AmblesideOnline for Groups Form 1B Booklist

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.

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.

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

β -, another free ebook site.
α - free etext at; newer books can be borrowed for one hour at a time.
(ChrBk) - purchase from using AO's affiliate link.
K - free Kindle text from
(£amzn) - Living Books Press purchase using AO's affiliate link.
($amzn) - book purchase using AO's affiliate link.
(K) - Kindle purchase using AO's affiliate link.
(£) - Purchase directly from Living Books Press with an affiliate link; save 10% with discount code: AOBooks
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 about the title. We cannot foresee every incident that might potentially be an issue to every family, but we have red-flagged those that are commonly a concern.

AO is an affiliate of Living Book Press, which means that when you purchase from our (£) links, we receive a commission which allows us to keep offering AO for free.

AO is an affiliate of, which means that when you purchase from our (ChrBk) links, we receive a commission that helps with our costs.

AmblesideOnline is part of's Affiliate program. If you use the Amazon links, we receive a small commission which enables us to cover the costs of keeping the website and curriculum. Amazon links are identified like this: ($amzn) or (£amzn) or (K).

AmblesideOnline Form 1B Curriculum

Bible [6]

Old Testament - Stories of Moses
New Testament - Luke 19-24 and Matthew 1-7

History: 1265-1560 AD

Begin or continue a simple timeline. [4]

An Island Story by H. E. Marshall, ch 39-69 β α (£) (£amzn) (£amzn) $amzn) (K) Ω [8]
A Child's History of the World by Virgil Hillyer, ch 58-68 ($amzn) [10]
This Country of Ours by H. E. Marshall, ch 2-9 β α ($amzn) (K) (£) (£amzn) (£amzn) Ω [12]
Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin, selected chapters β α (£) ($amzn) (£amzn) (K) Ω Ω K [14]


¹ Abraham Lincoln by Ingri D'Aulaire (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($BFBooks) Borrow Online for 1 Hour: α
² Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley ($amzn)
³ Leonardo Da Vinci by Emily Hahn ($amzn) Borrow Online: α [16] OR Michelangelo by Diane Stanley (ChrBk) ($amzn) [18]


The Aesop for Children by Milo Winter (ChrBk) ($amzn) K Λ
¹ Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω [24]
² ³ Robin Hood by Howard Pyle β α ($amzn) Ω) Ω K [26]

Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty. α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) Ω Ω
A modern English paraphrase is available ($amzn) (K) [28]

Pilgrim's Progress, Book 1 (Christian's Journey; also here) α by John Bunyan, second half this year ($amzn) Ω [30]
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang β α (£) (ChrBk) ($amzn) (£amzn) Ω Λ, selected chapters. [32]
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb β α (ChrBk) (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) K Ω [33]
American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenburg (ChrBk) ($amzn)
The Heroes by Charles Kingsley (used for older students) β α (also here) (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K

Poetry [19]

A Child's Garden of Verses (for younger students) β by Robert Louis Stevenson; (ChrBk) ($amzn) Ω K Λ
Now We Are Six (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) and When We Were Very Young (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) by A.A. Milne (4-Volume Pooh Library: (ChrBk) $amzn)

AmblesideOnline's Anthology of 220 Classic Children's Poems, Volume 1: Beginnings ($amzn) (K) (or other quality collection of poems)

¹ Walter De La Mare
² Eugene Field and James Whitcomb Riley
³ Christina Rossetti
Purchase AO's Volume 2 poetry collection, which includes de la Mare, Field, Riley, and Rossetti in paperback or for Kindle ($amzn) (K)


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:
A Reason for Writing Level A: ($amzn) Level B: ($amzn)
Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting Series ($earch)

AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level

Phonics/Reading Instruction

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.

Discover Reading by Amy Tuttle: guide, lesson plans and activities to teach reading with CM's methods.

Additional (non-CM) programs the AO Advisory has used and can recommend (not an exhaustive list):
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann, Haddox and Bruner (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers by Samuel L. Blumenfeld (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Home Start in Reading by Ruth Beechick ($amzn) included in The Three R's (ChrBk)

Beginning readers might gain confidence from classics retold in A Primary Reader by E. Louise Smythe ($amzn)

Recitation [recit]

Term 1
Proverbs 30:5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 41:10
The Cupboard by Walter de la Mare
Silver by Walter de la Mare
Term 2
Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:11; John 14:6
The Duel by Eugene Field
The Prayer Perfect by James Whitcomb Riley
Term 3
Psalm 139:14; John 1:1; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:4
What is pink? a rose is pink by Christina Rossetti
Who has seen the wind? by Christina Rossetti

Foreign Language

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)

Celeste at Joyous Lessons wrote a 3-part blog series on teaching young children a foreign language. There's also a vintage Parents' Review article on teaching foreign languages


Marco Polo by George Makepeace Towle (£) (£amzn) or other Marco Polo book (some suggestions)

In addition, these geography concepts should be explained and taught this year: [20]

Term 1: A compass can show direction when sun and stars are not visible.
Magnetic needle always points north.
Points on the compass (N, S, E, W and points in between: NE)
How sailors use a compass.

Term 2: Planets orbit around the sun.
Earth orbits around the sun in 365 days, making a year.
The earth's turning makes day and night.

Term 3: The poles
Earth's spinning on its tilted axis makes the four seasons

Nature Study and Science

The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock α (ChrBk) ($amzn) as scheduled in Nature Study.

Supplies for Nature Study:
Nature notebook and pencils or paint for each student
Begin to build a library of regional field guides
Plenty of time to allow Nature Study to be a fun learning experience for all

Nature Study Topics for the 2023-2024 School Year:
summer/fall: Trees/shrubs/vines
winter: Stars/sky
spring: Amphibians
AO's full Nature Study rotation

A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick (ChrBk) ($amzn) [22]
The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton Burgess β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K
Secrets of the Woods by William J. Long (used for older students) β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) K Ω


Select a program that meets the needs of your student(s) from our page of Math Options.


Artists (Picture Study) for the 2023-2024 School Year:

2023-2024 TERM 1 Tintoretto (1518-1594; Renaissance)
(This term's music: Renaissance)
Self portrait
1. Crucifixion, 1565, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice; study
2. Christ Before Pilate, 1567, also here Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice
3. The Adoration of the Magi, 1582, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice; study
4. Portrait of a Man, 1586-1589, State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
5. Paradise, 1588, Doge's Palace, Venice
6. The Last Supper, 1592-1594, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here [NOTE]

2023-2024 TERM 2 Claude Monet (1840-1926; French Impressionist)
(This term's composer: Ravel)
1. Terrace at St. Adresse, 1866, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
2. Women in the Garden, 1866, Musee d'Orsay, Paris
3. Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse, 1872, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
4. Woman with a Parasol: Madame Monet and Her Son, 1875, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (see also here)
5. Tulip Fields in Holland, 1886, Musee d'Orsay, Paris
6. The Waterlily Pond, 1899, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (Similar image here)
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here [NOTE]

2023-2024 TERM 3 Georges Seurat (1859-1891; French Post-impressionist)
(This term's music: Opera Overtures)
1. Rock-Breakers, Le Raincy, 1882, also here Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena, CA, USA
2. Man Cleaning His Boat, 1883, Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, UK
3. Bathers at Asnieres, 1883-84, National Gallery, London, UK
4. Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884, Art Institute of Chicago, USA
5. The Eiffel Tower, 1889, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, USA (also here)
6. The Circus, 1891, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here [NOTE]

AO's full Artist rotation

Note: PDF files for AO's picture study are being made available for you to download and print yourself from "A Humble Place"; you can access the PDF files of pictures by clicking the "Individual Artworks Only" link by each artist's name. The "Picture Study aid" link is an additional optional resource and may require you to submit your email address or make a purchase, but the "Artworks Only" link is provided with no strings attached.


Composers for the 2023-2024 School Year:

2023-2024 TERM 1 Renaissance Music (This term's artist: Tintoretto)
1. Songs * * * * *
2. Guillaume Dufay * *   Ave Maris Stella ("Hail, star of the sea") * *
3. Dance Music * * * * *
4. Josquin des Prez * * * *
5. Vocal Music of William Byrd * * * * *
6. Claudio Monteverdi * * * *   Monteverdi wrote the earliest opera still regularly performed: "L'Orfeo" *
     CD and mp3 Options:
     -- The Hillard Ensemble: Music for Tudor Kings seems to offer a nice variety of music from the era. ($amzn) ($mp3); also English and Italian Renaissance Madrigals. ($mp3) The Hilliard Ensemble has multiple CD's featuring Renaissance era composers.
     -- Gloriae Dei Cantores: Masters of the Renaissance (choral sacred music) ($amzn) ($mp3)
     -- Oxford Camerata: Renaissance Masterpieces (vocal) ($amzn) ($mp3)
     -- Dances of the Renaissance ($amzn) ($mp3)
     -- Catherine King: Elizabethan Songs and Consort Music (solo voice, instrumental) ($amzn) ($mp3)

2023-2024 TERM 2 Maurice Ravel (1875-1937; Impressionist) (This term's artist: Claude Monet)
1. Daphne et Chloe - selections * *   complete *
2. Bolero * *
3. Mother Goose Suite * *
4. Pavane pour une infante dufunte (no, there really is no dead princess) * *
5. Piano Concerto in D for the Left Hand (composed for a pianist who lost his right arm in WWI) * *
6. Rhapsody Espagnole * *

2023-2024 TERM 3 Opera Selections (This term's artist: Georges Seurat)
1. Giuseppi Verdi: "Triumphal March" from Aida * * and "Vedi! le fosche" (Anvil Chorus) * * from Il Trovatore
2. Giuseppi Verdi "Libiamo Ne'lieti Calici" (Brindisi; drinking song - parents, preview!) from La Traviata * * and "La Donne Il Mobile," from Rigoletto * *
3. Giacomo Puccini: "O Soave Fancuilla" * * and "Quando M'en Vo" * * from La Boheme, and "E Lucevan Le Stelle" * * from Tosca.
4. Giacamo Puccini: "Un Bel Di Vedremo" * * from Madama Butterfly, and "Nessun Dorma" * * from Turandot.
5. Gioacchino Rossini: overture * * and "Largo al factotum" (Figaro Figaro Figaro. . .) from Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) * *
6. Gioacchino Rossini: William Tell overture * *
We suggest using a selection of Opera favorites that contains most of these, such as Best Opera Album In The World . . . Ever! ($amzn) and filling in any missing pieces with whatever else is on the CD. Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, Bizet's "Au fond du temple saint" from The Pearl Fishers, Verdi's "Celeste Aida" from Aida would be worthy substitutes.
One possibility: 25 Opera Favorites CD ($amzn)
1 - track 7. Giuseppi Verdi: "Triumphal March" from Aida; track 17. Gypsies' Chorus from Il Trovatore
2 - track 3. Giuseppi Verdi: "Libiamo Ne'lieti Calici" (Brindisi) from La Traviata; track 9. "La Donne Il Mobile," from Rigoletto
3 - track 21. Giacomo Puccini: "Che Gelida Manina" from La Boheme; track 23. "Quando M'en Vo" from La Boheme; track 18. "Vissi d'Arte" from Tosca
4 - track 6. Giacamo Puccini: "Un Bel Di" from Madama Butterfly, track 5. "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot
5 - track 4. Georges Bizet: "Au Fond du Temple Saint" from the Pearl Fishers; track 2. Gioacchino Rossini: "Largo al factotum" from The Barber of Seville
6 - track 1. Gioacchino Rossini: William Tell overture
     Free Ebook for younger students Verdi: The Little Boy who Loved the Hand Organ by Thomas Tapper
     Classics for Kids Past Shows: Verdi; Puccini; Bizet; Rossini

AO's full Composer rotation

Hymns for the 2023-2024 School Year:

August: The Rock That Is Higher Than I *
September: For All the Saints who from their Labours Rest *
October: For the Beauty of the Earth * * *
November: Anywhere with Jesus * *
December: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow * *
January: My Song is Love Unknown * *
February: This is My Father's World * *
March: Ah, Holy Jesus * *
April: Count Your Blessings * *
May: All Creatures of Our God and King * * *
June: Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending *
July: Holy, Holy, Holy * * *

AO's full Hymn rotation

Folksongs for the 2023-2024 School Year:

AO's Intro to 2023-2024's Folksongs
August (Bonus): God Bless America
September: Aiken Drum * *   Scottish version: * *
October: The Ash Grove * * * *
November: The Lion Sleeps Tonight * *
Over Christmas break, try learning a less familiar carol: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep My Little Child and/or O Little Town Of Bethlehem
January: The Water is Wide (Oh Waly, Waly) * * * *
February: Now is the Hour * * *
March: Log Driver's Waltz * * *
April: A Man's A Man for A'That ("Should'a been Scotland's national anthem...") * * *
May: Simple Gifts * * *
June: Click Go the Shears * *

AO's full Folksong rotation

Physical Education

One option is Swedish Drill Revisited by Dawn Duran purchase

Additional Books for Free Reading for Form 1 [34]

Are Free Reads required reading?

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (ChrBk) ($amzn)
King of the Golden River by John Ruskin β α (£) (£amzn) Ω Λ K
Peter Pan (or, Peter and Wendy) by James M. Barrie β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) Ω Ω Λ [36]
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi Why? β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) Ω Ω K
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) K Ω
St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges ($amzn)
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) (£) (£amzn) (K) Ω Λ
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($amzn) (K) 9-bk series: (ChrBk) ($amzn) Paperback: ($amzn) (K)
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($amzn) (K)
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($amzn) (K)
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($amzn) (K)
Pocahontas by Ingri D'Aulaire ($amzn) ($BFBooks)
Buffalo Bill by Ingri D'Aulaire ($amzn) ($BFBooks) Borrow Online for 1 Hour: α
Heidi by Joanna Spyri β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) Ω [38]
A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) K Ω
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) Ω K [40]
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K
Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales α β ($amzn) (K) K (selections)
The Pied Piper of Hamelin α by Robert Browning ($amzn) Ω K
Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit β (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) Ω K [42]
The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting [43]
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) [44]
Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry ($amzn)
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K [46]
Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney's is one version (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Along Came A Dog by Meindert De Jong ($amzn)
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett β α ($amzn) Ω Ω Λ
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald β α (£) (ChrBk) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K
Men of Iron by Howard Pyle β α (£) (ChrBk) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) Ω Λ [48]
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) Ω K
The Bears of Blue River by Charles Major α (£) (£amzn)
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K), Swallowdale ($amzn) (K), and others in the series. ($earch)
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge ($amzn) (K)

James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot α (borrow for 1 hr) (ChrBk) ($amzn); also published as "James Herriot's Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children."

The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley β α ($amzn) ($amzn) (K) K Ω [We hope to have a revised version of Anne Whites with notes soon.]

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) and sequels:
The Four Story Mistake (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Then There Were Five (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Spiderweb for Two (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Ω (kayray has read all of these; search for them here)

English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs β α α (£) (ChrBk) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K (more)
King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (18th century, Africa, France and England) (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
The Wheel on the School by Meindert De Jong ($amzn)

Excellent living books for a beginning reader to read independently for free reading:

The Boxcar Children (just the first one) by Gertrude Chandler Warner ($amzn) [First four books: (ChrBk)]
A Lion to Guard Us ($amzn), Shoeshine Girl ($amzn), or others by Clyde Robert Bulla
Henry and Mudgeand others in the series by Cynthia Rylant ($amzn)
A Toad for Tuesday by Russell Erickson by Russell Erickson ($amzn)

Millicent Selsam's easy readers. Particularly good are:
Plenty of Fish
Seeds and More Seeds
Let's Get Turtles

Frog and Toad books (and others) by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad Are Friends (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Frog and Toad All Year (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Frog and Toad Together (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Days With Frog and Toad (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Owl at Home (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Grasshopper on the Road (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Mouse Soup (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Mouse Tales (ChrBk) ($amzn)

Little Bear books by Elsa Holmelund Minarik:
Little Bear (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Father Bear Comes Home (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Little Bear's Friend ($amzn)
Little Bear's Visit (ChrBk) ($amzn)
A Kiss for Little Bear ($amzn)

Easier, but still excellent, living books, for a slightly more advanced reader:

The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh (ChrBk) ($amzn)
The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes (ChrBk) ($amzn)
The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Impunity Jane: the Story of a Pocket Doll by Rumer Godden ($amzn)
The Story of Holly and Ivy (a Christmas book) by Rumer Godden ($amzn)

Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace:
Betsy-Tacy (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Betsy-Tacy and Tib (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (ChrBk) ($amzn)

Billy and Blaze books by C. W. Anderson:
Purchase the 9-volume set (ChrBk)
Billy and Blaze ($amzn)
Blaze and the Forest Fire ($amzn)
Blaze and Thunderbolt ($amzn)
Blaze and the Mountain Lion ($amzn)
Blaze Finds the Trail ($amzn)
Blaze and the Lost Quarry ($amzn)
Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony ($amzn)
Blaze Shows the Way ($amzn)

Fairchild Family series by Rebecca Caudill:
Happy Little Family ($amzn)
Schoolhouse in the Woods (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Up and Down the River (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Schoolroom in the Parlor (ChrBk) ($amzn)

And a little more advanced:

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander ($amzn)
Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop (ChrBk) ($amzn)
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson (ChrBk) ($amzn)
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)

Sarah Plain and Tall series by Patricia MacLachlan
Sarah Plain and Tall (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Skylark (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Caleb's Story (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
More Perfect than the Moon (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)
Grandfather's Dance (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K)


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. Forgotten ClassicsHeidi 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. Timeline: In the early school years, Charlotte Mason recommended two types of simple and developmentally-appropriate timelines (note: simple. It is easy to overcomplicate this). The first is a timeline of the child's personal/family history: when they were born, when a pet came into the family, a house move, etc. The second is a very general outline of history, which is described in Home Education, p. 292. This can be created as per Miss Mason's instructions, or it can be as simple as a string on the wall with notecards clipped to it. The point of this early timeline exercise is not to memorize dates, but rather to begin to "suggest a graphic panorama to the child's mind" (p. 292).

Resources: Read an Advisory member's blog post about early timelines at Wendi Wanders. Instructions for 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, and how of keeping CM timelines (and other notebooks), we strongly recommend reading The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater ($amzn). We have more links on our history page here. (Back)

6. AO's Bible plan can be viewed here. 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.
Optional Bible Resources: Bible Gateway has many versions of the Bible online. Timeline; Study questions with maps. (Back)

8. An Island Story, Chapters 39-69 this year:
Term 1: ch 39-51, 1265-1403; Henry III to Henry IV
Term 2: ch 52-62 1410-1520; Henry V to Henry VIII
Term 3: ch 63-69 1521-1603; Henry VIII to Elizabeth
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. (Back)

10. A Child's History of the World, ch 58-68
Term 1 ch 58-60 (ch 45, 46 in 1st edition) 1275-1346; Marco Polo to Edward III
Term 2: ch 61-63 (ch 47-50 in 1st edition) 1456-1520; Gutenberg to Magellan
Term 3: ch 64-68 (ch 51-54? in 1st edition) 1500's-1588; Ponce de Leon to Queen Elizabeth
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. (Back)

12. This Country of Ours is available in an "Annotated, Expanded, and Updated" version that includes correct tribal names, added information, and a pronunciation guide. Vol 1, used this year, contains ch 1-28. Available in Paperback: ($amzn) or Hardcover: ($amzn) as well as Kindle: (K) More details are explained on our blog
If you prefer, you can still purchase the original version: ($amzn) K The link to Project Gutenberg's etext and Librivox's audiobook have used the original public domain version.
These chapters are scheduled this year:
Term 1 none:
Term 2 ch 2-4 1435-1506; Columbus
Term 3 ch 5-6 1507-1497; Vespucci to John Cabot
For planning purposes, there is a table of contents with dates for This Country of Ours. (Back)

14. Fifty Famous Tales: chapters are scheduled chronologically, rather than in chapter order.
Term 1:
ch 02 King Alfred and the Beggar
ch 20 The Story of William Tell
ch 21 Arnold Winkelried
ch 08 Bruce and the Spider
ch 09 The Black Douglas
Term 2:
ch 46 Whittington and His Cat Part I
ch 46 Whittington and His Cat Part II
ch 46 Whittington and His Cat Part III
ch 46 Whittington and His Cat Part IV
ch 46 Whittington and His Cat Part V
Term 3:
ch 45 The Inchcape Rock
ch 13 Sir Philip Sidney
ch 14 Ungrateful Soldier
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)

16. Leonardo Da Vinci by Emily Hahn is a 'Landmark' book and can be purchased from Sonlight. (Back)

18. The Michelangelo book contains drawings of nude art and drawing of cutting a cadaver. (Back)

19. 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)

Recitation: Charlotte Mason's PNEU schools expected children to be able to recite two Bible verses and a poem for their term exams. We have listed suggestions, but students should be allowed to have some input into what is memorized for recitation. Some students will gravitate towards a specific poem, or want to memorize all of a Psalm, and that should be encouraged. (Back)

20. 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.
Term 1: A compass can show direction when sun and stars are not visible. Magnetic needle always points north. Points on the compass (N, S, E, W and also halfway in between: NE), how sailors use a compass.
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Long's Home Geography α (£) (£amzn) 4. How the Compass Shows Direction
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography (£) (£amzn): The Points of the Compass
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: The Mariner's Compass

Term 2: Planets orbit around the sun. Earth orbits around the sun in 365 days, making a year. The earth's turning makes day and night.
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Our World and Other Worlds Part I
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Our World and Other Worlds Part II
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Day and Night

Term 3: The poles; earth's spinning on its tilted axis makes the four seasons
These topics are covered in these chapters:
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Poles and Axis
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: The Four Seasons Part I
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: The Four Seasons Part II
2 minute explanation on YouTube; also look for Bill Nye The Science Guy episode: "Seasons" (23 minutes)

22. 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)

24. Boys should not be put off by Understood Betsy because it's "about a girl." We've had many, many requests from moms to suggest a Boy Option because their son balked at this book - only to have the same moms later report that "Understood Betsy" turned out to be a favorite book. "Understood Betsy" was also published as "Betsy" in the UK. (Back)

26. Robin Hood: 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 Hood, 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, 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. After getting a feel for the rhythm and phrases, many moms report that this is a favorite with their children, especially boys. This can be the book that helps transition children to some other challenging AO books. You can purchase an unabridged audio of Robin Hood read in a wonderful British accent by David Case at this link: Ω. (Back)

28. 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 or purchase. ($amzn) (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. Relying on paraphrases will prevent your child from developing the mental muscles needed to comprehend older books. But sometimes a paraphrase is needed. If a child is completely lost, then nothing in their brain is firing up, so there are times (and specific children) where it can make the difference between giving up on a book, or using a paraphrase so the ideas at least get through. Read more about this in Wendi Capehart's blog post Imagination and the Mind's Eye. (Back)

30. Pilgrim's Progress: The original language is recommended; read why and see recommended versions. 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)

32. The Blue Fairy Book: This book is used over three years; these are the tales schedules this year: Term 1: Toads and Diamonds; Term 2: The Glass Slipper; Term 3: Master Maid; Prince Hyacinth.
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 α
nine tales from the Blue Fairy Book specially selected with no fairies, witches or magic spells (Back)

33. 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)

34. 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)

36. 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 written 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)

38. 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)

40. Tanglewood Tales is similar to Charles Kingsley's book 'The Heroes,' which is read in Year 3 (Back)

42. 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)

43. Dr. Dolittle - The original has racist issues and references that are unacceptable today. We strongly recommend finding a version edited for modern readers. These public domain versions link to the original version and will need editing. That includes the audio versions we've linked. Project Gutenberg β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) Ω Λ (Back)

44. Some versions of Mary Poppins say 'revised' because P.L. Travers revised chapter 6 herself in 1981 to get rid of some rather nasty racist things; read more about that at this archived link. (Back)

46. 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)

48. 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)

Last updated March 31, 2023 (to update Bible)

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