How to use the curriculum

Welcome to Great Books Homeschool! Use this guide to take full advantage of what we have to offer for grades K - 8. (You can view our high school instructions here.)

Choosing a grade

Grades in our curriculum simply denote progression through the material, and do not need to correspond exactly to age.

If you are switching from another curriculum, you will want to make sure your child has completed any recommended prerequisites. Our curriculum does not sync grade by grade with other schools, and many subjects build on knowledge covered in previous years.

Luckily, it's easy to ensure your child covers everything he or she needs. We suggest that you start by reading through the Overview by grade, which outlines the main focuses and milestones of each Great Books Homeschool grade level. You may find that one of the grades is an ideal fit for your child. If you aren't sure, we recommend that you err on the side of starting at a lower grade to ensure foundational material is covered.

What if you want to cover some of the material from a previous grade without switching to that grade for the entire curriculum? There are two options, depending on how much of the previous grade material you wish to cover. The first option is to start at the lower grade and complete it on an accelerated schedule, skipping any parts that you don't find necessary. Once you are ready, you can then move your child to the next grade.

The other option is to add desired material from previous grades to your current grade curriculum. You can do this by choosing earlier grade courses in the course selection tool that appears once you have chosen a grade level, or from the Edit Courses page at any time. The top of your Monthly Curriculum page will also display a list of optional additions, which consists of some of our favorite material from previous grades. Simply choose which of these you'd like to add to your child's curriculum and select a convenient month. You can remove or reschedule some of the default curriculum material if desired to make room for these.

You can also view all material for a given grade from the Search curriculum page. From there, you can open each book's profile page to view options for adding it to your curriculum.

Customizing your curriculum

Once you've chosen a grade level, use the Your homeschool page to add each student in your family along with your chosen grade. We'll then walk you through course selection to generate a curriculum for each student. For each subject, you can choose the suggested course based on what is typically covered at your student's grade level, or a different option from a higher or lower grade. Your chosen courses can be edited at any time from the Edit Courses page.

The Monthly Curriculum page contains an overview of your student's grade with teaching instructions and a sample schedule. If you start after kindergarten, this page will also display a list of optional additions from previous grades. These consist of any precursors to this grade's courses, plus a selection of age-appropriate books and activities from previous years that we think are too good to miss. Use the Add To Curriculum button to add any of these you choose to your current grade.

The Monthly Curriculum is arranged into months, with a list of books and activities to be completed during each month. This default curriculum is simply intended as a starting point. Feel free to move items to different grades and months, or remove them entirely. You can use the Add to Curriculum links to add your own books and other activities to ensure a truly customized fit for your child.

Each month consists of a core curriculum plus a set of optional books and activities. We recommend completing the core curriculum each month, and including as time allows the optional items that are of most interest to your child and relevant to your family's educational goals. You can rearrange items between the core and optional categories as desired.

Since many homeschooling families choose to do school year-round, the default curriculum for grades K - 8 includes material in all twelve months of the year. If you would like to schedule a vacation, simply move any desired material from your vacation months to other grades or months.

Once your child has completed a given grade, you can use the Your students page to move him or her to a new grade.

Your weekly schedule

You can view your weekly schedule for each month in the Weekly schedule page. This schedule contains all core and optional material for the selected month that is not already marked complete.

The days on which curriculum items are scheduled are simply a reasonable default. You may customize them to fit your family's schedule using the pencil icon next to each item in the schedule.

Exporting records

You can use the "Mark started" and "Mark complete" options next to each curriculum item to create a record of the time your child spent on each item. All curriculum items that have start or completion dates will be included in record exports.

You can export each student's records by grade and month in the Export record page of your account.

Combining multiple students

You may wish to combine book readings or activities for multiple children. This is especially useful when you are reading aloud from the literature selections, most of which can be listened to with enjoyment by a wide range of ages.

You can include an item in additional student curricula using the "Add more students" option in the curriculum page. Simply check the students you would like to include to add the item to their current grade curricula. When you add start and end dates, these will be included in the other students' records as well.

Getting help

Need more help? Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at We'd love to help you create a perfectly fitted educational experience for your child.