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:
BIBLE AND CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMICS
GRAMMAR AND COMPOSITION
SCIENCE AND NATURE STUDY
LIFE AND WORK SKILLS
Suggested Devotional Reading
Make a century chart and Century Book of the period studied. 
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 $
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. 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:
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 ($). (Back)
10. The New World is Volume 2 of Winston Churchill's 4 volume set, "A History of the English Speaking Peoples." The next two volumes will be used in Years 9 and 10. Don't get the one edited by Henry Steele Commager, as it's abridged. For planning purposes, there is a Table of Contents with dates for all 4 volumes of A History of the English Speaking Peoples, and a schedule to break down the week's chapter into 4 short daily readings.
Term 1: Ch 1-10
Term 2: Ch 11-18
Term 3: Ch 19-26
Or, use A History of England by Arnold-Forster, online at archive.org, Google Books; a schedule is here. There's also a schedule that breaks these down into two or three daily readings per week here.
There's a new American history book published in 2019 called Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story by Wilfred M. McClay. ($ K) The Advisory has not read this book and therefore can't make any recommendations about whether it would be useful as an AO history text. However, if you wish to give it a try, there's a schedule that fits it into Years 8-11 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)
22. Francis Bacon essays: Here are some suggested essays to choose from, but feel free to do any (or all!) of them. The 36-week schedule uses the italicized ones.
Of Regiment of Health,
Of Nature in Men,
Of Youth and Age,
Of Building (first half),
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)
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)
25. 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)
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 lulu.com 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 ($), Year 8 students would read pg 113-176 The Second Shepherds' Play and Everyman to John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress. A Table of Contents to help with planning is here. (Back)
28. Both Westward Ho and I Promessi Sposi are scheduled. If this proves too much for your student, you may opt to choose one of the two. A 36-week schedule to take a slow pace is available for each book. Westward Ho! is a swash-buckling classic about two brothers around the era of the Spanish Armada. I Promessi Sposi is Italy's quintessential classic novel in the same way Les Miserables is to France.
I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed): There's a newer version translated by Omero Sabatini called Promise of Fidelity ($), 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 study notes, audio files and links to online texts. Ethel Barrett wrote a retelling in 1969; a 1998 reprint can can be purchased at amazon.com here.
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.
A modern English paraphrase is available here ($). (Back)
32. 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 archive.org. 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 $30 for the Jensen's text and answer key. The DVD's are not necessary. You will probably find it cheaper at New Leaf Publishing, or other homeschool sellers such as Lamppost Homeschool.
If you are not confident about teaching grammar, you might prefer Easy Grammar Plus by Wanda Phillips. It's less intense than Jensen's, but still doesn't assume a lot of previous knowledge from the teacher. It's easier than Jensen with just a couple suggested alterations (for example, don't insist on memorizing the prepositions at the start, just write a list of them and explain an easy way to remember most of them: any way a worm can go in relations to two apples, or a swallow in relation to two mountains). A parent using this with one child could get by with only the Teacher's Edition since the student workbook is included in it, but multiple students would need their own workbooks. ($ 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 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 $ is sold separately for about $5. Our Mother Tongue has 49 chapters. One suggestion is to spread the book over two years, doing about 9 chapters per term. (Back)
34. Rural Hours is a journal of one woman's nature observations. The 36 week schedule lists entries to loosely correlate with US seasons; feel free to rearrange to match your own seasons.
Term 1: September (from the middle of the book)
Term 2: Jan-Feb (from the back of the book) and March (from the beginning of the book)
Term 3: April-May (near the beginning, just after March). The entire book is not scheduled.
Lay of the Land - chapters are scheduled to loosely correlate with US seasons.
Term 1: ch 13, and ch 1
Term 2: ch 2-6
Term 3: ch 7-15 (except for ch 13, which is scheduled in Term 1)
35. Signs and Seasons - ch 3-5 this year. The book is cheaper from CBD. Field work is an integral part of this book. Field activities are included in the back of the book, so the field guide is not necessary.
If you prefer, A Walk through the Heavens: A Guide to Stars and Constellations by Milton Heifetz may be used. ($ K) (Back)
36. 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)
36a. 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 ($ 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)
37. 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)
Last update June 19, 2017
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