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Sabbatical Homeschool Planning: The British Year (with Book Lists)

This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series

"Sabbatical and Scholé"

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We’re getting ready to leave tomorrow! We’re zipping up suitcases, cleaning house, and finalizing transportation and accommodations. And to add to the mix, I’m planning how we’ll homeschool in another country.

About a year ago I started asking for advice from other homeschoolers who’d lived abroad short term. There were a surprising number who had, and the overwhelming advice I received was to make experiencing the country, its history and culture, our primary homeschooling. Do some math and Latin in the morning, and then read, sightsee, journal, and live among the people. I took this to heart. Education is, after all, a science of relations. I want us to build relationships with people and places.

To accommodate this plan (and not knowing, at the time, exactly when we’d be leaving), I scheduled 17 weeks of “regular” school centered on the British Isles. (We were able to extend that a little bit to get in more reading, and I’ve loaded up our Kindles with even more book on Britain.) We’ve been reading books on the history of England and Scotland, the folklore and legends of the British Isles, British literature, and biographies of British leaders and British authors. We’ve been listening to a playlist of classical and folk music of the British Isles, drawing maps of various places in Britain, and reading a book of a family’s adventures traveling around Britain. And we’ve been reading about styles of architecture that we will likely encounter in Britain and studying pictures that we’ll encounter in the National Gallery in London and those by famous British artists like John Constable, who painted landscapes of places we’ll visit.

Then, when we get there, I hope everything we see will mean more to us and we’ll better be able to appreciate the history and beauty of the country.

Here’s what we’ve been using as our resources for British studies this year. In each case, I’ve tried to link to my favorite edition of the book (with my favorite illustrations), if possible.

Historical Overview of England and Scotland

Fables and Folklore

Chapter Biographies and History

Picture Book Biographies and Non-Fiction

Historical Fiction

British Literature

Audio Books

Geography Books


  • The Young People’s Story of Architecture (2 volumes) by Hillyer and Huey
  • Castle by David Macaulay
  • Cathedral by David Macaulay

You can read more here about how we incorporated these books into our school year, as well as additional resources that we used this year. I’ll also be sharing more books and resources over the next few months as we visit different places in the UK and the Netherlands.

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About Becky Aniol

Becky holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and music, a master's degree in Christian education, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Christian education. She taught classical upper school grammar, literature, and history and lower school composition and grammar for two years, elementary school music for one year, and Kindermusik classes for four years before the birth of her children. She now loves staying home with her four children, Caleb, Kate, Christopher, and Caroline and homeschooling them classically.