Living Stones Academy

Educating by atmosphere, discipline, and life

A new approach

on November 9, 2012

For what seems like the 100th time, I revisited our schedule/plan. But this time, I think I’ve got it.

Now I have no idea how to do fancy things like screen shots and frankly it’s past my bedtime so I’m not interested in trying. I will do my best to explain it.

I’ve been using both Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason as guides in setting up my year and curriculum. Not following either exactly, just using them as models. One day, however, I found that I wanted to do SOME school with the kids–what was supposed to be a week break turned into 3 weeks–so while nursing the baby I sat the oldest two down, pulled up AO’s Year 1 reading schedule, and read 2/3 of Week 1. What I mean is, I looked at what they’d scheduled for Week 1 of Year 1. (For those unfamiliar, you can at least see what I mean at this link) I decided not to to “Parables of Nature” and “Just So Stories”, only because we’d read them before. But in less than 30 minutes I read the others suggested, we narrated and discussed, then I sent them off to use paper and pens to illustrate one of the stories (Caleb, my oldest, chose to show all of them plus demonstrate constellations . . .more on that some other time lol). That inspired me.

To make this shorter than my usual novellas:

I devised a schedule that puts each Week of AO into one day. So, what they have laid out as 35 weeks, I put into 7. It sounds like a lot and overwhelming but it’s not really. In fact, this week we were able to fit in math, reading practice, penmanship, and even science in addition to the reading. The boys are retaining well. But I’m not trying to cram a full year into 7 tight weeks. Instead, what I’m doing is alternating weeks.

So here’s how it looks.  Week 1 on AO was Monday. Week 2, Tuesday. Week 3, Wednesday . . .you get the idea. So we’ll follow that this week.

Next week, no following anything. We do daily reading practice, numbers/math, penmanship, but we explore further what we read this week. We FINALLY put together a timeline or Book of Centuries and start filling it in. We explore science. We do field trips–we’re already set to visit the Safari park on Monday because we read about cheetah’s today and they have them there. We’ll visit the science center because we read about Alexander Graham Bell (not on AO, did I mention I’m not following their booklist exactly either?) and we’ll explore the science of sound. We’re studying Rembrandt’s pictures and the local museum has some of his works.

Since it is November, we’ll probably not follow anything the next week either, as it’s Thanksgiving. But I DO have a Thanksgiving packet from Living Books Curriculum that we’ll do at least one day that week. Plus the added education of making gifts, cooking, preparing menus, cleaning, etc.

The week after, we’ll pick up MY Week 2 (which is really AO weeks 6-10). The week after that, no plan, just explore. The week after, my Week 3.

Hope that makes sense. 🙂 Now that will not give us a 36 week year. So I simply followed the same outline and principle that I’d already mapped out and made 17 weeks of reading plan. With alternating, special holiday weeks, and the interruptions of life, that’ll give us 36 weeks (plus some) of good schooling.

I’m already less stressed. We’ve stayed on top of the readings this week. When I discovered the possibility of a field trip or two or three, I didn’t have to worry about it interrupting our school day. All I had to do was pencil it in on the calendar for next week, our off week. We’ll be able to accomplish so much, and we already have.

I’m sure CM purists are gasping for air right now, but I’m not really worried about being a purist in this. I love her method, I love the style, I just have to be realistic and tweak it to fit where we are right now. I would LOVE to follow it stringently some day. Now, however, is not the time.

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