Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kindergarten in Ambleside Online - Schooling on a Budget

How We (will now ) Do Kindergarten With Ambleside Online 

Well, it's the middle of our school year and the beginning of a new year and I have decided to focus our schooling only on the curriculum of Ambleside Online. I won't be going into what that entails, because there is already a ton of good information on the website, but I will be sharing some links that help us do school on a very limited budget.

I got a little sidetracked this year by thinking I needed to make our homeschool fit the idea of public school but I feel the need to get back in line with the Charlotte Mason Method. It has been such a joy and such a relief to settle ourselves into this schedule and the attitudes about school are improving on all fronts! 

Here is an article to get you started if you want more info.  And I am reading the Charlotte Mason Series in Modern English, which I highly recommend.

So this portion of my blog will help me keep the details together and hopefully it may be helpful to others who are interested in the curriculum as well.

-I am on a strict to non-existent school budget so I will share as many links as I can to help you find free resources where available.

-I use my Kindle for a lot of the books we will read but even if you don't have one, you can download the Kindle Cloud Reader for free and take advantage of the free books available.

-We homeschool with a baby so I arranged the early part of our school day to be free of supplies(like paper,crayons,scissors) to make things easier.  I nurse him during our Bible Reading, then lay him down for a nap while the girls get out the supplies for Table Work.

What You Need:
-A Math Program -Here is a free one that we will use. I would also like to look into this program more, called Living Math
-A Phonics Program - We use Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  I paid approximately $12 for ours. We plan to continue using the Rod & Staff curriculum and they have a phonics program in first grade as well. 
-Books- Kindle or Library
-A Bible or Children's Bible Study (Don't feel like you have to buy a Bible Study.  For generations upon generations parents have been reading God's word and telling those stories to their children without outside help.
We use this system to keep track of the Verses We Are Memorizing.  I also reviewed an affordable e-book that has a lot of good ideas for teaching scripture to your children called God's Word in My Heart.

You can add in other things like Foreign Language, Handicrafts, Nature Study and Music Lessons as you go, if you wish. 

Our Schedule: (This is the plan, but it's not set in stone.)

Daily: (1-1 1/2 hrs)
Music(Folk Songs, Composer Study & hymn study)


Bible Reading & Verse Memorization -For our Bible reading we read out of a set of books called The Bible Story by Arthur S. Maxwell and we memorize a new verse each week.

Table-Work: Math & Phonics- We also use the Rod & Staff workbooks because my girls enjoy them and they are helpful in teaching the basics. You don't have to have these, but we like them and they are quite affordable.

This is an excerpt from the book Going on Eagerly in the Rod & Staff  series G-H-I

Read-Aloud: From the Ambleside Online booklist (I don't make myself crazy if I can't get all of these books.  I use what's available on Kindle for free, at the library or sometimes you can find them on YouTube.)
Here's a helpful suggestion for coming up with Narration prompts during story time.  It's called a  NarrationJar.
 -If you like, you can get Grimm's Fairy Tales free on Amazon for Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle you can download the Kindle Cloud Reader.

-Poetry: We are memorizing poems and also reading them for fun with our read-aloud time.  You can find poetry HERE and HERE  and you can read more about the benefits of reading poetry with your children HERE.
I also like to read from The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry selected by Louis Untermeyer each day.  Poet's Corner is a good source for finding poetry online.

-Outdoor Play/Nature Study:  This is a big part of the Charlotte Mason method.  This is a great website for ideas and guidance- Handbook of Nature Study.
You can read the Handbook of Nature Study here.  

This is my Kindergartener's Nature Journal.  We found male and female pinecones but the male cone was falling apart and she sort of help it along with that ;)  so we didn't bring it inside.
-We go to Co-op on Thursday so we don't plan anything else for that day.  If you don't attend a co-op I recommend taking a day, usually Friday as a day to catch up on anything you weren't able to get to during the week or just use the empty day to do fun activities like board games or crafts.  So schedule things light for that day.

If you decide to add in some extras:
We like to participate in a weekly activity called Sketch Tuesday.  There is a subject given to inspire a sketch and you send it in and it's included with a slide-show of other drawings.  I really like her blog for Art suggestions as well and she has Charlotte Mason High School info too, if you have older children.

-I'm planning to start doing Summer Sewing School, a neat idea I saw at the SchneiderPeeps blog.  We will learn Handicrafts during the summer instead of during the school year.  For me this helps alleviate the feeling of guilt from not always getting to it during the afternoons and allows us to keep some structure during the summer break.  

 -Music & Composer Study
I found a bunch of neat websites that look like they would be fun to use for Music Lessons if you can't afford real lessons and to supplement Composer Studies Lots of ideas on my Pinterest page for Composer study and school in general -Music Around the World Television show that highlights young musicians Classical Music Learn Music Theory  games for children, you can learn how to play the piano, learn notes and tones, practice the memory and train the ear. San Francisco Symphony website, has learning games. Learn to read music.

-We follow this Composer Study schedule from Homegrown Learners:
-She also has a great article to read regarding music and composer study.

There are a few things I haven't managed to cram into our schedule and I'm still deciding if/where they fit.  I may be tweeking our schedule as we go, but I'm pretty happy with this schedule.  It is simple yet well-rounded.  Also, we will not necessarily have built in crafts or games but I have supplies where they can reach them and try to encourage them to color, draw and play during their free time.Some of the activities will naturally encourage drawing and crafting anyway so I didn't feel the need to add more.  We like to play board games in the afternoon as well so I didn't add those to the school schedule.

I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions you might have for me!


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