FISHER ACADEMY, invites us to write our REFLECTIONS ON A CHARLOTTE MASON EDUCATION.
These are my answers to her questions, but as she says, it doesn't need to be AO specific.
"What are your favorite aspects of AO? Why did you choose to use that as your primary curricula?"
As I started reading about CM, I found AO which is close and loyal to CM principles of education. This curriculum is unlike other packed curricula with manuals and busy work, it's based on CM ideas about what education is, focused on establishing relationships with God, His Creation, and others, and through living books in combination with outdoors time in the early years, habit formation, music and art appreciation, and with the Bible at its core I knew it would be the perfect fit. Many though find it difficult to educate based on AO, but it's because as CM said we need to make our decisions, we all implement a CM education in a peculiar way particularly catered to our families. Back to my favorite aspects, the fact that the books are quality readings that form the character and give you a round education and many are free, and that it's not redundant with bells and whistles, expensive and time consuming materials, but it's down to the principles that have always (and I venture to say always will be) governed our learning process.
"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?"
Having been a public school teacher and having spent many hours preparing for things the children had no interest on doing, or that they took five minutes to badly complete, I can't say enough of how relieving to hear and how much common sense it made to me what CM said about not giving children busy work, not working with anything that involves external and somehow forced connections as when you prepare everything around a theme. As Amy stated, living books are rich, they incite questions, they move children to talk about them, to make connections by themselves, and they prompt them to want to draw about it, to play pretend about it, act it out, converse about. A CM education doesn't consist in reading living books exclusively, but as far as curriculum and materials, living books (which AO offers by years, topics, broken down in quarters, weeks, if you want), some quality paints and paper, and these days Internet (maybe a Kindle too, LOL), it's pretty much all one needs to provide with a wholesome education. (I forgot, a willing to learn set of parents it's of first necesity :). And it's through all that reading and the other practices specially NARRATING, that they retain what's been learned versus cramming for a test and forgetting all about it the next week or earlier. To me the rabbit trails and connections the girls make while they listen to living books or stories, and engage in these activities CM talks about, are a pleasure and it is a memorable experience to see their learning unfold and expand, all under my eyes.