Monday, December 16, 2013

My Ambleside Planning Process: Week by Week

Here is the final (and shortest) installment of my Ambleside Planning Series.
You can read the other parts here:
Part 4:  Week by Week Planning (You are here!)  
Because I have put a lot of work into determining and organizing the flow our year, terms, and days already, there really isn’t much that I need to do on a week by week basis.  I do like to take the time to skim and (if needed) pre-read our reading assignments for the week.   This helps me to get a sense of where we are going as well as helping me gage how to spread our readings out over the week.
This has been fairly easy to keep up with for Year 1 since the reading load is fairly light, and Michelle has been my only student in an official AO Year.  But at times when I have needed to prioritize, I have found that the items the most important to look over ahead of time for Year 1 have been history, Parables from Nature, and Shakespeare.   I may need to do a bit more than that for Year 2 this coming year since I will be handing Michelle a couple of her books to read on her own – I need to know what is happening in those books too. J
Here is a sample page from the pre-reading notebook I keep.
As I read, I jot down some simple notes in a notebook which I can then keep and refer to over the week as needed (and also save to refer back to when I have multiple children in multiple AO years!!)   The kinds of things I look for when skimming and pre-reading:
  • List of names of important characters and places in the story (I list these out on the whiteboard before we read so that Michelle can refer back to them in her narration.  This has been helpful to her in retaining these names, since before I started this I got a lot of “this guy” and “that guy” sort of stuff from her.)
  • Any vocabulary that may be key to understanding the story.   I don’t go overboard with this defining every single word that she may not know in the text since many words can be deduced from their context.  But occasionally, especially in the difficult stories like Parables from Nature, it can make a difference between enjoying and getting the point of the story or getting really frustrated with it.  For example, in our last assigned Parable, we talked about the words “obstinate”, “accommodating”, and “mutual” before we started.
  • Any visuals that might help to bring the story to life?   Depending on the story, sometimes googling a picture of the person, animal, or item or studying a map of places mentioned can help bring the story to life.  
  • Any discussion points that come to mind.
  • If the story is too long to read in one sitting, I might make a note of how many readings to split it into and where to stop each section.
This may seem like a lot, but I don’t do all of these things for everything we read.   While I find it helpful to know what’s coming and be aware of any particularly long or difficult readings, it’s is also important NOT to overdo it.  We don’t need burnt out mamas trying to correlate everything together beautifully, nor do we want to err on the side of doing too much for our students and prevent them from discovering and learning and making their own connections for themselves.  You may find the post that I guest-posted at Afterthoughts about lesson planning a while back helpful to see how this preparation work plays out in real life for us.
And that brings us to the end of our little series.  I hope that it has been helpful!  (Hey, just writing it all out has been helpful for me – it’s given me a checklist to work from so I don’t have to scratch my head wondering if I missed something!)

No comments:

Post a Comment