From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


3/18/2010 10:28:03 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
March 2010 -- "What Should I Be Teaching?"

---[ Say Goodbye to Reading Struggles! ]------------------------------

Stop the reading struggle once and for all! Discover the breakthrough
home study program that has an astounding 95% success rate in helping
young students eliminate all reading difficulties, build confidence
and self-esteem, and excel to the head of the class in school...all in
as little as 30 days!


You may wonder, "What should I teach my child this year?" If your
child is in, say, kindergarten or third grade or sixth grade, what
should be covered at that grade level?
If you are using an all-inclusive curriculum package, this may not be
a pressing issue for you. But if you choose to adapt the material, or
move through it at your own pace, or if you use a more eclectic
approach, you may be concerned about staying "on track," or about
significant learning gaps.

Keeping Track of Academic Milestones

When designing your child's curriculum, you should first check the
subject requirements of your state's homeschool laws (available at If you have questions about
the requirements, contact HSLDA.

While one of the benefits of home education is the flexibility to
tailor the program to the child's abilities, needs, and interests, it
is also helpful--and often reassuring--to have a general idea of
subjects that might be covered at various levels, especially in skills
areas such as language arts and math. Some major publishers include a
scope and sequence on their webpages. (Scope and sequence just means
what material is covered and in what order.) You can also consult your
state's standards of learning through an online search (e.g., Virginia
standards of learning), or you can track your child's academic
milestones using skills checklists for the basic subject areas of
math, language arts, science, and social studies (see Resources).

You might use any of these as a guide, but ultimately, you decide what
you will cover each year in each subject. Of course, as a
conscientious homeschooling parent, you will want to provide a solid,
well-rounded program of study, but the sequence of studies will
generally be up to you. While language arts and math are sequential
subjects and will often be similar from publisher to publisher, you
have a lot of flexibility in other subject areas, such as science and
social studies. Instead of studying a topic when the textbook
publisher indicates you should, you might capitalize on your child's
interests or rearrange the order of study to suit your family's needs
or activities.

What if Your Child Doesn't "Fit" in a Certain Grade Level?

If you have a child who is grasping the concepts more quickly than
anticipated, you may be apprehensive about letting him "move ahead."
Instead of limiting yourself to only certain material because it is
listed somewhere as the appropriate material for this grade level,
think outside the (grade level) box--consider what your child has
mastered, then move to the next level. In other words, think in terms
of ability levels, not grade levels. It is OK to use the grade level
designation on your curriculum as a suggested sequence, rather than as
a time restriction.

Take your cue from the gifted/talented class model: The child in such
a program in a conventional setting still retains his chronological
grade "label," but he moves ahead in areas of special interest or
ability. For example, a third grader might be at a fourth or fifth
grade level in math or science. Another option is to encourage the
child to delve more deeply into the subject at hand, taking advantage
of the extra time made available by early completion of the planned

Of course, if you have concerns that your child is working
significantly behind the average for his level, you may want to
consult with our Struggling Learners coordinators and/or the legal representative
for your state . It could be as
simple as tweaking the curriculum to meet his needs.

The Most Important Lessons

Reading, writing, and arithmetic (as well as other skill and content
subjects) are certainly important, and they provide a valuable means
by which we learn about the world around us and by which we
communicate and interact with others. However, we would be remiss to
set academic standards without spiritual standards. Inge Cannon reminds us:

"When exploring God's requirements for what our young people learn, it
is important to establish a Scriptural definition of knowledge. II
Peter 1:5-8 provides a clear description for an educational sequence
which will honor God:

"...Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to
knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience
godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly
kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make
you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of
our Lord Jesus Christ." (KJV)

Knowledge, then, is explored information within the boundaries of
faith and
character development."

("What The Lord Wants Your Teen to Know," The Virginia Home Educator,
Vol. 15, Issue 2

Wishing you an eternal perspective (and lesson plans in pencil, not

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator


"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of
Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that
pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called
us by glory and virtue...." (II Peter 1:2-3, NKJV)

Resources with suggested cognitive skills/concepts based on a
traditional K-12th grade structure:

Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready by June Oberlander
Includes measurable parameters for birth to age 5, as well as a
checklist of skills for kindergarten readiness

What Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin S. Sampson
Includes K-8 checklist guidelines for math, language arts, science,
and history, as well as character trait categories

Learning Objectives for Grades K-8 by Hewitt Homeschooling Resources
Checklist of academic milestones for kindergarten through 8th grade

Luke's School List by Joyce Herzog
Academic checklist-style guide (Joyce has also compiled Luke's Life
List, a checklist of life skills and character traits to prepare a
child for independent adulthood.)

Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp

Teaching Children by Diane Lopez
(Currently out of print but may be found in many public and support
group libraries)

"Typical Course of Study" -- World Book Encyclopedia

Coming soon to Homeschooling thru the Early Years:
A grade-by-grade listing of sample curricular combinations for
preschool to 8th grade.
-> "I saved my entire membership fee with one discount"

"When I called Liberty to find out what kind of discount we could
get, they told us we would 10% off our car insurance and 5% off
our homeowner's insurance. What we will save is more than double
what it costs to join HSLDA. With one child getting his driver's
license this year, the savings will be a real blessing!"

More reasons to join HSLDA...

The HSLDA E-lert Service is a service of:

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733

How To Subscribe:

- Subscribe to the HSLDA E-lert Service at our website:

- Or send an email with name and complete mailing address to:

Subscription Information:

- You subscribed to the HSLDA E-lert Service as:


- To unsubscribe from the HSLDA E-lert Service send an email from
the email address you want to unsubscribe to:

- To change your email address or make other changes to your
subscription, visit the HSLDA E-lert Service account web page at:

POSTMASTERS: This message is being sent to the most recent address we
have for our subscribers. If this is an invalid email address or you
have other problems, please reply to
DISCLAIMER: This is considered a private and confidential message
from HSLDA to its bonafide HSLDA E-lert Service subscribers.
HSLDA cannot attest to the authenticity of copies posted, forwarded,
or sent by any party other than HSLDA.
NOTE: Please do not reply or otherwise use this email address; is for broadcast purposes only and is not intended to
receive incoming messages. We cannot reply to any email sent to this
address. If you have comments or questions, please send email to or call HSLDA at 540-338-5600. HSLDA members can also
email staff directly through the Members website at Thank you for your cooperation.