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 different grade without using that grade for the entire curriculum? You can do this by choosing the desired courses instead of the suggested default option 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 Curriculum materials page will also display a list of suggested 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.
Once your child has completed a given grade, you can use the Your homeschool page to move him or her to a new grade.
Your academic calendar
You can specify which month and week your academic year will start in the Your homeschool page. The course and assignment schedule will then start on Monday of your chosen week.
The default curriculum includes material year round with lighter summers for younger grades, and for ten months during high school. You can add vacations using the Vacations page to specify which weeks you will be away. Your weekly schedule will automatically move any missed material forward to accommodate the vacation.
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 Curriculum Materials 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 suggested 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 Curriculum Materials 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 Create curriculum item page 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.
Your weekly schedule
You can view a schedule for each week 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.
For courses, textbooks and other long-term structured materials, the daily assignment specifies the chapter and section that should be completed on a given day. Following the suggested pacing will result in completion of the book or course within the scheduled timeframe (usually a semester or academic year). Changing the schedule to complete a different number of daily assignments per week, or scheduling vacations, will change the time it takes to complete the material.
For chapter books and other materials that can be completed within a month, the daily assignment does not specify sections or page numbers to allow for a more flexible self-paced schedule.
If you wish to change the amount to be completed in one day, you can use the pencil icon to edit the daily assignment to your desired preference. This will replace the curriculum default daily assignments. (To get the curriculum default daily assignments back, you can remove your custom daily assignment in the edit section.)
Once you mark a curriculum item complete, it will no longer display in the schedule and checklist pages for the period after the completion date.
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.
Need more help? Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com. We'd love to help you create a perfectly fitted educational experience for your child.