Kindergarten Through Second Grade
There is no right or wrong or “must do” list to teach for elementary ages. There are the core recommendations of course, but this your child and you get to choose what you teach them.
In kindergarten, read to your child, identify shapes and colors, count with them, and do lots of hands on crafts. Sing songs, teach them the alphabet, and phonics. If you need help with this find a kindergarten curriculum to outline a method.
First through second grade should progress to more difficult topics. Definitely research and find curriculum to lay it out for you, but don’t stress about checking every box or dotting every i. It’s still early days and they are not graduating tomorrow! Subjects you should include are grammar, spelling, writing, reading, and math. You can add in science and history as you wish. The more hands on activities and exercise time the better at this age.
Third Through Fifth Grade
Now you need to add some classes if you haven’t previously. Continue with grade level ELA and Math, Science and History are necessary at this point. Add in electives like piano lessons or art classes or even latin for a broader education. Hopefully they have already been doing some type of sports by now, but it is not necessary for it to be an organized one. Simply going hiking on a regular basis or rollerskating or riding bikes everyday can be considered a fulfillment of their “P.E.” class. Just keep an eye on it and help them find ways to play outside, if they don’t already.
Middle School (Sixth Through Eighth Grade)
Once you get to middle school you will find that you will need to teach some subjects in a certain order to lead into high school. This is more important if you intend for your child to go to college. It is always a good practice to give them the education that would prepare them for more, rather than less, regardless of what they ultimately choose.
The below table is a generic track of subjects that will prepare your child for college. See what interests your child and what their passions are. This will help you build a curriculum that will take them closer to where they want to go well before college.
|Grade Level Math||Life Science||Middle Ages|
|Grade Level Math||Earth Science||Renaissance|
|Pre-Algebra||Physical Science||Modern Age|
High School (Ninth Through Graduation)
This is where you need to keep track of grades, credits, etc. as in a transcript. The link below will take you to a post with an excel transcript. Don’t worry if you don’t have excel, you can also open it in google sheets.
The below pathway is typical of college entrance requirements. It’s not necessary to work towards MS requirements as those are for Public School students. Set your own goals for your child, get them to help. Customize their path to fit where they want to go include their passions and interests along the way. If there are things you don’t feel qualified to teach, don’t forget that you can do dual enrollment during 11th and 12th grade that will fulfill the high school credit, and the freshman year credit in one go.
|ELA||Math||Natural Science||Social Science|
|9th||Grade Level Grammar, Writing, & Literature||Algebra 1||Biology 1||World History|
|10th||Grade Level Grammar, Writing, & Literature||Geometry||Chemistry (example)||US History|
|11th||Grade Level Grammar, Writing, & Literature||Algebra 2||Physics (example)||Government, Economics|
|12th||Grade Level Grammar, Writing, & Literature||Higher math or Personal Finance depending on intended major||Human Anatomy (example)||State History|
Math you must do in the proper order because each subject builds on the previous year. Biology is the easiest and is typically taught in 9th grade. Chemistry and Physics are typical courses of study for 10th through 11th grades but can be taught in any order. 12th grade natural science can be any advanced science as long as has rigor and lab work. Social sciences can be taught in any order you choose, but these are the ones usually required for college entrance.
Once you have determined what subjects you will teach each child, decide which subjects you can combine, if it is at all possible. If you have an age gap of 2-3 years between children, there are curriculums that are written specifically for this purpose. The easiest curriculums to cross grade levels with are science and history. Combining classes means you teach one class in place of two or even three, thus saving you time, possibly money, and also providing some group discussion. This is harder to do for high school, but it is possible with some creativity.
When at all possible go to home school curriculum sales or fairs to look at, get a feel for, and understand the curriculum better before you purchase it.
Another great place to find information on curriculum are home school curriculum review websites. One of the best recommended is CathyDuffyReviews.com. Also check out her book 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. It is a fantastic resource that covers way more than just picking curriculum. If you want to understand “How” to homeschool at a deeper level, buy this book!
Homeschool groups also tend to have used curriculum sales in the late spring/early summer. Join the local groups or find someone who is a member to find out when they occur!
For more in depth information on choosing curriculum see this article from HSLDA.