Thursday, December 10, 2015

Term 1 Review {2015-2016}

We have wrapped up term 1 of our school year and are a few weeks into term 2. You can find our original school plans here and here.

(Pictures in this post are random pictures I took during term 1.)

It was a good term and we are certainly enjoying Ambleside Online curriculum. Tyler has had the smoothest transition and he is moving right along. It has taken Caleb a little longer to settle into the book list.

We have followed Tyler's original book list almost completely. I can't believe it!  We did drop the Using Language Well book because I just couldn't fit him into the program (he was at different grammar and dictation levels). We also changed his math program, but I will save that for another post.

Tyler said his favorite books are all those on his free reading list and Life of Fred. His least favorite is The Story of Inventions because the chapters are too long. ; )

There were a few changes made to Caleb's original book list. Science took the biggest hit. First Studies in Plant Life and The Amateur Naturalist are the only books from the original plan still being used. We've added in Fabre's Book of Insects and The Book of Trees .

History has stayed on track but I did drop Light to the Nations mostly because there was no time. I added in a shorter church history book to go along with the British history book.

I also dropped How to Read a Book because of time issues and Caleb wasn't really getting it. This book is schedule in AO over a few years so it will be picked back up next year. I was enjoying this book as I read it out loud to Caleb. It is certainly a must read for students!

The only thing that has been a complete failure is Spanish. He has completed fourteen weeks of school (and Spanish) and Caleb knows zero Spanish. I honestly don't know what to do at this point and this is on my list to pondering during Christmas break. 

Caleb said his favorite book has been To the Heights. I got no comment on least favorite. I think he is enjoying most of his books . . . . the IEW writing gives him the most grief. 

As I said earlier, we are loving AO. My only complaint is that there is a large learning curve. The website is loaded with information but it is a struggle to navigate. I know I came across AO in my first year of homeschooling and I couldn't make sense of the website and never took a second look until this past year. I'm extremely thankful that I finally took that second look. After a few months I learned that our placement into AO could have been a little different but overall I don't think it matters much.

Please leave questions or comments in the comments. You can also email me at  tendingpumpkinpatch at gmail dot com.




  1. Cassie
    What AO level are your boys? I did do a spreadsheet for all my kids to make it easier to understand what books to use. happy to email it to you. Though I made some changes based on books I already owned. After going insane trying to understand their layout I did find their schedule button which was easier to understand than the curriculum button, much easier to understand.

    Thanks for the feedback have added How to Read a Book to next years list. Which IEW program did you use?
    re Spanish highly recommend Duolingo. Online, free. Our 14yr old loves it and has learnt so much Spanish!! it is said three months of is is equivalent to a year of uni course. Melissa Wiley also uses it too

    1. Hi Erin!
      We are doing year 5 and 7. I kind of felt like I had to look at the year and then the lite year to compare (sometimes different resources were mentioned). Then I had to search the forums when there were choices on books to learn the why on that. It was time consuming and many things I needed to know before deciding on books/ordering/starting school I didn't find until we were a few weeks in. Had I know that information I would have done something different. I felt like that information should have been with the notes on the book list. There is just so much great information on AO but not organized, at least how I expect it. I know that seems negative but we are loving AO and I'm grateful for it (and it's free).

      We have the Medieval History Lesson book. I love IEW and Andrew Pudewa (I got to see him and listen to several of his talks last March!) but it's more time than I want Caleb committed to writing. He is also doing written narrations. Just too much writing and that is Caleb's complaint too. I spent a whole day pondering this and looking around my favorite CM resources for advice and I feel ok with putting the IEW book away. I have other resources on hand that I think we will use instead. I did so much reading over the weekend that I feel like I could pull composition off with no program. ; )

      Thanks for the Spanish information. Caleb has been using Duolingo but not a lot of time spent on it. His peers use this app in class at public school one day a week and they are learning from it. Caleb averages 10 minutes 2 times a week so I think he needs to step it up. I have the website you posted saved to look over. Thank you!


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