For the past couple weeks I have been planning next year’s schedule for school. It’s a job, but it helps me to feel organized and capable, if only on paper. 😛

Last year we used Ambleside Online. How did it go? Like all things, it was rough in spots, wonderful in others. 🙂 Li’l Artist still drags her feet when it comes to learning to read, and Big Sister still doesn’t like narration, but overall, we LOVE Ambleside. We dropped the ball on the artist and composer studies after the first term or two, and never did implement a foreign language, but we’re striving to do better this year.

If you’ve ever considered a Charlotte Mason – style education, if you love the idea of living books, lots of outdoor playtime and imagination, of putting your kids in touch with Great Ideas, Ambleside really, really helps you implement it.

There’s the website, Ambleside Online, which is full of articles, booklists for each year, weekly schedules which divide up the reading for each term, even Miss Mason’s writings transcribed for you to read (or a modern translation if you prefer). The composers, hymns, folksongs, and artists are all laid out for you by school year and term in case you have no idea where to start on your own. But beyond the site itself, there is now a facebook group where you can have questions answered and see ideas from other AO users. Before (and beyond) facebook though, there was and is AO yahoo groups. These are run by some fabulous moderators, and have been an endless source of resources and inspiration. This is NOT all the groups, just some I’m familiar with.
AmblesideOnline – for specific implementation of AO’s curriculum, the ‘main group’ I think.
AmbleRamble – for less specific topics, chitchat, etc.
AO Member Schedules – a quiet group, but full of files! Schedules for specific years in table form, in both Word and Excel format. Checklist form is available, and members can upload the schedule format that they use for others to use as well.
AO Cheat Sheets – I’m not super familiar with this one, but I think it has outlines to help parents with the narrations, names/places, information with specific reading selections.
AO Copywork – copywork selections from each year/term’s reading.
AO Art Prints and AO/HEO Picture Study – One of these might be ‘older’ than another, but if you have a color printer, you can print pdf files of the term’s art prints.

There are also groups specific to each year, and even each year’s printable/freebie books (probably less necessary since the advent of e-readers). There might be more… some groups have files with links for the other AO groups, in case you’re looking for a specific year, or special needs, or, ???.

Just recently I’ve found Charlotte Mason Help. WHAT a beautiful resource. I’ve printed off information about memory work, the way she schedules (6 weeks standard, then one “grace week” for projects and catch up), the way they implement copywork, nature journaling, dictation. And there’s much more there too. She offers a curriculum of her own, but I found the selections to be *very* similar to AO’s, so her how-to’s and tips are still very relevant for us.

If you homeschool, have you been able to find a method or curriculum that you just *love* and that fits your family? What are some of your favorite resources?

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