Celebrating Adjustments (AO Year 2)

It is not January 2013, but I do know what the word for this year and the coming one is. CELEBRATING. I am ready to celebrate the big and the small.

When faced with the obvious, that changes and adjustments had to be made, I was not particularly thrilled about it. Now, a few weeks after, I am getting to enjoy the fruits of that needed adjustment to our studies plan this year.

With the adjustments, now my oldest girl's week fits her pace, so all in all, only one week has been needed to be back on schedule. These are some of those adjustments:

  • I am BREAKING THE READINGS INTO TWO (or more), LEAVING THE STORY AT THE PEAK.  This works sooooo much better. We remember where we left, and we have time to settle in what we have read. Sometimes my daughter narrates even better the next day before we continue with the readings.
  • I am ashamed to say that after much written and asked at the Ambleside Forum, I am sticking to Pilgrims Progress the original. I understand the value in the Little Pilgrims Progress, but one of the reasons for this year not working was the heavy load of readings and I realized I was in the 36 week schedule. Now that the readings per week are shortened by half, this book is fine again as it was when we took off.
  •  The Burgess Animal Book. One chapter per week. Pagoo for next year. Wonderful Plan. We now savor each chapter now. We break it in two or even three readings, watch a short video of the animal from a excel page at AO lists yahoo group for resources, and narrations are flowing once again.
  • Lamb's book of Shakespeare. We do not do this. Next year, when my other girl starts, she will be ready, and her sister too, that way both will get into the plots and hopefully reenact the plays.
  • Parables From Nature. Last year we did this irregularly. I think we missed one or two. This year we are back on track and it is going better too. I do not insist much on narrations though. My daughter is more familiar with the book, and once more, with adjustments in the readings length and breaking the chapter into two or three, this is a nice reading. Greatly loved by me.
  • Math. We have come to a great point by mixing Life of Fred, some other math books, and MEP book 1b. Little one, almost six, will start 1a next week. I will not start AOYear1 until next fall with her, but math I will. Specially now that I am more committed to respect their pace and stop to reassess if needed be. After getting the feeling with her sister, she could very well be one of those children who could do year 1 now at 6. She narrates from the readings I do with her sister in a very articulated way, she is that type of independent person that tackles things with a passion on her own. But she is not even SIX. Where is the rush? We are reading those wonderful books we read when my oldest was in Kindergarten. Waiting until she is almost seven will give her the right maturity to do a full swing of Year1, catching up with Shakespeare for children, and PoN and Trial and Triumph in a more meaningful way.
  •  I thought my oldest would need a year an a half at least to finish her year2, things looked bad by week 6, but it may not get to that point. It may extend into just a few more weeks than 36, we already had to add 1 week to catch up this first quarter. But with these adjustments each week seems very feasible. Next school year, instead of starting school early in July like this year, we may do so at the end of August or even September. Even those two months will count and benefit my youngest, whose birthday is in November.


  • We also made an adjustment already in the additional readings category. We left Heidi after the first half. The other books we have read for this year are a total success. I am celebrating my oldest girl's love for Nathaniel Hawthorne. We finished The Wonderbook for Girls and Boys. What a wonderful treat. I am putting some time before we get to Tanglewoods. We are reading Dr. Doolittle, and I will soon start off with another title from year 2 in Spanish.
Now we can proudly say we are ENJOYING our year 2. After all, adjusting is a nice thing, because it reminds me to treat the girls like persons, it gives me a great opportunity to get back on track with good practices (reading meaningfully, stopping at the peak, narrating myself to remember it is a learned task and not an easy one, considering my girl's input about why things are not flowing well). It is a humbling yet empowering process.

4 opinion(s):

Lisa said...

Oh, dear Silvia...how I love to hear what my AO "expert" is up to! :)
My 5-year-old daughter is also doing some reading this year, but won't be doing AO yr1 til next fall. I have learned to not push them...and take it from a die-hard textbook mama, it hasn't been an easy lesson to learn. But Miss Mason is helping me every step of the way. :)
Thanks for this update, my friend.
Much love to you as you continue your AO journey!

Silvia said...

How funny, Lisa. You call me the "expert", I think you are the experienced!
Yes, I get an idea of what you talk about because I am the former ps teacher too... and I am a big fan of finishing at "the pace", not "their pace".

Yes. Not to push them but to have a rich diet is crucial. Did you read Nancy Kelly? CM formed teachers in TWO YEARS training to start with. We just do one thing at a time, wherever we are in this, and look forward.

You are wise with your 5 year old girl. Mine will be close to 7 even, because I want two years of AO difference or the readings will all get badly mixed up.

I have learned too one thing. Many of the books suggested at AO, last two, even three years! If the first year they did not work well, we can either go slowly, or wait one more year to start them, and then the maturity may allow to go faster or at least to advance with them, instead of dropping them completely.

Since I only have two girls, I do not mind having some book overlaps, as long as others are "theirs". With more, I guess you could have just two years or three going on with overlaps, common books, and still some exclusives to each child. It is a trial and error, and specially, a matter of enjoying these multiple adjustments and regrouping we are meant to have, and to do it cheerfully.

Leaving readings at the most interesting part WORKS.


Ellen, the Bluestocking Belle said...

Hi Silvia! Regarding the Lamb's Shakespeare: we read that, but then later I downloaded from Librivox some of the Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare, by E. (Edith) Nesbit, which we listened to in the car. We liked these better! You might want to take a look. You can find print versions free online.

And hurrah for adjustments! We don't follow AO as it's written, either, and we're still happy as clams. :-)

Silvia said...

Thanks for telling me, Ellen. My oldest, after last year of Fifty Famous Stories Retold, has listened to it several times in her ipod. I am going to do what you say with those Nesbit stories. We love listening to books in the car.

Thanks for stopping by and for sharing that you too happily adjust and still have a wonderful and rich learning environment.


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