A few days ago

Homeschool Curriculum?

I plan on homeschooling my son, but I don’t want to be limited to only teaching him at his grade level. If he’s up for it, I’d like to be able to teach him beyond his grade level, while also allowing for his individual interests. For homeschoolers out there that develop their own curriculum, do you use some sort of guide to ensure you don’t miss anything? Is there an annual test students can take to ensure that they are on track?

Top 10 Answers
A few days ago

Favorite Answer

Your concern is shared by most new homeschoolers, including me 19 years ago! The joy of homeschooling is you can tailor your child’s education to their needs and abilities. Depending on the state, you may or may not have to follow some of the Dept. of Eds guidelines, but a local homeschool support group can help you with state compliance issues. http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/index.htm is a good site for finding a local group and lots of other great homeschool info.

As for making sure you don’t “miss” anything. What I did until I felt comfortable was to follow a Scope and Sequence I got from an actual school. That was pre-internet, so now it is even easier. Most states actuall post their Scope and Sequence online at the Dept. of Ed’s website!! In Oklahoma you go to the Dept. of Education’s website and look for PASS. There you can find listed by grade what they expect the children in their public schools to master.

Another option is to get the “What Every ____ Grader Needs to Know” called the “Core Knowledge Series” by Ed Hirsch http://www.amazon.com/s/102-0482567-6087329?ie=UTF8&tag=mozilla-20&index=blended&link%5Fcode=qs&field-keywords=Core%20Knowledge%20Series&sourceid=Mozilla-search

You can find it on Amazon, but better yet, some libraries actually keep the whole series so you can just borrow it to see how you are doing! Each grade contains a scope and sequence, reading list as well as loads of activity ideas. I loved using this when I had grade schoolers. By the time we had relaxed a bit (after the first couple years of judging my abilities) we were pretty much unschooling. I could look at the books and just see how we were doing in comparison whenever I would get nervous that I might be not covering certain things.

Good luck with your schooling. It is a blessing.


A few days ago
Each state has its own requirements for annual testing (or not)

our local homeschool support group would be a helpful place to start finding a local person who administers testing. Also, sometimes the school district will allow homeschoolers to sit in on their testing.

As far as a “guide” we personally use The Well Trained Mind. There’s also a lot of resources online, google “scope and sequence” or look at your state’s curriculum standards.

We never had any luck looking at the State’s standards because they are so dismally LOW it’s ridiculous. In kindergarten, they want all the kids to “understand that everyone has a family” and “identify rooms in a house based on an overhead photograph” and “understand the correlation between letters and sounds” It was ridiculous, my 2 yr old can do those things. No wonder they’re failing kids!

The Well Trained Mind is a great book resource. Online, you might want to check out http://www.ignitethefire.com It’s a great guide, and introduction to her method of homeschooling. The lady who wrote it is Catholic, and I am not, but I still found it to be a wealth of information, ideas and resources.

http://www.gomilpitas.com/homeschooling is another website with great information and resources.

Most homeschoolers that I know work throughout differing grade levels. The only thing grade levels really matter in is Math and sometimes Language Arts (Writing, spelling, Handwriting, Grammar) and it is really rare to find two curriculums that agree on what is “grade level.”

That’s the beauty of homeschooling, you’re teaching “the child” not “the lesson” and switching focus like that makes education more efficient (why spend a week on fractions if he “gets it” in 2 hours?) and more fun (unit studies, etc)

Good luck, it is a lot of fun. I used to teach in a classroom and am so very glad to be a homeschooler now, my kids are thriving, and so am I. Institutionalized education is so very wrong on so many levels.

John Taylor Gatto is a god one to read, to understand how school destroys children. He’s the former US Secretary of Education, turned homeschooler.


A few days ago
There are a number of different places you can go online to find annual tests for your son. Personally I like Christian Liberty Press, and one of their services is annual testing, and then reccomending individualized curriculum based on the test results. They are using the California state test version from 1970. That test version is what they have based their curriculum on, and has higher grading standards than the more recent versions. You also want to look into the purpose of the different state tests. For example, I live in Texas, and could have my children tested with our state’s test. However, it will only tell me if my child has passed the, let’s say, 3rd grade level. That was the test my daughter would have taken this last year. The California state test tells me at what grade level she is functioning, not just that she passed her current grade level. The California state test also tests a wider range of subject matter.

You are only limited in picking your curriculum by your choices, and I suppose, how do I say this… your creative ability? I’m not trying to be offensive or anything… for example… you might find subject material that you think your son would be very interested in, but is no where near his grade level. Well, how can you modify your teaching and use of the resources so that he can learn from it and enjoy it? As far as picking my curriculum, I mainly use the curriculum from Christian Liberty Press… they are inexpensive, and I like it. Once I have my basic curriculum I start browsing christianbook.com which has a huge selection, and even Amazon.com to add all sorts of interesting things. This year we have also gone to the National 4H Mall and gotten some of their project books… we live out in the country and our children enjoy our animals, at least at this age. I found 4H has a lot more than just projects on goats and pigs and chickens. So, yes there are plenty of annual tests, there are plenty of curriculum sites, sorted by grade so that you can make sure you don’t miss anything, and you can add other interests as much as you want, teaching at whatever grade level is most appropriate to your son, including different grade levels for different subject matter. Lots of fun… though you can easily get lost looking for all the goodies… there are so many. You will probably end up with a book shelf full of wonderful titles to use someday.


A few days ago
I was homeschooled for 6 years. My mom always went above and beyond my grade level and I appreciate her for that because I was ahead academically when I got into public school. Search for Gorman homeschooling on the web and they should be able to help you out. The kids do have to take a test every once in a while to make sure they are where they need to be, but it actually is very simple and you can do things at your own pace. My mom now homeschools my brothers (age 7 and 10) and they have learned so much.

A few days ago
Cris O
There are a number of annual tests that hs’ed kids can take. We use the Iowa Tests. It is about $40 per child, and can be administered by anyone who has a Bachelor’s degree in anything and has registered as a tester. You can get it through Bob Jones University Press. It is a test that will be accepted as valid by ANYONE. We personally use it every two years. There are other tests that have more stringent requirements for the tester, and there are other tests that have less stringent requirements but are not as widely accepted.

My kids are both a grade or two ahead, and I don’t want them any farther ahead [right now one will graduate at 16 and one at 15; I don’t want them graduating any sooner than that!] so what we have done for YEARS is more subjects, rather than going faster in the subjects we have. We do logic and lots of art and beginning drafting and economics and current events and most mornings we do half an hr of aerobics. And other things I can’t think of off the top of my head. My kids are very well-rounded with a fair amt of knowledge on a variety of subjects. They can also do laundry and cook and do yardwork and play the piano and do minor household repairs and they have done their own laundry since they were 8. So, there are a LOT of things you can do with your son other than the strict academics!


A few days ago
That is one of the many joys of homeschooling. You can allow the child to move through material in all areas, at his own pace.

I have picked and chosen the curriculae from a variety of sources at a variety of levels, for my son, since day 1. Some work, some don’t. And some work for years and then suddenly he does better with something else–so get used to borrowing materials to try them out, using sample materials, visiting curriculum fairs and really looking at things. Talk to friends who have children that have the same interests or learning styles/learning differences as your own child.

Making sure you get it all in: I have printed up the state standards for my state. I do so for his “current” year, and next year, sometimes the next year as well. If we haven’t finished all of the standards for the past year in a subject, I keep that close by as well. Each quarter, I read through the standards and check off and date, what I feel he has mastered or accomplished. That way I know that I have satisfied “the govt.’s expectations.” But that is generally a year behind where we are and what we really do in practise. Ex. son is in fourth grade. He is still finishing the last section of his 3rd grade reader and worktext (dyslexia slows things down a bit) , he is doing 4th grade math per our curriculum-but this curriculum is a year ahead of the state so I am using the state’s 5th grade standards for math. and so on.

Since day one I have used the Core Knowledge series to guide topics discussed in a given year. Again we use more that one year. This year it is 4th for comp and lang arts, music and art, 5th for history and science and so on.

We use the PASS tests because they allow you to also test the child at their own level. You can do a google search to find them on the web. I think they were less than $30 each for the group.

Congratulations and enjoy your journey

Ditto to “twonew2two”. The “What your —– Grader series she mentioned IS the Core Knowledge series that I have used since day 1. It is spectacular. See all they have to offer on http://www.coreknowledge.org

Although you can buy the WHAT YOUR GRADER books more cheaply at Rainbow Resources, or Borders, etc. I think the most I’ve ever paid was $13.00 for them.


A few days ago
On track for what? What do you mean by “don’t miss anything”? Do public school students learn EVERYTHING? No, it’s for the most part an arbitrarily decided upon curriculum, which is why different states have different standards. Math and language arts may match up fairly closely, but the other subjects can be VERY different.

There are tests out there you can use; check with a state or locally based homeschool group to find out if there’s anything free you can get or what they might use. You don’t necessarily need it, though. Testing doesn’t insure a child is on track. It might tell you how they do compared to the standard decided upon by those who created the test, but it’s not going to make a child learn anything, learn faster or anything like that. A child who needs more time to master the times tables isn’t going to have testing do anything magical. And all it takes for a mom to see how well the child is doing is by watching him work and giving him little quizzes of her own.

Btw, I do keep an eye on our provincial math and language standards, but only a loose eye. My goal, though, is not to make sure my children have covered everything other kids the same age have, but to keep them moving through things. One child might not master something that year that school kids are expected to, but s/he may have spent more time on something else from a different grade level. That’s fine by me.


A few days ago
We use an “all in one” curriculum, but it allows us to mix and match grade levels. It also meets, or exceeds, every state’s standards, so I know we’re not missing anything. My son is 9 and doing courses from 4th-8th grade – each at the skill level he’s currently at.

However, our curriculum only takes 2-3 hours each day. The rest of the day my son is “unschooled” doing lots of independent, self-driven learning. So we have a foot in both worlds ;-).

My son used to take the ITBS (Iowa) every year, but now he does the EXPLORE test through the academic talent searches. Both are great at giving us data about where he is. Our state does not require them; we do it for the data and peace of mind.


6 years ago
For a simple, step-by-step program that can help your child learn to read visit this site: http://readingprogram.toptips.org

Learning to read at a young age is important for the development of the child. It helps them develop a better understand of their surroundings, allows them to gather information from printed materials, and provides them with a wonderful source of entertainment when they read stories and rhymes. Children develop at different rates, and some children will develop reading skills quicker than other children; however, what’s important is that as the parent, you are keenly aware of your child’s maturity and reading level to provide them with appropriate books and activities to help them improve.

As parents, you are the most important teacher for your children.

Also Watch this video of a 2 year old child reading http://readingprogram.toptips.org
Hope it helps.


A few days ago
You can give him an assessment test for ACE.The site is www.schooloftomorrow.com After he does that then they will tell you where to start with their curriculum. You can then order the books that you need. My daughter is in 3rd grade she does 2 grade math to catch up on some concepts she missed and 4th grade English because she passed all the third grade tests in the assessment! All you have to do is fine the numbers it tells you to order and start there. It runs about 188.00/year/child! Good Luck