Would somebody please explain to me how on earth Boobear is in the first grade?
Well, on paper anyway. I don’t really believe in grade levels. I believe in ability. So on paper he’s in first grade. In reality…well, it depends. His comprehension is off the charts but he’s still learning to read and write. Depending on the subject, Boobear ranges anywhere from the K – 4th range. I’ve even pulled from material for higher grades in order to give him a proper challenge. (Remember that insect lapbook? It was for grades K-6 and we did it all.)
That’s the beauty of homeschooling. There are no grade levels. Just little people learning at their own level to the best of their ability. So you’re free to move as fast, slow, or deep as you want when you want.
As I was deciding curriculum for this year, I tried to take into account that Boobear has far surpassed what I was initially led to believe he would. I tried to take into account how much he likes a challenge and how much he has come to love discussion, even if finding his words is hard for him. As long as you take into account his processing speed and have patience as he puts his words in order, he’ll happily talk all day now.
What I finally decided on was Ambleside Online’s Year 1 – with some tweaks of course. I love the idea of Charlotte Mason’s method, and my own grandmother was taught using it when she was a child. She, in turn, used the same methods on me. As I researched the method, I recognized it. How cool is that?!
So here’s our lineup for the year. I don’t expect it to stay this way. I’m sure we’ll do even more tweaking. But it looks like this will work quite well.
Math: Horizons 1st grade
Language Arts: PAL Reading and Writing. We’ll probably transition straight to copywork once we finish the first section of the writing program, depending on how things are going.
History: 2 strands – British and World. For World history, we’re using A Child’s History of the World. For British, we’re following Ambleside and using Our Island Story. We’re also using 50 Famous Stories Retold and Viking Tales for some Ancient history tales. We’ll also discuss Benjamin Franklin, Buffalo Bill, and George Washington as AO (Ambleside Online) suggests but using different books. We’ll have a notebook for British history and will be making a timeline for CHOW using index cards. Of course, any other events he wants will be added as well.
Geography: Long’s Primary Home Geography and Paddle-to-the-Sea (Sandpiper Books). Both are Ambleside recommendations.
Literature: Aesop, Just So Stories, Lang’s Blue Fairy Book, Beautiful Stories by Shakespeare and the Among the People series
Natural History and Science: Nature study with the Handbook of Nature Study, Herriot’s Treasury for Children, and The Burgess Bird Book. We’ll also be using Elemental Science’s Biology for the Grammar Stage, only we’ll be making lapbooks and/or notebooks instead of keeping lab reports and such. Though, at any time, we’ll set Elemental Science aside in favor of an interest led study. Right now, I’m designing a unit study about blobfish, of all things.
Foreign Language: We’ll continue to study ASL and will be adding in Spanish, both because we have a lot of Spanish speakers in the area and because I have a review product or two with Spanish. Boobear is pushing to learn Klingon and German.
Teatime: Once a week, we’ll have teatime. This will be when we dig into the fine arts, learning about composers and artists while listening to specific pieces of music and doing picture study of certain artists. We’ll also be reading poetry, doing some art (painting, simple drawing lessons, etc) and just generally discussing our week. And speaking of music, we’re practicing the recorder a few times a week.
Look like a ton of work? It may appear to be, but keep in mind that lessons are kept to 10-20 minutes each. Even if we are not finished, I stop at 20 minutes and come back another time. We take lots of breaks and alternate subjects, so for example, we might do a literature reading, then math, then another reading. Just something to keep the brain stimulated.
Boobear loves learning, but he’d rather be able to learn everything through Minecraft. He’s 7 – of course he wants it all through a game! But he also is very interested in everything. The variety of lessons seem to appeal to him, and we both like that everything is short, sweet, to the point, and we’re done in just a couple of hours (sometimes less!)
I’ll be updating how Ambleside works for us, other tweaks, and we’ll see how it goes!
Till next time,