The Language Arts Scope and Sequence for Ambleside Online lists skills for each year. This page shows some ways we have accomplished this sequence.
For a child to read, she has to be motivated. What is the best motivation? I have four children, and I can give you four different answers. For the first child, she wanted to be able to find her favorite parts of stories. For the second, we don’t know; he simply always knew how to read. For the third, she had a desire to be more grown up. And for the fourth, he was driven to not be left behind as the youngest sibling. We found that a combination of sight words, phonics, and audiobooks — tailored to each child — was the path to successful reading.
- My favorite Audiobooks from Audible
- Reading Eggs
- Explode the Code
- Early Readers
We used Handwriting Without Tears for early printing, and again briefly when transitioning to cursive. My kids also enjoyed a lot of fine motor activities for increasing finger strength.
Fine Motor Activities
- Purposeful “Doodling”
- Master Doodle Template
- Master Doodle Patterns
- Today’s Doodles, 12 June 2014
- Krazy Dad’s Mazes (all levels)
- Cutting Practice
We mixed copywork in with our handwriting curriculum off and on through the early years. By 4th grade, all of my kids transitioned fully to copywork for cursive handwriting.
- Copywork – Early Years
- Copywork – Poetry, Folk Songs, Hymns, Prose, Movie/TV Quotes
Charlotte Mason programs like Ambleside Online do not start “writing” in the very young years. The focus is on oral language development while fine motor skills, reading, and transcription catch up. In addition to oral narration, we have also dabbled in some creative projects from Bravewriter, mainly for fun.
Know and Tell by Karen Glass is a very informative book on what narration looks like, and how it transitions into writing.
Elementary Language Arts Skills
Middle and High School Language Arts Skills
- Life of Fred Language Arts
- Barbarian Diagrammarian from Lukeion Project
- Elements of Style
- Traditional English Sentence Style
- Paradigm Online Writing Assistant
- The Writer’s Journey
Games and Activities
- Noun Collecting
- Grammar Gardening
- Magnetic Poetry
- Mad Libs
- Schoolhouse Rock
- Parts of Speech books by Ruth Heller
We start dictation a little earlier than AO suggests, usually around age 8/9. My kids enjoy it, and I prefer to introduce the concepts very slowly. I occasionally refer to a checklist of Grammar Concepts to see if there are any gaps in knowledge.
From age 11/12, we start to work on longer documents for dictation, starting with 1-2 sentences a day and ramping up slowly. Some favorites are:
- Essay on Luxury (Oliver Goldsmith, 1760)(on ECCO and WendiWanders)
- The Declaration of Independence (1776)
- Treaty With the Six Nations (1794)
- Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863)
- George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility
- Inaugural Addresses of the US Presidents (Washington to Obama)
- On the Death of Queen Victoria (Laurier, 1901)
- Citizenship in a Republic (T. Roosevelt, 1910) (“The Man in the Arena” is in paragraph 7 of this speech)
We begin simple diagramming along with dictation (five minutes on a dry erase board, once or twice a week).
In preparation for high school Latin/Greek, we found more formal grammar was beneficial in middle school. Barbarian Diagrammarian and Witty Wordsmith with Lukeion Project were two classes we enjoyed. We have also worked through Grammar Revolution’s Sentence Diagramming Exercises book.
Other Diagramming Resources:
- Reference Book for Diagramming
- Simple Diagramming Worksheets (elementary)
- Sentence Diagramming for Middle School
- Sentence Diagramming for High School
In high school, our kids take Latin or Greek at the Lukeion Project. The work done in these classes forms the bulk of their high school grammar. Other resources for high school: