Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Term 2014 Morning Tea Time Plans

I know, I know.  The rest of the world is wrapping up their school year for a long glorious break.  But not us.  We couldn't do anything so conventional, now could we?  Truth be told we already took part of our break between multiple public holidays here in the month of May and our lovely vacation, and the thought of taking 2+ months off all at once makes me want to break into hives.  So, we're intending to continue with school until the first week of July (that should put us just about halfway through Ambleside Online Year 2), which will then give us an entire month off before jumping back in around the same time that our local school does in August.
At any rate, here are our Tea Time plans for this coming term. (You can read about our inspiration for Tea Time here.)  I've restructured it a little bit, moved a couple of resources I was working through with Michelle individually with our group time, and have also resolved that we will do French this term.  I have been horribly lax about this, as much as I always have good intentions to include it.  Anyhow.  Without any further ado…here are our Tea Time Plans:
Daily Nature Notebook
You can read about our daily nature notes here.   I may play around with the format for this a bit during our month off in July.  I'm finding that I am liking things in binder format less and less – binders are clunky and therefore sometimes don't get done because they are a hassle to deal with. 
Story of the Week
We will read from one of these books each week, a little bit each day until we finish the story.  These stories are all too long to be read in one sitting. Then we'll rotate through to the next one the following week…and so forth:
  • Tanglewood Tales (Hawthorne)
  • Tales from Shakespeare (Lamb)
  • Parables from Nature (Gatty)
Poetry Reading and Memory Work
As per the AO Year 2 schedule, our poets this term are Eugene Field and James Whitcombe Riley.  We may also try to sneak in The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Browning), a year 2 free read. 
Poetry Memory Work we have lined up for this term:
  • "The Bees' Song" and "Alone" by Walter de la Mare (children's choices from our poet from last term)
  •  Dialogue between Theseus and Hippolyta from A Midsummer Night's Dream (Act 1, Scene 1) by William Shakespeare  (Our Shakespeare memory work is inspired by Ken Ludwig's book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare)
  • Towards the end of the term, the children will choose 1 or 2 of their favorite poems from Field and/or Riley for memory work.  (They are loving Eugene Field and we already have several choices bookmarked to choose from!)
Topic of the Day
Day 1: Finish up Rainforest Adventure (Banner) and start Outback Adventure (Cromarty)
Day 2:  Little Pilgrim's Progress (Taylor)
Day 3: Alternate between Picture Study, Composer Study, and Folk Songs
  • Picture Study: Our artist this term is Thomas Cole of the Hudson River School.  I snagged my Thomas Cole resources from Brandy's excellent Circle Time post. J
  •  Composer Study: We are doing a term of Medieval music: Hildegard von Bingen (using the album "A Feather on the Breath of God"), Gregorian Chants (using the album "Gregorian Chants" by the Monks of the Abbey of , and Medieval instrumental music (using the album "A Dance in the Garden of Mirth").  I thought it would be a change of pace after spending the past year with Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, and also a nice tie-in with Year 2 history which covers the medieval period.  We listen to our music selections over lunch each day (both our composer music and our folk songs).  I also occasionally talk to the children a bit about the music we are listening to during this time – this term I may read a bit to them about Hildegard von Bingen and show them pictures of medieval instruments.  This used to be one of the composer study suggestions on the Ambleside website, but it looks like it has been updated recently to a term specifically focused on Hildegard von Bingen.
  •  Folk Songs: Our songs for this term, as per the AO rotation, are "Scarborough Fair", " The Rising of the Moon", and "Barbara Allen".  We actually don't typically do much with our folk songs during tea time, although I may share some of the story behind the song with them.  Sometimes we watch a YouTube video of the song being performed too, although our internet doesn't always cooperate.  Mostly we listen to our playlist of folksongs for the year at lunch time. 
Day 4: Visits to Europe (Simply Charlotte Mason) – I have been using this individually with Michelle this past term, but given James' interest in maps and geography, I decided to move it to our group time.  We will primarily complete the map drills orally, although I will have Michelle continue to label a blank map in writing.  We are using the books Hungry Planet and Material World as outlined in the lessons, but not any of the other suggested reading since I greatly prefer AO's geography selections.
I was very excited when I saw that Speaking French with Miss Mason and Francois was finally available.  I've heard good things from people who have been using the Spanish version and have been eager to give this a try.  We are also hoping to learn some French songs this term: "Alouette", "Frere Jacques", "Tête, Épaules, Genoux, Pieds", and "Un-Deux-Trois, Nous Irons au Bois".  This is a fantastic resource for songs and simple children's stories in French that I have recently discovered.
Devotional Time
We prefer to do our Bible/Devotional Time at the beginning and end of the day, rather than during our Tea Time block, but since many people include this time in their group studies time will share our resources here:
Morning Prayer Time
  • Short reading from Psalms and Proverbs
  • Prayer
  • Hymns (we are cycling through previously learned hymns for review)
Evening Devotional Time
  • The Child's Story Bible (Vos)
  • Scripture Memory: Matthew 13:44-46, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, John 14:6, Psalm to be    determined
  • Catechism for Young Children – we are currently working slowly through the section of questions that go through the Ten Commandments
  • Prayer
Sunday Reading
  • Devotional Choice: Exploring Grace Together (Thompson)
  • Christian Hero Biography Choices: The Fate of the Yellow Wood-Bee (Jackson), followed by  Pilipinto's Happiness (Shepherd), and then either John Calvin (Carr) or Gladys Aylward (Benge)
Do you do a group learning time?  What kinds of things do you include?


  1. I am so impressed with you every time I see your posts! And also intimidated, as I think we're going to jump into homeschooling when we get back to Cameroon. Can you please just custom-design a curriculum for my kids too? Pretty please? :) Just kidding, I know you've got enough to do. :)

    1. Actually, almost everything I do comes from right here, lest you get too intimidated and think that I am pulling everything out of the sky. :) This is just me taking it and making it work with our life and family dynamics.

  2. I love the idea of a "Morning Tea Time" vs. "Circle Time." Sounds so sweet! I love the idea of having little treats, too as sort of an incentive. I imagine that the children will look back with fond memories of Morning Tea Time.

    We'll be starting Year 1 this August and I'm so excited! Thanks for all the great ideas!

    1. So glad it was helpful, Catie. :) I loved both the ideas of Circle/Morning and Tea Times that are bandied around in CM circles and decided to merge the two since I didn't see two separate times working for us. My oldest dd (8.5) told me last week that this is her favorite part of being homeschooled ("I don't think the kids at school get to do anything like this, Mama!") Hope Year 1 goes well for you...we loved it.