Living Book Curriculum

Homeschool Literature Reading Lists

From Preschool to High School, a living book curriculum or reading program can help your child develop a love of learning through books.

And makes a wonderful way to homeschool.

The term 'living book' was first coined by Charlotte Mason who felt that some books could really bring alive a subject for a child.

This type of curriculum is a great way to develop a 'love of reading' in a child - while learning a range of interesting subjects.

Living Books

We have found in our homeschool, that living books have been a wonderful way to learn all manner of things. From the history of the French Revolution (Alexander Dumas) and World War II (see my list here) to geography  to science. 

I think Edgar Guest said it well:

"Now" - said a good book unto me -

Open my pages and you shall see

Jewels of wisdom and treasures fine,

Gold and silver in every line, 

And you may claim them if you but will

Open my pages and take your fill.

If you think that sounds like a lovely way to homeschool, then read on :)

Living Book Curriculum Ideas for Homeschooling

It is easy to find a book for almost every subject! But there are several currculum available to help you too. Even better, a lot of the books recommended are available online for free. Even if you don't want to follow a curriculum, it is worth looking at the book lists and selecting titles to suit your family.

Living Book Curriculum

Charlotte Mason Curriculums

There are several free curriculums that are available based on Charlotte Mason's teachings. See my list of free homeschooling curriculum for details. These programs cover the ages of about 7 to high school reading levels.

Another (not free) supplier is who provide a very comprehensive program. Their books lists are available online and you can buy the teaching guide separately to the packs of books - so this definitely worth a look.

Five in a Row

An alternative homeschool program for children to follow is the five in a row series. This encourages you to read a chosen book with your child five days in a row - looking at different aspects each time. So perhaps on Monday you will look up the locaton of the story on a map. On Tuesday, you would talk about the relationship of the characters of the book. And so on.

They now have a 'beyond five in a row' program for older children.

We very much enjoyed the books recommended by FIAR and used them frequently in our homeschool reading. The actual process of FIAR was a different matter as far as my daughter was concerned. I could not get my daughter to sit and listen to the same story for five solid days in a row - no matter how much I cajoled! I think perhaps now I would try using 5 books a week and repeating over 5 weeks. But I still think the site is worth a look - it is full of ideas of books to read, and activities that can be done around each story. Even better - the manuals are also now available from the UK.

A Picture Perfect Childhood

I absolutely love this book and would recommend it as a good place to start if you are looking for a living book curriculum. Written by Cay Gibson, she subtitles the book "Enhancing your child's imagination and education in 15 minutes a day".

The book is filled with lists of picture books to read with your children - a monthly schedule, books by geography, by subject and by age - there is even a list for the teenage reader so don't think this is just for preschoolers.

My only gripe is that I don't live in the US and found the recommended books much more difficult (read expensive!) to get hold of than I would have liked.

Living Book Lists

Over the years we collected a lot of books! I have started to share lists of my favorites over on my blog - you can check them out below.

Don't forget about Audiobooks too. We have listened to an amazing amount of classic literature and living books while sat in our car on long journeys. If you don't always have time to read to your children, then audiobooks can be a fantastic alternative.

Following a living book curriculum can be a wonderful thing to do with your child. I hope these resources and reviews give you a great place to start on your homeschooling adventure.


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