18 Feb 2012

AO5 Term One


And so as of this afternoon we're midway through AO5 Term One. Already. Wow.

You know time is going so much faster now than it was only a year or two ago, that it won't be long before it's going backwards, and Easter will fall in front of the Christmas of the year before. Which will be okay, provided my birthdays start going backwards as well. I'd like to be a year younger this year than I was last, all the way back to... ooh... around 28 or so. I do not want to be younger than that, thank you very much.

So much has happened in the past six weeks. Life has been full to craziness, but school has been happening, and things are getting learned, and books have been read, and plays have been seen, and laps have been swum. Some of it has even been going rather swimmingly well, to drag in a linking phrase, and I thought I would tell you a bit about what we're doing to make Ambleside Online our own.

First up, the schedule. You may recall that I was finding it rather difficult to Australianise Ambleside Online's Year 5. So much so, that even the weekend before we were due to start Day One, I hadn't quite managed to finalise the booklist. Which is why, for the first time, I've only completed as far as the Easter Break, instead of doing the whole year at once. Finally at the eleventh hour I had an epiphany as I realised that the reason AO5 was so hard to Australianise is because the books were far less America-orientated than it has been in previous years, and there was, as a consequence, far less to Australianise, and therefore I just would not be able to use all of the books I owned that pertained to our time period. Once I figured that out things fitted into place like magic, and bingo it was done.
Year 5 Schedule Term 1

I replaced Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton with an Aussie Natural History book, Bushland and Seashore,  see my review here, and one of C K Thompson's books, Red Emperor.  We love all the books by this author.

Of Courage Undaunted: Across the Continent with Lewis and Clark by James Daugherty was omitted in favour of a bio of Reformed Presbyterian missionary to the New Hebrides, John G Paton.  It is an inspiring story of courage and commitment in the face of amazing adversity.

We replaced the American History choices with selections from an old book, The Story of Australia by Joseph Bryant,  and chapters from History of Australia by Manning Clark, illustrated by Meredith Hooper.  This latter is a super, super, super history book, and I really don't know why it is not more utilised by Aussie homeschoolers.  Both our choices are highly recommended.

Apart from these three, I think we're doing AO5 as written, and most of what we're doing is going well. I'm not really happy with our geography choice, A Child's Geography of the World by Virgil Hillyer, because the first chapters, at least, are more American geography than world geography, but I ordered the alternative choice,The Book of Marvels: The Occident and/or Second Book of Marvels: The Orient by Richard Halliburton from England before Christmas, and it has not yet arrived.  I'm beginning to wonder if it is lost, but the original quote estimated a shipping time of 60 days, so I'm trying to be patient.  In the meantime, we're reading Hillyer and not expecting narrations.

All the lovely Australian books that I planned to use for this time period I've moved into Free- reading.  Currently we're reading Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington to fit into our history topic, the settlement of Western Australia, and it has fitted extremely well. Mary Durack's The Courteous Savage will follow. We'll try to fit in John of Sydney Cove as well - if we have time.

Most days we read something Australian.  Sometimes it's a novel, sometimes it's a bit of history; at other times it's geography and some mapping.  Some days we do a bit too much America, but mostly we don't.  So far I think it's going great.

I'll try to tell you about the other stuff we're doing in another post.

Any questions?


  1. Sounds lovely Jeanne! Not too heavy, not too light.

    wrt History of Australia by Manning Clark... I agree that it is a great book - a good step up from the one by Arthur Baillie. Most of the CM AHers I know have all used Clark's book for AU history. Have you met many who don't use it? Just curious.

  2. Susan, I know many folk use his six volume version, but I don't know anyone except Erin that uses Meredith Cooper's primary school version of his work. Did you? I think it is fabulous.

  3. Love the pic of those books, popping over from my google reader and discover my name, he he:) I'm hear, ready to talk books, Aussie books that is:):) Oh I want to ditch ancients immediately and skip over to Aust history.
    the majority of those titles are familiar and owned my yours truly. and we are big fans of CK Thompson. currently reading his Old Bob's birds for science.

  4. Hope you enjoy the next post then, Erin!

  5. So many good books on that list! I finally listened to all the ANNE books last year and LOVED Rilla--the brother who made me think of Rupert Brooke and the other WWI poets....

    I hate it that Year Seven and onward has such heavy going titles. The first six years of AO are almost total delight.

  6. Totally hooked now, can't wait to hear.

  7. I'm pulling together a tour of Asia and Australia with a bit of the Middle East and Africa thrown in to an AO template (modeled on Sonlight Curriculum's Core F). I'm an American, but wanting a CM-style history spine for Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you! Please email me at zekebully@sbcglobal.net

  8. LOVE it. thank you for sharing, i know it will be super helpful for so many :)

    amy in peru


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