every time I pull that book out. Since C is going to be joining us more formally this year with foreign language, I thought I might go back to the basics and use the Salsa videos, so I’ll once again be moving our foreign language time out of Morning Time and into our regular rotation. I’ll also be using these support materials very loosely each week to build on what we watch in the Salsa videos. I’m not sure exactly how this is going to work until I actually start doing it, so I’ll write more about this in my Term 1 recap post.
For Spanish folksongs, we finished Diez Deditos last year, so we’ll be continuing along with another book and CD in the series: Des Colores. I’ll alternate this with the Salsa Spanish lessons during our regular lesson time.
Term 1’s nature study topic is cultivated crops. I opted to stray from The Handbook of Nature Study (HONS) last year in Terms 2 and 3 and they were a bit of a flop for us. So this year I’m returning to it by reading the chapters in advance and finding resources to supplement. Of course, I also picked up a Cavallini poster, because aesthetics are important. 🙂
There are only six chapters on cultivated crops in HONS, so we’ll be studying each one for two weeks and I’ll be using the guides from the Handbook of Nature Study website:
I’m hoping, hoping, hoping to pick up where we left off last year with B’s own history and public events timeline, but I’ll be opening it up to world events also rather than just local/national. I had such a difficult time finding local events for him to draw last year that didn’t involve shootings or other violence, or weren’t always hail/wildfires/blizzards which we get a lot of here. You can read more details about how we did timeline last year, including a link to the template we use, in this post.
Our recitation pieces will come from our readings and poetry and I’m hoping B is more involved in the process of selecting them this year. It will be interesting as I plan to make this more personal for him as C will be learning her own recitation pieces, so this will also be taken out of Morning Time and moved into our regular lesson time. All of this is per my friend Maria Bell’s suggestions during her talk with Cindy Rollins on The Mason Jar (which I highly recommend if you’re not sure what recitation is or how to implement it!). For term 1, B will be learning The Lamb by William Blake for recitation.
We’ll be continuing on with one lesson per week of Marion Hudson’s Brushwork book. This got mixed reviews from B last year. He enjoyed it first but as the patterns got more intricate, it became more tedious for him. Despite that, I still think it’s beneficial and helps to build his attention and care skills.
I’ll be teaching picture study in our co-op again this year and for the first term, we’ll be learning about Claude Monet as there is a big exhibition of his work coming to the Denver Art Museum in October. We’ll be looking at the following pieces:
- Terrace at Saint-Adresse (1866)
- Boulevard des Capucines (1873-74)
- Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son (1875)
- Boats on the beach in Etretat (1883)
- Rouen Cathedral (1892)
- Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge (1899)
This also means that I’ll be offering a Monet Picture Study Aid at some point in the future. 🙂
We’ll keep on as we have been with this with introducing each piece during co-op and having narrations, then at home just looking at it together and discussing it.
In our weekly drawing session, we’ll continue on with E.G. Lutz’s What to Draw and How to Draw It, which was listed for Form I drawing in the PNEU Programme for 1922. I was printing out a copy from Archive.org, but Living Book Press published this book over the summer, so we’ll now have our own copy to work from and I can save some ink!
B still likes to sew on his own and has been working his way through Sewing School. In co-op during Term 1, we’ll be learning how to use pastels, which I am excited about as they’re one of my favorite media to work with.
Our composer for the first term will be Claude Debussy who is a favorite of mine, so I’m excited about that. We’ll primarily learn about him during co-op and I actually get to sit in on composer study this year as we’re no longer splitting the forms for picture study as we have in the past. At home, we’ll watch one of his pieces being performed via YouTube and then have discussion twice per week during Morning Time.
These are also determined by one of our co-op moms though we don’t know what the list will be yet. We alternate singing these during Morning time with hymns on Mondays and Wednesdays and folksongs on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as singing them in co-op. I think I might also go back to reading the lyrics prior to singing them which I did two years ago as I think that helped both kids learn the words better.
And there it is. I’ve pre-read quite a bit so far this summer and I’m very excited for what this year olds for us!