AO for Groups

AO for Groups is a variation of the AmblesideOnline homeschool curriculum which has been specifically adapted for use in larger group settings such as local co-op classrooms, cottage schools, larger families, and other nonvirtual learning communities. We're excited to offer this beta model, and we're looking forward to your feedback.

How Does It Work?

AO for Groups organizes students by Forms, not grades -- somewhat like a one-room schoolhouse, where all grades work together, except that AO for Groups arranges three grades together, rather than all twelve grades. 1st-3rd graders can all do Form 1 together, 4th-6th graders can do Form 2 together, and 7th-9th graders can do Form 3 together. (Form 4, for high school, is planned.)

As a group or co-op, you'd start this year with the A plan. Next year, you'll do B, then C. Students may experience the years in a different order, depending on when they start -- ABC, or BCA, or CAB. That means their history may be out of order, but that doesn't seem to be an issue in schools that work that way. We suggest using a timeline consistently, so students note and follow the progression of history.

Is that still not clear? Maybe this more detailed explanation will help. Or, watch Brandy Vencel's 15-minute video tutorial at

What Kind of History Cycle Does AO for Groups Use?

Form 1 rotates through 55 BC-1660, Form 2 rotates through 1640-1990 (with a couple terms of ancient history), and Form 3 rotates through 55 BC to 1688.
More detailed history information

Can I Still Use Regular AO?

Yes. AO for Groups is not replacing AmblesideOnline; AO for Groups simply provides an option to use AO's wonderful books with groups of students where the need to scale back is a necessity.

Can I Use AO for Groups to Start a Cottage School?

Education, and Charlotte Mason, is about relationships. Much of the work of running a school or tutoring is classroom management, investing in personal relationships with children, getting them to do the work, explaining concepts and reading to them, assessing their work, building personal relationships in real life. We encourage that. You may use AO with a cottage school under the usual conditions - notably, making sure all the parents and staff know that you are using AO's free curriculum and that they can access the website themselves and don't need to go through you.

Terms of Service

Your use of AO for Groups signifies that you have read, understood, and agree to be bound by our license and terms of use. You may use AO for Groups in a cottage school or co-op setting provided that all parties (teachers, parents, staff) know that you are using the AO for Groups curriculum which they can access and use for free at this website. You may not charge a curriculum fee. You may not post or publish our curriculum, webpages, or lists of books. At this time, AO for Groups may only be used in a physical setting (not for online classes or co-ops).

Can I Use AO for Groups to Do Online Classes?

An online "academy" could enroll hundreds or even thousands of students and result in someone profiting from AO without ever even seeing the kids. We created AO and provide it for free because we have the same vision that Charlotte Mason did--a liberal education for all, and we donated thousands of hours to make this happen. We do not permit the use of our copyrighted curriculum for online schools/classes unless the program is free.

If you are brand new to Charlotte Mason:

AmblesideOnline has a series of brief, friendly "Patio Chats" shared every week that will introduce you to the why's and how's of this method over the school year. You can think about them, discuss them online in one of our social groups, or use them as springboards for discussion with your local Charlotte Mason-ey friends. Get them three ways: by joining our announcement-only email list at Groups.IO where you will receive these brief emails without any discussion or chatter, on our Forum, or in our Facebook chat group. For more information, click here.

AmblesideOnline's free Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum prepares children for a life of rich relationships with God, humanity, and the natural world.
Share AO with your group or homeschool fair! Download our printable brochure