Our 2022 – 2023 Selections
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This year I have a year 3, 8-year-old, year 1, 6-year-old, year 00, 4-year-old (who is counting the days till formal education), and the littlest one along for the ride is our 2-year-old. Needless to say, every day looks a little different with this group considering their ages and interests. This post covers what we use and a general guide to how we use it.
You will see Ambleside Online referenced several times within this post. Ambleside Online or AO is the bulk of the curriculum we use with is a free curriculum based on the Charlotte Mason method of home education. We adore Charlotte Mason and the AO curriculum, however, you will see there are a few things we add or remove to make it our own and do what works best for our family. This is of no disrespect to Charlotte Mason or the lovely creators of AO. We are a family who believes everyone has their journey. We know that we are the authority and educators in our home and therefore strive to make all our educational (and other) decisions based on our priorities through the lens of our beliefs.
To learn more about Ambleside Online and/or Charlotte Mason I will include more information at the bottom of this post.
This year, we are devoting a big part of our school day to morning time. We have found this time to be such a lovely time of day and we enjoy doing a variety of activities and subjects. This has allowed us to have the variety we crave in our mornings.
Before we jump into what we are doing by year let’s cover our group subjects.
This year includes our morning time, riches, nature study, AM loop, and PM loop.
When we do morning time each day, it is more a way of life than a school task. This includes Bible time (time of devotion), poetry, and memory work. Another subject we do daily is Swedish Drill. We never know when in the day it is going to be and if might even be twice in a day. This is a great subject that we put into the day when we get a little wiggly or after a particularly hard subject. We use it when needed, but rarely miss a day!
We are using and LOVING all of The Schoolyard resources for Swedish Drill.
Our morning Bible time typically happens during breakfast or soon after. This is a time to grow in love & knowledge. Our readings are done in a loop fashion and it works delightfully well for our family.
Loop: Old Testament (Exodus), Proverbs, Psalms and New Testament (John). We typically read for about 5 to 10 minutes, then have a conversation about it.
We also are working through a devotional that all four of my kids seem to be enjoying. The devotions in Indescribable, 100 devotions about God and Science by Louie Giglio, are short and sweet with fun facts about the Lord’s creation sprinkled throughout. This is sometimes in the morning and other times during lunch.
Poetry we pull from Ambleside Online during the school year, but have a variety of poetry books we use for on holiday seasons, off days, or breaks.
Memory work covers a wide variety of topics. Most important is scripture memory and we use the Simply Charlotte Mason Memory Box System. I love the simplicity of this method. It makes it very doable for the kids (and me!) which is quite important for staying accountable.
Other things we are working on memorizing:
- U.S. Presidents
- Catechisms: This book series is a simple yet powerful resource. In the back, they have a list by age of suggested memory work including: scripture memory, hymn, catechisms, and Bible knowledge (think books of the Bible, Lord’s Prayer, etc.)
We are following the Ambleside Online plan for the 2022 -2023 school year. This includes composer, artist study, folk song and hymn.
Honestly, I hesitate to call this a loop! This is a varied list of other topics we would like to learn about. It could be something on our hearts as parents or a special interest of one / all of the kids. This is one of our favorite times of the day. The material varies greatly and sometimes we get lost a bit but stay in this zone awhile and other days are just short chats about world events. It is a time that is very much measured in the quality not the quantity of time spend or subjects covered. We usually pick a few from the list to complete daily and then “loop” through them.
Social Awareness: Think safety in public situations, what to do in emergency situations, important phone numbers, etc.
Specific Nature Deep Dives: Typically led by the kid’s interests which involves YouTube (with mom) and a trip to the library.
Hot Topics – We believe in talking about things going on in the world (at an appropriate age level).
Logic – In the younger years, this mostly looks like games. This will grow with time. We have been loving Logic Links.
Nature Moments: A beautiful book we have been enjoying… We also use it for drawing inspiration!
Civics – Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, about the Constitution, voting info, the government on all levels
Recitation: The Lord’s Prayer, Little Things by Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney, The Ten Commandments (Y3), Psalm 1.
Map Work: We use this for some of the concepts for geography as well as enrichment for all our studies. We are currently working on How to Draw Europe as it goes with many of our books we are currently in.
Timeline: My Y3 & Y1 have a note in their binder that they write down important dates when we come across it in our readings. Once a week or so we take the time to plot them in our simple timeline books (more on these soon).
French: We are trying a “new to us” resource and it fits our natural rhythm quite nicely. It is the Delightfully Feasting “Delightfully Living French: Year 1, Unit 1 (PDF)”
Handicraft: Handicrafts have been a tough one for us the past few years and often times is the subject that slowly falls off the schedule. It is a big goal of ours to make handicrafts a priority this school year! Our homeschool group is doing a craft study this term by Jodi Mockabee called Wildcraft . We are going to dig in and expand upon their study at home during our afternoons.
Drawing: For drawing, we are focusing mostly on birds for now since there are some wonderful resources and we happen to be currently studying birds. For the most part, we are using a book by John Muir Laws, The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds. Occasionally, we may pull in videos to further our understanding!
Solfa: Solfa is a fairly new concept to me. This is a simple, free, and easy-to-use program. Very thankful for these creative resources being created by creative moms!
As you see there are a wide variety of subjects that we cover together. This is a preference of the whole family. It helps with scheduling, but the biggest advantage is that we have better conversations and more family memory-making opportunities.
We follow along with the theme selections for each term from Ambleside Online. This year it is birds (T1), mammals (T2), and wildflowers / flowerless plants (T3).
For term one and the study of birds we are using The Big Book of Birds by Yuval Zommer. My kids love the “Big Book” series! We are using the notebook companion from Daily Skill Building.
Terms Two & Three
I am still working on finalizing the plans for these terms. This post will be updated!
We really enjoy a notebooking approach to subjects at this age. We use it for nature study as a group and take turns adding entries. We also are using notebooking for Y3 & Y1 individually for their Bible readings (Ambleside Online). Additionally, my Y3 is notebooking for natural history which for term 1 is Pagoo. It is a fun addition to our days and becomes a lovely little keepsake to reflect and look back on.
This year, the majority of our schedule comes from Ambleside Online as it is written. It will be my our third year with Ambleside Online.
The Ambleside Online Y3 Weekly Schedule
The Ambleside Online Y3 Book List
With all Ambleside Online years, you will notice a free read list as a part of the curriculum for each year. These are readings that are not scheduled out, yet add so much value to the school year. These titles we use a few different ways in our home. For my year 3 (8-year-old) we use it for independent reading or as a read-aloud. I schedule them out by term, otherwise, they fall off the to-do list for us. For Y3, this looks like 15 minutes of independent reading a day and six titles per term.
Every Friday I require the children to select their favorite reading from that week of work. We then work on selecting a sentence or passage for the next week’s copywork. This allows the children to have some ownership in their tasks for the week and another opportunity to chat about that week of readings.
For math, we use Math-U-See by Demme Learning. My Y3 is on the Gamma level. We love Math-U-See and think it is great for the foundational levels. We intend to go through Zeta and then evaluate from there. I love that is a slow and steady approach that greatly enforces the understanding of numbers, not just memorization.
Spelling & Vocabulary
For Y3 we have decided to add in spelling / vocabulary and are using a fantastic yet simple resource by Daily Skill Building. This is a topic that my Y3 has expressed interest in improving – I suspect driven by his love of books. We are a few weeks into this curriculum and I think it will be a great addition to the year.
My 6-year-old is doing his first official year with AO, but his second year of Charlotte Mason-style learning. Last year we did a year 0 gentle intro to home education. We will mostly follow as written.
The Ambleside Online Y1 Weekly Schedule
The Ambleside Online Y1 Book List
As mentioned previously, we use the AO free read list in a variety of ways in our home. For my Year 1, this is mostly done through audiobooks. He is not quite to the level of reading these books with confidence solo. We typically listen in the car while running errands or on our way to other outings or at home during our two 15-minute group cleaning times. This has worked out great and is enjoyed by everyone in the family. For Y1 we do 3 titles per term.
We do the same method as my Y3 and make selections on Fridays! I have found that my Y1 does not enjoy the timer method of 5 minutes of his best work. He always requests to finish the selection or set another 5-minute timer. We make sure to keep his selections short & sweet to ensure he can succeed at this goal!
My sweet Y1 LOVES math. We often lovingly refer to him as our math machine. He is doing the Alpha level of Math-U-See and cruising through it. I am a firm believer in going at the child’s pace and we very well might end up in Beta this school year.
We have been using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. This is nothing new and you probably have used it or have heard about it. It has worked exceptionally well for our family and our newest reader has been excelling with this program.
My sweet little 4-year-old has decided she is “ready” for school. I greatly follow her lead and do as much or as little as she wants in a day.
Her days mostly look like doing morning time activities and / or discussions, a chore, then free play while we jump into our lessons. A bit later she is always ready for more school time which is when I normally pull from Exploring Nature with Children. I love this resource because it is very adaptable to going at her speed. It is full of sweet books and activities that all the children can enjoy.
This sweet girl is mostly along for the ride. She is usually found guarding my lap, playing in the playroom, or negotiating for snacks.
That is what we are working on this year at Four Pillars Academy!
All these things are selected with prayer and love to align with our family’s why.
About Ambleside Online from their website:
“Ambleside Online is a free curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own PNEU schools. Our goal is to be true to Charlotte Mason’s high literary standards. AmblesideOnline uses the highest quality books and costs no more than the cost of texts.”
Quick Links for Ambleside Online:
Who is Charlotte Mason?
“A British educator and philosopher in the late 19th and early 20th century, Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) designed, developed, and promoted a relational education in a living environment filled with books, experiences, nature, and ideas, where the child is viewed as a person and the educator as one who cooperates with God.”By: The Charlotte Mason Institute
Thank you for being here!
I hope this post helps show a glimpse into our days and weeks. I love helping and chatting with other homeschoolers.
If you have any questions, feel free to DM me on my social channels or send me an email.
I love the detail of each day and each child in your blog. It helps me as I pray for your family and your daily activities. Thanks for sharing your heart.