As part of the Homeschool Memoirs group we have a weekly assignment, and for this week we get to share something new that we have incorporated into our homeschool this year.
Each year homeschooling holds something new for us, and this year that "new" is Ambleside. I dabbled in it last year as we went through year two corporately in a very loose manner. This year we have jumped in with both feet, each in their own grade level.
Trying something new . . .
When I find something new I like to start it at a slower pace to make sure that I know what I am doing and don't miss anything. Last year rather than trying to keep up with everyone going different directions, we worked through a year of Ambleside together. We chose year two since we had just finished a year of Sonlight and that one seemed to kind of pick up where we had left off. We enjoyed the books, schedule, availability, and cost (free!) so much that we decided to continue and expand this year.
I also needed to figure out how this would fit into our schedule, our home, our kids, our environment. Since each child has some fairly hefty reading assignments I needed to figure out a way to keep up with it all. Whenever we are driving we are listening to audio books (I could do a whole post on audio books!) I rotate through the kids' school schedules and try to choose a book that they need to read for us to listen to in the car. This way we all enjoy it together, it keeps the car rides more peaceful and it takes advantage of that time we have to drive somewhere anyway. Our library has been a great source for audio books. I cannot believe the assortment of books they have on hand. We usually work on two at a time, one for car rides when my husband is with us, and another for midday running around that is just me and the kids.
We also needed to actually get it written into our schedule. While I wrote about our daily schedule last week, I also give each child a written assignment schedule to check off as the week goes on. This sheet looks a bit different every year as I adjust it to fit our current program and academic needs and goals. This year each child gets a two sided sheet every week. On the back is the corresponding Ambleside reading assignments for the week which they should complete throughout the week. On the front is the following:
Name: _________________________ Week of: ______________, 200___
Math Lesson #
Copywork _____ minutes M T W Th
Practice music ______ minutes M T W Th F
Typing ______ minutes M T W Th F
Silent reading ______ minutes M T W Th F
Bible M T W Th F
On back: write books you have read for silent reading this week and summary of reading book.
This gives me room to write down extra things that we cover spontaneously throughout the week, like our sunflower "project" that came up last week. These sheets become their permanent record of the week with item checked off when completed and crossed of if skipped or moved to the next week.
Adapting for the best fit . . . Even with the plans in place, the first couple weeks required some tweaking. We skipped a couple of the readings as we gained momentum, we held things over that we needed more time on, we elongated our school days as needed and shortened a few to enjoy the waning summer weather. Too often I have needed to remind myself that flexibility is the name of the game in homeschooling.
This year is far more organized than any homeschool year yet. The thanks for this goes in part to having a homeschool room for the first time ever (having everything in one place is amazing!) and in part to a website (mostly about high school, but helps for those of us still getting there, too) I have enjoyed on record keeping, among other things.
Time for school!