AO Year 5, Basic -

AmblesideOnline - Year 5 Booklist, Basic Version

History studied in Year 5: 1800-1914 up to WWI
Term 1: 1800-1840's; Term 2: 1840's-1860's; Term 3: 1860's-1914

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
Foreign language
Musical Instrument Practice


Art Appreciation (see AO's scheduled rotation of picture study here.)
Grammar (AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level is here.) Year 5 exam questions will focus on nouns, pronouns, proper nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
Correspond history readings with a timeline or century book [tl] and map
Music Appreciation, including a composer, folksongs and hymns
Nature Study
One Life from Plutarch per term (see AO's scheduled Plutarch rotation here)
A Shakespeare play each term (see AO's scheduled Shakespeare rotation here)


This site has many versions. [1]

History: 1800-1914 up to WWI

This Country of Ours, by H.E. Marshall β Δ ($; K) Ω [2]
* ** Abraham Lincoln's World, by Genevieve Foster ($) [7]
*** The Story of the World Volume 4, The Modern Age, by Susan Wise Bauer ($ K) [4]

History Tales and/or Biography

* ** Of Courage Undaunted: Across the Continent with Lewis and Clark, by James Daugherty ($)
** *** Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Teddy Roosevelt, by George Grant ($ K)
Optional: Trial and Triumph, by Richard Hannula ($; K) [8]


The Book of Marvels: The Occident and/or Second Book of Marvels: The Orient, by Richard Halliburton ($)
Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel ($) [w]
What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel ($) [w]
Ten minutes of map drills each week [geo]
Locate places from the day's reading on a map

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

      Term 1: Land forms such as:
            continent, island, mountain, hill, isthmus (neck),
            mainland, peninsula, cape, plain, prairie, shore, forest,
            field, plain, tundra, desert, oasis.
            Bodies of water such as:
            brook, creek (stream), river, pond,
            lake (inlet, outlet), sea, ocean, cove, bay, gulf, strait

      Term 2: Food crops (vegetables, grains, fruit)
            Other useful plants

      Term 3: Trees, flowers
            What plants need to grow.

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

Wild Animals I Have Known, by Ernest Thompson Seton β Δ ($) Κ
Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Book 5, by Worthington Hooker, edited by Michael J. McHugh ($) [9]
Madam How and Lady Why, by Charles Kingsley β Δ ($) Ω Κ [10]
Great Inventors and Their Inventions, by Frank P. Bachman (or The Story of Inventions Michael J. McHugh and Frank P. Bachman) Δ ($) Ω [11]
Optional: Physics Lab in a Housewares Store, by Robert Friedhoffer (K) ($earch) [12]

Science Biography

* ** biography of Alexander Graham Bell, like Always Inventing, by Tom L. Matthews ($), or Talking Wire, by O.J. Stevenson ($) OR biography of Marie Curie
** *** biography of George Washington Carver ($)


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.


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

Foreign Language



* Rudyard Kipling (K)
** Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [13] (K) Hiawatha Ω
*** John Greenleaf Whittier and Paul Laurence Dunbar (K)


The Age of Fable, by Thomas Bulfinch β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ [14]
* King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, by Roger Lancelyn Green ($)
** Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens β Δ ($ $ K) Ω Κ
*** Kim, by Rudyard Kipling β Δ ($earch K) Ω

Additional Books for Free Reading [16]

Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter, by Miriam Huffman Rockness There is much focus on this book right now, with the movie/DVD associated with it, and there is a great need for such a hero of the faith, who worked with Muslims. Students should read the first half; the second half is optional. ($)
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott β Δ ($) Ω
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens β Δ ($) Ω Κ
Captains Courageous, by Rudyard Kipling β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ
Puck of Pook's Hill, by Rudyard Kipling β Δ ($) Ω Κ
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ
The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain β Δ ($ K) Ω
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson β Δ ($ K) Ω Ω Κ
Lad: A Dog (or another book in the Lad series), by Albert Payson Terhune Δ ($)
The Treasure Seekers, by Edith Nesbit β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ
The Wouldbegoods, by Edith Nesbit β Δ ($) Ω Κ
Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery β Δ ($ $eries K) Ω
The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($)
Little Town on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($)
These Happy Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($)
The First Four Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder ($)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, by Kate Douglas Wiggin β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge β Δ ($earch) Ω Κ
Michael Faraday, Father of Electronics, by Charles Ludwig ($ K )
* Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham ($)
** Rifles for Watie, by Harold Keith ($)
** Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt ($ K)
*** Rilla of Ingleside, by Lucy Maud Montgomery; shows WWI effects on a community. Eighth book in the Anne of Avonlea series; those who like these books might enjoy Rilla more if they read some of the earlier ones first. β Δ ($ $ K) Ω
*** Falcons of France, by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall (K)
*** Goodbye Mr. Chips, by James Hilton ($ K)
The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller β ($) Ω Κ

If your students in years 4-6 could benefit from some easier, but still excellent living books for free reading, consider choosing four or five books from this list:

       Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien ($)
       The Rescuers by Margery Sharp ($) (and others in the series)
       The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden ($)
       Homer Price by Robert McCloskey ($)
       Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey ($)
       The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald (particularly interesting to boys; $)

       Noel Streatfeild books (appealing to girls in particular)
                  Ballet Shoes ($), Skating Shoes ($)
                  Dancing Shoes ($)
                  Theater Shoes ($)

       Kate Seredy books, including:
                  The Good Master ($)
                  The White Stag ($)
                  The Singing Tree ($)
                  The Chestry Oak ($)

(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 simple, single-page timeline of major events and a Book of Centuries. Instructions for making your own timelines and charts are included in these Parents' Review articles: Book of the Centuries; Teaching Chronology; The Correlation of Lessons. For more details about the why, when, how of keeping CM timelines (and other notebooks), we recommend Laurie Bestvater's book, The Living Page ($). (Back)

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 and Eugene Stock's commentaries, with Old Testament readings focusing on the kings and prophets in Israel, and New Testament on the first part of the life of Christ from all the gospels in harmony. Not every week has assignments from both OT and NT. (see AO's Bible plan) Charlotte Mason taught with commentaries, reading the Bible passage first, then narration, then reading the commentary, but Smyth's and Stock's commentaries may reflect the doctrine of their era and denomination; they are not necessary to follow the Bible schedule. You can follow this schedule without commentary, or choose your own.
Optional Bible Resources: Timeline; Study questions with maps. (Back)

2. This Country of Ours: Charles I-George III this year.
Term 1: ch 64-75 (Washington-Tyler, George III - George IV- Victoria, 1783-1845)
Term 2: ch 76-87 (Monroe-Buchanan, George IV-Victoria, 1818-1863)
Term 3: ch 88-99 (Johnson-Wilson, Victoria-George V, 1865-1919)
This Country of Ours is our first choice for this term's US history book, and is used in all terms. The 'OR' options are world history selections; they are not an adequate substitute for this book. Year 5 uses the chapters that cover the time period between 1783-1914. 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 This Country of Ours here. (Back)

4. Story of the World: The historical books that were recommend for Years 1-6 such as An Island Story, A Child's History of the World, Abraham Lincoln's World, The Story of Mankind were carefully selected based on literary quality and availability for those historical periods and we believe that Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World Volume 4 is the best book for the twentieth century that meets that same criteria. The book is not used until Term 3. To help with your planning, a Table of Contents for this book, with loose dates, is here.
Term 3: ch 1-22 (Back)

7. Abraham Lincoln's World:
Term 1: first half, 171 pages
Term 2: second half, 171 pages (Back)

8. 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.
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 appreicate it." - David Hoos, Canon Press - Customer Service (Back)

Material World/What the World Eats - How to use these books:
Leave them laying out, preferably near a globe or world map, and browse through them together from time to time.
Leave them laying out, browse through them and maybe once a month pick a country that especially interests your child. Look it up (briefly) on Wikipedia or in a good Atlas. Read a little bit more about it. Find it on a map or globe.
If your child is interested, he can pursue additional research in his free time and learn more about countries that particularly interest him, but this should be his own delight directed study or hobby.
How not to use these books: as the basis of a unit study or a burdensome checklist of additional tasks to fulfill.
Note: Material World: pg 16 and pg 70 have some National Geographic types of photos that parents may want to screen.
Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio looks similar to What the World Eats; we think it could be used interchangeably. ($) (Back)

Geography. Geosafari (available now on CD-rom) would be sufficient. ($ purchase basic geography card set) SeterraOnline offers Free Map Quiz Games. If you have an iPad or iPhone, TapQuiz is a free map quiz app. (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: Land forms such as continent, island (archipelago), mountain, hill, isthmus (neck), mainland, peninsula, cape, plain, prairie, shore, forest, field, plain, tundra, desert, oasis. Bodies of water such as brook, creek (stream), river, pond, lake (inlet, outlet), sea, ocean, cove, bay, gulf, strait
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Long's Home Geography Δ 24. A Map
          Long's Home Geography Δ 25. Forms of Land and Water
          Long's Home Geography Δ 26. More About Forms of Land and Water
          Long's Home Geography Δ 27. A Trip to the Highlands

   Term 2: Food crops (vegetables, grains, fruit) and other useful plants
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Long's Home Geography Δ 29. Useful Vegetables
          Long's Home Geography Δ 30. Useful Grains
          Long's Home Geography Δ 31. Fruits
          Long's Home Geography Δ 32. Useful Plants

   Term 3: Trees, flowers; what plants need to grow.
          These topics are covered in these chapters:
          Long's Home Geography Δ 33. Forest Trees
          Long's Home Geography Δ 34. Flowers
          Long's Home Geography Δ 35. What is Necessary to Make Plants Grow

9. Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Book 5: either the 1992 edition, or the 2002 edition, which is organized slightly differently. (Back)

10. Of what value is an old science book like Madam How and Lady Why? Apart from the superior writing quality, the best thing you can get out of old science books is a strong sense that science is a constantly changing thing, and that the "scientific evidence/theory/conclusion" of today can be debunked in a year, or two, or ten. Children should learn to take the words "Scientists think..." for exactly what they are worth (always worth considering, but never to be considered the final word). Reading older books will help you develop that sense.
Note on Kingsley's "old earth" comments: During the era when Madam How and Lady Why was written, there was no "young earth" discussion out there: evidence seemed to show an old earth, and the Church of England (Charles Kingsley was a clergyman), by and large, accepted a kind of theistic evolution.
Anne White has written a Study Guide with links for Madam How and Lady Why. The book has been scheduled slowly over two years. Madam How and Lady Why is an earth science book; if you use the study guide, you'll see that it takes time to adequately cover the subject matter. Researching the topics is what makes this useful as a science book. This year, the second half of the book is covered:
Term 1: Madam How's Two Grandsons, The Coral Reef
Term 2: Field and Wild, The World's End
Term 3: Homeward Bound (Back)

11. 'The Story of Inventions' is online, except for the last 2 chapters, which were a later addition and still copyrighted. The online edition does not have the two later chapters. If you have the second edition, the chapter order may not match the AO schedule. AO member Amy H. posted a revised list on her blog here. 'Great Inventors and Their Inventions', by Frank P. Bachman is an earlier version of the same book. If you have a copy, you can substitute. Or, boys might enjoy 'War Inventions', by Charles R. Gibson (the Advisory hasn't read this yet.) All About Famous Inventors and Their Inventions Δ, by Fletcher Pratt is similar; The Story of Great Inventions, by Elmer Ellsworth Burns Δ might be another option. Watch 6 min video on Medieval Manuscripts (Back)

12. Friedhoffer's "Physics Lab in a . . ." books are a great resource, but they're out of print; don't spend more than $10 on a used copy. (Back)

13. Longfellow, used in Year 3, is repeated in Year 5 because his longer poems are more historically appropriate for this year; try breaking up longer poems and reading them over a few days. (Back)

14. Age of Fable, used over three years, is a book about Greek mythology, and some editions use illustrations of nudes, which some families might find objectionable. This year: ch 15 (Graeae) - ch 28 (Troy)
Term 1: ch 15 (The Graeae, Perseus and Medusa, Perseus and Atlas) to ch 20 (Theseus)
Term 2: ch 20 (Olympic and other games, Daedalus, Castor and Pollux) to ch 24 (Amphion-Muusaeus)
Term 3: ch 25 (Arion) to ch 28 (Agamemnon-Troy) (Back)

16. 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; ($) - this is online, but would be cumbersome to utilize that way.)
a math program
Abraham Lincoln's World, by Genevieve Foster ($)
Explore the Holy Land, by Ann Voskamp ($), or Complete Book of Marvels, by Richard Halliburton or other geography book (try the library or used book vendors)
The Story of the World Volume 4 The Modern Age, by Susan Wise Bauer (used in year 5 and 6) ($ K)
Of Courage Undaunted, by James Daugherty (check library) ($)
Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Teddy Roosevelt, by George Grant ($)
Biography of Alexander Graham Bell (check library)
Biography of George Washington Carver (check library)
Christian Liberty Nature Reader grade 5 ($)
a Latin/foreign language program
Laura Ingalls Wilder books if your library doesn't have them (purchase 9-volume set)
Other books can be read online or borrowed from the library.

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Last update July 30, 2014