Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tweaking Ambleside

I have long admired Ambleside Online's curriculum- considering it is free, and considering a vast majority of the books recommended are available online, it is a huge and very useful resource.
Mater Amabilis (a Catholic CM curriculum online) is likewise a lovely resource, free of charge, but so many of the books on it are hard to come by and usually NOT free, that I usually end up using Ambleside instead :/
So I have been working on making some tweaks to Ambleside to make it just a little more Catholic friendly.(

1. Ambleside uses the KJV of the bible, which really does show a lyrical command of the English language. You might choose to read the KJV with apocrypha, but you'll have to remember not all of the viewpoints of the KJV are conversant with Catholic Doctrine. Instead, use the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible, which is a 16th/17th century edition of the Bible, revised (for easier reading) by Bishop Challoner in the 18th century (although that does depend on the version you are reading ;)).

2. Ambleside recommends Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula for the Church History aspect of Bible study. It is a well written book, that is true, but it is so blatantly anti-Catholic I can't stomach reading any of it to the kids- not even the early chapters! A judicious review of Trial and Triumph will show you that it is a series of small biographical stories of Saints and Martyrs throughout the eras of the church- right up until around the 16th century, when it becomes a listing of reformation characters and founders. For the Catholic, a series of Saintly biographies might be used in its place.

Since Trial and Triump (T&T) is used throughout the first 6 years of Ambleside, I think we have a great deal of leeway in our choices.

Option 1: We use a book of Saint Biographies, not unlike that of T&T, and a book like John Mason Neil's A History of the Church from the Day of Pentecost to the Council of Chalcedon.

Neil's book goes up to A.D. 451, so even though he was Anglican, it is still quite usable by Catholics (and Orthodox) alike :) There is a follow-up book, called Stories of Church History, which might be a good choice to follow on from the original- I have just never seen it OR the Table of Contents, so I cannot say. He does have two other children's books online at google books too :)

Two Beautiful Saint Biographies you might like to use: Saints Lives and Illuminations by Ruth Sanderson and More Saints Lives and Illuminations by Ruth Sanderson

Once Upon a Time Saints by Ethel Pochocki, More Once Upon a Time Saints by Ethel Pochocki and Around the Year Once upon a Time Saints by Ethel Pochocki

The Loyola Treasury of Saints: From the Time of Jesus to the Present Day by David Self (this is not strictly ALL saints, but might be worth getting anyway- it is probably the most like T&T a Catholic book will get).

Patron Saints by Eliza Allen Starr is available free online, and has 20 Saint biographies in it :)

Option 2: You might like to use individual saint biographies, including picture books and chapter books (according to age and preference).

Books by Tomie de Paola you might like to use – some correspond to the Saints below, some are interesting religious books others are religious fables:

Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland – Saint Patrick, Francis, The Poor Man of Assisi – Saint Francis, The Lady of Guadalupe – Saint Juan Diego, The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica – Saint Benedict (author Katherine Norris), Christopher, the holy giant picture book – Saint Christopher, Pascual and the Kitchen Angels – St. Pascual, Mary the Mother of Jesus, The Miracles of Jesus, The Parables of Jesus, The Legend of the Poinsettia, The Night of Las Posadas.

Books by other authors you might like to use:

Mother Teresa by Demi, The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi

St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, St. Jerome and the Lion by Margaret Hodges, The Legend of Saint Christopher by Margaret Hodges

Brigid's Cloak by Bryce Milligan

The Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan

Augustine Came to Kent by Barbara Willard

The Vision Book Series is a series of biographies of Catholic personages of interest. These chapter books would be a good choice to read in the place of T&T.

You may also find books from the Living History Library Series and the Landmark Books Series which are biographies of saints.

Option 3: You can read through the list of saints below. I have put them in chronological order, and attached a biography (or two or three) - some of which are actually books. All the links are free to read online. There are slightly more than T&T has, but you can leave out a few or add in more to create a more pleasing arrangement of readings. You can also use this list in conjunction with the books in option 2 above :)

Chronological saints

  1. St. Peter (1-64 A.D.)

  2. St. Paul (?- 65 A.D.)

  3. St. Andrew (? – c.80 A.D.)

  4. St. James the Greater (? - 44 A.D.)

  5. St. Luke (? - 84 A.D.)

  6. St. John the Apostle 6 – 100 A.D.

  7. St. Christopher (? - c. 251 A.D.)

    St Christopher 2

    St. Christopher 3.

  8. St. Lucy 283 – 304 A.D.

  9. St. Nicholas 270 - 346 A.D.

    St. Nicholas 2

  10. St. Alban 209/251/304 A.D. (dates disputed)

  11. St. George c.275 – 303 A.D.

    St. George 2

    St. George 3

  12. St. Catherine of Alexandria 282 - 305 A.D.

  13. St. Hilary of Poitiers C300 – 368 A.D.

  14. St. Martin of Tours 316 – 397 A.D.

  15. St. Ambrose 337 – 397 A.D.

  16. St. Jerome 347 - 420 A.D.

  17. St. Augustine of Hippo 354 - 430 A.D.

    St. Augustine of Hippo 2

  18. St. Patrick 387 – 430 A.D.

    St. Patrick 2

    St. Patrick 3

  19. St. Brigid of Kildare c. 451 – 525 A.D.

    St. Brigid 2

    St. Brigid 3

  20. St. Benedict 480 – 547 A.D.

    St. Benedict 2

  21. St. David c.500 – 589 A.D.

    St. David 2

  22. St. Columba 521 – 597 A.D.

    St. Columba

  23. St. Augustine of Canterbury c.530 – 604 A.D.

    St. Augustine of Canterbury 2

  24. St. Gregory the Great 540 – 604 A.D.

  25. St. Boniface of Mainz 675 – 754 A.D.

  26. St. Bernard of Clairvaux 1090 – 1153 A.D.

  27. St. Thomas a Becket 1118 – 1170 A.D.

  28. St. Dominic 1170 – 1221 A.D.

  29. St. Francis of Assisi 1181 – 1226 A.D.

    St. Francis 2

    St. Francis 3

    St. Francis 4

    St. Francis Book

  30. St. Clare of Assisi 1193 – 1253 A.D.

  31. St. Anthony of Padua 1195 - 1231 A.D.

  32. St. Albert the Great 1206 – 1280 A.D.

  33. St. Bonaventure 1221 – 1274 A.D.

  34. St. Thomas Aquinas 1225 – 1274 A.D.

  35. St. Catherine of Siena 1347 – 1380 A.D.

  36. St. Joan of Arc 1412 – 1431 A.D.

  37. St. Juan Diego 1474 - 1548 A.D.

  38. St. Thomas More 1478 – 1535 A.D.

  39. St. Ignatius of Loyola 1491 – 1556 A.D.

  40. St. Teresa of Avila 1515 – 1582 A.D.

  41. St. John of the Cross 1542 – 1591 A.D.

  42. St. Margaret Clitherow 1556 – 1586 A.D.

  43. St. Martin de Porres 1579 – 1639 A.D.

  44. St. Rose of Lima 1586 – 1617 A.D.

  45. Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha 1656 – 1680 A.D.

  46. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton 1774 – 1821 A.D.

  47. St. Bernadette 1844 – 1879 A.D.

    Part 2

  48. St. Therese of Lisieux 1873 – 1897 A.D.

  49. St. Padre Pio 1887 – 1879 A.D.

  50. St. Maximilian Kolbe 1894 – 1941 A.D.

  51. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta 1910 – 1997 A.D.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Great Musical Giveaway

Well my friend Jill shared this link, and I think it is a great giveaway :)

Win a free Joshua Bell CD at Freely Educate!

Joshua Bell is a truly gifted Violin player, and I am sure this would be a bonus in any homeschooling household!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Next Steps

So now we are tweaking Latin.  Apparently Latin has become an onerous chore!

Looking back, we figured that Latin became a chore when I changed from Latina Christiana to a higher level Latin.  None of the others (Latin book 1 and Henle) seem to have gelled with him.

Today I set Rebel the task of trying out the two Latin programs I have as alternatives for him to try.  Galore Park's Latin Prep and Memoria Press' First Form Latin, both look promising.  I admit I have a weakness for Galore Park's one, but Rebel really likes the idea that FFL is a continuation Latina Christiana.

Truth be told, I happen to think most of the rebellion against the Latin is the fact that for Henle he has to WRITE and for Latin Book 1 it just wasn't as much fun as LC had been!

We'll see!

In other news, I am hoping that M'Lady will be able to have a reading lesson today- fingers crossed ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The New Regime

Part 1 of the shake-ups occurred the other day- when I arbitrarily decided DS could skip some of the composition book he was doing- mainly because I thought his style was advanced enough already.  Instead we will focus this week on the grammar that the book holds and try and get through that.

DS is actually very good at the grammar- most of the concepts are new to both of us (courtesy of a fairly modern education for me) and he tends to 'get it' a lost faster than I do :)  He was motivated enough to work through quite a bit today!!

Having studied the Ambleside Online curriculum again, I am adapting some of it.  Which started out with a little poetry for the kids.  They have always liked to begin the day with poetry- I need to do it some more.  I might add in some memorisation then too- another of their favourite things.  The kids love to recite poetry at odd moments, and I am frequently surprised at their remembering some of them!

Although I shouldn't be.  Just yesterday the kids were quoting Inspector Lewis for me.

"Shakespeare!  Shakespeare?  I am sick of bloody Shakespeare!"

Actually the original one came out as "Spakespeare" but cute none the less.  And amazing.  They were not actually watching Lewis- just walking through the room LOL!

I intend to add in a few of the literary suggestions soon and mingle them with our Latin and grammar studies we already do ;)

Next up, changes for M'Lady!

Monday, October 12, 2009

School Report

For whatever reason, the three of us have found ourselves at an uninspired low.

DD doesn't want to do any work.

DS doesn't want to do Latin or composition.

I don't feel like doing anything!!

That means it is shake up time.  I need to trawl the blogs for inspiration, and reorganise and rearrange.

First things first- the Rebel himself.

We have allowed ourselves to get bogged down in certain subjects.  For example- composition.  Classical Writing is a wonderful program, but someone is living up to his name and just not co-operating.  It occurred to me today to look forward at what we need to do- and I took the bull by the horns and declared that we'd skip the rest of the lessons except the last one.  It's a composition program- and he was writing with all the extensions required in the final writing project.

We'll start poetry next week, and I'll order the Homer Student Workbook A and Instructor's Guide.

Next, literature.  OK I have really let the issue slide here- Elizabeth's lesson inspired me the other day, and I realised- narrations do not need to be written.  So for Religious studies, Literature and history, I need to realign.

In fact, I need to actually assign history!  I keep forgetting it :-o

With DD, the inspiration needs to be different.  I need to trawl the blogs and look for ideas- a few more hands on ideas at that :)  Maybe some fun reading ideas and some seasonal busywork to do while I am helping Rebel.

For me- I realised I needed a little more mental stimulation- I have been letting my brain atrophy ;)  Time to challenge myself to learn some more!!