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Choosing Curriculum
Last Revised: July 9, 2009

Can I get partial curriculum for a grade level?

Explanation
When you are homeschooling you are not tied to a set calendar. Some states do require a certain number of school days, but the actual dates are not specified. This means you can start subjects as needed.

There is no perfect curriculum. What works for one family may not work for your family. And you donít have to use the same program for every subject. You can draw from a variety of programs, publishers, resources, and activities. Thatís why it is important to spend some time researching what is available, rather than just picking a curriculum by price or name only.

Most structured curriculum programs are set up for a full year. The textbooks cannot be divided up, and the programs are sold as a full package. What you can do is buy one subject at a time. We recommend that you begin with math and/or reading since all other subjects are based on these two. Also they are considered sequential subjects; the skills build upon one another in a specific order. If you can only get one subject at a time, start with math. You can always use library books for reading in the meantime.

Then add the other core subjects as soon as you can Ė language arts, science, and history (social studies). Unlike math and reading, science and history are topical subjects. This means they can be covered in any order. Try to add subjects every two to four weeks.

For elementary students, the goal of science and history is to introduce students to the different fields of science and the various time periods throughout history. So you have a lot more leeway in how and when you cover these two areas.

Language arts covers a wide range of skills, depending on the child's age. Topics include phonics instruction and reinforcement, penmanship, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and literature. Select the area that the student needs to work on most; the others can be added over the course of the next few months.

For high school students, you want to get the core subjects (math, history, science, English) going as quickly as possible since credits are based on the amount of work completed. Credits are typically based on the number of hours completed Ė usually 150 to 180 hours. This is based on 9-month's worth of instruction. So if you have to delay a subject for two months, for example, then the student will have to pick up the pace during the year or complete the final two months during the summer.

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