9 Dec 2010

A brief pause in the Festivities

...for school.

I know, I know, it seems almost offensive to interrupt my non-stop Christmas cheer with school stuff, but like it or not, the holidays are disappearing with their usual undue haste, and the new school year will be here before we know it.

The first day of Ambleside Online Year 4 for Jemimah will be January 10th. As with previous years we will continue the relaxed summery feel with three weeks of intensive swimming lessons (Surely it will be warm by January. Surely!), but our work begins in earnest on that date. There is no easing into work in our Peaceful Home.

Cruel mummy, me.

With this in mind - the start of school, I mean, not my status in the cruelty stakes - I've been gathering together our AO4 books. Such fun placing them all neatly together in a row on their shelf at the back of my desk.

Of course, even after searching out second-hand copies for a number of years now, there are still many titles to purchase.

Now that is not as easy as it sounds. Ambleside Online does not dictate which edition of a particular book you are to use. It is up to you to find a good quality unabridged copy of each title, and that can take an inordinate amount of precious time. Time that I would rather spend reading Christmas books.

Fortunately, a couple of wonderful Ambleside mummas have produced lists to streamline the process a little, and I thought that I would put them here for those of you who are also using Ambleside Online for your kidlets and are not aware of them. Good of me, isn't it?!

The first is Your Key to the Resources for the Best Children's Books and was put together by Lisa Ripperton from The Baldwin Children's Literature Project at mainlesson.com. Here you'll find access to info on the books for each year of AO. Book covers are displayed - helpful for checking whether you have a book already - and you'll get a list that helps with buying the physical book, viewing it online, downloading an audiobook, or seeing supplements related to a book. It is all here.

Lisa also offers free online books for children that are in the public domain in the United States. Many of AO's books fit into this category, and you'll find all of the books available for each AO year in the sidebar of her Baldwin site. Many are available for purchase from Yesterday's Classics, and you'll find a list of the AO books on that sidebar as well. I have always found these to be good quality and easy to read. They're also available from Amazon. She even has Kindle editions available

The other lists are put together by Judy Elliot. Judy is solely responsible for me purchasing the majority of my new books from Amazon, because her lists are Listmania lists on the Amazon site. Judy provides her opinion on which of the myriad editions is best by linking to her favourites. From there you can check other editions that are available, but in many cases I agree with Judy's first suggestion. Judy is forever adding new lists, and they're all marvellous. I love these resources! Judy also produces audiobooks at Alcazar AudioWorks. My these ladies are impressive!

When I am making a list of books for a particular AO year I simply open up Judy's relevant list and check each recommendation, placing it into a 'wishlist' to order later. It makes the whole experience painless. Which it is, of course. Except for paying for shipping to Australia, that is.

Anyhow, hopefully some of you might find these two resources useful. I do.

Anyone have any other good methods for purchasing AO books?


  1. Oh, my. Christmas in summer. I have a good friend who is from New Zealand, but their family has been living in the States for quite a few years now. I recently asked her, "Do you ever get used to the seasons being upside down?" She said no, then told me how one of the first years they were here her girls (adults now) said in July, "I don't know why, Mum, but I just feel like playing Christmas music."

    Those listmania lists look interesting: I'll have to go have a look. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. oh goodie, this was just for me, thank you SO much Jeanne, it was VERY good of you:)
    I'm going to have to bookmark this and come back to it later as I'll need some more time to wade through these lists. I'm excited about doing AO1 next year with Rebekah. Going to leave LBC and try out AO :)

  3. Awesome...this is very helpful, thankyou! I usually take a long time researching back and forth from Ambleside to Amazon searching for the perfect book! It is fun though! xxx

  4. Thank you Jeanne!! An excuse to go looking for even more books! :)I will love following your links and reading through these lists....once I feel the urge to stop lazing about that is! (Time lapses) No, not yet! Perhaps tomorrow. :)

  5. I look forward to checking out these links a little more. I've seen Judy's lists, and I use amazon a LOT, but thankfully, I also have a WONDERFUL used bookstore near to my parent's in the US (no shipping) and then they bring me books via suitcase or other method as necessary (mail is outrageous, but sometimes an absolute must! especially when I overlook something until the very last second... not that it has ever happened, mind you ;) I just keep my eye out WAY ahead of time, and buy books several years ahead when I find a really good price, my parents have a LOT of really good books just waiting on their shelves now because you just never know exactly where we are going to be 6 months from now... ;)

    amy in peru

  6. Those lists are so helpful. I sell my AO books that we're not keeping on the Yahoo group CMcurricula - they go fast so people must find it a good method for purchasing.

    I can't stay out of the used book stores either so try to always keep a list tucked in my bag just-in-case.

  7. I just keep my eyes open for the ones we don't yet have...and substitute if we get stuck.

  8. Alacazar does a great job--buy them and pass them on or badger your librarian to add them to the collection [hint a small donation to cover processing will help]. They are a treasure.

  9. That doesn't work quite so well in Australia, Mama Squirrel, since so few of the books are available here. Generally we can get the classics - provided they're not only American classics, but all the others are almost impossible. Even if you haunt second-hand bookshops as I do!

  10. What can't you find for Year IV? Just curious. I'm sure I'd find ZERO of the Aussie books you list here.

  11. Thank you for those links. Fun~!!


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