You’d think having a year by year list of requirements which a homeschooled child should learn would be helpful. It may or may not be depending on your circumstances.
If your child is on a faster track than most kids his age, then such a list could set your child up to be a resistant learner. Nobody wants to go over previously mastered material.
On the other hand, if a child needs to stay on a concept longer, then the beauty of homeschooling is allowing him to linger longer.
I won’t leave you hanging though because I know paramount to maintaining sanity is having a guideline or idea of what to teach.
After 20+ years of teaching, I have found easy ways to guide my kids to graduation.
Look at these 3 quick planning tips you need now and I rounded up some resources for you.
3 Quick Planning Tips You Need Now
ONE/ ALL subjects can be categorized into a SKILL or CONTENT subject.
Skill subjects are the backbone of ALL years from Prek to High School; the
skill subjects are math and language arts.
Language arts is a general term to including many different subjects depending on your child’s age.
Because language arts includes all facets of English, you want to be familiar with the subjects that fall under the broad term of language arts. Two of the three Rs — reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic are part of language arts.
Giving your attention first to language arts and math is vital. While choosing content subjects is important, your child could struggle terribly if skill subjects are not introduced in a sequence.
One example of how important laying foundational steps is learning to read. You want your child exposed to a wide variety of sounds and have a rich print environment to boost his reading skills.
Look at these subjects that are language arts.
Subjects for Younger Grades
Subjects for Older Grades
Oral speaking is also part of language arts.
Some things about language arts like conversations are not specifically taught, but learned through interaction with your kids each day.
TWO/ Instead of focusing on a scope and sequence, glance at the table of contents.
A scope and sequence is how topics are covered in a curriculum.
Scope is the depth or amount of knowledge or information to be covered in each grade level and sequence refers to the order or steps based on grade level. The idea for sequence is that it builds on knowledge based in previous grades.
In summary, a scope and sequence is an agenda or schedule of what to learn and when to learn it. That’s it. Kids have the ability to learn facts from two or more grade levels.
Knowing the scope and sequence is helpful, but I find that glancing at the table of contents of any curriculum is an easier tip.
Each curriculum has a different scope and sequence. So unless you stick with one curriculum, I find that taking a closer look at the table of contents has always met with a better fit for my kids.
Focus on the grade level your kids will be on, but more importantly study the skills on the curriculum that are up one grade level and down one grade level from that same curriculum to ensure a good fit.
Ask yourself these questions while looking at the table of contents:
- how much of it is review,
- how many new concepts will be introduced,
- how many days are lessons assigned, and
- how much help does it give the teacher.
THREE/ Your state standards can be used as rule of thumb.
This is my least favorite way of understanding what a child needs to learn unless of course you have required subjects required by state homeschool law.
It’s my least favorite because most of us start with our local state standards, but find that we want to cast a wider net of knowledge.
Many years I’ve let go of grade levels and concentrated specifically on skills or concepts.
This is a helpful tip whether you have a gifted learner, a child who seems to be right on target, or a child that needs more time for concepts to stick.
Year by Year Home Learning Resources
Focusing first on skill subjects, glancing at a table of contents, or scanning a scope and sequence will cut your planning stress in half. It’s a simple starting point.
However, you’ll eventually become an expert at choosing levels when you also grab a few of these empowering resources.
Home Learning Year by Year is a great resource that has been around for a while. It’s a very useful guide if you want to glance at what kids are capable of learning each year.
Too, for many years, I used this guide and highlighted concepts we we’re covering. I love using it when I prepare my unit studies too.
Another series of books that have been extremely helpful to me through the years is What your __ Grader Needs to Know.
You’ll love having a detailed explanation for both content and skill subjects in each grade level.
Also, grab these free downloads which will help you to gauge grade levels to get a better fit for your kids.
- Core Knowledge has a free preschool sequence. Notice this is not a scope (meaning how long long or what age). A sequence is much more helpful because it gives you an overview of skills in an order.
- Core Knowledge also has a K to 8th grade sequence. Again, notice this is a sequence only which I find very helpful. I get to decide if we want to cover 6th grades in 4th grade or vice versa.
- Also, I have various scopes and sequences on my free 7 Step Homeschool Planner page.
Keep in mind that if you make a mistake, it’s all still OKAY.
If a grade level proves too easy, save it for another child or keep the level as a review. You can resell your used curriculum too.
Too, if you chose a grade level that has proven more challenging than you planned, then take the pace slower. Divide the lesson plan into two days until your child’s maturity rate catches up.
6 EZ Homeschool Planning Steps
- Focus FIRST on Math and Language Arts.
- Determine if you need to meet state law requirements.
- If not, glance over one of the above resources.
- Study the current grade level, the next higher grade level and the lower grade level table of contents. Choose the best fit based on your child’s quest for knowledge and not age.
- Remember your child can move ahead or go slower. Making a mistake is okay.
- Enjoy watching your child’s knowledge grow layer by layer because there is a lot of overlapping between grade levels.
You got this!
Look at these other practical and useful tips you’ll love:
- Essential Life Skills – A Homeschooler’s Other Curriculum
- How Early Should I Begin Homeschooling My First Child? (and checklist)
- Homeschool High School Readiness?
- A to Z List: Middle and High School Homeschool Electives
- Big Ol’ List of All-In-One Homeschool Curriculum (a.k.a Boxed)
- 3 Risks of Not Tracking Your Homeschool Lessons (Even If They’re Laid-Out)
- How to Teach Homeschool Preschool From the Inside Out (And Preschool Skills)
- Homeschool High School The Must Cover Subjects Part 1
- Homeschool High School The Must Cover Subjects Part 2