AO Year 1, Basic -

AmblesideOnline - Year 1 Booklist, Basic Version

History studied in Year 1: Early history (55 BC to 1066 AD), and people throughout history.

Note: The AO curriculum is incomplete without a thorough understanding of Charlotte Mason's ideas and methods and requires that you invest time to familiarize yourself with her philosophy by reading her books. In addition, AO's FAQ addresses questions that people commonly ask about the curriculum.

Detailed weekly schedules for these books are available in various formats:
Html List; PDF; modifiable DOC; modifiable ODT

Table of Contents:


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.
Δ - free etext at
K - free Kindle text from
($) - hard-copy book purchase from
(K) - Kindle purchase from
- free audiobook at Lit2Go
Ω - free audiobook at Librivox [Audio Note]
- other free audiobook source
[0] - Click the bracketed numeral to view a note about the book near the bottom of the page.
[0] - red footnotes indicate a heads-up for parents about the title. We are unable to foresee every incident that might potentially be an issue to every family, but we have red-flagged those that are commonly a concern.

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

In addition to the books, the following subjects should be scheduled daily or weekly.


Penmanship or Copywork
Phonics or reading practice
Foreign language


Correspond history readings with a timeline [tl] and map
Music Appreciation, including folksongs and hymns
Nature Study
An artist and a composer each term


This site has many versions. [1]

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

An Island Story, by H.E. Marshall β Δ ($ K) Ω [4]
* ** Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin, selected chapters β Δ ($ K) Ω Ω Κ [5]
** *** Viking Tales, by Jennie Hall, ch 1-11 β Δ ($) Ω [6]
Optional: Trial and Triumph, by Richard Hannula ($ K) [2] [3]

American History Biography

* Benjamin Franklin, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)
** George Washington, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)
*** Buffalo Bill, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)


Paddle to the Sea, by Holling C. Holling ($) [7]

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

      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.

Natural History/Science

       The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock Δ ($),
            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

James Herriot's Treasury for Children, by James Herriot ($) [8]
The Burgess Bird Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess β Δ ($) Ω Κ [9]


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: $) (Level B: $)
              Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting Series ($)

AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level is here.

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 ($)
              Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers by Samuel L. Blumenfeld ($ K)
              Home Start in Reading by Ruth Beechick ($)

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


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

Foreign Language

Some programs we can recommend:

       Lyric Language ($)
       Phrase-A-Day ($)
       Triple Play, and Triple Play Plus ($)
       Springboard to French/Spanish ($)

Read a Parents' Review article on teaching foreign languages


* A Child's Garden of Verses β, by Robert Louis Stevenson; ($) Ω Κ [10]
** Now We Are Six ($ K) and When We Were Very Young ($ K), by A.A. Milne (4-Volume Pooh Library: $)
*** A Child's Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa ($) OR AO's Year 1 Anthology (K)


The Aesop for Children, by Milo Winter ($) Κ
Tales from Shakespeare, by Charles Lamb β Δ ($ K) Κ Ω
The Blue Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang β Δ ($) Ω Κ , selected chapters. [11]
Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling β Δ ($) Ω Ω [12]
Parables from Nature, by Margaret Gatty, selections. Δ A modern English paraphrase is available ($ K). ($ K) Ω Ω [13]

Additional Books for Free Reading [15]

Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White ($)
King of the Golden River, by John Ruskin β Δ Ω Κ
Peter Pan (or, Peter and Wendy), by James M. Barrie β Δ ($) Ω Ω Κ [14]
Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi Why? β Δ ($ K) Ω Ω Κ
The Red Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang β Δ ($) Κ Ω
St. George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges ($)
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams β Δ ($ K) Ω
Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($)
Pocahontas, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)

If your Year 1 student needs some additional reading practice, we suggest choosing three or four books from the following:
Millicent Selsam's easy readers. Particularly good are: Plenty of Fish, Seeds and More Seeds, and Let's Get Turtles
The Boxcar Children (just the first one) by Gertrude Chandler Warner ($)
A Lion to Guard Us ($), Shoeshine Girl ($), or others by Clyde Robert Bulla
Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel: Frog and Toad Are Friends ($), Frog and Toad All Year ($), Frog and Toad Together ($), Days With Frog and Toad ($)
Owl at Home ($), Grasshooper on the Road ($), Mouse Soup ($), and Mouse Tales ($) by Arnold Lobel
Little Bear books: Little Bear ($), Father Bear Comes Home ($), Little Bear's Friend ($), Little Bear's Visit ($), A Kiss for Little Bear ($), by Elsa Holmelund Minarik
Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant ($)
A Toad for Tuesday, by Russell Erickson ($)

(Purchase a Kindle)

(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.


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. For children who have difficulty reading, one solution is to have them follow the audio version along in a written text. (Back)

Timeline: At this age, students should be keeping a timeline of their own personal history. Instructions for making your own timelines and charts are included in these Parents' Review articles: Book of the Centuries; Teaching Chronology; The Correlation of Lessons. For more details about the why, when, how of keeping CM timelines (and other notebooks), we recommend Laurie Bestvater's book, The Living Page ($). (Back)

1. It is preferable for a child to become accustomed to the language and flow of the King James Version of the Bible, as a familiarity with King James English will make other literature more accessible. Please read Lynn Bruce's article on the King James Version by clicking here.
The list of Bible stories on the weekly schedule is mostly from The Wonder Book of Bible Stories, and it has pictures to go with them. They should be read from the Bible, though, not a retelling.
Optional Bible Resources: Timeline; Calvary Chapel Coloring Sheets; Study questions with maps. (Back)

2. 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 (Back)

3. Trial and Triumph: Descriptions of some trials of the Christians may be intense; parents should preview chapters to determine suitablity based on their children's sensitivities. If you prefer, you can skip this book and cover church history in Years 7-9 with a different book, Saints and Heroes, by George Hodges.
This book tells church history from a definite Protestant perspective; some families may wish to skip this book or find an alternative. (Back)

4. 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 here. (Kings and Queens Timeline Figures) (Back)

5. 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)

6. "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)

The Following geography concepts should be explained and taught this year; a book is not necessary as these can be explained informally during walks and outings. AO's complete list of geography topics is here.
   Term 1: The world is round. Left, right, front (before), back (behind) are positions; know which is which and realize they are dependent on perspective.
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Our World Part I
          Long's Home Geography 1. Position

   Term 2: Fixed direction (north, south, east, west). The sun shows direction: East is where the sun rises, west is where it sets. Stars (North or Pole Star, constellations) show direction and help mariners find their way. The length and direction of shadows can help us tell time as well as direction.
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Long's Home Geography 2. How the Sun Shows Direction
          Long's Home Geography 3. How the Stars Show Direction

   Term 3: The round world can be divided into two spheres. The line dividing it across the middle is the equator; its parallel lines are latitude. The line where the earth meets the sky is called the horizon.
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: Our World Part II

7. 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)

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

9. 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)

10. 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)

11. 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)

12. Note - In "Just So Stories," How the Leopard Got His Spots has one occurance of a racial slur that will need to be omitted; it's near the very end of the chapter. Unabridged audio versions may include the deplorable word. (Back)

13. "Parables of 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 you feel you must substitute, we suggest Clara Dillingham Pierson's "Among the __ People" series because "each story closes with a gentle moral, inspiring children to right behavior," rather than substituting with a science book. (Back)

14. Some parents may wish to make some omissions in Peter Pan: this book is very British and, on a few occasions, Tinker Bell uses the word for a donkey in name-calling. Her character is not admirable, and in chapter 6, fairies are said to be coming home from a wild partying revelry, but the word that is used sounds odd to us because it has changed meaning since the book was written. There is also a casual attitude about violence, although there is nothing realistically explicit. Over all, the book is fun and J.M. Barrie has a fun sense of humor and a charming writing style that is delightful to read. If you read the book aloud, omissions can be made.
Peter Pan was originally as a play called "The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up." Then a novel followed, a prequel to tell how Peter ran away from his mother and went to live with the fairies when he was seven days old. That book is called "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens." And last, the play was re-written as a novel called "Peter Pan and Wendy." (Back)

15. Free Reading books are books that no child should miss, but rather than overloading school time, these can be read during free time. No narrations need be required from these books. Advisory member Wendi C. suggests, "How you handle these is up to you . . ." (more) Parents should also explain to students that historical fiction, while often well-researched, is still fiction, and contains the author's ideas of how things might have happened. Books with asterisks pertain to that term's historical studies. (Back)

For those on a strict budget, recommended purchases are:

Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock (used for 6 years; (purchase) - online, but would be cumbersome to utilize that way.)
a Math program
Paddle to the Sea, by Holling C Holling (your library might have it) (purchase)
D'Aulaire books if your library does not have them: Ben Franklin (purchase), George Washington (purchase), Buffalo Bill (purchase)
children's picture books by James Herriot if your library doesn't have them (purchase)
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 (purchase)
When We Were Very Young (purchase) and Now We Are Six (purchase), by Milne are nice to own, although most libraries will have these
A Child's Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa (purchase) 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 (purchase)

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

Burgess Bird Book Resources - SartorisSmiles has resources for each chapter.
Supplements for Bird Study: Online pictures and information for each chapter | More 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

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 Bucephelas; and *Diogenes (Greek)
The Story of Regulus (Roman)
Cornelia's Jewels (Roman)
Horatius at the Bridge (Roman)
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.)
Arnold Winkelried; (1386)
Bruce and the Spider (Britain, 1329)
The Black Douglas (James Douglas, Britain, d 1330)
Whittington (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)
Maximillian and the Gooseherd (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)
Term 2 (38 pages total)
The Glass Slipper; - Familiar (8 pages)
Master Maid (Unnecessary cruelty to her suitors. Couldn't she just say no?), (16 pages)
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 you may want to look at Hans Christian Andersen's Tales Ω Ω or Howard Pyle's The Wonder Clock Δ or, take a look at these Nine Tales with no fairies, witches or magic spells.) 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.

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Last update July 30, 2014