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MiniMize Elementary

This list contains the elementary homeschool books recommended by The MiniMize Life.

The book list is meant for school-age children and adults who already know how to read. However, the first two books can be used to teach reading and phonics skills.

Complete Homeschool Curriculum with Free Homeschool Books

The books below, a math curriculum, and daily writing assignments offer a complete elementary school education. All can be found for free in the public domain in the U. S.

If you are not located in the U. S., please check the copyright laws for your country, as copyright protection may be different.

This list is divided into 6 years, K-5, and contains approximately 25 books per year.

Reading each within a 2-week period, year-round, will ensure that all of the books are covered.

The McGuffey’s Readers

That is if they are read consecutively.

The only exception to this rule is the McGuffey’s Readers, Primer through the 3rd Reader.

Those should be read one Lesson per day in conjunction with another book from the list.

How to Read the Homeschool Books

Click the link of each title to be taken to the book review or resource page. The Book Reviews detail what can be found in each book including a brief synopsis, religion, social issues, and more. Links to various book formats are located near the bottom of the resource page.

Books without resource pages link to Gutenberg.org.

You can read the books listed below online at www.gutenberg.org by searching for the title or author name.

The books may be downloaded as a PDF or Word document or saved to a device, as well.

Elementary Homeschool Books

The Elementary homeschool book list assumes that the student is at a kindergarten through fifth-grade level.

This is not always the case, as children do not always learn at the same pace as others.

However, in terms of public-school grade levels, these books will appear much more advanced.

Do not assume that an older student is “behind” if they are reading at this level.

If you are truly concerned with your student’s reading abilities, please seek professional assistance.

Additional Preschool and Kindergarten Homeschool Books

Three books are listed, below, for Kindergarten; to assist with learning to read.

However, an additional reading list of books found on Gutenberg.org is available, separately, for preschool and kindergarten age reading practice.

Year K Homeschool Books

These books are meant to be used as resources to learn how to read.

You will need to assist your students in this endeavor.

Read one lesson per day of the McGuffey’s books with your student.

For additional assistance in learning to read, The MiniMize Life offers Workbooks that pair with the two McGuffey’s books, below.

Year K Book List

1. McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer, Revised Edition, by William Holmes McGuffey – 52 Lessons

2. McGuffey’s First Eclectic Reader, Revised Edition, by William Holmes McGuffey – 63 Lessons

3. The Blue Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang – 36 Stories. One story, A Voyage to Lilliput, has 5 chapters. Total of 41 Lessons

Year One Homeschool Books

These Year One homeschool books should mark the beginning of your student’s independent reading.

However, they may still need assistance at this level.

Reading along with an audio version of the book may be helpful. Links to audiobooks are located near the bottom of the resource page, when available.

Daily Reading

Try to encourage your child to read approximately 3 chapters each day to finish the book list in 180 days.

If you do school year-round, 5 days per week (260 days), encourage 2 chapters per day.

Or read 1- 1 ½ chapters each day if you require reading every day (365 days).

At a minimum, require 1 chapter to be read per day. This slower pace might mean that the child is unable to complete the entire list, but comprehension is more important than speed at this level.

McGuffey’s 2nd Reader

The 2nd Reader is the exception to the chapter rule.

McGuffey’s 2nd Reader should be read one lesson per day, in conjunction with another book.

Also, The MiniMize Life offers a Workbook for use with McGuffey’s 2nd Reader.

Year One Book List

4. The Life of George Washington. In Words of One Syllable, by Josephine Pollard – 15 Chapters.

5. McGuffey’s Second Eclectic Reader, by William Holmes McGuffey – 71 Lessons

6. The Tale of Jolly Robin, by Arthur Scott Bailey – 23 Chapters

7. The Tale of Solomon Owl, by Arthur Scott Bailey – 22 Chapters (120 pages)

8. Lives of the Presidents Told in Words of One Syllable, by Jean S. Remy – 24 Chapters (91 pages).

9. The Tale of Betsy Butterfly, by Arthur Scott Bailey – 22 Chapters (114 pages).

10. The Bobbsey Twins at School, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

11. The Tale of Jasper Jay, by Arthur Scott Bailey – 21 Chapters (114 pages).

More Year 1 Books

12. An Alphabet of History, by Wilbur D. Nesbit – 26 Chapters

13. Young Folks’ Bible in Words of Easy Reading, by Josephine Pollard – 20 Chapters (416 pages)

14. Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin – 50 Stories (172 pages)

15. Four American Naval Heroes, by Mabel Borton Beebe – 4 Stories, 47 Chapters total (238 pages total) – The Story of Paul Jones 14 Chapters (53 pages), The Story of Oliver H. Perry 12 Chapters (62 pages), The Story of Admiral Farragut 10 Chapters (62 pages), The Story of Admiral Dewey 11 Chapters (61 pages)

16. Little Prudy’s Dotty Dimple, by Sophie May – 12 Chapters

17. Dotty Dimple at Play, by Sophie May – 11 Chapters.

18. Dotty Dimple at Home, by Sophie May – 11 Chapters

19. Dotty Dimple Out West, by Sophie May – 12 Chapters

20. Dotty Dimple’s Flyaway, by Sophie May – 12 Chapters (200 pages)

21. The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes; Or, The Secret of the Island Cave, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters

22. The Rover Boys on the River; Or, The Search for the Missing Houseboat, by Arthur Winfield – 30 Chapters.

23. Dotty Dimple at Her Grandmother’s, by Sophie May – 12 Chapters (191 pages)

24. The Bobbsey Twins in the Country, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

25. Ruth Fielding At College; or, The Missing Examination Papers, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters

26. The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore, by Laura Lee Hope – 21 Chapters

Year Two Homeschool Books

In Year Two, your students will begin to read more each day.

At this stage, your student should be reading completely independently.

If he or she is still struggling to read alone, try having the child read aloud.

You might also consider seeking professional assistance if your student can not read alone.

Daily Reading

To finish the Year Two book list in 180 days, encourage your child to read 4 chapters each day.

If you do school year-round, five days a week (260 days), encourage 3 chapters each day.

Or, simply encourage 2 chapters a day if you read daily, 365 days per year.

At a minimum, read 1 chapter each day. Keep in mind that at this pace, your student will be unable to finish the entire list, but that’s ok; comprehension is more important than speed.

*Please note that there are no McGuffey’s Readers assigned for this year. Review the 1st and 2nd Readers if necessary.

Year Two Book List

27. Ruth Fielding in the Red Cross; Or, Doing Her Best for Uncle Sam, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters (204 pages)

28. The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

29. Ruth Fielding at Briarwood Hall; or, Solving the Campus Mystery, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters.

30. Ruth Fielding at Snow Camp; Or, Lost in the Backwoods, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters

31. Only an Irish Boy; Or, Andy Burke’s Fortunes, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 36 Chapters.

32. Ruth Fielding at the War Front; or, The Hunt for the Lost Soldier, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters

33. Sam’s Chance, and How He Improved It, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 32 Chapters.

34. The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

35. Andy Gordon; Or, The Fortunes of A Young Janitor, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 44 Chapters (256 pages)

36. Ruth Fielding at Silver Ranch; Or, Schoolgirls Among the Cowboys, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters (204 pages)

37. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, by Margaret Sidney – 25 Chapters

38. Paul the Peddler; Or, The Fortunes of a Young Street Merchant, by Horatio Alger Jr. –  26 Chapters

More Year Two Books

39. Little Prudy’s Sister Susy, by Sophie May – 12 Chapters

40. Charlie Codman’s Cruise: A Story for Boys, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 38 Chapters (304 pages)

41. Five Little Peppers Midway, by Margaret Sidney – 24 Chapters.

42. Ruth Fielding of the Red Mill; Or, Jasper Parloe’s Secret, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters

43. Joe’s Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 40 Chapters

44. The Rover Boys at College; Or, The Right Road and the Wrong, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters

45. The Tale of Reddy Woodpecker, by Arthur Scott Bailey – 24 Chapters

46. Frank’s Campaign; Or, The Farm and the Camp, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 33 Chapters

47. Tom Swift and His Airship, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

48. The Tale of Chirpy Cricket, by Arthur Scott Bailey – 24 Chapters (114 pages)

49. Andy Grant’s Pluck, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 37 Chapters

50. The Rover Boys on the Ocean; Or, A chase for a fortune, by Edward Stratemeyer – 28 Chapters

51. Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter – 32 Chapters

52. Pollyanna Grows Up, by Eleanor H. Porter – 32 Chapters

Year Three Homeschool Books

The third year reading list continues where the second left off.

Your student should read these books in the order listed.

Daily Reading

To finish the Year Three book list in 180 days, encourage your child to read 4 chapters each day.

If you do school year-round, five days a week (260 days), encourage 3 chapters each day.

Or, simply encourage 2 chapters a day if you read daily, 365 days per year.

At a minimum, require at least one chapter to be read each day. However, at this pace, it is possible that the student will be unable to finish the entire list.

*Please note that there are no McGuffey’s Readers assigned for this year. Review the 1st and 2nd Readers if necessary.

Year Three Book List

53. The Tale of Old Dog Spot, by Arthur Scott Bailey – 24 Chapters.

54. Hector’s Inheritance, Or, the Boys of Smith Institute, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 38 Chapters

55. The Bobbsey Twins at Meadow Brook, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

56. American Leaders and Heroes: A preliminary text-book in United States History, by Wilbur F. Gordy – 26 Chapters (326 pages). Includes Questions “To The Pupil” at the end of each chapter.

57. Tom Swift and His Air Scout; Or, Uncle Sam’s Mastery of the Sky, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

58. Ruth Fielding At Sunrise Farm; Or, What Became of the Raby Orphans, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters (204 pages)

59. The Cash Boy, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 22 Chapters

60. Ruth Fielding and the Gypsies; Or, The Missing Pearl Necklace, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters (204 pages).

61. The Bobbsey Twins at Home, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters (245 pages)

62. Luke Walton, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 42 Chapters

63. The Bobbsey Twins in a Great City, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

64. Ruth Fielding in Moving Pictures; Or, Helping the Dormitory Fund, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters

65. The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters (244 pages)

66. Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound; Or, A Red Cross Worker’s Ocean Perils, by Alice B. Emerson – 25 Chapters (210 pages)

67. The Bobbsey Twins on the Deep Blue Sea, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

68. Making His Way; Or, Frank Courtney’s Struggle Upward, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 41 Chapters

More Year Three Books

69. The Bobbsey Twins in the Great West, by Laura Lee Hope – 22 Chapters

70. The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi – 36 Chapters

71. Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle; Or, Fun and Adventures on the Road, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

72. Poems of American Patriotism, by Brander Matthews – 69 Poems

73. The Rover Boys on a Tour; or, Last Days at Brill College, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters (326 pages)

74. Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout; Or, The Speediest Car on the Road, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

75. The Swiss Family Robinson; or Adventures in a Desert Island, by Johann David Wyss – 57 Chapters and Preface, Introduction, Conclusion, and Postscript Two Years After. (411 pages)

76. Tom Swift and His Wireless Message; Or, The Castaways of Earthquake Island, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

77. The Rover Boys on Treasure Isle; or, The Strange Cruise of the Steam Yacht, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters

Year Four Homeschool Books

Fourth-year reading begins requiring a bit more reading each day.

As well, the literature becomes more challenging.

Try reading along to audiobooks for more strenuous reading such as the Uncle Remus book.

*It should also be noted that Uncle Remus books contain phrases which some may find racially offensive.

Please discuss this cultural phenomenon with your student.

These books should be read in the order listed.

Daily Reading

To finish the Year Four book list in 180 days, encourage your child to read 5 chapters each day.

If you do school year-round, five days a week (260 days), encourage 3 – 3 ½ chapters each day.

Or, simply encourage 2 ½ chapters a day if you read daily, 365 days per year.

*Please note that there are no McGuffey’s Readers assigned for this year. Review the 1st and 2nd Readers if necessary.

Year Four Book List

78. Walter Sherwood’s Probation, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 41 Chapters

79. Tom Swift and His Wizard Camera; Or, Thrilling Adventures While Taking Moving, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

80. Ben Pepper, by Margaret Sidney – 28 Chapters. Read the book review, here. You can find more resources for this book, here.

81. Struggling Upward, by Jr. Horatio Alger – 40 Chapters

82. Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings, by Joel Chandler Harris – Preface, Introduction, Legends of the Old Plantation 34 Chapters, Plantation Proverbs, His Songs 9 Chapters (Ch. 7 has 2 parts), His Sayings 21 Chapters – 68 parts in all

83. Phil the Fiddler, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 26 Chapters

84. The Rover Boys on Snowshoe Island; or, The Old Lumberman’s Treasure Box, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters (308 pages)

85. The Young Salesman, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 37 Chapters (313 pages)

86. Elsie Dinsmore, by Martha Finley – 15 Chapters

87. The Putnam Hall Encampment; or, The Secret of the Old Mill, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters (288 pages)

88. Elsie’s Girlhood, by Martha Finley – 23 Chapters

89. Aesop’s Fables: A New Revised Version From Original Sources, by Aesop – Includes Life of Aesop and 241 stories

90. Mildred and Elsie, by Martha Finley – 24 Chapters

More Year Four Books

91. Strive and Succeed; or, The Progress of Walter Conrad, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 36 Chapters

92. The Rover Boys in the Air; Or, From College Campus to the Clouds, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters (288 pages)

93. Elsie’s Children, by Martha Finley – 30 Chapters

94. The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller – Includes Editor’s Preface, The Story of My Life 23 Chapters, Letters with Introduction, and A Supplementary Account of Helen Keller’s Life and Education 5 Chapters 30 Parts Total.

95. The Rover Boys in Southern Waters; or, The Deserted Steam Yacht, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters

96. Slow and Sure: The Story of Paul Hoffman the Young Street-Merchant, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 26 Chapters

97. The Adventures of Joel Pepper, by Margaret Sidney – 27 Chapters

98. The Erie Train Boy, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 38 Chapters

99. Heidi, by Johanna Spyri – 23 Chapters (319 pages)

100. The Young Acrobat of the Great North American Circus, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 38 Chapters (193 pages)

101. The Rover Boys in Camp; or, The Rivals of Pine Island, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters

102. The Pony Rider Boys in the Rockies; Or, The Secret of the Lost Claim, by Frank Gee Patchin– 24 Chapters

103. The Rover Boys on Land and Sea: The Crusoes of Seven Islands, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters

Year Five Homeschool Books

Fifth-year reading begins the course of G. A. Henty books, which will continue through high school.

These books provide historical knowledge expertly woven into an entertaining fictional story.

*Your student should read all books in the order listed, with the exception of book # 122.

McGuffey’s 3rd Reader

The 3rd Reader is listed as book # 122 on this list.

However, in order to use this in a 1 lesson per day format, you will need to begin immediately.

If your student does 1 lesson per day, use McGuffey’s 3rd reader in conjunction with another book.

Daily Reading

To finish the Year Five book list in 180 days, encourage your child to read 3 chapters each day.

If you do school year-round, five days a week (260 days), encourage 2 – 2 ½ chapters each day.

Or, simply encourage 1 ½ chapters a day if you read daily, 365 days per year.

* Please note that the daily reading has lessened this year to incorporate the McGuffey’s 3rd Reader lessons each day.

Year Five Book List

104. A Chapter of Adventures, by G. A. Henty – 19 Chapters (212 pages). Read the book review, here. You can find more resources for this book, here.

105. Tom Swift and His Motor-Boat; Or, The Rivals of Lake Carlopa, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

106. A Final Reckoning: A Tale of Bush Life in Australia, by G. A. Henty – 18 Chapters

107. Bound to Rise; Or, Up the Ladder, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 35 Chapters

108. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin – 31 Chapters

109. Jed, the Poorhouse Boy, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 41 Chapters (363 pages)

110. A Jacobite Exile, by G. A. Henty – 18 Chapters

111. The Rover Boys Down East; or, The Struggle for the Stanhope Fortune, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters (288 pages)

112. Risen from the Ranks; Or, Harry Walton’s Success, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 36 Chapters

113. Do and Dare — a Brave Boy’s Fight for Fortune, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 38 Chapters

114. A Roving Commission; Or, Through the Black Insurrection at Hayti, by G. A. Henty – 19 Chapters (373 pages)

115. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll – 12 Chapters (162 pages). Read the book review, here. More resources for this book can be found, here.

116. Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll – 12 Chapters

More Year Five Books…

117. A Search For A Secret: A Novel. Vol. 1, by G. A. Henty – 14 Chapters

118. A Search For A Secret: A Novel. Vol. 2, by G. A. Henty – 13 Chapters

119. A Search For A Secret: A Novel. Vol. 3, by G. A. Henty – 14 Chapters

120. The Rover Boys on a Hunt; or, The Mysterious House in the Woods, by Edward Stratemeyer – 30 Chapters

121. Jack’s Ward; Or, The Boy Guardian, by Horatio Alger Jr. – 36 Chapters

122. McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader, by William Holmes McGuffey – 79 Lessons

123. Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling – 12 Stories (250 pages)

124. Hans Brinker; Or, The Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge – 49 Chapters

125. The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades, by G. A. Henty – 26 Chapters

126. At Aboukir and Acre: A Story of Napoleon’s Invasion of Egypt, by G. A. Henty – 19 Chapters (352 pages)

127. Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat; Or, Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure, by Victor Appleton – 25 Chapters

128. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame – 12 Chapters

More About the Elementary Homeschool Books

While this list does provide a structured path of reading material from kindergarten through fifth grade, more is needed.

You will need to provide your student with a Math Curriculum and writing assignments.

However, the reading list should cover all other subjects, except extracurricular, fine arts, and physical education.

Those topics will be covered later.

For now, simply take a page from our homeschool books and concentrate on the 3 R’s.

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

Math and the MiniMize Method

The MiniMize Life recommends using Ray’s Arithmetic for Math.

These books may be found in the public domain for free.

We also like Saxon Math books (Editions 1, 2, and 3), though they are not free and are physical textbooks.

If you’d like to know more about Saxon Math and how to incorporate it into your homeschool, read this.

Writing and the MiniMize Method

A writing assignment should be completed by the student every school day.

In the earlier grades, this may be simply tracing practice.

Then, they will progress to copy work from the book they are reading.

When the student is ready, they can begin completing a full page of writing on their own.

Allow your student to write what they like.

If they get stumped on a writing subject, you can assign one; or simply request copy work for the day.

Structured writing assignments will begin in Middle School; but for now, simply allow them to build confidence.

Spelling

The subject of Spelling should be picked up naturally.

However, you can use the words in the McGuffey’s Readers to drill spelling.

Or you can add in another spelling curriculum.

Two Spelling books on Gutenberg.org are:

McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book, by Alexander H. McGuffey

Lippincott’s Horn-Ashbaugh Speller For Grades One to Eight, by Ashbaugh and Horn

Have Fun!

The most important thing about homeschool, after learning stuff, is to have fun.

Don’t get wound up in schedules and charts.

Focus on creating a love of learning and building regular habits.

Attitude is Everything

Be careful how you present “school” to your children.

Speaking about it in a negative way will set your student up for failure.

Instead of expecting hard, boring tasks that they hate, you should train them to think well of school.

Saying, “Let’s practice a little,” is much better than, “I know you don’t want to, but …

It’s all in the presentation.

School is just another thing we do each day after we eat breakfast and brush our teeth!

And how cool is it to know all this amazing stuff?

Is there anything we missed? Something you wish you knew? Let us know in the comments, below!

For more on the MiniMize Method of homeschooling, you can read this.

To see the Middle School Book List, go here.