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Charlotte Mason - Educating the Whole Person for Life!
Ambleside Online ~ Charlotte Mason ~ Home Schooling


First Steps to Home Schooling

Home | About Our Family | Home School Methods | Teaching CM Subjects
Getting Started | Getting Organized | Some Schedules and Forms | PDF Files

Getting Started

Well, we finally listened to the Lord and are well on our way to home schooling our son. My experience learning the ins and outs of home schooling as well as wandering the maze of school-choice options is probably not unique. I have heard from other new home schoolers of similar experiences; shared frustrations; and worst of all, lack of support from family, friends and the Christian community.

The very first thing I did was 'Google' for the Arizona State Home schooling laws. I then visited our county supervisor's website and read everything posted online with regard to starting a home school. Thankfully, Arizona is very home school friendly and has very few laws. The chief requirements include:

  1. Filing an affidavit with the county supervisor's office
  2. Teaching 180 days per year
  3. Covering Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Grammar

No other record keeping, reporting or testing is required.

The next thing I did was 'Google' for home school curriculum. WOW! What options are out there for the home schooling family. I spent the next two weeks reading everything online as well as visiting my local library and checking out books on the subject. Oh Yes, you may be wondering what DS did during this time? Good question. Not much. I felt that he was burnt-out and that he had suffered enough trauma the last few weeks that a well-earned break was deserved.

Educational Methods

To a new home schooler, the words 'unschooling' or 'traditional' or 'classical' have absolutely no meaning what so ever. I couldn't tell the difference between a 'unit study' a 'biblical world-view' or a 'delight directed' approach. UGH!

Thankfully, after one very frustrating evening of searching the web, I landed on a website that was devoted to a home schooling method known as "Charlotte Mason." Who was this person and why were people writing books about her method and devoting entire websites to her philosophy. I was intrigued and spent some time reading through the links and articles. The more I read, the more I was interested.

One website in particular had a check list, sort of a questionnaire (sorry but I didn't bookmark the site) that helped identify what type of schooling methods would best be suited to your home school. I took the quiz and out popped CHARLOTTE MASON. I was absolutely undone. How could a simple little test, just a quiz really, determine that this method over all the others I had read about (and yes, I read about them all), would be best for us? All I could think of was that the Lord was guiding me to use this program for DS. I had a sense about it - a sense of peace - that this method would be the best thing for DS. But how does one go about implementing a Charlotte Mason home school?

Ambleside Online

Thanks again, to Google, for bringing me the very best 'CM-inspired' curriculum. One more query and there was the link: Ambleside Online (please visit their website - it is wonderful!)

"a free curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own PNEU schools. Our goal is to be true to Charlotte Mason's high literary standards.  Ambleside Online uses the highest quality books and costs no more than the cost of texts. The curriculum uses as many free online books as possible, and there is no cost to use this information or join the support group."

WOW! A Free program based on Charlotte's own methods and one that maintains her high literary standards. I was enthralled and eager to read more. I clicked on the link and found myself at a website that contained more information about Charlotte Mason, her methods, links to her Original Home Schooling Series, discussion groups and lists, and yes, the wonderful booklists and weekly schedules. I found a treasure-trove of information, right there at my fingertips and all for FREE.

I should mention that in addition to my late-night Googling, I also spent some time visiting with a friend at church who had done some research into Charlotte Mason. She loaned me a dozen or so home schooling books, which I read cover to cover. I devoured everything I could, read every article (pro and con) and searched high and low for as much helpful information to teach me how to create a CM-inspired home school.

By May 15th, 2004, I was committed to using Ambleside Online as our primary curriculum. I continued my research and study into Charlotte's methods, even downloaded and printed her Six-Volume Series (written in 19th century English Prose). I am not a CM expert by any means but have found that the more I read about her beliefs and philosophy of education, the more I believe that her method is the best one for home education.

**More About Ambleside Online


Home | About Our Family | Home School Methods | Teaching CM Subjects
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