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Homeschooling ~ What to Teach When

Teresa Higginbotham


Addition and subtraction first grade. Multiplication-third grade. How do homeschooling parents know what to teach when?

There are a couple of ways you can do this. I like to use The World Book Course of Study at This outlines year by year the objectives that are covered by schools in North America. Once you have this list of objectives you can use it to pick out text books, videos, arrange field trips, tutors, classes and find educational material. If you are going to a curriculum sale or are sitting with homeschooling catalogs in front of you, try to to see hmmm....does this textbook have a section on magnets? It doesn't? Then I might want to do this magnet unit study along with our textbook.

You certainly don't have to follow the course of study word for word but it might be helpful just to be in the ballpark of learning essentials. If you plan to re-enroll your child in public or private school in the future, then you can be assured you didn't spend your whole spring studying birds and forget to do transitive verbs. (Although studying birds is very important too!)

Another way to see what the rest of the world is doing is to get a hold of the curriculum standards in your state. These come under several names like Curriculum Framework and sometimes Standards, but they will tell you what a kindergartener is supposed to accomplish that year in your state.

The freedom to homeschool means you don't have to do what the public schools are doing. If you feel your child isn't ready for reading in kindergarten or first grade, then you have the privilege to teach them when they are academically ready. In reverse if you have a first grader who is ready for multiplication then you can accomodate them. Having a list of objectives are simply a guideline for parents not the law.

You can find a complete list of curriculum frameworks state by state, at my website The Frugal Homeschooler at

Parenting in the Middle Years - ages 5 - 12

Teresa Higginbotham writes articles about frugal living and homeschooling. If you would like to subscribe to her newsletter The Frugal Homeschooler send a blank email to or visit her site at She is also responsible for the popular site "Tightwad Tess" at where she features articles on frugal living and family life.

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