In Charlotte Mason’s thought and experience, curricula is not a product; it is an outcome of a philosophy. With this in mind, Ambleside Schools International [ASI] drew on Mason’s collected works to create a formal curriculum for students in grades K–12 and an informal curriculum for preschool
As the children mature, the curricula they encounter broadens and deepens. It moves beyond fundamental skills to advanced work that prepares them to cultivate a rich intellectual life, regardless of their post-secondary paths.
The Ambleside curricula is comprised of skill-based (disciplinary) and content-based (inspirational) instruction. These are not mutually exclusive forms of instruction—each discipline is infused with inspiration; each inspiration requires its discipline. Disciplinary and inspirational instruction work in tandem, enlivening students’ rigorous engagement with ideas and natural growth in knowledge.
Curricula consist primarily of living books, narratives. These nourish the mind, allowing it to assimilate information and gain knowledge. Some are classics that stand the test of time; others feature beautiful language, universal themes, rich characters, or intricate plots. Still others offer disciplinary information in an inspirational, accessible format.
Whenever possible, ASI selects books that are in print, readily available, to accommodate the broadest possible audience. Some resources are selectively available via used bookstores and Web sites; these have been chosen because they will most effectively reach the mind of the student.
The Ambleside curricula provides:
- A wide and varied course of study (16-22 varied subjects weekly)
- A daily plan for skill development and content mastery
- Knowledge characterized as vital, fruitful, interesting, and idea-ric
- Books characterized as representing “the best thought of the best writers”
- Materials that aid in understanding and exploring, without diluting, the discipline
- Grade-level sequences for core subjects, among them mathematics, grammar, and phonics
- Grade-level sequences for inspirational subjects, among them citizenship and science
- Science observations and experiments correlated with science texts
- Art and handwork projects which train students in skills
- A yearly unabridged Shakespeare play is read beginning in fourth through eighth grades
- Gouin series for Spanish instruction