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How do you know what to teach?
April 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM
My ds is 4 so I haven't formally started anything. Just curious how you know what to teach and what they should know? Is there somewhere I can look up the information?


  • OFIH
    by OFIH
    April 10, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    You can often check scopes and sequences of your local school district. Many will give you a copy.

    And easier way is to check your state laws. For a simple way to find out what they are, go to You don't have to join to read the articles and such. They have a link to all the laws for every state. Ours includes what subjects must be taught.

    There are books out there, you can often find them at your library, titled things like, "What my Kindergarten/1st/2nd, etc Child Should Know" that will lead you into what a child should know at each level. But, remember, those are public school ideals, homeschool kids move at a different pace, part of the joy of homeschooling, customizing the year.

    You might just google "scope and sequence kindergarten" and see what you find.

    Talk to other homeschoolers in your area to see what they are required to teach.

    Hope some of that helps.

  • bluerooffarm
    April 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM

     If you think you need help knowing what your child needs to learn, there are books by E.D. Hirsch that have titles like: What Your First Grader Needs to Know.  I think he has one for each grade level (at least I know he has one for each elementary grade level, I've never looked up the high school grades)

    You could also look around on your state's Department of Education Website...I'm in PA, so i searched around here for a while...

  • SusanTheWriter
    April 10, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    World Book also has a Typical Course of Study list for PreK-12.

  • Leissaintexas
    April 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    These are all really good resources, and I would definately check them out, but when I first started I really just went with what they were interested in. Little kids are so curious and soak up info like a sponge! They almost learn by accident!  Then as they get older, the curriculum you use is a good guide to making sure they are exposed to lots of different things.

  • usmom3
    by usmom3
    April 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

     I still just go off of my children interest because there is no true set age to learn anything, everything can be learned at any age if the person wants to learn it! That is the key, you can struggle for  months trying to teach something to a child or you can wait until they want to learn it & help them learn with no struggle at all!

  • Ktstewart1
    April 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM
    Lots of info!! Thank you so much everyone!!!
  • lucsch
    by lucsch
    April 10, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    I start with a boxed curriculum. I still use one--Heart of Dakota, which is a Christian CM-style curriculum. A great Christian homeschooling resource is Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson.

    Don't know what CM is? Research homeschooling styles and Charlotte Mason will come up.

    I also read books like Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp and "What your xxx Grader needs to know" (fill in the year for xxx), Core Knowledge Series. They also have a PDF file on their site I printed out called Core Knowledge Sequence. Do I follow it 100%? No, not at all, but at least I have a good handle on what my dd should have studied by the time she is out of school.

    For example I do not teach world and American History concurrently, as they suggest. We will do that more in line with the Well Trained Mind and its history cycle.

    I also switched math curriculums in order to be more in line with their outline expectations.

    I don't believe kids should write before they can spell, so I've delayed writing instruction (and that has been a great decision--my dd is turning out to be a natural writer).

    To start, read lots of great children's literature to your child from varying genres. Start with picture books and gradually move onto chapter books (maybe by K or 1st grade).

    Learn all you can about teaching reading and choose a phonics program. Teach all the letter sounds, combinations, then move into blending simple CVC (consonant-vowel-consonsant) words. Start with beginner readers then move into "emergent reader" lists. I really liked the Explode the Code series and Sonlight's Learn to Read readers and activities to go with it.

    Look for a Kindergarten hands-on math or make your own. It isn't that hard to teach counting objects, sorting, patterns, and basic concepts of adding and taking away using objects, but a curriculum or even workbooks from Walmart can be useful.

    Make sure your child can hold a crayon and color (somewhat within lines), cut with scissors following lines and curves and do simple crafts before expecting them to learn to print letters.

    Sing preschool songs (buy some CDs or download itunes), Get a preschool set of instruments and play along. Dance. Learn to bounce, kick, throw and catch a ball, skip, run, jump and hop. Play simple board games, like Candyland or with numbers start with Chutes and Ladders.

    Go on field trips to get familar with the community--post office, fire house, pumpkin patch, farm, zoo etc. Really, these places seem ordinary to us, but are fascinating to young children. Talk about everything you see. Conversations are a wonderful way to teach about the world around us.

    Have fun! I loved the preschool/K4/K5 years. We are finishing up 4th grade, and it is much more serious now.


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