Afterschooling Ambleside Year 1

I have twin boys who are in Public School Kindergarten.  While they are doing awesome in Kindergarten I wanted to supplement it with extra stuff at home.  After doing a ton of research I settled on Ambleside Online as the program that would work best for us.  We also supplement with Life of Fred, Ray’s Arithmetic, tons of early readers, and I just picked up All About Spelling to play around with.

The key to doing it as an after schooling program is to “Go. Very. Very. Slow.” Each week is taking us around 2 – 3 weeks to accomplish, and I don’t expect to finish Y1 until around October which gives us a full 52 weeks to get through it.  I am planning that next summer we will pick up the pace a bit.

We read a story or two each night before bed and on the weekends we do things that take longer such as Math,  the Burgess Bird book with coloring, extra nature studies, kitchen fun, and habit training.   I also have found that allowing video games on a limited basis has really helped to boost their reading and reasoning skills at a dramatic level.

All of this is kept light weight and fun.  If things start to get to heavy we take a break and stick with stories instead. They love Section time.   They also have homework sometimes that they need to do and that always comes first.

I took a composition book and printed up the Y1 plan (I removed a few things that we aren’t doing and added in their replacements).  I glued and taped the plan into the front of the book.



I started to call them Sections instead of weeks to appease my very literal 5yo boy who got upset that we didn’t finish it in a single week.  We are also doing poetry memorization.  So far they have memorized 24 poems and I rotate each boy through the full list.  When they recite a poem properly we cross it off the list.  We also read new poems 5 times during the Section.  When we come across one that they like and might want to memorize it goes on a separate list.  Each time I create a new section I add one or two new ones to the list and they do those 4 – 5 times during the Section.  We also do free reads on audible in the car on the way to and from school and those will also get added to this page.   The boys are doing the BookIt program for school (I’m not a big fan but don’t fight it).  Each day they read to me out of a book at their reading levels for around 10 minutes or so.

We also tracked December Christmas books.   The boys got to open one each day during the month of December.   They loved it and we all had a blast with it.

Plus I found super cute scrapbook paper that I can cover the book with 🙂   


Booklet of Book lists

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I am working hard to raise boys who love to read and are good at it.  This means that I get to spend time reading aloud to them all the children’s books that I loved, as well as those that I’ve never read.  I’ve been searching for suggestions and keep finding fantastic book lists everywhere.  I’ve been searching for a way to keep them handy when I am at the library or book shopping.  I finally stumbled across the perfect way!  I now have my own book of book lists!

Here is how I put it together. Warning, these instructions require Microsoft Word.  There may be another way to do it but I haven’t tried any.

Create your master list:

  1. Open up all your favorite book lists.  Some of mine are The Read-Aloud Revival, Simply Charlotte Mason, Ambleside Online Year 0 – 1, 20 Classic Chapter Books for 5-8 year olds, and the Mensa K-3 list.
  2. Start a single Microsoft Word file and copy each list in.
  3. Title each section with the name of the booklist that you took it from.
  4. Take the time to format each list so that it is roughly in “Book Title – Author Name” format.

Create your booklet:

  1. Select all the text in the file and set the font to roughly 8pt.  I know, it’s small, but I wanted to keep down the total number of pages.
  2. You don’t have to, but I also added two little squares at the front of each row using the WingDings font.  They are for checking off books as I either buy them or as we read them.
  3. Follow the instructions on this website to use Word to create your booklet.  I suggest making sure that there are a few blank pages at the end for writing on.
  4. Print it up!

Make it pretty!

  1. I wanted mine to be pretty and to fit in my Composition Notebook Day Planner
  2. I found a cute piece of scrapbook paper that I liked and a piece of cardstock that matched.
  3. Then I followed the instructions from the Damask Love – Book Binding University series to create a cute little notebook that fits in my dayplanner 🙂

From start to finish it took me a few hours to figure it all out but I love the results.  The best part is that I will digitally keep the master file updated, removing books that we have read and adding new ones that are recommended.  Every few months I can print it up again and have an up-to-date list to carry with me!

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  To commemorate I am posting some photos that I took in Miami last December.

We had gone to Miami to celebrate the marriage of some good friends of ours.  The bride is a serious gardener and wanted to go to the Miami Botanical Garden.  When we got to the Garden we found a locked gate so we decided to take a path around to try find one that was open.  When we got to the end of the path we saw a “Cool” statue of a giant hand reaching to the sky.  We had no idea where we were.  We soon discovered that we had stumbled upon the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial. As we started exploring the memorial we soon realized what it was and what it symbolized.  A quiet descended on our group and we separated to experience it individually.  We each found a place of sadness, quiet, and reflection.  It hurt to look upon the sculptures and the many names on the walls.  When we were done we continued on our walk looking for the gate to the Garden.  While it was a sad moment none of us expected, it enhanced the joy we felt celebrating the life around us.  It helped us to remember what others had lost in the past and who we are in the present.


Taco/Chili Seasoning

Taco/Chili Seasoning

  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • (optional) 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Use 2 tablespoons per pound of hamburger.

Lazy Yoga: The 800 Sun Salutation Challenge

Deliberate Practice.  That’s a very interesting article that I read today talking about the difference between Practicing your craft and Deliberately Practicing your craft.  The part of the article that really resonated with me was about how Kobe Bryant stayed on the court practicing until he successfully shot 800 baskets.

I also have been listening to the reading of a book called Replenish where the author talks about Joyful Movement and how we should all choose activities that we enjoy doing and make us happy.

Between these two inspirations I have come up with a new challenge for myself.  I want to do 800 Sun Salutations staying present in each pose.  I printed up an image from this website  that has both Surya Namaskara A & B on it.  I am going to count either version as step toward my goal.  To keep track I am going to set up a small altar with jars of beads on it and add one bead to the jar for each fully completed Sun Salutation.

The nice thing about this challenge is that there is no deadline or rules other than to complete all 800.  Keeping things simple and loose is the goal.  Today I did 5 rounds while my boys did the latest Cosmic Kids Yoga videos.  It was fun sharing my yoga practice with them.

Good luck to Me!