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AO Yr 8 Basic Version

AmblesideOnline Year 8 Lite Version

Based on AO's Year 8 Detailed weekly schedules for these books are available in various formats:
Html List; PDF; modifiable DOC; modifiable ODT

History studied in Year 8: 1400's-1688 (Renaissance and Reformation)
Term 1: 1400-1605, Term 2: 1605-1649, Term 3: 1649-1688

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.

Table of Contents:


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.
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

Bible and Christian Theology

       Old Testament: Judges, Ruth, I/2 Samuel, 1 Kings, Ecclesiastes
       New Testament: Matthew
       Psalms 106-150
       Proverbs 1-16

              Bible Gateway has many versions of the Bible online. [4]

Suggested Devotional Reading

       More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell ($ K)
               OR The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel ($ K)
       Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis ($earch K)
       Saints and Heroes, Vol 2 by George Hodges Δ ($ K) [6]


Make a century chart and Century Book of the period studied. [8]

       The New World by Winston Churchill ($ K)
               OR A History of England by Arnold-Forster Δ [10]
       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)
       ** Journal of . . . the English Plantation settled at Plymouth [12]


       A Man For All Seasons, a play by Robert Bolt ($; purchase movie)
       A Coffin for King Charles by C. V. Wedgwood ($)
               OR Queen Elizabeth by Jacob Abbott Δ
               or In the Days of Queen Elizabeth by Eva March Tappan Δ (K)
       Johannes Kepler chapter from Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball β Δ
               OR Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science by John Hudson Tiner ($)


       Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl ($)
               OR Christopher Columbus, Mariner by Samuel Eliot Morison ($) [14]
               OR The Life of Christopher Columbus by Edward Everett Hale β Δ

Government and Economics

       Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury ($)

       Optional: PragerU 5-minute video clips [16]


       Ourselves by Charlotte Mason ($) [18] (starts week 23)
       Plutarch's Lives - follow AO's Plutarch rotation. [20]
       Utopia by Sir Thomas More (or here) β Δ trans. by Paul Turner ($) Ω
       Francis Bacon essays, selections [22]

Current Events

       Students should have a plan for keeping up with current events. [24]


       Shakespeare - Continue with AmblesideOnline Rotation.
       The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys by H.E. Marshall ch 32-59 β Δ (K) [26]
       Everyman, a Morality Play Δ ($ K) Ω (There is a very abridged version here.)

       Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley β Δ ($; study guide here)
               OR I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni β Δ [28]

       *** The Holy War by John Bunyan β Δ ($) Ω [30]


       Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, which is Spenser's Fairie Queene Book I (online; $) [32]
       Shakespeare's Sonnets, selections (download 12 sonnets) Modern translations of the sonnets from NoFear Shakespeare
       John Milton: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Lycidas, On His Blindness
               Or, poems by John Donne (notes here) and George Herbert.
       The Roar on the Other Side: A Guide for Student Poets by Suzanne Clark (optional; $)

Grammar and Composition

       Our Mother Tongue: An Introductory Guide to English Grammar by Nancy Wilson ($; continue from last year; do Lessons 10-49) [33]


       Romans 6; 1 Cor. 13; Psalms 139
       Shakespeare passages
       a poem per term from the term's poetry selections


Include selections from Shakespeare, the Bible, poetry and other sources. These selections may be the same ones used for recitation. Consider begining a personal quote book.
Also, do dictation regularly.


Continue your math program; for some options, see this page.


       The Handbook of Nature Study Δ by Anna Botsford Comstock (as a reference)
       First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson, Parts 2, 3 Δ [Google Books] ($)
       Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan ($)
               and accompanying Field Journal ($) [34]

       Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson ($ K) [35]
       Or Marvels of the Molecule by Lionel Salem ($)
       Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom ($ K)

       * The Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday β Δ ($earch K)
               with pdf Study Guide by Kathy Wickward and Khan Academy
               or Crash Course Chemistry (YouTube readings/commentary: *)

       ** Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman ($ K)
       *** A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking ($ K) [36]
       *** The Microbe Hunters by Paul DeKruif, ch 1: Leeuwenhook ($ K)
       William Harvey and the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood by Thomas Henry Huxley


How To Read a Book revised edition by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren (used for 3 years; $ K)

Drawing and Art

       The Story of Painting by H. W. Janson ($) chapters 4, 5 [38]
Continue the artist rotation posted at AmblesideOnline


       Continue the composer rotation and hymn rotation posted at AmblesideOnline
       Folk Songs:
               Term 1: Barbara Allen, Star of the County Down, Andrew Barton
               Term 2: The Death of Queen Jane, The Miller of Dee, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
               Term 3: Three Mariners, The Oak and the Ash, My Lodging is on the Cold Ground

Foreign Language

Begin Latin if you've not started already OR Continue with any previous foreign language studies


       Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Paul Brand if you didn't do it last year ($ K) (see notes here)

Life and Work Skills

Work on useful skills such as budgeting, gardening, cooking, car maintenance, carpentry, etc.

Free Reading

Try to use books that were not included from Year 8 in addition to the Year 8 Free reading List
One fun suggestion: James Baldwin's retelling of Don Quixote. (K)


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. (Back)

4. AO's Bible plan goes through the Bible semi-chronologically over 6 years in Years 6-11. This year's Bible readings would be as follows:
    * Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel 1-14; Matthew 1-11; Psalms 106-118; Proverbs 1-6
    ** 1 Samuel 15-31, 2 Samuel 1-24; Matthew 12-21; Psalms 119-124; Proverbs 7-11
    *** 1 Kings, Ecclesiastes; Matthew 22-28; Psalms 125-150; Proverbs 12-16 (Back)

6. Saints and Heroes: for church history, if you didn't use Trial and Triumph in Years 1-6 (Back)

8. 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 ($). (Back)

10. 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
Or, use A History of England, by Arnold-Forster, online at, Google Books; a schedule is here. (Back)

12. 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 Δ 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 ( $) Weeks 18-21. Another option: The Landing of the Pilgrims is a Landmark book by James Daugherty drawn from the Pilgrims' own journals, including Bradford's journal. ($) (Back)

14. Christopher Columbus, Mariner presents a fairly balanced account of Columbus. This book, especially ch 11, will require parental screening. If you use the Hale book, it should be scheduled at a chapter per week, except for ch 2 and 3, which can be doubled up in week 2. (Back)

16. PragerU's free video clips "explain and spread what we call 'Americanism' through the power of the Internet. Our five-minute videos are conservative sound bites that clarify profoundly significant and uniquely American concepts. . . We help millions of people understand the fundamental values that shaped America." Transcripts are linked under each video. AO has a list of their videos here. (Back)

18. Ourselves: There is a modern English paraphrase of this book. You can read it online (K) (Back)

20. Plutarch: Charlotte Mason recommended Thomas North's "inimitable translation." ($) (Back)

22. Francis Bacon essays: choose from Of Truth, Of Revenge, Of Innovations, Of Friendship, Of Regiment of Health, Of Suspicion, Of Discourse, Of Riches, Of Youth and Age, Of Studies (paraphrase), Of Praise, Of Honor and Reputation, Of Anger. Most of these selections have been collected and divided into manageable paragraphs here. One suggestion: have your student write their own paraphrase.) (Back)

24. 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 here.
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 here, 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)

26. The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys: $ from Kelly Kenar, who typed this e-text for the use of AOHEO. Postage at is automatically set to UPS ground which is expensive, but you can choose media mail which is substantially cheaper. (If you purchase this book, we request that you purchase from the link provided, as other publishers' reprints of this book have used Kelly's hand-typed etext.)
Term 1: ch 1 (The Listening Time) - ch 12 (Father of English Song)
Term 2: ch 13 (How Caedmon Sang) - ch 24 (Chaucer)
Term 3: ch 25 (First English Guide-book) - ch 31 (Sign of the Red Pale)
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 ($), 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)

28. I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed): There's a newer version translated by Omero Sabatini called Promise of Fidelity ($), and also a Penguin Classics version translated by Bruce Penman and called The Betrothed ($ K). Ω (Back)

30. 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 summaries, audio files and links to online texts. (Back)

32. Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves: The Kindle version is badly formatted and not recommended. There's a 'modern' (1916) retelling of The Faerie Queene by Mary MacLeod available. It's online at Sacred Texts and Book I is "The Red Cross Knight." Ω (Back)

33. 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 $30 for the Jensen's text and answer key. The DVD's are not necessary. You will probably find it cheaper at New Leaf Publishing, or other homeschool sellers such as Lampost Homeschool.
If you are not confident about teaching grammar, you might prefer Easy Grammar Plus by Wanda Phillips. It's less intense than Jensen's, but still doesn't assume a lot of previous knowledge from the teacher. It's easier than Jensen with just a couple suggested alterations (for example, don't insist on memorizing the prepositions at the start, just write a list of them and explain an easy way to remember most of them: any way a worm can go in relations to two apples, or a swallow in relation to two mountains). A parent using this with one child could get by with only the Teacher's Edition since the student workbook is included in it, but multiple students would need their own workbooks. ($ 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 worbook 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 $ is sold separately for about $5. Our Mother Tongue has 49 chapters. One suggestion is to spread the book over two years, doing about 9 chapters per term. (Back)

34. Signs and Seasons - ch 3-5 this year. Both the book and journal are cheaper from CBD. Field work is an integral part of this book.
If you prefer, A Walk through the Heavens: A Guide to Stars and Constellations by Milton Heifetz may be used. ($ K) (Back)

35. 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)

36. 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)

38. 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)

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Last update June 19, 2017