Our 2018 School Year – Ambleside Online Year 2 Term 1

We recently finished our first term using Ambleside Online, and I don’t think it’s too soon to say that Charlotte Mason is probably the best thing to have happened to our homeschool. Not sure who Charlotte Mason was? Here’s a brief introduction.

Our 2018 School Year

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We start our day with Morning Time at around 9am. Included in Morning Time are our Bible, Scripture memorisation and hymn study, and readaloud time. We also do our composer and picture studies, Shakespeare, recitation, foreign language, and folk song on a loop schedule. Because Ambleside Online is American, I wanted to incorporate South Africa, so we have a South Africa focus each week as well. We’ve learned the South African anthem, greetings in the 11 official languages, and some of the history around our public holidays.


I split the recitation readings into two six-week blocks. In total, Angie learned two Walter de la Mare poems, one of Oberon’s speeches from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sonnet 16, Amazing Grace, and Psalm 1. We also recited the first and second times tables.

Folk Song & Composer and Picture Studies

We’re following Ambleside Online’s folk song, picture and composer schedules. The folk songs were Funiculi, Funicula (which they loved), The Riddle Song, Camptown Races, and Billy Barlow. There were several versions of the Riddle Song – so of course the girls preferred different ones!

Our composers were Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. I misread the schedule so we did two artists instead of one: Winslow Homer and Michelangelo. The girls had a lot of fun trying to recreate the pictures themselves, and by the end of the term we had a whole wall full of their art.

History and History Tales/Biography

We’ve been reading from An Island Story, This Country of Ours, and A Child’s History of the World. We’re also reading Trial and Triumph, and The Little Duke. Angie took a while to get interested in history, but by the end of the term she was begging me to “read just a little bit more, Mommy!” I found that reading smaller chunks resulted in better narrations.


I decided not to use Tree in the Trail, and went with Jock of the Bushveld instead. We’re enjoying Jock, but I don’t know if I’ll use it when it’s Emmy’s turn. Maybe if we actually lived in the bushveld instead of the suburbs . . . It’s turned out to be a better fit for Natural History, I think.

Natural History/Science

Angie loves the Burgess Animal Book For Children. I have the e-version of the Handbook of Nature Study but I struggle to use it. I think I’m going to get a hard copy. We started off studying birds, and then trees. We didn’t go on as many nature walks as we planned to, so that’s something I’m hoping to change in term two.


Angie does five minutes of copywork every day. She picks the passage she wants to copy. She also asked if she could learn cursive this year, so we do five minutes of cursive every day as well.

Phonics/Reading Instruction

Angie was already reading very well at the beginning of the school year. We don’t do formal phonics lessons. She has to read aloud every day; I sit with her and correct any incorrect pronunciation. She recently transitioned from readers to early chapter books. How exciting!


We absolutely love Math-U-See. Angie is doing Alpha this year.

Foreign Language

We are doing Afrikaans, French and Zulu. It sounds like a lot, but we’re just learning simple vocabulary and children’s songs. Because we live in such a multilingual country, it’s important to me that my children learn more than just English and Afrikaans.


Our poet this term was Walter de la Mare. We started having poetry tea time every Friday, which is pretty much the highlight of the week. Even Rafe loves sitting at the table with his fancy teacup.


We like Lamb’s Tales From Shakespeare. Our plays this term were Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Romeo and Juliet. We are also reading Parables From Nature and Pilgrim’s Progress, neither of which are Angie’s favourites (but which I’m really enjoying). She loved Understood Betsy.


Angie has been learning how to cross stitch, and we’ve also been doing some paper sloyd. I printed some cardboard cross stitch templates to begin with, and when the girls finish one they use it to make a card. (I’m so on board with the whole “give away your handicrafts” things, because who needs more stuff lying around, right?)

Have you read any of the books we did? Which ones were your favourites?

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