AO Year 2, Basic -

AmblesideOnline - Year 2 Booklist, Basic Version

History studied in Year 2: 1000 AD to Middle Ages

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: 1000 A.D. to Middle Ages

An Island Story, by H.E. Marshall β Δ ($ K) Ω Ω [2]
This Country of Ours, by H. E. Marshall β Δ ($) Ω Κ [3]
A Child's History of the World, by Virgil Hillyer ($ K) [4]

History Tales and/or Biography

* ** The Little Duke, by Charlotte Yonge β Δ ($) Ω Κ [8]
*** Joan of Arc, by Diane Stanley ($)
Optional: Trial and Triumph, by Richard Hannula ($ K) [7]


* ** Tree in the Trail, by Holling C. Holling ($) map
** *** Seabird, by Holling C. Holling ($)

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

      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

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

The Burgess Animal Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess β Δ ($) Ω Κ [5]


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


Purchase all three terms of Year 2's poetry for Kindle (K)
* Walter De La Mare (K)
** Eugene Field and James Whitcombe Riley (K)
*** Christina Rossetti (K)


Tales from Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb β Δ ($) Ω Κ
Pilgrim's Progress Book 1 (Christian's Journey) Δ, by John Bunyan ($) Ω Κ [9]
Parables from Nature, by Margaret Gatty, selections. A modern English paraphrase is available ($ K). Δ ($ K) Ω [10]
* Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher β Δ ($; be sure you get an UNabridged edition) Ω [11]
** The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame β Δ ($) Ω Κ
*** Robin Hood, by Howard Pyle β Δ ($ Ω) Ω Κ [12]

Additional Books for Free Reading [13]

Heidi, by Joanna Spyri. β Δ ($) Ω Κ [14]
A Wonder Book, by Nathaniel Hawthorne β Δ ($) Κ
Tanglewood Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne β Δ ($) Ω Κ [15]
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, by Margaret Sidney β Δ ($) Ω Κ
Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales Δ β ($ K) Κ (selections)
Pied Piper of Hamelin Δ, by Robert Browning ($) Ω Κ
Abraham Lincoln, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)
Five Children and It, by Edith Nesbit β ($ K) Ω Κ [18]
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($ 9-volume set also available)
Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($)
The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting β Δ ($) Ω
Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers ($ K) [16]
Brighty of the Grand Canyon, by Marguerite Henry ($)
Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard Atwater ($ K)
Otto of the Silver Hand, by Howard Pyle β Δ ($) Ω Κ [17]
Chanticleer and the Fox - Barbara Cooney's is one version ($)
Along Came A Dog, by Meindert De Jong ($)
The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite De Angeli ($ K)

If your year one-two children need 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 ($)
Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel: Frog and Toad Are Friends ($), 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 ($)
A Toad for Tuesday, by Russell Erickson ($)
If you would like some easier, but still excellent, living books, for a year 2/3 student to read independently for free reading, consider:
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh ($)
The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes ($)
Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace: Betsy-Tacy ($), Betsy-Tacy and Tib ($), Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill ($)
Billy and Blaze books by C. W. Anderson: Billy and Blaze ($), Blaze and the Forest Fire ($), Blaze and Thunderbolt ($), Blaze and the Mountain Lion ($), Blaze Finds the Trail ($), Blaze and the Lost Quarry ($), Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony ($), Blaze Shows the Way ($)
Impunity Jane: the Story of a Pocket Doll, by Rumer Godden ($)
The Story of Holly and Ivy (a Christmas book) by Rumer Godden ($)
Fairchild Family series: Happy Little Family ($), Schoolhouse in the Woods ($), Up and Down the River ($), Schoolroom in the Parlor ($) by Rebecca Caudill
The Enormous Egg, by Oliver Butterworth ($)

(Purchase a Kindle)


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 weekly schedule lists readings taken from J. Paterson Smyth's commentaries, with Old Testament readings focusing on Genesis, and New Testament in the book of Matthew. (see AO's Bible plan) Charlotte Mason taught both with commentaries, reading the Bible passage first, then narration, then reading the commentary, but Smyth's commentaries may reflect the doctrine of his era and denomination; they are not necessary to follow the Bible schedule.
Optional Bible Resources: Timeline; Calvary Chapel Coloring Sheets; Study questions with maps. (Back)

2. An Island Story, Chapters 22-60 1066-1553, Harold II-Edward VI this year. Term 1: ch 22-32, 1066-1189, Harold II Henry II.
Term 2: Chapters 33-50 1189-1399, Richard I Richard II.
Term 3: ch 51-61 1399-1553, Henry IV-Henry VII.
Kings and Queens Timeline Figures
This book was published in the UK under the title, 'OUR Island Story;' both books are identical except for the title. Be aware that the edition for sale from Wilder Publications has no Table of Contents or chapter numbers. Public domain texts are available for anyone to copy, paste and publish, and many new companies are springing up publishing and selling these texts without editing for typos.
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for An Island Story here. (Back)

3. This Country of Ours, Term 1: ch 1 How the Vikings...
Term 2: not used.
Term 3: ch 2-5 Columbus, 1492-1497, Henry VII.
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for This Country of Ours here. (Back)

4. A Child's History of the World, ch. 47 on Charlemaigne-60; skip ch. 48 ("Getting a Start") on Alfred, as that is also covered in 'An Island Story.'
Term 1 are ch 47, ch 49-53 (ch 45, 47-51 in 1st edition) 1000 AD Charlemaigne, Vikings Peter the Hermit; 800-1100.
Term 2: ch 54-57 (ch 52-54 in 1st edition) Richard I-John I Magna Charta, 1189-1215.
Term 3: ch 58-61 (ch 55-58 in 1st edition) Marco Polo-Joan of Arc; 1275-1456.
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for A Child's History of the World and M. B. Synge's Story of the World here. (Back)

5. Burgess Animal Book - Term1: ch 1-15; Term 2: ch 16-27; Term 3: ch 28-40. See up-to-date searchable taxonomy and/or Kelly Kenar's taxonomy key to research more about the animals in the book (Back)

7. 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.
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)

8. The Little Duke: Charlotte Yonge is an author CM used in the PNEU curriculum. This is a lively, literary biography of Richard, Duke of Normandy, great-grandfather of William the Conqueror, beginning in 943 AD. Yonge's historical information about events of the Viking era is meticulously researched, although presented in a somewhat Victorian tone. AO Advisory member Anne White has written a study guide for this book, which is here. (Back)

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: 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 Δ 4. How the Compass Shows Direction
          Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography: 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)

9. Pilgrim's Progress: The original language is recommended; read why and see recommended versions by clicking here. (Back)

10. "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)

11. Don't let your son 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)

12. Robin Hood may be continued into the summer if necessary to finish. Don't let the language put you off this book. After getting a feel for the rhythym and phrases, many moms report that this is a favorite with their children, especially boys. It 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)

13. 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)

14. 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)

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

16. 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 here. (Back)

17. 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)

18. 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)

For those on a strict budget, recommended purchases are:

Hillyer's Child's History of the World (is used for multiple years; $ K) unless you plan to use M.B. Synge's online books instead
Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock (used for 6 years; ($) - online, but would be cumbersome to utilize that way.)
Joan of Arc, by Diane Stanley if your library does not have it ($)
a Math program
a phonics program (although you can make do yourself, as this mom did)
Tree in the Trail ($) and Seabird ($), by Holling C Holling if your library does not have them
Laura Ingalls Wilder books if your library does not have them ($)
D'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln (free reading), if your library doesn't have it ($)
Other books can be read online or borrowed from the library.

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Last update July 30, 2014