Named for the area surrounding Charlotte Mason's schools in England, the AmblesideOnline curriculum is the product of a continuing effort towards a specific vision: to design a course of study that would provide as close a modern approximation as possible of the curriculum designed by Charlotte Mason for her PNEU Schools, within the limitations of the current availability of books and materials that match Mason's high standards.
The curriculum is a work-in-progress, which we continually revise and polish as we study Mason's writings and receive feedback from families using the curriculum.
The AmblesideOnline curriculum is provided free for the private use of homeschoolers worldwide. We are a group of international Christian homeschooling mothers who have joined together to study and propose an educational plan of excellence 'for the children's sake.' As others begin to implement this educational plan, it is our fervent hope that it brings 'life' to those who do so.
This curriculum is free; there is no tuition, no dues and no donations are required, although we appreciate volunteers who can donate texts to Project Gutenberg, compile online resources to enhance the curriculum, write applicable lesson plans, enhance the curriculum, and offer to the list subscribers various other free or non-profit-making resources in keeping with the AmblesideOnline vision and Charlotte Mason's educational method. All materials submitted for posting on the AmblesideOnline website or shared files will be subject to Advisory review and approval.
Please note - while we appreciate the willingness of anyone wishing to provide products that benefit members for profit, the Advisory is not able to donate time to help with projects intended to generate income for others.
AmblesideOnline is not the only way to implement a Charlotte Mason education, and, in fact, Charlotte Mason herself warned that simply taking her booklist and applying it to a school would not be enough - her method is more than a booklist. It is the principles and philosophy behind the approach as well as books with a high literary standard that are the distinctions of a true CM education.
Does that mean you should not use any booklist, or curriculum? While Charlotte Mason warned against simply applying the booklist she used, she never intended teachers or parents to attempt to school without a plan, and always provided them with a booklist and schedule, and it was expected that her books (what we know today as the 6-volume Original Homeschool Series) would be studied. Charlotte Mason is not alive today to consult for book choices, but AmblesideOnline is one way to provide parents with a guide on their homeschool journey. However, following AmblesideOnline's schedule without also learning about Charlotte Mason's approach will not give your children the full benefits of a CM education, and we cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of reading her series and learning all you can as you school. AmblesideOnline is not intended to replace a parent's own understanding of CM's methods, but is a way to remove the burden of creating a curriculum from scratch while discovering more about the method itself.
If AmblesideOnline does not meet your needs, we encourage you to adjust the curriculum as fits the needs of you own family, use the ideas or book suggestions found here in your own schedule, or to implement a Charlotte Mason education of your own from various other sources.
It is hoped that AmblesideOnline will be a blessing to your family!
For a detailed history of AmblesideOnline, you can read what Leslie Noelani said at AO's July 2005 conference.