"What are your favorite aspects of AO? Why did you choose to use that as your primary curricula?"
Basically, here's the thing with Charlotte Mason/AO...
The idea is that the child is born a natural learner. And that all the while he's living (if we don't give him reason not to) he'll delight in learning from nature, observing things around him, picking up ideas from the stories he's told and the experiences he's having and making connections between them all... that the child naturally remembers the things that interest him. As something interests him and he begins to form a relationship with that area (with birds for instance), he'll naturally notice them in the backyard, and then identify personally with them in Burgess Bird book and file this information away for the next encounter he might have for example at a family outing to the aviary or park to feed the ducks and notice the differences between water birds and the birds he sees at the birdfeeder...etc. etc. We can gently capitalize on these moments and help them by giving them small tidbits, more food for thought, or provide them with more experiences that add to the whole compost of ideas that's churning inside them. These kinds of relationships are what real living education is made of... it really has no pin-point-able beginning or end - well, excepting birth and death; even then there's heaven. Who knows if we'll ever stop learning!... :)
I think the thing that attracted me at first to Ambleside Online was the fact that a lot of the resources were available online. Second was CM's emphasis on the natural beauty of learning itself. That we don't have to be taught to enjoy learning... only encouraged to keep on loving it... (with modern methods, sometimes it seems virtually impossible to maintain interest! at least that's what happened in my case and a good many others I know of! ;)
As I began AO/CM, the thing that secured my interest was how it all flows together. How we can and ought to integrate a lot of areas of education, that education is a life, and atmosphere in itself... I realized how important it is to give the gift of culture, the arts, living history to my kids so that they can be whole, diverse and interesting people! :) AO/CM encouraged everything I ideally wanted to incorporate even though initially I didn't know how to do it. So, I dove in, learning as I went (I'm still learning!). I fell more and more in love with 'education as a life' philosophy as I too was being enticed by all the knowledge that somehow I'd looked on as 'boring' and left by the wayside during my earlier education years.
As I've continued on with AO/CM, I've been amazed at how much my kids know! Reading living books, narrating them back, being exposed to the arts, and nature study (observation, attention, etc), it is SERIOUSLY amazing how natural and enticing a living education really can be! My kids really enjoy learning, and they retain a TON! They still remember books/lessons/poetry/art from 5 years ago! It really is shocking. :)
"I guess my question is when you read the books do you have activities that you do or implement to go along with them or is reading enough?"
Though it might seem crazy, a child doesn't really need a lot of hands-on activities to learn things or make connections when reading living books!! :) A drawing, an acting out, a couple of sentences written/dictated about what he's read (all actually forms of narration, retelling), in whatever way is particularly interesting to your child... all of these things are good. Basically, the only thing required is the child in some way retell what he's just heard. When the material is interesting, the kids amazingly remember. :)
So, please do share with us...
What is YOUR favorite aspect of a CM education?
If you do post, please do link up below! ;)