Level 1B Online Syllabus

Syllabus (pdf ) (doc)

Outline and Sample Schedule

36 Week Lesson Plan Chart (pdf) (doc)

General Instructions

+ Subjects considered to be essential at this level. Other subjects should be included if at all possible to give a broad Charlotte Mason style education.

(N) Books/subjects intended for narration.

* Key curriculum – books considered to be key parts of the curriculum are shown in bold type and marked with an asterisk.

Highly Recommended materials/subjects are shown in bold. These should be included if possible, but are not essential.

Optional extras – optional books and suggestions are shown in italics

Selections listed in bright blue are alternatives for home educators in the UK

At this level most lessons should last around 20 minutes. 

Please note that the resources listed here are suggestions meant to give you a clear picture of what is recommended at this level. They are not set in stone. If you find a suitable resource that you prefer, please feel free to substitute.


Note: The workload for Term 1 is slightly lighter to allow time for extra Advent reading. If Advent does not fall during the first 12 weeks of your school year, you will need to adjust your schedule to allow time during Advent.

(1) New Testament (2x/week)

(N)* New Catholic Picture Bible by Rev. Laurence G.Lovasik

      • Term 1: Ch. 1 to 24 (The Annunciation to The Penitent Woman)
      • Term 2: Ch. 25 to 51 (The Widow’s Son to Zacchaeus the Publican) – a little extra to fit in this term, but less catechism lessons required
      • Term 3: Ch. 52 to 74 (Entry into Jerusalem to Descent of the Holy Spirit)

Recommended Reference Materials:
Any children’s Bible encyclopedia (or similar), for background information, maps, and pictures of houses, clothing, every day items and locations.
Collins Bible Handbook is a recommended resource. It is out of print but available inexpensively through various used booksellers.

(2) Catechism (Weekly)

(N)* Faith and Life 1: Our Heavenly Father Read, narrate and discuss one lesson each week.

      • Term 1: Lessons 1 to 10 (God is Our Father to The Savior is Born)
      • Term 2: Lessons 11 to 18 (Three Wise Men Arrive to Jesus Dies for Us)
      • Term 3: Lessons 19 to 28 (Jesus Goes Back to Heaven to Jesus Will Come Again), and We Go to Mass

Optional Extra: Faith and Life 1 Activity Book for children who like workbooks.

(3) Saints (2x/week)

(N) * Once Upon a Time Saints and * More Once Upon a Time Saints by Ethel Marbach Pochocki.
One story to be read aloud and narrated each week.

      • Term 1: St. Alice to St. Comgall
      • Term 2: St. David of Wales to St. Longinus
      • Term 3: St. Martha to St. Adauctus

MAPWORK – find the location of each story on a world or European map. Mark it with a numbered sticker. Prepare a key matching each saint to his or her number. See: Map Location Key for Once Upon a Time Saints.

(4) Liturgical Year – Advent (2x/week)

Tomie de Paola has written and illustrated a number of lovely children’s picture books with themes suitable for Advent. Choose any three from:

      • Country Angel Christmas
      • Jingle, the Christmas Clown
      • Mary, The Mother of Jesus
      • Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
      • The Clown of God
      • The Legend of the Poinsettia
      • The Lady of Guadalupe

Use one lesson to read the book, and the second for any follow up activity of your choice. For example: a piece of artwork based on the style of the book; a narration typed for the child and illustrated; learning something about a subject related to the book. If you would like to spend more time on Advent related activities, try this literature unit based on the Tomie de Paola books.

Alternative / Additional Resource (Highly recommended)
Catholic Mosaic by Cay Gibson – gives suggestions for picture books to read during each month of the year, along with a selection of activities to go with each book. Catholic Mosaic could stand on its own as a religious education curriculum, or could be used alongside Bible readings and / or readings from Faith and Life


(1) Work through any math program of your choice at a pace appropriate for your child. Short daily lessons lasting 20 minutes (including drill) are recommended.

(2) Five minutes of daily drill in math facts.

Further Resources:


(1) Reading (Daily)

Children learn to read at different ages and at their own pace. A reading program that work wonders for one child may not be at all helpful for another.

Mater Amabilis families have used and recommend:

Little Angel Reader® Catholic Phonics Series – Sound Beginnings – Phonics Pathways – Explode the Code – Bob Books

UK Alternative

      • Read With Phonics by Mona McNee
      • Story Chest reading scheme
      • Alternative Resources: Ladybird Key Words Series (1a to 12b, Peter and Jane) and  Ladybird Read With Me Series (1 to 16, Tom and Kate)

(2) Writing (10 minutes daily)

(a) Handwriting – Program of your choice. Optional: Consider teaching cursive writing first. Lepanto Press has lovely cursive handwriting workbooks.
(b) Copywork and Dictation (Daily)

Optional Extra: The Child on His Knees by Mary Dixon Thayer – short, interesting but simple poems and prayers 

Suggested Activity:
Copy a little from a prayer or poem daily. When the whole thing is done illustrate it, decorate it, cover it with contact paper and use it as a placemat. 


(1) Tales (Weekly)

(N) Read aloud one tale each week from any book(s) of your choice from the following list:

      • English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs
      • American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne
      • The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
      • The Orchard Book of the Unicorn and Other Magical Animals by Margaret Mayo (and other books in the same series)

(2) Fables (Weekly)

(N) * Aesop’s Fables with pictures by Milo Winter. Two fables weekly. Read aloud and narrate. These lend themselves particularly well to narration by drawing or by acting out the fable.

(3) Classic Children’s Literature (Ad. lib.)

Choose at least one book from the selection below for each term to read aloud. Not for narration, just read and enjoy!**

      • Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White
      • Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
      • The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
      • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
      • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
      • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
      • James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot
      • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

(4) Poetry (Weekly)

      • * The Harp and the Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist
      • When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne 


This will be the first year of a three year long course in the history of your own nation.

Option 1- Introduction to American History (2x/week)

(N) * This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall (Notes on This Country of Ours)

(N) * The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas by Illeen Reninger

Recommended additional book each term, to be read aloud at your own pace. See additional schedule and suggestions for further reading**.

Optional Extra: Everything You Need to Know About American History Homework Charts, maps, timelines, and short summaries of important facts about American history.

UK Option 2: Introduction to British History(2x/week)

(N) * Our Island Story by H.E.Marshall  (Why this book? Notes on Our Island Story)

(N)Our Lady’s Dowry by Kathryn Faulkner. 

Recommended additional book each term, to be read aloud at your own pace. See additional schedule, suggestions for further reading and British History Reading Plans. 

 + GEOGRAPHY AND EARTH STUDIES (3x /Week plus mapwork)

(1) Family Geography (48 lessons)

(a) Draw a family tree, going back to your child’s great-grandparents (or further if you wish). Include on the family tree the place of birth and main places of residence of each member. Look at family photos showing these places. Locate and mark them on maps. (4 lessons)
Choose three of these places for further study. Some suggested activities: look at maps of each area; read about and look at pictures of the area or country; find out about nearby towns, cities and any important geographical or historical sites; discuss any special features of the area and any aspects of its history which have had an impact on family members; learn something about any local saints; sample local foods. Allow six to eight lessons for each place. Talk to older relatives about places they have been and historical events they have lived through. (20 lessons)

Optional Extra:
My Family Tree Workbook: Genealogy for Beginners by Rosemary A. Chorzempa. This workbook includes space for information about immigrant ancestors, ancestral homelands and personal geography pages as well as for basic genealogical information. Useful for those who would find some written structure helpful or for older children joining this study. Aimed at an older age group, so if used with a Level 1B child expect to do the writing for the child.

(b) Choose six places you and your husband (or wife) have visited. For each place: locate and mark on a map; plot your journey on a map; look at photos and souvenirs; look at pictures in a guidebook or other book about the area; discuss geographical features of the area (hills, mountains, islands, rivers, lakes, sea, woodland, forest, marshes and so on). You could also try special foods from each area. Allow four lessons for each place. (24 lessons)

(2) Earth Studies – Rivers and Oceans (24 lessons)

Recommended Reference Material: Any suitable atlas.

Recommended UK option: The Oxford Junior Atlas in the U.S. The Oxford Junior Atlas

(3) Map Work

Mark locations for each of the saints read about this year on a map. Find places mentioned in history studies. 


(1) Take at least one nature walk each week.

(2) Begin a nature journal.

Nature Reading (Weekly, 2nd and 3rd terms only)

(N) * Pagoo by Holling C. Holling. Read and narrate in sections of approximately three pages.

      • Term 2: pp. 8-46 (10 lessons)
      • Term 3: pp. 48-87 (10 lessons)

See also: Notes on Nature Study 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE (Weekly – Foreign Language at this level is optional)

Option 1 – Spanish

UK Option 2 – French

      • * Skoldo French Elementary Book (introduction to basic French vocabulary)
        If you decide to start French at this stage you will find that all the vocabulary and songs in the Elementary Book are repeated in Book 1. This makes it ideal if a child wants to work alongside a sibling who is using Book 1. It also provides a jumpstart into French for young children.

Optional Extra Resources
Simple bilingual books can often be found at the library. Familiar pre-school books work well for this. DVDs often have French as a language option – watch a favorite DVD in French. 


Use this year to introduce your child to classical music. Choose from the suggestions for suitable music below, or feel free to add any family favorites.

      • Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten
      • Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens
      • Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev
      • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas 


* Come Look With Me Series by Gladys Blizzard – choose any three books:

      • Enjoying Art With Children
      • Exploring Landscape Art With Children
      • Animals in Art
      • World of Play

These books include some background information together with some points to look for in each picture. Study one picture each week.

See also: Notes on Picture Study 

ART (2x/week) 

Art activities suggested by the Parents Union School for children of this age included painting and drawing with watercolors, chalks and pastels. Suggested subjects included drawing from nature (autumn leaves, berries, wild animals) and illustrations of stories from the set reading.

Recommended Resources:

      • Discovering Great Artists by Mary Ann Kohl and Kim Solga – lots of art projects in the style of great artists. All projects are given a rating for both difficulty and the amount of preparation required.
      • Oxford First Book of Art by Gillian Wolfe  looks at many different aspects of art, with each double page spread having a different theme. For each theme there are pictures of various works of art, questions to help children focus on the pictures and a suggested art activity.
      • Usborne Activities: What Shall I Draw? and What Shall I Paint? by Ray Gibson 

MUSIC (Daily)

(1) Singing 
Learn two new songs and two new hymns of your choice each term.

Optional Resources:

      • Wee Sing America CD and Tape Set
      • American Song Treasury: 100 Favorites

(2) Instrumental (optional)

The Parents Union School recommended starting piano at this age. If you have a piano or keyboard available, a good beginners piano program that can be used independently is the Bastien Piano Series, starting with Bastien Piano for the Young Beginner Primers A and B.  Another (Catholic) option is Alan Jemison’s Beginning at the Piano books.

A simpler alternative is to start learning to play the recorder. A good starting point is Do It! Recorder Book and CD set available from Our Father’s House

Optional Extra:

      • Usborne Book of Easy Recorder Tunes 


      • Help in house and yard (garden).
      • Work on learning a practical craft or skill of your choice. Ideas for this level could include simple sewing or knitting; clay modeling; making simple toys.

UK Resource: Optec sells a wide range of reasonably priced craft kits, projects and hobby materials.

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