Mater Amabilis Level 4 Online Syllabus

Advanced Junior High /Secondary (approx. ages 13-14) ~ Grade 8 in the US.  Year 9 in the UK.

General Instructions

This course covers one school year.

+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

History Cycle for Australian students [provided by Ruth Marshall]

Before beginning be sure to read our General Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s method, and the subject introductions for language artsgeography and nature study.

The curriculum is designed to fit into thirty-six weeks, with many subjects broken down into three blocks of twelve weeks (terms).

Each term an additional history book, a saint’s biography, a “Catholic culture” book and a nature book are to be read outside formal lesson time.

At this level most lessons should last around 30 to 45 minutes.


(1)  (N) * Ignatius Study Bible: Matthew, MarkLuke or John (weekly)

Study whichever Gospel was not read at Level 3. If using Mater Amabilis for the first time, use whichever Gospel is appropriate for the current liturgical year.

Recommended Resource for the Gospel of Matthew: Reading the Old Testament in the New: The Gospel of Matthew and Proclaiming the Kingdom: The Gospel of Matthew – A Ten Lesson Audio Bible Study Course

Also: Bible Memory Work – memorize one verse from each week’s lesson

(2) Catechism

(N) Introduction to Catholicism: A Complete Course 1st or 2nd Edition (3x weekly)

(N) * Our Life in the ChurchFaith and Life Series 8 (weekly)
Read, narrate and discuss one lesson each week.

(3) Saints and Catholic Heroes (ad. lib.)

One biography to be assigned as independent reading each term. Choose books about saints and topics from the following list (or any other twentieth century saints of your choice):

Term 1:

  • Blessed Miguel Pro
  • Blessed Charles of Austria
  • Fatima

Term 2:

  • Maximilian Kolbe
  • Edith Stein
  • Saint Faustina

Term 3:

  • Blessed Gianna Molla
  • Saint Padre Pio
  • Blessed Mother Teresa
  • Saint Jóse Maria Escriva
  • Pope John Paul II

Note: Most of the available books about these saints were written for adults. We have not been able to pre-read all these books for suitability for this age group, but the following titles may be worth trying:

  • Blessed Miguel Pro: 20th Century Martyr by Ann Ball
  • A Heart for Europe by James and Joanna Bogle (story of Blessed Charles of Austria and Empress Zita)
  • Children of Fatima by Leo Madigan
  • Edith Stein, Woman of Prayer by Joanne Mosley
  • The Last Days of Maximilian Kolbe by Sergius C. Lorit
  • Stories of Padre Pio by Katharina Tangari
  • Stories of Karol: the Unknown Life of John Paul II by Gian Franco Svidercoschi
  • Mother Teresa’s Lessons of Love by Susan Conroy

(4) Lent (Three times weekly for 6 weeks)

Boys to Men:The Transforming Power of Virtue by Tim Gray and Curtis Martin

Note: Although this book is written primarily for young men, we feel that its message is applicable to both young men and young ladies.

(5) Easter (Three times weekly for 6 weeks)

(N) A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’s Court by Martin de Porres Kennedy

Optional Extra:

A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’s Court: Discussion/Study Guide


Catholic Culture (independent reading ad.lib.)

Term 1: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Von Trapp (alternative title: The Sound of Music)

Term 2: He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek

Term 3: We’re On a Mission From God by Mary Beth Bonacci


Continue with your preferred math program


(1) Writing and Composition

(a) Copywork (10 minutes daily)

Copy two lines daily from favorite poems, prayers, Bible passages or the Shakespeare play being studied.

Recommended Resources:

The Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist

Shakespeare quotations suitable for copywork.

(b) Composition (Daily)
Regular written narrations from books set for history, religion, geography, literature and science.

(2) Grammar / English Language (Twice weekly)

Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition – Third Course/1982 Franklin Edition

(3) Studied Dictation (Twice weekly)
Passages to be dictated from a section (two or three paragraphs) of a history, literature, geography or religion book that has been studied in advance.


(1) Classic Twentieth Century Literature

Choose one book each term

Term 1:

  • Father Brown Stories by G.K.Chesterton
  • Goodbye Mr Chips by James Hilton

Term 2:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Optional: Study questions) – please read this review to decide whether this is appropriate reading for your child.
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Term 3:

  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkein

(2) Shakespeare (Weekly)

One of the following plays to be studied each term:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream

See notes on How to Study Shakespeare

Recommended Resources:

Shakespeare Made Easy by Muriel J.Morris

(3) Poetry

Term 1: G.K.Chesterton; World War I poets

Term 2: T. S. Eliot

Term 3: Robert Frost

The Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist: Logical Stage
UK: The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems.

Further Reading Suggestions:

  • Favorite Father Brown Stories by G.K.Chesterton
  • A Long Way from Welcome by Echo Lewis
  • The Weka-Feather Cloak by Leo Madigan
  • The Bank of Infinite Reserves by Leo Madigan
  • The Rose Round by Meriol Trevor
  • The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman
  • Black as Night by Regina Doman
  • They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth


(three times weekly; additional reading ad.lib.)

This year’s history study will focus on the twentieth century. The first term should be spent on a study of the student’s own country using one of the following books:

US: * The Century for Young People by Peter Jennings
UK: * Young Oxford History of Britain and Ireland, Section 5: A Century of Change
Australia: Either (1) choose six separate six-week studies; (2) study 20th century Britain or America; or (3) spend twelve weeks studying 20th century Australia.

During the second and third terms four six-week studies are to be chosen from a range of topics including the First and Second World Wars, Russia, China and the Middle East.

For booklists and details of these studies see our history schedule.


(twice weekly; plus map work)

(1) Twentieth Century Exploration (Weekly)

Term 1: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Note: Some paperback editions have less pictures than the hardback edition

Term 2: Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft by Thor Heyerdahl

Term 3: The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz

(2) National Geographic (Weekly)

* National Geographic magazine

Read and narrate one article each week. While a subscription to current issues would be ideal, used copies from recent years would be acceptable.

(3) Map Work (Weekly)
Locate places mentioned in the week’s reading and places in the news.


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

(2) Keep a nature journal.

Nature Reading (ad.lib.)

Term 1: Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter or My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Term 2: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

Term 3: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot


(twice weekly)

Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: Principles of Modern Physics by Paul Fleisher
(also included in Secrets of the Universe [out of print])
The Time and Space of Uncle Albert by Russell Stannard
The Chain Reaction: Pioneers of Nuclear Science by Karen Fox
Eyewitness: Electronics by Steve Parker (pub.Dorling Kindersley)
Fun With Electronics Kit by Conn Mcquinn
Fun With Computer Electronics Kit by Becker & Mayer Ltd.
The Code Book for Young People: How to Make It, Break It, Hack It, Crack It by Simon Singh


(two or three times weekly)

Option 1: Spanish

Spanish program of your choice

Recommended Resource:
Living Spanish by R.P. Littlewood provides additional grammar coverage.

Option 2: French

French program of your choice.

Recommended Resource:
Living French by T.W. Knight (available from Amazon UK) provides additional grammar coverage.
Living German and Living Italian books are also available.


(twice weekly)

Option 1: Intensive Approach

Henle Latin 1 by Robert Henle: Units 11 to 14

Henle Latin 2 by Robert Henle: Lessons 1 to 20

Option 2: Gentler Approach

Henle Latin 1: Progress at student’s own pace

Recommended Additional Resources:

Henle Latin Grammar by Robert Henle
Used all 4 years of Henle Latin

Lingua Angelica Christian Latin Reading Course by Cheryl Lowe & Paul O’Brien

UK Alternative

Option 1: Intensive Approach

The Approach to Latin, Part 2 by J.Paterson and E.Macnaughton – pp.1-88
Note: This is the schedule used by the Parents’ Union Schools in the 1960s. O Level Latin was taken at the end of Approach to Latin Part 2. The standard achieved was roughly equivalent to the current A level standard. This option is recommended for academically oriented children requiring a challenge and will enable children to read Latin texts in the original. It requires a teacher familiar with Latin, or who is prepared to commit time and effort to master the material alongside the child.

Option 2: Gentler Approach

The Approach to Latin, First Part by J.Paterson and E.Macnaughton (approx.15-20 pages each term) – old fashioned traditional text

or So You Really Want to Learn Latin: Book 2 by N.R.R.Oulton

Beginners: So You Really Want to Learn Latin: Book 1 by N.R.R.Oulton
Note: This series from Galore Park reaches GCSE level at the end of Book 3.

Recommended Additional Resource:

Lingua Angelica: Christian Latin Reading Course by Cheryl Lowe & Paul O’Brien



One 20th century artist to be studied each term:

Term 1: Henri Matisse

Term 2: Pablo Picasso

Term 3: Marc Chagall

See also: Notes on Picture Study



Term 1: 20th Century British Composers

Suggested Works:

  • Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Cello Concerto in E minor, Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma), Serenade for Strings
  • Ralph Vaughan-Williams (1872-1958): Fantasia on Greensleeves, The Lark Ascending
  • Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): War Requiem
  • William Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast

Term 2: 20th Century European Composers

Suggested Works:

  • Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Piano Concerto No.2
  • Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971): The Rite of Spring
  • Gustav Holst: The Planets
  • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.1
  • Sergei Prokofiev: Classical Symphony
  • Joaquin Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra

Term 3: 20th Century American Composers

Suggested Works:

  • George Gershwin (1898-1937): Rhapsody in Blue
  • Aaron Copland (1900-1990): Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man
  • Samuel Barber (1910-1981): Adagio for Strings
  • Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990): Chichester Psalms


(Twice weekly)

Artistic Pursuits: Color and Composition (Highschool Years 7-9)
or if this series has not been used at Level 3:

Artistic Pursuits: The Elements of Art and Composition (Highschool Years 7-9)


  • Continue instrumental study.
  • Singing – hymns or songs of your choice.


  • Help in house and yard (garden).
  • Work on learning a practical craft or skill of your choice.
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