Wrapping Up Week 26 (2014-15)

weekly wrap-up
 This week we had fun celebrating Valentine’s Day with some other homeschool families and talked a little bit about the story of St. Valentine.  I’m so thankful to have a wonderful community to share life with as our children grow up together.  Ian especially thrives on lots of time with other kids, so it has been great for us to have other homeschool friends.

Bible/Circle Time

We’re getting close to the end of Part 1 in Little Pilgrim’s Progress, and I’m going to let Ian finish doing his notebook pages once we reach that point.  It’s been a good discipline exercise for him, but we’d both like to move through the book more quickly than it allows.  He’s been doing a good job at narrating to me orally, so I’m ready to let him off the hook when it comes to the writing.  We just have about 5 more days’ worth of reading to finish up.

Pilgrim's Progress 4
(As these pictures show, my camera lens has gotten scratched and is ruining all my pictures.  I’m so bummed!)


I’m really happy with our switch over to doing all Ian’s math online.  He has shown significant improvement in his addition facts thanks to xtramath.org, and I think the time on CTC Math and GPALOVEMATH has been really good for him.

One thing that has frustrating me in working with Ian has been how little he cared about getting a good score on a lesson, so I’ve been really pleased to see him repeating lessons on CTC Math to raise his standing (since it takes an average of the last three times).  He’s been totally self-motivated to move from “silver” to “gold” or even up to “platinum.”  I’m so glad he’s developing a sense of pride in doing his best work.

I think we’re both enjoying the independence that this switch has given him.  While I think MEP is a fantastic curriculum, it definitely requires teacher involvement, and with a house full of little ones, I need to prioritize which lessons I’m going to do with Ian.  For now (especially with a new baby coming in September), I think it’s more important that Ian can build a solid foundation and make steady progress at grade level than to push ahead with a rigorous program that’s continually challenging him.


This week we finished up the poetry of A.A. Milne and moved on to the Ambleside Online, Year 1 third term selection, A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa.  Ian loved the playful Milne poems and often asked me to go back and read some of his favorites.  I like that this new work has a variety of poets, and I’m hoping Ian enjoys them as well.  He really liked Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, and I caught him telling Nicholas all about them, pointing out his eyes and head and he said the names.  So we’re off to a good start.

The one thing we were still really behind in with was our reading in Tales from Shakespeare.  This week we finally read “The Winter’s Tale” (over the course of three days), and then we watched the story in the Shakespeare: The Animated Tales series.  The story was new to me, so I enjoyed reading it with Ian.  He had an easier time following along than he has with some of the other Shakespeare stories we’ve read, probably because there weren’t a lot of characters.

History Cycle

We’re continuing to focus on the church of the first century.  After we finished the Storykeepers series on Monday we watched The Perpetua Story (from the Torchlighters series), as well as Polycarp and Perpetua, which wasn’t necessarily written for children, but contained many dramatizations and kept Ian’s attention.  I especially appreciated the section taken directly from Perpetua’s writings.  It was powerful to have a primary source and being able to hear the story in Perpetua’s own words (right up to the day before her execution, when someone else took on the task of completing it).

We also started watching the first series of Friends and Heroes, which is set in Alexandria in A.D. 69.  It’s about a group of Jews living under Roman rule during a time of unrest in Judea.  Each episode also contains Bible stories (from the Old and New Testaments) that the characters share to help each other make wise decisions.

(We’re watching the first series on the JellyTelly Roku channel since we already have a subscription, but for the second and third series we’ll subscribe to gMovies, the only place they’re currently available to watch without buying the DVDs, which is beyond our budget right now.)


We read through lessons 4-6 in The World of Plants (part of God’s Design for Life).  We also watched two episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy: Cells and Plants, and Ian and Elijah enjoyed getting our our microscope and looking at various kids of cells (lesson 4).


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  • I’m sorry your camera is broken – I only have my phone one which is rubbish! I loved the pic of the notebook pages though – what template do you use?

    • Deanna

      Thanks, Clare. My phone camera is rubbish too. 🙂 I’ve been using PicMonkey to make collages of the notebook pages. I’m glad you liked it!

  • Gail

    Hi Deanna

    Love reading your weekly wrap ups, thanks for putting them up on your blog, I use them to read back over as a reference all the time. I originally stumbled across your blog on Pinterest when searching for FIAR blogs.

    Our oldest Son is in Year 1 this year (he turns 6 in June) we are using “some” of the Ambleside online readings too. (By “some” I mean 50 Famous Stories, Island Story, Paddle to the Sea, Burgess Bird Book, James Herriot, Aesop, the recommended Poetry and some of the Free Reads so far we’ve read The Velveteen Rabbit, and Saint George and The Dragon, this book was a bit much for him) I’ve gone through and selected those I knew he could handle and omitted those I know he might struggle with.

    I’m just trying to work out the difference in the schooling years between the U.S. and Australia. Our schooling year starts in Feb and goes till Dec with a split year intake (for example all children turning 6 between 1st July 2014 and 30th June 2015 started Year 1 in Feb 2015! Can be quite confusing!!).

    This means that our son would be one of the youngest in his year if he was as school and if he was born 2 weeks later wouldn’t start Year 1 till next year but I’m trying to keep him at the level he’s meant to be for all subjects including Ambleside! In terms of Maths and Reading he’s doing really well at the Year 1 level but following the recommended readings for Ambleside Year 1 I’m finding the content is a bit much at times for him being he is only 5.

    How old is Ian? My impression is he turns 7 this year so he would be a bit older to handle and understand some of the content covered in some of the stories.

    I realise each child is different but I wanted the perspective of someone who is using the Ambleside curriculum as to what you thought. I’ve been considering leaving it to start Year 1 until next year even though he will technically be a Year 2 so then we can cover all the readings together when he is ready (which doesn’t mesh well with my rule following self!!!!)

    You’re advice or insight would be greatly appreciated?

    Congratulations on your pregnancy too!

    Perth, Western Australia

    • Deanna

      Hi Gail. Ian is turning 7 next week. I love the Ambleside lists, and looked forward to starting for years! We started out this year doing most of AO Year 1, but because I really want to follow a 4 year history cycle, I was adding in our own stuff and it was just too much so we dropped the AO history selections. If Ian was my only child, I would probably do AO as written, but with others coming up behind him, I want to teach a lot together, and I’ve realized this year that even though Ian was definitely ready for Year 1, I probably should have held off until Elijah was old enough to join us, and at 5, he’s definitely NOT ready for most of it. So I’m leaving a few of the free reads for now, and I think I’ll hold off on Year 2 for an extra year just so I can take both boys through it together.

      I would probably hold off with your son until he’s at least 6. With Ian, I went through most of the AO Year 0 recommendations when he was 4-5, and then started introducing some more challenging things the year he was 5-6. (Have you seen my post about our “0.5” plan, which was what we did for Kindergarten?) I felt like that really got him ready for Year 1. (I did shift gears halfway through the year and go back back to FIAR, but we kept a few of his favorites from that plan.) When he turned 6 last year I started going through some of the Year 1 free reads, but we waited until our school year started in July to dive into the scheduled readings. I think that worked really well for us.

      Our family dynamic has as much to do with my decisions about curriculum as Ian’s particular readiness and learning style, so obviously what we did won’t work for everyone, but take it for what it’s worth and maybe it can give you a starting place!

  • Gail

    Thanks Deanna

    That’s given me a good idea to delay and do siblings together! Like you our 2nd DS is only 2 years behind his brother! As it happens he’s hearing many of the readings I’m doing anyway so it would be nice if he was a bit older so they can do all of them together!

    We’ve also done a lot of the recommended books for AO Year 0 already through FIAR so are in the same situation!

    I find that in many ways each time I read your blog and “see” what you are doing, what suits your family and the way you think is very similar to our family and myself so that’s why it’s been such a help to get your feedback!

    Thanks once again.