Monday, February 10, 2014

What We've Learned: January 2014

Education is an Atmosphere
“God saved you to sanctify you.  God is in the beautification business, washing away spots and smoothing out wrinkles.”
~Kevin deYoung, The Hole in our Holiness
Family life is truly a crucible for sanctification.  It is here that I am made most aware of my wrinkles, and most aware of my need to depend on Him.
Education is a Discipline
We’ve been back to school for about 4 weeks after 2 weeks of co-op in December and 2 weeks of Christmas Break.  It’s taken us about that long to get back into anything resembling a normal routine – in actuality we’re still trying to get there.  This week probably won’t be the week….but maybe next?  One can hope, right?
That said I’ve been thinking a lot about habits and routines lately.  Some of this inspired by this blog post, and some by our discussion of Desiring the Kingdom.   Perhaps my goal should be to take some time over the next month to think through what our goals should be. J
Education is a Life
Reading to Keep Cool

 Michelle (Age 8 – Grade 2 – Ambleside Online Year 2)
After Christmas, we truncated the last 6 weeks of Year 1 into 3, which worked out fine because the reading schedule was pretty light.  We did exams again, and I was pleased with the results.  The favorite book of the term turned out to be Viking Tales.  (Even I was rather fascinated to realize that it was the Vikings from Norway that settled Normandy, and from there went on to conquer England.)  Here are her exam questions and answers relating to that book:
Tell the story of Gyda’s saucy message and what Harald had to do before she would become his wife. (Viking Tales)
His uncle went to Gyda with a lot of men, but she said she would not marry Harald until he was King of all Norway.  So he had to fight and fight until there was no one else to fight with.
Why was Harald known first as Harald Shockhead and then as Harald   Hairfair? (Viking Tales)
Gyda sent a saucy message and Harald said he would not cut his hair or even comb it until he was king of all Norway.  So as he had not cut or combed it, his hair stuck out on every side of his head.  After he had fought for a long time, he said he was king of all Norway so he washed his hair and combed it and the Earl cut his hair.  And then they said he wasn’t going to be called Harald Shockhead anymore, but be called Harald Hairfair.
We have since started Year 2, this time pretty much completely as written with the exception of the fact that we are using Little Pilgrim’s Progress instead of the real thing (we’re saving that for next year) and we switched the order of Seabird and Tree in the Trail because Seabird we already had, and Tree is still on the Slow Boat. J   I have assigned Michelle to read Leif the Lucky, The Burgess Animal Book, and Understood Betsy independently this term, so we’ll see how that goes.  Her narrations from this first week were quite good.   I am really excited about this Year – so many wonderful books in there!
In Math U See Beta, we’ve completed through Lesson 19 and will start multi-digit subtraction next week.  The past couple weeks we have been doing big column addition problems with numbers in the hundreds and thousands and have learned some good lessons in being careful with our work and finding ways to make 10’s, a very helpful strategy when adding big columns with 4 or 5 numbers.  We have also been playing around with money – both American currency using RightStart games and Cameroonian currency via keeping track of her allowance.
Michelle continues to enjoy playing around with words – we’ve been doing little bits of spelling and grammar and she seems to really enjoy both of these things (she actually asks if/when we are going to do them!)  Nature study is one of those things that’s gotten left off in the quest of getting back into a routine, but they have enjoyed informally observing our pet mice!  Some of my goals for her for this coming term are including more map work with our history and geography readings and upping the amount of writing that she is doing a little bit.  (Yes, she is a bit on the young side by CM standards, but she is more than ready and capable which I think is a more important rule of thumb than an arbitrary age.)
Reading by headlamp

James (Age 5-1/2 – Advanced Pre-K – Year .5)
I just shared about James’ Year .5 plan here.   We are really enjoying our time together each day. 
Reading is more fun with a friend

Elizabeth (Age 3-1/2 – Along for the Ride – Ambleside Online Year 0)
Elizabeth often sits in on James’ Year .5 readings…or else she goes outside to play.  We are blessed to have lots of little preschoolers running around our compound these days. J  She loves doing poetry with us though, and always wants a turn to recite.  We occasionally do a page from a Rod and Staff preschool workbook, and I’m thinking about getting some alphabet manipulatives out for her to play around with sometime soon.   She definitely has a fascination with the letter “A” (the first letter of her real name) and the number 3!  Those are hers.  She is also always asking “why?”, and sometimes her questions completely stump me.  (“Why is that a carrot, mama?  Why is grandma your mom, mama?”)
Shoot, even the pets read at our house...

Mama (Age ?? – Always Learning – Ambleside Online Year 4)
I just finished reading through Term 1 of Year 4.  My surprise favorite has been Robinson Crusoe.  I never in a hundred years would have picked up this book to read on my own – guy stranded for almost 30 years on a deserted island?  No thanks! – but I am so glad that AO included it in the curriculum.  This book is packed full of insights about God’s care, God’s sovereignty, gratitude, and far more.  I’m looking forward to reading and discussing this one with my kids when they get to that point.  Next week, I’ll start Term 2, and am adding Plutarch to my reading list this time around.
Aside from my AO reading, I have also been enjoying The Iliad with the Forum book discussion group – not only is it an exciting, epic adventure, it is also an interesting observation of human nature.   And several of us have noted that reading about the capricious nature of the Greek gods makes us more grateful for our True God who is Good, Sovereign over all things, and Unchanging.
What have you been learning?


  1. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate posts like this. I feel like I have so much to learn from homeschoolers who are just a bit ahead of me (My little ones are 5.5, 3.5, and 1.5). I'm so grateful to have found Charlotte Mason (and Ambleside Online, too) while they're still this young.
    I like the idea of reading through the years ahead of your children. In some ways I feel like my own education is just beginning. ;)

  2. Yes, it really has been rich to be reading AO for myself too. I didn't realize until I was almost finished at university that there was something more to learning than playing the good-grades game, and at that point I thought it was too late. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to do this now - for my children's sake and for my own as well.

    And yes, do be grateful that you found CM when you did. :) I didn't until I had nearly burned myself and my oldest out trying to do "school at home" for Preschool and K. Thankfully, we were able to transition while she was still fairly young, but I do wish I could go back and have a do-over on her early years rather than pushing academics so young. (Let's just say that the K work I am doing with my now 5 yo is ever so much more delightful than my daughter's K year was!)

  3. Oh, and can I just say that it makes me smile every time that I see you are from PEI? I am a lifelong Anne of Green Gables fan, and PEI is one of my travel dreams. :)