I recently helped a friend of mine with the decision to homeschool their daughter that just entered kindergarten. They were unhappy with their school for various reasons and decided that they would keep her at home for school. My friends are very excited yet nervous about the decision and asked for some guidance and help with where and how to start.

We sat down and covered the basics:

  • Homeschool method of choice – Classical, Unschooling, Waldorf,  Montessori…so many to choose from! (BTW, this is a great place to start because this will lead you to the kind of teaching/learning style, curriculum, and environment that will fit your family)
  • Co-op or no co-op? What are the local options?
  • Curriculum and materials – What to buy? What can I make? There’s so much out there!
  • Reading instruction – Quick intro to Phonics vs Whole Language and the latest research
  • Daily structure – or lack there of if unschooling
  • Daughter’s learning style
  • Mom’s teaching style
  • Starting points and assessments
  • Planning
  • And other such things that come up when talking about homeschooling

Anyway, she had some great questions about planning for subjects and on how to be sure that she would be teaching the things that her daughter needed to know for her age. This is a really common concern and there’s a super easy and free resource that you can use to help guide you in the general direction. Your state standards.

I know, I know…many families homeschool to get away from the state school system. Yet the state standards can be a really helpful guide for parents because it shows you what kids should (developmentally) be learning for each subject by grade level. This doesn’t mean that you have to teach those things or that you can’t go above and beyond those things – but it can really help to give you a big picture of where you want to go for the year and might even give you some ideas for what you want to teach.

So if you have these same concerns as a new homeschooler or if you’re a veteran looking for ideas on what to teach for a certain grade level or subject, then you can definitely get some ideas from this free resource. Check out your state’s standards online by going to your state’s department of education website.

What are some things that you all have done to help you organize or decide what you teach? We’d love to hear from you!