Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This Country of Ours

Today, the Ambleside Online Advisory updated their website to defend the use of This Country of Ours in the curriculum, despite controversy about its use.

Here is what they have said
TCOO's treatment of the history of the Mormon church seems to come up among our members with predictable regularity both on and off list. The Advisory has received more private emails (both collectively and individually) than we care to count, has repeatedly been forced to counter misinformation on several lists, and received at least one petition. All this time and effort is directed toward convincing us to dump 'This Country of Ours' because of one chapter. The book is a singular target, accused of inaccuracies both specified and non-specified, in complaints around the blogosphere and negative reviews anywhere readers can post reviews--all in an attempt to prevent others from reading the book. The Advisory has tried to be tactful and gracious about this, but we cannot continue to devote our time to this topic. Therefore, the AO Advisory has sent the following letter regarding the book.

They went on to defend their position (see their page here) basically saying that the Latter Day Saints are over-reacting to the chapter about the Mormons, and that they do not feel it is substantially inaccurate, was common beliefs about the Mormons at the time it was written, and is still believed by many today... then included several links to Anti-Mormon websites. [they have now removed those links]

I know that this is a Canadian Charlotte Mason homeschool, and as such we don't study American History. However, I also know many Americans do read this blog. Please choose an alternative to This Country of Ours, or at least skip the hateful chapter about Mormons.

I have humbly asked the AO Advisory to have an alternative to TCOO in their schedule, although I have little hope that they will do so, as they have repeatedly defended their choice of TCOO even though they have, in their own words had "this particular book [...] come under fire more than any other book we've used in the curriculum".

Here is a suggested alternative, which would work up to the year it was published, about 1900.
or alternatively, your could buy the "Stories of America" from Simply Charlotte Mason.

Suggestions from another mom: "The Story of the Thirteen Colonies" and "The Story of the Great Republic" by H. A. Guerber


  1. Ouch, I decided to read their letter. I'll be sure to steer clear of their boards due to the obviously negative, and very misinformed opinions of the owners of AO. Like everything, I preread books and that one certainly is not a "must read/only possibility", so we would find a replacement if using the AO recommendations.

  2. Thanks for the support... and by the time you read the response on their website, they removed some of their response, with links to anti-LDS web-sites...

    I am currently reviewing and revising our future plans, as the response to just not use the book ourselves just isn't enough for me, and I can no longer recommend their site. This has taken a bit for me to decide.

    Thanks again for the comment.

  3. Thank you SO much for the info. I had no idea. I am so glad I didn't buy the book, and now I am starting to think maybe I should be doing the simply charlotte mason curric. instead of AO. What are you using primarily now? I am new to homeschooling (my son will be in Kinder in the fall) and need all the help I can get!

  4. Hi Adrianna, thanks for the comment.

    My blog over the next few weeks will answer the what are we going to be using now (see this post)

    Basically, I will be using the Simply Charlotte Mason book "Planning your CM Education" to help me work out our own details. I'll be taking ideas from sites like Milestones Academy, Simply Charlotte Mason, Old Fashioned Education, and others. I think we will be doing more things together (SCM style).

    For History, I'm looking at a 5 year rotation using Child's History of the World (or the Synge history books). See the post here.

    We have done a great K year with my daughter, the basics of the plan are here

    with us adding the "Reception year of MEP" and Peterson Directed Handwriting into it. We did this at her pace, with no pressure to complete things and it went well. We also did a lot of outdoor things. Of course she has an older brother to emulate, and an oldest child might not do as much willingly. I find the K year a good year to focus on the outdoors, a bit of reading instruction (if ready), a bit of writing instruction, some really basic math (although ok if math waits for Year 1), and some good books read out loud that starts them into being able to listen to longer books.

    I hope that helps!

  5. Thank you! That is very helpful. I love the post on Year K, and now I need to spend some time studying the MEP website. That will have to wait until tomorrow's naptime, because I'm out of time today. :)

  6. I am glad it helped. We love MEP, and their Reception (K) year is a wonderful introduction to math.