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School Prep 2014: More Random Thoughts on Planning Year Seven

August 7, 2014 by Brandy Vencel

Extra stuff I thought of as I finished up my scheduling for Ambleside Online Year Seven.[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you haven’t read my first post, please do so. This post is basically the leftover junk I forgot the first time around.

Or something.

Well, maybe that is an understatement. When I wrote the first post, I’d only planned nine weeks, and the post was long enough already, so I published it. But I kept taking notes, so here they are:

  • Fearfully and Wonderfully Made is a book that AO suggests might be better for Year 8. I really thought my husband would enjoy this book, since he’s a nutrition guy and all. Besides that, he prefers to be the one to talk to our boys about these sorts of things. Not that the entire book is about the subject I cannot mention here for fear of Google, but it does talk about it. So they are going to read it together in the evenings or something. Maybe Saturday mornings? I don’t think he’s really decided. I’m giving him AO’s schedule, but if he wants to take twice as long, that’s fine by me. The main way this impacts me is that it leaves breathing room in the daily schedule, and that’s always awesome and appreciated.
  • Now that I’m done, I have one big piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to flex your categories. I’m not saying to add time. That’s a no-no if you value your sanity and your student’s time to think and be free. I’m just saying that if you have a geography book left that requires about 45 minutes to read and narrate, and the only thing left in your template for the week is a 45 minute science session, and YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE ANY SCIENCE READINGS LEFT, it is fair to say it is time to let go of your strict categories and plug that geography reading into the science slot and call it a day. Let’s face it: AmblesideOnline is sometimes weighted a bit differently than CM’s original matrix. Personally, I like it that way. I prefer to read literature in prose instead of hours of poetry, and that is only one example. AmblesideOnline is close. I mean super, super close. But some weeks are different than others. Some terms work differently than others. Some books run out of chapters before the end of the term or year. IT’S OKAY. Really.
  • To emphasize the above point: I flexed at least one category each and every single week, and I am still really happy with our schedule. I also moved a couple readings from a heavy week to a lighter week. Don’t be a slave to the Matrix, Neo.
  • That was a 90s joke. Did you get it?
  • Anyhow.
  • I always look at the books when I’m planning. I try to get an idea of how long a chapter is, and also judge the complexity of the language. Does it need 30 minutes? 20? 45? If two chapters are assigned, can they be read in a single reading? Or do they need to be split up? We can’t know for sure, but we can better guess if we have the books in front of us.
  • Another thing to consider, if you’re really getting overwhelmed, is “Sunday Reading.” The devotional books and Ourselves are particularly suited to that, as is Saints and Heroes, if you are using it. This will pull these things out of your crowded week and add something to make Sunday feel like…Sunday. Not a bad thing.
Extra stuff I thought of as I finished up my scheduling for Ambleside Online Year Seven.

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