Ages upon ages ago back when we started Ambleside Year 3 and Year 1 last fall, I took some time to purposely evaluate how I was doing as a teacher by giving myself a report card. It’s been over a year and we’ve been plugging away at the same AO years. I finally stopped trying to play catch up and just admitted we weren’t going to finish in twelve months about the time morning sickness hit. Then I realized that I could use this delay to switch to a calendar year schedule like Dawn describes here. I was so excited about this possibility that I was able to let go of all my personal recriminations at getting so far behind.

It’s been a rough year in some ways, delightful in others. My husband changed jobs in January, and it took us forever to find a new groove. He went from leaving for work at 7 am to 10 am. Our routine of eating an early breakfast and starting school between 8 and 9 just didn’t work any more. Mystie and Brandy discussed on a recent Schole Sisters that our habits can be tied to triggers we don’t even recognize and rebuilding habits after a change can be difficult until we figure out the root issue. It took me months to rebuild our morning school routine around my husband’s real schedule and not the schedule I wish he still had. That accounts for the difficulty we had throughout the first half of the year.

In August, morning sickness coincided with me starting a new teaching job at a private school. I work Monday through Thursday, teaching first period senior English. I chose to go to work at 7 so I can prep at the school with their wifi. Getting up and out of the house early while my family is still groggy has actually helped with the home school routine, but everything we gained by me being extroverted first thing in the day, we lost later because my pregnancy wore me out. Most of the fall was survival school: one AO reading, math, and copywork. I felt a definite improvement with my second trimester, but we didn’t get ahead, we just finally found a good rhythm for our days and added back some of the daily work we’d been skipping.

So with all that background information, my teacher report card this term is full of constructive criticism for myself and ideas to implement for the next AO year we will begin in January.

To be clear, I’m evaluating myself as a teacher, not my students. I noticed as I reviewed that once again my oldest gets to be the guinea pig and my youngest benefits from what I’ve learned. I did much better teaching Year 1 than Year 3!


Morning Time

Instead of starting our school day with morning time, for most of the fall, I used The Same Page Podcast at first in our van driving around town. I teared up the first time I heard the Shakespeare passage because I’d been feeling so guilty about not having much beauty in our school day. As I’ve felt better, we’ve started listening during lunch with a lighted candle.

TO DO: Read Pam Barnhill’s Better Together for encouragement. Make a simple plan with all AO weekly work for a doable morning time to reboot in January. Consider keeping it at lunch time.

Recitation – Sufficient

We’ve continued to review our Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization and worked on verses for Community Bible Study. We haven’t added very much new, but we also haven’t lost what we’ve learned.

TO DO: Refresh binders and make sure we have what we need for memorization.

Foreign Language – Satisfactory

I don’t remember the last time we opened Speaking Spanish with Mrs. Mason, but we have been watching an episode or two of Salsa Spanish once a week. They are slowly picking up words and phases, and we are maintaining the idea of language learning and a basic habit.

TO DO: Use Language Mama Planner to organize a few weeks of Spanish lessons based around Lyric Language (out of print), Speaking Spanish, and Salsa Spanish.

Singing – Excellent

We are still loving Hymns at Home and Wee Sing! The girls are also in a thriving home school choir.

Picture Study – Unacceptable

The same prints have been up for a ridiculously long time. I bought a few Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Study Portfolios used and look forward to using them.

TO DO: Change out prints post haste.


Zuzu Year 3, Term 3 Exam

Bible – Satisfactory

Community Bible Study is working through Acts which has been great. I love in depth study of one book, but I also want to present an overview of the whole Bible.

TO DO: Start with AO Bible reading first in the week since I seem to be skipping it too often.

Writing/Penmanship – Satisfactory

We are doing well with this! Zuzu is copying Bible verses for CBS and practicing cursive with an Abeka workbook I got for free.

TO DO: I think Zu is ready for Hymns in Prose cursive copywork so I need to print it out and organize it.

History/Tales/Geography/Natural History and General Science – Needs Improvement

This fall marked the transition from Librivox reading almost all of Year 3 to some student reading. We especially enjoyed Secrets of the Woods and Marco Polo.

TO DO: Check the schedule and make sure we have enough time planned for Zuzu’s individual work since Year 4 jumps in difficulty.

Reading Skill – Satisfactory 

We made significant progress on reading this year! Systematically working through Sonlight’s first, second, and third readers has brought Zuzu along without frustration.

TO DO: Continue with third grade readers and reading AO books for 10 minutes a session.

Arithmetic – Excellent

Math continues to be a relatively easy and enjoyable subject.

Handicrafts – Excellent

While handicrafts isn’t officially part of our school day, I’m confident it’s part of our family culture. This fall, we made sequined ornaments and started a cross-stitch project. Zuzu also learned to knit in about five minutes. Purling is taking a bit longer, but I’m sure she’ll master that soon.


We had a hilarious exchange about purling difficulty. I told her she didn’t want to be a one trick pony. She immediately quipped, “But don’t forget the fox and the cat!” I am so excited she overhears Eliza reading Aesop’s Fables because we didn’t use AO when she was in first grade.

TO DO: Organize all the things and make sure Zu can get what she needs to work during rest time.

Eliza Year 1 Term 3 Exam

Bible – Excellent

Ditto Zuzu’s comment. Must do AO Bible readings right after CBS!

Writing/Penmanship – Satisfactory

A Child’s Copybook Reader provided lovely samples, but Eliza wrote on 3-line paper. She enjoyed binding her work into a booklet. After a few more passages with 3-line, we will go back and write on the lines provided under the copywork.

TO DO: Print more samples and get it all organized so finding copywork isn’t a struggle.

Tales/History/Geography – Excellent

I stayed on track with the schedule once we came back from my first trimester break. Eliza rocks narrating history and stories and is reading most selections on her own.

Phonices/Reading Skill – Excellent

Eliza has learned to read by osmosis, and she wants to learn to write her own stories. We are using Explode the Code to practice spelling.

Arithmetic – Excellent

We are on track to finish Primary Mathematics 2A in a few days!


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