Beefing up my 10 yo’s Books: Combining AO years 4-6 into 2 school years.

My eldest son, Jonathan, is doing very well with his readings. I’m pleased with his narrations. He is technically a 5th grader, but I started him in year 4 because I didn’t want him to miss the history, I had most of the books, and I didn’t want to push him to hard.

Now, I know that AO years != grade years. But I also keep hearing how cool Ambleside Online’s year 12 is going to be. So if I want him to do year 12, I’ll have to bump him or do a combo year at some point.

I decided to do it now. I looked at years 5 & 6, and made a few observations: we’re currently reading The Hobbit (that’s half of year 6’s literature), year 6 has very little geography, while our current year 4 (because I decided not to use Madam How and Lady Why) is very light on science (which he loves) & natural history. I’m also not super worried about history. It’s very important, but it’s not the center of our homeschool.

So I added year 5’s science books (not biographies or Madam How) to this year. And I’m going to read Minn once a week, finishing it this term, leaving term 3 open for year 6’s book about David Livingstone, which DS should be able to read himself.

The rest of this year will have ~16 readings a week. I’m hoping to do 4 days for individual work, and 1 day for group study, so that’s 4 readings a day. If that is too much I’ll spread his readings over 5 days.

In case anyone is interested, here is my plan:

5th Grade (this year)

  • Bible (4 days a week)
    • (4/5) Greenleaf’s Guide to the Old Testament (Samson to the Divided Kingdom).
    • (4) New Testament focus on Mark (2 terms)
  • History
    • (4) This Country of Ours, George Washington’s World
  • Biography
    • (4) Trial & Triumph (match with history)
    • (4) Ben Franklin & Abigail Adams
  • Geography
    • (4) * ** Minn of the Mississippi
    • (6) *** David Livingstone (Term 3)
  • Natural History/Science
    • (4) Storybook of Science
    • (5) Wild Animals I Have Known (read aloud) followed by Christian Liberty Nature Reader 5 (transition to him reading)
  • Science Biography
    • (5) The Story of Inventions (some will be left for summer reading)
  • Literature
    • (4) Age of Fable — stay on year 4’s schedule
    • (4) Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped, The Incredible Journey and the three short stories. Thankfully most of these have audio books.
6th Grade (next year)
  • Bible (4 days a week, but I’m not sure on schedule details)
    • (5) Finish Greenleaf’s Guide to the Old Testament
    • (5/6) Life of Christ (48 readings scheduled)
    • (6) Answers in Genesis (year 6 history tales, which I don’t want to miss)
  • History (modern)
    • (5) * ** This Country of Ours
    • (5) * ** Abraham Lincoln’s World
    • (5/6) *** Story of the World volume 4 — we’ll probably extend this past the ‘end’ of the school year. We will use the MP3 version.
  • History (ancient)
    • (6) * Story of the Greeks – I might substitute a shorter book: Tappan’s “The Story of the Greek People”, since I don’t want to overwhelm him.
    • (6) ** *** Augustus Caesar’s World
    • (6) ** *** Story of the Romans (spread over 2 terms intead of 1)
  • Biography
    • (5/6) Trial and Triumph, scheduled to match history reading.
    • (5) * Of Courage Undaunted (because I love Lewis & Clark)
    • (5) ** Lilias Trotter OR Teddy Roosevelt
    • (6) *** Winston Churchill
  • Geography (I may only use 1 of Halliburton’s books)
    • (5) Halliburton’s Book of Marvels (I have the 2nd book, still searching for the first)
  • Natural History/Science (I may have to move some to free reading, I haven’t seen these books)
    • (6) School of the Woods & The Sea Around Us
    • (6) It Couldn’t Just Happen
    • (6) Secrets of the Universe
  • Science Biography
    • (5/6) Choose 3 biographies from years 5 & 6, one per term.
  • Literature
    • (5/6) Age of Fable – 2 readings per week.
    • (5) * King Arthur
    • (5) ** Oliver Twist OR Kim (other will be a free read)
    • (6) *** Animal Farm
What Was Left Out
  • Poetry isn’t listed, but will NOT be left out – we will do one poet per term for Jonathan, but since we read everyone’s poetry as a group, we will read them all eventually (and more than once), so I’m not worried.
  • Only 3 of 6 science biographies will be assigned.
  • Madam How and Lady Why is being skipped. (Because I just don’t have the energy for it, and most people have mixed opinions. I’ll try to read it with my 8yo when he reaches years 4 & 5.)
  • Year 6’s Old Testament readings are the books of Genesis, Job, Exodus & Leviticus. I’m not sure how to handle those, but I haven’t decided on Bible for the HEO years either, as I’d prefer to have DC do studies from Precepts, probably as a group (so it won’t be in AO’s order). But I will encourage DS to go through the books in his personal Bible time, and I may or may not use SCM’s “Book of Doctrine’s”. I actually have a study guide for Genesis-Deuteronomy from Precepts on the shelf, if we go that route. I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • Year 6 has the “Story of Mankind” scheduled. I may or may not have him read from it. I imagine that SOTW4 is fairly complete.
  • Two (of 8) biographies will not be scheduled, but one of those is a WWII era book to be selected from the free reads, and DH is a WWII buff, so I’m sure DS will hear a few of those for bedtime readings anyway.
  • In literature, we are currently reading “The Hobbit” aloud (started before coming back to AO). And we will be reading “Tale of Troy” which is a retelling of the Iliad as a group. I would like to read the full version of the Iliad later on, perhaps during poetry time. The year 5 literature book that gets “skipped” will be a top-priority free read.

This may all change at any moment! LOL, hopefully not. I haven’t seen the year 6 books, so I can’t get a super accurate idea of how much reading to assign, and may have to move some to free reading / science shelf. I also don’t know how much DS’s reading skills will improve, but I’ve decided I cannot hold him back for one thing. I am completely willing to keep using librivox, purchase audio books for newer works, and read out loud as needed. He is loving CM’s generous curriculum of living books, and I am so thankful to AO for having a frugal, high-quality program laid out.
I’m mainly posting this since I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and I want to have a summary stored online (because computers crash). I also find it helpful to read the ideas & experiences of others, and want to offer something back to the online homeschooling community. Enjoy!

1 Comment

  1. Jeanne

    I love reading posts like this. Your planning and thinking clearly shows. It looks great. I have a Year 6 student this year. It’s a wonderful year!!

    PS Found you from the forum.


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