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.

Audio Books



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

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.



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


Games and Activities


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:


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:

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:

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