Whether or not you’re new to homeschooling, the Core Knowledge book series edited by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. is a valuable resource for those teaching children from kindergarten through sixth grade. Designed to be used by both parents and teachers, the books discuss the important knowledge a child should learn as he completes a particular grade. Titles include What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know, What Your First Grader Needs to Know, What Your Second Grader Needs to Know, and so on.
Each book is divided into five major sections. In language and literature, you’ll find poems, stories, and sayings and phrases. Next, the history and geography section includes map work, land features, and American and world history accounts, while the fine arts section covers music and art activities. The math section discusses the basic skills for each particular grade; for the younger grades, the author also suggests math games you can play with your child. Each book concludes with a section for science, covering biology, earth science, physical science, and chemistry at age-appropriate levels.
How would you use these books? You could use them as a guide for developing your own curriculum and expand on the information presented. For example, in the fourth grade book, the respiratory and circulatory systems are introduced; you could easily find additional books at your library and activities online to make this section into a complete unit study.
You could also use the Core Knowledge Series as a supplement to your existing curriculum. Because of the concise way it’s written, it’s easy to add it to what you’re already using. The text is designed in a storybook fashion, making it fun to read aloud with your child. Choose the information you want to cover, then add those pages into your lesson plans.
Whether you decide to use these books in your homeschool or not, take some time to look through them – there’s a lot of good information in there!
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell