AmblesideOnline for Groups Form 3 A

History studied this year: 55 BC to 1333
Term 1: 55 BC-900AD; Term 2: 900-1190; Term 3: 1190-1333

Weekly schedule is here.

Table of Contents:

Key: (What do all those symbols mean?)
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.
α - free etext at
K - free Kindle text from
($) - hard-copy book purchase from
(£) Living Books Press purchase from
(K) - Kindle purchase from
Λ - free audiobook at Lit2Go
Ω - free audiobook at Librivox [2]
- other free audiobook source
[0] - Click the bracketed numeral to view any notes about the book near the bottom of the page.
[0] - red footnotes indicate a heads-up for parents and teachers about the title. We cannot foresee every incident that might potentially be an issue to everyone, but we have red-flagged those that are commonly a concern.

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

Bible and Christian Theology

Suggested Devotional Reading




Government and Economics


Current Events


Poetry [35]

Grammar and Composition



Science [42]

Nature Study




Foreign Language


Life and Work Skills

Students who will be moving up to Form 4 next year (and will not be doing Form 3 next year) should read these books, which are scheduled in Form 3 next year, if they have not already read them:

Free Reading

Many thanks to David Hicks, author of Norms and Nobility, for his kind permission to draw from his work and ideas. For more information please see the link to the 1999 edition of his book.


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 student 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 students 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)

4. AO for Groups offers a weekly plan to take students in both Forms III and IV simultaneously through the entire Bible in six years using the same schedule. The schedule is here; it can be printed off as needed and used as a bookmark.
Resources: Study questions with maps; Bible Maps; Bible timeline. Encyclopedia of Bible Truths, 4 Volumes by Ruth C. Haycock (purchase from CBD)
Charlotte Mason had her students reading a commentary. We suggest you use what fits best with your group's belief system, keeping in mind that this year should be a bit meatier than previous years. (Back)

6. The Pursuit of God: 1949, a call to devotion. 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)

8. The Pursuit of Holiness: a no nonsense guide to godly living. (Back)

10. 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)

12. The Birth of Britain is Volume 1 of Winston Churchill's four volume set, "A History of the English Speaking Peoples." The next three volumes will be used in later years. 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.
(Maps of medieval England)
Term 1: Chapter 1-7
Term 2: Chapter 7-13
Term 3: Chapter 14-20
An alternate option is A History of England by Arnold-Forster, ch 1-20, also online at, Google Books; a schedule is here. There's a list that correlates chapters of Churchill's Birth of Britain, The New World, Arnold-Forster's History of England, and Marshall's An Island Story here. (Back)

14. 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)

16. The Magna Carta: also online here. A modern rendering is available, with this caveat: Use paraphrases cautiously. If a student 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 a paraphrase. (Back)

18. Asser's Life of Alfred: Selected passages are scheduled; you can print those selections here. (Back)

20. Saints and Heroes is church history.
Term 1: ch 1 Cyprian-ch 09 Columba
Term 2: ch 10 Charlemagne-ch 13 Bernard
Term 3: ch 18 Wycliffe-ch 14 Becket-17 Francis (Back)

22. Plutarch: Charlotte Mason recommended Thomas North's "inimitable translation." ($) (Back)

24. Ourselves: approximately 22 pages per term. This book will continue through all the remaining years of the AO curriculum. This is the 4th volume of Mason's 6 Volume Series. Pages 1-65 of Book 1 are scheduled this year.
Also available in a modern English paraphrase that can be read online or purchased. (K) The paraphrase of Book I, Self-Knowledge, the first half of Volume 4, can be purchased as a separate paperback book, with this caveat: Sometimes it's necessary to use a paraphrase - everybody has to start somewhere and a brand new student might feel like they're dealing with a foreign language and need to ease up on one or two books - but consistently relying on paraphrases won't do your student any favors.
Term 1: Book 1 pg 1-20
Term 2: Book 1 pg 21-44
Term 3: Book 1 pg 45-65

26. Charlotte Mason had students at this level read the daily news and keep a calendar of events. We suggest students choose the most important 2 or 3 stories of the week and re-write them in their own words as a chronicle of the year, making the heading of each page something like "This Week in History, September 1st, 2003." Teachers: pre-read and filter current events materials (on the web, or in print) as necessary, due to the potential for coverage and topics of an explicit nature, even from conservative sources. We've listed some possible options here.
Blogs as a media form have rapidly overtaken hard-copy publications. News is being reported there, in some cases, faster and more accurately than other, older media forms. Students should learn about them, find one they trust, and check it regularly. However, we recommend that teachers first become familiar with blogs and visit the one(s) their students will frequent. We suggest several poliblogs here, but know that not every message on these blogs will be 'child-friendly' and often have ads that include scantily clad women. Also, most blogs link to a multitude of other blogs and sites that may not be child-friendly.
Comments posted on blogs can be considered a new media equivalent of a letter to the editor, and students should learn how to communicate well on blogs. (Back)

28. The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys:
Term 1: ch 1 (The Listening Time) - ch 8 (Beginning of the Reading Time)
Term 2: ch 9 (The Passing of Arthur) - ch 14 (The Father of English History)
Term 3: ch 15 (First English Guide-book) - ch 20 (Piers the Ploughman)
AO schedules this book in conjunction with Invitation to the Classics; more material is covered in Marshall's History of English Literature in Form 3, and more is covered in Invitation to the Classics in Form 4. If you prefer to use only Invitation to the Classics by Louise Cowan and Os Guinness ($), Students would read pg 77-106 Early Christian Writers to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight this year. A Table of Contents to help with planning is here. (Back)

30. Ivanhoe: books such as Ivanhoe only seem hard if you're not accustomed to the advanced writing and ideas of older books. The way to get used to them is to keep reading them. Go slow, refer to a summary when you, the teacher, have to in order to help your student through the material. Katie Barr has provided a Study Guide for Ivanhoe. (Back)

32. 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") will be divided over three terms. 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)

33. The Age of Chivalry: Students who are unfamiliar with the King Arthur story and find Age of Chivalry out of reach may prefer Tales of King Arthur and the Round Table by Andrew Lang ($ K) Ω
. A schedule for it to pace the book through most of the year is here. Conversely, a student who is familiar with the Arthurian legends and is ready to move on to something different may read Part 2 of The Age of Chivalry: The Mabinogoen. A schedule for that is here. (Back)

34. 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 36-week 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 with our usual caveat: using easier versions of hard books won't help your student build the skills and confidence to tackle challenging content in the future. The best way to learn to read hard books is to read hard books. Go slow, unravel sentence by sentence if you have to, refer to a summary to check yourself (or to get over an especially difficult hump). Sometimes an easier version is necessary, but keep in mind the long range goal: to be able to handle the original with confidence. Another (not easy) option: Online Translation by Francis B. Gummere. Most versions have 43 parts; that also appears in the 36-week 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
Ω Λ (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. 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/teacher 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 student to use paraphrases as a crutch will not help him acclimate to Middle English. We suggest the parent/teacher use the paraphrases only to help the student through the material. Check online sites such as Librivox for free audio readings of poems.
If you prefer, you can use Representative Poetry Online: Follow this time-line of English Poetry and do an anthology of sorts this term. Some firewalls may block access to this link - just a technical glitch. In that case, try this: shorten the URL to then click on "e-Resources" which will take you to a search field. Type in "Representative Poetry." From that page, choose "timeline" and you'll be in the right place. (Back)

38. The Grammar of Poetry by Matt Whitling, from the Imitation in Writing series (Logos School Materials; purchase from CBD: Updated Edition; Teacher's edition; With the current edition, you need both student and teacher's editions. If you can only afford one, purchase the student edition and ask in the forum if you can't work out the answers. (Back)

40. Easy Grammar Plus: It is not necessary to memorize the prepositions at the start, just write a list of them and explain an easy way to remember most of them, such as "any way a worm can go in relations to two apples," or "any way a swallow can go 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. There are about 330 student worksheets in this thick book; expect to do one sheet every day to get through the book in two years. (Purchase 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 workbook included in the teacher's edition. Work through Easy Grammar Plus over two years. Students who are moving up to Form 4 and only have a single year in Form will need to work through it quicker.
If you prefer, you can use Jensen's Grammar. It goes slowly and step-by-step using a thorough answer key, but is not quite as simple as Easy Grammar Plus. There are 75 lessons, so plan to take two years, doing one lesson per week. Students who need to get through the material in a single year should 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 Lamppost Homeschool.
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, but it assumes the teacher has grammar experience (the answer key doesn't always help). The Answer Key $ booklet is sold separately for about $5. (Back)

42. Science: If your student 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)

44. First Studies of Plant Life: this book will be continued next year. Planting, growing and observing germinating seeds and plants is necessary to benefit from this book. Also online at Google Books.
If you prefer, you may substitute Exploring Creation with Botany by Jeanne Fulbright ($) over Forms 3 and 4, with selected activities from the book. (Back)

45. Great Astronomers: There's a paraphrase here. Or, there are briefer biographies online at MacTutor History of mathematics archives at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. They can be searched alphabetically from here. (Back)

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