What’s one of the biggest homeschooling questions you are asked or find yourself asking? I’m not talking about the, “Is this enough?” question, rather the, “What should my child know?” It’s so easy to wonder if you’re teaching your children the right information at the right time, especially if you’re not using standard textbooks. There are solutions to this problem but my favorite comes in one small book. Home Learning Year By Year by Rebecca Rupp.
Home Learning Year by Year
Home Learning Year by Year has saved my sanity many times. Really, it has. Home Learning Year by Year breaks down exactly what children will be tested for or are learning in most US based public institutions for kindergarten through 12th Grade. One book. So much information!
**edited September 2021 to add that Home Learning Year by Year was revised and updated in 2020!
How I use Home Learning Year by Year
I’m sure there are many ways you could use this. The book has an overwhelming amount of information. About once a year, during summer break or before the start of our new school term, I make a list of items I want my child to learn for his grade.
I also go back over the information my child should have learned from the previous grade , just to be sure I covered everything I wanted. You’ll find that much of the standards carry over. For instance, in Grade 2 a child is meant to learn how to use a comma when writing a date, address, or when making a list within in a sentence. By Grade 3 your child will expand their knowledge of commas, so don’t panic if you didn’t teach it in Grade 2. Just teach commas in Grade 3 and expand on it more.
The list making process isn’t complex. I read through the chapter for each of my children’s grade levels. I jot down, in a notebook, the things I know they don’t know or that I’m not sure if they’ll be covered formally in any of our curriculum. From there I type that list out and group things together. All math information, for instance, is tucked under a Math heading. I make sure to make a little check mark box next to each item I put on my list. It’s very simple. I also make sure to put the school year, grade level and child’s name on the top of each paper. I also leave some space for putting notes on my pages. I then print the pages out, and tuck the note into my Teacher/Mom notebook for school. As we go along I can tick off boxes when things are taught or learned.
Not everything has to be taught in a formal way. For instance, I’m really great for making the lists and leaving it laying around so I can bring certain topics up, “Do you guys know what an animal home is called?” If they get the right answer, I tick it off my list. Wrong answer? I plug in a Magic School Bus video and pull out a matching book, then I tick it off my list. Explaining terms like biography and autobiography can happen right at the dinner table. Where as teaching children how to alphabetize is better suited on the living room floor with an alphabet puzzle spread before you.
What I love about Home Learning
I love that this one small book can guide me through my children’s entire school careers. There’s no need to purchase a new book all the time.
I love the price! Seriously, one book that will last me all 13 years of my children’s schooling and it only costs between $10 – $16 at Amazon!
I love that Rebecca Rupp has taken the time to type out resources you can use to teach a variety of the things on her list. From main stream math programmes to lesser known picture books. It’s all right there at your finger tips!
I love that the book is small. I know that sounds silly, but really that’s big! I can toss this in my bag and take it with me nearly anywhere during the summer when I’m making my lists. It’s not much bigger than a typical paperback book!
What I don’t like About Home Learning Year by Year
I honestly can’t think of much about this book I don’t like. I think, if you live outside of America, you may not find the book as helpful because it is made to pass the US tests at the end of each grade. I can’t consider this a dislike because I knew that going in. I also don’t teach my kids to pass tests, so that’s not a problem for me.
There’s also the factor that while this explains what US children will be learning for history at different years, there’s going to be huge amounts of US history. Again, not something I dislike about this book for a couple of reasons. First off, I knew that going in. Secondly, my children are both American & Australian so it’s important that they know US history. For those of you not interested in learning US history you could simply substitute your country’s history in it’s place.
I love Home Learning Year by Year. I love the treasures inside of it. I love the peace of mind it helps me achieve! When asked what book to recommend to new homeschoolers this is one that’s on the top of my list!
More Home Learning Resources
Rebecca Rupp has also written a book entitled The Complete Home Learning Source Book. This book is a coffee table type book that is just bursting full of resources for teaching your children anything and everything. It’s very simple to use. And on top of the awesome resources, there’s also notes about which resources The Rupp Family used and how they enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if it’s still in print as it seems harder to find. If you can get your hands on a copy it’s well worth it!
The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home is another homeschool parent favorite!
Also be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Choosing Curriculum
-originally published 2012