Weekly schedule is here.
Table of Contents:
In addition, these geography concepts should be explained and taught this year: 
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:
Phonics and reading with CM's methods can be taught effectively and simply without a formal program, carefully following Charlotte Mason's sequence explained in Home Education, volume 1 of her book series (start at page 199). Jennifer S. described how to implement CM's method of teaching reading step by step on her Joyful Shepherdess blog.
Additional (non-CM) programs the AO Advisory has used and can recommend (not an exhaustive list):
Select a program that meets the needs of your student(s) from our page of Math Options.
Choose a foreign language program that focuses on oral learning. Some that are popular among Charlotte Mason parents are The Learnables, Little Pim, Cherrydale Press, Language Learning for Children by Alyssa Johnson and Christine Lewis (K or free for AO Forum members)
Excellent living books for a beginning reader to read independently for free reading:
Easier, but still excellent, living books, for a slightly more advanced reader:
And a little more advanced:
2. 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. Forgotten Classics 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)
4. Timeline: At this age, students should be keeping a timeline of their own personal history. 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)
6. It is a good idea for children 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. For more about this, read Lynn Bruce's article on the King James Version by clicking here.
Optional Bible Resources: Bible Gateway has many versions of the Bible online. Timeline; Study questions with maps. (Back)
8. An Island Story, Chapters 1-38 this year:
Term 1: ch 1-14, 55BC to 574 AD, Albion and Brutus to Gregory
Term 2: ch 15-26 849-1087, Alfred the Great to William the Conqueror.
Term 3: ch 27-38 1058-1265, William the Red to Henry III.
Kings and Queens Timeline Figures
This book was published in the UK under the title, 'OUR Island Story;' both books are identical except for the title. 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 An Island Story here. (Back)
10. A Child's History of the World, ch 47 on Charlemaigne to ch 57 on John Lackland; ch 48 ("Getting a Start") on Alfred is optional, as that is also covered in 'An Island Story.'
Term 1 ch 47, 48 (ch 45, 46 in 1st edition) 800-900 AD; Charlemagne, Alfred
Term 2: ch 49-52 (ch 47-50 in 1st edition) 1000-1066; Lief Ericson to Harold
Term 3: ch 53-57 (ch 51-54? in 1st edition) 1100-1215; Peter the Hermit to Magna Carta
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for A Child's History of the World and M. B. Synge's Story of the World here. (Back)
14. Fifty Famous Tales: chapters are scheduled chronologically, rather than in chapter order.
ch 30 The Sword of Damocles
ch 31 Damon and Pythias
ch 32 A Laconic Answer
ch 36 The Brave Three Hundred
ch 34 Alexander and Bucephalus
ch 35 Diogenes the Wise Man
ch 25 The Story of Regulus
ch 26 Cornelia's Jewels
ch 28 Horatius at the Bridge
ch 24 The Story of Cincinnatus
ch 27 Androclus and the Lion
The selected Tales from "Fifty Famous Stories Retold" are historically vital for cultural literacy. No child should grow up without knowing the story of William Tell or Horatio at the Bridge. These tales not only have deep value as stories of courage, bravery, and wit, but they will also show up in many other readings (and in media sources as well) for the rest of your child's life. There will be references that allude to the Sword of Damocles (such as this news story). If you do not know the stories, you miss those references and so some nuances are lost. Your child's life will be the richer for knowing these stories. Click the 'selected chapters' link to see a list of the chapters covered. (Back)
15. George Washington by D'aulaire: pg 56, the last picture of happy slaves standing at the front of the house with Washington's wife and children to welcome him home, is one that some parents/teachers may want to discuss, or tape over. Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas ($) is scheduled as a supplement to give some balance to the issue of slavery that is missing in the D'Aulaire book. However, its depiction of George Washington as a farmer is inadequate on its own to be the only word about the country's first great leader. (Back)
18. The Little Duke: Yes, the language in this book is a challenge, but the challenging books that tell engaging stories are the ones that will slowly scaffold children to comprehend the nuances and meanings of longer sentences and more complex sentence structure so that they'll be able to read anything by high school with ease. Charlotte Yonge is an author CM used in the PNEU curriculum. This is a lively, literary biography of Richard, Duke of Normandy, great-grandfather of William the Conqueror, beginning in 943 AD. Yonge's historical information about events of the Viking era is meticulously researched, although presented in a somewhat Victorian tone. AO Advisory member Anne White has written a study guide for this book, which is here. (Back)
22. Geography: 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: The world is round. Left, right, front (before), back (behind) are positions; know which is which and realize they are dependent on perspective.
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Our World Part I
Long's Home Geography 1. Position
Term 2: Fixed direction (north, south, east, west). The sun shows direction: East is where the sun rises, west is where it sets. Stars (North or Pole Star, constellations) show direction and help mariners find their way. The length and direction of shadows can help us tell time as well as direction.
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Long's Home Geography 2. How the Sun Shows Direction
Long's Home Geography 3. How the Stars Show Direction
Term 3: The round world can be divided into two spheres. The line dividing it across the middle is the equator; its parallel lines are latitude. The line where the earth meets the sky is called the horizon.
These topics are covered in this chapter:
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Our World Part II (Back)
24. The Burgess Bird Book: You may choose 6 chapters per 12-week term based on season and which birds frequent your geographical region: Fall/winter: ch 36-45; Early spring ch 3-32; Late spring/summer ch 3-35.
Burgess Bird Book Resources
Supplements for Bird Study: More Bird Photos | Bird songs online | An online birdfeeder guide (or here)
In most cases, especially in North America, the absolute best option is to buy a field guide about birds and have the students hold that book in their hands, looking at the picture of the bird being described while the teacher reads aloud the corresponding chapter. A field guide in the child's hands is a very CM-compatible approach and saves mom a bunch of time and energy. If that's not possible, look at photographs of the bird on a nature website that also has the bird calls, and play them after reading the description.
For free coloring pages, go about halfway down this page. Also, Rod and Staff has bird pictures in their Nature to Color coloring book. There's a site to order from; calling them directly may be quicker. 1-606-522-4348 (Back)
25. 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)
26. A Drop of Water: Experiments are all on pgs 38-39; feel free to adjust the timing of winter experiments (sections 14, 15, 16) to suit your climate. (Back)
28. Note - In "Just So Stories," How the Leopard Got His Spots has one occurance of a racial slur that will need to be omitted; it's near the very end of the chapter. Unabridged audio versions may include the deplorable word. (Back)
29. The Jungle Book: Yes, this is a hard book. It's hard for a reason. It's going to stretch and grow your student's ability to read and comprehend -- the Robinson Crusoe, Jungle Book, and Children of the New Forest he learns to manage now will prepare him for Oliver Twist, Age of Fable, and Sleepy Hollow in Form 2. This is how Form 3 students can read Churchill, Ivanhoe and Utopia later. It's a growing process that happens step by step, book by book. It's okay that it's hard at first. Read smaller portions, buddy-read (take turns paragraph by paragraph), let the child read along while listening to an audio version (make sure he's seeing the words/sentences). It's okay to use alternate ways of reading the book. But please, please . . . read the book. Once you have the experience of growing into a book as you read, it will be easier to persevere in the future when a book feels hard at first. (Back)
30. Parables from Nature is a Christian character book using elements of nature to make its point, and is scheduled for all 3 years of Form 1. It is not a science book. If your child needs something more manageable, a Modern English paraphrase version of this book is available. You can read it for free online here or purchase. ($ K). Use paraphrases cautiously. If a child is truly lost and discouraged, a paraphrase can provide understanding and get him over the hump. But the goal is to build up his reading skills so that he doesn't need a paraphrase, and that won't happen by constantly relying on paraphrases. (Back)
32. Pilgrim's Progress: The original language is recommended; read why and see recommended versions by clicking here. Book I (Christian's Journey) is spread over two years of Form 1; Book II (Christiana's Journey) is scheduled over the last year of Form 1. (Back)
34. The Blue Fairy Book: This book is used over three years; these are the tales schedules this year: Term 1: Beauty and the Beast; Term 2: Why the Sea is Salt; Term 3: Felicia and the Pot of Pinks; Prince Darling.
Fairy tales are not necessarily bad for children: Read three articles about fairy tales from Charlotte Mason's original PR magazine: 1, 2, 3, and read Wendi Capehart's article about Fairy Tales. If your children are sensitive to tragic stories, (and every situation will be different because children are unique and have varying levels of tolerance) you may prefer alternate suggestions:
-- Grimm's Fairy Tales (these selections) Ω
-- Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales (which have less magic, but can be more tragic and sad) Ω Ω ∩
-- Howard Pyle's The Wonder Clock Δ
-- nine tales from the Blue Fairy Book specially selected with no fairies, witches or magic spells (Back)
35. Shakespeare: In the event the term's play is not in the Lamb's book, choose one from the AO rotation that isn't scheduled to come up for a couple of years (so you don't end up repeating the same play the following year). A Midsummer Night's Dream is always a good one to start with. Also notable are the comedies The Tempest, The Taming of The Shrew, and Twelfth Night -- and the tragedies Hamlet and Macbeth. (Back)
36. 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) Students should understand 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)
38. Some parents may wish to make some omissions in Peter Pan: this book is very British and, on a few occasions, Tinker Bell uses the word for a donkey in name-calling. Her character is not admirable, and in chapter 6, fairies are said to be coming home from a wild partying revelry, but the word that is used sounds odd to us because it has changed meaning since the book was written. There is also a casual attitude about violence, although there is nothing realistically explicit. Over all, the book is fun and J.M. Barrie has a fun sense of humor and a charming writing style that is delightful to read. If you read the book aloud, omissions can be made.
Peter Pan was originally as a play called "The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up." Then a novel followed, a prequel to tell how Peter ran away from his mother and went to live with the fairies when he was seven days old. That book is called "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens." And last, the play was re-written as a novel called "Peter Pan and Wendy." (Back)
40. Heidi wasn't written in English, and there are various translations out there; some leave things out. Look for one that has all of the chapters and includes the hymns. There is a beautifully illustrated, unabridged 'gift edition' online (it's the one at Project Gutenberg linked to the title 'Heidi'), and one with Jessie Wilcox Smith illustrations, although that one may not be complete. (Back)
42. "Tanglewood Tales" is similar to Charles Kingsley's book 'The Heroes,' which is read in Year 3 (Back)
44. Five Children and It: In ch 11, near the very end of the book, there's this line: 'Him outside and me in, I was,' said Martha; 'except for fetching up a fresh pail and the leather that that sl-- of a Eliza 'd hidden away behind the mangle.' The word didn't used to mean what it does now; it used to mean a lazy person. (Back)
48. Otto of the Silver Hand: Be aware that the child loses a hand in this story; if your child is sensitive, you might want to gloss over or edit that part. (Back)
50. Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass are nonsensical fun with words and math/logic. The Advisory likes this quote from the author: "I believe that when you and I come to lie down for the last time, if only we can keep firm hold of the great truths Christ taught us--our own utter worthlessness and His infinite worth; and that He has brought us back to our one Father, and made us His brethren, and so brethren to one another--we shall have all we need to guide us through the shadows. Most assuredly I accept to the full the doctrines you refer to--that Christ died to save us, that we have no other way of salvation open to us but through His death, and that it is by faith in Him, and through no merit of ours, that we are reconciled to God; and most assuredly I can cordially say, 'I owe all to Him who loved me, and died on the Cross of Calvary.'" (Lewis Carroll, 1897) (Back)
42. Pocahontas: The John Smith story very likely is false; at best, it's probably very much exaggerated -- but it's the story John Smith told because that's the kind of person he was, and it's the story people believed for years and years. That alone makes it worth knowing.
It's a good thing for children to be drawn to people in history, to feel connected to them as real people, to be interested in them, and the D'Aulaire book makes that happen. Learning what people believed about somebody, even if the version they believed is mistaken, is also educative. People admired the story of Pocahantas because the tale of a young Indian girl saving a potential enemy's life, a stranger's, a foreigner's, was inspiring to them.
And it's a good thing for them to learn, as they do over time with AmblesideOnline, that history is a collection of different viewpoints, that witnesses of the same event can come away with different impressions and different understandings about what happened and why for an assortment of reasons.
One Advsiory progeny majored in history at Purdue, with a focus on Spanish colonialism; one of her favourite professors used to remind his students constantly that they owed it to the people of the past to let them be who they were, and to understand that in the midst of the New World conflicts, nobody knew how it was going to end.
History, and people, are more complex than a simple black and white answer. It's a fairly simple matter to say, "This is the story that John Smith told about what happened. It's probably not true, he liked to exaggerate a lot, but we'll learn more about that later. Right now, this is a really fun story to know, and there really was a young Indian girl named Pocahantas and she traveled to England and met the Queen, so she was certainly seen as somebody special by the English."
It might be compared to the cherry tree story with George Washington. It may not have happened that way, but people told that story and believed it for years for two reasons -- they really admired and respected honesty and integrity, and they believed those qualities were closely connected to George Washington. The cherry tree story is more likely to be true than not -- it's notable that in the original publication the focus was not on George, but rather, the story was told to illustrate the character of his father and his father's standards and parenting tactics, and nobody questioned it until Woodrow Wilson in the 1920s, and he had his own less than disinterested reasons for debunking the heroes who preceded him. But this story, of John Smith, should be seen more as a Tall Tale told by John Smith about real people, but he was quite the braggart and it's likely false. * (Back)
Last update Jun 19, 2017
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