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AO Yr 8 Basic Version

AmblesideOnline Year 8 Basic Version

Based on AO's Year 8 (AmblesideOnline has provided detailed weekly schedules for these books in various formats: Html List; PDF; DOC, ODT)

History studied in Year 8: 1400's-1688 (Renaissance and Reformation)
Term 1: 1400-1605, Term 2: 1605-1649, Term 3: 1649-1688

As students mature, their reading material will present more challenging content, and may include strong language and more mature themes. We have placed footnotes linked in red beside those books that most parents will consider an issue. However, we cannot anticipate which content might be an issue for every family. We encourage parents to pre-screen material to determine its appropriateness for their child and family. Note: These booklists and curriculum suggestions are incomplete without a thorough understanding of Charlotte Mason's ideas and methods. We cannot emphasize enough that you take time to familiarize yourself with her philosophy by reading her books.

Click to view:

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

Bible and Christian Theology

Follow the Bible reading plan of your choice, or use AO's plan. [0]
More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell ($ K) OR The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel ($ K)
Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis ($earch K)
Saints and Heroes, Vol 2, by George Hodges Δ ($ K) [1]

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Make a century chart and Century Book of the period studied. [tl]
The New World, by Winston Churchill ($ K) OR A History of England, by Arnold-Forster Δ [1a]
A slightly abridged version of Martin Luther's defense before the Diet of Worms
Queen Elizabeth's speech to the Spanish Armada, July 29, 1588 (this is included in the text of Churchill's book)


A Man For All Seasons, a play by Robert Bolt ($; purchase movie)
A Coffin for King Charles, by C. V. Wedgwood ($) OR Queen Elizabeth, by Jacob Abbott Δ or In the Days of Queen Elizabeth, by Eva March Tappan Δ (K)
Johannes Kepler chapter from Great Astronomers, by R.S. Ball β Δ OR Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science, by John Hudson Tiner ($)

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Kon Tiki, by Thor Heyerdahl ($), OR Christopher Columbus, Mariner, by Samuel Eliot Morison ($) [2] OR The Life of Christopher Columbus, by Edward Everett Hale β Δ

Government and Economics

Whatever Happened to Justice, by Richard Maybury ($)

Optional: PragerU's free video clips "explain and spread what we call 'Americanism' through the power of the Internet. Our five-minute videos are conservative sound bites that clarify profoundly significant and uniquely American concepts. . . We help millions of people understand the fundamental values that shaped America." Transcripts are linked under each video. AO has a list of their videos here.


Ourselves, by Charlotte Mason ($) [3] (starts week 23)
Plutarch's Lives (follow AmblesideOnline's rotation)
Utopia, by Sir Thomas More (or here) β Δ ($) Ω We suggest the modern translation by Paul Turner.
Francis Bacon essays, selections [4]

Current Events

Keep up with daily news (resource options here) and keep a calendar of events

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The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys, by H.E. Marshall ch 32-59 β Δ (K) [4b]
Everyman, a Morality Play Δ ($ K) Ω (There is a very abridged version here.)
Westward Ho!, by Charles Kingsley β Δ ($; study guide here) OR I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), by Alessandro Manzoni β Δ [5]
Shakespeare (continue with AmblesideOnline rotation)


Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, which is Spenser's Fairie Queene Book I (online; $) [6]
Shakespeare's Sonnets, selections (download 12 sonnets) Modern translations of the sonnets from NoFear Shakespeare
John Milton: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Lycidas, On His Blindness
          Or, poems by John Donne (notes here) and George Herbert.
The Roar on the Other Side: A Guide for Student Poets, by Suzanne Clark (optional; $)

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Grammar and Composition

Our Mother Tongue: An Introductory Guide to English Grammar, by Nancy Wilson ($; continue from last year; do Lessons 10-49)


Romans 6; 1 Cor. 13; Psalms 139
Shakespeare passages
a poem per term from the term's poetry selections


Include selections from Shakespeare, the Bible, poetry and other sources. These selections may be the same ones used for recitation. Consider begining a personal quote book.
Also, do dictation regularly.


Continue your math program; for some options, see this page.


The Handbook of Nature Study Δ, by Anna Botsford Comstock (as a reference)
First Studies of Plant Life, by George Francis Atkinson, Parts 2, 3 Δ [Google Books] ($)
Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy, by Jay Ryan, ch 3-5 ($) and accompanying Field Journal ($) Both the book and journal are cheaper from CBD. Field work is an integral part of this book.
Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History, by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson ($ K) [28c] OR Marvels of the Molecule by Lionel Salem ($)
Adventures with a Microscope, by Richard Headstrom, chose 12 adventures if you are able to procure/borrow a microscope. ($ K)
* Chemical History of a Candle, by Michael Faraday β Δ ($earch K), with pdf Study Guide by Kathy Wickward and Khan Academy or Crash Course Chemistry (YouTube readings/commentary: *)
** Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, by John Fleischman ($ K)
*** A Briefer History of Time, by Stephen Hawking ($ K) [28d]
*** The Microbe Hunters by Paul DeKruif, ch 1: Leeuwenhook ($ K)
William Harvey and the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood, by Thomas Henry Huxley

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How To Read a Book revised edition by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren (used for 3 years; $ K)

Drawing and Art

The Story of Painting, by H. W. Janson ($) chapters 4, 5 [9]
Continue the artist rotation posted at AmblesideOnline


Continue the composer rotation and hymn rotation posted at AmblesideOnline
Folk Songs:
Term 1: Barbara Allen, Star of the County Down, Andrew Barton
Term 2: The Death of Queen Jane, The Miller of Dee, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
Term 3: Three Mariners, The Oak and the Ash, My Lodging is on the Cold Ground

(Back to Subject Menu)

Foreign Language

Begin Latin if you've not started already OR Continue with any previous foreign language studies


Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, by Paul Brand if you didn't do it last year ($ K) (see notes here)

Life and Work Skills

Work on useful skills such as budgeting, gardening, cooking, car maintenance, carpentry, etc.

Free Reading

Try to use books that were not included from Year 8, or the Year 8 Free reading List
One fun suggestion: James Baldwin's retelling of Don Quixote. (K)


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)

0. AO's Bible plan goes through the Bible semi-chronologically over 6 years in Years 6-11. This year's Bible readings would be as follows:
    * Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel 1-14; Matthew 1-11; Psalms 106-118; Proverbs 1-6
    ** 1 Samuel 15-31, 2 Samuel 1-24; Matthew 12-21; Psalms 119-124; Proverbs 7-11
    *** 1 Kings, Ecclesiastes; Matthew 22-28; Psalms 125-150; Proverbs 12-16 (Back)

1. Saints and Heroes: for church history, if you didn't use Trial and Triumph in Years 1-6 (Back)

Timeline: At this age, students should be keeping a Century Chart and 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)

1a. The New World is Volume 2 of Winston Churchill's 4 volume set, "A History of the English Speaking Peoples." The next two volumes will be used in Years 9 and 10. Don't get the one edited by Henry Steele Commager, as it's abridged. If you can figure out how to use this, this book is online in audio 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.
Term 1: Ch 1-10
Term 2: Ch 11-18
Term 3: Ch 19-26
Or, use A History of England, by Arnold-Forster, online at, Google Books; a schedule is here. (Back)

2. Christopher Columbus, Mariner presents a fairly balanced account of Columbus. This book, especially ch 11, will require parental screening. If you use the Hale book, it should be scheduled at a chapter per week, except for ch 2 and 3, which can be doubled up in week 2. (Back)

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

4. Francis Bacon essays: choose from Of Truth, Of Revenge, Of Innovations, Of Friendship, Of Regiment of Health, Of Suspicion, Of Discourse, Of Riches, Of Youth and Age, Of Studies (paraphrase), Of Praise, Of Honor and Reputation, Of Anger. Most of these selections have been collected and divided into manageable paragraphs here. One suggestion: have your student write their own paraphrase.) (Back)

4b. 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 12 (Father of English Song)
Term 2: ch 13 (How Caedmon Sang) - ch 24 (Chaucer)
Term 3: ch 25 (First English Guide-book) - ch 31 (Sign of the Red Pale)
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 ($), Year 8 students would read pg 113-176 The Second Shepherds' Play and Everyman to John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress. A Table of Contents to help with planning is here. (Back)

5. 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)

6. Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves: The Kindle version is badly formatted and not recommended. 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)

7. Napoleon's Buttons: chapter 11, scheduled in weeks 21 and 22, is about the pill; parents should preread to determine whether this particular chapter is appropriate for their student. (Back)

08. A Briefer History of Time: A shorter version of A Brief History of Time containing less technical concepts. We encourage you not to skip this book; Hawking is one of the most respected scientists of our time and it is important for our students to be literate in this subject and know what other people believe. Hawking acknowledged the role of God in creation, and this book is respectful to the beliefs of others. (Back)

09. If you already have Janson's Picture History of Painting, Janson's History of Art for Young People or Janson's History of Art, those books are broken down into their appropriate terms for Years 7-11 here. Note that Janson's History of Art and History of Art for Young People are a huge books with much more text than the Painting books, and may be too much for most students on top of their other reading. (Back)

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Last update July 30, 2014