Scroll to end of syllabus for 36 week chart.
+ 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]
At this level most lessons should last around 30 – 45 minutes.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION +
(N) Read one entire Gospel each year.
Choose from *Matthew, Mark or Luke to tie in with Liturgical Year A, B, or C as appropriate. We recommend choosing the one that will begin in Advent of the upcoming school year. This Aleteia article explains how to determine the 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
(N) * Our Life in the Church – Faith 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):
- Blessed Miguel Pro
- Blessed Charles of Austria
- Maximilian Kolbe
- Edith Stein
- Saint Faustina
- 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 D. Kennedy
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.
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.
Composition Program options:
- Lingua Mater Americana
- Grammar of Poetry
- complete Lingua Mater from Level 3 if not finished.
(2) Grammar / English Language (Twice weekly)
Choose from one of the following grammar programs, or another of your choice, or complete Lingua Mater from Level 3.
- Lingua Mater Americana (includes composition)
- Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition – Third Course/1982 Franklin Edition
- Winston Grammar
- 7 Sisters’ Middle School Writing
(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
- 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
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkein
(2) Shakespeare (Weekly)
One of the following plays to be studied each term:
- Term 1: Much Ado about Nothing
- Term 2: Merchant of Venice
- Term 3: Two Gentlemen of Verona
See notes on How to Study Shakespeare
Shakespeare Made Easy by Muriel J.Morris
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig
(3) Tales (New addition)
Continuing the study of mythology and folk tales from Levels 1-3, students read and narrate the tales and myths of various regions and time periods. The following are suggestions; feel free to substitute with the tales of another culture. Read and narrate.
- Semester 1: American Indian Myths and Legends
The Girl Who Helped Thunder by Joseph Bruchac
- Semester 2: African American Folktales
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virgina Hamilton, Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
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 Poem
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
TWENTIETH CENTURY HISTORY +
(three times weekly; additional reading ad.lib.)
This year’s history study will focus on the twentieth century. See 20th Century World History lesson plans. 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.
For more information on history lessons, see History overview.
CITIZENSHIP / CIVICS +
Students at Level 4 continue the study of citizenship begun in Level 3 through reading Plutarch’s Lives. Students learn through example in these short biographies ideas of character, citizenship, duty, and civil service.
Read and narrate the lives of famous Greeks and Romans. Proper names can be written on the board or a paper to facilitate narration.
This accessible translation is perfect for middle and early high school readers.
- Term 1: Lycurgus
- Term 2: Alcibiades
- Term 3: Coriolanus
GEOGRAPHY AND EARTH STUDIES +
Twice a week for 30-40 minutes. Continued from Level 3.
Note: The book has also been republished in an updated edition, though that one is harder to find. The plans below are based on the Yesterday’s Classics edition, which may also be purchased on the publisher’s website.
The book is a challenge for most first year Level 3 students, but it is a challenge we have found worthwhile. In many ways, the earliest chapters are the most difficult. The lesson plans below move very slowly in the beginning to give the student time to adjust. By the end of the third year, students are usually reading and narrating it quite well, even at a much faster pace.
Mater Amabilis: A Study Guide for A Book of Discovery – This study guide is designed to be printed double-sided as a consumable for the student.
Mapping activities using the study guide precede reading assignments. Students will use an atlas, globe, or other resource to complete the mapping activity. Keep the map open while reading the assigned pages. The student may want to reference the map while narrating the reading. Narrations at this level may be oral or written.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (Level 4 only)
Note: If the student has already read Endurance, these are excellent alternatives:
- Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft by Thor Heyerdahl
- The Brendan Voyage: Sailing to America in a Leather Boat to Prove the Legend of the Irish Sailor Saints by Tim Severin
(Previously, the recommendation for 20th century Exploration was Term 1: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, 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) Geography of Europe (2x weekly)
Students will study the maps of and read about the countries, boundaries, and geographical features of the European continent. See Level 4 Geography of Europe lesson plans.
A Living Geography: Europe by Jill Papsdorf – a PDF provided free for Mater Amabilis families, not to be sold or modified for sale. A middle school geography course by Jill Papsdorf inspired by Geographical Readers for Middle Class and Elementary Schools Book IV for Standard V The Countries of Europe.
Maps from d-maps.com (free, linked in this document, printed by the parent or student)
Atlas of your choice
Globe of your choice
Optional: National Geographic subscription (digital or print; see note)
Note: In Level 4, students should begin to read more widely about the world. In the lesson plans, articles related to the mapwork are linked. Sometimes these are National Geographic articles, which require a subscription. In each instance, a non-subscription alternative is provided.
If you prefer, the student may instead choose to read an article of his or her choice from the most recent print issue of National Geographic or from an older issue you have available.
Note: In addition, students should locate places mentioned in the week’s reading and places in the news.
(3) Geology (2x/week)
Schedule of Lessons: Level 3 & 4 Geology
Two year integrated study begun in Level 3 Year 2.
A Doorway of Amethyst by Mary Daly
The Field Guide to Geology by David Lambert
Many of the narrations in these books lend themselves to written narrations of sketches or drawings and notes. Those would be acceptable as an alternative or supplement to an oral narration.
NATURE STUDY +
(1) Take at least one nature walk each week.
(2) Keep a nature journal.
Nature Reading (ad.lib.)
Term 2: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Term 3: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
At this level students will continue the study of science begun in Level 3. Experiments, demonstrations and further reading are woven into the course to enable students to build an understanding of scientific principles. Themes studied include mechanics, electricity, waves, and weather.
The Weather Book (Sloane)
WAVES and ELECTRICITY
TOPScience #32 Electricity (Book or ebook and Starter Kit 32*)
DK Eyewitness Book: Electricity (Parker)
*Starter kits have all the supplies you need for the demonstrations and experiments and are highly recommended.
RELATIVITY and QUANTUM MECHANICS
The Time and Space of Uncle Albert (Stannard)
ENGINEERING and FAITH AND REASON
The Paper Airplane Book (Simon)
Great Catholic Scientists: Discoveries and Lives of Faith (Consolmagno and Francl-Donnay)
Smarter Every Day [YouTube channel]
TOPScience #33 Magnetism (Book or ebook and Starter Kit 33)
(two or three times weekly)
Option 1: Spanish
Spanish program of your choice
Living Spanish by R.P. Littlewood provides additional grammar coverage.
Option 2: French
French program of your choice.
Living French by T.W. Knight (available from Amazon UK) provides additional grammar coverage.
Living German and Living Italian books are also available.
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
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
Select and listen to music by composers of the 20th century. See Music Appreciation overview page for more details and to see the composers and music assigned by level.
TERM 1: 20th Century British Composers
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
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912):
- The Song of Hiawatha (Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast)
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976):
- War Requiem
- Belshazzar’s Feast
TERM 2: 20th Century European Composers
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943):
- Piano Concerto No. 2
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971):
- The Rite of Spring
- The Planets
- Symphony No.1
- Classical Symphony
- Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra
TERM 3: 20th Century American Composers
Scott Joplin (1867 – 1917):
George Gershwin (1898-1937):
- Rhapsody in Blue
Florence Price (1887-1953)
- Concerto in One Movement
- Dances in the Canebrakes
- Mississippi River Suite
Aaron Copland (1900-1990):
- Appalachian Spring
- Fanfare for the Common Man
Samuel Barber (1910-1981):
- Adagio for Strings
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990):
- Chichester Psalms
William Grant Still (1895-1978)
- Symphony No. 1
- Symphony No. 5.
- Afro-American Symphony
George Walker (1922-2018):
- Address for Orchestra
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.