CM verses ambleside

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  • jill smith

    Whats the differance betweeen CM here and Ambleside online? we have been using CM here for a while and just wondered the differance. Is it more  advanced then here?


    The biggest difference is that SCM combines all ages into the same history/Bible/geography program.  AO has graded levels, so multiple kids would each be studying their own history/Bible/geography.  Both programs combine for enrichment subjects like art appreciation, music study, Shakespeare, etc.

    AO has a few more subjects than SCM like Plutarch and folk songs.  SCM has a specific habit program (Laying Down the Rails), while AO has character traits embedded in their curriculum and not its own subject.

    I would say AO is more advanced.  Both have great selections, but SCM’s feel more age appropriate for my kids.  SCM has a shorter literature list which I find much less overwhelming, but if you have a voracious reader, I can see AO’s free reading lists being very helpful.

    We have used resources from both AO and SCM over the years.  We prefer SCM for history since I like everyone combined as much as possible.  AO has so many free resources and we’ve used many of them over the years.  I also go there for book ideas.  Sometimes we have a SCM book scheduled that we’ve already read or my kids aren’t enjoying for some reason.

    One other difference is that SCM is fine with you adapting their curriculum and discussing other programs on the boards.  AO strongly encourages you to follow their program completely and only discuss book substitutions on a specific forum board.  AO has their reasons for doing so, but as a somewhat eclectic homeschooler, I really appreciate SCM’s take on this issue.


    I agree with all that Holly said 🙂

    I also like that SCM finds value in newer published books, as well as older books. When I explored AO I felt like some were just “heavy” for younger children, they seemed “deep” for me as an adult, haha. My kids often pull out some of the SCM family or grade scheduled readers for history to read for fun, and look at pictures and talk about what they remember. They were appropriate when young and even as they get older the books are enjoyed by the family.

    I also like that SCM make CM workable for our family by combining many aspects and encouraging me to teach the students and not make the students fit a curriculum. It gives structure and variety, but not so much that I feel overwhelmed, it also allows me to add other activities and subjects that I feel are needed for our family with out feeling guilty for “missing” something.


    Ambleside Online has much information about each volume of the six-volume series. At a glance, the information provided on the site for each volume seems to be complete. Is there more information in the actual six books than the website offers? or is it the same information without the beauty of the original fonts and illustrations? I ask because I would love to possess the actual six books, but if their contents are found on the site in their entirety I would only need to print the website information into a PDF file.


    There is much to be said for reading her books in their entirety. You may print and bind the stuff from Ambleside Online, but the cost of paper and ink, plus whatever type of binding you choose will cost as much as the actual book since we have several options available now. I did originally print the set, but eventually got the real books.

    SCM has reprinted a study size version of the Andreola’s original printing:

    Living Books Press (AO mom) has reprinted them, available from Amazon in a smaller format and updated font, keeping the page numbering the same:

    Riverbend Press has also released a hardback version, keeping the page numbers the same of Volume 4:



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