AmblesideOnline Year 1 Booklist

"A child should be brought up to have relations of force with earth and water, should run and ride, swim and skate, lift and carry; should know texture, and work in material; should know by name, and where and how they live at any rate, the things of the earth about him, its birds and beasts and creeping things, its herbs and trees. . ."
Charlotte Mason, Volume 3, p. 161

A Basic Overview of Year 1

Bible

  • Genesis
  • Luke

Citizenship

  • Hero Stories

History

  • 55 BC to 1066 AD
  • Introduction to Famous People
  • World and American
  • Ancient England
  • Vikings
  • Timeline

Geography

  • Shape of Earth
  • Direction (N, S, E, W)
  • Great Lakes

Science and Math

  • Nature
  • Animal Stories
  • Birds
  • Math

Language Arts

  • Simple Copywork
  • Oral Narration
  • Recitation
  • Phonics

Literature

  • Stevenson, Milne, children's poems
  • Just So Stories
  • Aesop, Fairy Tales, and more. . .

Foreign Language

  • Modern Language

Music and Arts

  • Hymns and Folk Songs
  • Artist/Picture Study
  • Composer
  • Drawing and Handicrafts

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 - manybooks.net, another free ebook site.
α - free etext at archive.org; newer books can be borrowed for one hour at a time.
(ChrBk) - purchase from Christianbook.com using AO's affiliate link.
K - free Kindle text from amazon.com.
(£amzn) - Living Books Press purchase using AO's amazon.com affiliate link.
($amzn) - book purchase using AO's amazon.com affiliate link.
(K) - Kindle purchase using AO's amazon.com 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 Christianbook.com, which means that when you purchase from our (ChrBk) links, we receive a commission that helps with our costs.

AmblesideOnline is part of Amazon.com'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 Year 1 Curriculum

Students will be doing a phonics program, or practicing reading skills. They may do simple daily copywork, no more than five or ten minutes a day. Every scheduled reading is narrated orally. History at this phase, while chronological, also consists of stories of people who will come up later, creating a familiarity with famous characters in history. Foreign language study consists of songs and/or stories.

Daily Work

  • Copywork - 5-10 minutes a day
  • Phonics or reading practice
  • Recitation
  • Mathematics
  • Foreign language
  • Physical activity - one option is Swedish Drill Revisited by Dawn Duran purchase
  • Every scheduled reading is narrated orally.

Weekly Work


Bible [6]

Old Testament - Genesis
New Testament - Luke 1-18

History: Early history (55 BC to 1066 AD), and people throughout history

Begin a simple timeline. [4]

History at this phase, while chronological, also consists of stories of people who will come up later, creating a familiarity with famous characters in history.

Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) [8]
An Island Story by H. E. Marshall β α (£) (£amzn) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) Ω [10]
* ** Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin, β α (£) ($amzn) (£amzn) (K) Ω Ω K [12]
** *** Viking Tales, by Jennie Hall, ch 1-11 β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω [14]

Biography: American History

* Benjamin Franklin by Ingri D'Aulaire (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($BFBooks) Borrow Online: α α
** George Washington by Ingri D'Aulaire (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($BFBooks) Borrow Online for 1 Hour: α [15]
*** Buffalo Bill by Ingri D'Aulaire (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($BFBooks) Borrow Online for 1 Hour: α

Literature

The Aesop for Children by Milo Winter (ChrBk) ($amzn) K Λ
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb (ChrBk) β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) K Ω
OR Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit β α (£) (£amzn) (ChrBk) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) Ω [25]
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang β α (£) (ChrBk) ($amzn) (£amzn) Ω Λ, selected chapters. [26]
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) Ω Ω . [28]
Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty. α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) (K) Ω Ω
A modern English paraphrase is available ($amzn) (K). [30]

Poetry [23]

* A Child's Garden of Verses β by Robert Louis Stevenson; (ChrBk) ($amzn) Ω K Λ [24]
** Now We Are Six (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) and When We Were Very Young (ChrBk) ($amzn) (K) by A.A. Milne (4-Volume Pooh Library: (ChrBk) $amzn)
*** A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa (ChrBk) ($amzn)
OR The Oxford Book of Children's Verse by Iona and Peter Opie ($amzn),
OR AO's collection of 220 Classic Children's Poems. ($amzn) (K)

Copywork

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 ($amzn)

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
Genesis 1:27; Exodus 3:14;1 John 4:8
Autumn Fires, by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Letter is a Gypsy Elf by Annette Wynne
Term 2
Ruth 1:16; 1 Samuel 17:45; 1 Peter 5:7; Daniel 3:17-18
Chickadee, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Song for a Little House, by Christopher Morley
Term 3
John 4:13-14; John 10:9; Colossians 3:20
My Shadow, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Sea Fever, by John Masefield
Trees, by Joyce Kilmer

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

Geography

Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling (ChrBk) ($amzn) [16]

In addition, these geography concepts should be explained and taught this year: [18]

Term 1:
The world is round.
Left, right, front (before), back (behind) are positions.
Know left from right and front from behind.
Left/right, front/behind vary with perspective.

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.

Term 3:
The round world can be divided into two spheres (hemispheres).
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.

Nature Study and Science

The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock α ($amzn), as scheduled for 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 both parent and child

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

James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot α (borrow for 1 hr) (ChrBk) ($amzn) [20]
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess β α (£) (£amzn) ($amzn) Ω K [22]

Mathematics

Select a program that meets your family's needs from our page of Math Options.

Art

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)
Biography
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.

Music

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 [32]

Are Free Reads required reading?

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (ChrBk) ($amzn)
King of the Golden River, by John Ruskin β α (£) (ChrBk) (£amzn) Ω Λ K
Peter Pan (or, Peter and Wendy) by James M. Barrie β α (ChrBk) ($amzn) Ω Ω Λ [34]
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) ($amzn) (paperback K)
Pocahontas by Ingri D'Aulaire (ChrBk) ($amzn) ($BFBooks) [36]

If your Year 1 student needs some additional reading practice, we suggest choosing from the following:

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


Helpful Links for Year 1:

Purchase a Kindle

Charlotte Mason created a "List of Attainments;" what a child should be able to do by age 6, and by age 12. It might be helpful to take a look at this list since many Year 1 students are age 6.

Footnotes

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. Timelines: 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. 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.
Note: Parents/teachers may want to preread Genesis 19, which is scheduled in week 15.
Optional Bible Resources: Timeline; Calvary Chapel Coloring Sheets; Study questions with maps. (Back)

8. Trial and Triumph: Descriptions of some trials of the Christians may be intense; parents should preview chapters to determine suitability based on their children's sensitivities. This book tells church history from a definite Protestant perspective; some families may wish to skip this book or find an alternative. 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.
Trial and Triumph: 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)

10. An Island Story, Chapters 1-21. 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)

12. 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)

14. "Viking Tales" are hero stories and myths of Norway. Read Part 1, chapters 1-11 in Year 1; the second part, about Leif Erikson, is covered in Year 2. (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 families may want to discuss, or tape over. "Farmer George Plants a Nation," by Peggy Thomas. ($amzn), especially "George's Thoughts on Slavery" on page 38 after the timeline page, may be used 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)

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)

16. After reading Paddle to the Sea, you can watch a three-part docu-drama of the book on YouTube by clicking the links: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3 (Back)

18. 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: 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 these chapters:
Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Our World Part II
(Back)

20. "James Herriot's Treasury for Children" was also published as "James Herriot's Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children." (Back)

22. The Burgess Bird Book: 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. See resources here. (Back)

23. 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)

24. What about "A Child's Garden of Verses" illustrated by Thomas Kinkade? There are some wonderfully illustrated versions of children's poems out there to choose from. Children enjoy seeing pictures of children like themselves. While Thomas Kinkade's paintings enjoy popularity with many people, they aren't really geared for children; they're charming, idyllic scenes that appeal more to adults who may be drawn to peaceful scenes of country tranquility. Since there are so many alternatives that would be better suited to children, the concern was that Kinkade's current fame might cause a parent to choose the version with his pictures based on the fame of a name alone rather than with a child's eye. Some favorite versions of "A Child's Garden of Verses" are illustrated by Eulalie and Jessie Wilcox Smith. Children dressed as real children were in Robert Louis Stevenson's day helps to set the poems in their correct time context and may help a child form a perspective that children who lived a long ago were a lot like they are today, which gives a better idea of our place in the world; ie, people who lived before were just as real as people who live today. It would be a shame for children to miss seeing pictures of children alongside these poems about children. (Back)

25. Shakespeare: If you are concerned about some of the themes in Shakespeare because of the age or sensitivity of your students, or if you have never done anything like Shakespeare before, you may wish to adjust the line-up AO has scheduled for Years 1-3 (scheduled plays are listed on AO's weekly schedule) and instead do a couple of the comedies first -- Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, and maybe a historical Shakespeare play. These are the plays AO schedules to be read in a paraphrase for younger students:
     Year 1
          Midsummer Nights Dream
          The Tempest
          As You Like It
          The Winter's Tale
          King Lear
          Twelfth Night; Or, What You Will
     Year 2
          The Two Gentlemen of Verona
          Romeo and Juliet
          All's Well That Ends Well
          Cymbeline
          Macbeth
          The Comedy of Errors
     Year 3
          The Merchant of Venice
          Pericles, Prince of Tyre
          The Taming of the Shrew
          Measure for Measure
          Much Ado About Nothing
          Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Back)

26. If you prefer not to use Lang's "Blue Fairy Book" you may want to consider selected Grimm's Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales , Howard Pyle's "The Wonder Clock," or take a look at nine tales specially selected with no fairies, witches or magic spells. All of these options are linked here, as well as links to articles about why fairy tales are used in a CM education. (Back)

28. Note - In "Just So Stories," How the Leopard Got His Spots has one occurrence 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)

30. "Parables from Nature" is a Christian character book using elements of nature to make its point, and is scheduled for 3 years - Years 1, 2 and 3. 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). 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)

32. 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)

34. 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)

36. 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 Pocahontas 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 Advisory 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 Pocahontas 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)


For those on a strict budget, recommended purchases are:

Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, used for 6 years α (ChrBk) ($amzn)
a Math program
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling (your library might have it) ($amzn)
D'Aulaire books if your library does not have them: Ben Franklin ($amzn), George Washington ($amzn), Buffalo Bill ($amzn) ($BFBooks)
children's picture books by James Herriot if your library doesn't have them ($amzn)
a phonics program (although you can make do yourself, as this mom did)
a well-illustrated (not by Thomas Kinkade - see note below) version of A Child's Garden of Verses is good to own ($amzn)
When We Were Very Young ($amzn) and Now We Are Six ($amzn) by Milne are nice to own, although most libraries will have these
A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa ($amzn) is nice to own unless you already own the Oxford Book of Children's Verse or plan to use AO's online poems
Laura Ingalls Wilder books if your library does not have them ($amzn)

Other books can be read online or borrowed from the library.


Burgess Bird Book Resources

Supplements for Bird Study:
Bird Photos
Bird songs online
An online birdfeeder guide (or here)

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

For most families, especially those 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 Mom 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.


From Fifty Famous Stories Retold, the following chapters are scheduled:

The Sword of Damocles (Greek)
Damon and Pythias and A Laconic Answer (Greek)
The Brave Three Hundred
Alexander and Bucephalus and *Diogenes the Wise Man (Greek)
The Story of Regulus (Roman)
Cornelia's Jewels (Roman)
Horatius at the Bridge (Roman)
The Story of Cincinnatus (Roman)
Androclus and the Lion (Roman)
King Alfred and the Beggar (Saxon England)
The Story of William Tell (Switzerland 1300's; the AO Advisory prefers Horace Scudder's version of this story from his Book of Legends.)
Arnold Winkelried; (1386)
Bruce and the Spider (Britain, 1329)
The Black Douglas (James Douglas, Britain, d 1330)
Whittington and his Cat (Britain, 1423)
The *Inchcape Rock (1500's; look for Peter Graham's painting)
Sir Philip Sidney (1586) and *The Ungrateful Soldier
George Washington and his Hatchet; .5 page and *Doctor Goldsmith (1774)
Casabianca (1798)
Picciola (1800's)
How Napoleon Crossed the Alps (1800's)
Maximilian and the Goose Boy (King of Bavaria, 1800's)
Antonio Canova (1822)
Grace Darling (1842)
The Kingdoms (Frederick William, King of Prussia)
Lisa Dal Santo has created a complete list that dates, summarizes and arranges all of the chapters in book order and chronological order.


From the Blue Fairy Book, the following chapters are scheduled:

Recommended List (with possible problematic events in parentheses for parents whose children may have specific issues with certain elements of stories)
Term 1 (37 pages total)
Beauty and the Beast; familiar (20 pages)
Why the Sea is Salt (a man tells his brother to go the Dead; a ship sinks and all perish) (5 pages)
Prince Darling (12 pages) and Toads and Diamonds
Term 2 (38 pages total)
The Glass Slipper; familiar (8 pages)
The Master Maid (Unnecessary cruelty to her suitors. Couldn't she just say no?), (16 pages; Read Brandy Vencel's blog post about allusions to the redemption story in this tale.)
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp -Familiar (A wicked Magician and his wicked Brother are killed) (14 pages)
Term 3 (37 pages total)
East of the Sun, West of the Moon; (11 pages)
The Forty Thieves (9 pages)
White Cat (The white cat is killed and the princess appears) (17 pages)
Some Good Alternatives
Princess and the Glass Hill; (10 pages)
Blue Beard (6 pages)
Prince Hyacinth (7 pages)
Toads and Diamonds (a selfish girl dies in the woods) familiar (4 pages)
Snow-white and Rose red (a bear kills an evil gnome) familiar (7 pages)
Hansel and Gretel familiar (the witch dies) (8 pages)
Rumpelstiltskin (however, Rumpelstiltskin tears himself in half at the end); familiar (4 pages)

If your children are sensitive to tragic stories, (and every family's needs will be different because children are unique and have varying levels of tolerance) you may prefer these less violent suggestions. However, you may want to first read our comments before assuming that such tales are bad for children.

Term 1 (32 pages total)
The Glass Slipper; common (8 pages)
Felicia and the Pot of Pinks; (9 pages)
Toads and Diamonds (a selfish girl dies in the woods) - familiar (4 pages)
East of the Sun, West of the Moon; (An troll woman bursts with anger) (11 pages)
Term 2 (32 pages total)
Beauty and the Beast; familiar (20 pages)
Prince Hyacinth (7 pages)
Why the Sea is Salt (a greedy man tells his brother to go the Dead; ship sinks, all perish) (5 pgs)
Term 3 (29 pages total)
Snow-white and Rose red (a bear kills an evil gnome) familiar (7 pages)
Prince Darling (12 pages)
Princess and the Glass Hill; (10 pages)
Some Good Alternatives
Hansel and Gretel familiar (the witch dies) (8 pages)
Rumpelstiltskin (however, Rumpelstiltskin tears himself in half at the end); familiar (4 pages)

If you prefer not to use Lang's Blue Fairy Book, you may want to look at Hans Christian Andersen's Tales Ω Ω or Howard Pyle's The Wonder Clock α or, take a look at these Nine Tales with no fairies, witches or magic spells. English Fairy Tales retold by F. A. Steel (1918) includes folk tales, such as The Three Bears, The Three Sillies, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Childe Roland, The Babes in the Woods.

Read about fairy tales from CM's original PR magazine: 1, 2, 3, and read Wendi Capehart's article about Fairy Tales.

Another option: Grimm's Fairy Tales Ω; here is one possible suggestion for edits.

Last updated March 31, 2023 (to update Bible)

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