Topic | SCM vs. Ambleside


This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  LindaOz 9 years, 2 months ago.

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  • 7blessings

    I must admit that I’m drawn to both SCM and Ambleside. I have a 10 year old, two 7 year olds and a 5 year old that I’m teaching. When I look at SCM Module 1 I wonder if there’s enough reading for the 10 year old? I haven’t begun to teach any history to the 10 year old (shame on me). And, shouldn’t the 10 year old really be starting Module 4? Keep the kids together or separate them as Charlotte would have done? I understand that certain subjects I will need to keep the kids separate. Why is this so confusing!!! UGH! I am truly drawn to the “simplicity” of SCM and the organizer etc. Looking for rational thought!

    Thanks so much. Brooke


    It’s so hard to have two good things! LOL I can’t tell you what to do, of course. I can just share my experiences. I’m a transplanted AO’er. I did “bring” with me a few favorite books, but the approach here at SCM just seems to dovetail with our needs and personalities better.

    Specific concerns:

    If you think there is not enough reading for the 10yo, then simply add more. This is SO EASY! Either come up with a list that you just hand to him or her to have read during the year, or assign a few extras. The Bookfinder, the AO lists, the Sonlight lists, etc. can all yield more possible titles for your child.

    It doesn’t really matter what module you start with. You could make a good argument for starting at 1 and working from the beginning, or also for beginning with 4.

    I have to tell you. I used to keep all my kids together for history, and then went to AO and separated them, and am now trying to draw threads together again. I missed the all-together terribly! History study had been a vital and exciting part of our lives, and it suddenly became humdrum–go read your separate books and then narrate to mom. Whoopee. Sigh. It used to be so much more fun! Not to mention easier for me to keep track of! I must say that trying the “all separate” route is I think one of the biggest regrets of my homeschooling career.

    I have to say, it is much easier for me to start with simple and then add in a little bit more when I need it, than it is to begin with the more complex and then try to figure out “how much” I need and try to simplify it down. It is so easy to just say “OK, your reading is only taking you fifteen minutes a week, let’s find you another book!” than it is to say “Well, the schedule says you ought to be reading ALL of these books this week, and I don’t know which one to cut out, so you need to finish them. I know it’s bedtime-finish them!” LOL I guess I used to have a “it’s on the schedule so YOU HAVE TO DO IT!” mentality!. That’s why the Organizer has been such a blessing to me. 🙂

    So–take the best of both worlds if you want. Come to sweet simplicity for your basaic framework, and then if you want to “migrate” a book or whatever with you, you can. We liked doing Plutarch so much that we’ve kept that; we do quite a bit of the nature readings on AO because we just love them.

    This is what has worked for me anyway. Take with a grain of prayer! 🙂

    Michelle D


    Michelle, thanks for the words of encouragement and logic. You make it sound so easy! Which module would you start in if you were going to put all the kids together and we haven’t studied any history? Would it be possible to do module 1 and module 4 at the same time to bring in American History too or is that not needed? I feel like the 10 year old is way behind the curve when it comes to American history so could he read biographies (Ben Franklin, George Washington) to get a taste for American history while doing module 1? Would love to have your thoughts on where to start them.

    Again thanks, Brooke



    You say you haven’t done much history, but have you done much Bible? Do your kids know about Creation, prophets, Bible type history fairly well? If they do, then it’d be easy to begin with an American focus in Module 4. Your oldest would be an older age when hitting Greece and Rome, but that’s OK. He’d only get that all once, but that’s really OK too.

    HOWEVER, if they do not know much about Creation and Bible history–you might need to think a little more. It’s easy to hold off on Greece and Rome–but some families may not want to wait to cover the Bible periods.

    I think that if your oldest is a good reader, your thought of beginning in an earlier module and adding some American history bios and living books could work well. Be sure to do a Book of Centuries or a timeline and add on the figures he reads about–that’ll help keep everything “located” in time.

    LOL. See, I told you an argument could be made for many things. What does your dh think? Try picking the couple of options you like best and pray.


    Hi Brooke,

    Although AO has each year level doing a different period of history, my understanding of CM’s schools (from looking at some of her original timetables) is that all classes covered the same period of history at the same time but with differing book choices. This is really a lot like the way SCM has set up the history modules. I’m sure I read somewhere at AO that the creators of AO found it easier to set up their curriculum with different stages of history at different levels even though that’s not how Charlotte’s schools were run.

    Anyway, I agree with Bookworm that having everyone on the same history period is a great ‘together’ way of doing history. It’s quite easy to add in reading material at each child’s level. I just choose 2 or 3 books for each child to read alongside whatever our history read-alouds are.



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