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AO Year 3 1/2 -

Ambleside Online - Year 3.5 Booklist

(A 36-week schedule for this booklist is here.)

This unofficial Year is designed to be picked up at any point during Term 1. Since Year 3.5 is a transitional booklist, it lacks the historical chronology of the other Years. It is intended to be used as an interim booklist for students who completed Year 3 but need an additional year to be ready for the more advanced pace of Year 4. Depending on where you pick up this plan, you may want to add a book or two from Year 3's Free Reading list for literature to Term 1 (if you begin early in the term) or double up on The Story Book of Science and Home Geography to catch up to the point where you begin. This plan uses almost all books that are available online for free since many who find that they need this plan will have already purchased Year 4's books and may not have a budget for another year of curriculum. A schedule dividing this work into 36-weeks is here

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.

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
- other free audiobook source

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

If you're planning to use Ambleside Online, your first stop should be the the FAQ for some information about the curriculum and basic instructions. It is not advisable to attempt this curriculum without first reading the FAQ. Homeschoolers hoping to raise their children to be readers, as Charlotte Mason urged, owe it to themselves to take the first step in reading by looking over the instructions for the curriculum they plan to use. The FAQ has all the questions that people routinely ask, with detailed answers and explanations collected from two years of responses to user questions.

In order to complete the curriculum additional instruction should be provided in the following areas.

Daily Instruction or Practice:

Penmanship or Copywork (AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level is here.)
Phonics (Read notes on teaching phonics in a CM education.) Free online beginning readers by Harriette Taylor Treadwell
Foreign language

Weekly Instruction or Practice:

Correspond history readings with a timeline or century book and map
Music Appreciation, including folksongs and hymns
Nature Study
An artist and a composer each term


This site has many versions; it is preferable for a child to become accustomed to the language and flow of the KJV, as a familiarity with King James English will make other literature more accessible. Please read Lynn Bruce's article on the King James Version. Penny Gardner has a list of Old and New Testament stories to read straight from the Bible that may be useful for Bible time. | Bible timeline | Coloring Sheets from Calvary Chapel | Study questions with nice maps |


Year 3.5 does not follow Ambleside Online's historical sequence. There was concern that, if it did, too many parents would treat year 3.5 as a required year between Years 3 and 4 (in essence, turning AO into a 13-year curriculum), instead of as a detour only for those students who need it.

On The Shores of the Great Sea by M. B. Synge Δ ($ K) Ω OR, if you have A Child's History of the World ($), you may prefer to use it, reading about 2 chapters a week

History Tales and/or Biography

* The Men Who Found America by Frederick Winthrop Hutchinson Δ ($earch)
          OR Heroes Every Child Should Know by H.W. Mabie β Δ ($earch) (Selections; your choice. Our suggestions below. Due to reading level, this is a readaloud.)
** Thirty More Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin Δ ($ K)
          OR, if you prefer an American focus, Four Great Americans by James Baldwin β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ, the chapters on Washington and Lincoln (Franklin is covered in Year 4)
*** The Story of Sir Walter Raleigh by Margaret Duncan Kelly ($ K) OR The Story of Napoleon Δ By H.E. Marshall ($ K)

(possible addition; still under review):
The Book of Missionary Heroes by Basil Mathews β Δ ($earch) Κ (28 ch)


Home Geography for Primary Grades by C. C. Long Δ ($earch) Κ

Natural History

The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock Δ (as a reference) ($)
* By Pond and River by A. Buckley ($ K) Ω
* Wild Life in Woods and Fields by A. Buckley ($ K) Ω
** Ways of Wood Folk by William J. Long β Δ ($earch) Κ
*** A Little Brother to the Bear by William J. Long Δ ($ K) Κ


The Secret of Everyday Things by Jean Henri Fabre Δ ($ K)


A curriculum or program for handwriting is not necessary, but if you want to use one, these are some we've used and can suggest:
A Reason for Writing (Level A: $) (Level B: $)
Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting Series ($)


Continue your Math program

Foreign Language

Lyric Language ($), Phrase-A-Day ($), Triple Play, Triple Play Plus ($), Springboard to French/Spanish ($) are some programs we can recommend.
Read a Parents' Review article on teaching foreign languages


Oxford Book of Children's Verse by Iona and Peter Opie ($), or AO's collection of Classic Children's Poems (these are from Year 1, but are ageless classics suitable for all Years)


(If some of these were read as Free Reading in previous years, you may subsitute from the Free Reading list below)
* English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs β Δ ($earch) Ω Κ Some stories may not be suitable for sensitive children; see list below) OR other literary story collection of your choice, such as Sinbad the Sailor from Andrew Lang's Arabian Nights β Δ ($) Ω (the seven voyages can be spread throughout the weeks as desired)
** *** Men of Iron by Howard Pyle β Δ ($) Ω Κ
** *** At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald β Δ ($) Ω Κ
** Bambi by Felix Salten ($)
*** Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney β Δ ($) Ω Κ

Additional Books for Free Reading - these 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. Parents should 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.

Just David by Eleanor H. Porter β Δ ($earch) Ω Κ
Stories of Don Quixote by James Baldwin ($ K)
Five Little Peppers Midway by Margaret Sidney β Δ ($earch) Ω Κ
Mother Carey's Chickens by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin β Δ ($earch) Ω Κ (under review)
The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit β Δ ($earch) Ω
The Little Lame Prince by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik β Δ ($earch) Ω Κ
Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett β Δ ($ K) Ω Κ
The Arabian Nights Entertainment by Andrew Lang; also online here β Δ ($) Κ (not for sensitive children; be sure to use a version intended for children, such as Andrew Lang's!)
The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde β Δ ($) Ω Κ (includes 5 tales: The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose, The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend, and The Remarkable Rocket)
The Good Master ($) and its sequel, The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy (K)
The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes ($earch)

Stories from the Faerie Queene by Mary Macleod ($earch) Ω or by Jeanie Lang Κ
Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle β Δ (Under review; $ K) Ω

Heroes Every Child Should Know compiled by H.W. Mabie; up to 12 chapters of your choice are scheduled, or, since these are longish chapters, spread fewer chapters over a longer reading time. β Δ
01 Perseus - a retelling of the myth that's even better than the one in The Wonder Book; Perseus killed the gorgon Medusa, and saved Andromeda from a sea monster
02 Hercules - still in progress
03 Daniel - Dan. 6: 1-23, KJV text
04 David - KJV text of 1 Sam 17
05 St. George - good story, but does include some sacrifices to the dragon
06 King Arthur - fine, but not as much fun as Howard Pyle's King Arthur, which is scheduled in Year 5
07 Sir Galahad - fine
08 Siegfried - fine
09 Roland - fine, although the story seems to pick up in the middle
10 King Alfred - fine
11 The Cid - confusing; we couldn't figure out what was heroic about him; he kept killing innocent Moors and the text didn't explain why
12 Robin Hood - fine, but not as much fun as Howard Pyle's version, which is scheduled in Year 2
13 Richard the Lion-Hearted - fine, although the story seems to pick up in the middle
14 Saint Louis - fine
15 William Tell - good story about Swiss history
16 Robert Bruce - exciting tale of Scottish history
17 George Washington - his character and habits rather than actions; better sutied for an older reader who already knows about Washington's deeds
18 Robert E. Lee - his son's reminiscences; focuses on the kind of father he was; interesting, but maybe more enjoyable for an older reader
19 Abraham Lincoln - great perspective of Lincoln's character, though it doesn't get into his political career. Redundant if you read Lincoln in Year 2, or if you use Four Great Americans for this year's history
20 Father Damien - interesting look at a truly self-giving hero, but descriptions of leprosy might be too much for some children

English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs; Tales that should be acceptable for most children are in bold.
01 Tom Tit Tot - a Rapunzel story involving a black imp
02 The Three Sillies
03 The Rose-Tree - gruesome death of a step-sister
04 The Old Woman and Her Pig - talks about hanging a butcher for not butchering an ox
05 How Jack Went to Seek his Fortune
06 Mr Vinegar
07 Nix Nought Nothing - giant kills two little boys
08 Jack Hannaford
09 Binnorie - a drowned princess's bone and hair are made into a harp
10 Mouse and Mouser - in the end, the cat eats the mouse
11 Cap O' Rushes
12 Teeny-Tiny - a ghostly voice demands the return of a bone
13 Jack and the Beanstalk
14 The Story of the Three Little Pigs (although the wolf eats two of the pigs)
15 The Master and His Pupil- a Sorcerer's Apprentice conjures up Beelzebub
16 Mouse and Tatty Mouse - one of the mice is dead for most of the story
17 Jack and His Golden Snuff-Box
18 The Story of the Three Bears
19 Jack the Giant-Killer
20 Henny-Penny
21 Childe Rowland (in this story, Merlin is called a warlock)
22 Molly Whuppie (Molly tricks a giant into killing his own daughters and wife)
23 The Red Ettin
24 The Golden Arm - a man marries a woman for her gold arm, then digs it up after she dies
25 The History of Tom Thumb
26 Mr Fox - Mr. Fox marries and then kills young women
27 Lazy Jack
28 Johnny-Cake - a gingerbread man story
29 Earl Mar's Daughter
30 Mr Miacca - Mr. Miacca eats naughty little boys
31 Whittington and His Cat
32 The Strange Visitor - a visitor enters piece by piece to get a lady
33 The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh
34 The Cat and the Mouse
35 The Fish and the Ring
36 The Magpie's Nest
37 Kate Crackernuts
38 The Cauld Lad of Hilton - about a half-goblin Brownie
39 The Ass, The Table and the Stick - Jack is unlikable
40 Fairy Ointment - pixie ointment makes eyes see differently
41 The Well of the World's End - frog instructs girl to chop off its head
42 Master of all Masters - not much of a story
43 The Three Heads of the Well

Exam Questions


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)

Last update Oct 22, 2006