- Reviewed on Monday, December 22, 2003
- Grades Used: 1-9
- Dates used: 2003
Ambleside/House of Education Online is a complete curriculum guide freely available over the internet. It is designed on the educational philosophies of Charlotte Mason, the late 19th/early 20th century British educator who, in her time, founded a movement, developed schools, both day schools and home correspondence schools, wrote education books and founded a teachers college based on her educational philosophy. There are many books which explain her methods and philosophy today such as Susan Schaeffer Macaulay's book For the Children's Sake and books by Karen Andreola and Catherine Levison. Charlotte's own books are available as well, both in print and online.
The Ambleside curriculum covers years 1-6 and the House of Education curriculum covers years 7-9 so far. It was designed by an international group of homeschool moms who thought it would be nice to have a Charlotte Mason in a box type of program available and decided to design one. They made it freely available over the internet with many links to online texts.
Other than math, every subject is covered. For math they just say pick your own math program, though they list 3 which they like.
For each year there is a yearly syllabus of books and resources listed, followed by 36 weekly schedules to help organize and pace divided into three 12 week terms. There are also online discussion groups of other families using this curricula.
It is helpful to be acquainted with Charlotte Mason's educational methods to use this program, particularly the use of oral narration, copywork, dictation, short lessons, habit training and nature study. She recommends as much as possible to use what she called living books in which facts are not baldly stated but cloaked in literary language written by a single author with a passion for his subject, the best author one can find. There is more oral work and less written work in the early years making it very suitable for home educators with time to discuss books.
When I found out about this curriculum I had already been reading and discussing and applying Charlotte's methods for some time. I have used several literature based curricula for my children including Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, MODG and LLATL.
I was already in the midst of our use of another curricula so at first I joined AO for only art and music appreciation. They study one artist and one composer per term by observing the art, using links to online works of art and listening to the composer's works.
The next year I added in the Shakespeare and Plutarch rotation. They read through one Shakespeare play and one of Plutarch's lives each term.
This year I am using most of HEO year 7 with my 12 year old daughter. From what I gather on the discussion group those using year 7 range in age from 8 to 16 with additions and subtractions suitable to each student.
Year 7 is based on the study of medieval history. The literature she is reading this year includes Ivanhoe, Watership Down, The Once and Future King, Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Bulfinch's Age of Chivalry. For History they recommend beginning Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking People. The other selections are just as challenging and wonderful. They recommend Apologia for science though we are using Alpha Omega since we already had it. So the subjects are: Bible, History, Biography, Geography, Citizenship, Economics, Current Events, Literature, Poetry, Grammar and Composition, Recitation, Copywork, Math, Science, Nature Study, Logic, Drawing and art Music, Foreign Language, Health and, if that's not enough, a Free Reading list.
Though many of the books and even the grammar program is available online freely I have collected the books since its just more fun to read sprawled out in the easy chair or somewhere else comfortable than sitting at the computer.
We are not doing everything, but adapting it. For instance, my dd wanted to study World Geography rather than use their Geography picks. A particular favorite of ours is the book used for Health, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Paul Brand and Philip Yancy. What a wonderful book!
At this age, my daughter reads all the selections herself but the books are so good I am reading them myself, except next term I am going to read Joan of Arc aloud to both my dds because I've always wanted to read it and they are both interested (because of Joan of Arcadia). Long, slow reading is the method used here, just a chapter a week for the whole term or even all year for most of the books.
Long, slow reading (over 4 years!)of Adler/Van Doren's book How to Read a Book is the Logic selection. Every student should read this before college!