Friday, January 16, 2009

18 months

That’s how long it took me to get through Ambleside Online’s Year 1 schedule, which is, I might point out, a 36-week schedule. I mentioned starting it in this post so I thought I’d post an update now that I’ve achieved this goal. And believe me, I do consider it an achievement. The past eighteen months have been better than the previous three eighteen-months put together.

The fairly short lessons, allowing time for the children to tell the story back to me (one or two after each lesson — I don’t think I ever have all four of them narrate for me) have been very productive. I’m amazed at how much they remember, even of stories we read in the first weeks.

They love the poetry every day, and all want to be memorizing one. We’ve amassed a collection of favorites that they want to hear read again regularly. The most popular is George MacDonald’s The Wind and the Moon, which they ask for nearly every week and have memorized just from hearing it so often… practically by osmosis.

We have almost finished both Level 1 books in The Learnables French, and they’re interested enough that they constantly ask me how to say new things in French, and we’re getting to the point where we can have brief interchanges (I can’t quite call them conversations) in French at odd times during the day. It’s fun. The older children are studying Japanese, so it’s not uncommon to hear “Bonjour!” answered with “Ohayo,” or if a little kids says, “Il est sur la table,” Number One Son (motto “Come and take it!”), who is accountably prejudiced against the French, responds with, “Urusai,” which means “Please stop speaking French in my presence, honorable younger sibling,” in Japanese. Only less polite.

I’ve still only read the first of Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series and I need to read more. I used to think that CM was only suitable for younger children, but recently I read that people think that because they’re only familiar with her first book.

Having a younger group of kids is such a blessing — it’s like being able to start over and do a better job the second time around.

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