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AmblesideOnline's Patio Chats:
15. Don't Worry About the Gaps

So many ideas, so many books, so many things to know. How will your child ever learn them all? He won't. Neither will you. But it's okay.

Are you one of those parents who's worried about their first grader's ability to some day pass the SAT? Don't worry, it's really okay -- it's going to be fine. If it makes you feel better, read some of our stories on our website about AO graduates who have gotten college scholarships, become engineers, gone on to successful lives and careers -- they all had gaps in their education, even after a high quality education like AO.

Think about what you know, what you you learned in school, and how much of what you needed to know was learned when you needed to know it.

Now think about your child. Think about what he's going to be learning about as he goes through AO: the British basis of our constitution, the history of medicine, ancient Greek culture through Plutarch's Lives, child labor through the life of Oliver Twist, what makes a hero, how corn grows from a seed to a tall plant . . . whatever gaps there are, they're details that help fill in his broad base of understanding later. Your child will always have a sense that the world is a huge place, and that he only knows a tiny bit of what there is to know. That kind of intellectual humility is necessary for anyone to continue learning. Your child will have the rest of his life to fill in the gaps, and his mental "map" will have so many places and ideas already in place, that when he hears about a new discovery, it won't be some meaningless trivia that he passes over, he'll be able to recognize that it goes somewhere on his mental map because it relates to something he remembers from his school days.

Plenty of AO students have passed their SAT's with no prior cramming, and you have plenty of time before you get to that place. We encourage you to enjoy where you are on journey right now. Enjoy who your child is today.

P.S. You can read some stories about AO graduates at

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