15 Apr 2015

AO8 Term I (continued)

Hello everyone.  I'm sorry I took such a long break halfway through my subject-by-subject walk through AO8 Term I with you all. I planned on being able to blog lots during our two week break, but instead real life intervened, and...well, here I am midway through Week 1 of Term II.  I do hope you'll forgive me.

Last post I started going through the books we used last term and telling you what we thought of them. I got as far as Citizenship, which means our next subject was Literature.  How about we just start there, yes?


Our Shakespeare play last term was As You Like It, a particularly enjoyable play.  We chose this because we saw it performed back in January.  We are blessed with some top notch Shakespeare companies in Melbourne, and so we have always scheduled our studies around the plays we can actually see instead of using the AO Rotation. So far it has been a good move.  Jemimah and I read Shakespeare aloud, choosing parts and acting it out a little bit. It is fun.

The History of English Literature by H E Marshall continues on from last year.  It is an extremely enjoyable book and Jemimah likes it a lot, although a couple of times she chose not to read certain parts because they contained 'spoilers' about the endings of books she was reading last term.  Sensible girl.

Everyman, A Morality Play was a real surprise package.  We used the Dover edition linked on the AO schedule, which has slightly less archaic language, and found it most agreeable.  Like Shakespeare we read it aloud together, taking different parts, and it was so great that we went on and read a couple more of the plays in the same volume because we liked them so much. I hadn't heard of morality plays before being introduced to Everyman, and I altered the Marshall schedule slightly to have Jemimah read the chapter on them before we began instead of when it was scheduled.  This was one of the spoiler chapters that I alluded to above.

I was not expecting Jemimah to like Kingsley's Westward Ho! because of his propensity to waffle, but it has proved to be one of her favourite books.  Some of the sections are pretty long, so she chooses to divide up readings, reading half of a long chapter over two days, for example, but she rarely complains because she likes the story so much.  This book is a great one for introducing all the important characters of the Elizabethan era.  You'll find Drake, Raleigh, even Spencer amongst its pages, and Jemimah loves these connections.  This book follows over into Term II, so we are getting close to the climax now. It is pretty exciting! I am reading it along with Jemimah.  I try to read ahead, but...well...I did say the chapters were long, didn't I?


Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves - another book written in pretty difficult language. Well, it would have been difficult, except Roy Maynard's edition has such wonderfully explanatory footnotes.  Jemimah found the first one or two chapters hard going, but just like Roy assures, it was much easier once she became accustomed to the style. She is considering continuing on to read more of The Faery Queene, so I guess that means she liked it!

I was excited to introduce Jemimah to Shakespeare's Sonnets this year.  We used this app.  It is pricey - $18.00 pricey,  but it was well worth it to hear the sonnets read aloud by such wonderful voices as those of Sir Patrick Stewart, Kim Cattrall, Stephen Fry and David Tennant. Dr Who reading Shakespeare everyone! Can you imagine?  There are extensive notes on each sonnet, but I chose to read excepts of these aloud because of the overemphasis on the homosexual elements.  My daughter doesn't need to know about all that stuff at her age.  (Actually, I wish I didn't at mine.)

Again, there is a chapter in Marshall about sonnets.  It is worth reading this one out of order as well.  It added much to our enjoyment of the poetry to know more about them.

Jemimah chose to learn Sonnet 18 by heart, so we both became very familiar with this particular verse.  Have a listen.


We chose not to read the AO choices for grammar this term.  Rather, Jemimah is reading through Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.  There is plenty of time for serious grammar later on, and this light hearted romp adds some much needed levity to what is a rather heavy year. It is a good choice, so far.

Science / Nature Study

We have had a great term of science using living books.  There are rather a lot of them, so I'm going to post about these separately. Poke me if I forget.


We finished off a wonderful logic book this term called The Square Root of Tuesday by Jessica Davidson.  It's out of print, and almost impossible to find at a reasonable price, but it's worth purchasing it if you do.  Jemimah had great fun making the logic computer at the back of the book.  As you do.

How to Read a Book is a fascinating read.  We do this one together, because there is just so much to talk about.  I must admit that if you have to do all this stuff in order to say you've read a book then I may have to admit that I've never yet read a single one, but we still seem to find lots of great stuff to talk about at the end of each reading!

Well, that, I think, is that.  We've reached the end. The AO8 Free Reads are great.  Jemimah's great discovery this term was Chesterton.  She adored The Innocence of Father Brown so much, and kept urging me to read parts too. I look forward to seeing what she thinks of other Chesterton titles. Apart from that one, she has also enjoyed The Book of Three and C S Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet amongst others this term.  She has also read some Aussie titles, including Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Nargun and the Stars.  I'll tell you about those separately.

What else can I tell you?  What else do you want to know?  What have I left out?

Thank you so much for your patience, friends.  I'll try not to be gone so long this time.  I miss you all when you don't come and talk to me!!


  1. I just bought Square Root of Tuesday! I found a copy for $18 through a textbook dealer. After seeing the other prices, I thought $18 was pretty decent.

  2. I love these posts! We're reading Kingsley's Water-Babies and can definitely see what you mean by him waffling :D I find myself wanting to skim, but realise at the same time that he's being brilliant!

  3. I'm starting to plan for Year 8, so reading your thoughts is very helpful. That app looks neat!

  4. We love Eat, Shoots and Leaves:)

  5. Love everything you did and thanks for posting!

  6. Great post, but I feel very distanced from all of the above. Look forward to reading about your science books.

  7. We enjoyed Eat, Shoots and Leaves, too! Thanks for Part II of Year 8. Very helpful to my planning for Year 8. Looking forward to seeing how your science has shaped up for this year!

  8. Poking you for science! LOL


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