I am a bookworm. I tend to read lots of different books about any topic which is affecting our lives. I believe that the more you read the more informed you are. Some books I read cover to cover and others I tend to dip in and out of as I need to read up about a certain topic, others just get taken straight to the local charity shop. So when I first started home-educating the kids I followed my natural bookworm instinct, I bought a bunch of different books to read, some turned out to be interesting and useful and some turned out to be disappointing.
One series that I have found useful and informative is the Core Knowledge Books – What Your Year (goes from 1 to 6) Child Needs to Know.
Let me start by saying I do not follow this series word for word, suggestion for suggestion. I do not go out and buy everything that they recommend and we do not do very activity in the book. I like having these books as a reference, a guide, a suggestion of what we could include in our year. I like having something that I can turn to for ideas, ideas on what topics we could include and also ideas on how I can explain certain concepts.
I find it helpful to have a look at the book which relates to whatever year we are about to start after the Summer holiday before our “new education year” starts. It has become part of my Summer reading, and it helps me to form a general plan of what we might include in the upcoming year (not that we ever stick to my plan, but having a plan in mind always comforts me)
Each book is divided into the 6 different subjects –
- Language and Literature
- History and Geography
- Visual Arts
Within each subject it is further divided into topics so included in Mathematics for the Year 1 book is Patterns & Classifications, Numbers & Number Sense, Money, Computation, Measurement, Geometry. Within each of these topics they will explain what they suggest you cover and give a number of examples of how you could cover the topic. So for example for counting in 2’s they suggest lining up all the shoes in pairs and then getting the kids to work out how many shoes there are by counting them in 2’s. And under the money section they recommend a fun looking version of money bingo to help the kids with money recognition.
I like the resource suggestions after each subject. We have used a few of them and the ones that we have used have been very successful with the kids. It was after looking at this series that I started using children’s story books as a way to introduce the kids to famous artists. And it was after reading the Year 2 book in this series that I finally hit the jackpot with finding readers for my daughter. I had been trying the tradition readers with her and they were just not right for her, she was progressing but she was not enjoying her reading. The Year 2 book in the series gave a lovely list of books to use with beginner readers. We tried one suggestion on the list and it was a big success so I tried another and another of their suggestions and I finally had a little reader who was really enjoying her reading.
I think I have probably found the English and Maths sections in the books the most useful mainly because History in our house tends to develop after the kids have discovered a new favourite book at the library and Science well – my kids are animal obsessed so we tend to read lots of very detailed factual books about animals with them and we are totally allowing them to drive how this area of their learning developes.
As I home-educator I like having reference material that I can rely on. I like reading up about subjects so that I can ensure I have a good basic knowledge for those inevitable questions that always seem to come up when I am driving the car (What is it about kids that they always ask detailed questions when you are trying very hard not to get lost somewhere ?)
The books also contains lots of high quality illustrations and photographs (always a big plus for me and my kids).
The Core Knowledge website contains a lot of information about this series of books, I would recommend having a look at the page on the website called Activities
The books that I have personally bought and used are these three
And in case you are wondering the Year 4 book is on my reading list of July.