Changes are a-foot

As you can see, there are some changes happening around here on ye olde blog. I pulled all the posts into draft setting, so I can check links/update pictures/polish and repost them back online. I'm also working on changing the focus of the blog from personal day-to-day events to more nuts-and-bolts about how we homeschool, how I teach subjects like Shakespeare, the nitty-gritty of running the house, things of that like. I'm envisioning something more topical and less mundane, as I finally feel like I have something to offer to the homeschool community at large (now that I've been doing this for about 4 years).

You can tell by the tagline that I also changed curriculum at some point (again). I detest changing curriculum, it's not easy to do and it's hard on the kids. So I don't take changing curriculum lightly.

I started off with Mater Amabilis, which was great. It fit well with our family. I love that it is entirely Catholic and has great books selected that are both beautiful and full of great ideas. Third grade, however; proved to be too hard to find the books and fit the budget.

We (tried to) use Kolbe for Peanut's third grade. We lasted a term. Over our Advent and Christmas break, I sat down with Greg and took a long look at what was working and what wasn't working for our house (this was before Moose's Great Leg Break of 2016). While I still love Kolbe, I need the lesson plans. Enrolling isn't financially feasible, neither is getting the lesson plans for each subjecct. I think with the lesson plans, it is a great program - maybe we will use it for highschool.

Greg asked me to make a spreadsheet of all the Catholic curricula to find one that would work. We assessed them based cost, science, math, history, accreditation, acquiring books, supportboth online and offline, and their educational philosophy. We then added in other curricula like Bookshark for extra comparison. We ended up back at Mater Amabilis, but we were both worried about finding books and staying within the homeschool budget.

We ended looking at Ambleside Online, which is not Catholic but still Christian. Greg liked AO better due to the easier accessibility of books (a bunch are in the public domain and on Librivox), the history selections, as well as the online support (website, forum, blogs, Facebook groups, etc). He wasn't impressed on the science, but thought it was a great all-around curricula and asked me to please give it a try with Peanut and Moose, supplementing in science.

Once Moose was off the heavy painkillers, we started AO. I made a modified Grade 3 for Peanut that combined the rest of Kolbe that she was working on, Year 3, and some of year 3.5. My goal was to transition her {and me} back into Charlotte Mason philosophy and prepare her for AO Year 4, if we kept going with it. Moose I put straight into Year 1, without any real modifications. I dropped some books like Trial and Triumph and added in Saint stories as well as Catechism; but overall it has been very easy to adapt to my family.

Currently we are 2/3rds of the way through the second term (which made more sense for us than starting at term 1 for the given year) and it has been wonderful. It has fit us like a glove and we really couldn't be happier. Switching to AO was part of rebooting everything and getting into a functional routine with life. Everyone is benefiting.

So that's what's going on around here. Ideally I'd like to get into some sort of a semi-regular posting schedule, at least once a week but shooting for twice a week. We'll see how life goes and what happens. But I do hope that you all will still stick around!


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