AmblesideOnline Year 8 Booklist
As students mature, their reading material will present more challenging content, and may include strong language and more mature themes. We have placed footnotes linked in red beside those books that most parents will consider an issue. However, we cannot anticipate which content might be an issue for every family. We encourage parents to pre-screen material to determine its appropriateness for their child and family.
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.
K - free Kindle text from amazon.com.
(£amzn) - Living Books Press purchase using AO's amazon.com affiliate link.
($amzn) - book purchase using AO's amazon.com affiliate link.
(K) - Kindle purchase using AO's amazon.com affiliate link.
(£) - Purchase directly from Living Books Press with an affiliate link.
Λ - free audiobook at Lit2Go
Ω - free audiobook at Librivox 
∩ - other free audiobook source
 - Click the bracketed numeral to view any notes about the book near the bottom of the page.
 - red footnotes indicate a heads-up for parents about the title. We cannot foresee every incident that might potentially be an issue to every family, but we have red-flagged those that are commonly a concern.
AO is an affiliate of Living Book Press, which means that when you purchase from livingbookpress.com we receive a commission which allows us to keep offering AO for free. LBP links are identified like this: (£)
AmblesideOnline is part of Amazon.com's Affiliate program. If you use the Amazon links, we receive a small commission which enables us to cover the costs of keeping the website and curriculum. Amazon links are identified like this: ($amzn) or (£amzn) or (K), but we have provided links to free and alternate sources as well.
AmblesideOnline Year 8 Curriculum
This is a collection of some of the best resources for this time period. Even Advisory members aren't able to cover all of these with every single one of their own students and have to be selective. Feel free to pick and choose from among these suggestions. The best choice may just be the book you already own, and the one from which your student can narrate. (If this looks overwhelming for your student, you might consider plan B - a lightened load for year 8).
- Current Events (Keep up with your choice of periodicals or blogs)
- Foreign language
- Music Appreciation, including composers, folksongs and hymns
- Outdoor Nature Study
- Artist/Picture Study
- One of Plutarch's Lives spread over each term
- A Shakespeare play spread over each term
The following weekly readings should be broken up into daily readings in whatever way works best for your family.
Bible and Christian Theology
Old Testament: Judges, Ruth, I/2 Samuel, 1 Kings, Ecclesiastes
New Testament: Matthew
Suggested Devotional Reading
History: 1400's-1688 (Renaissance and Reformation)
Term 1: 1400-1605; Term 2: 1605-1649; Term 3: 1649-1688
Make a century chart and Century Book of the period studied. 
* A Man For All Seasons by Robert Bolt ($amzn (K) 
* The Life of Sir Francis Bacon by William Rawley This short biography is the introduction to "The Works of Francis Bacon". α
* ** The Voyage of the Armada The Spanish Story by David Howarth ($amzn)
** Journal of... the English Plantation settled at Plymouth 
** The Life of Dr. [John] Donne by Izaak Walton (fairly short) α α
** *** A Coffin for King Charles by C. V. Wedgwood ($amzn) 
*** Chapter 23 (the epilogue) from Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans in England by Sir Charles Firth 
History Supplements and Speeches
* A slightly abridged version of Martin Luther's defense before the Diet of Worms
* Queen Elizabeth's speech to the Spanish Armada, July 29, 1588 (included in Churchill's book)
*** John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions - Meditation XVII
Shakespeare for the 2021-2022 School Year:
* Julius Caesar
** The Two Gentlemen of Verona
*** Romeo and Juliet
The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys by H.E. Marshall ch 32-59 β α ($amzn) (K) 
* Everyman, a Morality Play α ($amzn) (K) Ω 
* ** Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley β α (K) weeks 1-18 (study guide)
*** The Diary of Samuel Pepys, excerpts 
** *** I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni β α ($amzn) (K) Ω 
*** The Holy War by John Bunyan β α Divided and slightly annotated here. ($amzn) ($amzn) Ω 
* Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves by Roy Maynard ($amzn) OR The Faerie Queene, Bk I, ed. by Carol Kaske ($amzn) (K)
* Shakespeare's Sonnets β, selected. 
** John Donne and George Herbert - 13 Donne poems (K) (notes here) and 10 Herbert poems
*** John Milton, selected poems, to include Paradise Lost Book I (14 poems here.)
The Roar on the Other Side: A Guide for Student Poets by Suzanne Clark ($amzn)
Include selections from Shakespeare, the Bible, poetry and other sources. These selections may be the same ones used for recitation.
Grammar and Composition
Scripture suggestions: * Romans 6; ** 1 Cor. 13; *** Psalms 139
Shakespeare - selected passages, all terms. 
Poetry - a poem by that term's poet, all terms.
Begin Latin if you've not started already.
Continue with any previous foreign language studies. 92]
* Christopher Columbus, Mariner by Samuel Eliot Morison ($amzn) 
OR The Life of Christopher Columbus by Edward Everett Hale β α ($amzn) (K) 
OR 1493 for Young People: From Columbus's Voyage to Globalization by Charles C. Mann ($amzn) (K)
Ten minutes of map drills each week 
Locate places from the day's reading on a map
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (£) (£amzn) 
* ** Utopia by Sir Thomas More β α ($amzn) Ω 
Francis Bacon essays (listed by title) β α ($amzn) (K), selected essays are suggested in the footnotes. 
Plutarch for the 2021-2022 School Year:
Term 1: Pompey, Part 1 (Study Guide with text; Text Only)
Term 2: Pompey, Part 2 (Study Guide with text; Text Only)
Term 3: Themistocles (Study Guide with text; Text Only)
Purchase this year's study guides, Vol 6, in one book: ($amzn) (K)
AO's full Plutarch rotation
Government and Economics
Students should have a plan for keeping up with current events. 
First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson, Parts 2, 3 α [Google Books] ($amzn) 
Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson ($amzn) (K) 
Or Marvels of the Molecule by Lionel Salem ($amzn)
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom ($amzn) (K) 
Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball β α (£) (£amzn) 
* The Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday β α ($amzn) (K) 
** Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science by John Hudson Tiner ($amzn)
** Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman ($amzn) (K)
*** A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking ($amzn) (K) 
*** William Harvey and the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood by Thomas Henry Huxley β Images for text
Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan ($amzn) (CBD) 
Keep flower and bird lists of species seen, select a special study for outdoor work, and continue to maintain nature notebooks.
Nature Study Topics for the 2021-2022 School Year:
winter: Rocks, minerals and soil
AO's full Nature Study rotation
Continue your math program; for some options, see this page.
Artists (Picture Study) for the 2021-2022 School Year:
TERM 1 Jan Van Eyck (1395-1441; Flemish Northern Renaissance) (This term's composer: Saint-Saens and Berlioz, Early Romantic)
The Crucifixion and The Last Judgement are two of Van Eyck's most important and well-known works; however, they're gruesome, so alternatives have been suggested along with them.
1. The Crucifixion, 1425-30 Brussels, Belgium OR Birth of John the Baptist, 1422, Museo Civico d'Arte Antica, Turin, Italy
2. The Last Judgement, 1425-30, Brussels, Belgium OR Madonna with Child Reading, 1433, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
3. Adoration of the Lamb (From the Ghent Altarpiece, 1425-30)
4. The Annunciation, 1434-1436, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
5. The Arnolfini Wedding, 1434, National Gallery, London
6. Man in a Red Turban, 1433, National Gallery, London
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here
TERM 2 Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510; Florentine Renaissance) (This term's composer: Bach)
1. Fortitude, c. 1470, Uffizi Gallery, Florence (also here; CM describes this in Vol 4, Book 2, pg 41)
2. Primavera, c. 1482, Uffizi Gallery, Florence or, this more modest alternate detail
3. Madonna of the Magnificat 1483-85, Uffizi Gallery, Florence
4. The Birth of Venus, c. 1485, Uffizi Gallery, Florence or, this more modest detail
5. A Young Man Being Introduced to the Seven Liberal Arts, c. 1484, Louvre, Paris (also here)
6. Calumny of Apelles, or, more modest detail, 1494-95, Uffizi Gallery, Florence (described in CM's Vol 4 Book 1 pg 151)
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here
TERM 3 Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840; German Romantic) (This term's composer: Liszt)
1. The Cross in the Mountains 1808, Gemaldegalerie, Dresden, Germany
2. The Wanderer above the Mists, 1817-18, Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
3. Chalk Cliffs on Rügen, 1818-19, Stiftung Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur, Switzerland
4. On Board a Sailing Ship, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
5. Moon Rising over the Sea, 1821, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
6. Woman at a Window, 1822, National Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here
Hans Holbein the Younger would work great for Picture Study in Term 1 this Year, using the following portraits:
Self Portrait, 1542
1. Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1523
2. Sir Thomas More, 1527
3. Henry VIII, King of England, 1535
4. Jane Seymour, 1536
5. Anne of Cleves, 1539
6. Edward, Prince of Wales, 1543
Composers for the 2021-2022 School Year:
TERM 1 Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) and Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921; Romantic) (This term's artist: Jan Van Eyck)
1. Saint-Saëns - Symphony no 3 in C min Op 78 * *
2. Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre Op 40 * *
3. Saint-Saëns - Carnival of Animals * *
4. Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique * *
5. Berlioz - Dance of the Sylphs (from Faust Op. 24) * *
6. Berlioz - Rakoczy (Hungarian) March (from Faust Op. 24) * *
Classics for Kids Past Shows: Berlioz; Saint-Saens
TERM 2 Johann Sebastian Bach ( 1685-1750; Baroque) (This term's artist: Sandro Botticelli)
1, 2. Magnificat in D major BWV 243 (4 weeks) * *
3. Chaconne from Partita in D minor BWV 1004 * *
4. any Church cantata * *
5. Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, BWV 1051 * *
6. Art of the Fugue BWV 1080 * * Full * *
Purchase the book Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia ($amzn) by Opal Wheeler
Free Ebook for younger students Johann Sebastian Bach: The Boy who sang in the streets by Thomas Tapper
Classics for Kids Past Shows: Bach
TERM 3 Franz Liszt (1811-1886; Romantic) (This term's artist: Caspar David Friedrich)
1. Piano Concerto no 1 in E-flat major S.124 * * *
2. Hungarian Rhapsodies, especially no 2 (this was featured in Tom and Jerry and Rhapsody Rabbit cartoons) * * All *
3. Les Preludes, Symphonic Poem no. 3 S.97 * *
4. Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat major for piano * *
5. Piano Sonata in B min S.178 * *
6. Mephisto Waltz No. 1, S. 514 * *
Free Ebook for younger students Liszt: The Boy Who Became a Great Pianist and Teacher by Thomas Tapper
Classics for Kids Past Shows: Liszt
Hymns for the 2021-2022 School Year:
September: I Am Resolved * * ∘
October: To God Be The Glory * *
November: The Love of God * *
December: Tell Me The Story Of Jesus * *
January: O God, Our Help In Ages Past *
February: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms * *
March: At Calvary * * *
April: Am I A Soldier Of The Cross? *
May: Now Thank We All Our God * *
June: 'Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus * *
July: Nearer, My God, To Thee * * * * *
August: More Love To Thee, O Christ *
Folksongs for the 2021-2022 School Year:
September: The Jam on Gerry's Rocks * * * * ∘ (Related: film about Woodsmen and River Drivers) ($mp3)
October: The Wellerman * * * * ($mp3)
November: There is a Time for Us to Wander * * * ($mp3)
During your Christmas break, try a carol you may be less familiar with:
He Is Born, The Heav'nly Child/Il est ne, le divin enfant and/or O Come, O Come Emmanuel
January Land of the Silver Birch * * * * * * * * ($mp3)
February: Haul on the Bowline * * ($mp3)
March: Revolutionary Tea * * * * ($mp3)
April: Farewell to Nova Scotia * * * ** * * ($mp3)
May: Ballad of New Scotland * * ($mp3)
June: Day-O, The Banana Boat Song * * * * * * * * ($mp3)
Bonus: I Know Moonlight, I Know Starlight * * *
Health and Physical Education
Physical Education: Learn and play a game (kick ball, tennis, croquet, ping-pong, softball, etc.) or folk-dance, or pursue other physical activity of your choice. One option is Swedish Drill Revisited by Dawn Duran purchase
Life and Work Skills
Charlotte Mason had students do house or garden work, make Christmas presents, other crafts, sew, cook, learn first aid...
Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens β α ($amzn) (K) Ω
The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton β α ($amzn) Ω
Emma by Jane Austen β α ($amzn) (K) Ω
Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter β α ($amzn) (K) Ω
** The House of Arden: A Story for Children by E. Nesbit β ($amzn) Ω
** Harding's Luck by E. Nesbit β α ($amzn) Ω
** Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore β α ($amzn) Ω
*** Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel ($amzn) (K)
The Wonderful O ($amzn) and/or The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber ($amzn)
To Have and to Hold: A Story of Virginia in Colonial Days by Mary Johnston β α ($amzn) Ω
All for Love, or, The World Well Lost by John Dryden β α
Discourses on Satire and Epic Poetry by John Dryden β
The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton β α ($amzn) Ω (short contemplative readings)
The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln tr. by Marvin Lowenthal; 1690 diary of a Jewish widow ($amzn) (K)
Pioneers of the Old South: A Chronicle of English Colonial Beginnings by Mary Johnston β α
Unknown to History: Captivity of Mary of Scotland by Charlotte Yonge β α (£) (£amzn) Ω K
The History of King Charles II of England by Jacob Abbott β α (edition/publisher under review)
The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus by astronomer Owen Gingerich ($amzn)
Jean Henri Fabre: Choose any of his books on insect life
* Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes ($amzn) Find an edited version!
Unedited version here; The PNEU recommended an edition called The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by John Ormsby. α There's also a fun retelling for youths by James Baldwin here ($amzn) (K)
The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
Out of the Silent Planet ($amzn) (K)
Perelandra ($amzn) (K)
That Hideous Strength ($amzn) (K)
Note - parents should pre-read That Hideous Strength (and possibly Perelandra); some may prefer to save these until high school.
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander ($amzn) (K)
The Book of Three ($amzn) (K)
The Black Cauldron ($amzn) (K)
The Castle of Llyr ($amzn) (K)
Taran Wanderer ($amzn) (K)
The High King ($amzn) (K)
Read a fan's blog post about these books here.
Useful for future reference: A Guide to the Best Historical Novels and Tales by Jonathan Nield
Many thanks to David Hicks, author of Norms and Nobility, for his kind permission to draw from his work and ideas. For more information please see the 1999 edition of his book. ($amzn)
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.
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. Heidi 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.
4. Continue AO's plan (6 years through the Bible in Years 6-11, leaving Song of Solomon and Revelation for Year 12), or follow a plan of your own preference. AO's plan schedules the following for this year:
Term 1: Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel 1-14; Matthew 1-11; Psalms 106-118; Proverbs 1-6
Term 2: 1 Samuel 15-31, 2 Samuel 1-24; Matthew 12-21; Psalms 119-124; Proverbs 7-11
Term 3: 1 Kings, Ecclesiastes; Matthew 22-28; Psalms 125-150; Proverbs 12-16
Resources: Study questions with maps; Bible Maps; Bible timeline. Encyclopedia of Bible Truths, 4 Volumes by Ruth C. Haycock (purchase from CBD)
Charlotte Mason had her students reading a commentary. We suggest you use what fits best with your family's belief system, keeping in mind that this year should be a bit meatier than previous years. (Back)
6. Desiring God, 2003, is about making obedience a joy instead of an obligation.(Back)
8. Saints and Heroes is an option for church history if you didn't use Trial and Triumph in Years 1-6
Term 1: (Vol 2) ch 1 Luther-ch 8 William the Silent
Term 2: ch 9 Brewster-ch 10 Laud
Term 3: ch 11 Cromwell-ch 12 Bunyan (Back)
10. Timeline: At this age, students should be keeping a Century Chart and 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 ($amzn). Two Book of Centuries options: (£) (£) (Back)
12. The New World is Volume 2 of Winston Churchill's 4 volume set, "A History of the English Speaking Peoples." The next two volumes will be used in Years 9 and 10. Don't get the one edited by Henry Steele Commager, as it's abridged. If you can figure out how to use this, this book is online in audio For planning purposes, there is a table of contents with dates for all 4 volumes of A History of the English Speaking Peoples, and a schedule to break down the week's chapter into 4 short daily readings.
Term 1: Ch 1-10
Term 2: Ch 11-18
Term 3: Ch 19-26
An alternate option is A History of England by Arnold-Forster, online at archive.org, Google Books Purchase Whole Book: ($amzn; Lulu.com; Options) Just Yr 8: ($amzn; Lulu.com); a schedule is here.
There's a new American history book published in 2019 called Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story by Wilfred M. McClay. ($amzn K) The Advisory is still previewing this book, so we can't make an official recommendation yet. However, if you wish to give it a try, there's a schedule that fits it into Years 8-11. Year 8 corresponds with Introduction-ch 2. (Back)
14. A Man for All Seasons is a play about Thomas More. Preferably, the student should read the book. Alternately, the student could watch the Paul Scofield movie ($amzn), or as a second option, read William Roper's biography of Thomas More. (Roper was Thomas More's son-in-law.) (Back)
16. A Relation or Journal of the beginning and proceedings of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England, by certain English Adventurers both Merchants and others is a pdf of journal entries of the original settlers.
Alternately, you may use A History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford β α Ω Caleb Johnson had posted Ch 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 36 with modern spelling on his webpage, but it's gone (try here); these have been re-posted at a Plymouth site: 1, 2, 4, 9. Suggested schedule (and these are linked to Project Gutenburg's full text; you may want to use Caleb Johnson's when possible) - Wk 18: ch. 1-2; Wk 19: ch 3-4; Wk 20: ch 7-8; Wk 21: ch 9 and 36. There is a modern language version available ($amzn) Weeks 18-21. Another option: The Landing of the Pilgrims is a Landmark book by James Daugherty drawn from the Pilgrims' own journals, including Bradford's journal. ($amzn) (K) (Back)
18. A Coffin for King Charles was also published under the title The Trial of Charles I in England. Weeks 21-36 (Back)
22. Christopher Columbus, Mariner presents a fairly balanced account of Columbus. This book, especially ch 11 (pg 79, the paragraph beginning "The skirmish at Salt River..." tells of the first girl subdued in the Caribbean), will require parental screening. (Back)
24. The Life of Christopher Columbus: The Advisory hasn't reviewed the Kindle copy of this yet. This book should be scheduled at a chapter per week, except for ch 2 and 3, which can be doubled up in week 2. (Back)
28. Foundation for Freedom: A Study of the United States Constitution Workbook by Lars Johnson - The workbook is the text with review exercises after each chapter, which can be skipped. ($amzn) Foundation for Freedom is an updated, full-color version of The Story of the Constitution, Second Edition by Sol Bloom and Lars Johnson ($amzn). Both appear to be the same book/workbook, but the newer one is in color. Sol Bloom's original 1937 Story of the Constitution, which Lars Johnson used as a foundation for his own book, is online at Hathi Trust. Because it was written in 1937, it stops at the 21st Amendment. Lars Johnson did an excellent expanding and updating the Bloom book by adding concerns that weren't on the radar in 1937. He also wrote a chapter on limited government, checks and balances, and Biblical morality as well as a full-page explanation of each Amendment; Sol Bloom's book just explains each one with a sentence or two. If you are in a situation where you need an online resource, the Sol Bloom text could work, but you should also seek out a source that explains why each Amendment was added and what it does.
We suggest you do a study of the Constitution at some point between Years 7 and 12; the time period actually fits chronologically in Year 9. This book (either version) is highly recommended. AO suggests more advanced government courses in Years 9-12, but for parents anxious to have their child learn more about the American government, OR for those who have a state requirement, this is the preferred book to use for Year 8. Foundation for Freedom doesn't begin and end in the 18th century, but traces historic events such as the Magna Carta, and other events on the Bronze doors of the American Supreme Court, making it relevant for the historical era studied in Year 8. (Back)
32. Ourselves: approximately 22 pages per term. This book will continue through all the remaining years of AO/HEO curriculum. This is the 4th volume of Mason's 6 Volume Series. This year: pages 66-135 of Book 1.
Also available in a modern English paraphrase that can be read online or purchased. (K) The paraphrase of Book I, Self-Knowledge, the first half of Volume 4, can be purchased as a separate paperback book.
Term 1: Book 1 pg 66-86
Term 2: Book 1 pg 87-107
Term 3: Book 1 pg 108-130 (Back)
Plutarch: Charlotte Mason recommended Thomas North's "inimitable translation." (Back)
36. Utopia: We suggest the modern translation by Paul Turner. If you're using an online public domain text, we've divided one for weeks 1-24 here. There's also an online text listed by book/chapter. (Back)
38. Francis Bacon essays: Here are some suggested essays to choose from, but feel free to do any (or all!) of them.
Of Regiment of Health,
Of Nature in Men,
Of Youth and Age,
Of Building (first half),
Of Studies (paraphrase),
Of Honor and Reputation,
Of Anger. These selections have been collected and divided into manageable paragraphs here.
Yes, the language is a stretch. But don't give up - there's lots of great material here for discussion, and they get easier. Read Jeanne Webb's experience with these essays on her blog. One useful suggestion: have your student write their own paraphrase. (Back)
40. Charlotte Mason had students at this level read the daily news and keep a calendar of events. We suggest students choose the most important 2 or 3 stories of the week and re-write them in their own words as a chronicle of the year, making the heading of each page something like "This Week in History, September 1st, 2003." Parents: pre-read and filter current events materials (on the web, or in print) as necessary, due to the potential for coverage and topics of an explicit nature, even from conservative sources. We've listed some possible options.
Blogs as a media form have rapidly overtaken hard-copy publications. News is being reported there, in some cases, faster and more accurately than other, older media forms. Students should learn about them, find one they trust, and check it regularly. However, we recommend that parents first become familiar with blogs and visit the one(s) their children will frequent. We suggest several poliblogs, but parents should know that not every message on these blogs will be 'child-friendly' and often have ads that include scantily clad women. Also, most blogs link to a multitude of other blogs and sites that may not be child-friendly.
Comments posted on blogs can be considered a new media equivalent of a letter to the editor, and students should learn how to communicate well on blogs. (Back)
42. The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys:
Term 1: ch 32 (Beginning of Theater) - 43 (Spenser)
Term 2: 44 (First Theaters) - ch 54 (Some Lyric Poets)
Term 3: ch 55 (Herbert) - 59 (Bunyan)
AO schedules this book in conjunction with Invitation to the Classics; more material is covered in Marshall's History of English Literature from Year 7 to the middle of Year 10, and more is covered in Invitation to the Classics from the middle of Year 10, and through Year 11. If you prefer to use only Invitation to the Classics by Louise Cowan and Os Guinness ($amzn), Year 8 students would read pg 113-176 The Second Shepherds' Play and Everyman to John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress. A Table of Contents to help with planning is here. (Back)
44. Everyman Morality Play: There's a slightly less archaic version here, or click on Everyman in the contents of this Google Book. There is a very abridged version (perhaps useful for the parent to look at before starting this with the student?) Check YouTube for live presentations of this play. (Back)
46. Diary of Samuel Pepys: List member Sarah Bruce has kindly compiled an excerpted copy with his account of the Great Fire. Charlotte Mason used parts of this book. Pepys gives a great first-hand account of the Great Fire. However, this needs editing both for length but also because Pepys was wretchedly honest about his sordid behavior, details of which really aren't appropriate for young people to read. His entries for April 22 and 23 have to do with the coronation of Charles II and may be useful. If you wish to read the entire diary, it is available online: The Diary of Samuel Pepys β ($amzn) excerpted copy of (the part detailing The Plague and The Great Fire) and excerpts from his entries on the plague. (Back)
49. 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)
50. The Holy War by John Bunyan: Charlotte Mason's Kingdom of Mansoul in Ourselves (volume 4 of her series) is based on this book. Mount Calvary Baptist has a helpful study guide, links to study notes, audio files and links to online texts.
The a librivox version (here) is read beautifully by Joy Chan. To divide it into 24 readings over a 12-week term, you might listen to one of the 20 audio files twice a week, except for chapters 1, 3 and 4, and 5 which can be divided in half. A text with divisions based on this recording so your student can follow along is here. (Back)
52. Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves is Book I of Spenser's Fairie Queene, updated and annotated. We don't recommend the Kindle version because of formatting issues. For those who need a children's version, there's a 'modern' (1916) retelling by Mary MacLeod available. It's online at Sacred Texts and archive.org. Book I is "The Red Cross Knight." Ω (Back)
54. Shakespeare Sonnets: Selections: XVIII (18), XXIX (29), XXX (30), LIII (53), LIV (54), LVII (57), LXXIII (73), XCIV (94), CIV (104), CVI (106) CXVI (116), CXXIX (129) (read one per week) Download these 12 sonnets in one collection. SparkNotes has helps for some of the sonnets. Modern side-by-side translations are available from No Fear Shakespeare, CliffsNotes, and Shakespeare Online Check online sites such as Librivox for free audio readings of poems; this is a growing project and more poems are online every month. (Back)
56. Grammar: In terms of difficulty (easiest to most challenging), Easy Grammar Plus is probably the easiest, followed by Jensen's, and then Our Mother Tongue.
Jensen's Grammar goes slowly and step-by-step; their answer key is thorough (Our Mother Tongue doesn't always have answers). There are 75 lessons, so plan to take two years, or else do two lessons per week. Expect to pay about $30 for the Jensen's text and answer key. The DVD's are not necessary. You will probably find it cheaper at New Leaf Publishing, or other homeschool sellers such as Lamppost Homeschool.
If you are not confident about teaching grammar, you might prefer Easy Grammar Plus by Wanda Phillips. It's less intense than Jensen's, but still doesn't assume a lot of previous knowledge from the teacher. It's easier than Jensen with just a couple suggested alterations (for example, don't insist on memorizing the prepositions at the start, just write a list of them and explain an easy way to remember most of them: any way a worm can go in relations to two apples, or a swallow in relation to two mountains). A parent using this with one child could get by with only the Teacher's Edition since the student workbook is included in it, but multiple students would need their own workbooks. (purchase from their website or CBD) Easy Grammar Grade 8 Student 180 Daily Teaching Lessons by Wanda Phillips is just as good; it also has the student workbook included in the teacher's edition.
Those who are more familiar with grammar may prefer Our Mother Tongue. It's more interesting as it uses classic literature for exercises and includes snippets of history about language. The Answer Key ($amzn) is sold separately. Our Mother Tongue has 49 chapters. One suggestion is to spread the book over two years, doing about 9 chapters per term. (Back)
62. Paradigm Online Writing Assistant: Karen Glass: Paradigm Online Writing Assistant is a whole online free course about writing four kinds of essays. I haven't explored the whole thing, but I like what I've seen so far. This is the link to the section on writing a support essay. At the top of the page, you can see the progression of the whole course. (Back)
64. Recitation: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is a helpful tool for looking for quotable sections from various plays of Shakespeare, especially quotes from the various plays which appear in various other literature. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th edition, is online (in html and text here.) Note: To get the list of plays from the Bartlett's Familiar Quotations page, try selecting 1) the Author index, then select 2) the Shakespeare entry, which should provide a list of quotations from the first play in the list; and then try selecting 3) Shakespeare's name above the quotations. This last step should bring you to an index of the plays, not just the list of quotations. Or, you may go directly to the play needed from the Shakespeare play index. (Back)
68. Science: If your child wants to pursue a scientific major and needs to prepare for special exams, you may want to contact your college of choice to find out what the requirements are. We have not undertaken to prepare our students for specialty exams, but to give them a foundation of knowledge about science which will make it a matter of interest to them for life. (Back)
70. First Studies of Plant Life: continues from Year 7; parts 2 and 3 this year. Planting, growing and observing germinating seeds and plants is necessary to benefit from this book. If you prefer, you may substitute Exploring Creation with Botany by Jeanne Fulbright ($amzn) over Years 7 and 8, with selected activities from the book. (Back)
71. Napoleon's Buttons: Chapters 11 (The Pill) and 12 (Molecules of Witchcraft, because of the first paragraph on page p. 235) are not scheduled and can be skipped. Aditionally, these brief comments should also be noted by parents:
ch 5 (Nitro Compounds) pg 89 refers to the waste products of wine drinkers and "clergyman, or better yet a bishop" to make gunpowder.
ch 7 (Phenol) pg 131 suggests gossypol as a potential male chemical birth control method.
ch 10 (Wonder Drugs) pg 187 refers to "venereally spread" syphilis.
ch 16 (Chlorocarbon Compounds) pg 327 "In the Book of Genesis women, as Eve's descendants, are condemned to suffer during childbirth as punishment for her sin..." and goes on to mention why. (Back)
76. Chemical History of a Candle resources: We highly recommend going through this book with Bill Hammack, "The Engineer Guy." His YouTube readings with guided commentary are invaluable helps, and we have posted the amazon link ($amzn) (K) above to his updated revision of the book. There is also a Pdf Study Guide by AO mom Kathy Wickward, and there are video helps from Khan Academy or Crash Course Chemistry. (Back)
78. A Briefer History of Time: A shorter version of A Brief History of Time containing less technical concepts. We encourage you not to skip this book; Hawking is one of the most respected scientists of our time and it is important for our students to be literate in this subject and know what other people believe. Hawking acknowledged the role of God in creation, and this book is respectful to the beliefs of others. (Back)
80. Signs and Seasons - ch 3-5 this year. The book is cheaper from CBD. Field work is an integral part of this book. Field activities are included in the back of the book, so the field guide is not necessary.
If you prefer, A Walk through the Heavens: A Guide to Stars and Constellations by Milton Heifetz may be used. ($amzn) (K) (Back)
82. In place of Rural Hours, you may choose the nature writings of Edwin Way Teale α (search amazon.com) if you have them on your shelf. Unfortunately, few are online, and go in and out of print. A particular favorite is "The Circle of Seasons" but other titles are also commendable. (Back)
84. How to Read a Book may be saved for a later year. Be sure to get the revised edition, and read only Part 2 this year (this book continues into Year 10). This breaks down to five chapters for the year, seven weeks to get through each chapter. This is slow, but this material is weighty and should give much material for reflection and discussion. Note: The revised version was written by both Mortimer J. Adler And Charles Van Doren. If Van Doren is not a co-writer, it's the older book. It was revised in 1972, but later books may not be called "revised." The version to use has five chapters in part 1; 7 chapters in part 2; 7 chapters in part 3; and two chapters in part 4. The unrevised edition may have fewer parts. (Back)
86. Janson's Story of Painting: chapters 4-5 this year. (Some nudity; parents should preview first.) If you already have Janson's Picture History of Painting, Janson's History of Art for Young People or Janson's History of Art, those books are broken down into their appropriate terms for Years 7-11 here. Note that Janson's History of Art and History of Art for Young People are a huge books with much more text than the Painting books, and may be too much for most students on top of their other reading. (Back)
88. English Folk Songs: you may choose to continue the Folk Song rotation at AmblesideOnline; as well as the AmblesideOnline rotation for Hymns each term. Carols would do for the Winter term. Work on each song about 4 weeks. Folksongs which are particularly appropriate selections for the Year 8 time frame include:
* Barbara Allen, Star of the County Down, Andrew Barton
** The Death of Queen Jane, The Miller of Dee, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
*** Three Mariners, The Oak and the Ash, My Lodging is on the Cold Ground [tune], English folksongs and other folksongs. (Back)
90. Foreign Folk Songs: Charlotte Mason did 3 in French and 3 in German. (Back)
92. Charlotte Mason's students were learning three languages at this level. A good English/foreign language dictionary is also recommended.
You might find that your foreign language studies cover enough grammar to be counted as English Grammar as well. (Back)