It's after midnight, and I'm burning the 'laptop light' once again. I am spending time going through the Ambleside Online website to try to determine the correct placement for my big kids. Reece sort of comes in under the radar as Charlotte Mason didn't advocate formal schooling until the age of 6. They offer a "Year 0" so I will start with that and take it slowly. I think she would be ready to begin "Year 1" when she is around 7 years old, which is when I will consider her to be a first grader anyway.
Austin and Riley pose more of a challenge. I am currently looking at Year 3 and Year 3.5 (a transition year for kids not ready for the advanced pace of Year 4). I am also trying to consider whether or not to keep them on the same year. I have joined the yahoogroup for AO, as well as a yahoogroup for using AO with children with learning challenges. I also have a number of friends online and IRL who use a CM philosophy, and AO in particular. They are being very gracious with their time and advice in helping me choose.
One of the neatest things about AO is that many of the resources are available online for free in the public domain. So I will be able to try a week by printing out the resources before I confirm that I want to use that year and purchase the materials from Yesterday's Classics.
There are still a few concerns I have about following a strictly CM perspective... but overall, I think that this will be a good way to go for us. The pacing will be better than Sonlight, and the choices will be fewer than with WTM. It will also mesh with our RDI goals in an easier way!
I'll be sure to post when I have made the final decision about which year we will use!