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Ambleside Online List Guidelines

Welcome to Ambleside Online!

Our list has grown tremendously! To help keep things running along smoothly, we are asking all members to be thoughtful of the many other parents who need the list to stay focused to meet their needs, and to be considerate of the time of list members and moderators. We have posted some guidelines to help explain why we are asking for your cooperation in specific areas, and instructions for managing your account and cropping messages to help you become more efficient at helping the list meet your needs.

Table of Contents

          - why is the list so heavily moderated?
          - what's considered on-topic?
          - what kinds of posts are deleted and not approved for the list?
About Notes to the Advisory
Managing your account:
          - unsubscribing from the list
          - switching to digest
          - changing your email address
What is that gibberish in my post? Why were "non-text portions" removed from my post?
How to crop/trim posts
Virus Scanner
A list of acronyms and abbreviations that appear on the AO/HEO email lists

The Ambleside Online email list currently has nearly 4000 busy homeschooling moms who are here to discuss implementing the Ambleside Online curriculum. Likewise, the House of Education Online (HEO) list has 1200 and abides by these same guidelines. (AO is for Years 1-6, HEO is for Years 7-high school. Also note that it's HEO, not HOE; one of the Advisory members is very particular about that distinction. :-) )

Because our list is so large, it is imperative that all posts be on-topic.

Many of our members come from other lists that they had to leave due to time restraints, and they have let us know that they cannot remain on the list unless posts are limited to the curriculum. If you would like to discuss more general Charlotte Mason topics, you may enjoy the cmason list as a supplement at

Other related email lists are posted here.

To find out more about the Charlotte Mason method, please see our FAQ.

You may be wondering, "Why is this list so heavily moderated? I don't like having my posts censored."

This list is heavily moderated because many of our members need a list that remains on topic. With nearly 4000 members on the AO list, and 1200 on the HEO list (and growing), we need some kind of boundaries to limit list volume, too, or we ourselves will be unable to read our own list! While we do not wish to offend anybody, this is what currently meets the needs of most of our members as well as the members of the Advisory.

However, anybody who likes is free to start another list where discussion of AO is not moderated, and members are free to discuss all the topics they wish, from how to combine AO with A Beka to homeschool vs. public school. We'll even include the subscription information for such a list on our website where we describe other e-mail lists members may find helpful.

Questions about using the booklists and schedules are on-topic for our list.

Resources that help other moms implement the Ambleside Online curriculum are also on topic for our list.

What Is On-Topic?

Questions about scheduling AO with multiple children Help in locating hard-to-find books used in the curriculum Suggestions for nature study, art and music appreciation that help all of us follow AO's schedule Information/events about the current artist, composer or Shakespeare play on AO's schedule Foreign language, phonics or math program recommendations (AO has nothing specific listed, but all are required subjects) Help for printing out etexts scheduled in the curriculum Meaning of a word or concept in a required AO/HEO book Keeping official records while doing AO/HEO Urgent prayer requests for yourself, your husband or your children. List introductions are always welcome! Brief notices about CM seminars are welcome, but please limit announcement to date, city/state and a very little information about speakers/events. Anyone who's interested can email you off-list for further information and attendance forms.

To keep the list friendly and on-topic, some posts are screened by a moderator, and all posts from new members are moderated until a moderator manually resets a member. Moderators reset members to un-moderated status when the member appears to be familiar with list guidelines, and regularly crops their own posts.

To save valuable moderator time, inappropriate posts will be deleted without notice or explanation.

The following will be deleted:

** Miscellaneous chit-chat (chatting should be done off-list)
** Amen!, Me too! and short Thank You! responses
** Requests for files offered on the list that should be sent directly to the person offering the file. If a file is offered and you don't see your "Yes, please send that to me, too!" show up on the list, then it was deleted. You'll need to re-send your request, but to the person privately off-list. If you sent a request but don't hear back from the person, it's likely that you accidentally sent it to the list instead of the person and it was deleted. Try re-sending.
** Questions about how to combine Ambleside or HEO with Sonlight, The Well Trained Mind, Truthquest, or any other curriculum
** Specific detailed questions about how to use other programs such as Math-U-See, Apologia or Ray's Arithmetic that would be more appropriately directed to a list dedicated to that program
** Questions about substituting books (only because there are lots more great books that we don't use than that we do, and this could quickly make list volume unmanageable!)
** Requests for non-Christian substitutions and resources to use in place of the resources on AO's booklists. AO/HEO is a Christian curriculum and email list. Anyone is welcome to join the list and make whatever substitutions are helpful, but such discussions are off-topic for our list. There are CM lists for various specialized interests, religions and circumstances to ask for special resources, and it's up to members to seek out a list themselves to suit their own special situation.
** Posts about methods contrary to Charlotte Mason's approach (language arts programs, video series, textbooks). To find out more about the Charlotte Mason method, please see our FAQ.
** Discussion of the benefits of general homeschooling or public schooling
** Requests for information unrelated to Ambleside Online including searches for books or titles not scheduled on the booklists, nutrition, general child discipline. Please do your own web searches; don't ask our members to do your work for you!
** Requests for Internet, computer, or web-site instruction or trouble-shooting
** No buying, selling, trading, is allowed on AO lists or AO spin-off lists that aren't designated for that purpose; even posting that you have items for sale and asking to be contacted off-list is prohibited. If you have items to sell, or are looking for items, use one of the following email lists:
** Posts that were supposed to be sent privately (moderators are unable to re-direct posts and these will be deleted without notice)
** Prayer requests (We ask that you limit prayer requests to the most urgent needs of your immediate family - you, your husband, your own children; all others will be deleted)

Please note that not all members are moderated, so some posts may get through that don't comply with our requests. We try, but we can't control everyone!  :-)

Occasionally off-topic information and extraneous garbage or long attached posts from the email being responded to will be removed from a response before sending it to the list.

To decrease mail volume (and make life easier for busy moderators!), we ask that you please use care when responding to posts. Copy and paste only the portion of the post you wish to respond to, not the entire post or digest unless necessary.

Occasionally a [Moderator's Note] may be inserted.


All notes sent to the Advisory privately will be read, but are not likely to receive a response. We regret this, but our busy lives and abundant responsibilities prevent us from being able to reply to the private notes we receive. That being the case, it must be said that we do value and prayerfully consider list-members' input and observations, and your thank-you notes, particularly, really do keep us going.

Thank You for your kind attention to these details!


Members are expected to manage their own accounts. Moderators are all busy homeschooling mothers with other Ambleside-related projects to tend to and children they would like to spend time with from time to time. :-)

It is not practical for them to manage accounts for 4000 people. Here are some basic instructions for setting your email preferences, unsubscribing, and changing your email address:

To set your mailing preferences

(individual e-mails, digest, or web-only reading) or to access our archives, go to

You must be registered with yahoo and signed in with your user name and password to do this. You can register for a free yahoo account at

To unsubscribe from AmblesideOnline at any time, please send a blank email to
                               To unsubscribe from HEO:

To change the email address you receive list mail at: Go to (or
Click "Edit My Membership."

Under "Email Address" click "add new email address" and follow the instructions. Don't forget to click "finished" when you've added the new address!

You may need to edit again to select the new address you want the mail to go to.


Neglecting to crop posts is not only annoying to those reading your posts, it also creates emails that are difficult to read/navigate, long, and sometimes truncated (the end is cut off) for members who receive daily digests instead of individual emails. Email lists that don't enforce cropping end up with attached posts on top of attached posts on top of attached posts. You can see the result of many people not cropping here.

When you reply to posts, please remove any part of the original post and extraneous text before sending. You do not need to include an entire post to respond to it! Include just enough to give context to your response.

If you are not doing this, a busy moderator is having to take time to do it for you. Cropping messages is very simple. When you hit "reply" in your email, the original post you are responding to will show in your email text box. Highlight what you don't need, and click "delete."

All of the extraneous garbage such as what appears in the example below should be deleted from the post you're responding to so that a moderator doesn't have to clean up your posts for you. This helps to shorten digests and makes posts easier for other list members to read.

    >Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
    >Yahoo! Groups Links
    >To visit your group on the web, go to:
    >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
    >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
Terms of Service.

    >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

For more about snipping posts and general list netiquette,

"Why does my post have funny characters and gibbersih? It didn't look that way when I sent it!
And why does my post say [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]? I didn't have any non-text portions in my post."

Rich-text formatting adds non-text code. This is what allows you to make words bold or italicized, add colors and smilies to your text, use hyper-links, and more. It even converts regular characters like quotes to prettier quotation marks. Your email program is probably adding this automatically to every email you send, even when you haven't deliberately used any special formatting. But this coding can cause problems on the receiving end, and our AO Yahoo Groups are set up to remove any of that code - but yahoo replaces it with its own plain text gibberish, and that's what's showing up as "removed non-text portions" or even gibberish inserted into your post. You can turn off this rich-text formatting by clicking the "plain text" option at the top of the box where you type your email. You will need to do this every time you compose an email.

You can also turn off the rich-text formatting permanently in your email settings.

With gmail, click on the word "settings" at the top right on the page where it displays your email address. Then, under the general settings tab, select the Outgoing message encoding that says, "Use Unicode (UTF-8) encoding for outgoing messages" and remember to Save your Changes.

In yahoo, look for the clickable link that says "Options." Click "mail Options." Under "General Preferences," look for "Composing E-mails Mode." Select "Compose messages as plain text" and remember to Save.

Every mail program should have some similar way to temporarily or permanently turn off rich text formatting and use plain text. Start by looking for preferences, options or settings in your email program.

Before asking a moderator for special help, ask: "Is this worth pulling this nursling's mommy away from her, or can I do this myself?"

We strongly recommend that you have a virus scanner installed and running because viruses sometimes have a way of getting spread to email addresses on the list, even though the list itself is set to remove attachments so that viruses don't get sent through the list itself. A highly recommended one is AVG, available for free from Grisoft.