Daily Schedule for AO Year 4 - Term 2

We're nearing the end of Year 4's Term 1 using Ambleside Online's curriculum, and it has been such a refreshing couple of months.  I cannot say enough great things about this curriculum and about implementing the Charlotte Mason method in schooling.  Watching my son make connections and really learn from the living books we're using is such a magical thing.  I've even learned a few things myself!

homeschool books

Term 1 really helped me gauge where Bent is academically, and just how much independent work he's ready for.  I've learned a few things:

1. We weren't ready to read Shakespeare. Part of it I'm sure is that I'm from the camp of "Shakespeare's plays are meant to be watched, not read," but another part was simply that Bent hadn't been exposed to any Shakespeare before, so it was a bit much to take in.  Instead of reading the scheduled play for this year and term, we decided to take it back a notch (AO's year's 1-3 style) and read from Tales from Shakespeare (Puffin Classics) which we will continue to do on Saturdays (our Friday) for Tea Time.

2. Plutarch is NOT our thing.  I see you reaching for your pitchfork, but hear me out.  What works for some does not work for all.  Some people like chocolate, some like vanilla.  Bent was dying of boredom from each passage we read about Caesar, and frankly, I was too.  He just wasn't there yet comprehension-wise.  Language aside, Plutarch read to us like overhearing a conversation about Season 3, Episode 6 of a television program which we had never seen before.  There were no connections being made, no backstory to pull from, no way to remember the names since there were no details or development of any characters.  I felt like if the aim was to learn about Caesar, another book would be a better fit for us, and if the aim was to expose him to Plutarch's writings, well....we've been exposed for now, but we will have to wait a while until we revisit. We will not continue Plutarch next term, but Ambleside Online has a handy, 3 times/week breakdown on their site, which works nicely for a Mon/Wed/Fri schedule if you'd like to add it in.

I've made the schedule available in PDF and Word formats, that way you can edit it to fit your family.

A few notes:

We've been using Easy Grammar, Grade 2 in our Morning Basket, as that's the copy I had on hand, and this is the first year Grammar is formally introduced.  We have been working through that at a pretty quick pace, so I think we will be moving up to Grade 3 after Christmas break.

We use the version of Madam How and Lady Why pictured below, so the reading breakdown by page number on the schedule has been adjusted for that version. If you are using the other version, use the page numbers listed on the AO site.

madam how lady why

Our Morning Basket will stay pretty much the same as Term 1, with the exception of a new Cursive Writing workbook, and the replacement of Khan Academy for Math with Saxon 6/5.
Khan academy didn't work for us at all.  My son made a game of it where his goal was getting points and not actually learning the material. We switched back to Saxon Math mid term, and I'm so glad we did.  It's familiar to him, the spiral method works very well for him, and he understands the material.

George Washington's World will be part of the daily morning basket to be read independently and then narrated.

Kidnapped will be read independently twice a week, while listening along to the audio on Librivox.

I've moved one of the weekly Storybook of Science chapters into the morning basket time slot. The reading is something he can handle independently, and we will read the second chapter in the afternoon the same day, which provides the perfect opportunity for him to "catch me up" by narrating the chapter he read that morning to me before we begin the chapter we read together. 

For Latin, we've been using Getting Started with Latin, and I'm so glad that we chose this program.  It's such an easy program to follow, with just the right amount of new material each lesson.  Bent has really impressed me with his retention!  Other than a little bit of Spanish when he was younger (colors, numbers, etc), this is his first real attempt at foreign language, and I'm really wishing we would have started the recommended language schedule sooner! I'm wondering if it would be ok, to begin Spanish with him after Christmas break, since 2 languages are scheduled for year 4, or if I should hold off until next year.  I'd love opinions from other CM/AO mamas, so please leave me a comment if you have suggestions!

charlotte mason education

P.S.  I mentioned in the Term 1 post that I was thinking about purchasing Bird Bingo, and I wanted to let you know, it was SUCH a hit! If you're on the fence about it, GET IT!  It's very well made, the whole family can play together, and you can't help but learn all of the birds just from playing.  I definitely recommend it!

ao year 4 daily schedule


School Room Tour

Our homeschool room has been so many things over the past few years.

When I was working from home full time, it was my office/sewing room.

It's acted as a spare bedroom for when my stepson came to visit in the summer.

Usually though, it's our school room.

My absolute favorite thing in our room is our yellow booth.  My aunt gave it to us, and while we intended to use it as a kitchen table, it has served us SO well as a school table.

Our little fern  may look kinda sad to you, but it was one of my $1 Plant Graveyard saves, so it actually looks amazing compared to the state it was in when we rescued it.  I save plants the way other people save dogs and cats.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who saves the marked down plants at Lowes.  They all look so sad, and just need a little love, I always come home with at least one!

We were gifted the bookshelf on the right from a neighbor (okay, he was throwing it away, and we asked if we could have it), and Jon built the bookshelf on the left when our book collection grew too large. 

Our closet had those old school, sliding doors, and it was so annoying to look for what book we needed, so I asked Jon to take the doors off and hang curtains instead.  Now we can see all the books at once, or just close the curtains if needed. 

I used to keep our games on the top shelf of the closet, but now that Cole is older, and I don't have to worry about lost pieces, we keep them in a more easily accessible spot for the kiddos.

If you've done a homeschool room tour, please feel free to link to your post in the comments!  It's so much fun to check out other people's spaces!!


Ambleside Online 2017/2018 Music Playlists

I wrote in a previous post about creating playlists to share for our Composer Study, Hymn, and Folk Songs, and I've just remembered I never shared them!

You can find the Composer Study playlist by clicking HERE.  Please note: this playlist is only for Term 1, not the entire school year.  Since you may want to do additional reading about the composers (2 per term) that we are studying, I thought it best that I keep the playlist restricted to who we are covering for this term to avoid confusion for the kiddos. 

You can find the Folk Song playlist by clicking HERE.  This list contains all of the recommended Folk Songs for the 2017/2018 school year.  I chose the versions that appealed to me, though with some I was lucky to find any version at all.

You can find the Hymn playlist by clicking HERE.  There are some duplicates on this playlist because I wanted to show my children how hymns can be sung traditionally, soulfully, or in a more modern fashion and all still be wonderful.  
*Please note:  I was born in the 80's.  Sister Act 2 was HUGE when I was 11.  Joyful, Joyful is one of this year's hymns.  You can bet your bottom dollar I included the scene from Sister Act 2 as one of the versions of Joyful, Joyful.  If you don't like it, you're welcome to skip over it (but how could you not?!).

I will add the Term 2 Composer Study playlist soon!  


Thanks Irma

Hurricane Irma may just be the strangest hurricane experience we've ever had.  I think because the media was coming off the devastation of Harvey, they may have gone overboard on sensationalizing the apocalyptic nature of Irma.
Please know that I'm well aware of the devastation left by Irma, neighborhoods near our beach are still flooded, and friends and family are still without power.  Irma was not, however, a world changing catastrophe the way the media hoped said it would be, and at no point, even once the storm had been reduced to a Category 3 (something most Floridians have been though many times), was the media willing to admit that it was anything less than the apocalyptic Cat 5-type storm they had originally hyped everyone up over. I just think of people with anxiety issues, people who couldn't afford to evacuate - but did anyway for safety and are now behind on their bills, people who cannot buy groceries because the stores are empty of many items, people who could not make it to work because there was no gas at many stations even after the storm had passed.  I am truly grateful that the storm was not the apocalyptic beast that it could have been, but it will be a while before I place as much trust in the weather reports as I did in the past.
 As of Tuesday before the storm, I (and many others) truly believed that when we evacuated, there'd be no home to come back too.
We were bombarded with reports of "the worst storm EVER," but the track was changing daily (sometimes twice daily).  By the time the track had Irma coming up the east side of the state, where we live, all the hotel rooms in Georgia and SW Alabama were all booked.  We ended up booking a hotel room in Orlando, which seemed like it would be safer than being on the coast according to the forecast.
Since the track was all over the place and the weather people seemed to have no idea what was going on, we ended up being in our evacuation hotel a day earlier (maybe even 2 days earlier) than we actually needed to be.  On top of everything, Irma ended up shifting west, and the eye of the storm traveled right over us in Orlando!
Thankfully, we made it through safely, and though we had a couple of days worth of manual labor to get our home and yard back to its pre-storm state, no major damage was done, and for that we are very thankful.
Though we've been on a minimalistic path for the past few years, Irma did a great service to me by helping me realize that I don't actually need anything.  When a catastrophic storm is headed your way, it forces you to take an assessment of your home, your belongings, and what's important to you so that you can decide what to try and "save" and what to leave behind.  
Do you know what we "saved?"  Important papers (birth certificates, mortgage paperwork, etc), family albums, my camera, and our current year school books.  
That's it.  
Everything else, we can live without.  
What if our T.V. is destroyed?  
Then we have no T.V.
What if our furniture is ruined?
We head down to goodwill and get a $20 couch.
Our clothes?
We'll just live with the ones we're wearing for a while.
None of it really matters.  
None of it. 

It can be replaced.  
Or we can just do without.  
Either option works for me. 
So I'm actually thankful to Irma, for helping me solidify this mindset.  
 Plus, the kids got to go up on the roof to help clear fallen limbs - which is like, the coolest thing ever.

Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. ~ Matthew 6:21


Bad-For-You, but Oh, So Good! Biscuits

cheesy biscuits recipe

We generally eat a pretty "whole foods" diet around here.  I guess that's why there's been a box of Bisquick sitting in our cabinet since last December (when I used a bit of it to make a Sausage Bread for Christmas Brunch).

I recently scored some KerryGold Ballyshannon cheese, and while it's a bit, um...cheesy to be eaten outright for our taste, I hated to waste it knowing all the nutritional benefits of grass-fed cheese.

Cue the lightbulb.  Cheesy-biscuits!  I used the Bisquick directions as a base, and then added in a few of my own to make these delicious, Garlic-Buttery Cheese Biscuits.  The way I look at it, the nutritional benefits of the cheese cancels out the terrible-for-you-ness of the Bisquick....(just roll with it..).

biscuit recipe with cheese
biscuit recipes
red lobster biscuit recipe

If you want to make your own batch of soft, warm, deliciousness, here's what you'll need:

2 and 1/4 Cups Bisquick mix

2/3 Cup Milk

1/2 stick melted Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter - Unsalted (8 ounce)

2 cups shredded Kerrygold Ballyshannon Cheddar Cheese

1 tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar Jug, 3 Pound


Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Mix dry ingredients.

Add wet ingredients.

Fold in cheese.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper (wash less dishes!!)

Scoop dough into 1/4 cup sized biscuits and plop onto pan

(**I use coconut oil spray and just spray my 1/4c measuring scoop before every couple of scoops.  They plop right out of the scoop onto the parchment paper in perfect little mounds).

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

This will yield 10 biscuits at this size.


red lobster biscuits
Pin this recipe so you don't forget!!  Your tummy with thank you!

red lobster biscuits

Tried this recipe?  Let me know how you like it or if you made any changes in the comments section below!



Daily Schedule for AO Year 4 - Term 1

We love Ambleside Online, and have been using parts of it in our homeschool for 3 years, but this is the first year that we are really, truly following the entire curriculum.  I'll admit - it's not for the faint of heart.  I'm equal parts scared to death and totally excited.

Bent is 10 years old and a "5th grader" by regular school standards, so we will be working through AO's Year 4 for this school year.

The website provides you with a glorious curriculum that would have Charlotte Mason tap dancing in her grave, but the load is quite heavy for the average "regular schooled" child.  All books are linked to from the site - a great many of which can be found in the public domain.

Ambleside provides us with an extremely helpful weekly schedule for each year's curriculum, but in order to keep my sanity, and stay on top of Bent (whom I don't feel is ready to be given a weekly checklist just yet), I needed to find a way to turn that weekly schedule into a daily schedule.

I've skimmed through all the required reading for the year, and used my own judgement to decide which books I though would be appropriate for him to read independently and narrate to me afterwards, and which I'd like to read with him during our formal "sit down together" school time.

The day will start with Breakfast and Morning Chores, after which he will move to the school room and begin to work on his Morning Basket.

The Morning Basket will contain:

* Easy Grammar (one lesson per day)

* Copywork

* Drawing (I found this really fun book called Oodles of Doodles (Drawing Books) that has a different creative task on each page, so he will do one page per day).

* Math (he will work 20 minutes on Khan Academy)

* A Rotation of either Story Book of Science, Robinson Crusoe, or Poor Richard.
          *He will be listening to Robinson Crusoe on Librivox while reading along on his kindle, as I've            heard that Robinson Crusoe can be a bit daunting to read independently.

Since I've gone through and divided the weekly work into daily work, I thought I'd make the schedules available for you as well!  Simply Click on the link to download the PDF for Term 1 (12 weeks).

Download the Daily Schedule for  AO YEAR 4 - TERM 1  HERE

Please note that the page breakdowns for Madam How and Lady Why are different than listed on the AO Site, as I purchased a different edition (the one pictured below).  I went through and marked off the starting and stopping points for the edition that I purchased, and used those in the daily schedule. 

I also thought it would be fun to imagine what the little fairies Madam How and Lady Why might look like, so I made these posters to hang on our school room wall.  Just right click on the image to save if you'd like.

As for Plutarch, I just printed out this school year's first term (Julius Caesar) from the Ambleside website, hole punched it, and added it to a binder.  The version on AO's site is broken down into a easy to follow, 3 parts per lesson, one lesson per week format.  I intend to do this for each term.

Enrichments are not listed on the schedule, as I don't want those to feel like part of school "work." I've printed out the first picture for this term's Artsit: Peter Paul Rubens, and hung it in the school room to be observed and talked about as often as we like.

For Composer Study, Hymns, and Folksongs, I am working on creating a YouTube Playlist for learning the songs and searching the songs on Amazon Music to play in the car.

As for Nature Study, that's something that we incorporate into our lives, rather than schedule on a calendar.  I will be steering our attention towards birds this term, but we will be observing nature as it presents itself to us, and learning all the time.
Something that I've found really helps us pay attention to details and be more mindful of the natural world around us is to keep a nature journal.  We simply use a sketch book, and while we are out, either bring home our specimen (ie. flowers, shells, leaves), or take a picture with our memory or with my phone and draw when we get home.

I'm also hoping to add this wonderful Bird Bingo game that I found on Amazon to our collection to help us increase our Bird Knowledge in a fun way!

Not included in the schedule are Recitation (we will work on that when the opportunities present themselves), and Poetry (we hope to follow the AO Year 4 Poetry on our Kindle and read the scheduled poem a day).

I hope you found this post helpful!!  If you use Ambleside Online, please leave me a comment with any tips you may have, or links to Year 4 related posts!  I'd love to connect with you!


Beach Mode

Just a quick post because I'd forgotten how absolutely gorgeous this local beach spot can be. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is absolutely gorgeous, and we frequently visit there for a peaceful walk through the gardens before letting the kids run wild on the playground.  Directly across A1A, the park has parking for beach access to one of the most beautiful parts of the beach in Flagler County.  

At $5 per car load, you can park, and walk onto the largest beach in the county.  Due to close waters and erosion, no where else in Flagler County can you enjoy such a vast expanse of sand before reaching the water. 

The kids love to run wild and free here, as well as carefully climb over the huge rock mounds, exploring the the holes containing an assortment of snails and crabs.  

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