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These 39 chatty snippets will help you get an overview of the foundational components and concepts of what makes up a living, relational education -- a Charlotte Mason education, named for the woman who pulled these principles together for her own schools in England in the 1800's. Don't let the fact that these methods came out of the Victorian era scare you off -- these principles are timeless, and the nurturing, life-giving ideas that children needed then still work today.

All 39 of these can probably be read in 20 minutes, but skimming over them too quickly won't be effective at conveying all that a CM education is. Each of these chats encompasses such a wealth of accompanying ideas that it's best to go slowly, take one at a time, and let it sink in. Even better would be to think and discuss them one at a time with related thoughts brought in, because even though these can be collected and summarized neatly in one place, they won't have any impact until they are digested and internalized, and that requires slowing down and taking time to consider each of them individually.

by Leslie Noelani Laurio

Click on a topic to read more.

1a. Welcome to AO
    A brief introduction to get you started.

1b. About AmblesideOnline
    Who are we?

2. About Charlotte Mason
    What is a "CM Education"?

3. Personhood is Foundational
    Your child is more than a potential; he is already a person and deserves to be treated with respect.

4. The Three Tools of Learning
    Respect for your child's personhood means we are limited in the methods we use to teach him.

5. What Makes an Education?
    Seeing how things relate to each other sparks passion and interest.

6. Narration
    If you can't explain it, do you really know it?

7. Language Arts
    Deceptively simple and natural methods cover more than you think.

8. CM is for Moms, Too
    This is a way of life that doesn't just benefit children.

9. Education is an Atmosphere: The Environmental Tool
    The world your child lives in is already teaching valuable life lessons.

10. Education is a Discipline: The Good Habit Tool
    Your child is already picking up habits; why not make sure they're good ones?

11. Education is a Life: Ideas That Awaken a Mind
    The spark of an idea can change the course of an entire life.

12. Nature Study
    Familiarity with the natural world has multiple benefits.

13. More on Narration
    A gentle nudge and some practice will make your child a more effective narrator.

14. Self Education: the Only Education, for the Win!
    We only learn what our minds take time to reflect on.

15. Don't Worry About the Gaps
    Active curiosity and a passion to know can make your child a life-long learner.

16. Personhood Again
    All persons, even little ones, need to feel useful and valued.

17. Atmosphere Re-visited
    The life you share with your child is unique to him.

18. Books as Food
    Quality books do more than entertain; they nourish the mind.

19. The Most Important Habit
    The ability to be attentive and "all there" goes a long way in education.

20. Are You Enslaved to a System?
    There's more than one way to raise children who know and care.

21. Where Do Vital Ideas Come From?
    Books can bring the world to a child.

22. Copywork
    Transcription is a multi-faceted shortcut to language arts.

23. The Double Duty of Books
    A well-written book stretches the mental muscles.

24. Short Lessons
    Switching tasks frequently can keep things fresh and interesting.

25. Math
    Textbooks and programs aren't the only way to teach math.

26. History
    Real people make history more interesting and meaningful.

27. Dictation
    Another multi-faceted shortcut to language arts.

28. Folksongs and Hymns
    Music is relational and just plain fun.

29. What's in a Book?
    We learn to read and enjoy stiff books by reading stiff books.

30. The Beauty of Culture
    Exposure to the arts can be a shared joy for you and your child.

31. Geography
    Other places and other cultures provide fascination.

32. An Extraordinary Realization
    God can work though anyone.

33. Don't Trust This!
    Our own reasoning can lead us astray.

34. The Earth is the Lord's
    Whether religious or secular -- it's all God's.

35. Personhood, One More Time
    Your child was born with a vibrant and active mind.

36. Curriculum
    AmblesideOnline can provide the tools to help you teach your child.

37. The Way of the Will and The Way of Reason
    Determination and well-trained reasoning are faithful guides.

38. Who's in Charge?
    Know when to lead, and when to follow.

39. You Made It!
    You've completed all 39 Patio Chats!

Thanks to Laurie Duckworth for suggesting these short chats, and for providing her input.

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