Years 7-8-9 First Year 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 -, another free ebook site.
α - free etext at; newer books can be borrowed for one hour at a time.
(ChrBk) - purchase from using AO's affiliate link.
K - free Kindle text from
(£amzn) - Living Books Press purchase using AO's affiliate link.
($amzn) - book purchase using AO's affiliate link.
(K) - Kindle purchase using AO's affiliate link.
(£) - Purchase directly from Living Books Press with an affiliate link; save 10% with discount code: AOBooks
Λ - free audiobook at Lit2Go
Ω - free audiobook at Librivox [2]
- other free audiobook source
[0] - Click the bracketed numeral to view any notes about the book near the bottom of the page.
[0] - 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 our (£) links, we receive a commission which allows us to keep offering AO for free.

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AmblesideOnline is part of'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).

AmblesideOnline Year 7-8-9 Curriculum

Daily Work:

Weekly Work:

Weekly Readings

The following weekly readings should be broken up into daily readings in whatever way works best for your family.

AmblesideOnline has had updates in the subject areas of Spiritual Formation (Suggested Devotional Reading) and Citizenship as of March 2023, which means that this page is outdated. For the convenience of those who are in the middle of their school year, we will leave this page up through the 2023-2024 school year -- until June, 2024. You can access the 36-week schedule, which has links to the outdated pdf/doc/odt weekly schedules, at this link.

Bible and Christian Theology

Bible: if you continue AO's plan, read Numbers 1-36; Deuteronomy 1-34; Joshua; Luke 1-24; Psalms 56-105; Proverbs 17-31 (Year 7's scheduled reading) this year. Next year, read Year 8's scheduled Bible reading.

Note Upcoming Changes: The AO Advisory is currently working on updated revisions to our Devotional and Citizenship/Worldview subjects for this Year. As we adjust these subjects, our changes will be posted as an alternate option. You may wish to go ahead and use the selections currently listed, or wait to purchase books until the changes are posted. Either choice--the current book list or the updated one--will be a strong option.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer β ($earch) (K) Ω [0]
More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell ($amzn) (K)
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, first half ($amzn) (K)
Saints and Heroes, Vol 1 by George Hodges α ($amzn) (K) and Vol 2 by George Hodges α ($amzn) (K) [1]

History: Middles Ages, Renaissance

Term 1: 800-1215; Term 2: 1216-1485; Term 3: 1450-1640

Keep a century chart and Century Book of the period studied. [tl]

The Birth of Britain by Winston Churchill α ($amzn) (K) [4]
The New World by Winston Churchill α ($amzn) (K) OR A History of England by Arnold-Forster α ($amzn; [6]
Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People Ω [8]
William of Malmesbury's account of the Battle of Hastings
The Magna Carta (there's a modern paraphrase)
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 (this is included in the text of Churchill's book)
Journal of . . . the English Plantation settled at Plymouth [10]


The Life of King Alfred by Asser, selected passages α [12]
The Story of Joan of Arc by Andrew Lang α ($amzn) K Ω
or (Personal Recollections of) Joan of Arc by Mark Twain; online: Vol 1 and Vol 2. ($amzn) (K) Ω [14]

A Man For All Seasons, a play by Robert Bolt ($amzn) (K) Movie: ($amzn)


The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys by H.E. Marshall ch 1-49 β α ($amzn) (K) [22]
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott β α ($amzn) (K) Ω [24]
Beowulf - Burton Raffel's is our first choice ($amzn) (K); Seamus Heaney's ($amzn) (K) () is also fine if you already have it. [26]
The Once and Future King Book I and II by T. H. White ($amzn) (K) [28]
Watership Down by Richard Adams ($amzn) (K) [30]
Chaucer for Children: A Golden Key by Mrs. H. R. Haweis α (K) [32]
Everyman, a Morality Play α ($amzn) (K) Ω Check YouTube for live performances. (There is a very abridged version here.)

Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley β α (K); study guide here (continues next year)
I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni β α; continues next year [34]

Shakespeare for the 2023-2024 School Year:
* Twelfth Night
** King Lear
*** Measure for Measure

Poetry [36]

The Oxford Book of English Verse (Poems 1-24, 29, 31-33; two terms) [38]
Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves by Roy Maynard ($amzn) OR The Faerie Queene, Bk I, ed. by Carol Kaske ($amzn) (K) [40]
Shakespeare's Sonnets, selections (download 12 sonnets) Modern translations of the sonnets from NoFear Shakespeare


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


Do dictation regularly.

Grammar and Composition

Our Mother Tongue: An Introductory Guide to English Grammar by Nancy Wilson ($amzn) Answer Key: ($amzn) or other grammar book [42]


2 Bible passages of about 20 verses each and 2 Psalms per term
Shakespeare passages
a poem per term from the term's poetry selections

Foreign Language

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


The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin ($amzn) (K)
or Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl ($amzn) (K)


Note Upcoming Changes: The AO Advisory is currently working on updated revisions to our Devotional and Citizenship/Worldview subjects for this Year. As we adjust these subjects, our changes will be posted as an alternate option. You may wish to go ahead and use the selections currently listed, or wait to purchase books until the changes are posted. Either choice--the current book list or the updated one--will be a strong option.

Ourselves by Charlotte Mason (£) (£amzn) [18]
Utopia by Sir Thomas More (or here) β α ($amzn) Ω We suggest the modern translation by Paul Turner
Francis Bacon selected essays (student should write paraphrases of these) [20]

Plutarch for the 2023-2024 School Year:
Term 1: Alcibiades (Study Guide with text; Text Only)
Term 2: Coriolanus (Study Guide with text; Text Only)
Term 3: Cato the Younger (Study Guide with text; Text Only)
(Purchase this year's study guides, Vol 9, in one book: ($amzn) (K)
AO's full Plutarch rotation

Government and Economics

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury ($amzn) (K) [16]
Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury ($amzn)

Current Events

Keep up with daily news (resource options here) and keep a calendar of events

Nature Study and Science [sci]

Nature Study Topics for the 2023-2024 School Year:
summer/fall: Trees/shrubs/vines
winter: Stars/sky
spring: Amphibians
AO's full Nature Study rotation

The Handbook of Nature Study α by Anna Botsford Comstock (as a reference) ($amzn)
* Eric Sloane's Weather Book by Eric Sloane ($amzn) (K)

The Life of the Spider by Jean Henri Fabre, selections β ($amzn) Ω Fabre texts with photos
or Social Life in the Insect World by J. Henri Fabre, selections [44]

Secrets of the Universe: Discovering the Universal Laws of Science by Paul Fleisher, a five-book series: [46]
Liquids and Gases: Principles of Fluid Mechanics (£) (£amzn)
Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics (£) (£amzn)
Waves: Principles of Light, Electricity, and Magnetism (£) (£amzn)
Matter and Energy: Principles of Matter and Thermodynamics (£) (£amzn)
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: Principles of Modern Physics (£) (£amzn)
Purchase the 5-volume set (£)
The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre α (£) ($amzn) (K) [48]
First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson α [Google Books] ($amzn) [50]
Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom, chose 11 adventures if you are able to procure/borrow a microscope. ($amzn) (K) Jeanne Webb's study guide
Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan ($amzn) (CBD) [52]
Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball β α (£) (£amzn) (Intro, Ptolomy, Copernicus, Brahe, Galileo) [54]
The Lay of the Land by Dallas Lore Sharp, selections α (£) (£amzn) (K) [56]

Optional: Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science by John Hudson Tiner ($amzn) in place of the chapter on Kepler in R. S. Ball text


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


The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn ($amzn) (K) [58]
How To Read a Book revised edition by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren; used for 3 years ($amzn) (K)


The Story of Painting by H. W. Janson - Towards Revolution and part of The Age of Machines ($amzn)

Artists (Picture Study) for the 2023-2024 School Year:

2023-2024 TERM 1 Tintoretto (1518-1594; Renaissance)
(This term's music: Renaissance)
Self portrait
1. Crucifixion, 1565, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice; study
2. Christ Before Pilate, 1567, also here Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice
3. The Adoration of the Magi, 1582, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice; study
4. Portrait of a Man, 1586-1589, State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
5. Paradise, 1588, Doge's Palace, Venice
6. The Last Supper, 1592-1594, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here [NOTE]

2023-2024 TERM 2 Claude Monet (1840-1926; French Impressionist)
(This term's composer: Ravel)
1. Terrace at St. Adresse, 1866, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
2. Women in the Garden, 1866, Musee d'Orsay, Paris
3. Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse, 1872, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
4. Woman with a Parasol: Madame Monet and Her Son, 1875, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (see also here)
5. Tulip Fields in Holland, 1886, Musee d'Orsay, Paris
6. The Waterlily Pond, 1899, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (Similar image here)
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here [NOTE]

2023-2024 TERM 3 Georges Seurat (1859-1891; French Post-impressionist)
(This term's music: Opera Overtures)
1. Rock-Breakers, Le Raincy, 1882, also here Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena, CA, USA
2. Man Cleaning His Boat, 1883, Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, UK
3. Bathers at Asnieres, 1883-84, National Gallery, London, UK
4. Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884, Art Institute of Chicago, USA
5. The Eiffel Tower, 1889, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, USA (also here)
6. The Circus, 1891, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Download a pdf file of this term's six prints here [NOTE]

AO's full Artist rotation

Note: PDF files for AO's picture study are being made available for you to download and print yourself from "A Humble Place"; you can access the PDF files of pictures by clicking the "Individual Artworks Only" link by each artist's name. The "Picture Study aid" link is an additional optional resource and may require you to submit your email address or make a purchase, but the "Artworks Only" link is provided with no strings attached.


Composers for the 2023-2024 School Year:

2023-2024 TERM 1 Renaissance Music (This term's artist: Tintoretto)
1. Songs * * * * *
2. Guillaume Dufay * *   Ave Maris Stella ("Hail, star of the sea") * *
3. Dance Music * * * * *
4. Josquin des Prez * * * *
5. Vocal Music of William Byrd * * * * *
6. Claudio Monteverdi * * * *   Monteverdi wrote the earliest opera still regularly performed: "L'Orfeo" *
     CD and mp3 Options:
     -- The Hillard Ensemble: Music for Tudor Kings seems to offer a nice variety of music from the era. ($amzn) ($mp3); also English and Italian Renaissance Madrigals. ($mp3) The Hilliard Ensemble has multiple CD's featuring Renaissance era composers.
     -- Gloriae Dei Cantores: Masters of the Renaissance (choral sacred music) ($amzn) ($mp3)
     -- Oxford Camerata: Renaissance Masterpieces (vocal) ($amzn) ($mp3)
     -- Dances of the Renaissance ($amzn) ($mp3)
     -- Catherine King: Elizabethan Songs and Consort Music (solo voice, instrumental) ($amzn) ($mp3)

2023-2024 TERM 2 Maurice Ravel (1875-1937; Impressionist) (This term's artist: Claude Monet)
1. Daphne et Chloe - selections * *   complete *
2. Bolero * *
3. Mother Goose Suite * *
4. Pavane pour une infante dufunte (no, there really is no dead princess) * *
5. Piano Concerto in D for the Left Hand (composed for a pianist who lost his right arm in WWI) * *
6. Rhapsody Espagnole * *

2023-2024 TERM 3 Opera Selections (This term's artist: Georges Seurat)
1. Giuseppi Verdi: "Triumphal March" from Aida * * and "Vedi! le fosche" (Anvil Chorus) * * from Il Trovatore
2. Giuseppi Verdi "Libiamo Ne'lieti Calici" (Brindisi; drinking song - parents, preview!) from La Traviata * * and "La Donne Il Mobile," from Rigoletto * *
3. Giacomo Puccini: "O Soave Fancuilla" * * and "Quando M'en Vo" * * from La Boheme, and "E Lucevan Le Stelle" * * from Tosca.
4. Giacamo Puccini: "Un Bel Di Vedremo" * * from Madama Butterfly, and "Nessun Dorma" * * from Turandot.
5. Gioacchino Rossini: overture * * and "Largo al factotum" (Figaro Figaro Figaro. . .) from Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) * *
6. Gioacchino Rossini: William Tell overture * *
We suggest using a selection of Opera favorites that contains most of these, such as Best Opera Album In The World . . . Ever! ($amzn) and filling in any missing pieces with whatever else is on the CD. Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, Bizet's "Au fond du temple saint" from The Pearl Fishers, Verdi's "Celeste Aida" from Aida would be worthy substitutes.
One possibility: 25 Opera Favorites CD ($amzn)
1 - track 7. Giuseppi Verdi: "Triumphal March" from Aida; track 17. Gypsies' Chorus from Il Trovatore
2 - track 3. Giuseppi Verdi: "Libiamo Ne'lieti Calici" (Brindisi) from La Traviata; track 9. "La Donne Il Mobile," from Rigoletto
3 - track 21. Giacomo Puccini: "Che Gelida Manina" from La Boheme; track 23. "Quando M'en Vo" from La Boheme; track 18. "Vissi d'Arte" from Tosca
4 - track 6. Giacamo Puccini: "Un Bel Di" from Madama Butterfly, track 5. "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot
5 - track 4. Georges Bizet: "Au Fond du Temple Saint" from the Pearl Fishers; track 2. Gioacchino Rossini: "Largo al factotum" from The Barber of Seville
6 - track 1. Gioacchino Rossini: William Tell overture
     Free Ebook for younger students Verdi: The Little Boy who Loved the Hand Organ by Thomas Tapper
     Classics for Kids Past Shows: Verdi; Puccini; Bizet; Rossini

AO's full Composer rotation

Hymns for the 2023-2024 School Year:

August: The Rock That Is Higher Than I *
September: For All the Saints who from their Labours Rest *
October: For the Beauty of the Earth * * *
November: Anywhere with Jesus * *
December: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow * *
January: My Song is Love Unknown * *
February: This is My Father's World * *
March: Ah, Holy Jesus * *
April: Count Your Blessings * *
May: All Creatures of Our God and King * * *
June: Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending *
July: Holy, Holy, Holy * * *

AO's full Hymn rotation

Folksongs for the 2023-2024 School Year:

AO's Intro to 2023-2024's Folksongs
August (Bonus): God Bless America
September: Aiken Drum * *   Scottish version: * *
October: The Ash Grove * * * *
November: The Lion Sleeps Tonight * *
Over Christmas break, try learning a less familiar carol: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep My Little Child and/or O Little Town Of Bethlehem
January: The Water is Wide (Oh Waly, Waly) * * * *
February: Now is the Hour * * *
March: Log Driver's Waltz * * *
April: A Man's A Man for A'That ("Should'a been Scotland's national anthem...") * * *
May: Simple Gifts * * *
June: Click Go the Shears * *

AO's full Folksong rotation

Folksongs which are particularly appropriate for this time period include:
weeks 1-8 The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood; The Three Ravens; and The Outlandish Knight. Lyrics and the midi files
* and ** When The King Enjoys His Own Again; Farewell to Lochaber; Battle of Otterburn, or any other tunes of your choice from this website.
** Go No More a Rushing; Greensleeves; Scarborough.
*** 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; English folksongs and other folksongs.

Work on each song about 4 weeks, reviewing as desired. The idea is to enjoy them, not turn them into drudgery.

Folk Songs:
The Skye Boat Song
The World Turned Upside Down
Yankee Doodle
The Water is Wide
Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier
Robert Burns' poetry and music fit this era. One example: A Man's a Man For a' That
When Johnny Comes Marching Home, 1863
Buffalo Gals, 1848
Simple Gifts, 1848
Dixie, 1859
John Brown's Body, 1860

Health and Physical Education

Study nutrition
Keep fit: 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

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

Free Reading

In addition to the free reading list from Years 7 and 8, consider including these from Year 7:

In Freedom's Cause by G.A. Henty β α Ω ($amzn) (K) Although "In Freedom's Cause" is a work of fiction, it is a more accurate account of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in Scottish history than is available in many other similar books. There is a dramatic audio abridgment for this book. We don't recommend doing an audio drama in place of a book, but if this book is such a stretch that even the audiobook is challenging and you're considering dropping it altogether, you might consider this option. The quality seems to match Focus on the Family's Radio Theater projects, and they have some big name celebrities, including Joanne Froggert (Lady Mary Crawley's maid Anna from Downton Abbey), Billy Boyd (Pippin in LOTR movies), Skandar Keynes (Edmund Pevensie in the Narnia movies), and James Cosmo (from Braveheart). More information here.
The Age of Chivalry by Thomas Bulfinch, Part 1 β α ($amzn) (K) Ω [33]
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey ($amzn) (K)

and from Year 8, whichever of these you did not assign for school:

I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni β α [34]
or Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley β α (K) Study guide here)


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.

Cindy Rollins did a Circe Mason Jar podcast that included the role of audiobooks with difficult books.

Timeline: At this age, students should be keeping a Century Chart and Book of Centuries. Students at this level in the PNEU schools made summaries of dates and events, referred to maps as they read their history, and made century charts. 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)

0. The Pursuit of God: This book is not long, but it is dense. You may wish to spread readings over the week. 12-week schedule that divides the book into four shorter readings each week. (Back)

2. Saints and Heroes: for church history, if you didn't use Trial and Triumph in Years 1-6; all of book 1 and the first ten chapters of Vol 2 are covered this year. (Back)

4. The Birth of Britain is Volume 1 of Winston Churchill's 4 volume set, "A History of the English Speaking Peoples." The next three volumes will be used in Years 8, 9 and 10. Don't get the one edited by Henry Steele Commager, as it's abridged. 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 for this year.
Maps of medieval England
Term 1: Birth of Britain Chapter 1-15
Term 2: Birth of Britain Chapter 16-30
Term 3: The New World Chapter 1-14

6. A History of England by Arnold-Forster, online at, Google Books ($amzn;; Options); schedule for Years 7/8 and the first term of 8/9.
List that correlates chapters of Churchill, Arnold-Forster, and An Island Story for Years 7 and 8.
Schedule that breaks these down into four daily readings per week.
The schedule does not include daily breakdowns for Churchill's Age of Revolution, which is not correlated with Arnold-Forster. (Back)

8. Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People: We've provided a link to the selections that are scheduled in AO for weeks 1-7. The entire thing is here. (Back)

10. 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 ($amzn) Weeks 32-36. Another option: The Landing of the Pilgrims is a Landmark book by James Daugherty drawn from the Pilgrims' own journals, including Bradford's journal. ($amzn) (K) (Back)

12. The Life of King Alfred: the text with weeks for this Basic lighter schedule marked for weeks 3-12. Another version scheduled in Weeks 8-15 for Year 7 Detailed. (Back)

14. Joan of Arc: Andrew Lang's Joan of Arc is the one used in the 36-week schedule for length. However, if your student can manage it, Mark Twain's is recommended -- it's not difficult reading, but it is much longer. Mark Twain wrote, "I like Joan of Arc best of all my books, and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing." (Back)

16. Whatever Happened to Penny Candy: There are currently seven editions of this book; if you have a later edition, you may need to make some minor adjustments in its scheduling. Canadians: there is a Canadian supplement to this book. (Back)

18. Ourselves: There is 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. (Back)

20. Francis Bacon essay suggestions:
Of Truth, Of Revenge, Of Adversity, Of Innovations, Of Regiment of Health, Of Suspicion, Of Discourse,
Of Riches, Of Youth and Age, Of Studies. Most of these selections have been collected and divided into manageable paragraphs. We suggest your students write their own paraphrase both as a help to understanding and to aid their own writing skills. (Back)

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

22. The History of English Literature for Girls and Boys: purchase 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 17 (Havelok the Dane)
Term 2: ch 18 (Song Stories) - ch 30 (Beginning of the Theater)
Term 3: ch 31 (First English Guide-book) - ch 43 (Spenser: His Last Days)
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), students in this year would read pg 77-154 Early Christian Writers to William Shakespeare. Table of contents to help with planning. (Back)

24. Ivanhoe: Katie Barr has provided a Study Guide to go along with this book. (Back)

26. Beowulf: Burton Raffel's is our first choice ($amzn) (K); Seamus Heaney's ($amzn) (K) () is also fine if you already have it. Seamus Heaney's translation is available with graphics that illuminate the setting and objects mentioned in the text. Another option: an updated verse translation by Frederick Rebsamen ($amzn) (K), or use this free-verse version. Another option: Online Translation by Francis B. Gummere.
Beowulf: A New Telling by Robert Nye ($amzn) (K) is a prose version that's not exact, but could be used as an introduction if your students is struggling.
Since there are so many variations, we've put schedules for the different books on their own page, here. We suggest you paste the schedule for your book to a doc and print it to use as a bookmarker during the term. (Back)

28. The Once and Future King, hereafter referred to as TOAFK, Book One ("The Sword in the Stone") and Book Two ("The Queen of Air and Darkness") are read in Term 1. This book is not in the curriculum to give the students another version of a King Arthur story, and it should not be the student's only exposure to the King Arthur mythos. Rather, this book is contains living lessons in government, including self-government, self-discipline, consequences of bad decisions (even when made in ignorance), leadership, and so much more. It cannot easily be replaced by any other book. NOTE: This is a read aloud and discuss book. **Please preview.** The themes in this book, although controversial, are too important to dismiss. For more information, read discussion about this book. [If you need to cut back, Book 2 could have only selected chapters read. The chapters in Book 2 that are about Arthur and Merlyn are 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. Chapters in Book 2 that more squeamish students might want to skip are 1, 5, and 7. All of Book 1 should be read. Spark Notes gives a brief summary of each chapter in Book 2 to help you decide whether doing selected chapters is right for your student.] (Back)

30. Watership Down: An allegorical story that includes "community, connection, relationships, government systems and consequences, what makes a civilization, what makes it humane or inhumane, quests, and more." Read what Advisory member Wendi Capehart said about why this book is scheduled. (Back)

32. Chaucer: If you need a prose version, you might try The Chaucer Story Book by Eva Tappan α ($amzn) (K); however, you will be cheating your student if you do not assign some of Chaucer's poetry. AO originally scheduled the out-of-print A Taste of Chaucer by Anne Malcolmson ($amzn); if you have it, you can use that. If you decide to use something else, be sure to use a version of Canturbury Tales specifically edited for students (Chaucer needs editing!) (Back)

33. The Age of Chivalry: versions seem to differ in Part III; the 3-in-1 edition of Bulfinch's Mythology lists "Hero Myths of the British Race" (Beowulf, Cuchulain, Hereward the Wake, and Robin Hood), while the 1858 edition covers "The Knights of English History" in ch 33-39: King Richard, Robin Hood, Chevy Chase, and Edward the Black Prince. (This assumes your student read King Arthur in Year 5; if this isn't the case, consider using one of the Year 5 options instead.) (Back)

34. Choose either Westward Ho or I Promessi Sposi for school reading and assign the other as free reading (perhaps with an audiobook). A 36-week schedule to take a slow pace is available for each book. Westward Ho! is a swash-buckling classic about two brothers around the era of the Spanish Armada. I Promessi Sposi is Italy's quintessential classic novel in the same way Les Miserables is to France.
I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed): Penguin Classics has version translated by Bruce Penman and called The Betrothed ($amzn) (K). Ω (Back)

36. 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)

38. The Oxford Book of English Verse, 1919, edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch, is a poetry anthology Charlotte Mason used; it's very good, and it's online in a searchable format at, though we suggest using an ad-blocker if you use the website. (Poems 1-24, 29, 31-33) The same text, but with a slightly different title, is also at Project Gutenberg β The best way to tackle these is to have your student rewrite them in their own words. Tips for reading Middle English. As a parent resource, this site offers modern translations of the assigned poems. Click the first line, then click the word "translation" at the top. AO offers some rough and general modern translations, but be aware that allowing your child to use paraphrases as a crutch will not help them acclimate to Middle English. Check online sites such as Librivox for free audio readings of poems. (Back)

40. Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves: The Kindle version is badly formatted and not recommended. For those who need a children's version, 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)

42. 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 $30 for the Jensen's text and answer key. The DVD's are not necessary. You will probably find it cheaper at New Leaf Publishing, or other homeschool sellers such as Lamppost Homeschool.
If you are not confident about teaching grammar, you might prefer Easy Grammar Plus by Wanda Phillips. It's less intense than Jensen's, but still doesn't assume a lot of previous knowledge from the teacher. It's easier than Jensen with just a couple suggested alterations (for example, don't insist on memorizing the prepositions at the start, just write a list of them and explain an easy way to remember most of them: any way a worm can go in relations to two apples, or a swallow in relation to two mountains). A parent using this with one child could get by with only the Teacher's Edition since the student workbook is included in it, but multiple students would need their own workbooks. ($ 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 ($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)

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)

44. Choose one of Jean Henri Fabre's books. Selections were chosen for length (30-50 pgs per term), but feel free to read more if your student is interested.

Life of the Spider: these selections are scheduled:
Term 1: ch 2 The Banded Epeira
-- ch 3 Narbonne Lycosa
-- ch 4 Narbonne Lycosa: Burrow
Term 2: ch 5 Narbonne Lycosa Family
-- ch 6 Narbonne Lycosa: Climbing-Instinct
-- ch 7 The Spiders' Exodus
-- ch 9 Garden Spiders: Building the Web
Term 3: ch 10 Garden Spiders: My Neighbour
-- ch 11 Garden Spiders: Lime-Snare
-- ch 12 Garden Spiders: Telegraph-Wire,
-- ch 13 Garden Spiders: Pairing and Hunting
-- ch 14 Garden Spiders: Question of Property

The Social Life of Insects: these selections are scheduled:
Term 1: ch 3 Song of the Cigale (Cicada)
-- ch 4 Cigale Their Eggs and Their Hatching
-- ch 5 The Mantis: The Chase
Term 2: ch 10 The Field Cricket
-- ch 11 The Italian Cricket
-- ch 14 Great Peacock
-- ch 15 Oak Eggar or Banded Monk
Term 3: ch 17 Elephant-Beetle
-- ch 20 The Grey Locust (Back)

46. Secrets of the Universe was republished by Living Books Press as five separate books:
Liquids and Gases: Principles of Fluid Mechanics (£) (£amzn)
Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics (£) (£amzn)
Waves: Principles of Light, Electricity, and Magnetism (£) (£amzn)
Matter and Energy: Principles of Matter and Thermodynamics (£) (£amzn)
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: Principles of Modern Physics (£) (£amzn)
Purchase the 5-volume set (£)

These books have been republished by Living Book Press and and can be ordered individually directly from their website. They may also in print through Lerner Publishing Group at Book Depository. Some of the American references may have been converted to British references.
The original book goes in and out of print and can sometimes be difficult to find, although it does pop up; public libraries would be the obvious first place to look since the book isn't really that old. Please don't feel that the Advisory is asking anyone to go on a major quest for the only excellent book out there. That's not what was intended by leaving the book on the list, only that if you CAN get a copy, it's still our first choice for this year. If you are unable to access it, another solid option is The Boy Scientist by John Bryan Lewellen, out of print, but more readily available at used book sources than Secrets of the Universe (not the recent "The Boy Scientist: 160 Extraordinary Experiments and Adventures;" look for the 1955 one by John Llewellen). Another option is The Sciences by Edward Holden, out of print, but online. Charlotte Mason herself recommended Holden's book, so even simply taking a look at it will give an idea of the kind of science text she would have used. We don't usually recommend out of print books, or very expensive books. All of these books are good, and if you can obtain them, we suggest you use them. However, we continue to seek an alternative that fits our guidelines of excellence, availability, and affordability.
The Boy Scientist by John Lewellen covers similar topics and is a very worthwhile alternative. Try this link: ($amzn) Be sure to get the 1955 red book by John Llewellen. There's a 2009 book (it's blue) called "The Boy Scientist: 160 Experiments, A Popular mechanics Book" by C. J. Peterson; it is not the same book. A weekly breakdown could look like this:
Term 1
Boy Scientist: week 1 ch 1, first half (pg 1-9)
Boy Scientist: week 2 ch 1, second half (pg 9-18)
Boy Scientist: week 3 ch 2, first third (pg 20-26)
Boy Scientist: week 4 ch 2, second third (pg 26-33)
Boy Scientist: week 5 ch 2, last third (pg 33-40)
Boy Scientist: week 6 ch 3, first half (pg 42-49)
Boy Scientist: week 7 ch 3, second half (pg 49-58)
Boy Scientist: week 8 ch 4, first half (pg 60-65)
Boy Scientist: week 9 ch 4, second half (pg 65-70)
Boy Scientist: week 10 ch 5, first third (pg 72-78)
Boy Scientist: week 11 ch 5, second third (pg 78-85)
Boy Scientist: week 12 ch 5, last third (pg 85-92)
Term 2
Boy Scientist: week 13 ch 6, first half (pg 94-99)
Boy Scientist: week 14 ch 6, second half (pg 99-106)
Boy Scientist: week 15 ch 7, first quarter (pg 108-114)
Boy Scientist: week 16 ch 7, second quarter (pg 114-121)
Boy Scientist: week 17 ch 7, third quarter (pg 121-128)
Boy Scientist: week 18 ch 7, last quarter (pg 128-136)
Boy Scientist: week 19 ch 8, first quarter (pg 138-144)
Boy Scientist: week 20 ch 8, second quarter (pg 144-150)
Boy Scientist: week 21 ch 8, third quarter (pg 150-157)
Boy Scientist: week 22 ch 8, last quarter (pg 157-164)
Boy Scientist: week 23 ch 9, first third (pg 166-173)
Boy Scientist: week 24 ch 9, second third (pg 173-180)
Term 3
Boy Scientist: week 25 ch 9, last third (pg 180-188)
Boy Scientist: week 26 ch 10, first quarter (pg 190-195)
Boy Scientist: week 27 ch 10, second quarter (pg 195-200)
Boy Scientist: week 28 ch 10, third quarter (pg 200-206)
Boy Scientist: week 29 ch 10, last quarter (pg 206-214)
Boy Scientist: week 30 ch 11, first half (pg 216-224)
Boy Scientist: week 31 ch 11, second half (pg 224-232)
Boy Scientist: week 32 ch 12, first third (pg 234-240)
Boy Scientist: week 33 ch 12, second third (pg 240-246)
Boy Scientist: week 34 ch 12, last third (pg 246-254)
Boy Scientist: week 35 ch 13, first half (pg 256-260)
Boy Scientist: week 36 ch 13, second half (pg 260-264) (Back)

48. Wonder Book of Chemistry: Many of the experiments are not safe; in some cases, the explanations of what happens are sufficient to benefit from this book. (Back)

50. First Studies in Plant Life: this book will be continued next 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)

52. Signs and Seasons - read Prologue-Chapter 2 this year, including note on how to use properly. 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)

54. Great Astronomers: A paraphrase is here. Or, there are briefer biographies online at MacTutor History of mathematics archives at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. They can be searched alphabetically. (Back)

56. Lay of the Land - chapters very loosely correlate seasonally in Term 3: ch 4-13 and ch 15 are scheduled. (Back)

58. Fallacy Detective: There's a newer edition of this book that has 38 chapters. The two new chapters are chapter 6 "Special Pleading" and chapter 17, "Slippery Slope." If you want to add these extra chapters, one suggestion is to schedule chapters 1-13 in term 1 (scheduling ch 5 and 6 together), 14-25 in term 2 and 26-38 in term 3 (scheduling ch 33-34 together). (Back)

Last updated Mar. 16, 2021

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