We started Ambleside Online this year. I had looked at it often, but never taken the plunge. However, God led me to various bloggers who were using Ambleside. Visiting their homeschools through their blog posts completely inspired me to try Year 2 with Bear this year.
It took a while to find a groove. I fought Charlotte Mason on a daily basis. The AO website for Year 2 recommends only penmanship, copywork, phonics (which Bear doesn’t need much of at this point), foreign language, and math as daily subjects. No grammar, no Latin, no vocabulary, and so on. The rest of the curriculum is through literature and living books (I highly recommend you take a look here so you can see what kinds of books get read through the year). Yet, I had a hard time letting go of my preconceived notions of what needed to get done in a day. CM recommends short lessons, but Bear’s math was taking 45 – 60 minutes per day to get done. I also kept trying to add in extra things like Latin, vocabulary, grammar, writing programs, and other things that weren’t truly needed. I was leaving out the essential extras like nature study and journalling, and composer and artist study (or just not getting to them regularly enough).
Slowly we changed. First, we tried to keep everything. I shortened the math lessons – set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes. I let go of grammar. I decreased extra writing lessons to twice a week. We kept Latin, but set a timer for 15 minutes. We kept English from the Roots Up, but decreased the time on it to 5 to 10 minutes.
Now, on week 32, I think we’ve gotten into a rhythm and routine that works for our family and that I can make work next year with a new baby.
In the next few posts, I’d like to give you an inside peek at a week with Ambleside Online Year 2 so you can see how we fit it all in, and in fact, how we are now done earlier in the day than we used to. We are just Ambleside Online novices and our way is just one of the many ways Charlotte Mason principles can get done. However, it does help to get a glance into other people’s homeschools and I wouldn’t have found our “system” without the help of many bloggers. I took the bits I thought would work for us from each of those blogs I visited. (Afterthoughts, Joyous Lessons, Sage Parnassus, the AO forum, and many more).