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Simply Charlotte Mason or Ambleside?


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#1 momto2blessings

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:50 AM

Has anyone used both of these? If so, I'd love some insight! I'm currently using Ambleside and really like it. My only misgivings are:

1) The reading is so difficult, it seems like it will be a long time before my 10yo will be be able to read most things on her own (in Y3 now). But this is our first year, maybe just need more time.

2) Not especially fond of all the British history.

3) I'd prefer kids (10 and 7) to be on the same history cycle. It's difficult reading 2 history programs from all the different books and keeping track of where we left off when it might be a week or more between readings.

4) We're starting CW Homer next year and I'm afraid I'll be overwhelmed doing that and starting original Shakespeare and Plutarch.

But I really love the depth of AO, too. I'm also thinking of maybe just lightening AO----possibly one Shakespeare play/Plutarch life per year instead of three or something like that. Any suggestions? It's hard for me to figure out the SCM website. Thanks for any input! Blessings, Gina

#2 mystika1

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:32 AM

I decided to go with SCM because my daughter likes the titles much better. The history guides are fabulous(and cheap)and show you how easy it is to combine different ages. Before the holidays I purchased "Planning your Charlotte Mason Education" and in a few days I had a full year schedule customized for my homeschool! I have never been this organized.

I am not saying that it is for everyone but it was much better for us. We were only working on year 1 but the titles made my daughter cringe somethimes. She would glaze over when I read the history titles. I wanted it to work but eventually I had to move on to keep my daughters interest. I still use some parts of AO as it was easy to incorporate into our schedule.

Hope this helps,

Penny

#3 Caribbean Queen

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:32 AM

I haven't figured out Simply Charlotte Mason either.

I think you could lighten Ambleside.

#4 momto2blessings

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:52 AM

Penny and Carribean Queen! Much to mull over. On the one hand I hate to quit AO, but I also want my daughter to love reading. Though she does enjoy the free-reads of AO. It's the history and some of the literature selections that are difficult for her. Thanks! Anyone else tried both? :)Gina

#5 Another Lynn

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:14 AM

I have pulled from both. I love many of the AO selections, but we rarely do Shakespeare and have never done Plutarch. We're terrible at nature study and I can never find folk singing I like as much as Peter, Paul and Mary, so we've never done much of that either. I love that SCM gives me ideas for combining different ages and for starting with Creation (which AO does not). This year, I've taken the 12-week term schedules from AO's yahoo groups and deleted and added subjects and selections until I had a custom made AO for us - some selections are read alouds for all and some are by child. I also looked at SCM's weekly family schedules for ideas for how to structure our week, but the AO term schedules help me see the bigger picture when I think about how many books to read, etc, etc.

Clear as mud? :D

#6 Guest_Cindie2dds_*

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:16 AM

I found AO's website harder to navigate, just my personal opinion. I only have two children so I wanted them to be on the same history cycle. I also wanted to sit and simmer more than a four year rotation, especially in the younger years. We are currently doing Module 1 History, Literature, etc. (with Oak Meadow for science/nature/arts). I do have several of the books I couldn't do without on AO's list, which we are incorporating in. I think they are both wonderful and it's so hard to choose. When it comes right down to it, I think it's a personal comfort level with the particular book selections and choices of which period of history you want to do with your kids when. AO doesn't start with Ancients like WTM and SCM do, so I think it just depends how you want to cycle your children.

I hope I didn't confuse more! :)

ETA: I love, love, love the *idea* of nature walks, talking about the change of seasons, stories about nature, learning handicrafts, knitting, sewing, etc.; but I cannot put something together myself, it just wouldn't happen. We are using Oak Meadow for this, and it has been a great fit. I'm sure others could tell you how they do it much cheaper, but this is what works for us.

Edited by Cindie2dds, 06 January 2010 - 11:22 AM.


#7 Testimony

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:34 AM

However, I am currently using Classical Writing Homer with Ambleside. My son is reading Plutarch and original Shakespearean plays. I am only doing one play at a time with my older son because Classical Writing does eat up a lot of the time.

Blessings in your homeschooling journey!

Sincerely,
Karen
www.homeschoolblogger.com/testimony

#8 Kfamily

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 01:15 PM

We've been using Ambleside Online for a few years now and I never use it exactly as they have it. I think that the booklist is an excellent one and we use many if not most of their book suggestions, but we don't use them necessarily in their order. For me (and this took a couple of years of letting this sink in) AO is more a method and the booklist is a just a booklist. I do think the booklist is important because it lays out what books are CM and the best way to organize them but I think once you understand the method of how and why you use the books and which ones are excellent for this purpose- then you can reach a point where you can move the books around (and yes substitute them too)and make the years what you need them to be.
We do two chains of history(American and World history) and that works well for us but others prefer using only one chain of history and that can work too. CM's main point with this is to do two chains of history with one being national and one being world (actually she really did French in the younger years and more of a world focus in the later years). This naturally meant that for her national History was of course English history. If you prefer, make your national history American history and add in only as much English history as you would like. My dds love history and my older dd is very drawn to English and French history so we enjoy studying it but you could definitely leave some of it out. You could take Our Island Story out and just use A Child's History of the World and add to it or add an American history you like to it.


You might like this approach to CM:
http://www.charlottemasonhelp.com/
This is Linda Fay's site and she has a lot of helpful advice for using AO and she uses it differently. She starts with American and World History and saves the English History for grades 4 and 5 (I think).

We do only one Shakespeare a year and not three. I'm adding Plutarch next year. We do one artist and one composer per year. We use another art program (Calvert's History of Art-Painting, then Sculpture and then Architecture) plus additional picture study so one artist is enough. We also use our Piano Explorer magazine (required theory work from our piano teacher) which portrays a composer every month so again studying one composer is enough.

I guess I just want to share with you our approach since it took me awhile to accept that not every book on the AO booklist it the right one for us or is the right time for us but we can still have a very AO focused school. Our school has just been adapted to suit us!:D

Edited by Kfamily, 06 January 2010 - 02:52 PM.


#9 4blessingmom

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:15 PM

:lurk5:

We are in AO YR1. I have spent a good deal of time on the SCM website...keeping all the kids in the same history spine is REALLY a HUGE plug for SCM.

My hang-up at the present is that in Bible we are ready for the NT. So, I would want to start with the Gospels/FMOR (like on Monday LOL)....idk....I'm tipping my toes in the SCM water here....this forum is a dangerous place, I tell you!:tongue_smilie:

#10 Mandy in TN

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 07:32 PM

But I really love the depth of AO, too. I'm also thinking of maybe just lightening AO----possibly one Shakespeare play/Plutarch life per year instead of three or something like that. Any suggestions? It's hard for me to figure out the SCM website. Thanks for any input!


If you basically like AO, then certainly feel free to adjust it to better fit your family and your goals.

We have pulled quite a bit of AO 1 literature into little ds's plans, but the rest for various reasons just wasn't a good fit.

Middle ds is using quite a bit of AO 7 lite tempered with info from Linda Fay's site.

It's your homeschool definitely do what works for you!

HTH-
Mandy

#11 momto2blessings

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:28 PM

to you all for your thoughtful responses. The reminder that it's our school and we can do what we want is helpful...just need to figure out more exactly what that is! Thanks:) Gina

#12 Amy Jo

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:12 AM

I wanted the kids on the same period in history so ... I am just using things from both SCM and AO. I have the kids in the same time period (SCM) and use a lot of the public domain books from AO. I also don't require narrations on the Literature readings as SCM suggests. And I'm doing the WTM history cycle. My 5 (almost 6) yo sits in with my 7 yo. So this year (400 - 1600) we are using Famous Men of the Middle Ages with 50 Famous Stories Retold and some other history / biographies. We also have Trial and Triumph.

My plan is to do a 4 yr history, choosing books from AO and SCM. I went easier this year, with the baby coming and it only being our 2nd year (and the 1st was really disorganized). I wanted to cover the basics first, and work on reading and narrations. Next year I want to add in more AO, especially audiobooks for my oldest.

I try to do nature walks, I am choosing composers based on the classical CDs I have at the moment but I plan to combine lists from both sources.

I'm a planner though, I have to tweak. :D

#13 pageta

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 08:46 AM

We are using Ambleside, though I've spent lots of time pouring over both. I highly agree with the person who said Ambleside is a method, not just a booklist. Joining their yahoo groups - AmblesideOnline & AmbleRamble - really helped Ambleside "sink in" for me. I really like the concept of short lessons, too, and have implemented that with all our subjects. We split up many of the readings - such as the Blue Fairy book - over multiple days, and that works well for us.

We have managed to work art, artist study, composer study, and nature walks into our schedule - we just do one a day. I plan what we're going to do for each at the beginning of the week and then each day I choose one that I think will work best that day. Everything else we were basically doing with WTM so I just changed the topics to be Ambleside. We are continuing SOTW and WTM science rotation because I really, really like those.

I've also been doing Ambleside Year 11 for myself. I haven't formally followed their schedule as I'm getting books from the library so I don't have twelve weeks to linger over something. But I've been going through the various selections on my own schedule and have very much enjoyed all of them. There are some real treasures there - stuff I'd never heard of, but very much not-to-miss!

I think joining the yahoo groups and doing year 11 myself have really sold me on Ambleside. And I will also say I spent at least three months subscribed to the groups and doing the selections on my own before starting it with my son - time well spent getting the feel of Ambleside. We tried starting earlier but crashed and burned, but we're going again now and really enjoying it.

#14 Moniksca

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 04:02 PM

I used AO for our first term this year with my ds8 and I chose to go with year 1 since I was afraid he'd missed out on some of the books. He wasn't into a lot of the literature selections (parables of nature and blue fairy book) so I am now pulling stuff from year 2 and SCM for literature and old fashioned education for my history tales/biographies, we're also going to finish off CHOW this year which was not my earlier intention. I had planned on going through the 4 year history cycle starting w/ ancients. I love the CM method but have just learned to pull out what will work for my ds. We will do one Shakespeare play this year and we follow the composer/artist study exactly from AO. I think once you put everything you've decided on into a reading schedule then you'll see how it all comes together and what is doable.
Good luck.

#15 momto2blessings

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 09:04 PM

for all your thoughtful replies. I think I've got a plan:) I'm buying the SCM organizer and just filling it in with what I like best from AO and SCM. Hopefully it will all fall into place. I'd hoped to have just one curriculum to follow this year, but it seems I can't ever be happy without tweaking:) Thanks for all your time! Blessings, Gina

#16 AngelBee

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:15 PM

Ambleside is our curriculum. However, we use a 4 yr history and 4 yr science rotation :)

So I am adapting the order of the books and adding some selections.


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