Tag Archives: AmblesideOnline

Charlotte Mason Open House

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Often, when I respond to others about using Ambleside Online as our curriculum, I hear a momma tell me how a Charlotte Mason education looks intense to them, how much there seems to be… and how overwhelmed they are just looking at the lists, much less implementing them.

In a discussion on the Ambleside Online forums, a discussion of what draws homeschoolers to expensive classical curriculums came about.
I made a relational connection that I think, for many mothers (certainly not all), to have something put together by someone else and telling them what to do, seems easier – perhaps they are not sure of themselves as a teacher yet or having not seen it in action, think CM is “too much.”

What CAN a Charlotte Mason home education look like?
I think if mother’s could see another family’s CM-inspired day lived out, it would not seem so overwhelming. It could be seen that this is an education attainable for anyone and beneficial for everyone.
Which brought me about to gathering some amazing, beautiful everyday mommas, who are willing to share with others what their very human lives look like, implementing Charlotte Mason’s philosophies.
There are many videos online of singular aspects of a CM education. A video of narration here, a video of nature study notebooks there, a video of dictation somewhere else… but I know in my beginning days of CM (and even now several years in!), I would have been helped to see a general idea of the flow of one subject to the next in a given day. To actually see the beauty, truth, and goodness lived out.

So, we’re putting it all in once place for you. Single subjects, to get into it a bit more “meaty,” and welcoming you to our Open House to show the spreading of the Feast each day is not only attainable, but enjoyable, challenging, and can be peace-making.

If you’d like to join us, please follow me through my RSS feed. January at Beautiful Chaos will bring you a month of videos (and pictures, posts, and quotes) from Charlotte Mason inspired homes, in a Charlotte Mason Open House.
And please, spread the word!

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AO Year 8 Schedule Bookmarks

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Update 6/2/17 – I need to update these to reflect AO’s work, booklist, etc, but I honestly don’t have time to do that. I am sorry for any inconvenience, but these are no longer available!

Each year I am making these bookmarks, I find myself a little later in getting them made, and taking less time to format and play!
These are quite bare-bones, but they will certainly help us – or you – keep track of where we are at in our readings.

I felt very pulled in putting the weeks into this, after reading so much about atmosphere this summer, and recognizing that not just as a homeschooling mother, but specifically as a Type 4, I am a list-checker, while Melody (my Type 1) almost wilts under as much structure and stringency as I flourish in… so I am trying to help find our middle ground, to ensure a rich and varied Feast that we nourish ourselves upon daily/weekly, but we don’t allow the tools to master us.
Still, I continued the weekly notes for those that prefer them, and I am choosing to print them and work on not allowing myself to be mastered by a list, but to use the tools to enrich our days.

Soon, I will include an alternative bookmark list here, as well, which includes the alternative AO suggestions and a suggested schedule for the alternative justice and economics books we are using this year.

Until then, please enjoy these simple little bookmarks!

Goings-on

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At the Baggins’ household lately, things are settling down from summer antics, play, and leisure, as we prepare to start Year 8 of Ambleside Online.

I’m finding that utilizing some concepts in Dressing Your Truth is helping me understand my family and how to work with each one of them.

Daryl has had a few weeks of layoff through his company, but they were deliberately staggered one week at a time each month. Most of the employees treated this as a vacation/free time and we really weren’t different. We spent time doing some fun things and took the opportunity to fix some bigger things around the house. He is definitely a Type 3, which I am very grateful for. He works hard and is very loyal and loving, even when his vision is strictly on the to-do list.

Melody is growing up and discovering changes are not as scary as she thought they would be and are rather pleasant when she accepts them. She often makes me think of Katy in Stepping Heavenward and that is an encouraging, lovely thought for me, especially on the days where I feel like I’m “in the trenches.” She is a Type 1. So, with her being Type 1 and me being Type 4, can feel very overwhelming sometimes… we have completely polar opposite energies and ways of thinking. I tell her regularly that she’s the best first child I could have imagined – she helps me grow!

Leela really wants to join in with us as we have more formal learning moments, so I decided to institute Morning Time this year. We’ll see how she does with it. She is a constant comfort to others and loves helping. I am certain she is a Type 2, so I am mindful to let her know how much I see her and value her, and how strong her presence is for all of us.

Stryder is playing games to tease us, walking well, communicating with about 10-15 words/sounds, and *loves* snuggling with us. I have no idea what Type he is yet. I just know we love him and he’s also a blessing to the family.

As for me, I’m almost through the 3rd semester of year one (in a two-year program) in Restorative Exercise, to become a certified personal trainer. It’s intense, but I am loving it!
I had a severe UTI (not found with testing at urgent care) that led to a massive kidney infection, but I’ve been amazed to see natural supplements and botanicals work wonders, at yet another point in my life. Between probiotics and d-mannose, the UTI has gone and I am no longer hurting from kidney pain. I am taking a bottle of enzymes too, to deal with candida, and I’m impressed. I hope the one bottle is all I ever need to take! I’m about to add pau d’arco tea for candida as well.
I’m choosing to let my 4th semester of Mother’s Feast rest for now, after being convicted by some CM-inspired articles I’d read. For my Type 4 self, letting that 4th planned semester rest is going to be a feat of will! I am going to write more about letting the 4th semester go later, but for now, thus suffices.

Coming up soon on the blog, I have a really AMAZING blog-related development. I can barely wait to make the announcement!!

Practically There is No Such Thing as Anarchy, Part 2

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I have had a few people ask me what substitutions I am making with Ambleside Online in these older years, in regards to economics, the justice system, and politics, if they know I am a Christian anarchist. You can read Part 1, here.

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My allegiance lies in the symbol of a cross. It lies with a God-King-Man that sacrificed the blood and sweat and breath from Himself to give us all a great Freedom and Hope. My allegiance lies not in a body of land or in a strip of fabric, but in the Body and Spirit of my Risen Lord.

Melody is starting Year 8 in September. Until this point, aside from in my first few years feeling uncomfortable with the pointedness of Plutarch’s advocacy of good character for the good of specific people of a specific plot of land one lotteried into, and so not using it (I overcame this “dumping” I had been doing, and utilized it for examples in what to be or not be as a citizen of God’s Kingdom, serving others), I hadn’t changed anything in this regard. We have had wonderful conversations over adding Plutarch, as the books so far have been an excellent spring board for Biblical discussion, disagreement or agreement.

Year 8 is not very obviously political, and for some reason I didn’t really grasp at it until June… but there is one resource that I kept hesitating to put into my Amazon cart: Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury. We enjoyed his Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, but this one was diving into an area that I felt needed an alternative for our home – justice. Considering what our family has been through, many are surprised that I am a supporter of restorative justice. So far, this is the only complete substitution I am making to the gov/econ aspects of AO in any of the years. We will use I, Pencil, but not the book.

Year 9 dives into political “sides,” which I had seen when reviewing it’s list over a year ago. I had already decided that we would use Are You Liberal, Conservative, Confused? by Richard Maybury, with another resource or two alongside it in the school year. I have been slowly adding books into my own reading, to select for her Year 9 and had found a really wonderful book. I want her to see there are more than 2-3 options, as a Believer, to choose from in politics, and to explore more than the status quo.

If you have any beautiful, lovely, and true sources on Christian anarchism, pacifism, and/or God’s Kingdom economics, please feel free to share in the comments section!

Without any more to-do, I am going to give you my list, which will be added to as time goes on:

Any Year, Free Read

  • A Wolf at the Gate by Mark Van Steenwyk ~ I just bought this. We read through it a few chapters a night for three nights. My children didn’t want bedtime story time to end any of those nights (some nights with other stories, they love the story but are more tired than interested, so ask for a stopping point)! We smiled, cried, and Melody and I both lamented not having more books like this. With Ambleside Online’s selections appreciating the value of myths and legends, this living book on extending God’s love to everyone, through the legend of Saint Francis and a wolf, are sure to become a new free read for CMers… I hope!
    I really want more books like this!

Year 8

  • Money and Power by Jaques Ellul  ~ this is a book that I am more than excited about. As I have been reading through it, I am recognizing that this is a LOT to chew on for someone of any age, and we will have to take this part of the Feast in small bites. I am thinking a 2 year read, to allow for the great conversation.
    This is wonderfully insightful regarding the juxtaposition of capitalism and communism either view promoting itself as a societal cure – neither side advocating what Christ does, individual responsibility to lavishly and willingly share their wealth with others in need, without force.
    If you want to get an idea of Jaques Ellul, watch this 6-part YouTube series on Technology, over 20 years ahead of today’s Facebook and McDonald’s culture. Does that make me see the value in a Luddite? Perhaps a little bit more than beforehand. I still like blogging, after all. 😉
  • Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr ~ this is on the justice system, but more importantly God’s justice system and how we have a lot to change if we want to treat criminals as Christ has commanded us, while still honoring, protecting, and valuing those who were victimized. A promising book about restorative justice. I plan on dividing this into 12 readings, it having 11 chapters and a wealth of encouragement in 4 appendices. He has a meaty Restorative Justice Blog to read through, too, but that won’t be used in our scheduled studies.
  • The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder ~ a general book on living out Christ in our daily living, which encompasses the political. Our actions speak louder than our vote, in essence. This has (for AO purposes) 12 tidy, but meaty chapters, so I will divide this into 12 weekly readings.

Year 9

  • Electing Not to Vote, Edited by Ted Lewis ~ I read this during this years Mother’s Feast schedule and was awed. There are several positions within this book that I myself do not resonate with, but the thought put into each essay, the Biblical leading, and the faith within these Believers was awe-inspiring. My copy is highlighted, dog-eared, and has notes all over the place. It has 9 chapters, but I wished for more! This was my “really lovely book” I mentioned above.
  • A Faith Not Worth Fighting For, Edited by Tripp York and Justin Bronson Barringer ~ this is a possibilty, and one I am leaning towards heavily.
  • Bible Studies by Richard Righter ~ I may utilize a few of these free studies over the summer between Year 8 and 9. I love them and have gone through several on my own.

Other HEO-level options

  • Nevertheless: Varieties of religious pacifism by John Howard Yoder ~ this has the same feel to it as Electing Not to Vote, but as this is written by one author rather than many, it has a rhythm to it that I appreciate. This book helped me to understand exactly what kind of pacifist I am, able to be defined with words (a pacifist of the Messianic community), and appreciate the variety of ways people support not murdering your neighbor. This has 20 chapters and could be spread out over a year or over 2 semesters, depending on how one wanted to utilize it. This is a meaty book, so I definitely would not suggest more than a chapter a week.
  • The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy ~ Ambleside Online already lists some of his work in the later years, if I remember correctly. This is a classic that should not be discounted.
  • What Would You Do? By John Howard Yoder ~ This is a book based on the hypothetical questions pacifists are often asked. Perhaps better suited as a free read, for those deeply interested in this.
  • Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel by Alexandre Christoyannopoulos ~ a comprehensive scope on the history of anarchy within the community of Believers (click the link and through it you can download this for free at EThOS).
  • War and Peace from Genesis to Revelation: King Jesus’ Manual of Arms for the Armless by Vernard Eller ~ many of his books are suitable for these upper years. Many of his works, except this one, are available for free here.
  • Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes by Jacques Ellul ~ this is a helpful foundation for understanding that we are all affected and influenced by propaganda, governmental and otherwise. Again, many of his books are suitable for upper years.
  • Loaves and Fishes: The Inspiring Story of the Catholic Worker Movement by Dorothy Day ~ free read
  • Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw ~ I adore this book and would put it as a free read. This is genuinely a gorgeous book. The words are inspiring, but the images/art that are within are comforting and inspiring at once.
  • Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Christ’s Teachings about Love, Compassion & Forgiveness, gathered and introduced by Wendell Berry ~ free read, very short but insightful
  • The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr ~ I have not gotten to read this yet, but it is a slightly altered version of one of his previously written books, as you’ll read in the preface. It is a free PDF, here.

Memorization/Liturgy

This is a liturgical prayer that the Shane Claiborne/Chris Haw crew had up at their website for their book, Jesus For President, which is now defunct (it can be sourced by using archive.org). I share this here, as it is so beautiful and I believe, of far greater value than pledging allegiance to flag or soil, both of which can and will pass away:

One: Today we pledge our ultimate allegiance… to the Kingdom of God

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To a peace that is not like Rome’s

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Gospel of enemy love

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Kingdom of the poor and broken

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To a King that loves his enemies so much he died for them

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the least of these, with whom Christ dwells

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the transnational Church that transcends the artificial borders of nations

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the refugee of Nazareth

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the homeless rabbi who had no place to lay his head

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the cross rather than the sword

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the banner of love above any flag

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the one who rules with a towel rather than an iron fist

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the one who rides a donkey rather than a war-horse

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the revolution that sets both oppressed and oppressors free

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Way that leads to life

All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the Slaughtered Lamb

All: We pledge allegiance

One: And together we proclaim his praises, from the margins of the empire to the centers of wealth and power

All: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb

One: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb

All: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb

Practically There is No Such Thing as Anarchy, Part 1

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I have had a few people ask me what substitutions I am making with Ambleside Online in these older years, in regards to economics, the justice system, and politics, if they know I am a Christian anarchist.
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Because of this, I am going to start a running list of what I plan to do. (Bear with me, I will get to it, but I wanted to type up some thoughts that have been going through my head in regards to this area!)


There’s a longish (compared to just giving you my list) aspect I want to cover, as this all relates to CM/AO and my “anarchist” ways. Just the other day, I was reading A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason. An interesting quote stuck out at me.

 

“Practically there is no such thing as anarchy; what is so-called is a mere transference of authority, even if in the last resort the anarchist find authority in himself alone.”

~ Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, page 69

Based on her implied definition of what anarchy means (no governance/chaos), I agree wholeheartedly with this quote. I’ll get back to the definition of anarchy in a moment.

Christian anarchy, for me, came about after dissatisfaction in the Bush/Gore elections. I actually voted, y’all, and it was for Bush, the man who did not win by popular vote, but by the electoral college. Meaning that all the hype I had been told about our “votes counting” was not entirely true. Our vote only counts when the higher ups want to permit us that illusion. Despite that, my family and friends said that EVERY vote counts – it’s our DUTY to take part in the process!
After the Bush/Gore year, I looked into a third party. I liked, at the time, the idea of the Constitution Party. When I told my family and friends about this, many of them told me they “wished” they could vote third party, but voting third party was a “wasted” vote that then distracted from the two bigger parties…
It was this very inconsistency… that EVERY vote counts, except third-party votes… they are WASTED votes and they suddenly don’t count… except, scratch that… they do… no… oh, that’s right, everyone forgot about the electoral college thing….
Anyway, I digress. It was that very inconsistent “logic” that piqued my curiosity when I was in the library and happened upon Jesus for President.
I read Jesus for President, and was convicted by reading 1 Samuel 8. I tried to fight it – my cultural conditioning was very strong. I felt I was betraying every person in the country (forget about… humanity in general) to not vote between “the lesser of two evils.” As the weeks went by, I realized that by voting, we are hoping that our vision of a good country would be imposed on others through The Lesser we have put above us. Slowly, my Christian anarchist beliefs have grown and sharpened into focus.
I have never once, internally, felt like a true “anarchist,” by definitions ignorantly created or implied by the majority. 1 Samuel 8 exposed to me that I absolutely DO want authority, but not of human making. To call myself an anarchist is rather backward for me when using standard (not accurate) definition, as I want the Ultimate Authority. Regardless of whether someone does not understand the root wording of anarchy, allowing it with either the correct definition or the wrong one, makes it easier for others to understand that I do not encourage, endorse, or take part in the kind of human authority 1 Samuel 8 tells us will ALWAYS result in:

“‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.'”
~ 1 Samuel 8:11-20

(By the way… wouldn’t a mere 10% of your finances be a breath of fresh air right now??)

Back to the lovely Charlotte Mason, for she is whom I love regarding educational philosophy, who inspired the women of Ambleside Online and many others, and her thoughts on anarchy and politics continue, from above. Her immediate thought following the last CM quote I shared is one I do not fully agree with, after reading 1 Samuel 8:

There is an idea abroad that authority makes for tyranny, and that obedience, voluntary or involuntary, is of the nature of slavishness; but authority is, on the contrary, the condition without which liberty does not exist and, except it be abused, is entirely congenial to those on whom it is exercised: we are so made that we like to be ordered even if the ordering be only that of circumstances.
~Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, page 69

1 Samuel 8 is quite clear that human authority/kingship/rule does make for tyranny. Democratic nations are no different than kingdoms in this regard – they are not immune from God’s clear words on the result of our hearts clamoring for human rulership over the unseen, Perfect God governing our daily politics. Just take a look at our presidents (any of them), our CPS system, our justice system, our economic system… and it’s very clear that we are living out 1 Samuel 8 all over again.

If it weren’t so depressing that so many have, do, and will believe this throughout time, it would be almost comical that involuntary obedience is not considered a form of slavery to her. The kind of comical where you start out laughing and end up sobbing, really.

Liberty is not found in human governance, or in the blood of strangers from another land, but only in Christ. So, this aspect of the quote is accurate, but misguided, as I know she is advocating for human government/rulership and trying to dissuade from “anarchy.”

Back to the definition of anarchy. This is not what Miss Mason alluded to it as, nor what most think it is. Anarchy is very much a governing ideal, but quite different in heart than what the majority proposes (right by might).
As to the “except it be abused, is entirely congenial to those whom…” I just have to chuckle a little bit, because, it goes right back to 1 Samuel 8. People beg for it, but are stolen from, abused, and enslaved, our sons and daughters are taken from us and put into a system of indoctrination, while we laud the system and advocate for “more” to be done within it to make it better. It has never been any other way, in any other system of human ruling, at any time. Why? Because, according to this passage in 1 Samuel, proven through all of history… human leadership is always abusive and enslaving to those it “seeks” to serve.

To circle back around, this is why I cannot teach only of the human system of government that we are now under, but feel a compelling need to speak of honoring our High King through our learning and daily politic.

Want to see what a Christian anarchist substitutes/complements in the higher (and even one for an earlier year) of Ambleside Online? Join me tomorrow, with Part 2.

Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography

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This is a picture on page 15 of this PDF book.

 I haven’t yet said it on this new blog, but I adore Ambleside Online, I thought I would share with you the PDF file I made of Charlotte Mason’s book, Elementary Geography, which I was able to easily format because of the wonderful work accomplished HERE.

he problems was, I want to print two pages from the book onto one side of paper, and I was not able to do that from the website directly. So, I copy and pasted the text, gave it a new font, saved and inserted all the pictures, and viola! created a PDF file for easier printing.

If anyone would like me to reformat with larger/smaller print or bigger pictures, please contact me, and it would be my pleasure to do so and make available for free here, as another PDF file.

Here is the PDF file of this gem by Charlotte Mason: Elementary Geography

AmblesideOnline Year 7 Bookmarks

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Update 6/2/17 – I need to update these to reflect AO’s work, booklist, etc, but I honestly don’t have time to do that. I am sorry for any inconvenience, but these are no longer available!

Last year I made scheduled reading bookmarks for Melody’s Ambleside Online Year 6. Those little bookmarks were so very helpful for both of us! I knew I needed more for the coming year, too.

 In September, we began her Year 7 rotation. I wanted to make sure all of her Year 7 things were straightened up and ready months before this. All but three semester 1 books are here, I printed off the AO schedule, and I’ve been digging in to some mother culture books to ready my own mind and prepare for a deeper level of educating our growing young lady. 

When I was making these, I was pregnant and running out of steam, so they don’t have the same “oomph” I gave Year 6…  But, they will do the job. Melody (or your own children) can decorate at will. I may tinker with them later.

 I do hope these AO Year 7 bookmarks can help you in your school year.

If you note any inconsistencies with the Ambleside Online Year 7 schedule, please don’t hesitate to let me know!