Resources for Classical Conversation Cycle 3 Foundations

Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations is up next, and I'm excited to revisit the memory work.  I really enjoy American history, and there are so many fun resources out there to fill my bookshelves. None of these books are required to complete a successful year studying with Classical Conversations, and many of them you can find at your local library.

classical conversations


Cycle 3 can be dangerous because there are so many excellent resources! I'm trying to share only the best, but even that is hard to limit. Oh well...forgive me. This is going to be long!


In Cycle 3, the focus is on American history.

  • The Landmark History of the American People - Daniel Boorstein, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Americans: The Democratic Experience, wrote this fantastic two volume American history for students. He also writes the history text that students use in Challenge IV, so I like thinking I'm introducing my kids to an author they'll meet again one day.
  • A History of US - I love Joy Hakim's resource for American history. I purchased the whole series used, but my local library also has the whole set. Warning - she begins with an evolutionary world view.

American History Multi-Media Resources

American History Inspired Read Alouds

This is more exciting to me than the non-fiction options. I love getting lost in a good book with my kids. We learn so much from historical fiction.

  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch - This is my favorite book we read in Challenge A. I cry every time I read it. It's such a wonderful and inspiring story based on the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, a mathematical and nautical genius.
  • Little Britches Series - Students read Little Britches in Challenge B, but this entire series is worth reading! It is based on the life of Ralph Moody, and his life was fascinating.
  • The Little House SeriesLife on the frontier makes for good stories which have captured audiences for decades. There are tons of extra resources to frame your history studies around this series.
  • The Cabin Faced West - George Washington makes a surprise appearance in this story by Jean Fritz.
  • Justin Morgan Had a Horse - For your horse lovers, this book is the beginning of a fantastic series by Marguerite Henry which chronicles the arrival of the Arabian breed in America.
  • Johnny TremainThis Challenge I reader is a great read aloud for Cycle 3 because it brings the revolutionary war period to life. There's also an old movie made based on the book that is fun to watch after you read.
  • Sign of the Beaver - Anyone who enjoys a good adventure book will love this story about a young boy who is left alone to guard the new family home while his father goes back to retrieve the rest of his family. It's hard to imagine surviving on your own at such a young age!
  • Bud, Not Buddy - Bud is a 10 year old orphan boy during the great depression who sets out to find his father. It's always great to read stories from the perspective of a child.
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man - Another Challenge A reader, this story of a young African prince who is captured and sold into slavery will inspire you as he works to honor the Lord in all that he does.

Geography - USA

I feel like we have a little home field advantage with the geography in Cycle 3, but my first time around I was amazed at how richly diverse our country is. There are really some fantastic resources learning to recognize and draw the USA:

Drawing Resources:

  • Draw the USA - I love these drawing resources. This one really breaks down the overwhelming task of drawing the United States.
  • The Little Man In The Map - My first round of Cycle 3, I used this book to learn and draw the USA. I still love the visual images that it uses to help you remember which states go where. I will never look at the US map the same again!
  • National Geographic Kids United States Atlas - I don't have this one, but I want it. I've really enjoyed National Geographic Kids World Atlas, and this one looks just as great. It's on my wish list for next year. 

Fun Geography Reads

  • Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across AmericaThis beautifully illustrated children's book follows the journey of a family on my dream road trip. As they encounter each of the 50 states, you learn a little bit about each one. It's a fun read.
  • Paddle-to-the-Sea - These next three books are the absolute best living books about geography. They effortlessly weave geography into a fascinating story. I love reading these with my kids. Paddle-to-the-Sea travels with a little carved Indian in a canoe through the great lakes and out to the Atlantic ocean. 
  • Minn of the Mississippi - This story follows a snapping turtle down the great Mississippi River.
  • Tree in the Trail - takes readers on a journey down the Santa Fe Trail from the perspective of a cottonwood tree over the course of 200 years.

Geography Games

  • Ticket to Ride - is our family's favorite board game. The US map is beautiful and it's a fun way to get familiar with American geography.
  • Geopuzzle USA - We love these puzzles because they're quick and easy to put together, and all of the pieces are shaped as the individual states.
  • Spin USA - This fast paced game is a great way to practice state location and capital identification. It's a quick game to pull out in a pinch to review states and capitals.

Science - Anatomy/Chemistry/Origins

The Cycle 3 science memory work is so helpful for Challenge A and Challenge B students. In the spring semester of CHA, students learn to draw 10 body systems and label them from memory. In Challenge B, students do a small intro to Chemistry in which they learn the first 18 elements of the periodic table and research one of the elements to create a fictional commercial to inform their classmates about the benefits of the element. When students have the Cycle 3 memory work stored away, these assignments become effortless. Here are some of my favorite other resources:

Anatomy Resources:

Chemistry Resources:

Origins Resources

Latin - John 1:1-7

I really love the vocabulary we learn in Cycle 3. Many of these words come up in the Henle 1 text, and students will enjoy seeing familiar friends. If you have an older foundations student, you'll want to make sure they keep reviewing their declensions and conjugations if they've memorized them in previous cycles.

  • Here are some noun declension worksheets for review.
  • Check out my Present Stem worksheets, and Perfect Stem worksheets for your foundations student. I’ll print a bunch of sheets and spiral them so that we can have weeks of conjugating fun!
  • If you want more, check out my Verb Charts…but these are targeted more for the Challenge age students, but would be awesome if moms wanted to dig deeper.
  • We still love the First Thousand Words in Latin:

ENGLISH - Irregular Verbs

There aren't too many exciting resources for this. I do like the Everything You Need to Know About series. They are excellent reference materials.

MATH - Same Every Year!

Whew! That's a lot of books. Every year I am more and more convinced that filling my family's lives with a copious amount of books will develop lifelong learners. If they fall in love with reading, doors will open for them in ways I can't even imagine.

So what did I miss? What are some of your favorite resources for Cycle 3?


  1. BRITTANY STULTZ on May 4, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    helpful insight on the cycle 3, Im new to CC this coming year and its nice to see the layout.

  2. Jamie on June 27, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks for all these resources! I’m new to CC and new to homeschooling, so I’m looking for all the direction I can get!

    • Betsy on June 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy CC!

  3. Jenna on July 20, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Great post! Question: How do y’all use First Thousand Words: Latin? I bought it, but now I’m not sure what to do with it with my 10 and 12-year-old.

    • Betsy on July 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      We haven’t used it very formally in any way. It’s just a book that my 11 year old enjoys looking through in her quiet reading time.

    • Brooke on August 3, 2020 at 7:38 pm

      This is a great list. I would just add to Geography the “Geography through Literature” pack from Beautiful Feet. The Holling C. Holling books are fantastic.

  4. Sarah B on September 27, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    The company that makes “Sequence” game has a “States and Capitals” version. So fun! The extra rule we invented is that each time you play a card, you must say the state and capital aloud. Awesome review- I even used it in my Challenge A class last week for U.S. review in Cartography. (I found it funny how much the 12/13 year olds like the plastic tokens…)

    • Betsy on September 27, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      I love Sequence! I need to find that game!!

  5. Laura Baareman on July 29, 2023 at 11:10 am

    What a great list! Many of these books we have read and love. I want to try some new book ideas from this list!

    Here’s a great how to draw resource that teaches kids how to draw the CC science memory work. So it has instructions on how to draw human anatomy and the chemistry stuff – so great prep for the Challenge years!

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