Weekly schedule is here.
|A Basic Overview of Year 4|
|Bible||History||Geography||Science and Math|
|Joshua and Judges
Mark and early Acts
|1700's to French and American Revolutions
World and American
Bios of Ben Franklin and Abigail Adams
Selected Lives from Plutarch
Book of Centuries
Rivers and Waterways
Plant and Animal Life
|Language Arts||Literature||Foreign Language||Music and Arts|
Oral and Written Narration
Tennyson, Dickinson, Wordsworth
Age of Fable, Robinson Crusoe, and more. . .
|Hymns and Folk Songs
Drawing and Handicrafts
History studied in Year 4: 1640-1700's (French and American Revolutions)
Term 1: 1640-1720; Term 2: 1720-1773; Term 3: 1773-1780
For the first time this year, students plunge into studies of Plutarch's Lives as well as three Shakespearean plays. They will continue with daily copywork, adding in studied dictation and grammar study this year. This is the year students begin keeping a Book of Centuries, in addition to the timeline. Every scheduled reading will still be narrated, most orally as in past years. Written narration, begun weekly now, will replace some oral narration and serve as further preparation for composition. Foreign language study continues as begun in previous years, and this year the study of Latin should be added.
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.
If you're planning to use AmblesideOnline, your first stop should be the the FAQ for some information about the curriculum and basic instructions. Our FAQ answers all the questions that people routinely ask: AO's history scope and sequence, how to schedule your school days, how to do narration, and more.
Table of Contents:
Note: If your child has completed Year 3 and is not quite ready for Year 4, you might consider Year 3.5 as a transitional course of study between Year 3 and 4. It has been designed so that it can be started at any week during the first term, so if you get started on Year 4 and find that your child is struggling, you can switch mid-term. A 36-week schedule is also provided.
In order to complete the curriculum additional instruction should be provided in the following areas.
Penmanship or Copywork
Musical Instrument Practice
Physical activity; one option is Swedish Drill Revisited by Dawn Duran purchase
Art Appreciation (see AO's scheduled rotation of picture study here.)
Correspond history readings with a timeline or century book  and map
Music Appreciation, including a composer, folksongs and hymns
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)
Old Testament: Joshua and Judges
New Testament: Mark
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula ($amzn) (K) 
Answering the Cry for Freedom by Gretchen Woelfle ($amzn) (K) 
* Poor Richard by James Daugherty ($amzn) 
** *** Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober ($amzn) (K) 
Ten minutes of map drills each week 
Locate places from the day's reading on a map
In addition, these geography concepts should be explained and taught this year: 
Term 1: Earth's surface is mostly water
Term 2: The water cycle:
Term 3: Rivers and waterways
Supplies for Nature Study:
Madam How and Lady Why, Volume I, A Walk Through the Glen by Charles Kingsley, with notes by Anne White ($amzn) (K) 
The Storybook of Science by Jean-Henri Fabre α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) Ω
Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe and Jos. Smith - a picture book ($amzn)
The Ocean Of Truth by Joyce McPherson or other biography of Isaac Newton ($amzn) (K) 
Optional: Physics Lab in the Home by Robert Friedhoffer 
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:
AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level is here.
AO's Year 4 exam questions will focus on subject/nouns and predicate/verbs.
Select a program that meets your family's needs from our page of Math Options.
Purchase all 3 Terms of Year 4's Poetry for Kindle (K)
The Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch β α ($amzn) (K) Ω K Ω 
* ** The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe β α (£) ($amzn) Ω 
** *** Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω
*** The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford ($amzn) (K)
The following short works - Purchase all three for Kindle: (K):
Black Beauty β, by Anna Sewell ($amzn) (K) Ω Λ
Pollyanna β, by Eleanor Porter ($amzn) (K) Ω
The Secret Garden β, by Frances Hodgson Burnett ($amzn) (K) Ω Λ ∩
The Railway Children β, by Edith Nesbit ($amzn) (K) Ω
A Book of Golden Deeds β, by Charlotte Yonge (£) (£amzn) Some copies don't include the final chapters, but this online copy seems to have them all: α
Bambi by Felix Salten ($amzn) (K)
Little Britches by Ralph Moody ($earch) (K) (some language; please preview)
The Borrowers by Mary Norton ($et) ($amzn) (K)
Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight ($amzn) (K)
Gentle Ben by Walt Morey ($amzn)
Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright ($amzn)
Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright ($amzn) (K)
Return To Gone Away by Elizabeth Enright ($amzn) (K)
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($amzn) ($amzn) (K) 9-bk series: ($amzn) Paperback: ($amzn) (K)
** Calico Captive - girl interest ($amzn) (K)
or The Sign of the Beaver - boy interest ($amzn) (K), by Elizabeth George Speare
*** Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes ($amzn) (K)
Tree of Freedom by Rebecca Caudill ($amzn) (K)
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates ($amzn)
*** The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery (British view of revolution) ($amzn) (K)
Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry ($amzn) (K)
The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia Hale β α (£) ($amzn) (K)
22 chapters; The Complete Peterkin Papers has a few additional chapters, but each chapter can stand alone. These were originally printed as serials in a magazine. Ω Ω
If you would like some easier, but still excellent, living books, for a year 3/4 student to read independently for free reading, consider choosing from this list:
The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds ($amzn) (K)
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh ($amzn) (K)
The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander ($amzn)
Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop ($amzn)
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson ($amzn)
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois ($amzn) (K)
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George ($amzn) (K)
Sarah Plain and Tall series by Patricia MacLachlan
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 ($amzn)
The Rescuers by Margery Sharp ($amzn) (K) (and others in the series)
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden ($amzn) (K)
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey ($amzn) (K)
Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey ($amzn) (K)
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald; particularly interesting to boys; skip (or preview) the last chapter, ch 8, "The Great Brain's Reformation," as it's a light-hearted tale told in a frivolous manner about a boy's attempts to do himself in after his father disparages his disability. ($amzn) (K)
Noel Streatfeild books (appealing to girls in particular)
Kate Seredy books, including:
2. 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. (Cindy Rollins did a Circe Mason Jar podcast that included the role of audiobooks with difficult books.) 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. Heidi Nash has a list of some favorite Librivox readers. Be aware that apps, including Librivox, that have clickable ads can open a browser and allow children unfiltered access to the internet, even when browsers have been disabled by the parent. There are options: either download mp3 files from Librivox and listen without the app, or only install the app on a parent-controlled device. Librivox has a pay option to turn off ads. (Back)
04. 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 ($amzn). Two Book of Centuries options: (£) (£) (Back)
6. Bible: Bible Gateway has many versions of the Bible online. It is preferable for a child to become accustomed to the language and flow of the King James Version of the Bible, as a familiarity with King James English will make other literature more accessible. Please read Lynn Bruce's article on the King James Version by clicking here.
The weekly schedule lists readings taken from J. Paterson Smyth's commentaries, with Old Testament readings focusing on Joshua and the Judges, and New Testament in Mark and the beginning of Acts. (see AO's Bible plan) Charlotte Mason taught both with commentaries, reading the Bible passage first, then narration, then reading the commentary, but Smyth's commentaries may reflect the doctrine of his era and denomination; they are not necessary to follow the Bible schedule.
Optional Bible Resources: Timeline; Study questions with maps. (Back)
8. This Country of Ours: Charles I-George III this year.
Term 1: ch 29-40 (Charles I-Charles II/Anne, 1636-1680)
Term 2: ch 41-50 (George I-George III 1723-1766)
Term 3: ch 51-63, p 344-418, 74 pages (George III, 1765-1782)
Be aware that the edition for sale from Wilder Publications has no Table of Contents or chapter numbers. Public domain texts are available for anyone to copy, paste and publish, and many new companies are springing up publishing and selling these texts without editing for typos.
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for This Country of Ours here. (Back)
10. George Washington's World: There are various editions of this book. If you have the older version, there is an alternate weekly schedule here; if you have the newer Expanded Edition by Joanna Foster published by Beautiful Feet Books, there's an alternate weekly schedule here.
If you need an online option, we suggest The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Van Loon ($amzn) (K) β α Ω
Read Charlotte Mason's book review of Van Loon's "Story of Mankind" here.
Term 1: ch 44-45 Religious Warfare, 1535-1648; English Revolution 1714
Term 2: ch 46-49 Balance of Power (Louis XIV), Peter 1698; Frederick William I, Prussia, (1740-1886)
Term 3: ch 50-52, Mercantile System, American Revolution; French Revolution, 1789-99
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for The Story of Mankind here.
Optional: For those who wish to supplement, or to combine students in the same year, corresponding chapters of A Child's History of the World for younger children are as follows:
Term 1: ch 71-72 (ch 67-68 in 1st ed) Charles I, Louis XIV, -1620
Term 2: ch 73-74 (ch 69-70 in 1st ed) Peter the Great, Frederick the Great, 1750)
Term 3: ch 75-76 (ch. 71-72 in 1st edition) American Revolution, French Revolution, 1789)
Corresponding chapters of An Island Story:
Term 3: ch 95 and 96, 1760-1820, George III.
Kings and Queen timeline figures
Corresponding chapters of An Island Story by H. E. Marshall β α (£) (£amzn) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) Ω (Back)
16. 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 appreciate it." - David Hoos, Canon Press - Customer Service www.canonpress.com (Back)
17. Answering the Cry for Freedom: This book is scheduled over three years. Parents, please note that the most offensive racial epithet is included in chapter 2, about Agrippa Hull, as part of a quote. We suggest reading this aloud and skipping or replacing the word. Additionally, there is a reference to amputation without anesthesia. (Back)
18. Poor Richard: No, your book is probably not missing a page. ;-) The books ends on page 158 with the words "He remembered something he had written long ago about" and then the following page has an image of a historical document, which ends the book. (Back)
20. Chapter 3, p. 17 of the Abigail Adams book contains this paragraph - 'Their love was growing giddy and passionate. Increasingly their meetings started with conversation, but quickly turned to lovemaking that pushed hard against the bounds of prudence. Both had so much -- yearning, called 'excessive sensibility,' that they actually became ill from anxiety and anticipation as the years of courtship continued.' The word 'lovemaking' is used in the old context of courting, but today's Hollywood movies have changed our perspective on the word. Members of the AmblesideOnline email list can read discussion that was posted about this here. Read down through the messages, though, for good insights into the value of that passage and why you might want to think twice before you leave it out. If you're using the 36-week schedule posted, this chapter is scheduled in week 15. (Back)
22. Minn of the Mississippi: These links have information and/or maps about the Mississippi River Page: The Great River; Map; Wikipedia. Beautiful Feet Books sells a set of maps for the Holling books; click on the link and then do a search for Holling Maps. (Back)
24. Material World/What the World Eats - How to use these books:
Leave them out, preferably near a globe or world map, and browse through them together from time to time.
Leave them 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. ($amzn) (Back)
28. 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: Earth's surface is mostly water; highlands (cooler), lowlands (warmer), mountains (foot, slope, summit) and valleys
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography (£) (£amzn): The Surface of the Earth Part I
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: The Surface of the Earth Part II
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Highlands and Lowlands
Long's Home Geography α (£) (£amzn) 11. Plains
Long's Home Geography α 12. Hills, Mountains, Valleys
Term 2: The water cycle: clouds, rain, rivers, ocean, evaporation (vapor); dew, snow
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Long's Home Geography α 13. Rain, Wind, and Snow
Long's Home Geography α 14. How Water is Changed to vapor
Long's Home Geography α 15. How Vapor is Changed to Water
Long's Home Geography α 16. Dew, Clouds and rain
Long's Home Geography α 18. How Rivers are Made
Long's Home Geography α 19. More About Rivers
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Rivers
Term 3: Rivers and waterways; rivers start at a mountain spring and flow to the sea; a river's source, mouth, bed, two banks, tributary (branch), rapids, cataract, waterfall. Oceans and their parts, why rivers wind, work of rivers (fertile after flooding, pebbles, gravel, sand)
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Long's Home Geography α 21. Work of Flowing Rivers
Long's Home Geography α 22. Waterdrop's Story
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Countries
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: The Waters of the Earth Part I
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: The Waters of the Earth Part II
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: The Oceans and Their Parts (Back)
30. Madam How and Lady Why: This year, the first half of the book is covered:
Term 1: The Glen, Earthquakes
Term 2: Volcanos, Transformations of a Grain of Soil
Term 3: The Ice-Plough, The True Fairy-Tale
Anne White has formatted the text with her study notes into separate volumes. Volume 1, "A Walk Through the Glen," is scheduled in Year 4. Volume 2, "Further Afield," is scheduled in Year 5.
If you'd like a copy of just the Walk Through The Glen text with a few edits (mostly for comments that would be considered racist by today's standards) for your student to read along, you can access that here.
The text with Anne White's study guide which is linked above is recommended but not required. If you prefer just the original book without the study guide or edits, it is available at these links: Project Gutenberg β α ($amzn) (£) (£amzn) Ω K There's a schedule that lines up with Anne's study guide here.
Madam How and Lady Why is scheduled slowly over two years. This is an earth science book; if you use the study guide, you'll see that it takes time to adequately cover the subject matter. Researching the topics is what makes this useful as a science book.
Of what value is an old science book like Madam How and Lady Why? Apart from the superior writing quality, the best thing you can get out of old science books is a strong sense that science is a constantly changing thing, and that the "scientific evidence/theory/conclusion" of today can be debunked in a year, or two, or ten. Children should learn to take the words "Scientists think . . ." for exactly what they are worth (always worth considering, but never to be considered the final word). Reading older books will help you develop that sense.
Note on Kingsley's "old earth" comments: During the era when Madam How and Lady Why was written, there was no "young earth" discussion out there: evidence seemed to show an old earth, and the Church of England (Charles Kingsley was a clergyman), by and large, accepted a kind of theistic evolution.
This book is invaluable for understanding the deeper ideas of how to approach science. If you do nothing else with this book, at the very least, read the preface and chapter 8 (Madam How's Two Sons) -- that's the bare minimum, but, really, this whole book is truly worthwhile. Some parents are hesitant to use this book because of outdated science information; keep in mind that whatever is current, accurate and up to date changes all the time. Even if you buy a current science book today, there is material in it that is already out of date and will be defunct next year. Some science teachers complain that in some areas what is currently held as true changes so fast that they think science would be best taught using science journals as the text, and even then, in some topics, over half of what is published in journals ends up being retracted later. But that's data, and it's easy to correct outdated data. The ideas in this book are the foundation of a CM philosophy. This is a book to read together with your kids, to discuss, to research together. Some of the style of the writing can be off-putting, but that is also something that could become an advantage: use it as a writing or narration project, asking your student to 'retell what the author is getting at, but in current terms.' (Back)
32. Ocean of Truth/Isaac Newton: If you already have the Sower Series biography of Isaac Newton by John Hudson Tiner, feel free to use that. If you need something online, there is a chapter about Isaac Newton in Robert S. Ball's Great Astronomers. β α ($earch) K
There's also a chapter on Newton in Nathaniel Hawthorne's True Stories from History and Biography. α (Back)
34. Friedhoffer's "Physics Lab in a . . ." books are a great resource, but they're out of print; don't spend more than $10 on a used copy. (Back)
35. Poetry: How do you "do" poetry? Simply read it and enjoy it, re-read it, read it again and listen to the sound of the phrases, let them paint a word picture in your mind. Do you feel like you need more direction? How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem "Introduction to Poetry" by Tania Runyan is "less as an instructional book and more of an invitation." This is a suggested optional parent resource that encourages you read poetry for enjoyment. (Back)
36. Plutarch: for this year, you might use Stories from the History of Rome, by Emily Beesly α ($amzn) (K); available at Project Gutenberg in Australia. Charlotte Mason used this book in her PNEU schools. The book contains 16 fairly short, easy chapters, and could be scheduled at about a chapter every other week in place of a Plutarch's Life each term. If you purchased the Yesterday's Classics Ebook package, this book is included in that collection. (Back)
38. 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: Preface to ch 14 (Minerva-Niobe)
Term 1: Preface to ch 4 (Diana and Actaeon)
Term 2: ch 4 (Latona and the rustics) to ch 8 (Apollo and Hyacinthus)
Term 3: ch 9 (Ceyx and Halcyone) to ch 14 (Niobe) (Back)
40. Robinson Crusoe Book II, The Further Adventures, in which Crusoe returns to the island and goes to Madagascar, Asia and Siberia, is not scheduled and is not included in most versions of the book. Robinson Crusoe will be difficult for most students; we recommend that it be read aloud, or an audiobook be used. (Book 1 ends at "All these things, with some very surprising incidents in some new adventures of my own, for ten years more I may, perhaps, give a further account of hereafter." and Book 2 begins at "That homely proverb used on so many occasions in England, viz. 'That what is bred in the bone will not go out of the flesh,' was never more verified than in the story of my Life.") The book starts slow, but most students end up loving it. Robinson Crusoe was worked into the 36-week AO schedule using an edition that had 27 chapters. If you use the Project Gutenberg etext or an edition that has no chapters, you may find this breakdown more useful. (Back)
42. 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:
Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock is used for 6 years; ($amzn) - online, but would be cumbersome to utilize that way.)
a math program
George Washington's World, by Genevieve Foster (check library) ($amzn)
Poor Richard, by James Daugherty ($amzn)
Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution, by Natalie S. Bober ($amzn) (K)
Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel ($amzn) and What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel ($amzn) -- these are not required, but they're are nice to look through; we suggest seeing if your library has them.
Minn of the Mississippi if your library doesn't have it ($amzn)
Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe and Jos. Smith - a picture book ($amzn)
The Ocean Of Truth by Joyce McPherson or other biography of Isaac Newton ($amzn) (K); we offer an online biography of Newton, but the book is truly a better option.
a Latin/foreign language program
The Incredible Jouney, by Sheila Burnford if your library doesn't have it ($amzn) (K)
Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis if your library doesn't have them ($amzn) ($amzn) (K)
Elizabeth Enright books are nice if you can find them cheap (but not worth high collector prices) ($amzn)
Other books can be read online or borrowed from the library.
Last update Oct. 2, 2020
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