Charlotte Mason, Education, Freebies, Homeschool, Organization

2014-15 Homeschool Curriculum

It’s curriculum sharing time again! In 2015 we will be following the Ambleside Online curriculum and suggested schedules. Thus far we have simply used their curriculum as a guideline and have pieced together other things, but I think I’ve finally learned that it doesn’t really matter what “curriculum” you use, the key is picking something and sticking with it. For us, Ambleside seems to be the right choice.

School at Home

While I tend to be very eclectic and identify strongly with virtually all the different styles of homeschooling and educational philosophies, the one that most resonates with us is the Charlotte Mason method. Her ideas that small children (especially little boys!) need to be outside most of the day are so true. Children were meant to explore nature, discover how things work on their own and see books as treasures to be discovered. Her ideas that lessons should be short and varied work perfect for little boys and I love using literature as the foundation for a well-rounded education (as people have done since the beginning). Learning spelling and handwriting by copying beautiful poems and passages not only helps my children memorize better, but also eliminates dull lessons and endless worksheets. I am still learning many of the ideas of Charlotte Mason and hope to make my way through her entire series (though probably not all in one year!)

I love the literature selections recommended by Ambleside, they are beautiful classics most of which I was deprived of ever having read before, and am immensely enjoying experiencing them with my children. I love that the selections are not dumbed down in any way and though they were written for children a hundred years ago I think many adults today would struggle with the complexity of the language. Reading this level of literature from the age of six will prepare my children to read the other great works without being intimidated in the least.

Here are what my boys will be studying in 2015. With our upcoming move to Virginia we will be making several trips to the Smithsonian museums and are excited to see many of the works of art studied this year which are on display at the National Gallery, we also plan to visit many of the nearby historical sites.

Ethan, Year 2, age 8 (Note: He is half done with Year 2 and begin year 3 this summer)

  • Ambleside Curriculum Year 2 (Bible, Copywork, Composer and Artist study, Hymn/Folksongs)
  • History/Biography:
    • An Island Story
    • This Country of Ours
    • A Child’s History of the World
    • Trial & Triumph
    • The Little Duke
    • Joan of Arc
  • Geography:
    • Tree in the Trail
    • Seabird
    • Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography
  • Science:
    • Charlotte Mason style Nature Study
    • Burgess Animal Book
    • Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day
  • Math: Math U See GammaMEP Year 2 Math (this is similar to Singapore, but free!)
  • English: Rod & Staff Grade 3
  • Literature:
    • Poetry: Walter De La Mare, Eugene Field, James Whitcombe Riley, Christina Rosetti
    • Tales from Shakespeare
    • Pilgrim’s Progress
    • Parables from Nature
    • Understood Betsy
    • The Wind in the Willows
    • Robin Hood
  • Foreign Language:
  • Piano Lessons
  • Free Reading Books
    • Heidi
    • A Wonder Book
    • Five Peppers and How They Grew
    • Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales
    • Pied Piper of Hamelin
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • Five Children & It
    • Little House on the Prairie
    • Farmer Boy
    • The Story of Doctor Dolittle
    • Mary Poppins
    • Brighty of the Grand Canyon
    • Mr Poppers Penguins
    • Otto of the Silver Hand
    • Chanticleer and the Fox
    • Along Came a Dog
    • The Door in the Wall

Joshua Year 1, age 6 going on 7 (Note: He will is half done and will begin year 2 in the summer)

  • Ambleside Curriculum Year 1 (Bible, Copywork, Composer and Artist study, Hymn/Folksongs)
  • History/Biography:
    • An Island Story
    • Fifty Famous Stories Retold
    • Trial & Triumph
    • Viking Tales
    • Benjamin Franklin
    • George Washington
    • Buffalo Bill
  • Geography:
    • Paddle to the Sea
    • Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography
  • Science:
    • Charlotte Mason style Nature Study
    • Burgess Bird Book
    • James Herriot’s Treasury for Children
    • Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day
  • Math: Math U See AlphaMEP Year 1 (similar to Singapore, but free!)
  • English: Rod & Staff Grade 2
  • Literature:
    • Poetry: Robert Louis Stevenson, A.A. Milne, Oxford Book of Children’s Poems
    • The Aesop for Children
    • Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare
    • The Blue Fairy Book
    • Just So Stories
    • Parables from Nature
  • Foreign Language:
  • Piano Lessons
  • Free Reading:
    • Charlotte’s Web
    • King of the Golden River
    • Peter Pan
    • Pinocchio
    • The Red Fairy Book
    • St George and the Dragon
    • The Velveteen Rabbit
    • Little House in the Big Woods
    • Pocahontas
    • A Lion to Guard Us
    • The Boxcar Children

Grant Year 0, age 5

  • Ambleside Curriculum Year 0
    • Winnie the Pooh
    • Beatrix Potter Series
    • The Little House
    • The Story About Ping
    • The Little Engine that Could
    • Blueberries for Sal
    • Make Way for Duckling
    • One Morning in Maine
    • Ferdinand
    • Ox-Cart Man
    • Stone Soup
    • Miss Rumphius
    • Little Black Sambo
    • Uncle Remus & Brer Rabbit
    • Classic Stories & Folktales
    • The Real Mother Goose
    • A Child’s Book of Poems
  • Habit Training
  • The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

I have also updated my Free Homeschool Planner for 2015 and added a few pages specific to organizing the Ambleside Online curriculum.

In case you’re wondering why I have so many math books listed up there…here’s the skinny on math in this household. My boys loved Math U See at first…but they were very quickly bored to tears. The same thing over and over and over again. I understand that’s the idea behind mastery, but we were skipping multiple chapters at a time. It was just too repetitive. We purchased Singapore to try out and my boys instantly loved it. Simple short lessons with a variety of exercises (we don’t call them problems in this house). And of course, Life of Fred is just awesome.

Then, I started having them work on Singapore twice a week, Math U See twice a week and LOF once a week. Every time my boys have a MUS day, they say they love it! They just hated the boredom of every. single. day. But I’m a “math needs to be done every single day” kind of girl, so this is what is working for us. I love the combination of visual explanation using pattern blocks with the story exercises and variety of Singapore. And of course, LOF as already established, is awesome. So no more tears!