AO Retreat:
Camp Meeting 2019

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AO Years 7/8 (7,8,9 in Two Years)

AmblesideOnline Years 7/8: Booklist

History studied in Year 7/8: Middles Ages, Renaissance
Term 1: 800-1215; Term 2: 1216-1485; Term 3: 1450-1640

AmblesideOnline Years 7, 8, 9 in Two Years; First Year. 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

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

Bible and Christian Theology




Government and Economics


Current Events


Poetry [13]

Grammar and Composition





Science and Nature Study [sci]

Optonal: Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science by John Hudson Tiner ($) in place of the chapter on Kepler in R. S. Ball text




Foreign Language


Life and Work Skills

Free Reading

In addition to the free reading list from Years 7 and 8, consider including these from Year 7:

and from Year 8, whichever of these you did not assign for school:


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. Librivox free audio is done by volunteers, and some are better than others. Forgotten Classics has a list of some favorite Librivox readers. (Back)

Timeline: At this age, students should be keeping a Century Chart and Book of Centuries. Students at this level in the PNEU schools made summaries of dates and events, referred to maps as they read their history, and made century charts. 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)

0. The Pursuit of God: This book is not long, but it is dense. You may wish to spread readings over the week. A 12-week schedule that divides the book into four shorter readings each week is here. (Back)

1. Saints and Heroes: for church history, if you didn't use Trial and Triumph in Years 1-6; all of book 1 and the first ten chapters of Vol 2 are covered this year. (Back)

2. The Birth of Britain is Volume 1 of Winston Churchill's 4 volume set, "A History of the English Speaking Peoples." The next three volumes will be used in Years 8, 9 and 10. Don't get the one edited by Henry Steele Commager, as it's abridged. For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for all 4 volumes of A History of the English Speaking Peoples, and a schedule to break down the week's chapter into 4 short daily readings for this year.
(Maps of medieval England)
Term 1: Birth of Britain Chapter 1-15
Term 2: Birth of Britain Chapter 16-30
Term 3: The New World Chapter 1-14

3. A History of England by Arnold-Forster, online at, Google Books; a schedule for Years 7/8 and the first term of 8/9 is here. There's a list that correlates chapters of Churchill, Arnold-Forster, and An Island Story for Years 7 and 8 here. There's also a schedule that breaks these down into four daily readings per week here. The schedule does not include daily breakdowns for Churchill's Age of Revolution, which is not correlated with Arnold-Forster. (Back)

3a. Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People: We've provided a link to the selections that are scheduled in AO for weeks 1-7. The entire thing is here. (Back)

3b. A Relation or Journal of the beginning and proceedings of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England by certain English Adventurers both Merchants and others is a pdf of journal entries of the original settlers.
Alternately, you may use A History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford β Δ Ω Caleb Johnson had posted Ch 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 36 with modern spelling on his webpage, but it's gone (try here); these have been re-posted at a Plymouth site: 1, 2, 4, 9. Suggested schedule (and these are linked to Project Gutenburg's full text; you may want to use Caleb Johnson's when possible) - Wk 18: ch. 1-2; Wk 19: ch 3-4; Wk 20: ch 7-8; Wk 21: ch 9 and 36. There is a modern language version available ( $) Weeks 32-36. Another option: The Landing of the Pilgrims is a Landmark book by James Daugherty drawn from the Pilgrims' own journals, including Bradford's journal. ($) (Back)

4. The Life of King Alfred: the text with weeks for this Basic lighter schedule marked for weeks 3-12, is here. Another version, scheduled in Weeks 8-15 for Year 7 Detailed is here. (Back)

4. Joan of Arc: Andrew Lang's Joan of Arc is the one used in the 36-week schedule for length. However, if your student can manage it, Mark Twain's is recommended -- it's not difficult reading, but it is much longer. Mark Twain wrote, "I like Joan of Arc best of all my books, and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing." (Back)

5. Ourselves: There is a modern English paraphrase of this book. You can read it online (K) (Back)

6. Francis Bacon essay suggestions:
Of Truth, Of Revenge, Of Adversity, Of Innovations, Of Regiment of Health, Of Suspicion, Of Discourse,
Of Riches, Of Youth and Age, Of Studies. Most of these selections have been collected and divided into manageable paragraphs here. We suggest your students write their own paraphrase both as a help to understanding and to aid their own writing skills. (Back)

7. The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys: $ from Kelly Kenar, who typed this e-text for the use of AOHEO. Postage at is automatically set to UPS ground which is expensive, but you can choose media mail which is substantially cheaper. (If you purchase this book, we request that you purchase from the link provided, as other publishers' reprints of this book have used Kelly's hand-typed etext.)
Term 1: ch 1 (The Listening Time) - ch 17 (Havelok the Dane)
Term 2: ch 18 (Song Stories) - ch 30 (Beginning of the Theater)
Term 3: ch 31 (First English Guide-book) - ch 43 (Spenser: His Last Days)
AO schedules this book in conjunction with Invitation to the Classics; more material is covered in Marshall's History of English Literature from Year 7 to the middle of Year 10, and more is covered in Invitation to the Classics from the middle of Year 10, and through Year 11. If you prefer to use only Invitation to the Classics by Louise Cowan and Os Guinness ($), Students in this year would read pg 77-154 Early Christian Writers to William Shakespeare. A Table of Contents to help with planning is here. (Back)

8. Ivanhoe: Katie Barr has provided a Study Guide to go along with this book. (Back)

8b. Beowulf: AO recommends the edition of Seamus Heaney's translation with graphics that illuminate the setting and objects mentioned in the text. The page numbers in the weekly schedule are from this book. ($); there's a cheaper edition of Seamus Heaney without illustrations. ($) Another favorite: an updated verse translation by Frederick Rebsamen ($ (K)); the version by Burton Raffel is also very accessible ($ K), or use this free-verse version. Another option: Online Translation by Francis B. Gummere. Most versions have 43 parts; that also appears in the weekly schedule.
If you use the recommended Seamus Heaney illustrated version, it lines up like this:
Pt 1: pg 3-9 line 1-114
Pt 2: pg 9-15 line 115-188
Pt 3: pg 15-19 line 189-257
Pt 4: pg 19-23 line 258-319
Pt 5: pg 23-27 line 320-370
Pt 6: pg 27-31 line 371-455
Pt 7: pg 31-35 line 456-498
Pt 8: pg 35-39 line 499-558
Pt 9: pg 39-45 line 559-661
Pt 10: pg 45-49 line 662-709
Pt 11: pg 49-53 line 710-789
Pt 12: pg 53-57 line 790-835
Pt 13: pg 57-61 line 836-923
Pt 14: pg 61-67 line 924-989
Pt 15: pg 67-69 line 990-1048
Pt 16: pg 69-77 line 1049-1125
Pt 17: pg 77-83 line 1126-1190
Pt 18: pg 83-87 line 1191-1250
Pt 19: pg 87-91 line 1251-1320
Pt 20: pg 91-95 line 1321-1382
Pt 21: pg 95-101 line 1383-1472
Pt 22: pg 101-105 line 1474-1556
Pt 23: pg 105-111 line 1557-1650
Pt 24: pg 111-119? line 1651-1757?
Pt 25: pg 119?-123 line 1757?-1816
Pt 26: pg 123-127 line 1817-1887
Pt 27: pg 127-133 line 1888-1962
Pt 28: pg 133-135 line 1963-1998
Pt 29: pg 135-137 line 1999-2031
Pt 30: pg 137-143 line 2032-2143
Pt 31: pg 145-149 line 2144-2220
Pt 32: pg 149-155 line 2221-2311
Pt 33: pg 155-161 line 2312-2390
Pt 34: pg 161-165 line 2391-2462
Pt 35: pg 165-173 line 2463-2601
Pt 36: pg 173-179 line 2602-2693
Pt 37: pg 179-183 line 2694-2751
Pt 38: pg 183-189 line 2752-2820
Pt 39: pg 189-193 line 2821-2891
Pt 40: pg 193-195 line 2892-2945
Pt 41: pg 195-201 line 2946-3057
Pt 42: pg 201-207 line 3058-3136
Pt 43: pg 207-209 line 3137-3182
     Beowulf: A New Telling by Robert Nye ($) is a prose version that's not exact, but could be used as an introduction if your students is struggling. Very roughly, it breaks down like this:
ch 1 loosely corresponds to the Prologue
          ch 2 loosely corresponds to Parts 1-2
     ch 3 loosely corresponds to Parts 2
     ch 4 loosely corresponds to Parts 3-5
     ch 5 loosely corresponds to Parts 6-10
     ch 6 loosely corresponds to Parts 11-12
     ch 7 loosely corresponds to Parts 13-18
     ch 8 loosely corresponds to Parts 19-20
     ch 9 loosely corresponds to Part 21
     ch 10 loosely corresponds to Part 22
     ch 11 loosely corresponds to Parts 23-25
     ch 12 loosely corresponds to Parts 26-30
     ch 13 loosely corresponds to Parts 30-31
     ch 14 loosely corresponds to Part 32
     ch 15 loosely corresponds to Parts 33-36
     ch 16 loosely corresponds to Parts 37-43 (Back)

10. The Once and Future King, hereafter referred to as TOAFK, Book One ("The Sword in the Stone") and Book Two ("The Queen of Air and Darkness") are read in Term 1. This book is not in the curriculum to give the students another version of a King Arthur story, and it should not be the student's only exposure to the King Arthur mythos. Rather, this book is contains living lessons in government, including self-government, self-discipline, consequences of bad decisions (even when made in ignorance), leadership, and so much more. It cannot easily be replaced by any other book. NOTE: This is a read aloud and discuss book. **Please preview.** The themes in this book, although controversial, are too important to dismiss. For more information, read discussion about this book. [If you need to cut back, Book 2 could have only selected chapters read. The chapters in Book 2 that are about Arthur and Merlyn are 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. Chapters in Book 2 that more squeamish students might want to skip are 1, 5, and 7. All of Book 1 should be read. Spark Notes gives a brief summary of each chapter in Book 2 to help you decide whether doing selected chapters is right for your student.] (Back)

11. Watership Down: An alleghorical story that includes "community, connection, relationships, government systems and consequences, what makes a civilization, what makes it humane or inhumane, quests, and more." Read what Advisory member Wendi Capehart said about why this book is scheduled here. (Back)

12. Chaucer: If you need a prose version, you might try The Chaucer Story Book by Eva Tappan Δ ($; however, you will be cheating your student if you do not assign some of Chaucer's poetry. AO originally scheduled the out-of-print A Taste of Chaucer by Anne Malcolmson ($); if you have it, you can use that. If you decide to use something else, be sure to use a version of Canturbury Tales specifically edited for students (Chaucer needs editing!) (Back)

13. Poetry: How do you "do" poetry? Simply read it and enjoy it, re-read it, read it again and listen to the sound of the phrases, let them paint a word picture in your mind. Do you feel like you need more direction? How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem "Introduction to Poetry" by Tania Runyan is "less as an instructional book and more of an invitation." This is a suggested optional parent resource that encourages you read poetry for enjoyment. (Back)

14. Choose either Westward Ho or I Promessi Sposi for school reading and assign the other as free reading (perhaps with an audiobook). A 36-week schedule to take a slow pace is available for each book. Westward Ho! is a swash-buckling classic about two brothers around the era of the Spanish Armada. I Promessi Sposi is Italy's quintessential classic novel in the same way Les Miserables is to France.
I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed): There's a newer version translated by Omero Sabatini called Promise of Fidelity ($), and also a Penguin Classics version translated by Bruce Penman and called The Betrothed ($ K). Ω (Back)

16. The Oxford Book of English Verse, 1919, edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch, is a poetry anthology Charlotte Mason used; it's very good, and it's online in a searchable format. (Poems 1-24, 29, 31-33) The same text, but with a different title, is also at Project Gutenberg β The best way to tackle these is to have your student rewrite them in their own words. There are some tips for reading Middle English here. As a parent resource, this site offers modern translations of the assigned poems. Click the first line, then click the word "translation" at the top. AO offers some rough and general modern translations here, but be aware that allowing your child to use paraphrases as a crutch will not help them acclimate to Middle English. Check online sites such as Librivox for free audio readings of poems. (Back)

18. Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves: The Kindle version is badly formatted and not recommended. For those who need a children's version, there's a 'modern' (1916) retelling of The Faerie Queene by Mary MacLeod available. It's online at Sacred Texts and Book I is "The Red Cross Knight." Ω (Back)

20. Grammar: In terms of difficulty (easiest to most challenging), Easy Grammar Plus is probably the easiest, followed by Jensen's, and then Our Mother Tongue.
Jensen's Grammar goes slowly and step-by-step; their answer key is thorough (Our Mother Tongue doesn't always have answers). There are 75 lessons, so plan to take two years, or else do two lessons per week. Expect to pay about $30 for the Jensen's text and answer key. The DVD's are not necessary. You will probably find it cheaper at New Leaf Publishing, or other homeschool sellers such as Lampost Homeschool.
If you are not confident about teaching grammar, you might prefer Easy Grammar Plus by Wanda Phillips. It's less intense than Jensen's, but still doesn't assume a lot of previous knowledge from the teacher. It's easier than Jensen with just a couple suggested alterations (for example, don't insist on memorizing the prepositions at the start, just write a list of them and explain an easy way to remember most of them: any way a worm can go in relations to two apples, or a swallow in relation to two mountains). A parent using this with one child could get by with only the Teacher's Edition since the student workbook is included in it, but multiple students would need their own workbooks. ($ from their website or CBD) Easy Grammar Grade 8 Student 180 Daily Teaching Lessons by Wanda Phillips is just as good; it also has the student worbook included in the teacher's edition.

Those who are more familiar with grammar may prefer Our Mother Tongue. It's more interesting as it uses classic literature for exercises and includes snippets of history about language. The Answer Key $ is sold separately for about $5. Our Mother Tongue has 49 chapters. One suggestion is to spread the book over two years, doing about 9 chapters per term. (Back)

Science: If your child wants to pursue a scientific major and needs to prepare for special exams, you may want to contact your college of choice to find out what the requirements are. We have not undertaken to prepare our students for specialty exams, but to give them a foundation of knowledge about science which will make it a matter of interest to them for life. (Back)

22. Choose one of Jean Henri Fabre's books. Selections were chosen for length (30-50 pgs per term), but feel free to read more if your student is interested.

Life of the Spider: these selections are scheduled:
Term 1: ch 2 The Banded Epeira
-- ch 3 Narbonne Lycosa
-- ch 4 Narbonne Lycosa: Burrow
Term 2: ch 5 Narbonne Lycosa Family
-- ch 6 Narbonne Lycosa: Climbing-Instinct
-- ch 7 The Spiders' Exodus
-- ch 9 Garden Spiders: Building the Web
Term 3: ch 10 Garden Spiders: my Neighbour
-- ch 11 Garden Spiders: Lime-Snare
-- ch 12 Garden Spiders: Telegraph-Wire,
-- ch 13 Garden Spiders: Pairing and Hunting
-- ch 14 Garden Spiders: Question of Property

The Social Life of Insects: these selections are scheduled:
Term 1: ch 3 Song of the Cigale (Cicada)
-- ch 4 Cigale Their Eggs and Their Hatching
-- ch 5 The Mantis: The Chase
Term 2: ch 10 The Field Cricket
-- ch 11 The Italian Cricket
-- ch 14 Great Peacock
-- ch 15 Oak Eggar or Banded Monk
Term 3: ch 17 Elephant-Beetle
-- ch 20 The Grey Locust (Back)

24. Secrets of the Universe was republished as five separate books: