Articles

Ambleside Schools International inspires, trains, and equips a global community.

Articles

Ambleside Schools International inspires, trains, and equips a global community.

The differences however between merely reading an educational work and being trained on the principles laid down in the work are as the difference between seeing a light and being kindled at a flame.

— CHARLOTTE M. MASON —

The differences however between merely reading an educational work and being trained on the principles laid down in the work are as the difference between seeing a light and being kindled at a flame.

CHARLOTTE M. MASON

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  • Ambleside Method
  • Bill St. Cyr
  • Homeschooling
  • Maryellen St. Cyr
  • Philosophy
  • Spiritual Formation
  • The Ambleside Classroom
  • Traditions
  • Watchwords

To Listen

How often it is that we go through life missing the simple pleasures. Our focus is on ourselves; our thoughts, our plans and our concerns–failing to hear the joy around us. Charlotte Mason reminds us to be fully present and to listen. Miss Mason’s idyllic picture of being “in the fields on a spring day” is far from the reality of most 21st century lives. Although being in the fields on a spring day, or most days for that matter, would do us all good.

Loving, Right, and Noble Ideas

We endeavor that all our teaching and treatment of children shall be on the lines of nature, their nature and ours, for we do not recognize what is called ‘Child-nature.’ We believe that children are human beings at their best and sweetest, but also at their weakest and least wise. We are careful not to dilute life for them, but to present such portions to them in such quantities as they can readily receive. 

Watchwords – Duty

An understanding of the meaning of must, moved by ought, a heart stirred by that which a person owes to another, that which a person is bound by natural, moral or legal obligation to pay, do, or perform.

The Atmosphere of Home

We often talk of ideas in the classrooms at Ambleside, but what about the ideas in our homes? We want our children to love learning, but does our home life foster this love? Charlotte Mason says that every parent holds their breath when they hear that their children take direction and inspiration from all the casual life about them, and that even the parents’ words and ways form the starting point from which he develops.

In Memory

As another Memorial Day is upon us, we remember the men and women who died in combat, gave their lives, this year, and years past.

Child Gymnasium or Child Garden

In the six volumes of her Home Education Series, Charlotte Mason speaks of joy over 270 times. This is not surprising, for the consistent experience of joy is essential to a child’s well-being. Through experience, parents and teachers know how difficult it is to help the sullen child move forward. Ms. Mason would take it a step farther, arguing that “The happiness of the child is the condition of his progress.” Thus, “his lessons should be joyous and that occasions of friction in the schoolroom are greatly to be deprecated.”

Imagine the Mustard Seed

“An idea is more than an image or picture; it is, so to speak, a spiritual germ endowed with vital force—with power, that is, to grow, and to produce after its kind. It is the very nature of an idea to grow: as the vegetable germ secretes that it lives by, so, fairly implant an idea in the child’s mind, and it will secrete its own food, grow, and bear fruit in the form of a succession of kindred ideas.”

Building Joy

In the six volumes of her Home Education Series, Charlotte Mason speaks of joy over 270 times. This is not surprising, for the consistent experience of joy is essential to a child’s well-being. Through experience, parents and teachers know how difficult it is to help the sullen child move forward. Ms. Mason would take it a step farther, arguing that “The happiness of the child is the condition of his progress.” Thus, “his lessons should be joyous and that occasions of friction in the schoolroom are greatly to be deprecated.”

Watchwords – Living Books

History, literature, archeology, art, languages, whether ancient or modern, travel and tales of travel; all of these are in one way or other the record or the expression of persons; and we who are persons are interested in all persons, for we are all one flesh, we are all of one spirit, and whatever any of us does or suffers is interesting to the rest.

Are There Any Ideas In Your Children’s Books?

When Charlotte Mason discussed the spiritual life in relationship to ideas, she identified spiritual life as the life of thought, of feeling, of the soul, of that which is not physical. This very human life needs food, and “this life is sustained upon only one manner of diet: the diet of ideas — the living progeny of living minds.”  She uses this framework—the spiritual life is sustained only by a diet of ideas—to answer the perennial question, “What manner of schoolbooks should our boys and girls use?”

Watchwords – Person

We know now that authority is vested in the office and not in the person; that the moment it is treated as a personal attribute it is forfeited.

Reflection on the Crucifixion

The Gospel accounts of the Lord’s Passion, death, and Resurrection have, over the centuries, inspired countless master artists. Such works reveal the artists’ skill and creative inspiration. They also invite a profound sharing in the mystery of Christ’s dying and rising, made present for us in Lenten liturgies. Such artistic masterpieces are visual reminders that Good Friday and Easter Sunday are not distant theological abstractions, but events that forever transform human history, and our own daily existence, if we allow it.

A Method For Educating Human Persons: Not a System

Why is a ‘method’ of education more important than utilizing a ‘system’? In “Home Education,” Charlotte Mason says our tendency in educating children is toward a system — which is ‘alluring’ because it is successful in achieving precise results. But we are educating children – and children are persons, individuals, image-bearers of God – who thrive on relationship. She proposes the idea of a method of education instead.

Nurturing the Divine Life of the Child

A great power has been placed in the hands of parents and teachers, the power to enthrone the King, to induct the Priest into the innermost chamber of a child’s heart. There is no greater service to be done for a child, no greater gift to be given a child. For what does it matter if a child gains the whole world but loses his soul?

Primacy of Belonging

The work of Christ establishes us as belonging to community, and this shared belonging is foundational to the experience of the Father. We are to be both participants and instruments of belonging, the kind of belonging that creates joy. Charlotte Mason calls this need to belong the “desire of society” and places it among the desires that are both primary and universal.

Children are Made for God and Drawn to God

Children are made for God. They are drawn to God; possess a spiritual capacity for God. Often, they are graced with a spiritual insight which would astound the adult.

Watchwords – Authority

We know now that authority is vested in the office and not in the person; that the moment it is treated as a personal attribute it is forfeited.

Atmosphere: To Love and To Know Breathed In

Most of us tend to think in terms of the primacy of individual choice in selecting the ideas which are held and those which are rejected. In fact, the dominant ideas which have the greatest impact upon us are caught not taught. They are “in the air” and breathed in, either from the society at large or particularly significant individuals.

For the Love of Knowing

Here is an astounding possibility, if we would believe it, the awakening not just of one soul but of an entire class, not a class of the gifted (socially, financially, intellectually) but rather a class of those who lacked the usual “advantages.”

Why the Nicene Creed?

From the time of its founding, Ambleside Schools International has affirmed the Nicene Creed as its statement of belief.

Reporting On Growth

The aim of Ambleside Schools is student growth, and one of the distinctives is that student growth is not measured by grades.  

Meditation in the Air—Beginning Anew

In the light of our God, our Father, Savior and King, and the Spirit given to us; may we all begin anew this January.

Our Christmas Stories

Bringing up children well, even on Christmas, especially on Christmas, requires a measure of reflection and intentionality.

The Primary Thing for Them

The Pilgrims defined daily living in relationship with God; He was ever before them, the primary thing for them; lives sustained in Him and through Him.

When Striving Ceases

Life is so much better when not striving – more delightful… and a far freer, richer connectedness with others.

On Providence

For our sake, and even more for the children’s sake, let us not be counted among those who wail and gnash their teeth, for we are on a sacred journey.

Every Person: A Creature of Desire

We are creatures of desire. Every day we want, wish, crave, fancy and yearn for a multitude of diverse things in a multitude of diverse ways.

Children Are Born Persons

The first article of a valid educational creed – “children are born persons” – is of a revolutionary character.

The Greatest Gift of All

Like a master medieval embroiderer, God has woven luminous strands of glory into the fabric of existence that consecrate all of existence as a sacred mystery.

Every Person a Web Of Relations

Let us pause today and every day, to give some time to our continuing education by thickening a relation with some real person and some real thing.

My Father Made Them All

A mother knows how to speak of God… with all the evidences of his care and love about her and his children.

Foreign Language at Ambleside

Foreign language instruction at Ambleside Schools follows a “series method” created by François Gouin.

The Power of the Resurrection

What if the power that raised Jesus from the dead is present now to transform a life? How would such a transformed life appear?

An Ambleside Teacher’s Reflection

Being your teacher has been my greatest joy and privilege. We did the work, together, and it was good to be me here with you!

Calming The Troubled Heart

If while young a person learns skills to recover from a troubled heart, they will be better prepared to face the troubles life brings.

Bringing Up Children in Distressing Times – Part 2

The ability to manage emotional distress well and stay one’s best self is a learned skill.

Bringing Up Children in Distressing Times – Part 1

It must be remembered that every child is unique and responds to adversity uniquely.