I am a former SL user. I am a former AO user. I used each for several years. Now I'm using SCM. I do know what you mean about presenting both/several angles of a given issue. I understand your not wanting to lose that. I didn't either. I found myself being pulled back to SL at first (and second and third! ha =) not only because I was afraid that I would miss something, but because I was very stuck in my ways and had so much invested into it. Then I had another child. And another. And yet another. And I realized that SL was driving me crazy. I couldn't wrap my head around the scheduling and making it really be the type of education I really envisioned for my family. I wanted more. I wanted CM philosophies. I wanted my children to love learning. I wanted a balanced, wel laid out educational plan for my children. Was that too much to ask? Well, if a mama is driven crazy trying to fit everything in, the children are going to suffer somewhere, somehow. So I went to AO because I thought they would each have their individual needs met, my oldest being almost entirely independent, and my youngers having the attention they needed. How was this any different than SL you may ask? Well, the reading was more spread out. With SL I would have had to eventually have had 3 cores going, maybe 4. Yeah, right. Not a chance. With Ambleside I felt not so confused about scheduling and not so overwhelmed. BUT, after 3 years and adding another school aged child, it wasn't right for our family anymore. I was like a human ping pong ball. YET, I wasn't looking for anything else because I thought I'd looked at everything there was already. But then I stumbled across SCM and I realized right away this was perfect. I LOVE that the Bible is a main source of our history. It's as it should be. I always felt that with SL and AO Bible was just kind of shoved into a corner. With SCM it's an integrall part of our study. Once I was weaned off the SL notes using AO, I didn't miss them at all, so it doesn't bother me that SCM doesn't have those kind of notes. We discuss topics as a family, and no, I don't pretend that we cover everything that is in a SL guide as far as points of view. We probably don't. But I do know we just had a great discussion the other day about Cheops, about whether or not the people were in misery building his pyramid like the Greek Herodotus claimed, or whether they worked happily because their God-King told them to and they loved him. This was talked about in one of our SCM books. So even though we don't have notes, we are offered through the literature we read, at times, various ways of looking at things. Then we discuss it even more as a family. We've found this to be enough. As my children get older I can have them research a topic for themselves if I feel we need to dig deeper. The style of learning that we are doing now very much outweighs for us any notes or guide that we could have access to. But this may not be the case for you. Maybe the guides are, in fact, more important to you. It's your call as the "MIC." (Mama in Charge ) You do what you feel is best for you kids. Pray about it. Talk to dh. Maybe try it with SCM and no SL guide for a time to see if you like it or not. I know I went back to SL several times before I finally broke away. Now it almost seems funny that I had such a hard time. But at the time it was very difficult so I know what you're saying.
As for me, I'm extremely happy with SCM and the CM philosophy and we're growing into it more all the time. For me it's been so worth it.
Best wishes finding what's best for you and yours.