If you are like me, you love the freedom of being creative with your teaching. You love to be able to follow your instincts and the passions of your students. As a homeschool mom, I find even more flexibility and opportunities to tailor my children’s lessons to their individual desires and interests. But I need a plan. I need a compass – some sort of direction for where we are going and what needs to be covered in the long run. As with every creative process, we need guiding boundaries to funnel our activities and direct us to our destination.
As a young professional educator, I came across a wonderful resource that is primarily marketed to formal school environments, but has served as a wonderful backbone for all of my homeschooling years. In 1986, a group of educators from the leading school districts around the country gathered together to develop a sequence of content-rich guidelines for learning for the K-8th grades. This guide, called The Core Knowledge Sequence, gives topics and skills to be covered in each grade level. It serves as a skeleton to fill in with your favorite books, activities, and even many types of formal curricula. Each grade level has recommended topics of study for American and world history, science (with scientific discoveries that fit with the time period being studied), art, music and literature selections that also correlate with the history. The goal of the founder, E.D. Hirsch, was to help students become more culturally literate – that is, to have a basic understanding the world that forms a foundation for all other learning.
And as many of you know, most of the US states have adopted the Common Core Standards as their state educational standard. The Core Knowledge Sequence aligns with the Common Core – meaning, if you follow the outline of Core Knowledge your students will also be meeting (and probably surpassing) the requirements of your local public school.
So I am offering this entire PDF version of their sequence (formally only available in hard copy for $35) for free on my site. Just click on the image above for the K-8th Grade CK Sequence free download. The publication above is distributed with the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ license. Please refer to that link for further information. They also offer many other resources and links on their website, www.coreknowledge.org. For more curriculum tips and ideas for teaching the Core Knowledge topics with individual learning styles in mind, subscribe in the side bar to the left and check back on future posts!