AmblesideOnline - Year 5 Booklist

Weekly schedule is here.

"Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life. We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Thou hast set my feet in a large room; should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul."

Charlotte Mason, Volume 3, p. 170
A Basic Overview of Year 5
BibleHistoryGeographyScience and Math

Life of Christ (gospels in harmony), part 1
1800-1914 up to WWI

World and American

Bios of Lewis and Clark, Lillias Trotter, and Teddy Roosevelt

Selected Lives from Plutarch
Wonders of the World

Land Forms

Food Crops

Other Vegetation

Earth Science


Nature Study

Plutarch's Lives
Language ArtsLiteratureForeign LanguageMusic and Arts

Oral and Written Narration



Kipling, Longfellow, Whittier, and Dunbar

Age of Fable, Oliver Twist, and more. . .
Modern Language

Hymns and Folk Songs

Artist/picture study


Drawing and Handicrafts

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

Students continue studying Plutarch's Lives as well as a Shakespearean play each term. They will continue with daily copywork, as well as studied dictation and grammar study. Every scheduled reading will still be narrated, either orally or in writing. Written narration should increase to more often than once a week, serving as further preparation for composition. Foreign language study continues as begun in previous years, alongside the study of Latin.

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.

Detailed weekly schedules for these books are available in various formats:
Html List; PDF; modifiable DOC; modifiable ODT

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.
α - free etext at
K - free Kindle text from
($) - hard-copy book purchase from
(£) Living Books Press purchase from
(K) - Kindle purchase from
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.

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

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

Daily Lessons:

Weekly Lessons:

Bible [6]

History: 1800-1914 up to WWI

History Tales and/or Biography


In addition, these geography concepts should be explained and taught this year: [28]

Natural History/Science

Science Biography


A curriculum or program for handwriting is not necessary, but if you want to use one, these are some we've used and can suggest:

AO's Language Arts Scope and Sequence for this level is here.
Year 5 exam questions will focus on nouns, pronouns, proper nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.


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

Foreign Language


Poetry [37]


Additional Books for Free Reading [46]

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

(Purchase a Kindle)


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

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

6. Bible: Bible Gateway has many versions of the Bible online. It is preferable for a child to become accustomed to the language and flow of the King James Version of the Bible, as a familiarity with King James English will make other literature more accessible. Please read Lynn Bruce's article on the King James Version by clicking here.
The weekly schedule lists readings taken from J. Paterson Smyth's and Eugene Stock's commentaries, with Old Testament readings focusing on the kings and prophets in Israel, and New Testament on the first part of the life of Christ from all the gospels in harmony. Not every week has assignments from both OT and NT. (see AO's Bible plan) Charlotte Mason taught with commentaries, reading the Bible passage first, then narration, then reading the commentary, but Smyth's and Stock's commentaries may reflect the doctrine of their era and denomination; they are not necessary to follow the Bible schedule. You can follow this schedule without commentary, or choose your own.
Optional Bible Resources: Timeline; Study questions with maps. (Back)

8. This Country of Ours: Washington-George V this year.
Term 1: ch 64-75 (Washington-Tyler, George III - George IV- Victoria, 1783-1845)
Term 2: ch 76-87 (Monroe-Buchanan, George IV-Victoria, 1818-1863)
Term 3: ch 88-99 (Johnson-Wilson, Victoria-George V, 1865-1919)
This Country of Ours is our first choice for this term's US history book, and is used in all terms. The 'OR' options are world history selections; they are not an adequate substitute for this book. Year 5 uses the chapters that cover the time period between 1783-1914. Be aware that the edition for sale from Wilder Publications has no Table of Contents or chapter numbers. Public domain texts are available for anyone to copy, paste and publish, and many new companies are springing up publishing and selling these texts without editing for typos.
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for This Country of Ours here. (Back)

10. Abraham Lincoln's World:
Term 1: first half, 171 pages
Term 2: second half, 171 pages
This book has several different editions with slightly different page numbers and section headings. Weekly schedules use the Beautiful Feet reprint; adjust the schedule to fit the copy you have.
If you prefer, you may use Story of Mankind by Van Loon β α ($ K) Ω Read Charlotte Mason's book review of Van Loon's "Story of Mankind" here.
Term 1: ch 53-56 Napoleon, 1804; Holy Alliance; The Great Reaction; 1860, National Independence, 1791-1871, Age of the Engine, stone age 1878.
Term 2: ch 57-61 Social Revolution/1848; Emancipation/1831-1867; Age of Science/1846; A Chapter of Art/1827.
Term 3: ch 62-65 Colonial Expansion and War 1868-1914; A New World, Part of the 20th century text up through WWI.
The Kindle version linked doesn't have the copyrighted chapters scheduled in Year 6.
For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for The Story of Mankind here. (Back)

14. Story of the World: The historical books that were recommend for Years 1-6 such as An Island Story, A Child's History of the World, Abraham Lincoln's World, The Story of Mankind were carefully selected based on literary quality and availability for those historical periods and we believe that Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World Volume 4 is the best book for the twentieth century that meets that same criteria. The book is not used until Term 3. To help with your planning, a Table of Contents for this book, with loose dates, is here.
What Everyone Should Know About the 20th Century, Axelrod, Phillips ($)
Full title is What Everyone Should Know About the 20th Century: 200 Events That Shaped the World, by Alan Axelrod and Charles Phillips. This book went out of print and has been replaced in our schedule, by The Story of the World Volume 4 The Modern Age, by Susan Wise Bauer. However, if you have this book, you can still use it.
In the first years of AO, the Advisory did not feel that there was an adequate children's level book available on the 20th century. "What everyone should know about the 20th century" is written for adults. We scheduled a number of the short chapters for year 6. Chapters not selected may have material deemed inaapropriate for students, and parents should keep that in mind when giving the book to their children.
Parents may wish to read surrounding chapters to the chapters assigned. For instance, the chapter about the Moon Walk concludes on the page that a chapter on Woodstock begins. The Advisory did try to note any questionable wording in the chapters recommended. Parents should preview chapters where possible, as the author occasionally displays a bias that would not be acceptable to all families. This book has no photos - Parents are encouraged to select appropriate [non-graphic] photos of the century to show to their children, after they have read about the events ahead of time, in their context. This book was originally used in year 5 and 6.
This book has gone out of print; AO support group members have worked on a compendium that may be used. You can see that here.
Term 3: The United States Goes to War with Spain (1898)--The Treaty of Versailles Ends the Great War (1919)

For those who wish to supplement, or to combine students in the same year, corresponding chapters of A Child's History of the World for younger children are as follows:
Term 1: ch 77 Waterloo, 1821-ch 79 (Composers)
Term 2: ch 80 (1860's)
Term 3: ch 81 (1870)-83 (Industrial revolution)
Corresponding chapters of An Island Story by H. E. Marshall β α (£ £) Ω for this year would be This time period is 1820-1914, George IV-George V:
Term 1: ch. 97 (Trafalgar 1805)-ch. 101 Victoria (1837)
Term 2: ch. 102 (Corn Laws repealed 1846)-ch. 107 Pipes at Lucknow (1857)
Term 3: ch. 108 (Australia; Arthur Philip 1787; 1867)-ch. 110 Boer (1899-1902)
Kings and Queen timeline figures (Back)

20. Trial and Triumph: Descriptions of some trials of the Christians may be intense; parents should preview chapters to determine suitablity based on their children's sensitivities. If you prefer, you can skip this book and cover church history in Years 7-9 with a different book, Saints and Heroes, by George Hodges.
This book tells church history from a definite Protestant perspective; some families may wish to skip this book or find an alternative.
Trial and Triumph used to be online, but now only a sample of the book is available online. This is what we used to post about the online posting: Google Books does have permission from Canon Press to have Trial and Triumph in full online. Here is a statement from Canon Press: "I believe we have extended permission to them to display that title. Obviously we would love for folks to purchase hard copies but we understand the limitations of many folks. If they do benefit from the online version though, we would be grateful for some sort of review whether it be on a blog, on Amazon, or on our own website. Thanks for contacting us to check. We really appreciate it." - David Hoos, Canon Press - Customer Service (Back)

22. The Complete Book of Marvels is a combination of two books: The Occident, and The Orient (see contents here). It is out of print, but wonderful if you can find a copy. The Occident and The Orient have been reprinted by Living Books Press. There's a list of suggested supplemental videos for volume 1 at Wonder and Wildness blog
Child's Geography of the World by Virgil Hillyer ($earch) (contents here) is also good, but out of print as well.
If you can't access either book, we suggest Explore the Holy Land by Ann Voskamp. ($) (Back)

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

26. Geography. Geosafari (available now on CD-rom) would be sufficient. ($ purchase basic geography card set) SeterraOnline offers Free Map Quiz Games. If you have an iPad or iPhone, TapQuiz is a free map quiz app. (Back)

28. The Following geography concepts should be explained and taught this year; a book is not necessary as these can be explained informally during walks and outings. AO's complete list of geography topics is here.
   Term 1: Land forms such as continent, island (archipelago), mountain, hill, isthmus (neck), mainland, peninsula, cape, plain, prairie, shore, forest, field, plain, tundra, desert, oasis. Bodies of water such as brook, creek (stream), river, pond, lake (inlet, outlet), sea, ocean, cove, bay, gulf, strait
   These topics are covered in these chapters:
   Long's Home Geography α (£) 24. A Map
   Long's Home Geography α 25. Forms of Land and Water
   Long's Home Geography α 26. More About Forms of Land and Water
   Long's Home Geography α 27. A Trip to the Highlands

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

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

29. Wild Animals I Have Known: Two chapters that are particularly tragic, Lobo, the King of Currumpaw and The Springfield Fox, are not scheduled. Some families have filled in with another Seton book, Wild Animals at Home, in which animals don't die. (Back)

30. Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Book 5: This book has been newly reprinted by Living Books Press and our amazon link will take you to that edition ($). If you purchase a different edition, be sure to get either the 1992 edition, or the 2002 edition and its 2012 reprint, which is organized slightly differently but still fine to use. NOTE - the new (2018?) Third Edition reprint of this book by Wendy Kramer has the same title, but completely different content. The new reprint is about ocean animals, not about animals and the body. See image below to help identify the correct book cover. The book AO scheduled came from a public domain book called The Child's Book of Nature, a three-part volume by Worthington Hooker, "Part II - Animals." It's online at Project Gutenberg beginning at pg 2007, and beginning on pg 144. Part II (by itself) is online at Google Books. (Back)

Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book Covers

32. Madam How and Lady Why: This year, the second half of the book is covered:
Term 1: The Chalk-Carts, Madam How's Two Grandsons, The Coral Reef
Term 2: Field and Wild, The World's End
Term 3: Homeward Bound
Anne White has formatted the text with her study notes into separate volumes. Volume 1, "A Walk Through the Glen," is scheduled in Year 4. Volume 2, "Further Afield," is scheduled in Year 5.
The text with Anne White's study guide which is linked above is recommended but not required. If you prefer just the original book without the study guide, it is available at these links: Project Gutenberg β α ($ £) Ω K
Madam How and Lady Why is scheduled slowly over two years. This is an earth science book; if you use the study guide, you'll see that it takes time to adequately cover the subject matter. Researching the topics is what makes this useful as a science book.

Of what value is an old science book like Madam How and Lady Why? Apart from the superior writing quality, the best thing you can get out of old science books is a strong sense that science is a constantly changing thing, and that the "scientific evidence/theory/conclusion" of today can be debunked in a year, or two, or ten. Children should learn to take the words "Scientists think . . ." for exactly what they are worth (always worth considering, but never to be considered the final word). Reading older books will help you develop that sense.
Note on Kingsley's "old earth" comments: During the era when Madam How and Lady Why was written, there was no "young earth" discussion out there: evidence seemed to show an old earth, and the Church of England (Charles Kingsley was a clergyman), by and large, accepted a kind of theistic evolution.
This book is invaluable for understanding the deeper ideas of how to approach science. If you do nothing else with this book, at the very least, read the preface and chapter 8 (Madam How's Two Sons) -- that's the bare minimum, but, really, this whole book is truly worthwhile. Some parents are hesitant to use this book because of outdated science information; keep in mind that whatever is current, accurate and up to date changes all the time. Even if you buy a current science book today, there is material in it that is already out of date and will be defunct next year. Some science teachers complain that in some areas what is currently held as true changes so fast that they think science would be best taught using science journals as the text, and even then, in some topics, over half of what is published in journals ends up being retracted later. But that's data, and it's easy to correct outdated data. The ideas in this book are the foundation of a CM philosophy. This is a book to read together with your kids, to discuss, to research together. Some of the style of the writing can be off-putting, but that is also something that could become an advantage: use it as a writing or narration project, asking your student to 'retell what the author is getting at, but in current terms.' (Back)

34. 'The Story of Inventions' and 'Great Inventors and Their Inventions' are the same book. 'The Story of Inventions' is online, except for the last 2 chapters, which were a later addition and still copyrighted. The online edition does not have the two later chapters. If you have the second edition, the chapter order may not match the AO schedule. AO member Amy H. posted a revised list on her blog here. Great Inventors and Their Inventions, by Frank P. Bachman is an earlier version of the same book. If you have a copy, you can substitute. Or, boys might enjoy War Inventions, by Charles R. Gibson (the Advisory hasn't read this yet.) All About Famous Inventors and Their Inventions α, by Fletcher Pratt is similar; The Story of Great Inventions by Elmer Ellsworth Burns α might be another option. Chapter 10 (Gutenberg): Watch 6 min video on Medieval Manuscripts (Back)

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

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

40. King Arthur: Students should have some familiarity with King Arthur in preparation for Year 7. Roger Lancelyn Green will be easier for students to read on their own; if you use Pyle's, you may need to read it aloud. Alternately, you may use Andrew Lang's King Arthur, which is available online, and has audio available at Librivox. A 12-week schedule for Lang's is provided here. Or, if you have The Boy's King Arthur, by Sidney Lanier, you may opt to use that, although, for scheduling, it doesn't break down as neatly into the 12-week term. It's also more difficult to read than Green's. The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles is also a worthy translation, and also online. Howard Pyle's has a sequel, Champions of the Round Table, for students who want more King Arthur tales. NOTE: Editions not specifically for children (including John Steinbeck's) may be racy and not family-friendly. Malory and Caxton, the earliest editions, on which all others are based, can be graphically explicit about knights' exploits with ladies. AO provides a comparison of these texts, the part where Arthur is given the sword Excaliber, for you to compare here. (Back)

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

46. Free Reading books are books that no child should miss, but rather than overloading school time, these can be read during free time. No narrations need be required from these books. Advisory member Wendi C. suggests, "How you handle these is up to you . . ." (more) Parents should also explain to students that historical fiction, while often well-researched, is still fiction, and contains the author's ideas of how things might have happened. Books with asterisks pertain to that term's historical studies. (Back)

For those on a strict budget, recommended purchases are:

Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock (used for 6 years; ($) - this is online, but would be cumbersome to utilize that way.)
a math program
Abraham Lincoln's World, by Genevieve Foster ($)
The Complete Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton consists of Book 1, The Occident (£ £), and Book 2, The Orient (£ £) Book 2, The Orient, is scheduled in the last few weeks of Year 5 and continues into Year 6.
Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel -- these are not required, but they're are nice to look through; we suggest seeing if your library has them.
The Story of the World Volume 4 The Modern Age, by Susan Wise Bauer (used in year 5 and 6) ($ K)
Of Courage Undaunted, by James Daugherty (check library) ($)
The Courage and Character of Theodore Roosevelt by George Grant ($) Also called Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Teddy Roosevelt ($ K)
Biography of Alexander Graham Bell (check library)
Biography of George Washington Carver (check library)
Christian Liberty Nature Reader grade 5 ($)
a Latin/foreign language program
Laura Ingalls Wilder books if your library doesn't have them (purchase 9-volume set)
Other books can be read online or borrowed from the library.

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Last update Jun 19, 2017