Guest Review by: Jolynn
What we loved about this product:
I love books! Reading great literature is my favorite way to learn. AO uses very few textbooks (only math and grammar), and instead gives amazing recommendations of living books for literature, history, science, nature study, art and music. These books have rich language which I used to avoid, thinking it was too hard for my kids to understand. Although there was an adjustment period, my kids loved every book we read! Instructions are given on how to use narration, copy work, dictation, picture study, music appreciation to enhance learning. Most books they recommend can be found free in the public domain.
What we did NOT love about this product:
Since most books are in the public domain, it is often hard to get your hands on a hard copy of some of the books. If you are looking for a similar curriculum that uses more modern selections try materamabilis.org. Most of the books listed are currently in print, but the format of the curriculum is largely the same.
Advice for Others About this Product?:
Use the parts of the curriculum you love. If you have a science or history curriculum you love, use it in place of the book recommendations. If you feel and area of study is not rigorous enough, find things to supplement. Enjoy the books, but mostly enjoy the extra time to snuggle with your kids and read.
Helpful Resources if you like Ambleside:
Target Age for This Product: All/Any Age
Statement from the Company: "Ambleside Online is a free homeschool curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason's classically-based principles to prepare children for a life of rich relationships with everything around them: God, humanity, and the natural world. AO's detailed schedules, time-tested methods, and extensive teacher resources allow parents to focus effectively on the unique needs of each child.
The Ambleside Online library hosts a large collection of original Charlotte Mason materials, which have been digitized by our volunteers. In addition, our community offers a wide variety of resources for homeschooling parents and Charlotte Mason educators: a support forum, an archive of wisdom from experienced Charlotte Mason educators, as well as original and current books and articles about Charlotte Mason's living ideas."
What Friends are Saying about, Ambleside Online:
I love the in depth, multi-subject approach and how detailed the schedules are. The website has so much information for parents, links to all the artworks covered, a huge reading list of living books, and study guides for Shakespeare and Nature Study. It's a complete homeschool resource that we have implemented more and more each year. What we did NOT love about this product: Lots of Bible study, which I don't mind, but we just substitute Book of Mormon reading for that time. - Tirsa
We do CM and primarily Ambleside. Love it! We are not incredibly structured so a lot of our stories and narrations are done in the car--audiobooks or he reads (2nd grade). For a solid day he has reading, math, copy work, poetry, Spanish, and our Bible time, which includes memory verses and hymn study; he also picks two of our weekly things--nature study or nap work or timeline or handicrafts, for instance--and two readings. Two hours or less (unless you count a nature walk or the handicraft project gets involved) and usually less. I love the rhythm, the range of studies, the flexibility. The forums at AO are also good for info. -Emily
I spent 15 years as a public school teacher and have a Masters in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. I did not hear of Charlotte Mason until I started looking at homeschooling my own children. Her methodology makes more sense to me than anything I learned in educational studies. - Allison
Ambleside is a concept (Charlotte Mason) not just a curriculum. We tried Easy Peasy and didn't like it. My kids went back to Charlotte Mason and Ambleside. -Lisa
I pick and choose from Milestones, Accelerated Achievement (also known as A2-LDS version), and SOTW book recommendations. I love creating my own curriculum according to my family's likes/dislikes. I do use the artist and composer study recommendations as well as the nature study guideline from Ambleside. I think Charlotte Mason philosophy is fabulous and totally understand your draw. I also use links from Easy Peasy to go along with what we are studying. Yes, it's more work for the mush mash but fun!! - Shannon