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When my husband and I sat down and actually discussed our plans to home school our son, the first thing we attempted to clarify was our home schooling goal. It is vitally important that husbands and wives are united in their desires to home school their children. A divided kingdom will not stand neither will a divided home school.

In our home, education has always been vitally important. My husband is highly educated and spends a great deal of time in self-education (he reads voraciously). He is extremely knowledgeable in current events. I, in turn, also consider myself to be well-educated. I studied Humanities with an emphasis in European Studies and English Literature. I also have an associate degree in Art and Art History. 

Our number one goal was to teach our son to THINK, to be ARTICULATE, WELL-READ, and able to converse on any range of subjects in an INTELLECTUAL and THOUGHTFUL manner. Moreover, our desire is to see him develop the full-potential of his God-given abilities. We believe that our child is a GIFT from GOD and that He has a unique plan set out for him. It is our job to see that he is given the tools necessary to allow the SPIRIT of GOD to move within him and create within him a desire, first and foremost, to seek the Lord, and secondly to serve Him in whatever capacity the Lord desires.

Our second decision really was a matter of practicality. The number one concern of my husband was how much time would be involved in home schooling our son. Our business as I mentioned before had grown to the point where I was required to spend roughly 3/4 time working at the computer. Although I am at home, I am still needed to supervise design work, handle customer support issues, and answer client emails and phone calls. Since I would be the primary teacher, my skill at organization and planning (especially time management) would be tested daily. My husband assists with DS' schooling, mostly as listener and cheerleader.  He is supportive of my choice in curriculum and regularly is involved in decision-making as well as keeping our son focused and on task.

In my early pursuit of home schooling information I quickly observed that there were many roads to educational success at home. Not all, however, are easy. Some require substantial planning, some required intense teaching by the parent. I knew that our home school would function differently than most since I would not be able to teach 'full-time' and would require DS to be responsible for a great deal of self-learning. We believe that education is a lifelong pursuit and that it doesn't stop when you graduate from high school or college. As Charlotte Mason states "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." As such, self-learning would be a vital necessity to our home school.

Charlotte Mason's method is all about self-learning. It teaches children how to love learning and how to desire to learn on their own.   Some families believe Charlotte Mason's methods are another form of  'unschooling' ("delight directed" is another name but basically this method advocates allowing the child to study what they desire to learn and not use a pre-programmed curriculum.)   After reading about CM and her methods, it is clear that she is not advocating "unschooling."  She did believe that children must take responsibility for their own learning but that the parent/teacher still played a vital role in setting the curriculum up (preparing a literary feast).  

 Implementing a Charlotte Mason home school is not easy and it does require substantial preparation on the part of the parent. In the early years (K-3) it also relies heavily upon the parent to read to the child and instruct them in basic skills such as phonics and math. However, as the child matures and their understanding of complex subjects develops, the parent becomes less the teacher and more the guide. Children in 4-6 grades are expected to complete their studies on their own with help and gentle instruction from the parent only. Jr. and Sr. high students would be responsible for their own course of study and the parent would serve as advisor as well as facilitator for discussion and debate.

Since Ambleside Online endeavors to "be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own PNEU schools" it was an easy choice to start our home school using this free program.  We have chosen to use Ambleside for our primary curriculum and so far it has proven to be an excellent choice.  Our son enjoys the books and likes schooling the CM-way.  

**Getting Started with Ambleside Online


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