Wow, is it really that time of year again? Wait, isn’t summer still here? I’m not ready. Usually I have a schedule ready 2-3 weeks before we start our learning again. Well, let me rephrase that for we are always learning; before we officially start our new school year. I tried to sit down and work on our schedule multiple times this past month, but something always took me away, including somehow being tagged as the parent who drove boys and friends to a nice creek that had a nice waterfall on an 80+ degree day last week. (Note to self: When you want to spend only an hour at the water in nice weather, don’t let boys go into water. Somehow they just won’t want to leave, and unless you actually go into the water to have them look at you, you can bet on them all of a sudden having selective hearing issues.) I finally wrote down what they are going to do, but it was not until last Thursday/Friday that I finally got to sit down and come up with a schedule. I don’t feel ready to start.
One thing I did keep in mind this year is that even though I love all of Ambleside Online’s schedule, we just will not go through all of the books. For example, there are always 3 bibliographies or similar kind of books a year, however, we usually only get through one. That was a hard thing to admit for it is hard to decide which books to leave out, they are all good sounding and I really would like to do them all. But, after doing this for 4 years now, I realize that we were not necessarily meant to complete ALL the books on the list, but it is a list of great stuff to choose from. My oldest was able to get through almost all the readings but some of the other boys are slower readers or the narrations just take a long time so it takes longer to do so the readings are split up sometimes into multiple weeks. (Yes, I know some people will split up each reading into multiple days, but we just don’t seem to have enough time to do that.)
This past week was busy. Other than finally finding time to make a schedule, Mr. Big has officially started school as a college student. (Yikes!) Last Monday was his first day. Right now, all his classes have to be online for even though he might be mentally ready for the material (he did have to take a placement test to get in,) I am not letting him go to a physical class. He is still a child (at 13!) and is not ready for the college environment (at least that is what I say and I’m sticking to it.) It is a new experience for all of us. Us seasoned university graduates are trying to guide him in what he needs to be doing, and even though I did take an online course several years ago, it does seem to be very different than what us old folks experienced, though with being old comes wisdom and that makes up for all of it. 🙂 So his AO classes are limited and made up for with all the work he will be doing in his two classes.
For the other boys, we are almost set with our books. I would just like to get a different version of the King Arthur that they will be doing this year for I would like to get the version that has Librivox recordings to listen to. Librivox is a site that had free public domain audio books that are read by volunteers. Since many of the books used by AO are now out of copyright and in the public domain, there are many of the books we can listen to instead of having them read it or having me read to them. Last year we chose to listen to Robinson Crusoe. The reader was pretty good and the boys liked it. They followed along in their book and got to listen to someone other than their mother. It also gave me a break from having to read it for them (it is a very wordy book, something they are not quite used too yet and therefore harder for them to read on their own,) and I got to work with other brothers during that time.
Oh, I can’t forget the Big Mr. 5 Year Old. I have his schedule as well. He would not let me forget to make him one! Hebrew, phonics (Hooked on Phonics), math (Khan Academy, yes, they now have beginning math,) and one reading book a day of science, language arts or a free book of his choosing. When asked what phonics was, I told him it was learning to read. Oh my goodness, he was jumping out of the seat we were sharing with excitement! Before he would go to bed tonight I had to teach him to read. He wanted to read. I told him it was too much and he would not learn it in one day, but I did teach him a little of what we are going to learn tomorrow – A, “a”, apple. 😀
So, are we actually going to start our new school year tomorrow? I’m not mentally prepared to start school, and I don’t think the 2 middle ones are either, especially since one boy ended up today with 6 staples on his head from an accident, and the other came to me as he was headed to bed and asked if we were starting school tomorrow for he just didn’t know. We spent the entire weekend painting the house and not thinking about much else. So, other than helping one boy with his online Spanish and the math and biology we are doing, and teaching the ABC’s to another, I think we will start the learning with play-dough. Someone posted a great site that teaches about the chemistry of how play-dough works. There are a few chemistry words with definitions and good graphics to go along with it all. We can end the lesson with testing out how starch reacts to the different temperature of waters. I think they will all like it. I also saw a great site that goes into the science of chocolate chip cookies. I really want to do that one as well, though I think I will save it for something fun to do over Chol HaMoed Sukkos…I won’t feel too bad about having the hard part of testing out all the variations then!
Or, I can just take them all back to the creek with the waterfalls. 😀 I’m so glad we can homeschool!