For those of you who may not be familiar with AO YR4, there are several new things to become acquainted with: Full length Shakespeare plays, Plutarch's lives, Grammar, Latin (we're trying this one), and the Book of Centuries.
This is not a year I'm going to get away with flying by the seat of my pants! There is planning and decision making to be done; which is probably why some find it a daunting year. So much so that AO actually has a YR3.5.
I've never had a child in YR4 and I don't really know how it will be for us, so I'm just going in with the attitude that, so long as we try our best, it's alright. I'm not measuring my success by 'getting it all done' because I also have a 4 month old, a son in YR2 and an almost 4yo to consider. Plus my daughter is still transitioning to reading her own books and writing, so if we don't finish it all, I'm not getting in a wreck about it. That would be missing the entire point, completely. Let's keep the main thing the main thing shall we?
Well, I spent a few hours on the phone with Kristine into the wee hours of the night (morning really) trying to figure out what to do for the Book of Centuries. This PNEU article says about the BOC:
Though "The Book of Centuries" as such has only been part of the P.U.S. programme since 1915, its earlier form of a "Museum Note Book" dates back to 1906. The late Mrs. Epps advocated in her "British Museum for Children" the keeping of a note-book, each page representing a century, in which one could draw sketches of objects in the Museums, and write notes of the principal events.So, from everything I've gotten thus far, the idea seems to me to have a book where the child records one-word on a given person, thing, or event of significance on one side of a notebook, and a blank page on the opposing page they draw sketches of objects related to that century, whether from a museum or a book or a website anymore I suppose.
It seems simple enough, and it's in the details that I get confused.
Kristine and I had both thought of buying this one which we read about on a Childlight blog post here, but without a picture of the actual pages and limited information on the layout, we both hesitated to pull the trigger on it.
We also looked at Simply Charlotte Mason's 'My Book of Centuries', which included a 'brief narrative page' and a 'noteworthy page', which didn't appear to be mentioned by the PNEU or seen in Eve Andersen's BOC. I also wasn't too crazy about the categorizing of things on the noteworthy page ('Prominent Men & Women', 'Wars & Politics', Art & Music', etc.). It just seems too compartmentalized and directed to me. I like the simplicity of the 2 page spread, but that's just my personal preference. Another thing I don't like is having 'www.simplycharlottemason.com' on every page. A minor, I know, but I am just so petty like that! And don't get me wrong, they *should* have that on there because it's their product. I just don't want it on my daughter's.
As we talked, some things that came up were:
Where should a BOC start? Creation? 4000 B.C.? 5000B.C.? Laurie Bestvater's site doesn't say where her BOC starts. S.C.M.'s printable one starts at 4000B.C. The PNEU article here says:
...we must turn to the beginning of the book and head the first lined page "Prehistoric Periods." On this it is as well to write a list of the four periods—Palaeolithic or Old Stone, Neolithic or New Stone, Bronze, and Early Iron, explaining what is meant by each.I have not seen any discussion on these time periods and whether there is no mention of them or how they are being dealt with in the BOC's now.
And what about B.C. and A.D. or B.C.E. and C.E. (Common Era)? I'd never heard of Common Era until I looked at Laurie Bestvater's Book of Centuries where she mentions using B.C.E. and C.E.. SCM's and Eve Andersen's uses B.C. and A.D.
Now this is the kicker that's got me - are the pages ruled or blank? Or is one side ruled, one side blank? Eve Andersen's is ruled on one side and blank on the other, which is what the PNEU article recommends. SCM's 'My book of Centuries' has a grid on one side and blank for the drawing page, their printable one is blank on both sides, Laurie Bestvater's - from what I've heard - has alternating shading grey/white on one side, blank on the other. 'The Book of Centuries and How to Keep One' PNEU article example here (link courtesy of Laurie Bestvater's post here.) is blank on both sides with one horizontal line drawn through the century, but vertical column lines are assumed, not drawn.
Although I like the way the PNEU article example looks, blank on both sides, my 9yo daughter is going to need some kind of lines to guide her writing.
Am I the only one challenged trying to figure this all out? More likely these are minors and you're not as concerned with it all. Yes, I know there are four letter words for people like me - NUTS!
Would you believe I spent no less than an hour looking on the Moleskin website looking for the right notebook?! I could not find one of those hardback notebooks with the elastic that holds it shut with lines on one side, blank on the other that had thick enough paper to prevent Sharpie finepoint pens from bleeding through.
I also checked on Tokyo Pen Shop's site - because I always loved browsing Japanese Stationary stores when I lived in Tokyo - but I didn't find one there either.
So as my search proved futile, I thought: "Forget it, I'll just make one and print it at Fedex Office."
I was going to make very faint grey lines to mark the rows and columns and have a really nice cover page with parchment type background. Well, two hours of attempting to format different headers and backgrounds in one MS Word file and I was DONE. I think I'd have a better chance of programming a simpler word processor before I ever figure that out.
So now I'm thinking I really NEED to find a notebook with lines on one side and blank on the other that is nice enough for her to keep forever. It's going to be a very special book. Once I find it, I think I'll hand write in all the centuries, leaving room for maps, etc. as detailed in this PNEU article here.
I know, don't major on the minors, but it also feels like such a big deal because it's a lifetime book; something that will hopefully be dear to my children that will sit on their bookshelves someday when they are grown men and women. And I really don't want to have to change books ever once we start, so I do want to get it right.
I do wonder though if many of us who are scouring the articles on BOC's aren't ending up very much like the lady who always cut off the ends of the ham. You know the story where she cuts the ends off the ham every holiday and when asked why she said because Mom did, so they check with Mom and she says she did because Grandma did, so they check with Grandma and turns out she did because her oven was so small she couldn't fit a ham in it!
So, I think I'm back to keeping the main thing the main thing. I'd love to hear what you're doing for BOC!