11 Aug 2011

AO4 Term 3 subject by subject

Year 4 Schedule

I don't know about you, but when I put together my plans for a new term I present them with my fingers crossed behind my back. If things go exactly as I expect, then this is what I'll be doing this term. If nobody dies, if our house isn't washed away in floods, if I don't have to work full time, then this is what I'll be doing. That sort of stuff.

This year, of course, I've entered into school planning with all of these things as a given. My dear Dad had died; our house has been decimated; I am working full time. If this year is going to work then it has to work with the minimum of stress. Because, really, I. just. can. not. take. any. more. If it is too hard, it is out. Just like that.

So this then is what's been good, bad or indifferent in the first two terms of AO4 and what we're doing differently in term 3. If you're interested, of course.


We do two days of Studied Dictation per week, with Copywork on the other three. We've been using Spelling Wisdom from Simply Charlotte Mason for dictation for a year now. Jemimah's spelling is still 'atroshus', but we persevere. As I look back over the months I do notice an improvement, and that's all I'm asking for really. I just wish it were faster, that's all! I will stop beating my head on the table now. We chose copywork sentences from our books. Sometimes they're grammar rules; at other times they're sentences from literature or history. Occasionally we use pages from New Wave Handwriting Book D to correct any errors in style that crop up occasionally. We use the Victorian font.


We've been using Karen Andreola's Simply Grammar this year. So far we've covered Subjects, Predicates, Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs and Adjectives. We do the work mostly orally, but Jemimah writes the grammar rules to be memorised into a book as copywork. Then she learns them! The book is pretty good, but I think if I were looking at grammar books again, I'd just purchase Charlotte Mason's original books, First Grammar Lessons Parts 1 and 2 and be done with it.

This term we're going to do something different and read either Edith Nesbit's Grammar-Land or Nuri Mass' Australian equivalent, The Little Grammar People. I'll need to wait until I get home to compare the two books - I'll decide which I prefer and let you know if you like. (Do not be silly enough to pay $375.00 +postage for a copy of The Little Grammar People, will you? Oh my goodness gracious me.)


We also get to practice some grammar using our Latin programme, Minimus. We're delighted with how well this Latin course is working for us so far, and I think we'll just about finish Book 1 by the end of term. Next year we might read through the Mini Books to get a bit more vocabulary down before we move onto Minimus Secundus.


We're not so happy with the fit of our French course, Nallenart's L'Art de Lire. Nothing you can put your finger on, just lots of non-specific groans when the book comes out of the cupboard. Mama Squirrel is using Mission Monde with Crayons. This is a new programme to me, but I love that it's mission based, and I'm going to look into it a bit for next year. It's not cheap though...

Fortunately our oral French is going better. We still read classic French books at bedtime, and Jemimah's Francophone Daddy is relieved that her accent is much better than mine! Le Ballon rouge by Albert Lamorisse is our current book. (We have it in English as well.)


We're still coasting our way through MEP Year 5. This level is a bit of a stretch so far with lots of new stuff to learn, but Jemimah is doing incredibly well with this UK based maths course. We still need to do some more work on times tables sometime.


I really want to use a course (that I can't remember the name of) that is recommended by my brother and highly endorsed by my two nephews, but I keep putting it off until I can install the programme on our home computer. Apparently you can install it on more than one computer, so Jemimah could type both at home and at work, but it doesn't synchronise your progress over both computers, which would be really frustrating I suspect. Anyhow, since the year is rapidly disappearing, I'm going to use the online BBC course, Dance Mat Typing as an interim introductory measure. It least it will prevent bad habits developing, and encourage correct finger placement. Maybe next year we can use the proper course.


Our English folksongs for term 3 are here. It's a term of songs that are really special to me, and I hope that they will become special to Jemimah too, as she learns the 'themesongs' of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

French folksongs are here. I can't wait to learn Ah ! Mon beau château as a round. It is a really good term, even if I must say to myself!!


We continue to learn Psalms in both French and English, but since the Psalters are at home I can't tell you which ones we'll be learning. Sorry.

Composer study

In a break from our one composer per term study, we're going to use the Opera for Everyone lessons that I first discovered at Linda Faye's Charlotte Mason Help. They look really good. Plus they are free, and you know how I love free!

Opera Australia is performing Verdi's La Traviata in November, so we'll study this one first and then go and hear it in real life. Yes, I know that it is about a courtesan, but Jemimah is still at an age where she will be satisfied with the idea that Violetta just has lots of boyfriends, so I think we should manage without embarrassment. Our only other visit to the opera was a triumph, so let's see if we can make this one just as successful!!


I was ecstatic about the way our the whole family enjoyed our first Shakespeare production, Much Ado about Nothing last term, and I really want to follow it up with another comedy. Until then, I think we will practice some Shakespeare readings aloud using puppets, and maybe watch some classic telly productions. If we can see some Shakespeare Under the Stars in the summer we will.


I wish it were possible for Jemimah to learn an instrument from a proper music teacher, but she can't, and so we persevere with me teaching her the recorder. We manage to make a joyful noise, but not much more, using Penny Gardiner's Nine Note Recorder Method.

I'm hoping Santa might buy us new recorders for Christmas.


Jemimah is currently learning Romans 8: 28-38 from last term. It is a long passage, and is causing her some grief, for some reason, but we shall persevere. She learns a shorter verse in French as well. I haven't chosen this yet.

She is up to Q85 in the Westminster Shorter Catechism. 21 more to learn. What a hero!! I wish I remembered them as well as she does!

We also learn a poem of her choice for her to recite 'with feeling' to Daddy come exam time. Wonder what she'll select?!


We're following the AO poetry rotation. Wordsworth this term. I just love the AO compilations of appropriate poems to print out. We simply read one or two a day. That's all!

Picture Study

A brief deviation from the AO rotation this term to study Eugene von Guérard's work. You'll remember we attended the exhibition of his works, Nature Revealed, at the National Gallery of Victoria earlier this year.


I would like introduce Jemimah to private devotions shortly, but until we have more time at home and a more regular timetable, that will need to wait. Until then we are going through Sinclair Ferguson's Big Book of Questions and Answers about Jesus together. It is a little young for Jemimah, but is still worth doing. Sermon prep on Fridays, Family Devotions at dinner, Sunday school on Sunday.


I love, love, love Anne White's Study Guides for Plutarch. They take a potentially difficult book and make it a delight!

We've already studied Poplicola, the 'life' on this term's AO Plutarch rotation, so we've settled for Titus Flamininus, another life that has a complete Anne Study Guide. I don't think I could yet tackle this subject without this help.


I'm going to post about this separately because it'll take too long to go into here. You can read a bit about AO4 History in this post too.

This term we'll be doing The First Fleet and Matthew Flinders - 1888-1800ish. You can see the books we're using in the document above if you want to see what we're doing before I post on it again.

So far this subject is going sublimely. I am so relieved, I feel like doing a happy dance right here and now.


We're studying The Mighty Murray River this term, mapping as we go. Which reminds me - I need to buy a good river map. Two books - Colin Thiele's River Murray Mary and Old Man River of Australia by Leila Pirani.

We're only an hour or so from The Murray, so we'll make a visit or two if we can. Jemimah loves Echuca for its Lolly Shop. I love Read Heeler secondhand bookshop. An excursion for a ride on a paddle steamer and a bit of retail therapy sounds good to me!


You can read about science here.

In line with the AO changes to science back in July we have stopped our reading of Madam How and Lady Why at The Chalk Carts and we're reading our way through Fabre's The Story Book of Science at an accelerated pace to finish it in a little more that a term. It is a delightful book and we're having no problems reading four or five chapters a week so far. We'll finish Madam How on schedule next year.

Nature study...what's that? We've done none all term. Until I stop work I don't see how I can possibly fit this in. We are doing some bird and butterfly identification and we're still working in the garden and particularly our Kitchen Garden, but this lovely subject will just need to wait until we have more time. No nature journalling this term either. Maybe next year. I hope. I'd like to tackle more dry brush painting sometime soon.

Living Books

I think that's it, isn't it? Have I forgotten a subject?

Our free reads are going to plan - we should finish by the end of the year. We're also reading lots and lots of other books, so I'm not too concerned if we miss one or two.

Our Australianised AO schedule for books is shown above. Jemimah is currently reading By The Shores of Silver Lake and the third in the Fleurville Trilogy, The Holidays by the Comtesse de Ségur.

I thought I'd uploaded our timetable as well, but it's not there. Anyone interested in seeing that?

Phew. Finished. Any questions? Comments? Are these posts useful because they take hours and hours to link. What have I forgotten? What else do you want to know?

Right now, I'm starving. I'm off for some lunch. Bye.


  1. Thank you for posting this Jeanne, it must of taken you ages! I would love to see your timetable! It's great reading abou your 3rd term, I love it as it is so inspiring! xxx

  2. I don't know how you do it all, but I sincerely hope your year does become easier.

    It all sounds incredibly grown up and inspiring, and it sounds like Jemimah is going really well. I'd like to see your timetable, and I wonder if you stick to it, or does it get hijacked as often as mine (several times a week!)?

    I'm planning to use Minimus too ... at what age did you start this with Jemimah, and do you think you made the right choice? My DS7 would love to start now, but we're waiting until DD6 is ready so they can do it together. And we're learning basic French, so perhaps should consolidate that before adding Latin. Well, you helped me decide ... thanks for the chat!

    Typing, that's something we would like a resource for too. I'll check out your link.

    Thanks for the wealth of inspiration!

  3. I'm also curious as to the timetable too. :o)

    I am very impressed with the scope of your curriculum. So much material. Great ideas. I just feel a bit swamped out with what's on my plate already, but I do love to come and see what you've got. :o)

  4. Great to see your plans.

    I hope your year goes smoothly from now on.

    I feel sooooo stretched too.
    Unfortunately at our house its Lucy who gets pushed aside due to apps./hassles because of ASD dd16.

    Poor thing hasn't done nature study or art for 3 months.

    I keep trying harder and harder but I just can't do any better at the moment. The harder I push myself the more stressed I feel. Then I get grumpy etc.

    Sorry to unload on you. I thought you might understand.

    I'd love to see the timetable.

  5. Yes this is very valuable to me, thank you for making the time to do it.


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...