Mater Amabilis History Overview
Scroll down for a an overview of the full history plan.
Mater Amabilis History follows an adapted version of Charlotte Mason’s approach, beginning with a study of the child’s own nation’s history, alternating with the national history of a related country, and adding a world history stream around age 8-9.
History books selected to use in Mater Amabilis plans are “living books” by excellent authors. A living book is a book that engages the mind, inspires the imagination and delights the heart. Whether fiction or non-fiction, a living book makes a topic come alive. Whenever possible Charlotte Mason encouraged the use of living books in the place of textbooks.
“We must try to induce in our pupils this feeling of oneness with all ages, by presenting the characters of history to them as living people. We should not deal in generalities, but picture the lives of individuals. Let the child know intimately as many great and fine historical characters as possible… Let us give the children opportunities of seeing by opening to them new vistas, the long vistas of the past…” D. M. H. Nesbitt (from The Teaching of History by D. M. H. Nesbitt, Parents’ Review Volume 12)
“We must try to induce in our pupils this feeling of oneness with all ages, by presenting the characters of history to them as living people. We should not deal in generalities, but picture the lives of individuals. Let the child know intimately as many great and fine historical characters as possible… Let us give the children opportunities of seeing by opening to them new vistas, the long vistas of the past…” D. M. H. Nesbitt
(from The Teaching of History by D. M. H. Nesbitt, Parents’ Review Volume 12)
- Recall previous lesson. “What do you remember about…?”
- Introduce unfamiliar words, names.
- Read or hear selected passage, stopping at natural breaks (‘episodes’) to narrate.
- Student narrates (retells) the passage.
- Read next part of passage and allow student to narrate, as before.
- Looking at a related map, pictures, or paintings before or after the reading and narration will enhance the lesson.
Here is an example from a Parents’ Review article by Nesbitt.
“The method of teaching for these little children is by reading and narration. Maps and pictures should be used as much as possible. … The lesson may open by a few questions intended to arouse interest and to connect the new matter with the subject of the previous lesson. The scene in which the events (to be taken in the lesson) take place is then described as graphically as possible, with the aid of such maps and pictures as may be procured. As it would not be advisable to interrupt the reading too often in order to explain hard words, such should be introduced beforehand. The children are told they are going to hear about how the Danes attacked a castle believed to be impregnable (that is, impossible to enter from outside), and surrounded by what Asser calls “walls in our own fashion,” that is, great banks of earth thrown up, which were the only kind of walls that the poor Saxons had time to build then. Arouse the curiosity of the children and make them think and ask questions for themselves, e.g., Had the Saxons got anything to eat inside the castle? How could they fight the Danes from behind the earth walls, etc.? When the children are quite interested, and have been told enough about the scene to have a clear mental image of it all, having been helped by graphic word painting, the following passage may be read clearly and with expression…”
See below for a brief description of each year’s plan.
Students begin a three year study of their own nation’s history, during 1B and 1A.
American Students: Introduction to American History
English Students: Introduction to British History
In 1A year 1, an ancient history stream is added, beginning with a study of the Ancient Israelites through a retelling of the Old Testament.
In 1A year 2, students study Ancient Egypt.
Students study the history of another nation, while continuing the study of ancient history:
American students will normally study English History at this level, while English students and others will likely study American History.
A 2-year study of the student’s own nation, as well as a survey of World History from ancient times to 1900.
American Students will normally study American History, while British students will study British History.
The national and world history streams from level 3 culminate in a 1 year study of 20th Century History, including a 12-week survey of the twentieth century using the book The Century for Young People, followed by four 6-week units on major themes and events.
Level 5 and 6 (High School)
History studies start over from the beginning, covering Ancient, World, British, American, and Church History over a 3-year plan, with a fourth year of independent history study, or time for dual credit courses.
LEVEL 5 YEAR 1
Ancient History to the End of the Roman Empire
British History to the Tudors
Church History to the End of the Roman Empire
LEVEL 5 YEAR 2
British and American History to 1815
Church History to the End of the Middle Ages
LEVEL 6 YEAR 1
American History to 1815-Present
Church History to the End of the Sixth Age
LEVEL 6 YEAR 2
Independent Research in History
Links to plans by history subject:
American History: Levels 1 and 2
Ancient History: Levels 1A and 2
British History Levels 1 and 2:
History Level 3:
Australian Students, Levels 1B to 5
Book of Centuries:
The Book of Centuries Revisited by Laurie Bestvater (offsite link)
This page is under construction. Please be patient as we add helpful links and descriptions.