Social Media Guidelines
Our Social Media Guidelines cover:
· 1. The best place to get info (hint: it's not on our FB group)
· 2. Our mission and purpose (to support AO users)
· 3. What's on-topic (how to implement AO and CM)
· 4. What's off-topic (general book talk, other curricula)
· 5. Selling, promotion, and solicitation: all of these are off limits.
· 6. General guidelines (be kind, be decent, stay on-topic)
· 7. Charlotte Mason's books are the final authority on what's "CM."
· 8. How to share resources without violating AO's copyright.
Length: 3718 words, 5.5 pages; Reading time: About twenty minutes.
1. The Best Place to Get Info
You can get great encouragement and tips in our forum and on this group, but the AmblesideOnline website should be your FIRST resource for information. That is where you will find the whole curriculum laid out, as well as a bountiful supply of articles to help you out. You can use AO without ever visiting the forum or our Facebook or other social media group. You cannot really use AmblesideOnline without reading our website regularly. It is the BEST source of information about AO and how to use it. www.amblesideonline.org
If you're just getting started, you really do not want to miss this: How to Homeschool with AO, by Leslie Noelani. It's also in our FB page files here. We also have a Forum which offers more flexibility and privacy for members than a public social media group like Facebook can. forum.
If you find the website confusing, you might want to bookmark this post at the Advisory's blog: How to Use the Website and Booklists; it explains further some tips and tricks to using the website and curriculum pages.
2. Our Social Media Group Mission and Purpose
This group's mission is to support those who wish to implement the AmblesideOnline free curriculum. We are not here to help people NOT implement it. We also promote Charlotte Mason's methods and philosophy. While there is more general discussion in our forum, our Facebook group is specifically for those using AmblesideOnline and those interested in AO (favorably -- we are not asking for slavish adulation, but if you don't like us, we respectfully suggest that your time is better spent in a group more compatible with whatever it is you do like). There is a lot to learn in a CM education. We know it can feel overwhelming, and so we are here to help.
In this group, you will find: Free consultations from experienced homeschoolers! Our advice comes from real moms in the trenches. In case you want to make a note of some of the most experienced moms in our Facebook group, please visit this thread on Facebook. When it comes to questions about implementing AO and CM's philosophy and how it works, you will want to give added weight to replies and answers from those moms, so you may wish to bookmark that link as well. (if that link does not work for you, try searching the FB group for 'widgets' and you should find it).
In this group, you will find: Compassion. Sometimes, real life is very, very hard. Some of us have been homeschooling with CM's methods for decades and have been through some truly horrifying and very difficult life circumstances, so we know that there is the ideal, and there is sometimes a reality that comes nowhere near the ideal. We do understand that, and we accept one another in all our messy chaos. We realize we cannot all always implement all of the philosophy or ideas we would wish. We love you. We understand "can't." We understand it very well. We understand trauma and life emergencies far better than we wish. If you are in one of these tragic times of life, you may find our reduced, simplified, HELP plan just what your family needs.
In this group, you will find: Standards. We remain a curriculum based on CM's methods and philosophy. While we understand tragedy and trauma far too well and we are here for those hard times as well as good times, we also want to be very clear that this is not the place to come if you do not care what Charlotte Mason's philosophy is, if you will be offended if somebody calls your favorite book twaddle, or if you are looking to hear that Abeka, unit studies, or watching the cartoon network and eating potato chips all day long can all be CM if you just colour a picture of what you thought about it afterward. Don't expect perfection, and we won't, either. However -- and this is very important -- do not be offended by our preference for accuracy in what is and is not compatible with Mason's philosophy and AO's curriculum. No, this is not legalism and it does not make us a cult. It makes us a discussion group with specific parameters and guidelines.
Statement of Faith? None is required. We accept and care about members of all and/or no creeds. We do not believe differences of faith should prevent any child from receiving the beauty of a Charlotte Mason education. That said, we decidedly are not the right group for people who are hostile to Christianity. Charlotte Mason was herself a member in good standing of the Church of England and a woman of strong faith. Her philosophy and methods are firmly rooted in the traditional orthodox Christian view of a personal triune God who created the world and all that is in it, and places a special stamp upon humanity by creating us in his image, who became flesh and dwelt among us in the Person of Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, died for our sins, was raised again on the third day, and now reigns. The Advisory who created AmblesideOnline are also united in a traditional Christian worldview. Whether you are a believer with us or not, whether you are a member of a group which adheres to the traditional tenants of Christianity or not, we welcome you -- but we will delete posts that dishonor Christ.
3. What's On-Topic:
Charlotte Mason's philosophy is always on-topic. Asking for help implementing any facet of AO or any book scheduled with AO is always on-topic.
Informing members of general CM events is usually okay. For example, "CMER or SCM is having a conference on CM." You can post about this and share the details, because it is generally useful to all CM homeschoolers including AO homeschoolers. Don't spam us by posting something multiple times, but you can make an announcement and give it a bump once a week or so.
4. What's Off-topic: With thousands of members and no way to organize topics or threads, off-topic posts can make this group unwieldy very quickly.
General book discussions, and books not used in AO's curriculum are off-topic, unless it is a portion of the curriculum where we do not get specific about what to use (for instance, math programs, or foreign language programs). You can post about non-AO books in the Forum, but we remove or close those posts in our Facebook group. This is also not a value judgment or a personal criticism. It's just necessary to limit some types of off-topic posts because they tend to overwhelm the feed, and questions asking for help and advice get buried by non-essentials. Sometimes we have to be stricter than other times, and if you get caught by one of the strict times, please don't take it personally. It isn't personal at all. We all love books here, so we can be lured into participating in those discussions instead of deleting them, but when we come to ourselves, we'll probably end the thread or delete it.
Combining AO with other curricula -- even other CM curricula -- is off-topic. We do not recommend combining, but for those who wish to do that, we have an area in the forum where you may discuss that.
Linking videos from other sources, even nature videos, is usually off-topic. Nature study is not done by movie! We generally delete cute videos of pigs nursing tigers and similar things, the kind of things that gets passed around and shared all over. Please save us a step and don't post them.
However, we love for you to share your own videos, pictures and descriptions of your homeschool and personal nature observations. (If you share your own images of snakes and bugs and other things some people consider creepy, consider posting a description and saving the picture for the comments.)
Politics and Doctrine are off-topic. These posts seldom end well, and they are not about implementing AmblesideOnline. If the main point of your post is a specific political stance you want to support or denigrate, we'll delete it. If a specific political point of view is merely a side issue in your post, consider rewording it a bit. We probably won't delete it, but we will watch the thread and step in if it gets political. Doctrinal issues are best discussed in the Hot Topics area of the forum or on your personal Facebook page, not here. This includes posting links to your "outside of mainstream Christianity" religious group. We will delete those. Rare exception permitted to political posts if there is a political issue which directly correlates to implementing AO. A couple years ago it was a suggested change in copyright law. Those posts are acceptable.
Discussing what some other CM organization says is off-topic. If you have questions about what you heard while listening to somebody else's podcast, you should ask them, or ask us the general question without bringing in the other organization. We have found that sometimes when a person asks us to explain what they heard on another podcast, it turns out they misunderstood and that's not what the other podcast meant. Also, we cannot know why someone else says the things they say, or what they meant by that. That organization would be the best source to ask for clarification. They know their reasons, or they were misunderstood, or some context is missing -- they can explain that on their own page. And even if another CM spokesperson puts their foot in it and gets something quite wrong, we would prefer to discuss ideas, not personalities. We have no desire to be at odds with others in the CM community, which brings us to our final point: many CM organizations may vary or disagree in various areas, and that's okay. We do not wish to discuss where we think others may be wrong, especially since we are not so arrogant as to believe we are perfect, nor so authoritarian that we consider ourselves the CM Police. We simply wish to use this space to help others discuss our free curriculum, what we do (or have done), and why and how. We are the AmblesideOnline social media group. We are not one of the other CM curriculums or programs. We are here to support AO families, not to promote or debate other methods, programs, podcasts or curriculum. We don't go to their pages and promote AO, and we don't want our friends to do that. We don't expect their friends to come here promoting some other programs, either. It's not a question of liking or disliking, or agreeing or disagreeing; it's about a time and place for everything. This time and this place is for AO.
Criticizing AmblesideOnline in order to promote some other CM organization is off-topic (and also rude). "Mrs. McGillicuddy and Her Podcast for Peculiar Homeschoolers says AO is wrong about everything. Go listen here and then you should make these changes . . ." Please don't. Mrs. McGillicuddy probably did not say "AO is wrong." Even if she did, she is well within her rights to say what she thinks on her page, and her podcast can be discussed on her page, not ours. That type of post is not generally helpful to those implementing AO.
5. Selling, Promotion and Solicitation are all off-limits.
NO SELLING, NO AFFILIATE LINKS. We are serious about this!
No affiliate links means no links that give you credit if people click the link and buy something. It includes posts disguised as asking for advice -- i.e., you don't need to include the Groupon link that gives you credit for sales in order to ask which audio book we think you should get.
No selling includes sending members of the group private messages promoting your product -- members who are reported using PM's for this purpose will be banned immediately with no explanation.
Our ban against selling includes all selling, email harvesting, and marketing to our group in stealth fashion -- such as offering free products for which members sign up so you can harvest their emails and use them for future promotions, or offering free samples of something you sell to promote your business, AND ALL OTHER FORMS OF MARKETING and self-promotion. Please don't. We invested so many hours and years -- you truly have no idea -- creating a free resource for our fellow homeschooling moms. It feels like being slapped in the face when others use our free gift as a springboard for collecting customers and business. It's so rude. Do not use our work for your business. Just don't. If you are not sure, then you probably shouldn't do it.
We DO allow selling in the forum, in a special area set up just for that purpose.
You may give something away, carefully, IF your giveaway is genuine, no strings attached -- it may not be related in any way to product or site promotion. In addition, to keep the post from being bumped up over other posts asking for help, all replies need to be by private message. You may post something like this: "I just finished Year 3 and have no younger kids and want to give away my Year 3 books. Please send me a PM if interested." Close comments on that thread, and then check your private messages regularly (also check message requests, and filtered messages). If you don't close the comments, we will do it when we see the post, so if you can't figure it out, that's okay.
6. General Guidelines: We are all volunteers who are busy homeschooling our own children. We strive to be compassionate as we clarify CM standards while not demanding perfection.
Please be kind. It is hard to balance accurate information with loving, supportive attitudes, but we try. Our goal is to provide warm, friendly, supportive, but solidly informed and accurate advice that adheres to Mason's philosophy and is compatible with the use of AO. Disagreement is one thing, but rude comments, name-calling, demeaning remarks will be deleted. We sometimes remove a member who shows a history of contentious debate.
No name-calling, swearing, or porn.
Assume the best of other's intentions. Do not impute their motives. Do not say things to people here that you would not stand up and say to their faces in a large group of moms at your local support group meeting. This is not the place for you to publicly berate, argue, and chastise people. (One person's discussion is another person's argument, and we are more flexible about that -- our tolerance for discussion goes quite a long way).
Try to be roughly on-topic. On-topic means related to Charlotte Mason, or AmblesideOnline. This is loose, we know. Mason's six volumes cover a lot of ground, including habits, health, education, children's leisure time, mothers' reading, and more. Just give it your best shot at staying on-topic. We may delete posts for being off-topic, but this is not personal, nor is it a value judgment. It's just housecleaning to keep the area easy to navigate.
No bashing of AmblesideOnline, or promoting other curricula, or soliciting our members to join your new social media group. You can do this elsewhere, not on our front porch. There are plenty of other groups out there where you can complain about us and promote the use of some other program. We realize we cannot serve everybody. But we also are not here to provide a platform for complaints or solicitations.
Don't argue with our moderators. They are all volunteers donating their time and energy and doing the best they can. This is just a social media group, it's not a church, it's not a legal forum, it's not a government office. Don't let it ruin your life. Don't let it ruin your day. Don't even let it bum you out for an hour. Take the best and use it, let the rest flow.
We reserve the right to delete posts. Did I say delete? Yes. We delete posts or comments that offer advice that is contrary to the philosophy and method of education we espouse here, advice we think violates our rules, or which will not be helpful, posts that are merely repetitive, posts recommending resources from sources we consider questionable, or posts and comments that seem merely contentious, or that do not contribute anything meaningful to the discussion. Sometimes we make a bad call, and sometimes we make a different call than you would. We sometimes make a different call before coffee than we would after coffee. We are only human. Regardless, the owners of the group have the final word, just as the owners of a house, and nobody else, have the last word in how to arrange the furniture in the house. It's social media. It moves fast and there should be no hard feelings on either side over this.
Sometimes we will close comments to a thread. Sometimes we will call an end to a thread. Our decisions are final, even if they seem arbitrary. Usually this happens when a thread seems to have gotten enough responses to cover anything somebody might want to know and the comments have become repetitious, or we belatedly realize we allowed (even participated in) a discussion that was off-topic. When people comment on an old thread it gets bumped to the top and then newer posts drop out of sight, with the result that some current questions get ignored or overlooked. For these and other reasons, sometimes we close comments to a thread. It is not a rebuke or a punishment.
By posting to our Facebook group, you are giving us permission to cross-post generally helpful advice to our Forum so we can find it again later. We will not include any names or personally identifying details without more specific permission.
Facebook users: if you wish to follow a post, instead of commenting 'following' on it or posting a period or the letter F, please scroll to the top of that post and look for the small arrow on the right. Click on it and select 'save post' or 'turn on notifications for this post,' whichever you prefer. When you just post a punctuation mark so you can follow the thread, you send a new notification to everybody else who has commented, and they come to the thread looking for new information. So please use this more considerate method of keeping track of a post you like. Thank you. Yes, we know there are some mobile devices where this is harder or not possible.
If you have have understood and agree to abide by these general guidelines, respond to question number five in the group questionnaire by telling us where you would go if you were offered a free airplane ticket to anywhere in the world.
7. CM's philosophy and principles are found in her books.
In our social media groups, Charlotte Mason's words on her own philosophy will always be the final word, and while we strive to be polite and respectful about it, we reserve the right to correct advice that contradicts this philosophy of homeschooling. We are not legalistic, we are not a cult, we do not idolize the woman. We are a group which has parameters of discussion. We are discussing her philosophy here, not somebody else's, so if you don't care what Miss Mason said about her philosophy, this group may not be the best fit for you. You don't go to a group for owners and operators of BMW cars and then expect that the merits of Chevrolet and Ford should also be discussed, because that would not fit the name, description, or purpose of the group. In the same way, we expect discussion in our group to fit our specific parameters.
Twaddle will be called what it is. It's not personal. Explaining that a given practice is not 'CM' is not a value judgment any more than it is a value judgment to point out that the bluebird at your feeder is a blue jay rather than a bluebird. Calling something twaddle is a value judgment on that book or practice -- it is not a value judgment on you.
AO is a free curriculum, but that does not mean it is not copyrighted. AmblesideOnline is copyrighted. We have a license agreement here: license Please don't repost our work elsewhere. Merely rearranging the formatting before posting it to your blog is still reposting our work without permission. Please do not do that. We do allow guest posting on our blog, so contact one of us if you would like to share a post about how AO worked for you.
If you have schedules, charts, or other documents you have created that you think other AO members would benefit from, you may post them to the files here with this disclaimer added to the document you're posting:
Formatted by _________________________.
Formatted by ________________(your name) using AmblesideOnline's copyrighted content. Posted with permission for personal use only. This should not be seen as official endorsement.
From time to time we might peruse the files, and we reserve the right to remove any of them that we feel are not in keeping with CM's principles. (I don't see that happening, honestly, but just want to be clear that by giving permission to post them here, we aren't making any kind of contractual agreement to keep them here forever).
If you read all of this, you deserve a prize. All we can say is thanks for hanging out with us here on our social media group! (updated 9/18/2017)