A Considered Booklist

{Updated – 5/28/14}

Hands down, the question most frequently asked of me is, “Where do you find all those book ideas for your booklists, Jen?”

Many of you that plan and execute a Charlotte Mason education enjoy the books recommended by Mater Amabilis, or Ambleside Online, and I also truly enjoy the books that these resources suggest! I also find great joy and satisfaction in building a booklist of our own, a considered booklist.

A considered booklist addresses the topics we are studying for the year while considering the people and season of life we’re living.  It is as malleable as I make it, and as accommodating as needed.  A considered booklist begins by drawing from my own shelves so that I can make frugal use of resources I already have (so moms – invest wisely in your books and home library and it will serve you well!), and it reflects the period of history we’re studying rather than a rotation someone else may suggest.

It is able to address the science we choose to study for the year, and reflects choices in poetry, artists, and composers that are anchored to a period of history or are culturally relevant at that time.  In short, I am able to…
consider our year,
consider the children,
consider the topics and points of interest along this year’s educational journey,
…and from that springs a…


I have always built my own booklists.  In the beginning of my home education planning, I was somewhat hesitant and unsure of myself, knowing of only a handful of good authors of living, worthy books, but found reassurance in the recommendations of others whom I trusted and thus began my pattern of building booklists by learning to enjoy books about books and lists about books.  I draw from trusted sources that assist me.

Building a booklist from scratch does require a few resources, many of which I am going to suggest to you in this post.  After a period of years of building booklists – you, the planner – become familiar with authors and illustrators, names that become good and reliable friends.  You become familiar with publishers and reviewers which you grow to trust, and slowly, a circle of loyal friends is built so that building a booklist and choosing books becomes a joy and a thrill as you discover a new (to you) book by an old friend!

History: the pivot upon which the curriculum turns

In a Charlotte Mason education, the first decision one makes is generally the period of history to focus on.  (In the younger years (K – 2/3), history as a formal subject is not yet introduced, so literature which is age and reading-ability appropriate is selected in that case. If you’re unsure – think of it as history in stories.)  From this period of history, much of the curriculum is chosen – literature and historical fiction reflects the period, sometimes there may be science selections of the period, often the art, composer and poetry of the period is chosen.  This common focal point allows the child to relate ideas to a point in time, and though it isn’t necessary for every book on the booklist to spring from the one period of history chosen for the year, it is helpful when much of it reflects the period.  An overall context develops and adds to the child’s understanding of a period – the culture, the sights, the sounds, the day-to-day living, the challenges, the sufferings, the joys – it all weaves into a beautiful tapestry of understanding as the child makes connections across a spectrum of topics and ideas and develops relationships with the worthy books they are reading.

Thus, it always makes most sense for me to begin with history, which includes literature.  I start by consulting my favorite resources and going directly to the period of history we’re studying.  Please don’t be overwhelmed by this list, but rather, consider it a rich selection of tools for your toolbox.  Choose a few to work from.  You need not consult every.single.one in order to feel like you’ve ferreted out every single available living book on the subject!  It is, however, nice to have a variety of lists to look over when you come to a period which offers a sparse selection of books.

Work from Good…to…Great

Book Resources: Books About Books


Online Resources: Web Sites About Books

  • Ambleside Online – this site is a treasure for Charlotte Mason home educators.  Unsure about building your own booklist?  Use the curriculum already thoughtfully and carefully prepared at Ambleside.  It’s a rigorous stretch through the classics and my booklists tend to begin and end with a look at Ambleside just to see how we’re lining up!
  • Mater Amabilis – another treasure for Catholic Charlotte Mason home educators.  Use Mater Amabilis if you want to ensure beautiful Catholic selections following a structured Charlotte Mason approach.
  • RC History Booklists (**FAVORITE**):
  • Penny Gardner’s History booklists
  • Literature to Supplement History
  • ReadingWell Step-Up Books – for beginning readers
  • Julian Messner Biography Series
  • Mary’s Books has helpful lists of oop classics: (**FAVORITE**)
    • World Landmark
    • American Landmark
    • Discovery Series – Garrard Publishing
    • World Explorers – Garrard Publishing
    • Americans All Series – Garrard Publishing
    • American Indian Series – Garrard Publishing
    • How They Lived – Garrard Publishing
    • North Star Books
  • Dujarie Press Booklist – this is a wonderful Catholic series of books that are mostly oop, although Mary’s Books is in the process of reprinting them.  They were published from the 1940’s – 1960’s.  These are wonderful biographies.
  • Mary O. Daly :: Ye Hedge School – History Booklist  – Ms. Daly has earned my respect for her thoughtful and insightful offerings in the area of science, especially as it relates to a Catholic perspective of Creation which is neither strict Creationist, nor agenda-driven evolution.  I enjoy any booklist she makes available.
  • Amazon.com – I know – this is not popular, but Amazon’s search engine can be a very useful tool in discovering books that others might be using.  Let’s walk through an example of how this might work:
    • Let’s say that you know you’ll be using The Red Keep by Allen French as part of your booklist this year…so you click on over to Amazon and look up The Red Keep
      • …and you scroll down to see what *Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought*
      • …and you find a few other books that seem promising, look interesting, and you click on them one at a time…
      • …and one at a time, you discover another new book and another…
      • …and you may just find a treasure you knew nothing about…
      • …if you do…make sure you click on that author’s name to see what else they’ve written!!!
      • HOW MANY treasures have I uncovered by doing just that??!!
  • 4Real Learning – I enjoy these boards so much and find in them a treasure trove of ideas and book recommendations for Catholic home educators who build their own curriculum using living books!  By the way, I’m MACKFAM.  🙂
  • Love2Learn.net – which isn’t so much a booklist site, as it is a review site, but it’s still very helpful for looking up books.

Science Book Recommendations and Booklists:

  • MacBeth Durham has a website she maintains, MacBeth’s Opinion, and offers several suggestions for science reading across the different science branches.  This web resource is simply invaluable for anyone tackling science using living books as opposed to textbooks. (**ENTIRE SITE FAVORITE**)

Living Math Recommendations:

Panoramic Geography:

I didn’t list the many home education catalogs that can be used to inspire booklists because I’m assuming that you probably know about those already.

Nice links….but HOW DO I BUILD A BOOKLIST and THEN WHAT????


I wanted to walk you through in a step-by-step way exactly HOW I build a booklist so that with the above tools in your hands, you might be able to see how one home educating mom does this, and you might begin to visualize how you too can build booklists.  I hear from so many of you, and the booklist is just the beginning for you…what from there?  Well, I’d like to share with you how I do this right from the beginning with a fresh, blank piece of paper.  How I narrow in and focus our reading and book selections.  And how we refine and polish so that what we end with is joyfully liveable.  So, I would ask you to keep in mind that this is one way, our way, and I offer it as a starting point for you to consider:

The Beginning of it all…

1) Build a yearly booklist – choose books using the resources listed above and consider…
  • books that already live on your shelves
  • availability from your library
  • ability to secure books inexpensively through used sources

You don’t have to buy every single book on your booklist right now!  More on how I stagger purchases at step 3!!

  • Scheduling books and pages: I get many questions about how many books to choose for a year….for a term, and this is an excellent question!  I compiled a tool to use as a reference table for approximating how many books to choose based on age/grade and broken down by term and year.  It is based on a sample PNEU schedule which can be accessed online.  I’ll share with you, but you must use it as a tool, not an unforgiving measuring stick or a dictatorial administrator, ok?  Ok!  Remember to be CONSIDERATE in choosing books…Consider your children, their needs, abilities, your days and a variety of other factors…and then consider how many books you have chosen.
  • On combining and scheduling across ages – (edited July 2014) Be sure to spend some time at Nicole’s blog and read/view her entire series on Preparing a Charlotte Mason Schedule.  Her series transforms how I build booklists and lesson plans.  I complete her exercises first, THEN I go through my steps (listed below) in building a booklist.  This works better for me because of the number of children I have.
  • I prefer to build booklists in a table format.  (I’ll share my current booklists [10th, 6th, 2nd grade] at the bottom of this post.)  I create my yearly booklist table with the following columns:
    • Subject (and credit hours for my high school student)
    • Book title
    • Author
    • Term the book will be read (this may list one term, or it may list all 3)
    • Term notes (this is where I note how many pages will be read per term/per day)

2) Break the yearly booklist down into terms (divide up the books you’ve listed into the 3 terms).

  • Print it.
  • Write all over it.
  • Look at the books if you already have them.
  • Flip through the pages.
  • Look at the table of contents.
  • Eliminate a few books at this point (this isn’t a goal, but it always happens as I begin to narrow and focus). 

I’m narrowing more here….

3) The yearly booklist is now divided into terms…from there divide up books into term total # of reading pages

  • –> this is purely mathematical –> number of pages in a book [divided by] number of terms the book will be read….or number of pages in a book [divided by] number of weeks the book will be read.
  • This is the point at which I begin to purchase books if I’m going to.  I purchase books one term at a time and find that this is a huge help on our budget.

4) Start building a weekly lesson plan for the term.    

  • Just like my yearly booklist, I prefer to build using a table.  I find them easy to build, helpful in terms of organizing information, and useful and intuitive enough for my children to read them and be responsible for living them without me having to TRANSLATE!  Building one weekly plan which works for an entire term of work means I can print fresh weekly plans at the end of each week (Thursday or Friday) and put them on the child’s clipboard and they’re READY TO ROLL….without having to stay up until 2 am on Sunday night writing lesson plans out for the next week…..you know what I’m talking about don’t you?
    • I use Pages for mac, but you could do this with any word processing program.  Just drop a table into a document.  Tell it how big to make the table (x number of columns by x number of rows), and you’re off!  I guess at how many rows I’ll need and adjust as I build.  For our weekly plan I like to list the days of the week across the top and the different learning blocks down the left side of the table.  I’ll share a sample with you at the bottom of this post.
  • List the books and humanities we’ll do daily on the weekly lesson plan.
  • List the books we’ll do on a daily basis on the lesson plan.
  • Further the mathematical computations and take the page counts down to a weekly and daily level.
  • Print.
  • Write all over the plan. (once it’s written and printed it’s often EASY to see areas that are over or under planned)
  • Look at each day of the week on the weekly plan and count up the number of pages assigned for that day – circle totals at the top of each day.
5) Reference Scheduling Books and Pages tool.  Compare the number of pages I’ve assigned on given days to the number of pages Charlotte Mason (CM) assigned.   Consider:
  • Is it waaaaaaay more than CM used?
  • Waaaaay under?
  • Does it seem balanced overall?
  • Is the amount assigned going to overwhelm a particular child?
  • Does the amount of reading allow time for margin in the day so that it doesn’t snuff out opportunities for creativity and Masterly Inactivity?
  • Have I taken into consideration other things going on in a given day (if we have Mass and errands on one morning, then the day’s page counts need to be significantly lower!)
  • Are we immersed in a unit study/rabbit trail? Page counts should not be as heavy.

6) Adjust pages and books assigned as needed –> this may affect the weekly plan, the term plan, and the yearly booklist. 

I’m really narrowing this plan into something workable now!!!

It’s time to live it!

7) Print again with the new changes reflected. If I’m working with an older child, I sit down with them at this point and invite their thoughts. Make further adjustments.

8) Print WEEK 1 and live it!!!! — OBSERVE EVERYTHING —

Make notes directly on the lesson plans!!!  Write all over it in a color that stands out!

  • Is the child overwhelmed?
  • Is it clear that the amount of reading is a burden?
  • Is the child able to read through the subjects of the day in a balanced way – in other words, some subjects aren’t toppling others in terms of amount read?
  • We enjoy making use of weekly meetings and I find it is super helpful for me in inviting the child’s input. This can be done even with smaller children in a limited way, but it is such a wonderful way to communicate with your older student about the plan, what’s working, what’s not, what is especially enjoyed, and what is completed out of discipline. It is NOT inviting a decision from them…it IS inviting input and respecting it and really listening to what they’re saying!  I would go as far as to say that this is integral with a high school student completing a Charlotte Mason education.

9) Further refine the lesson plans and continue living them. 

That’s it!!

By now, you should have a basic plan, should have lived it a little, adjusted here and there, and learned a lot! Give yourself a term (about 12 weeks) to really pay attention to how your plans work themselves out in the day to day. You may find you need a different format – a different look. Or perhaps you have too many details and those cripple your creative potential each day? Maybe you really overscheduled and you need to back off a bit – margin in your day is so important, moms! Leave enough white space around the edges of your day for doodling and creativity or you and your kids will burn out fast!

Consider first…

In the end, this is all about considering all of those things in our lives that we sometimes forget about when we see a shiny new curriculum, or something someone else is doing that looks positively delicious and we’re just certain it will transform our children into academic angels. Consider first.

I hope this has been a help in seeing how this works here….starting out considering a yearly booklist, building it from a variety of resources, narrowing it based on the considerations of the child and the family, and living it joyfully in the every day!

To give you some real-life, “we’ve lived this” examples you may want to browse through my booklists.  Click around a little bit in the categories above in the menu bar – you’ll find booklists and lesson plans from each year. (Note that they change a little from year to year as I do my own considering!)  It may even help to print one of these sets out and look over them and write all over them as you walk back through those steps again.  And then…

Consider your own booklist!

I hope that this post has been a help as you consider in your own home, with your own beautiful children, the worthy books that shall become delightful friends next year.  Happy booklisting!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Similar Posts


  1. great, great post! Putting together our booklist for the year is one of the greatest joys of my summer. Can't wait to explore some of your links that are new to me.

  2. Thanks so much for putting this together!! Thought process in writing is always helpful for us very visual learners.

    I've been able to create color coded tables for my kids this year showing joint reading books and individual books. Love your systems.

  3. Jen, we've just finished dinner and are about to pray the rosary, but your thorough post will be my bedtime reading tonight! I am right now just starting to make my booklists as I tiptoe into a Charlotte Mason/Unschooling with great trepidation for the first time this year. Your post is just what I need, and just at the right moment! Many thanks!

  4. WOW….all I can say is WOW….

    and….I have been trying to work my lists to reflect a more CM flavor….my son does like textbooks for some things, though….Biology being one.

    I have dissected (no pun intended) the Biology textbook we are going to use and I think I have made it more CM friendly and interactive.

    Same thing with Geography….we are going to use The Trail Guide to World Geography and tie our Lit Studies to it….no official History this year, well, at least as of this week…

    Love your post….as usual they are not only informative but inspirational as well.

  5. This is really off topic, but seeing your lovely old book in the last photo has prompted me to ask: Do you hold these and read them to your children or do they take them to read? I have several old tomes I want to use this year, but I'm reluctant to let the children hold them. They often “love their books to death.” This is probably more of a failure on my part. I really need to make a mental note to teach them how to better treat their books…

  6. What a great post to read as I am busy typing up my own lesson plans. It's so nice to read what someone else who has been at this a lot longer than I is doing.

  7. Oh yes! We are very firm about books being handled with great respect here. You will not see them on the floor, nor are they dog-eared (turning a corner down to mark a page). Something else I learned from my mom is that we don't bend a paperback back enough to crack or even crease the binding – this is done when you flatten open a paperback book. This really diminishes the binding substantially, and when you intend to pass that book along to several other children, not to mention the repeated readings, the children learn to treat books with respect.

    Now, your specific question was about the older treasures, like the one pictured, ** Mother Carey's Chickens** by Kate Douglas Wiggin, and whether or not I let the children hold and read them. I do. This particular book pictured happens to be a read aloud (so I'm doing the holding), but we have MANY older book treasures, and they are handled carefully by all of my children. I do teach them special handling rules for older books, and would never give an older book to a toddler for handling.

    Another help with book care in our home is making sure that EACH book has a home – books for lessons are returned to the child's shelf or basket, books for free reading live on the child's nightstand or in a reading table basket, books not being read have homes on special shelves. This means that when a reading book is not in your hand, it has a special place and is less likely to be treated carelessly, or heaven forbid, lost! The exception to this rule is the picture book. 🙂 Picture books can be found strewn all over my home! And happily so!

    Hope this helps, EK! 🙂

  8. Thank you so much for this thorough post!! We have yet to even start homeschooling (my oldest is just 3.5) and I am still trying to piece together how one even figures out what to teach. So you use these books in place of textbooks? Do you use a ready made curriculum of any kind?? I hope this post will be linked up permanently on a sidebar so when I need it in a few years I can find it 😉

  9. Thank you so much for breaking this all down! I spent much of the morning moving the past year's history and reading books to our basement library, and I was struck (again) by how many books we own from 9 years of using living books to homeschool (and an addiction to used books!). I have shelves of classics and historical fiction from every time period, but haven't tried putting them together without the help of a teacher's manual from various curriculum companies. You are continuing to encourage me that I can do this! Just what I needed today, thank you!

  10. Oh, I'm so glad this post was helpful to all of you!! Thank you for your kind words!

    Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano asked:
    >> So you use these books in place of textbooks? Do you use a ready made curriculum of any kind?? <<

    Yes, that is correct, I use living books in place of textbooks. I do make use of a few curriculum tools. An example would be Winston Grammar, which is used as a tool for a particular subject, and is used only sparingly. I do not use a structured curriculum for lesson plans or curriculum for anything else other than for an occasional tool for a subject.

    I will definitely link this post on the sidebar for you! Thanks for asking!

  11. Thank you for this wonderful and encouraging post. I have learned so much. This weekend I have been planning the coming term, and your post comes at just the right time.

    But there is one problem with my efforts at narration from living books. When my children find a book that they love, they want to keep reading it – sometimes all day. So I might intend for them to read and narrate four pages, but they will read the whole book in an afternoon if they love it. Then they are still able to narrate, but not in as much detail. And then I run out of reading material for them. What do you do about this? (It's a good problem to have, really… I'm not complaining!)


  12. Hi Selena!

    This is a GREAT question – what about children who relish reading, and what if you've chosen books SO well that they just want to read and read…even though you only assigned 4 pages on the lesson plans???

    If a child is reading a book for independent reading, I let them read at their pace. If a child is reading a book I put on the lesson plans, they must read at the pace I set. There are DEFINITE reasons for this:

    1) SAVORING – this is the biggest reason! A slow and steady reading allows for savoring of a book rather than a gluttonous consumption. If you have placed a feast of books in front of your child, you don't want a child avoiding the feast in order to gluttonously consume one book.

    2) DIGESTING – when a child savors a good book slowly, they have time to digest the book. It is so delightful, that they begin to turn words, characters, writing styles….over and over in their head. They repeat, internalize, act out. They digest this small portion fully and the appetite is whetted for more!

    2) NARRATING – as you've noticed, it's hard to narrate bigger chunks of reading. Their narrations from slower reading will be detailed and thoughtful, full of many of their own observations if they aren't overwhelmed with the amount of reading (even though that reading may have been very good).

    3) PROPORTIONAL – if a child continues reading a delightful book from their lesson plans throughout the day, they haven't spent any other time on other topics. The variety is gone and so is the wide and generous reading. They'll be bloated and full after that one reading – they probably won't want to read anything else or do anything else from their day.

    I suppose there is something to be said from unschoolers here, and I do tend in that direction sometimes, especially with young learners, or if we choose to follow a unit study which are almost entirely self-propelled/unschoolyish here. But, if you are adopting a CM education, and value proportion, balance, variety, a wide and generous curriculum, and a feast of living books, then I think you'll see the value of setting a reasonable pace through books, allowing time to savor.

  13. A wonderful and timely post and resource!! Thank you so much for putting this together. I'm in the throws of trying to create my own “considered booklist” and feeling a little overwhelmed! I (mostly) like the idea of following something like MA or Ambleside, but when push comes to shove I just can't do it. I was kind of considering it a character flaw, but I like what you had to say about the appropriateness of creating just the right booklist for the particular year and child. That makes me feel much better about what I'm doing! 🙂

    As an aside, I think the link for the Reading the Saints isn't quite right. I'm getting a page not found on Amazon when I try to pull that up, although when I search for it on the site it comes right up.

    And thank you for sharing this year's schedules and booklist – as you've seen, they are quite an inspiration for me!!

    Thanks again for writing all this down and for the links!

  14. So much work and time put into this wonderful post. I am off to bed but tomorrow AM I will sit down and study everything. I am planning next school year for the 5kiddos so this is a blessing. Thank you!
    Peace & Health,

  15. HI Jen

    First all, thank you so much for being willing to open you homeschool to us. I discovered you blog about 3 weeks ago, and I'm probably repsonsible for the 1000 hits since then. (maybe not quite that much, but a lot anyway!) What a treasure trove! My h/s room was in desparate need of an overhaul, and you posts on your room organisation has been INVALUABLE. I have looked at the pictures so many times. And consequently my room is looking better, but, I do have a question – what do you do with all the books your not using? I have way too many books for my shelves to hold and I don't know what to do. I have one bookshelf for all my teacher ref books, then baskets for the kids for their books that they are reading for school, but then I have a whole lot more books and only one bookcase. I'm guessing I'm going to have to box some up, but how do I choose?? Does anyone else have this problem?
    Any thoughts/suggestions/ideas would be gratefully welcomed.

  16. Your booklists and lesson plans are just beautiful! I have a question about the lesson plans. Do you type the entire year into Pages or do you type it up a week at a time? I am just thinking about rescheduling and such.

  17. Barb,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed a look at the booklists and lesson plans!

    I do begin with one yearly booklist to work from. There aren't many details on this – just books that a child will read, and the books are divided into terms. The booklist is for me to work from. I use the booklist to build the term lesson plans.

    I do not type an entire year of lesson plans into Pages; I work with one term at a time. Over the years, I've found that this is a happy medium for me….not looking too far ahead (our term is 11-12 weeks) since so much can change for a child between now and the end of the year and I don't want to mis-use my time by writing plans for an entire year and then having to re-write them….BUT…..it's also a nice enough chunk of planning that I'm not sitting down to write lesson plans all–the–time. I write lesson plans once/term, which means they are written 3 times a year. It takes me a day to write one child's term plans.

    Now, I print the plans one week at a time, and as I mentioned in the post, we enjoy weekly meetings, communicating together about what is working…and what isn't. That means that I might make slight tweaks to the lesson plan each week, based on information we have shared with each other in the weekly meeting, and. These slight tweaks usually indicate that a child has finished a book, or I might rearrange something in a more pleasing way for the child. These aren't BIG structure changes.

    Hope this is a help and answers your question! If not, or if you have more questions, do let me know! 🙂

  18. Jen – as always such a wonderful and practical post! I love to see into your head and follow the process of creating plans. One question concerning history selections – do you follow a general history cycle with all of your children? And if so, do you just plug the youngest in where you are each time?

  19. Francine,
    I apologize that I missed your question at first! I saved your comment in my inbox, and in cleaning it out just now I found it again! So, I'm tardy…but here I am! 🙂

    Your question:
    >> I do have a question – what do you do with all the books your not using? I have way too many books for my shelves to hold and I don't know what to do. I have one bookshelf for all my teacher ref books, then baskets for the kids for their books that they are reading for school, but then I have a whole lot more books and only one bookcase. I'm guessing I'm going to have to box some up, but how do I choose?? Does anyone else have this problem?
    Any thoughts/suggestions/ideas would be gratefully welcomed. <<

    Hmmmmm….lots of books? Well, I have a number of books…and bookshelves, too. I'll tell you how I decide what stays and what goes, and you can take it for what it's worth.

    1) Books must be of good literary value, they must be worthy – I keep the best of the best. All of our books, and that includes those read to babies and toddlers. I don't keep trendy books and I don't keep character-driven books. Now, that is not a statement on the moral superiority of the books I choose over Caillou or Clifford the Big Red Dog books….it is simply how I prioritize what we keep and what takes up valuable real estate on our shelves.

    2) I go through my shelves at least once a year and give some away or sell it to my local homeschool group. How do I decide what stays and what goes? Have we used it? Did we enjoy it? Does it work with our educational philosophy? I just finished moving a huge list of books on to other homes! It keeps my shelves fresh and useful, and another benefit is that I KNOW WHAT I HAVE and can be a better steward of the blessings we have here.

    3) Now….let's say that you have gone through all your books and you've purged those that don't make your cut…and you still have too many. I would keep out books in this order:

    ** All the books the children will be reading this year.
    ** A nice selection of natural history books for reading through as topics come up.
    ** A few nice art skill books – drawing/sketching
    ** Some books of poetry
    ** Faith based living books, especially liturgical living books for the month or season.

    If it is necessary to box the rest, box them by genre (biology together, zoology together, historical periods grouped together) and LABEL YOUR BOXES CLEARLY!!! I'd also number my bins and keep a detailed inventory list with the book name, author and bin # on a list in my home ed notebook so that if I'm looking for a resource I can easily look it up and find it.

    Those are my thoughts and ideas, Francine! Hope something here is a help!

    God bless you!

  20. Hi Anna!

    I do follow a history rotation with my kids. We study history chronologically, beginning in the 4th grade. It's ishy….so sometimes we may spend a year and a half in a period….other times we move a little faster. It averages to one year per period:

    ** (1) ** Old Testament History/Prehistory – Time of Christ

    ** (2) ** Time of Christ/1st Century – 5th Century (Early Church History is so fascinating and rich so we enjoy ourselves during this period.)

    ** (3) ** 5th Century/Middle Ages – 15th Century/Reformation

    ** (4) ** 16th Century/Counter Reformation – 20th Century (Since we live in the US, there is a heavy focus on US history this year.)

    ******* EVERY YEAR ********* There is some US History reading because this is our national history. Charlotte Mason did this in her schools — they always studied national history, while studying history chronologically. Our studies may be around Thanksgiving, or because of the current sesquicentennial of the Civil War…or it could be connected to some other American History anniversary of significance.

    Now, what about the youngest? They tend to just tag along with the history read aloud du jour. History selections are not on their lesson plans, but they enjoy read alouds and often sit in on them.

    Hope that's a help!

  21. Thank you for this wonderful post! I made my first book list this year using books from our library and a few from home. I wish I had this blog post last spring when I did all that work back then.

  22. What a helpful post! I had a question about the chart though. What kinds of books exactly are included in the page count? Do you include the child's readers, family read alouds that aren't narrated, books assigned for free reading, etc? Or is it just the subject books that you read aloud for narration?

  23. Hi Anonymous. Thanks for the question!

    What kind of books make it into the page count? Only those on my schedule.

    No read alouds (unless it's something I've scheduled and am reading aloud to a non-reader or beginning reader – for the most part read alouds here are purely for enjoyment.)

    And free reading is just that – free. I don't assign it. The kids read at their leisure and at their own pace for free reading and those page counts don't get counted.

    I only count pages for those books I put on their schedule.

  24. Hello Jen 🙂
    I truly am inspired by great ideas when i read the pages that have come from within your heart and life.

    I am learning to implement the Charlotte Mason philosophies into our homeschool. For many years now i have been drawn to this way of thinking…and so appreciate how you simply break down the big picture of learning.

    I've always thought it best to have all of the information for a subject…and then break it down. But the breaking down was hard for me to understand. It is much clearer now!

    ONE QUESTION…I printed all of your booklists for review, yet could not get a link to 4th nor 8th. Are there lists available for these years as well? Excited to begin putting this together for our four boys…12~9~7~5 🙂 we're behind in much, yet i pray God will be Glorified in, around, and through them.

    Thank you for your time dear friend from afar! You have been such a blessing to me, and so many others.

    w/His love,

  25. Hi reina,
    Thanks so much for your very thoughtful note! What a joy if these shared ideas can inspire you toward a plan!

    I will upload the 4th and 8th grade booklist and 1st term plans later tonight, so if you check back to the Paper Stuff site tomorrow, you should see them!


  26. Hello Jen, I Just listened to your podcast interview with Pam Barnhill and then popped over here to read your wonderful considered booklist how-to post! My question is: WHEN do make time to complete this process?? Evenings? Saturday’s? Sunday’s? What are your precious little ones doing in order to give you time to work on this? I have nine children, and for years now, I have worked with partially finished lesson plans and book lists because I can’t ever get a long enough period of time to actually complete them. I start and stop as I am able, but eventually I have to just go implement what I have so far or we will be even more behind. There is always so much to do and so little free time to do things like this. I think I just have a mental block or something…but I wondered if the way you do this might spark some ideas for me on how to actually get mine DONE!! It sounds delightful to have a complete plan to work from.

  27. Jen, this is amazing and fantastic! I found the link at your podcast with Pam Barnhill after greatly enjoying your lectures at the Grace Gathering in GR. This list is my new go-to and I will be adding many of these books to my Amazon cart and wish list. Thank you!!!

  28. Would you be able to update this page soon? Many of the resource links no longer exist. Thanks for all you do. Your site is amazing. God bless.

  29. I was just lamenting about not planning my 9the graders’ year very well and this was a very helpful post. Seems so doable and I think I am going to implement some of these ideas. Thank you

  30. Any chance you’d consider sharing the templates you have made. They are lovely and colorful and I love the booklist on one side and grouped weeks on the other. I’m not super great at creating printables myself although I am giving it a go.

  31. Wanted to let you know the “Reading Your Way Through History” links to an incorrect page in Japanese. Thank you for all you are doing here!

I'd love to visit with you in the comment box! I do my best to respond as life allows!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.