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charlotte mason / ambleside

(7 Posts)
nomoreamover Mon 12-Jan-09 11:16:24

FOund a link on a thread in here for a website called ambleside - its american (not that thats bad) but is based on the philosphy of an english woman charlotte mason.

On first look it looks really interesting and possibly something DS and I would enjoy doing - I'm a massive fan of reading and literature as is DS.

However - noone on here seems to use it - is there a reason for this? DO you all know somethign I don't?

Just wondering if anyone has given it a go or even knows what I am talking about? Would love to hear other peoples opinions on it........

PS apologies for typos - 7 month old on my lap.....!

madwomanintheattic Mon 12-Jan-09 11:20:46

i had to double take - there used to be a college called charlotte mason in ambleside in the lake district lol, and i couldn't work out why you were talking about home ed in relation... it's now part of lancaster uni or something, still there though lol.

i'll go now, sorry for pointless intrusion! Just couldn't work out why it was in home ed!

obviously an approach using the same ethos lol.

Psychomumma Mon 12-Jan-09 12:16:15

I've also recently found this site - through a mention on mumsnet - but as you say, very few people over here seem to be using it. Perhaps they're put off by the idea of a 'Curriculum', particularly one based on mid-19th ideas, but I've found Charlotte Mason's theories of 'the child' and 'education' to be surprisingly modern - and surprisingly in tune with much home-ed/unschooling ethos.

She advocated NO formal schooling of any kind until at least six yrs of age, and then very short lessons (10-20 mins for present-day KS1 age). She was aware that the mechanics of writing may not be possible for some children until 8/9, instead suggesting daily 'copywork/penmanship' which might have been just spending ten mins producing 6 perfect 'a's on a page. This, along with maths and learning to read, would have been done daily. Weekly short lessons on History, Geography, Natural History/Science would consist of reading from high-quality 'real' books (rather than text-books which spoon-feed bite-sized bits of pre-selected info): and it is this aspect which attracted me, also.

Lots of reading, of REAL well-written books, through which a child will become accustomed without effort to well-structured prose/poetry, grammar etc as well as the knowledge itself, seems a great way to spend your 'learning' time.

I too wd be interested if anyone on MN has used Ambleside/CM.

ibblewob Mon 12-Jan-09 23:19:20

I use it! It might have been my post that mentioned it

I think it's great, and I think it's not so common here for a few reasons:

1) Charlotte Mason (CM) was a Christian, and this comes up again and again in her philosophy and methods. But that needn't put people off, I know muslims and humanists who use her, and there are yahoo groups on how to do 'secular' CM.

2) It is quite 'American', in that they have embraced it quite widely there, as in all things HE. But tbh the only problem I can see is substituting relevant booklists (i.e. British history focused as opposed to Amercian). As you have seen, CM was British so it certainly isn't going to be alien to our culture.

3) It is a bit of work if you really want to understand what she was on about - she wrote about her method in 6 volumes! So, lots of reading and research if you don't want it second hand, but totally worth it I think. The Ambleside Year 0 Group (pre-formal school age, 6 and under) have just started reading through vol.1 (free online), which it might be interesting to join in with just to see what she's about.

Another link to a good CM blog - higher up and further in.

If it seems like a good fit for you, don't worry that it's not that common... you're a homeschooler fgs! grin

julienoshoes Mon 12-Jan-09 23:37:30

"don't worry that it's not that common... you're a homeschooler fgs! grin "

Yup-it's true the only thing we all have in common is that our children don't go to school.

And trying to get home educators to agree on anything is like herding cats! wink

KayHarkerIsRatherCheesedOff Tue 13-Jan-09 16:36:24

We use a broadly CM approach, although not exclusively, one of my children is a textbook fanatic. But we certainly don't formalize things until later, short lessons in the morning on reading, writing and maths in the mornings, lots of note-booking and afternoons exploring their world.

milou2 Fri 16-Jan-09 10:52:28

I was up til nearly 1am reading some of the Ambleside Online site.

I have had the curious feeling of recognising parts of my own childhood while reading it. I was always at school, but there were books all over the place at home, lots of radio 3 and 4, cassettes of folk songs in the car on journeys...

I have joined one of their groups but may do the autonomous home ed mother thing of spending loads of time investigating one subject for my own personal pleasure. I like the sound of a stage 0 group, looking at book 1 together.

It's all free which suggests the deepest value they place on learning.

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