Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Review of Form III-IV Science Using Ambleside Online

RileyAnn has officially completed AO Year 7 and AO Year 8 Science. I highly recommend it!! The Ambleside Advisory did a tremendous job of choosing a variety of living books and piecing together a wonderful introductory and preparatory science study for the upper years. Because Riley completed the study in her Year 8 & 9, I did make a few minor modifications and additions for high school, but nothing major. I'm not going to spend too much time on AO Year 7 because I did a reflection of that here, which also includes some of my thoughts on scientific literacy. Rather, I will share the books Riley's covered over the past two years, as well as samples of her notebooking pages to hopefully give you ideas.

Riley's Year 8 Book List Based off AO Year 7

Eric Sloane's Weather Book by Eric Sloane
Social Life in the Insect World by Jean Henri Fabre - (A book I substituted for AO's The Life of the Spider)
Secrets of the Universe: Discovering the Universal Laws of Science by Paul Fleisher - (This book has been reprinted by Living Book Press in 5 separate books.)
The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre
First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom
Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan
Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball - (I highly recommend the linked edition!! It is a well done reprint with original illustrations.)

Riley's Year 9 Book List Book Based off AO Year 8

The Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday - (Be sure to add the free online videos linked at AO)
Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman
A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking 
The Microbe Hunters by Paul DeKruif
For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin - (I added with Sabbath Mood Homeschool guide.)

Overall, Riley enjoyed her study. She felt there was a nice variety of the sciences represented and she said she learned a little from each book. Her least favorites were those by Fabre, A Briefer History of Time, and The Chemical History of the Candle because the writing and subject matter was not as interesting to her. 

Like last year, the schedule was such that Riley read from two books per day, four days per week, and then completed one notebooking page per day from the book of her choice. Here is a sample of her work....

I realize this is a lot of pages to showcase, but my hope is to allow you to see the variation of knowledge gleaned by this study throughout the year. I love the way AO mixed sciences in these years using living books. However, I will admit, initially, I was a bit skeptical, but after doing a variety of research a couple years ago, I realized the US is one of the few countries that segregates the sciences. Also, Charlotte Mason did not separate them, as she taught the various branches of science concurrently. 

In addition, I was very pleased with Riley's standardized test results this spring, which clearly showed she had mastered the different streams of science well enough to beat the test. This was especially interesting since the test was based on current common core standards, to which we have never adhered in our homeschool. 

In closing, I want to highly recommend the AO Science we used! I'm so glad we chose this route and hope to continue with a mix of science streams each year throughout high school. To those that worry about using old books that may be outdated, I say stop worrying. You can always Google updated information if you feel it necessary...we did not. Also remember, scientific literacy should be the goal. If you have a budding scientist, they will narrow their field and specialize in college, not middle and high school. Right now, providing a feast and allowing adequate time and space for your student to digest it should be your main concern. The AO Science choices afford you the opportunity to do just that.

Note: Ambleside Online is a FREE Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum. They offer schedules for Year 0-12, as well as a variety of resources to help parents educate their children. All opinions are my own and I am not being compensated by AO in any way. However, the books in my lists are linked to my Amazon affiliate account. I appreciate your consideration in clicking the links. By doing so and making a purchase, you are supporting my efforts here on this blog and in our homeschool. Thanks!


  1. Did you omit "Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science" by John Hudson Tiner (it's assigned in AO8 science)? If so, why? Thanks so much for taking the time to do these detailed reviews. It really helps!

    1. Yes, we did omit the Kepler book, but neither my daughter, nor I can remember why, LOL. I think it was because she read something else about him so I added Galileo's Daughter instead, but not 100% sure.

      Thanks so much for reading!

  2. You're welcome. I also enjoy hearing about WI life. My dad is from there but left for warmer weather in the late 60s. :) He won't even visit me in the winter bc it gets cold and snowy where we live lol. But our snow melts after each storm.

    1. Funny about your's actually snowing and blowing here again today!