What Your Year 6 Child Needs to Know – A Core Knowledge Book

I am in the middle of writing posts about the different resources I am planning on using for my daughters year 7 and I realized I never actually wrote a post about the Core Knowledge Year 6 Book (What your year 6 child needs to know: Fundamentals of a good year 6 education).  I now own the full set of these books and I have used them all but I want to stress upfront I don’t follow these books word for word.  We don’t cover all the topics they suggest but I still find them very useful for 3 main reasons – Ideas of what we could cover in during out year, good explanations of concepts that I can use and their suggested resource lists. I really love their suggested resource list as the end of each section (they include resources for books, films and DVDs, online and places to visit).

Core Knowledge What Your Year 6 Child Needs to Know

The book is broken down into 6 main Topics

  • Language and Literature
  • History and Geography
  • Visual Arts
  • Music
  • Mathematics
  • Science.

I must confess I have found the Maths and Science sections the most useful but I am going to give a breakdown of what is included in each section.

1. Language and Literature

It gives examples of well-known poems and extracts from stories and myths that they recommend.  I found it interesting seeing which ones they included but as far as our literature goes we have followed our own paths (although even by following our own path we did actually cover a number of the items they suggest).  For me literature at this stage is very much still about enjoyment.  They also mention Shakespeare and I initially had no plan on covering Shakespeare but my daughter actually found some Shakespeare books and started reading them herself so I followed her lead on that.  I did like their explanations for literal and figurative language and then things like personification, onomatopeia, alliteration, simile and metaphor.

This section also covers things word classes (verbs, nouns etc) and punctuation when to use versatile commas and brackets.  Prefixes, suffixes and what is the different between informative writing and persuasive writing.

What Your Year 6 CHild needs to Know. English literal vs figurative language

2. History and Geography

Surprisingly I have not actually used this section because we have been continuing on our Viking / Anglo-Saxon / early Medieval Britain topic for History which has also ended up being a geography topic – the kids have learnt a lot about England and Europe through the History that we have covered.  But although we have not covered their suggested History and Geography topics I  have found reading the pages very useful and I am sure at some stage when we get to covering these topics I will reuse what I learnt from these pages.

The section starts with talking about Longitude, Latitude, time zones, a round earth and a flat map – interesting to read. Then it goes onto exploring Wales, Scotland and different parts of England (very interesting reading) and then American History and American Geography.

British History it starts with Queen Victoria, the Industrial revolution and the entire Victorian Age (which we did sort of cover last year).  They go into quite a bit of detail on this period.  If you are not familiar with this part of British History then it really is a good section to read.

History in the What Your Year 6 Child Needs to Know includes the Industrial revolution in England

3. Visual Arts

The Renaissance, how it started what it meant and some famous works from this period. Personally I wanted more detail but then I love art history and this period is one of my favourites.  It also mentions perspective in art and shading.  And a bit about Victorian Art.

4. Music

I call this Music theory – explaining the different notes, sharps and flats etc. Also some examples of famous songs.

Music Theory

5. Mathematics

(I am going to break this down into sub categories and give more detail just because I find this section so useful)


  • numbers up to billions,
  • positive and negative numbers
  • how you compare integers (I like the way they showed this using number lines).
  • rounding
  • square numbers, power of ten, prime numbers


  • introduction to variables
  • inverse operations
  • division using bigger numbers

Decimals, Fractions and Mixed Numbers

  • comparing decimals and sums with decimals
  • multiplying by decimals
  • decimal division
  • rounding decimals
  • equivalent fractions
  • adding and subtracting fractions
  • adding and subtracting mixed numbers
  • multiplying fractions and whole numbers

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Rations and Probabilities

  • introducing the concepts
  • finding a percentage of a number (I did think they could have covered more on percentages)
  • finding an average

Graphs, Functions and word problems

  • pie charts
  • line graphs
  • functions and inverse operations
  • graphing function
  • writing and solving equations


  • angles
  • triangles and polygons
  • circles
  • finding the area of different shapes
  • volume of shapes
  • plotting points on a grid (all 4 quadrants)
  • symmetry

Maths Quadrants. What Your Year 6 Child Needs to Know

Sorry that is a bit of a list but they include lots of explanations about different Maths concepts which I find very useful.  Please remember this is not a workbook – so there are no examples for the kids try but they do include a few worked examples showing how they would tackle the problem.

6. Science

The Science section starts with Chemistry (I think these pages gives a good introduction).  It talks about atoms, parts of an atom and explains how the periodic table was created.  Then elements, metals and non-metals, molecules and compounds.  This is not covered in huge details (all of this is 9 pages long) but it is well-worded and explains the concepts well.

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Onto Classifying Living Things which talks about why we classify, cells, how a cell is constructed and differences in cells

Life Cycles and Reproduction.  Asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction how they differ. Flower fertilisation and plant development, including what monocots and dicots are. Then reproduction in animals.

Next is the Human Body. It starts with Human Reproduction and then glands.

Lastly the section covers a few famous scientists.

I did find the Science section very informative but I did feel like they should have included some physics.

So rather long but that is what is included in the Year 6 Book.  Lots of good explanations about concepts and very useful resource recommendation ideas.  But please this is NOT a do pages 2 and 3 of day 4 type book and it is NOT a workbook.

Core Knowledge What Your Year 6 Child Needs to Know


About ofamily

Home educating family based in the UK. We try to make learning fun
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