What Do I Teach, When?

September 23, 2008

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Probably the scariest part of homeschooling (besides the ‘science experiments’ you find growing under the couch) is figuring out what to teach and when to teach it.  Many potential homeschooling parents never take the plunge because they are sure that there are vital pieces of scholastic knowledge that would get left out if they took over teaching their kids – scarring them for life.  OK, maybe it isn’t so dramatic.

But, amazingly enough, it really is pretty simple to homeschool kids.  After all, what do they really need to know in elementary school?  Reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic cover most of it, and there are plenty of books and resources to teach those.

The rest of an education is also taught beautifully by homeschooling: 

  • History during the trips you take when everyone else is in school
  • Civics by going with mom to the voting booth
  • Science by examining mold that grew on the forgotten cornbread on top of the fridge (we did that last night)
  • Social skills by roleplaying how to handle the bully at the park next time.
  • How to soothe a wild animal . . . when Mom has been up all night with the baby, finds a red crayon melted into the dryer load of laundry, and trips over the broom on the floor on her way to find the culprit.  (We all have those days)
  • etc., etc.

If you’re still worried that you will miss a vital subject when trying to homeschool, here is a great resource to help you out:

A handy $10 paperback book found at the library or on Amazon.com called “Home Learning Year by Year” by Rebecca Rupp.

I love this book!  It is to-the-point and packed full of great resources.  Rupp includes:

  • A detailed list of what your child should learn during each year of school, sorted and numbered by subject.
  • Book sources
  • Websites
  • And more supplements, each with their own succinct review paragraph.

Here are a few examples:

  • What age is appropriate to teach your child the upper- and lower-case letter of the alphabet, both in and out of sequence? 
  • How about a list of ten great alphabet books to help with that? 
  • What resources will help you teach inorganic chemistry to your 11th grader? 
  • A list of texts, programs, and a compilation of internet chemistry resources, including games, quizzes, and a visual dictionary? 
  • The secret to children who do what you ask, every time . . . and never fight, . . . and keep the house immaculate . . .  just kidding – let me know when you find that one!  🙂

It’s a great aid for both the extreme planner who wants to itemize each task for the coming school year and the parent who just likes to read through it on occasion to make sure nothing important is being left out. 

For $10, how can you go wrong?

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Posted under Books to Read, General Homeschool Curriculum


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  5. Margaret January 20, 2009 11:14 pm

    That IS a great book! I gave it away at one point and now regret it.

  6. Suzanne Sniffen October 15, 2008 2:27 pm

    I like the World Book Encyclopedia homeschool list for what needs to be taught as well. I found a great preschool report card of what skills they need to have mastered http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/pdf%20documents/PreKRCard.pdf. I haven’t looked at the book you reference, but I’ve thought about getting it. I also bought Life Skills For Kids to help me figure out when I should hold them responsible for what chores. I have three little ones and I’m still figuring out what chores they can do if they’re under 5! There’s a chart in the book that breaks it down really well–and it helps me when I’m trying to talk to my husband about chores =)

  7. docmisty September 25, 2008 7:05 pm


    You’re the greatest blog reader! I love that you comment on so many of the articles. It’s nice to know someone is reading!

  8. Sarah September 24, 2008 7:29 am

    this is the book i use to structure our school year…and i check it about 3 times a year to make sure we are on track.

  9. docmisty September 23, 2008 2:30 pm

    Thanks for the tip on more books! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

  10. Lisa September 23, 2008 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the book suggestion. I just went and requested it through inter-library loan (one of my absolute favorite homeschool resources!)
    Similiar books I’ve used are the Core Knowledge series by E.D. Hirsch which offer a book for each specific grade level.
    Enjoying your blog!!


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