How to Homeschool

Homeschooling is taking on personal responsibility for your own childrenseducation.

  • The quality of a formalized education is defined by the educational quality of the teacher, divided by the class size (since they can only devote attention proportionally to your child).
  • Across the lens of history, not educating your elementary-age child and trusting the government to do it is a relatively new fashion, and has profound political consequences.

The quality of a homeschool child’s education comes directly from a few sources:

  1. The quality of you as a person and educator.
  2. The proportional attention you must give to each of the children you’re teaching.
  3. How well you supplement their experience in places you have shortcomings.

Homeschooling your child is effectively a part-time job.

  • If you’re a homemaker in a double-income household, you can easily splice the work with your other responsibilities.
  • Raising children in general requires a full-time caretaker, which means that same caretaker can also typically educate a small child alongside their work.

Homeschooling children is not necessarily better or worse.

  • Bad parenting would make a child less well-adjusted than if they went to a public school, even if they were more educated about certain domains.
  • In non-nuclear homes (e.g., single parenting), it’s often simply not possible to homeschool and would require someone else to educate them.
  • Despite any political moves to the contrary, most of the criticism about homeschooling is on the level with any other advice on parenting.

If you thoroughly understand what you learned in high school, are a decent-enough parent, and sufficiently committed to raising them with someone else educating your child isn’t difficult.

  • Public school education systems often use dark patterns to imply elementary education is far more complicated than you’re specialized to perform.

Government-provided education is a substantial quantity of time, so aim for quality if you’re homeschooling.

  • If you’re focused, you don’t need much time:
    • Preschool – 0-30 minutes
    • Lower Elementary – 1 hour
    • Upper Elementary – 2 hours
    • Middle School – 2-3 hours
    • High School – 2-4 hours
  • Focus heavily on what they want, and only focus on the bare minimum for what they hate.
  • Generally, if they keep developing their intellectual strengths, they’ll come back around to positively influencing their weaknesses:
    • An analytical child who hates history but loves math may find value in dates’ chronological sequence.
    • Artistic children tend to love reading sensational stories more than history, so they may enjoy history once they see dramatizations of it.
  • Since they simply need to understand the information or methods directly, don’t worry about completing a specific curriculum if another teaching method works better for how they’re learning.

There’s really no homeschool “culture”.

  • Homeschooling culture in the USA is approximately 1/4 each of Christian, agnostic, Jewish, and Muslim, with smatterings of Hindu.
  • Some Christian homeschool culture can be self-isolating, which creates most of the false stereotypes around its indoctrination and antisocial tendencies.
  • In general, abusive parents (which are a tiny minority of parents) are more likely to use homeschooling to justify further abuse, which gives all homeschool families a bad name when media stories draw attention to those specific situations.

One consistent aspect of a homeschooled child is extreme failure or success later in life.

  • They receive specialized and focused support from their parents.
  • The variety of children they’re exposed to can give them a more diverse range of viewpoints.
  • When they’re in key developmental years, they can sleep for longer if they need and the food is better.
  • However, a lazy child has even more means to slack off than a formalized school system.


A. The child must agree to homeschooling and promise to be serious about it.

  • Children often hate their private/public school:
    • They may not be learning fast enough at the school.
    • Their teachers might be bad.
    • They might be a victim of bullying.
    • They simply might hate the school itself, the course work, etc.
  • If they love their school and everything about it,
  • On the other hand, if a child doesn’t take their education seriously at all while they’re homeschooled, their parents won’t be their best educators, no matter the reason.
  • However, if both the parents and children are willing, homeschooling is very easy.

B. Homeschooled children do not need as much time learning as formalized education.

  • Generally, 30 minutes of hard, formalized education a day (preferably in the morning) is enough to cover the basic educational requirements for their current grade, with the rest of the day as reinforcement of the idea.
  • Children learn at different rates, and homeschool allows a tailored experience relative to each child’s personality.
  • Give them freedom to explore and play on their own, without structure.

C. Don’t over-test or over-drill them.

  • Understanding transitions through gradations, and needs some cooling-off to prevent burnout.
    • Sometimes, it may work best to work on one subject a day or week, instead of a little of each subject every day.
  • We don’t measure adults who specialize in one role by their weakest roles, so we shouldn’t do that to our children.

D. Every good homeschool parent must be humble.

  • You’re not qualified to teach them everything about life, and alongside your spouse you’ll still miss some parts.
    • You will absolutely need to find specialists in the areas you don’t understand as well, typically through your community or homeschool groups.
  • You will not be able to shelter your children, even if you homeschool them.
    • Parents who obsess about protecting their children’s innocence tend to raise bad kids who are good at concealing bad behavior.
    • Teaching the value of morality is far more important than protecting them.
  • You have more flexibility to adapt to their needs than any formalized educational system could give them.
    • If they need more time on a subject, you can focus exclusively on that one than the rest.
    • When they’re extremely talented at a subject, you can equip them with advanced projects in that domain.
  • Eventually, once they reach high school, you will need to give much more of their specialized learning to others unless they want to carry on your family practice.

E. Your geographical region has a profound influence on how your government sees homeschooling.

  • When you live in a population-dense area, many government precincts require children attend a government-approved school.
    • Generally, governments prefer to school children themselves for financial reasons, and any indoctrination reasons are simply a bonus for them.
  • The challenges you’re far more likely to face will come through the bureaucracy from government requirements more than the education itself.

F. Find a healthy homeschool community that can plug you into homeschooling resources at large.

  • No matter how resourceful or intelligent you are, the community has way more support than you can give to your child alone.
  • Many homeschool networks are so powerful that they can lobby for political action to keep homeschooling legal (e.g., HSLDA).

Teaching Styles

Most of the homeschool methods are variations on two possible themes:

  1. Give them as many high-quality approaches to learning as their minds are capable of handling, then make sure they sufficiently understand it.
  2. Provide them as much freedom as possible to learn and develop on their own, with some amount of input to guide them along their journey.

One of the most important discussions revolves around “deschooling” by removing the formalized structures that imply a school/life dichotomy.

  • Check out homeschool conventions, message boards, and online discussions before committing to any particular curriculum.

There are a lot of homeschool books, curricula, styles, opinions, and philosophies, more than you’ll ever need.

You can typically adapt your routines beyond your children to accommodate their education:

  • Cooking is an excellent time to teach counting and writing (by naming foods).
  • If you grow plants, they can learn chemistry (through the soil).
  • If you have pets or raise livestock, they can learn biology at the same time.
  • Auto repair is a great time to teach shapes and geometry.
  • If you’re willing to get creative, every mundane task can become an educational experience for your child.
  • While it’s highly chaotic, almost all play time with siblings can be directed to educational ends as well.

School-At-Home (aka traditional) homeschooling is the “stereotypical” homeschooling approach most parents use when they don’t know any better:

  • Use a boxed curriculum with textbooks, study schedules, grades, and record-keeping like a standardized classroom.
  • This takes a lot of (potentially unnecessary) work and has the highest burnout rate.
  • However, this means they know exactly what to teach and when.
  • School-at-home is literally the worst way to homeschool because it’s the burden of a standardized classroom on the parent, minus the benefits of socially interacting with their peers.
  • One advantage is that the extra direct involvement with the student will mean education can be 4 hours a day instead of the typical 5-7 hours of a classroom.

Classical homeschool teaches children to learn for themselves:

  • The Classical model has been around since the Middle Ages, and possibly longer.
    • Traditional homeschool was derived from Classical, and a classroom setting typically uses a watered-down version of it.
  • There are 5 tools of learning called the Trivium: Reason, Record, Research, Relate, and Rhetoric.
  • It transitions through several stages:
    1. Younger children begin with math and literacy.
    2. Then, there’s an emphasis on grammar
    3. Then, move to a dialectic stage with reading, study, and research.
    4. Finally, the rhetoric stage emphasizes communication.
  • The curriculum is highly structured, with every hour accounted-for.
    • This requires a lot of rigor on both parents and children (and therefore risks of burnout), and requires educators who know how to communicate well.
    • For this reason, most Classical homeschooling is performed with groups of people who can specialize in the different domains.
  • The method tends to create “History Notebooks”, which can be popular with eclectic styles. The most popular on the Classical approach is The Well-Trained Mind.

Charlotte Mason homeschooling (est. ~1892) emphasizes time to play, create, and be involved in real-life situations:

  • The style was created by the British educator Charlotte Mason within a series of lectures that blossomed within the next few decades into a full curriculum.
    • It deviates from the Classical approach by incorporating more time outdoors with students encouraged to keep a nature journal.
  • The style opposes “tabula rasa” (that children are blank containers waiting to be filled with information) but are persons who deserve respect in their own right. Charlotte Mason believed in the motto “I am, I can, I ought, I will”:
    • I am a person of great value.
    • I can do everything required of me.
    • I ought to serve others.
    • I will choose to do what’s right, even when I don’t want to.
  • It delays formal instruction until age 6 when children are developmentally ready.
  • Children will explore “living books” by taking nature walks to learn biology, visiting art museums to understand the arts, and learn aspects of geography, history, and literature in a similar way.
  • Instead of formalized testing, children are drilled on the subject via narration and discussion.
  • The style is much more social than other approaches and has a variety of support groups and sites online.

Montessori method (est. 1897) involves adapting childrens’ interests and activities instead of formal teaching methods:

  • Maria Montessori began the idea from learning educational theory at the University of Rome, with 2 presumptions:
    1. Psychological self-construction in both adults and children happens through interacting with our environment.
    2. Children (especially under age 6) have an innate, predetermined path for their psychological development.
  • While a lot of things use the Montessori name (since it’s not trademarked), the Association Montessori Internationale and American Montessori Society have a few required elements:
    • Mixed-age classrooms (e.g., 0-3, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15, 15-18), with 30-36 month to 6 year old being most common.
    • The student chooses their activity from a prescribed list of options.
    • Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally 3 hours long.
    • Where students learn by working with concepts more than direct instruction (constructivist/discovery model).
    • Specialized educational materials are made from natural materials (e.g., wood) instead of plastic.
    • Materials are organized intentionally by subject area, are accessible to children, and scaled downward to their size.
    • A trained teacher is experienced at observing a child’s characteristics, tendencies, innate talents, and abilities.

Waldorf (aka Steiner education, est. 1919) homeschooling believes in educating the whole child with the frequent mantra “head, heart, and hands”:

  • Waldorf’s style was founded through a German school from Rudolf Steiner’s spiritualized philosophy of anthroposophy with the frequent mantra “head, heart and hands”.
  • In practice, it’s like Charlotte Mason, but has a far more secular approach with more holistic elements.
  • In the early stage, there’s an emphasis on arts and crafts, music, and movement, and nature.
  • Waldorf style believes in rigorous academics, but only after the child is developmentally ready. Formal academics, especially reading, is delayed until age 7.
  • Older children are taught to develop self-awareness and reason things out for themselves.
  • One key detail is that it’s very anti-technology.

Multiple Intelligences (est. 1983) homeschooling derives off the belief that every person has their own form of intelligence that sits on multiple spectra:

  • The theory is based on Howard Gardner’s Harvard essay and book Frames of Mind:
    1. Visual and space (visual-spatial)
    2. Language and words (linguistic-verbal)
    3. Logic and mathematics (logical-mathematical)
    4. Body movement (body-kinesthetic)
    5. Musical
    6. Connection with others (interpersonal)
    7. Awareness of oneself (intrapersonal)
    8. Ability to explore the environment (naturalistic, more contentious than the original 7).
    9. Theoretically, other forms that haven’t been discovered yet.
  • The idea is that everyone is somehow intelligent along these spectra, and that children must be taught with methods that match those particular intelligences.
  • The method is new enough that there’s not much curricula oriented toward it, so it sits more as a “philosophy” to adapt a child’s learning than a proper homeschool “method”.

Unit study (aka thematic studies, integrated approach) homeschool focuses on one central theme, then combines multiple subjects into one study:

  • Every topic is the starting-point for a multi-disciplinary exploration, with no pressure for the children to move on.
  • It is very easy to implement with the internet and free tutorials about pretty much anything.

Unschooling (aka natural, interest-led learning, child-led learning) use everyday life experiences without formalized lessons or schedules:

  • This comes from believing that learning happens naturally and effortlessly, which requires parents trusting their children.
  • Sometimes, critics call it “home-squirreling” from the wayward framing of the conversations.
  • Generally, the parents ask the children what they want to learn that day.
  • The children will know how to research and become experts in their areas of interest, but the risk is they may do poorly on grade level assessments, and will have a difficult time in a formalized school system later if they pursue it.

Relaxed/Eclectic homeschooling tends to have a casual approach:

  • Gather a variety of workbooks and content for math and literacy, and take an unschooling approach for less formalized subjects (e.g. history).
  • Mornings are typically mandatory schoolwork, while afternoons are for hobbies and special projects.
  • One major advantage of this style is that you can teach them about important details they may need to understand, such as how to live well and basic life skills.

If you know people and are entrepreneurially-minded, you can also start a schoolhouse yourself:

  1. Find at least 10-15 children who need educating and a very intelligent teacher in your community willing to sacrifice their time to educate.
  2. Establish a schoolhouse with those children, using a more streamlined version of a homeschool method.
  3. As the children grow and the schoolhouse becomes popular, start separate schoolhouses headed by other teachers.


Every state and precinct is very different in their requirements.

  • Research precisely what you must teach your children by grade.
  • Keep records of the work your children perform, as well as any tests you’ve given them and how well they’ve done.
  • Preferably, document the experience right after it happened, since you may not remember 4-6 months ago.
  • Stay connected with a homeschool community, who will keep you informed about any changes to reporting requirements and standards.
  • With the freedoms you’ll likely give your children, keep an eye out for “Reasonable Childhood Independence” laws and where your state stands.
    • In places that don’t have those laws, a terrified person calling the police could send you into a legal battle because you sent your 7-year-old a quarter-mile down the road to get some groceries.

Some states require tests and others don’t regulate it at all.

  • If you’re doing a good-enough job, the children will be fine: the requirements are minimums for when a child sits neglected in a boring room for 5-6 hours a day.
  • The larger risk is in proving they’ve fulfilled the criteria, not necessarily doing it, especially with more open-ended curricula.

It’s worth noting that these are all approximate. Your culture will emphasize some and de-emphasize others, and the requirements are assigned by your region’s culture.


Since you’re trying to raise your children instead of acculturate them to a learning-restrictive classroom environment, keep working on qualities that make moral, hard-working children.

If you want, you can teach small children as young as 3 years old to read:

  1. Teach the most common phoneme (how it sounds) for each letter.
  2. Teach them to blend those phonemes into simple words by saying the word fast.
  3. Teach them to parse harder words: secondary phonemes, digigraphs (multiple letters making 1 sound), and silent “e” indicating a long vowel sound.
  4. Intentionally practice 30-60 minutes a day through a text, without pre-reading skills and drilling specific words.


Most kindergarten schooling is simply creating the “standards” that will later become more in-depth studying. In many ways, kindergarten is more important for you as a parent to start the habit of educating than for them to actually “learn” anything.


  • Understands time concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
  • Can pay attention for 15-20 minutes.
  • Can follow 3-step directions (e.g., go to box, grab an item, sit quietly on rug).
  • Share materials like crayons and blocks.
  • Knows how to play with others.
  • Knows their address and phone number.


  • Knows the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make.
  • Can write their first and last name.
  • Identify simple words like “the” and “and” by sight.
  • Can make educated guesses at writing unfamiliar words (inventive spelling).
  • Can communicate an opinion by drawing, writing, or speaking.


  • Can add and subtract numbers up to 10.
  • Can count by ones and tens to 100.
  • Recognizes and write numbers up to 20.
  • Compare relative groups of objects as “more”, “less” or “same” as others.
  • Identify simple shapes like squares, triangles, rectangles, and circles.


  • Can identify certain materials (e.g, metal, wood) and their characteristics.
  • Understands what plants and animals need to grow.
  • Understands seasonal and weather changes.
  • Understands parts of the human body.
  • Has conducted little experiments like growing their own plants from seeds or caring for a pet.


  • Learns about family, school, and members of the community.


  • Can cut along a line with scissors.
  • Can hold a crayon or pencil for writing.
  • Can use speech, drawing, and writing to share ideas.
  • Can identify the eight basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, black, white, and pink.
  • Has explored music and movement.

1st Grade

This year is typically the first “formal” education, so they need some form of testing introduced to ensure they understand the core ideas they’re hearing.


  • Can work independently for short periods of time.
  • Can distinguish left from right.
  • Can tell the time within the nearest hour and half-hour with both analog and digital clocks.


  • Can read and write complete sentences with correct capitalization and punctuation.
  • Can write the uppercase and lowercase alphabet, as well as familiar with punctuation.
  • Can decode or “sound out” unfamiliar words.
  • Can write and read common words like “where” and “every”.
  • Can read age-appropriate books out loud.
  • Can understand a story’s beginning, middle, and end.
  • Able to have a conversation about what a situation is like from another person’s point of view.


  • Can add and subtract numbers up to 20.
  • Can describe basic shapes.


  • Understands simple ideas about the scientific method.
  • Understands the basics of earth sciences (i.e., weather, seasonal changes).
  • Understands the basics of life sciences (i.e., plants and animals).
  • Understands the basics of the physical sciences (i.e., solids and liquids).
  • Can distinguish between solids, liquids and gases.
  • Can distinguish between various animals’ shapes, sizes, and types.


  • Understand the value of certain places.
  • Understand their larger community beyond their home and family.
  • Understand how cities, towns, states, nations, and continents interact with each other.
  • Field trips to local museums, libraries, or businesses.


  • Can explore music and rhythm.

2nd Grade

Their attention span should be more focused, so start giving them more difficult concepts and give patterns that apply them to various domains.


  • Can concentrate on tasks for 20-30 minutes.
  • Can count money.
  • Tells time to the nearest 5-minute increment.


  • Fluent at reading simple stories aloud and with expression.
  • Has a preference toward certain genres of books, and has been encouraged to independently read in that direction.
  • Can write their own stories, with correct capitalization and punctuation.
  • Can recognize and spell irregularly spelled words like “because” and “upon”.
  • Able to ask “who, what, where, when, why, and how” about what they read.
  • Can edit their own written work.
  • Knows and has been drilled on how to spell correctly.


  • Knows how to add and subtract, and how it’s useful.
  • Can mentally add and subtract numbers up to 20 and up to 100 on paper.
  • Understands simple fractions.
  • Understands the concept of multiplication.
  • Can solve word problems that use denominated currency.
  • Able to start understanding more complex addition and subtraction problems.

Science and Technology

  • More in-depth study on the earth and its continents.
  • More in-depth study on how plants reproduce, with simple labs involved (e.g., caring for a garden).
  • Can perform basic computer skills like creating a document in a computer and save a file.


  • Exposed to different cultures than their own across the world.
  • Has heard at least somewhat about current events, as well as some history of those events.


  • N/A

3rd Grade

They will start conceptualizing abstract ideas and elaborate concepts, so expose them to as many responsibilities they can handle.

Typically, there may be a state-based exam they may have to take, either this year or annually from this point until high school graduation.


  • Can work cooperatively with other children.
  • Can organize their thoughts and think logically.
  • Can tell time to the nearest minute.
  • Can find a real-world application of math.


  • Able to find information in dictionaries, reference books, and web searches.
  • Can write one-page detailed essays and logical stories with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.
  • Able to parse words by examining their prefixes, suffixes, and root words.


  • Understands decimals and fractions.
  • Can multiply and divide numbers up to 100 (i.e. the “times tables” up to 10).
  • Knows how to measure weight and volume.

Science and Technology

  • Can prove or disprove a hypothesis.
  • Understand astronomical concepts like the sun, moon, and solar system.
  • Understands sound and heat.
  • Can at least somewhat touch type on a keyboard.
  • Can use computer programs for practical use, such as researching or communication.
  • Can translate data into basic graphs and charts.


  • Can locate places on a local map and on a globe.
  • Can use a map’s directions, borders, longitude and latitude lines, equator, and North and South poles.


  • N/A

4th Grade

They’re now ready to manage their time better and organize, so give them more skills to succeed.



  • Have explored various genres and forms of poetry and stories.
  • Understands synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms.
  • Can take notes on what they read.
  • Has an expanded vocabulary that fully captures everyday language.
  • Can write a paragraph with an introductory topic sentence, 3 supporting details, and a closing sentence that summarizes the paragraph’s idea.
  • Can write a one-page book report that explores some of a story’s themes.
  • Is capable of researching and organizing information.


  • Can multiple a multiple-digit number by a one-digit number, and can multiple two two-digit numbers.
  • Can divide a multiple-digit number by a one-digit number.
  • Can add, subtract, and multiply decimals and fractions.
  • Able to understand math word problems.
  • Have been exposed to algebra and geometry.
  • Can measure angles, volume, mass, and time.

Science and Technology

  • Hears about concepts like electricity, energy, magnetism, and matter.
  • Learns about the organisms, their biomes, and their taxonomy.
  • Understands how land, water, and air interact with each other.
  • Has learned touch typing and knows various ways to use computers to make life easier.
  • Can use office software to make spreadsheets, charts, graphs, and presentations.
  • Can type a page of content or more in one sitting.


  • Learns more in-depth about maps and cultures around the world.
  • Can identify the states on the map and the capitals for each.
  • Understands key facts about their state, their state’s history, and individuals who played an important role in it.


  • N/A

5th Grade

The final year of elementary school converges the accumulation of their education, so they should be given even more responsibility for their own organization and long-term planning.

Generally, the curriculum should serve as a “capstone” to transition them into middle school (6th-8th Grade).


  • Can read and concentrate for up to 30 minutes at a time.
  • Able to read most lightweight literature, including social media.
  • Can work with peers on a group project.
  • Can participate in a group discussion by listening to others and either adding to or responding to what they said.
  • Can solve problems around them with math.


  • Can explain and summarize text, as well as share their own interpretations and provide evidence.
  • Can analyze the plot of a story (conflict, climax, resolution, key characters, motives).
  • Has a thorough grasp of vocabulary and can use figurative and symbolic language.
  • Can create a multi-stage writing project (outline, draft, revising, final edits)
  • Can write research papers and reports and knows how to use a book’s features (index, glossary, appendix) and search engines.
  • UnderstAble to present an oral presentation on a given topic.


  • Can perform long-division with a multiple-digit denominator.
  • Knows how to add, subtract, and multiply fractions as well as improper and equivalent fractions.
  • Understands how to calculate the area and perimeter of various two-dimensional shapes.
  • Knows the different types of triangles (acute, obtuse, isosceles, right).
  • Can add and subtract decimals to the hundredth place and fractions down to 1/100.
  • Understands the concept of prime numbers.
  • Understands how to measure and calculate geometrical volume and surface area.
  • Knows how to work with exponents.

Science and Technology

  • Understands the human body’s systems alongside basic biology and chemistry.
  • Learns more in-depth earth science (biomes, oceanography, weather).
  • Learns more astronomy going out beyond the solar system.
  • Can type two or more pages.


  • Learns about their nation’s government and how it runs (e.g., checks and balances, constitution).
  • Understands their nation’s history and important people who influenced it.
  • Aware of basic practices of health and nutrition.
  • Understands world geography, Western culture, and early Western societies.
  • Can discuss political topics like climate change and sustainability.


  • N/A

6th Grade

Developmentally, pre-adolescent children tend to have many personal conflicts during the early teenage years, so most middle school educational curricula are simply reinforcing and adding to the existing foundation of elementary school.


  • Solve problems in real life with calculations involving area, surface area, and volume.
  • Can discuss what they’ve read in typical conversation, as well as recall their reference.
  • Participate in group discussions and able to respectfully disagree.
  • Has a vocabulary that matches typical conversation with adults.


  • Can read a wide variety of literature.
  • Has a vocabulary that matches casual conversation with adults.
  • Able to analyze author styles, word choice, point of view, and structure.
  • Can write stories with clear, language, style, and tone.
  • Can convey opinions and back them with evidence from researched sources.
  • Able to write an informational essay with an introduction and conclusion that explains a topic with information from their research.
  • Understands that writing involves planning, lots of editing, and often feedback and new approaches.
  • Can correctly paraphrase in writing with quotation marks and attribution and without plagiarizing.


  • Can calculate one-variable algebra equations (i.e., “solve for X”).
  • Can calculate percentages and ratios.

Science and Technology

  • Understands different forms of energy.
  • Has more experience with life science.
  • Can type 3 or more pages in one sitting.


  • Explores the geography and history of the Eastern hemisphere.


  • N/A

7th Grade

Starting at around age 12, a child will start adapting the psychological motivations of an adult, meaning the curriculum should focus more on critical thinking and deeper understanding.


  • Can examine a nonfiction text and determine whether there is sufficient evidence and logic to support the main idea.
  • Able to identify evidence and make inferences from it.


  • Writes in a variety of genres and styles, including essays that argue multiple perspectives.
  • Can identify themes and central ideas in a fiction book.
  • Able to read “young adult” novels, short stories, poetry, drama, and nonfiction.
  • Has a vocabulary that matches somewhat in-depth conversation with adults.
  • Understands and properly distinguishes phrases, dependent clauses, and independent clauses in writing.
  • Can give clearly communicated oral presentations of their research and writing.


  • Can solve multi-step math problems with rate, ratios, proportions, and percentages.
  • Understands geometrical area, surface, perimeter, and volume, including for a circle.
  • Able to solve more elaborate single-variable algebraic equations.
  • Can fluidly convert decimals to fractions and indicate their relative size to one another.

Science and Technology

  • Understands the earth’s biomes more in-depth.
  • Can write informative and explanatory papers on science topics.
  • Understands the basics of probability, including random sampling and how to create a representative sample.


  • Understands city, state, and national history from Pre-Colonial times to the American Civil War.
  • Can write informative and explanatory papers on humanities topics.


  • Explores visual arts.
  • Explores music.
  • Explores dance and theater.

8th Grade


  • Can analyze arguments in nonfiction for whether they’re logical, relevant, and supported with sufficient evidence.
  • Analyze data with charts and graphs and able to explain the patterns in the data.


  • Can comfortably discuss plot, theme, and characters in fiction.
  • Can interpret and analyze a wide variety of literature.
  • Can identify different writing techniques including analogy, allusion, and irony.
  • Able to examine the logic and reasoning of arguments.


  • Can graph linear algebraic equations to show relationships between two variables.
  • Can use the Pythagorean Theorem.
  • Able to analyze two-dimension and three-dimensional figures.
  • Understands irrational numbers and can compare them to rational numbers.
  • Can find the volume of three-dimensional shapes like cones, spheres, and cylinders.
  • Can find square roots and exponents.

Science and Technology

  • Understands the physical laws of motion.
  • Can accurately type ~40 words per minute.
  • Can work with a variety of computer software.


  • Has explored post-American Civil War Reconstruction, the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, and modern eras of United States history.


  • Expanded exploration of visual arts.
  • Expanded exploration of music.
  • Expanded exploration of dance and theater.

High School

Generally, high school homeschoolers will diverge based on the situation.

There are many specializations in high school, but there’s a wide range of educational requirements based on region, and an even wider range of the available options for the student.

  • Most of the time, there are a wide variety of applied courses, including auto repair, home economics, cooking, or communications.
  • Literacy can range from simply revisiting 8th Grade up to working with collegiate-level literature (e.g., British Literature).
  • Math can range from a slightly more advanced algebra, all the way into trigonometry, statistics, and calculus.
  • Science starts focusing on more specific domains like biology, chemistry, and physics.
  • Humanities typically involves much more political discussion, as well as economic theory and more details on how governments work.
  • Arts branch out into a vast set of specializations which may include painting, visual arts, woodworking, or performance arts.

Depending on the situation, older students can try going to school online (e.g., Khan World School). If they’re self-determining and their lifestyle can still be balanced outside a classroom, it’s worth considering.


They have several ways to graduate high school:

  1. The culturally-standardized route is to sit in high school classrooms, pass the classes, and pass the exit exam.
    • If you even marginally succeeded, they’ll pass the exit exam before even starting the classroom sessions (it often requires an 8th-grade reading/math level).
  2. Find a work-at-your-own-pace high school online, then pass the credits more quickly, without the social experience.
  3. Get an unconventional certification (e.g., GED) or a diploma through a homeschool group.
    • They can convert a GED to a diploma later via college.
    • The homeschool group diploma won’t have as much influence as a GED.
    • Either way, they can completely resolve any discrepancy with social status if they get an associate’s degree from a community college (which is usually worth the time and money).

You won’t really know the best approach until at least 8th Grade, since it all depends on them.

  • A particularly intelligent can typically pass the high school exit exam by the time they’re in 8th Grade.
  • They may really want to explore high school for the social experience (e.g., prom, athletics).
  • If they’re not particularly focused toward anything (which is typical), they should start considering their career and find classes that feed into their preferred specialization.
  • Generally, colleges will care care about a diploma (as opposed to a GED), but don’t care that it was completed early.
  • If they already know what they want or the home has started growing dysfunctional from their adolescence, send them somewhere else to complete their education (e.g., prep school, military school).

Many colleges don’t necessarily look at early graduation as a positive thing.

  • Instead, if they want college, they should use that extra time to accrue extra college credit via dual enrollment.
  • While their academic achievement may matter, they should also spend time on personal development (e.g., making friends, pursuing hobbies).

Their coming of age involves several possible scenarios:

  1. They move out to explore their own career with what you’ve given them.
  2. They adopt something related to your career.
  3. If they don’t like either of those two options, they’ll have to find their own path (which guarantees moving out if you live somewhat remotely).
  4. If you can afford it, send them on a journey:
    • Send them to college.
    • Give them a few thousand dollars and a one-way ticket to somewhere they want to travel (e.g., Europe).

Additional Resources

Homeschool ID Card For Teachers and Students