Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Day in the Life

I love, love, LOVE Ambleside Online and here's why: it's an impressive liberal (broad-based) education that's easy for me to implement. The site is overwhelming, let me get that out of the way right off the bat. It is. But if you're interested in a free Charlotte Mason style education, keep reading it and talk to other AO moms. That's what pushed me over the edge.

Maya, Elena, Isaac, and Chloe are all four doing Year 2 of Ambleside. (AO Years do not correlate to grades FYI.)

Here's what our day looks like:

While the kids are eating breakfast, I read our Bible study. Then depending on the day, I will read an Aesop Fable, a poem, or play a chapter of an audio book (Librivox is my source for tons of free audio books). Then they take turns narrating back to me. For Aesop, they guess the morale or retell the story. For poetry, they guess the title. For the audio book they retell the story or say what they liked about the story. They typically do copywork while I'm reading. That all takes about 30 min tops.
Then I send all the kids but two to play. Two big kids in charge of 2 littles. We do phonics and math tutor style. I work with one on phonics while the other is doing their math. Then they switch. When those 2 are done, they go play and send the other 2 to work with me. The phonics/math rotation takes an hour at most.

Then all the kids come together for Rug Time: they all sit on the rug with quiet toys (K'nex, legos, magnetic dress-up dolls, coloring books, etc.) while I read to them.
Today I read a chapter of Trial & Triumph (church history) about Charlemagne. Then they took turns narrating. Then I read "How the Camel Got It's Hump" from Just So Stories (Rudyard Kipling) and they took turns narrating. Sometimes we act it out or they draw what I'm reading about (these are both types of narration). This took a little over 30 minutes.

On Fridays, we go to a CM Fine Arts Co-Op where we cover Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, Hymn Study, Poetry, Nature Study, and Shakespeare. We don't do any other school on those days.


dkt said...

How did you get your kids to start/learn how to narrate. I've been working on this, but they just aren't 'getting it'

Ginger said...

Narrating is very hard for kids to learn. Don't expect them to pick it up right away. If you do, trust me, you'll think your kids are idiots. lol
Oral narrating (actual retelling of a story) I only use for short chapters, like Island Story or Aesop's Fables. Don't ask questions, just ask them to tell you what they remember or what their favorite part of the story was.
For the Burgess books (Bird Book for Children & Animal Book for Children), I have them narrate by drawing. They draw what I'm reading and then they can look at their picture and tell me all about that particular animal. It works really well for those type books that give lots of detail.
Don't ask questions. (Yes, I said it again.) If they give just a tiny bit of info, just ask: Do you remember anything else? It gets easier for them over time and they will get better at it. Lower your expectations. :)

Ginger said...

BTW, when I say that the kids take turns narrating, that doesn't mean every child narrates every reading. Normally, I'll pick a kid and ask: Elena, what was your favorite part of that story? Then I'll ask everyone: Does anyone else have anything to add?
That's it, per reading.
If they act it out, I try to involve all of them. We acted out Charlemagne this way.

The Herd said...

I love it! Thanks for the web site for audio books...that's great info!!

The Herd said...

Oh, we went to the audio site and have started Little Lord Fauntleroy tonight:). I posted the link and credited you on my blog:).