Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Moozle's review of Ambleside Online Year 5




As I mentioned in a previous post, here is 11 year old Moozle's opinion of her Year 5 books. The original schedule is here. As this year required some Australian substitutions, mostly for history, I posted about the books we used here.
A couple of things to bear in mind:

•    Some of the books were read a while back and I've noticed that once a book is off her radar she tends to have a lower opinion of it than she may have done at the time she read it.

•    These are her lesson books and generally not the type of books she'd be likely to take down off the shelf and curl up in a comfy chair and read.

•    I don't take her negative or low ratings as an indication that I need to change to another curriculum. She doesn't like eating certain foods but I don't change our diet because I know it's healthy and good for her. If I left it to her to choose she'd end up vitamin deficient and probably anaemic.

•    When I went through the books we'd used for Year 5 and asked her opinion of them for this post, she said to me that the AO books are not 'her type of books.' Her books of choice at present would be Biggles, the Jungle Doctor books, Biggles, anything by G.A. Henty, and more Biggles. I know the AO books challenge her to think and to dig out knowledge for herself. There isn't any lack of understanding on her part and her narrations are given freely and without complaint (mostly) plus she shows an interest in the content of the books at the time she is reading them.

•    Anything she considered too sad got a very low rating - I omitted Trial & Triumph in previous years because of this. We used it for about a year with no complaints, but after her uncle died suddenly two years ago, she started commenting about how horrible it was that people were killed all the time. I dropped it after that and decided she could do Saint & Heroes by George Hodges in Year 7 instead.

I asked her to give the books a rating out of 10 so here we go:

Australian History & Biographies

History of Australia - 7 (I read this aloud)
Dr. Hunger and Captain Thirst - 2 ('stupidly sad') Well, the early explorers had an awful time of it, dying of thirst in deserts, getting hopelessly lost and disappearing without a trace. It is rather depressing at times but that's what happened. I read the first half aloud and then Moozle finished it herself.

Margaret Catchpole - 7 (interesting)
River Rivals - 7 (quite good)
The Singing Wire - 10 (the best of the three)
She read the three books herself.

Other History

Abraham Lincoln's World - 7 (read herself)
Story of the World - 10 (read herself)
Passion for the Impossible - 7 (I read this aloud for 3/4 of the book and then she read the remainder herself. I'm surprised that she really engaged with book. It is stiff going)

Science/Natural History

The books below were read on her own:
Robert Boyle - 7 (in place of Isaac Newton, which I'd previously read as a family read aloud)
The Story of Madame Curie - 5 (in place of George Washingon Carver)
Wild Animals I Have Known - 4 (too sad)
Christian Liberty Nature Reader - 2 (boring)
Story of Inventions - 3 (didn't like it; old fashioned & boring)
 Always Inventing:Alexander Grahame Bell - 9

Madame How & Lady Why - 8 (I read this aloud)

Literature - read on her own

Age of Fable - 7
The Story of King Arthur - 10 (Roger Lancelyn Green)
Oliver - 5 (too sad - although she was interested enough in the story to keep  wanting to read ahead)
Kim - 8 (good!)

Favourite free reads:

Lad: A Dog - 10
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - 8

Other ratings:

Murderous Maths - 10 (great!)
Hamlet - 4 (way too sad)
Book of Marvels - 6

If you asked your student to give ratings on their books would it look anything like this?? Rather brutal, don't you think?
I think I'll go and curl up in a corner.

10 comments:

  1. I think it is wonderful that she read and thinks about the books. Whether she liked them or not is different from what she was exposed to and how it made her think. Look at the wonderful ratings she gave to high quality literature!

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    1. That's a good way of looking at it - exposure as opposed to choosing only books she liked :)

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  2. Very interesting. I think my ratings and my kids rating differ. But it surprises me how they still recall some stories - at least they are still listening. Please thank your daughter for sharing her opinion.

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    1. Thanks Michelle. I'll pass that on.

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  3. This is great, Carol. What a wonderful idea to ask your daughter.

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    1. Thanks Amy. She took great delight in offering her opinions!

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  4. Some of those books, when revisited when she is older, might get higher marks. After you live awhile and see things a bit differently, books become more meaningful. I remember reading War and Peace as a teen and saying ho hum. When I read it in my late twenties, I was surprised at all I missed. Books really are "living" in that way.

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    1. Yes, there are definitely books that should be left until later. I haven't had the wherewithal to tackle W & P yet!
      It seems counter-intuitive to offer children books that they only take bits and pieces from but they can pick & choose & assimilate what they need if they have an abundant feast spread out before them.

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  5. It's always fascinating to hear what the kids think of the books you've assigned. It definitely shows your daughter's taste in books. :-)

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    1. It surprised me somewhat because she didn't seem to mind them when she was actually reading them.

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