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    Term 3: What We’re Adding

    March 19, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    I wonder if it will always be like this. Term 1, we worked diligently, but it was sort of strange since we did a month, took time off to adjust to a new baby, and then proceeded until the holidays. Then, we had DecemberTerm, which was a big hit and I plan to do it every year, Lord willing. Term 2 started off well. We got back in the groove, and then one child took a developmental leap, and so I added a good half-hour of preschool for her. Now, my son has taken it to the next level and I’m going to be adding things for him to make sure that Term 3 is rigorous enough for him.

    I always thought that Term 3 would have a winding-down aspect for it, but I think that adding more depth or breadth and working hard right up to the end is really going to bring about a satisfying break for summer.

    Of course, summer won’t be without learning. We will still do some daily lessons, but much lighter. I haven’t decided all that we will do, and we’ll take a week or two off before I implement that anyhow.

    So back to what we are adding. We’re adding a bit here and there.


    We are studying Van Gogh this term. One of our studies will be concerning Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers. In addition to planting a field of sunflowers {over 100, half of which have already sprouted}, I am picking up this picture book:

    Camille and the Sunflowers

    Free Reading

    Before the year began, I picked out about half of the free reading books on Ambleside’s suggested list for Year One and purchased them. My son has already zoomed through them. When I looked at the list again during my time of preparation, I discovered that it included a couple books I was considering buying anyhow, especially a Beautiful Feet book on Pocahontas that I think my daughters will love. So here is what we’re adding to the Free Reading Stack:

    The Red Fairy Book


    Saint George and the Dragon


    Recently, I asked a number of questions concerning Latin of a group of women on a Yahoo group to which I belong. My interest centered on how to approach Latin learning when the teacher herself does not know Latin. One of the wise women there suggested that, with my oldest being still so young, my time might best be spent learning Latin myself.


    Looks like Mommy is going back to school. Daddy is also showing a passing interest, but Mommy has more time than Daddy does for things like this, so we’ll see how that works out. {I’d love to share it with him, but I also don’t want to put pressure on him to over-divide his time.}

    Anyhow, below is what Mommy will be doing, along with a fun way to begin Latin with the children.

    Wheelock’s Latin Grammar

    Song School Latin


    Ambleside is assigning Mahler as the composer this term, which means we’ll be going our own way for a short while. I’ve been wanting to try an Opal Wheeler biography. It was hard for me to choose between two favorites, Chopin and Mozart, but I decided to go with Chopin. Since I started with the biography idea, I have yet to actually choose the song selections.

    Frederic Chopin: Son of Poland
    {Later Years}

    Natural Philosophy

    It is time to get more organized in this area. So, I decided to subscribe to that awesome blog everyone always suggests, and also buy the authoritative book on the subject.

    Handbook of Nature Study

    Education for the Mama

    Since I wasn’t educated in the classical tradition myself, I have purposed to read at least one book each year on the subject so as to increase my knowledge, hone my skills, and generally make sure I know what I’m doing. Last year’s book was incredible, very appropriate since I have young children. This year’s is suggested by many women whose schools I admire.

    Norms and Nobility


    Just in case you all think we recently struck gold or something, I never buy all of our books new. Look around. You’d be amazed at how far you can stretch a dollar.

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  • Reply Brandy March 23, 2009 at 10:22 pm


    Every time you say you and your children are enjoying Ambleside, it makes me smile. The women who labored to make Ambleside a reality have been such a blessing to our family and we love to spread that blessing to others!

    I, too, love to use Sonlight to search for ideas of books to add to the stack. It really can be hard to find good books for children that are well written and also appropriate all rolled into one!

  • Reply Wendi March 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for this update on your Ambleside year. We got a late start as I didn’t feel ready to delve into Ambleside until after Christmas – we’re currently in Week 11 of Term One – and loving it!

    I’m not sure if we’ll have completed Year One by September, but I’m not too worried – we’ll just keep plugging away.

    The other day I did pull out my Veritas Press catalog and my Sonlight catalog and I got some great ideas for “free reading” for my son. I’m always on the lookout for good and wholesome lit selections for him.

  • Reply Brandy March 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Wow! I had no idea this blog had ever been visted by royalty. The honor is mine, Queen. 😉

    I, too, am leaning toward Latin for Children when the time comes. However, I haven’t heard of Getting Started with Latin before, so I will have to check it out. How old is your son? Mine is turning seven in a couple of months and he is fascinated with the idea of Latin, but many women have urged me to have him wait until eight. I thought Song School was a good compromise for now. What do you think? About the starting age, I mean.

  • Reply queen shenaynay March 20, 2009 at 5:59 am

    I just got myself a used copy of Wheelocks for the same purpose. It’s time for me to start blowing the dust off my (long gone) high school Latin before my son starts Latin in the fall. Now I just need the gumption to get started on it!

    I’m thinking of using either “Getting Started With Latin” or “Latin For Children” with him. And you?

  • Reply Brandy March 20, 2009 at 3:36 am


    I have heard many good things about Rosetta Stone, but you are right that pricey is the operative word here! I just double-checked it and it costs twice what I paid for all of the books on my list…and that is just the first level. I lucked out and found a decent copy of Wheelock’s used for a little under five bucks. 🙂

    However, comma.

    If my husband decides he really likes it (and has time for it), and the children take to the Song School CDs, perhaps this would be a good way to use Christmas money some year.

  • Reply flacius1551 March 19, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Wheelock’s is obviously the classic. You might also enjoy drilling with the Rosetta Stone software, although it is pricy.

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