A few months ago, we ended our Ambleside Online Year 2 studies. After a few weeks off, we began Year 3 slowly. While we do homeschool year round, through the spring and summer we take it a bit slower to enjoy the weather and fun activities. What would normally take one week we are doing over two. This allows us a lot of extra time to enjoy a bit of a break and still have a structure in our days.
This year has also given us a chance to slowly transition into more independent work for both kiddos. At seven and eight years old they are both proficient readers. This slower pace is a great way to let them take on more of the readings themselves.
This is a great transition, but it does take a bit more work on my end in preparing Ambleside for the week.
Because they are reading on their own, I need to have read the material ahead of them. Prereading allows me to be prepared for any discussions that may come up. I like to have any extra maps, activities or extra information that may help with the readings available and ready as well.
My plan has been to take a morning each weekend, normally Saturday morning, to read ahead for the week. So far it has been working pretty well.
When my morning arrives, I spend a little time pulling the books I need and any other materials I may need. After I have my materials, and coffee, I lock myself in my office, while my hubby watches kiddos.
It’s not distraction free, but it works pretty well. In the mix on my desk are my stack of books, my printed weekly schedule, the kids planners and my planner.
I begin by writing out our schedule for the week, extra curriculers and the little things that we need to get done. Then I plan the week for the kids, they have three sections of work, “On your own – daily”, “With mom – daily”, “Everyone together”, and “On your own – by the end of the week”. They then get to choose what they want to do each day, and what order they want to do them in. This has been a great way for them to feel a bit more control in their day, and has helped with their independence as well. They just have to mark off the box when they have completed their work and done their narration, if required.
After I have the kids schedules completed, I work through my list of what I need to be sure they get done with me. Any extra activities, worksheets, videos, experiments, etc. get put in my planner. I also have a list of our morning basket readings and activities so that I stay on track with those as well. These include our bible, prayers, read-a-louds literature, poetry, etiquette, geography, artist study, composer and a few extras that may come into the picture. These are not on their schedules, only mine, so that I can stay on top of these items without them feeling overwhelmed.
When schedules are filled in, I start prereading. For some books, like history, I like to have a few notes with names and dates so that they are handy when working on our book of centuries. Otherwise, I read the book, find any extra materials I may want to use and either print or make notes as to where or what I will need.
After my few hours of confinement, I bring the items back to my boxes and organize them for the week. I also put any extra materials for the kids into their workboxes.
Once they are put away, I am done, and I can enjoy the weekend!
When Monday comes, I feel refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. Rather than extra stress, pulling together materials and prereading, the materials we need are in my boxes, any extra materials are in the kids’ workboxes and there is rarely any extra things that need to be done before we begin.
This change to our routine has changed my Monday’s for the better!
I love being able to access the extra materials easily and it makes the school day run much smoother if I am prepared.
As a bonus, the few hours with great living books, semi-quiet, and coffee is a pretty good start to the weekend as well!