6 Jan 2014

Back to school

Jemimah and I started back to school this morning.  AO7.  Wherever has the time gone?  Where has my baby gone?

We started the day as we start every year with our traditional first day doughnut breakfast - not so healthy, but lots of fun - before heading out for the first session of three weeks of daily swimming lessons.  This could well be the last year of this lovely gentle easing back to school, since Jemimah doesn't really need the lessons any more, but it makes it feel so summery and still-on-holiday-ish-for-three-more-weeks that we are reluctant to give it up.

Our first day is full of traditions.  The doughnuts, the swimming, the first day photo, and the gift wrapped stationery.  Do you remember how exciting it is to begin the year with new pens and pencils, fresh exercise books, and lovely clean folders?  It is just as much fun for Jemimah, only I gift wrap hers, and pop in a few surprises as well.  A blingy ruler, some brightly coloured paper, and some metallic textas were this year's fun extras.  We always make a grand ceremony of The Opening of the Stationery, and also of The Reading of the First Book - in today's case, Watership Down. Starting tomorrow, Jemimah will read this herself, but today was Mummy's turn.  I love reading aloud.  In case you hadn't noticed.

AO7 is a lovely year.  I think I say that about every new year, but I am particularly enamoured with this one.  Our time period is the Middle Ages, and we're reading the Venerable Bede, and Beowulf, and The Green Knight, and other wonderful British literature, as well as such greats as Scott's Ivanhoe, Bulfinch's The Age of Chivalry, T H White's The Once and Future King, and Charlotte Mason's Ourselves. The first volume of Winston Churchill's A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, The Birth of Britain is our history text, and we're reading The Brendan Voyage for Geography.  Oh my, I am so excited!  There will be some Aussie content, of course, with Amy Mack's A Bush Calendar and Bush Days for Natural History, and The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson, and some offerings from Hesba Brinsmead and Ivan Southall amongst the Free Reads.

This year we're trying a more Charlotte Mason style of science.  I hesitate to call this Living Science, because I get visions of the pseudo CM Living Maths when I do, and it isn't a CM term at all, but it is called that by many.  Anyhoo, I'm trying to do it, what ever it's called.  We'll be doing lots of botany and astronomy, but we're also studying light, and the physics of how we see, as well as some genetics and a bit on bacteria and viruses. Some bios of scientists will round out the year.  This is probably the part of the year that excites me the most.  I can't wait to share what we're using, and how it goes, with you.

The other interesting addition to our curriculum this year is Japanese, along with our studies of French and Latin.  This is the first time that I've had to teach a language that I haven't studied myself, and I'm finding the idea a bit daunting, to be honest.  It is likely that we will be visiting Japan later in the year though, so we do have a bit of an incentive to at least learn the basics.

Of course, this is only a sampling of the wonderful subjects that make up Ambleside Online's Year 7 course of study.  You can see what is included here. I'm planning to write a further post on all of our selections in the next few days as soon as I finalise a few things, but if the rest of the year goes anywhere near as well as today did, then I'll be well pleased indeed.

Happy New School Year to my beautiful Jemimah.  I love learning alongside of you. xx


  1. Love your little traditions! We (um, the kids mostly) started learning Japanese last year - we use a combo of Mango from our library e-resources and some student workbooks that follow the NSW Syllabus (gotta tick those boxes here!). Ooooh - visiting Japan later this year??? How I am wishing I could say the same - look forward to those posts!

  2. Wishing you and J and wonderful year!!!

  3. tell that girl, i wish i was sitting with her. boy, do i ever! and not for the doughnut. thinking of you both often...

    french to me was like japanese to you. now, after our second year, it's finally feeling better... i know it won't take that muckle long for you, though!


  4. What lovely, yummy traditions! Happy Year 7 to you both. You are horribly missed.
    Luca just broke the news to me that he wants to study Japanese. Feeling as you are.
    We just headed into our 2nd term. Feeling refreshed.
    Love to you all.

  5. Fabulous! A wonderful beginning to your school term. :)

  6. Thanks for sharing, Jeanne. I am constantly snapping pictures but I completely forgot to take one of my oldest son on his first official day of AO last week. This is a tradition I had intended to start, too:(.

    I very much look forward to your posts on how science is going for you and Jemimah of the lovely strawberry blonde hair that I covet to no end. :)


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