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AO Year 6, Basic -

AmblesideOnline - Year 6 Booklist, Basic Version

History studied in Year 6: End of WWI to present day, and 2 terms in ancient history
Term 1: WWI to present day; Term 2: ancient history; Term 3: ancient history

Note: The AO curriculum is incomplete without a thorough understanding of Charlotte Mason's ideas and methods and requires that you invest time to familiarize yourself with her philosophy by reading her books. In addition, AO's FAQ addresses questions that people commonly ask about the curriculum.

Detailed weekly schedules for these books are available in various formats:
Html List; PDF; modifiable DOC; modifiable ODT

Table of Contents:


Book titles are linked to Project Gutenberg (which offers free etexts in a variety of formats) or other online text when no Project Gutenberg text is available.
β -, another free ebook site.
Δ - free etext at
K - free Kindle text from
($) - hard-copy book purchase from
(K) - Kindle purchase from
- free audiobook at Lit2Go
Ω - free audiobook at Librivox [Audio Note]
- other free audiobook source
[0] - Click the bracketed numeral to view a note about the book near the bottom of the page.
[0] - red footnotes indicate a heads-up for parents about the title. We are unable to foresee every incident that might potentially be an issue to every family, but we have red-flagged those that are commonly a concern.

Asterisks refer to which term the book is used:
      * Term 1
     ** Term 2
   *** Term 3

In addition to the books, the following subjects should be scheduled daily or weekly.


Penmanship or Copywork
Foreign language
Musical Instrument Practice


Art Appreciation (see AO's scheduled rotation of picture study here.)
Grammar (AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level is here.) Year 6 exam questions will focus on adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and prepositional phrases.
Correspond history readings with a timeline or century book [tl] and map
Music Appreciation, including a composer, folksongs and hymns
Nature Study
One Life from Plutarch per term (see AO's scheduled Plutarch rotation here)
A Shakespeare play each term (see AO's scheduled Shakespeare rotation here)


Suggested option: Read through the Bible (minus Song of Solomon and Revelation) in six years (Years 6-11), starting with Genesis. [1]

History: end of WWI to present day, and 2 terms in ancient history

Year 6 reflects a transition year between the education of childhood and the challenging education of the upper years. As such, more mature subject matter is included in some areas. We have endeavored to make note of this where applicable, but we encourage parents to pre-screen such material to determine its appropriateness for their child and family.

* The Story of Mankind, by Hendrick Van Loon ($) [2]
* Story of the World, Vol 4: The Modern Age, by Susan Wise Bauer ($ K) [3]
** *** Augustus Caesar's World, by Genevieve Foster ($) [5]
** Story of the Greeks, by H. A. Guerber β Δ ($) Κ
*** Story of the Romans, by H. A. Guerber Δ (Heritage History) ($ K)

History Tales and/or Biography

Trial and Triumph, by Richard Hannula ($; K) [7]
* ** Never Give In (about Winston Churchill), by Stephen Mansfield ($)
** *** Genesis, Finding Our Roots, by Ruth Beechick ($) [8]


* ** The Book of Marvels: The Occident and/or Second Book of Marvels: The Orient, by Richard Halliburton ($), (see contents here), OR A Child's Geography of the World, by Virgil Hillyer ($), (see contents here), both out of print but wonderful if you have access to them. [9b]
*** The Story of David Livingstone, by Vautier Golding (Heritage History) ($ K) [9]
Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel ($) [w]
What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel ($) [w]
Ten minutes of map drills each week [geo]
Locate places from the day's reading on a map

In addition, these geography concepts should be explained and taught this year: [Geo]

      Term 1: Animal features (feet, teeth, covering) and their purposes
            How we use animals:
            meat, milk, fur, silk, horns, hooves, labor, pets

      Term 2: Things mined from the earth:
            Minerals and metals such as coal, iron, gold, silver, lead, tin, copper, mercury, salt.
            Quarried stones: granite, sandstone; limestone (chalk), marble, slate and their uses.
            Where brick and glass come from

      Term 3: People around the world live in different dwellings, eat, work, learn and play.
            Terms: agriculture (farming), stock-raising,
            mining, lumbering, fishing.
            Town people:
            manufacturing, trade/commerce, transportation and other occupations.

Natural History/Science

       The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock Δ ($),
            as scheduled for Nature Study.

       Supplies for Nature Study:
              Nature notebook and pencils or paint for each student
              Begin to build a library of regional field guides
              Plenty of time to allow Nature Study to be a fun learning experience for both parent and child

The Mystery of the Periodic Table, by Benjamin Wiker and Jeanne Bendick($ K)
The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson ($ K) [10]
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, by Theodore Gray, selected elements ($) Or, purchase the app.
It Couldn't Just Happen, by Lawrence Richards ($ K)

Science Biography

* Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity, by Robert Cwiklik ($) OR Ordinary Genius, by Stephanie McPherson ($)
** Archimedes and the Door of Science, by Jeanne Bendick ($ K)
*** Galileo and the Magic Numbers, by Sidney Rosen (K)


A curriculum or program for handwriting is not necessary, but if you want to use one, these are some we've used and can suggest:

              A Reason for Writing (Level A: $) (Level B: $)
              Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting Series ($)

AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level is here.


Select a program that meets your family's needs from our page of Math Options.

Foreign Language



* Robert Frost
** Carl Sandburg
*** *** Langston Hughes; we suggest his anthology for children called The Dreamkeeper ($ K). His poems online


The Age of Fable, by Thomas Bulfinch β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ [13]
* ** The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien (16 weeks) ($ K)
** Animal Farm, by George Orwell (8 weeks) ($ K)
** The Iliad by Homer: we suggest a good retelling, such as The Iliad for Boys and Girls, by Alfred Church Δ ($ K) Ω or Black Ships before Troy, by Rosemary Sutcliff ($) [14]
*** The Odyssey by Homer: we suggest a good retelling, such as The Odyssey for Boys and Girls by Alfred Church Δ ($ K) or The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff ($)

Additional Books for Free Reading [15]

Books with asterisks coordinate with that term's historical studies.
* Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls; 20th century ($ K)
* The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia, by Esther Hautzig ($) (recommended by AO users!)
* The Winged Watchman, by Hilda Van Stockum ($)
* Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor ($ K); deals with racism in the 1930's
* Blue Willow, by Doris Gates ($); dust bowl story - there is another book by this name
* MIracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen ($ K); depression era fiction- sweet, upbeat, nature appreciation
* Letters from Rifka, by Karen Hesse ($ K); very literary story of a Jewish Immigrant to post WWI America
* Jungle Pilot: The Life and Witness of Nate Saint, Martyred Missionary to Ecuador, by Russel T. Hitt
* The Von Trapp Family Singers, by Maria Von Trapp ($ K)
* Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan ($); true story of Norwegian children who spirited away gold for the resistance right under the Nazi's eyes
* Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry ($ K); WWII based on a true story of the Danish efforts to save the Jews
* The Ark, by Margot Benary-Isbert; refugee family attempts survival in post WWII Germany [OOP]
* The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy ($); The effects of WWII on a young Hungarian prince
*** The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth Speare ($ K)
Rob Roy, by Sir Walter Scott β Δ ($ K) Ω Vol 1 Κ Vol 2 Κ
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain β Δ ($) Ω
Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott β Δ ($) Ω
Jack and Jill, by Louisa May Alcott β Δ ($) Ω Κ (every homeschool family should read this)
The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens β Δ ($) Ω Κ
The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss β Δ ($ K) Ω
Call of the Wild, by Jack London β Δ ($) Ω Ω Κ
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne β Δ ($) Ω Κ
Penrod, by Booth Tarkington β Δ ($) Ω Κ
A Little Brother to the Bear, by William J. Long Δ ($ K) Κ
School of the Woods Δ, by William J. Long ($ K)
* God's Smuggler, by Brother Andrew and John Sherrill ($ K)
** *** Ben Hur, by Lew Wallace β Δ ($) Κ Ω
* The Search for Planet X, by Tony Simon [out of print; this book has a PNEU connection.]

If your students in years 4-6 could benefit from some easier, but still excellent living books for free reading, consider choosing four or five books from this list:

       Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien ($)
       The Rescuers by Margery Sharp ($) (and others in the series)
       The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden ($)
       Homer Price by Robert McCloskey ($)
       Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey ($)
       The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald (particularly interesting to boys; $)

       Noel Streatfeild books (appealing to girls in particular)
                  Ballet Shoes ($), Skating Shoes ($)
                  Dancing Shoes ($)
                  Theater Shoes ($)

       Kate Seredy books, including:
                  The Good Master ($)
                  The White Stag ($)
                  The Singing Tree ($)
                  The Chestry Oak ($)

(Purchase a Kindle)


Note on Audiobooks: While links to audio books are added as a courtesy, Miss Mason's approach to grammar and composition is heavily dependent upon the children receiving an immense amount of visual exposure to the written word over many years, so parents should exercise extreme caution in how many audiobooks they use each year. Our brains just work differently when we see the words. For children who have difficulty reading, one solution is to have them follow the audio version along in a written text. (Back)

Timeline: At this age, students should be keeping a simple, single-page timeline of major events and a Book of Centuries. Instructions for making your own timelines and charts are included in these Parents' Review articles: Book of the Centuries; Teaching Chronology; The Correlation of Lessons. For more details about the why, when, how of keeping CM timelines (and other notebooks), we recommend Laurie Bestvater's book, The Living Page ($). (Back)

1. It is preferable for a child to become accustomed to the language and flow of the King James Version of the Bible, as a familiarity with King James English will make other literature more accessible. Please read Lynn Bruce's article on the King James Version by clicking here.
The weekly schedule lists New Testament readings taken from J. Paterson Smyth's and Eugene Stock's commentaries on the second part of the life of Christ from all the gospels in harmony. Not every week has assignments from both OT and NT. (see AO's Bible plan) Charlotte Mason taught with commentaries, reading the Bible passage first, then narration, then reading the commentary, but Smyth's and Stock's commentaries may reflect the doctrine of their era and denomination; they are not necessary to follow the Bible schedule. You can follow this schedule without commentary, or choose your own.
Suggested for Year 6: Begin to read through the Bible (minus Song of Solomon and Revelation) in six years (Years 6-11): Term 1: Genesis; Psalm 1-20; Proverbs 1-6
Term 2: Job and Exodus 1-24; Psalm 21-37; Proverbs 7-11
Term 3: Exodus 25-40 and Leviticus; Psalm 38-55; Proverbs 12-16
For New Testament, continue with the second part of the life of Christ.
Optional Bible Resources: Timeline; Study questions with maps. (Back)

2. The chapters used this year in Story of Mankind include added chapters that were added to later revised editions and are still under copyright, so they are not in the online texts. They are in the 1984 version updated by John Merriman and published by Liveright; this edition is being further updated by Robert Sullivan and being rereleased in hardback by Liveright in Dec 2013. Only get a Kindle version if it says it's the version "updated by John Merriman." Online public domain texts and audio of this book are likely to be missing those later chapters.
Term 1: ch 66-71 1920
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for The Story of Mankind here. (Back)

3. Story of the World: The historical books that were recommend for Years 1-6 such as An Island Story, A Child's History of the World, Abraham Lincoln's World, The Story of Mankind were carefully selected based on literary quality and availability for those historical periods and we believe that Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World Volume 4 is the best book for the twentieth century that meets that same criteria. Ch 23-42/pgs 244-474 are used this year. To help with your planning, a Table of Contents for this book, with loose dates, is here. (Back)

5. Augustus Caesar's World: This book contains sections on the birth of world religions presented from a secular humanist point of view. Parents may wish to cover these sections closely with their children. AO has a KJV side by side comparison for Chapter 44, The Law of Moses.
Term 2: first half of book - 162 pgs
Term 3: second half of book - 162 pgs (Back)

7. Trial and Triumph: Descriptions of some trials of the Christians may be intense; parents should preview chapters to determine suitablity based on their children's sensitivities. If you prefer, you can skip this book and cover church history in Years 7-9 with a different book, Saints and Heroes, by George Hodges.
This book tells church history from a definite Protestant perspective; some families may wish to skip this book or find an alternative.
Trial and Triumph used to be online, but now only a sample of the book is available online. This is what we used to post about the online posting: Google Books does have permission from Canon Press to have Trial and Triumph in full online. Here is a statement from Canon Press: "I believe we have extended permission to them to display that title. Obviously we would love for folks to purchase hard copies but we understand the limitations of many folks. If they do benefit from the online version though, we would be grateful for some sort of review whether it be on a blog, on Amazon, or on our own website. Thanks for contacting us to check. We really appreicate it." - David Hoos, Canon Press - Customer Service (Back)

8. In place of Genesis, Finding Our Roots, some families may prefer to use Ben Hur, by Lew Wallace β Δ ($) Κ Ω, scheduling Books 1-4 in Term 2 and Books 5-8 in Term 3.; a suggested schedule of readings is here. (Back)

9. Livingstone's journeys were selected for their geography of Africa, so map work is vital. The map link goes to a Map created by Livingstone himself. (Back)

9b. If you were unable to obtain a copy of Halliburton's Book of Marvels or Hillyer's Child's Geography of the World, you may use Missionary Travels β Δ Κ for year 6; an alternate schedule is here. (Back)

Geography. Geosafari (available now on CD-rom) would be sufficient. ($ purchase basic geography card set) SeterraOnline offers Free Map Quiz Games. If you have an iPad or iPhone, TapQuiz is a free map quiz app. (Back)

Material World/What the World Eats - How to use these books:
Leave them laying out, preferably near a globe or world map, and browse through them together from time to time.
Leave them laying out, browse through them and maybe once a month pick a country that especially interests your child. Look it up (briefly) on Wikipedia or in a good Atlas. Read a little bit more about it. Find it on a map or globe.
If your child is interested, he can pursue additional research in his free time and learn more about countries that particularly interest him, but this should be his own delight directed study or hobby.
How not to use these books: as the basis of a unit study or a burdensome checklist of additional tasks to fulfill.
Note: Material World: pg 16 and pg 70 have some National Geographic types of photos that parents may want to screen.
Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio looks similar to What the World Eats; we think it could be used interchangeably. ($) (Back)

The Following geography concepts should be explained and taught this year; a book is not necessary as these can be explained informally during walks and outings. AO's complete list of geography topics is here.
   Term 1: Animal features (feet, teeth, covering) and their purposes; how we use animals (meat, milk, fur, silk, horns, hooves, labor, pets)
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Long's Home Geography Δ 37. The Parts of Animals
          Long's Home Geography Δ 38. The Covering of Animals
          Long's Home Geography Δ 39. Uses of Animals

   Term 2: Things mined from the earth: minerals and metals such as coal, iron, gold, silver, lead, tin, copper, mercury, salt. Quarried stones: granite, sandstone; limestone (chalk), marble, slate and their uses. Where brick and glass come from; mortar.
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Long's Home Geography Δ 41. Things Found in the Earth
          Long's Home Geography Δ 42. More About Things Found in the Earth

   Term 3: People around the world live in different dwellings, eat, work, learn and play. Terms: agriculture (farming), stock-raising, mining, lumbering, fishing. Town people: manufacturing, trade/commerce, transportation and other occupations.
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Long's Home Geography Δ 43. How People Live, and What They Are Doing
          Long's Home Geography Δ 44. More About What People Are Doing
          Long's Home Geography Δ 45. A Review Lesson

10. The Sea Around Us - we recommend the Young Readers Edition adapted by Anne Terry White if you can find it. $ (Back)

13. Age of Fable, used over three years, is a book about Greek mythology, and some editions use illustrations of nudes, which some families might find objectionable. This year: ch 29 (Ulysses) - end (Druids)
Term 1: ch 29 (Return of Ulysses) to ch 33 (Camilla, Opening the Gates, Camilla)
Term 2: ch 33 (Evander, Infant Rome) to ch 36 (The Unicorn, the Salamander)
Term 3: ch 37 (Zoroaster, Hindu Mythology) to ch 41 (Iona) (Back)

14. The Iliad: two other options are Tales of Troy, by Andrew Lang β Δ ($) K (the sections titled Ulysses the Sacker of Cities and The Wanderings of Ulysses are retelling The Iliad and The Odyssey) or The Iliad of Homer, by Barbara Leonie Picard (K)
We have scheduled some of the worthy re-tellings of The Iliad, but if you prefer the original, we suggest the translation by Robert Fagles ($, K) The Iliad is 24 "books;" to use this in Term 3, you will need to schedule two "books" per week. (Back)

15. Free Reading books are books that no child should miss, but rather than overloading school time, these can be read during free time. No narrations need be required from these books. Advisory member Wendi C. suggests, "How you handle these is up to you . . ." (more) Parents should also explain to students that historical fiction, while often well-researched, is still fiction, and contains the author's ideas of how things might have happened. Books with asterisks pertain to that term's historical studies. (Back)

For those on a strict budget, recommended purchases are:

The Story of the World Volume 4 The Modern Age, by Susan Wise Bauer (used in year 5 and 6) ($ K)
Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock (used for Years 1-6; ($) - online, but would be cumbersome to utilize that way.)
a math program
Augustus Caesar's World, by Genevieve Foster ($)
Secrets of the Universe, by Paul Fleisher (the reasonably priced single volume is out of print, but the content is now available in five separate but expensive books) OR The Boy Scientist, by John Lewellen (this one; out of print, but worth seeking out)
Genesis, Finding Our Roots, by Ruth Beechick ($)
Never Give In (Winston Churchill), by Stephen Mansfield ($)
The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson, if your library doesn't have it ($ K) (we recommend the Young Readers Edition adapted, by Anne Terry White if you can find it - $.)
It Couldn't Just Happen, by Lawrence Richards ($ K)
Archimedes and the Door of Science, by Jeanne Bendick if your library doesn't have it ($)
Galileo and the Magic Numbers, by Sidney Rosen (K)
biography-type books about Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein, etc
a Latin/foreign language program
Animal Farm, by George Orwell (check libray) ($ K)
The Hobbit, by Tolkien (check library) ($ K)

Charlotte Mason created a "List of Attainments;" what a child should be able to do by age 6, and by age 12. It might be helpful to take a look at this list since many Year 6 students are around age 12.

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Last update July 30, 2014