Sunday, April 15, 2012

Homeschool Store in the Cupboard: Planning for Grade Six (Ambleside Online)

Jeanne recently posted about how she goes about planning an Ambleside Online year. I've been doing some similar planning for next fall's AO Year 6, Crayons/Dollygirl's Grade 6 year. A lot of next year's material comes from our "homeschool store in the cupboard," either because we already had the recommended book from previous Squirrelings, or because, here and there, we are substituting for books we have a) already read or b) can't get hold of or can't afford, and because I want to add some Canadian content.

AO Year 6 daily lessons include Penmanship or Copywork, Math, Foreign language (French), Latin, and Musical Instrument Practice. We will not likely be doing Latin next year, and Crayons doesn't play an instrument, so those are crossed out.

The weekly lessons are Art Appreciation, Art, Grammar, work with timelines and maps, Handicrafts, Music Appreciation (including folksongs and hymns), Nature Study, One Life from Plutarch (per term), and a Shakespeare play (per term). The only major change I am making--just for this year--is that we will not be doing Plutarch in the second and third terms. That's not because Plutarch isn't important, but because those terms are already focused on Greek and Roman history and for us it seems like overkill. When I read Augustus Caesar's World last year with Ponytails, I found it was such a packed-full book that we could have used extra time on it. (It's not just a biography of Augustus Caesar: there are sections on Eastern religions, a survey of Old Testament history, a retelling of the Aeneid, lists of Roman gods and goddesses, a story by Horace, and more.  I even learned some things about King Herod that I never knew before.)

These are the booklists for the specific subject areas, with my notes:

Bible: Like Jeanne, I'd like Crayons to make Bible reading more of a personal habit rather than a school subject. But during school time this year, I'm hoping to study the first half of Francis Schaeffer's booklet Basic Bible Studies. Also, the AO year's work includes Ruth Beechick's Genesis: Finding Our Roots, the novel The Bronze Bow, and optional biographies of Nate Saint and Brother Andrew. All of those we can count under Bible and Christian Studies. I would also like to include a book by Isobel Kuhn (Crayons appreciates some female content, plus Mrs. Kuhn was a Canadian).

Year 6 History is a mixture: the first term covers the end of World War I to present day, and the other two terms are ancient history. The WWI period has always been a bit tricky to "Canadianize," whether you try to fit it in at the end of Year 5 or leave it until Year 6. I think there's just more Canadian material to cover, even for Year Sixes, than there is American; maybe because we were in the war longer, I'm not sure. Anyway, the other girls never got through WWI by the end of Year 5, but with Crayons we are going a bit faster and should be more on track with that.

For Term 1, AO suggests either the older books Story of Mankind or A Child's History of the World, plus Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World, Vol 4: The Modern Age. We'll do just the Bauer chapters, plus the 20th-century chapters from Janet Lunn and Christopher Moore's Story of Canada. We also have Scholastic's Everything You Need to Know About Canadian Social Studies Homework, and Don Gillmor's big illustrated Canada: A People's History Volume Two.

History for terms two and three includes Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster, Story of the Greeks by H. A. Guerber, and Story of the Romans by H. A. Guerber. We do not own the Guerber books, but we do have Mary Macgregor's Story of Rome and Story of Greece. Or we can read the Guerber books online at The Baldwin Project.

Along with the regular history books, the AO booklist includes a section of History Tales and/or Biography. The Christian-history book Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula is used throughout the AO years, but we sold our copy to someone else, so won't be using it this year. If we're already including the Christian biographies and Genesis, Finding Our Roots with the Christian studies, the only biography left in this section is Never Give In (about Winston Churchill), to be read in the third term. Some of the other free reading books are biographies or personal experiences as well, like The Von Trapp Family Singers. So I don't think we're short on those.

We may include Douglas Bond's fourth Mr. Pipes book, The Accidental Voyage: Discovering Hymns of the Early Centuries, since we're not reading Trial and Triumph. Ponytails read it last year in Grade 8, and she found it fairly tough going.

Citizenship:  This section is not included in Ambleside until Year 7, but since we are not doing much Plutarch, I wanted to include something else such as Ourselves or an Uncle Eric book.  We just bought “Uncle Eric” Talks About Personal, Career & Financial Security, and I think some parts of it would work well for Crayons next year.  (Some parts are obviously aimed more at older students or adults.)  Also, it's meant to come before Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, which we read in Year 7.

Geography:  The suggested book is The Story of David Livingstone by Vautier Golding.  We read about Livingstone this year already and don't really want to study him again.  But I think the suggested science book The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson could also work for geography.  We have copies of both the Young Reader's Edition, which has lots of maps, and a "commemorative edition" with photographs.  Sometime between now and September, I might have time to put together a "treehouse study guide" for Crayons.

Natural History/Science:
We are not great at sticking with The Handbook of Nature Study, although we've used some of the outdoor challenges on the HNS blog.  Some of the things that make nature study more motivating for Crayons are working in a group, going out looking for specific things (such as different kinds of autumn leaves), and studying high-interest topics such as favourite animals.  Note to self: see if we can get into some kind of co-op this year that includes nature study.

Book list for nature and science:
School of the Woods by William J. Long --moving this to free reading
The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson  --moving this to geography
It Couldn't Just Happen by Lawrence Richards --already read with Ponytails.

Instead of the other suggested alternatives, we will plan to use Christian Kids Explore Physics, since we already have that book, and since Mr. Fixit used it successfully with Ponytails in her grade 7 year.

Science Biography: 
* Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity by Robert Cwiklik OR Ordinary Genius by Stephanie McPherson--we don't own either of these books, but we can borrow them.  We just bought the Albert Einstein Inventor's Special DVD.
** Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick--we just bought this as well.
*** Galileo and the Magic Numbers by Sidney Rosen--we read this already in Year 3, so we may find something else to read in the third term.

Penmanship/Copywork, Grammar, Composition  Along with oral and written narrations and studied dictation, I am planning to include some work on study skills and writing from the book Write Source 2000 (a slightly younger version of Writer's Inc.).  We do have the Tan level of Learning Language Arts Through Literature (bought for this year and not used much), but there's not much point in forcing what isn't working well.  I think the less workbooky approach of a handbook would be a better choice for next year.

Mathematics:  we'll most likely be using Math Mammoth Light Blue Grade 6. Or at least starting it...if it takes us into grade 7, that's fine too.  (Just looking at all those topics, I get the feeling that it might.)
This course covers
•the four operations and exponents
•simple equations and expressions
•ratios and problems involving ratios
•proportions, scaling of geometric figures, and scaling in maps
•all operations with decimals
•primes and prime factorization
•all operations with fractions
•geometry: angle problems and calculations, area of polygons, congruent transformations, similar figures, Pi & area and circumference of a circle, surface area and volume of common solids.
•integers: all four operations and the coordinate grid
•statistics and probability
Foreign Language:  I bought the next level of Mission Monde.  I'm not sure whether to consider it a good thing or not that we will be doing a second year about Burundi.  I'm also finding this program pretty packed--you do a lot of different things in a short time, and I'm not sure how much Crayons is getting down solid.  I think we have to pick out a few grammar points etc. that we really want to focus on over the year, work a lot on those, and let some of the rest go.  I do know as well that when you get to high school French, it Starts All Over Again.  Frustrating, but true.

Latin:  I'm pretty sure that French will be enough for this year.

* Robert Frost
** Carl Sandburg / we may substitute a Canadian poet
*** Alfred Noyes

Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch ch 29 (Ulysses) - end (Druids)
* ** The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
** Animal Farm by George Orwell
*** The Iliad  - perhaps Black Ships before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff --this one we've already read, so we'll probably choose something else for this term.

Art and Music Appreciation:  We'll probably follow the AO rotation for these, possibly incorporating some Canadian artists.

Additional Books for Free Reading
I'm not including the whole list here--you can go to the AO Year 6 booklist and see them if you want.  There are a few on the list that Crayons has already read, but quite a few that she hasn't.

And that's all the planning that I've done so far.  Hey, it's only April.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

You know, your planning and your year sounds an awful lot like mine. I like to think we're kindred spirits! We certainly approach school similarly, anyhow.

I'll be back here at the end of the year when I'm planning for AO6. Thanks.