Planning and more

Oh! So many wonderful things, life is so good.

AMBLESIDE ONLINE
This post is about planning, and I am showing some of my own planning ideas, thus, I must start by telling you this is my sixth year using the schedules and curriculum offered by Ambleside Online. AO, as it is known, is FREE, completely FREE, but COPYRIGHTED. I did not know the difference initially. I thought something free was given without conditions, but the only condition is that you don’t have to pay money to use it, you can adapt it, guide yourself as much or little by it as you wish, HOWEVER you must always give CREDIT to them, refer back to them, and not reproduce any part of their curriculum, lists, resources, etc., without their approved consent. *If you are part of their forum and a blogger, and you intend to write to help and inspire others, I am sure they will give you permission to share. When in doubt, ask them. They also love to hear from you, specially if you are new, it’s always nice to know of others being blessed by their efforts.

Those three notebooks in the first picture are our three planners. The cat one is composition size, the other two are notebooks I bought at my local supermarket, HEB, and that I covered with scrapbook paper, gave a coat of mod podge, and added a ribbon to mark the pages. (My dear friend Linda has been sharing wonderful notebook videos. If you type faux midori, or moleskin notebook tutorial, or text block tutorial, you will get great videos with nice tips to do your own).

This picture below is week 6 of my future 3rd year student. (And as I look at it, I realize I forgot to add Leonardo Da Vinci in the biography section, but those small mishaps are easy to correct as you start).

The picture below is a term glance for years 5 and 3 for my composition planner.

This is another page of my planner with my own geography schedule for both, and some penciled information. You see many of the books have a highlighted AUDIO. That does not mean they will use it but this year I have added it just to know it exists and it can be used at our discretion.

I printed all their first term 12 weeks again for my own planner as well.

This was the table after 🙂 But it took me no time cleaning it all.

Apart from the planners, I have printed maps for both years, the art prints for art study for the first term, and I have added the first life of Plutarch to my kindle. The maps can be found at the AO forum. Composers music, folk songs, and hymns can be found at the AO site, with links to some of the members Youtube Lists.

Even though we have poetry books of the poets AO recommends for each year, I like to have the Kindle selections. You can buy them for not much at Amazon, linked from their page.

This year I will do some things differently.

These past years have been great. My daughters have always grown, learned more I could have dreamt of, advanced in knowledge and LOVE for it. I will not change anything. We had many rocky moments, but it’s part of the process.

At the beginning of June I was done, and I felt burned. The end of the year was hard. We had done most of it, and to finish it all was tough. Four weeks before finishing, I stopped having what I call full and balanced weeks to just *finish* the readings. That was not the best. A Charlotte Mason education (with exceptions at punctual times) needs to have the balance and riches that make it so special, otherwise, it’s nothing but a list of readings.

Once we finished the year, I started feeling bombarded with things to do, projects, playdates and what not… all good things, but I felt overwhelmed. Lucky for me, those crises happen around once a month -tee hee-, and they come and go.

close up of year 3 shelf

I am now well settled and feeling on top of all my doings. If you have not heard yet, Heather and I are enjoying and anticipating this retreat we are organizing together. (Ahem, excuse me if this is the hundred time you hear about it).

The translators -and formatting person- group I coordinate to translate Mind to Mind is all ready. Parts are assigned, google document is created, we all know what to do and they all have done their first paragraph.

I taught a  lesson last month for our monthly ladies Bible study, and I have the next for the retreat almost finished.

I need to work on my presentation for the CM retreat, though, but I have the main idea figured out.

bottom year 3 shelf

I have revised the first seven lessons of Stephanie’s Course, Charlotte Mason de Manera Fácil. six more to go!

I met with my dear friend yesterday to keep translating Before the Door Closes.

I had already worked on the shelves, and I have talked to the girls about starting the new school year this Monday.

We just concluded a wonderful vacation Bible week. The children and adults had five lessons on the life of Jesus, Who He is, His Birth, His Life, His ministry, His resurrection. It was quite special.

We will start slowly. The girls still want summer, and I do too, but I know that if we don’t start with some lessons, it will be very hard to set it all up in motion in August, and for those days when we don’t have summer plans, I am missing the lessons, and I know the girls will be fine. They just wanted to know I will still take them to the pool, and while I am gone (I have two Thursday through Saturday retreats in July, one with my sisters in Christ, the other with Texan or Texian Charlotte Mason ladies), my husband is taking them to the circus, to work with him… they will surely have fun!

top year 5 shelf

The pictures of the shelves are a bit grainy. I took them with the phone at night. As you can see, the shelves are loaded with lovely and living titles. Not all of it will be done, by no means. Some can, some cannot, and life is still beautiful when you have all this wealth of ideas from other minds at your disposition. But much will be accomplished, and much will be relished, remembered, and cherished.

Back to the planing,

This year I am printing and planning one term at a time. Having three terms pressured me to want to follow by the letter. This time, whatever is not finished from term 1, will be carried onto term 2, and things will be added taking into consideration that there is a good average time to finish without cramming readings like this past year in the third term.

Minor adjustments have been made to the selections. I start by keeping AO schedules intact, and let time and common sense dictate what is going to be dropped. I have a couple of ideas, but at AO I understand the principle of not making our personal changes and accommodation the norm. We all do them, but there is good reason to keep them private. After I discussed the need for a *lite schedule and the desire of one, I have come to the conclusion to keep those between close friends and myself, because they confuse and may set up a negative predisposition. It is true that we never know how children are going to take to this or that, they surely surprise us with all they grow up to do and enjoy. Another little principle (surely not exclusive to me) is that, every time I believe a book will be wonderful, it usually ends up being wonderful. No faking it. You got to love it yourself. Yes, we all can and surely have our bents and predilections, but embrace it all, you will surprise yourself too.

Even though you see weekly assignments per week, I am going to do this differently too. I will go with time. 20 minutes per reading (whether I read, they read, or they listen). If we have not met the week portion, that will be fine, if we go over, fine too. I have the feeling (and others so tell me), the time will match the weekly load, if not, then an adjustment will come in place. (This is because some children read slower than others, and that is fine too).

Several years ago, I tried to assign subjects to each day, but the girls were little and did not have many readings in all the CM categories, so it did not make that much sense. Now it does. My dear friend Amy Jo says this has been working great for them. This is the idea,

Monday: History and Biography
Tuesday: Literature and Science
Wednesday: Plutarch, Shakespeare, Nature Journals, Geography
hursday: History and Biography
Friday: Literature and Science
We do free reads on Sundays and sometimes Saturdays.

bottom year 5 shelf

Finally, I have to say I am thinking about four friends I admire and who do this AO/CM thing differently. Three of them surely follow CM, but not AO as written. What do they have in common? A wonderful personality, they are happy with whom they are, and confident, and I am glad for that. The fourth only gets inspiration from AO, and she is wonderful how she is, her family such a bundle of joy and learning.

Homeschooling is helping us all at home to develop and grow, and we are building up a heritage for the girls. I believe much of what has been difficult has to be in part to our lack of heritage, or how we have doubted ourselves and not felt free to be who we are and bring that into the journey. But we could not bring who we were to them. Both my husband and myself have had to abandon much of who we were, we were in such a dire need to be better persons. Our good essence is salvageable,  we are rekindling it for the girls. We have much there hidden, much potential to be polished. Now that we have left the old ways, we can be ourselves again, acknowledging the bad of our past choices, and sharing our personalities and roots with the girls.

Be a better person, grow in all your roles in life, and be confident. No matter what philosophy you use, what curriculum, if you are learning, your children will too.

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12 comments on “Planning and more

  1. wonderful to read you like this.
    I miss the planning ;). But with a nearly 17 year old and a 14 year old who doesn't like reading, there is not much planning Charlotte Mason to do….
    But we have other wonderful things coming up this year.
    Enjoy it while you can!
    Un abrazo!

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  2. This is just LOVELY, Silvia! 🙂 I always enjoy your posts so much. You look so organized and ready for the coming year. Bravo!!! 🙂 I admit my plans are a jumble of papers and a few chicken scratches. 😉

    You mentioned this: “Minor adjustments have been made to the selections. I start by keeping AO schedules intact, and let time and common sense dictate what is going to be dropped. I have a couple of ideas, but at AO I understand the principle of not making our personal changes and accommodation the norm. We all do them, but there is good reason to keep them private. After I discussed the need for a *lite schedule and the desire of one, I have come to the conclusion to keep those between close friends and myself, because they confuse and may set up a negative predisposition.”

    I find this interesting. Honestly, I have the opposite reaction. When people share their tweaks in detail, it feels freeing to me. I can appreciate the beauty of AO's framework and see how it works differently for each family. It can still be used well, yet differently. I understand purity to what we believe in and what works. I really do…but within a CM education there is A LOT of room and it is so helpful and useful to someone like me who is STILL learning SO much to see how CM education works for everyone! For me, staying true to the Bible and to CM's work as best as I can in my limited understanding, is my ultimate goal and I love the beauty of variety within those “fences” so to speak. 🙂 Maybe this is something that I need to grow in…you know? Just being confidant in my choices and tweaks and the way my CM life looks and not worrying if it doesn't look like someone else's, know what I mean?! (organized like Silvia's for that matter! : – ) ) I'm definitely growing in this!!!!

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  3. Yes, yes, and yes…
    It is difficult to explain through the blog. I meant for them at the forum, they cannot expand on the changes but they are presenting a main guide as it is, but I LOVE the freedom and I know we all adjust….
    I should not have posted this, I don’t spend much time reading anyone else's plans but mine, it is intimidating.
    Planning to me anchors my thoughts, things and life are not this neat, but life is real, and beautiful in a different way 🙂 You, Amy, are one of those friends I mentioned, I admire you. Love your plans, and I can tell you of my accommodations and changes. I might along the way, if you so are interested.

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  4. I had to laugh at this: “Once we finished the year, I started feeling bombarded with things to do, projects, playdates and what not… all good things, but I felt overwhelmed. Lucky for me, those crisis happen around once a month -tee hee-, and they come and go.” < < I feel the same with about the same frequency. :) We are starting right after July 4th, so my bookshelves are starting to look like yours! I still have some things to do but I think we'll be ready. And the kids are already trying to peek at their shelves, so I think they're ready to. 😉

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  5. LOL, Celeste… my planning is surely, or can look “impressive”, but as we get more years at hs'ing, we all grow, right? Plus, the fact it is in the plans does not mean it all will happen… but then again, no matter what, that which is accomplished it's always such a blessing.

    Oh, when I am at that time every month when I doubt and feel vulnerable, it helps me NOT to look much around (everything seems to be an occasion to give myself a hard time, ha ha ha).

    I think those who know us read our blog posts better. Sometimes also it is easier for me to look at those who are a bit ahead of me, than to those in my same age/year group, for my nature is faulty and I tend to compare… but, if we are able to remain calm and confident, if we know a bit the background of the writer, and if we feel comfortable around her style and her way of presenting planning ideas, like Amy, I love looking around and getting ideas of how others do all this 🙂

    I am excited for you and your next child, Celeste. It's reading your name in my comments and a smile sets up in my face automatically… you and your happy family inspires.

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  6. Planning! That takes me back a few years. I always enjoyed the planning, tweaking, scheduling, redoing, undoing, doing again! I miss the planning.

    The best laid plans… ha ha! Isn't it wonderful that nothing is written in cement? And that everything will work out in the end with God's help?

    Love your journals! So creative.

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  7. I've been dealing with some burnout too. I haven't even done a blog post for like a month now! I have been in great need of summer break. 🙂 We're planning some fun outings for the month of July and I'm trying to just take a break from school planning and preparations for several weeks to have time to just refresh and rejuvenate before getting back into the swing of school again this Fall.

    I also loved this statement you made at the end of your post: “Be a better person, grow in all your roles in life, and be confident. No matter what philosophy you use, what curriculum, if you are learning, your children will too.” Yes. This. 🙂

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