Ambleside Online: Planning Year 7

It’s that time of year for us.  The quiet space between school years where I intentionally plan out what the next year will look for us.  As my oldest only has one more year of junior high before high school, I’m going to be working on helping him hone his time management skills and planning out his own work in order to meet due dates. 

I’m super thrilled to be entering this stage in school with my two oldest.  We are going to begin studying some of my absolute favorite subjects this year, and I’m absolutely pumped to be able to study God’s amazing world with them!!

This year my two oldest will be completing AmblesideOnline’s Year 7 work.  And if you’re interested in how I anticipate our first term going, you can read all the details below.  I note which books I’m planning to read with my boys.  Most of the selections I’ve chosen because, for one reason or another, I think it will be a difficult selection for them to do on their own.  So for this first term, my goal is to help them learn how to approach a difficult text and engage with the author and learn and grow as a person through that engagement.

Luke Chapters 1-6, Numbers, and selected Psalms

Devotional Reading
How to be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay – I plan to read this book with my boys, so that we can narrate, discuss, and really assimilate the information together.


We will continue making century charts each term and adding to the ones we made last year.  Century charts have been such a great addition in that it has helped each of my boys to really learn world history dates.  Since each student picks events and dates that are interesting to him, it’s easy for him to remember.  And I love how each century chart is unique!

We were not great in getting work done in our Book of Centuries last year.  But I’m planning to continue and expand on what we did last year.

The Birth of Britain by Winston Churchill – I have looked at this book and anticipate that it will be challenging for both of my boys so this will also be a book we read together.  There is a great study guide for the first term study of this book.  (Check out the AmblesideOnline forum!)  So we will also use this book for map work and vocabulary growth.

Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle on Alfred the Great

William of Malmesbury’s Account of the Battle of Hastings

And the biography selection – The Life of King Alfred by Asser


The Age of Chivalry by Thomas Bulfinch – Mythology is one of the literature selections my boys have enjoyed over the year so I anticipate that this will be a favorite book.


The Once and Future King by T. H. White – I preread this book and cannot wait for my boys to read it.  Because they love myths and legends, I think this will be a favorite.  Plus, we have enjoyed watching the 1963 Disney The Sword in the Stone.  So getting to know the deeper story behind this beautiful tale will be so much fun for them!

Watership Down by Richard Adams – This is another selection I’m planning to read with them this year.  I anticipate this will be a favorite book so it will be one we can just sit down, enjoy, and discuss together.

History of English Literature for Girls and Boys by H.E. Marshall

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott


The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin – This will be our main geography project for this term as we follow Tim and his fellow sailors on their journey to recreate the experience of a group of monks who sailed the Atlantic Ocean in the years AD 512-530.  Not only is the geography amazing but the history of how these Irish monks built their leather boat is amazing!

Each term we also complete a Draw the World book.  One of my sons wanted to learn European geography so this is the one we will be doing in Term 1. We will start our year with reviewing Africa and the U.S.A from last year and then move on to Europe.

Nature Study

The Lay of the Land by Dallas Lore Sharp – Including nature study has always been a struggle for me, so I am glad that this book is on the schedule this year.  Even with struggling to include it, all of my children have learned to slow down and notice nature.  Instead of freaking out at bugs and spiders, we all gather and watch them do their work with amazement.  So slowly and steadily, we are learning to enjoy it.  I’m planning to have both boys keep a book of firsts to note the first time throughout the year something appears so that we can start noticing the patterns in nature.  And we will keep nature lists and work on classifying what we see this year as well.


Eric Sloane’s Weather Book by Eric Sloane – My husband will be teaching this book since he knows a lot about weather and finds it fascinating.  I think having a teacher who is passionate about the subject will make this a favorite book of this term!

First Studies of Plant Life by George Francis Atkinson – We tried to start work on this six weeks ago, but none of our seeds sprouted!  So I’m hoping to attempt again before we officially start school.  It might be too late in the season for us to actually transplant our seedlings, but we are going to try!

Signs and Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy by Jay Ryan

Secrets of the Universe: Discovering the Universal Laws of Science by Paul Fleisher – We will also be using Sabbath Mood’s study guide for these readings.

Great Astronomers by R.S. Ball

 (Science is one of my favorite subjects, and I’m so excited at the astronomy, physics, and microscope work that we get to do this year!!)


How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren – While prereading this book, I absolutely fell in love with the selections the boys get to read this year.  I’m super excited about this selection.


Ourselves by Charlotte Mason

Government and Economics

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury – I preread this book and loved the easy way in which the author explained economics.  It was easy to understand and see the patterns that have happened in the past and continue to happen in the present.

Your Rugged Constitution by Bruce Findlay and Esther Blair Findlay – I will be adding this book to our Morning Time reading stack (which I’ll get to a little further down). 


The Oxford Book of English Verse by Arthur Quiller-Couch – I anticipate this will be challenging for all three of us since these selected poems are written in old English!  However, I believe the comprehension and decoding skills that we will gain will be well worth the work.

The Story of Painting by H.W. Janson

Foreign Language

We will continue working through Getting Started with Latin by William E. Linney.  My goal is to do one lesson a day.  We often do Latin together after either breakfast or lunch.  I read the new material, and then the children translate the ten sample sentences.

We will also continue working through Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois.

If you compare everything that I listed out above to AO’s Year 7 schedule, you will notice a few things missing.  We will be joining a co-op this term and some of our study will be done with them, and I’m super excited that my kids will get the benefit of the interaction and group work this year.

So with the co-op, we will also be doing:

One of Plutarch’s Lives – We have chosen to do The Statesmen: The Parallel Lives of Phocion of Athens and Cato the Younger of Rome translated by Scot and David Hicks.

Adventures with a Microscope by Richard Headstrom

Art lessons

The Grammar of Poetry – Super excited for the kids to learn how to write poetry.

Shakespeare – We will be doing Julius Caesar this term.

The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn

Handicrafts – We have chosen to learn how to tie knots during this first term.  (My boys will also continue working on their wood burning skills.)

A few months ago, I read Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson.  And after reading that amazing book, I decided to shake things up a bit with how I do our morning reading time.  I always read to my children over breakfast and lunch.  We enjoy sharing stories together.  For Term 1, I’ve mapped out the six books I hope to read with all three children.  Some of them are from Year 7 and some from Year 3.5 (which my daughter is doing), and some are just fun books I want to add in just to enjoy with my kids. 

David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer by Janet and Geoff Benge – We have actually already started this book and are about half way through it.

Beowulf – This is a Year 7 literature selection.  We have read fun adaptations of Beowulf so I hope that it is one we can all enjoy together.

Just David by Eleanor Porter – This is a free read selection from Year 3.5.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey – This is a Year 7 Term 3 book that covers the crimes of King Richard the third of England.  This is a topic I find fascinating so I look forward to diving into this book with my children.

We will read a missionary biography.  I haven’t yet picked one, but I am leaning towards Fire on the Hills: The Rochunga Podaite Story by Joe Musser and James and Marti Hefley.

Your Rugged Constitution by Bruce Findlay and Esther Blair Findlay.

So those are the main books and topics we will be studying this first term.  I plan to start our school year in mid June, but we won’t be doing school full time.  It will be a slow start to our school year as we also take breaks to enjoy hanging out with our friends who are on summer break.  (We also have work to complete on our house and then moving everything back into it!) 

~ Carrie ~

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