Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘Ambleside online’

Ambling along through Ambleside.

I must be doing it wrong. That’s the only possible explanation. Because we’ve been using Ambleside Online to guide us through the Charlotte Mason approach to home education for two weeks now, and it just seems too good to be true. We get MORE done in LESS time, we’ve all learnt masses, and we are all loving it. “School” takes between two and three hours a day, and every week we do art, handicrafts, nature study, history, map work and music – things we could never fit in before. And in more detail! How can it be?

The girls think better, play better, spend more of their free time making things, are kinder to one another and more involved in life generally. They both love and excel at Maths.

And I am getting work done, and even meeting some of my deadlines, all the while, baking cookies and muffins and complicatedly delicious pies for dessert (with no grain, nuts or sugar – or even money, frankly). Can it be real?

Our house has remained a picture of neat-and tidy order, with things beautifully arranged in their places. People now seem to enjoy cleaning up (surely not!), and no one complains when asked to help. Not that they even need to be asked – I sit down to teach and find my charges eagerly awaiting me, books at the ready, stationery neatly laid out – and then swiftly put away afterwards.

In addition to the 40-odd scriptures we’ve committed to memory, the girls now know half a dozen poems apiece, too. And they perform their poetry with eloquence and feeling. Both read better than ever – with our youngest reading books at a Grade 9 reading level, despite being only 7. Granted, she needs work on her flow, but that’s hardly cause for complaint.

Hand writing is legible, letters to us are far more frequent – and neat – and correctly spelled! At least half of the mornings find the girls happily reading books in their pyjamas, waiting for breakfast, having gotten dressed, straightened their room, made their beds and cleaned their teeth. They play far less on the computer than they did a month ago, and watch TV once or twice a week – without complaint!

Goldilocks relishes in making dolls and accessories for her sister and friends – fabric ones, sewn by hand! And Red Riding Hood helps with meals and flower arrangements and table settings before I even think to ask.

It’s as if we’re living in the dream world of “what home education should be”. I wonder if I’m imagining it, if it will last – but not long enoough to mar my thorough enjoyment of the right-here-and-now!

Shooting stars

Stellarium brings the galaxy to your computer.

Stellarium brings the galaxy to your computer.

This week we *officially* switched to the Charlotte Mason method of home education, drawing largely from the amazing work done by the ladies at Ambleside Online. I can hardly describe how pleased I am with the change.

First of all, I have to make it clear that I enjoyed what we did last year and that I am sure that if I had followed the system more closely (and actually WATCHED the DVD!) we’d have done a lot better. But the fact is that I didn’t. I was busy and overwhelmed, and I felt rudderless. What we got was nothing short of chaos, some days. We learnt a lot and spent a lot of time learning it, and I think we covered some very good, solid ground. But every day I’d panic, trying to work out what to do next, and how to do it. We’d spend hours each week just look for stuff that had been “tidied away” – or not tidied at all!

Now, I have a compass and oars, and I know where I’m going. We are super organised in terms of space and time. We have a plan. We’re ready.

The day looks pretty simple:

  • Bible
  • Poetry
  • Penmanship
  • A story (which they narrate back and illustrate)
  • Maths

Once a week we do each of the following:

  • History (century book)
  • Geography (map work)
  • Art
  • Handicrafts
  • Nature Study

We also do map work and history as an integral part of story time.

We’ve started reading a LOT more (which, if you knew us before, is hard to imagine since we were already reading a lot). And we’re working on spending more time outside.

The only lesson we didn’t get to this week was art, because I had a meeting. But the girls did draw and paint, and they started making a fairy house. I think that counts a little, and besides – tomorrow is Saturday! We can paint all day then.

We also didn’t do nature studies this week because I had a meeting. So tonight I took them outside with my laptop, which has Stellarium installed, and we charted the stars (a little). It was great. We read a book called “Stargazers” (Ladybird Early Readers Level 3), and tomorrow we will paint the night sky. It also fitted in nicely with Goldilocks’ poem of the week, namely William Blake’s “The Tyger” :

“When the stars threw down their spears | And watered heaven with their tears”

I’m excited about tracking the trajectory of my own little rising stars, now that we’re using this phenomenal philosophy to educate them.

Tag Cloud