(Ambleside Online free curriculum)
I have been looking over plans for the next school year, and have finally decided that Mariel should move from Year 3 to Year 4. I seriously considered using one of the Year 3.5 plans floating around cyberspace, but just could not reconcile myself to allowing the history chronology to remain static. Besides, we want to get on to the American Revolution! So we will do Year 4 this year, and I imagine when we arrive at Year 6 we will slow the pace a little, and take more than two terms for ancient history, and possibly more than one for 20th Century. (I don't know, the 20th Century is kind of depressing. I can think about that later.) It is hard to believe Mariel will be doing Ambleside Year 4-- the year that Triss started out with. We have been using Ambleside for almost three years!
I do plan to use C.C. Long's Geography for the Primary Grades instead of Minn of the Mississippi, because we did Minn this year. I want to read this aloud to all three girls, but I will have to see how heavy Triss' load is this year. She may end up reading the geography book on her own as a free reader.
I may substitute a couple of the additional books for the literature selections though, especially if I want Mariel to be doing a lot of this on her own. I will need to read the natural history and science books with her at least, and it would be nice if she could read her own books in literature. I think she will be able to handle her history reading on her own as well.
Cornflower is reading short chapter books on her own, so she will do fine in Year 1. I believe she will be able to read a lot of the books on her own and come to me for narration. We will have to try it and see, because she has not ever done that before. I will probably need to read Paddle and Burgess with her, and her literature selections. Reading Paddle and having her participate in the Long geography book will mean a lot of geography for her this year, but I always feel like the kids don't get enough geography, so perhaps it will be a good thing. Really, they need to refer to maps (and time books/charts) for every subject. That is a habit all of us need to solidify. Just to have them by, and look at them at least once in each reading, would be sufficient.
As for Triss, she will have a science class this year, which means I will not be looking over her science assignments as much as I might need to otherwise. I am currently reading the text, Apologia General Science. Very interesting reading. I am wondering about Dr. Wile's view that science cannot prove anything. I think he means science is not necessarily conclusive-- more often than not, another scientist comes along and alters or disproves theory or even a scientific law, and sometimes we cannot even prove theories via scientific method. But to say that science cannot prove anything at all seems rather shocking. Perhaps I misunderstand him, or perhaps I am too indoctrinated by this age's thinking where science is concerned. Or perhaps he stated his case wrongly. Nevertheless, this is Triss' science book for next year, as I understand that Apologia books are currently better than most creation science textbooks. We have been advised to read both creation and "regular" science books, and we do that, never losing sight of the 6-day, young-earth creation account put forth in Genesis. I'm not sure what I would like to see in a secondary level science textbook, but I know I haven't seen it yet.
Triss will be doing the third term of Year 6 in the fall, and then turning to Year 7 in January. I am having her do some of her history reading over the summer-- the ancient history terms move so quickly! She did an amazing amount of history reading this spring already. We are taking a break from school for the next couple of weeks, and then will get back into maybe an hour or so a day.
I am excited for Triss to begin reading How to Read a Book and Ourselves, and am thinking of starting those in the fall even though she will still be Year 6. She has already read a couple of the Term 3 Year 6 books, so I think we will have room. She has read part of Ourselves already, and understands the author's fanciful concept of the Kingdom of Mansoul already, so we may gloss over the introductory chapters and get right to the meat. The rest of Year 7 is a little intimidating to me, especially the "salad bar," pick-and-choose layout. I would really like to have all the books in my hot little hands, and have leisure to read every single one of them, and then have about a month for Triss' Year 7 selections to solidify in my mind before I handed her anything. This is dreaming, but I am going to read and think as much as I can before I decide what to give her in January. So, most likely, come Christmas I will be hurriedly putting together the rest of her program!
Then there is the issue of the books from previous years that we have never finished. The Burgess Animal Book, Robin Hood and Oliver Twist (Triss only). I keep thinking I am going to plug these in somewhere, but when we get down to brass tacks, there is no room! no room! (I am not overly fond of Robin Hood anyway. I'm not so sure I like him as a role model. Maybe I am missing something.) And then, I always wanted to finish out Considering God's Creation (science notebooking curriculum), but I don't know if that will ever happen.
So much good stuff to learn about, and learn with, that we cannot keep up! What a nice challenge to have. Making an overview like this helps me keep my eye on the big picture. I have to remind myself that we intend to go someplace with all of this, and not merely enjoy ourselves and revel in learning. Although reveling in learning is desired, I think we have that part down. My job now is to make sure the kids actually get what they need to go where they are supposed to in life, and for that, a track to run on is a helpful thing.