We use Ambleside Online

 

I'm making it official by putting a link (bottom left corner) to Ambleside Online. We use it and we love it. Alab's Year 1 starts on January 2014 but we have been blessed by AO's generous banquet since 2009. 

I first "met" Charlotte Mason through the words of Susan Schaeffer Macaulay's For the Children's Sake. She is the daughter of Francis Schaeffer, the man who established the L'Abri (French for "the shelter") Community in Switzerland. I've read his book True Spirituality in my early years of being a Christian. I enjoyed and learned much from that book. Knowing of Francis Schaeffer and his ministry gave context to his daughter's For the Children's Sake.

The second book I read on Charlotte Mason was Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning. It has a much more practical take on the principles of a CM education.

At this point, I was trying to understand how to implement all these wonderful ideas. I saw a handful of websites that offered a "CM" homeschool education but when I was led to Ambleside Online, I stayed and knew we were home.


 

The laid out 12 year plan, plus suggestions for year 0 or preschool/kindergarten, is not as "picture perfect" compared to a curriculum in a box. I saw no detailed lesson plans, nor script for the parent teacher. There was more to read and understand. So it was quite overwhelming when I first saw it. But I lingered and read on. There is much to learn and therefore it shouldn't be used merely as a book list. Like what is stated on their website:

"this curriculum is only one tool and was never intended to replace a parent's understanding of the principles behind a CM education, what its goals are, how it works. Curriculum is only part of the picture. Without the understanding of Charlotte Mason's vision, even a curriculum like Ambleside Online won't give your children a CM education."

 

But more than the well thought of curriculum, it is the Ambleside Forum that fuels this community. It is like being in an Educational Seminar 24/7 with like-minded parents/educators having the same goal: not to fill our kids like buckets, but hoping to ignite a life long love for learning by spreading an abundant and delicate feast.

For those of you who are interested, start with the FAQ of Ambleside. It will give you a general explanation of the method. If you like what you read, join the Ambleside Forum and have a look at the conversations going on there. But in the end, nothing compares to reading Charlotte Mason's Books. I suggest starting at Volume I: Home Education or Volume VI: Towards a Philosophy of Education. You can read them all online or buy the whole set.


We are going to start with Year 1 soon (with a few changes in history). So far, Year 0.5 has been fruitful and very very encouraging to both my son and myself. 

**A lot use Ambleside for homeschool but I there are also families that use parts of it as a supplement for students of traditional schools.

 


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