One of the things I deeply love about a Charlotte Mason approach to education is that it’s about equipping children to be learners. To understand a larger view of the world while seeing themselves as valuable, yet appropriately small.
The Scriptures tell us that knowledge puffs up while love builds up (1 Cor 8:1). Learning facts and rattling off trivia -whether it’s about King David or Ancient Greece -does not a humble learner make. In fact, it can fill us with arrogance and shut off any openness to discovery. “I already learned that” is anathema to true education.
Ambleside Online is a confusing name because... it’s not online at all. It is, in fact, a rich course of study through the finest literature, history, science, music, art, and poetry that can be set before a student. Our life as an AO family is filled with stacks and stacks of incredibly rich books and beautiful works of art of all kinds that have stood the test of time, often over centuries. It’s like leading kids along a sandy beach and letting them dip their toes in a vast ocean, to enjoy, frolic- and leave knowing they are very, very small. But just like a day at the beach, that sand sticks around. And you can’t wait to go back.
Part of why we love AO is that the advisory members invested their lives in finding the best resources and fleshing out how to do this ancient approach to education in a modern day setting. And then they quietly set up a website that admittedly isn’t always easy to navigate because it’s so loaded with wisdom, and gave away their life’s work. FOR FREE.
In 2019 I was privileged to attend a gathering for AO moms. I was blown away by the AO advisory that weekend. The heart and mission behind their work is so Jesus- saturated and humble and full of a James 1:17 kind of wisdom. They were some of the most gracious and articulate women I’ve ever had the opportunity to learn from, quietly modeling the way of pursuing self-education with a goal of being made more like Jesus and used to build His kingdom and bring Him glory.
That’s what I want for my kids - and myself. Humility before God and man. Clear thinking. Gracious speech. Kingdom hearts.
Soli deo gloria