Homeschooling Curriculum

Homeschooling #2: some vague specifics

This is not just regarding homeschooling; this was a list we started awhile back, with specific life skills and academic skills we wanted for our son; with input from him; and where he’s at right now (at 12)

Although categorized, it’s interdisciplinary. Cooking = math = science = writing. Social skills = civics = history = art = propaganda = finance, etc. They might not be 1:1 equivalences, but everything is connected and enmeshed.

All this is by no means accomplished; not seeking a pat on the head for curriculum nor a slap re the ‘dead white males’ aspect of authors listed (much more reading and source material than what’s shown). But I did want to give a further idea of what we’re doing, especially with regard to the prior comments re “what is learned from grades 4–10”.


  • 5 minute journal every day
  • morning pages
  • creative writing
  • scientific observation of nature / hives -write ups
  • footnotes, citations
  • 5 paragraph essay as taught in conventional school
  • 5 page papers as taught in conventional school, footnotes and citations
  • Writing topics to include commentary on all reading done, classwork, film and literary reviews, and all materials seen for ‘school’ or pleasure [shouldn’t that be the same?] [what about….Ironman!]
  • will keep small notebook and pen in pocket and use throughout the day for notes, thoughts, ideas, sketches
  • James Altucher’s X ideas per day


  • be 2 grade levels beyond current year math requirements
  • pre-algebra and algebra, geometry, trig
  • practical math: in daily living, finance, construction, shopping, etc
  • mental math
  • be able to calculate %s re tax, tips, proportion of pocketmonies
  • can have an approximate total before a register adds it up
  • be able to convert construction measurements re lumber
  • preparation for sailing and navigation
  • word problems
  • metric / imperial conversions: volume, measure
  • solve for time and distance
  • calculate percentages of wages for savings, personal use, rainy day fund


  • can use Amazon and interlibrary loan to get a cross-section of sources and resources
  • can call Museum of Natural History, Library of Congress, Smithsonian, med schools, etc to speak with curators and scientists in his fields of interest
  • understanding of internet research / strengths and weaknesses


  • 1st level chemistry and labs [class]
  • beekeeping and garden / plant observation(s) with notes and drawings

Computer skills

  • ability with Word/ pages / Google dox etc
  • page layout
  • can use excel for financial calculations
  • can use Evernote and Ical for time management / project management


  • can read a simple profit and loss statement
  • can read a simple balance sheet
  • can keep a small personal ledger
  • rudimentary understanding of how public companies function
  • rudimentary understanding of how labor and capital function
  • rudimentary understanding of relative economic value
  • understanding of how taxes subsidize oil, farming, & etc and why and how (politics)
  • understanding of how temporary work visas and migrant farm labor affect wholesale and retail prices
  • the true cost of spending 3 hours picking and preparing from our orchard VS supermarket pricing [artificially low]

Biography, history, social studies

  • George Orwell [including Down & Out in Paris & London / Orwell on rhetoric, etc]
  • John Muir
  • Rachel Carson
  • Studs Turkel
  • Oliver Sacks [memoirs and case study books]
  • Buckminister Fuller [bios /esp Calvin Tompkins NYer article] and his own writing
  • Richard Nixon || “Frost/Nixon”
  • Winston Churchill bio
  • social studies class / current events and historical background
  • US precolonial and colonial history and economics


  • Oliver Sacks
  • Gerald Durrell
  • DK Eyewitness philosophy primer
  • reading for pleasure
  • beekeeping instructionals
  • blacksmithing manuals, instructionals
  • outdoor survival books
  • Eric Sloane books on colonial engineering
  • Keep a list of all books etc read
  • Graphic novels and magazines


  • ‘A Guide to the Good Life’ [stoicism/ but some problems with this book + our notes]
  • Walden
  • DK survey of philosophy (with caveats)


  • sketching for design in blacksmithing
  • sketching, drawing, coloring of plants and natural forms
  • ceramics: introductory class at ceramics studio
  • piano, guitar, ukulele; mandolin once X amount of ukulele songs are learned + ability to sing / play without feeling self-conscious (so far…seems to be ok)
  • contradancing


  • can cook eggs
  • can make salad dressing
  • can pick and wash salad
  • can make a cake
  • can make pasta
  • can make any number of nice sandwiches
  • can make mayonnaise or aioli
  • can gut and clean a fish
  • can gut and clean a chicken
  • can grill a piece of meat
  • can grill vegetables and fruit
  • can use fish and chicken knowledge on larger animals if need be.
  • Not squeamish [please do not comment re veganism / no veganism]
  • can clean up after himself in the kitchen
  • has good knife skills, can improve them
  • can sharpen a knife
  • can dice for sauté
  • can sauté
  • can scrub and clean burnt pans
  • can lay and light a wood cooking fire
  • can make a charcoal cooking fire in the ceramic oven / grill
  • can cook from a recipe
  • can read through a cookbook and flag recipes for later
  • can assemble a meal with several components / or make a 1 dish meal


  • can split wood
  • can make stove wood and kindling
  • can build a fire in a wood stove and keep it safely running
  • can make his bed
  • can put things away
  • can do laundry, wash, dry, fold
  • can use hammers and screwdrivers
  • sometimes remembers tighty righty, lefty loosey
  • can use drills
  • can use screw guns
  • can use a handsaw, albeit not well
  • uses a vise
  • can use clamps
  • can use a plane
  • can sharpen blades with files and with sharpening stones and strops and hones
  • can measure for and use dimensional lumber
  • will learn to hang drywall
  • will learn to run wiring
  • will learn to sweat copper joints
  • can hang paintings, mirrors, etc on wall with anchors, mollys etc as appropriate

Personal care

  • 1st thing make bed / we build on each successful thing we do and it is lovely to get into a cool made bed at the end of the day, including when living outdoors in a tent.
  • can sew buttons, hems
  • can sew leather with a threaded awl / speed-stitcher
  • will learn to use sewing machines overlock machines

Physical culture

  • training in boxing, jujitsu, judo, wrestling
  • training in self defense, making the quickest exit, determining who is an antagonist, determining the quickest least painful way out
  • ‘everyone has a plan until they’re hit in the face’
  • 3 x a day, pull-ups, pushups, squats, handstands, kettle bell,mini-workouts for strength training [puberty will help this]
  • mindful breathing practice [only a little bit to start with]
  • Ashtanga yoga in small bits if / when possible
  • soccer
  • contra-dancing

Social issues

  • be first: first to smile, first to say hello, first to volunteer , first to offer help
  • can speak with anyone comfortably
  • be friendly
  • how to deal with bullies
  • handshake and warm smile
  • be first to introduce oneself
  • respectful of elders
  • understand that one, particularly a child, can learn much more by listening than by breaking in with “I think X” / “what does Y mean”. Learn to listen

Blacksmithing, welding, fabrication, ceramics

  • small furnace use
  • can make hooks and small implements
  • can make garden tools
  • good hammer skills
  • [expand]
  • survey of hand building
  • basic throwing on a wheel
  • lap joined construction of boxes, shelves, tables, stools etc
  • Green carpentry wood course (1 week)


  • understands composting
  • identifies garden plants
  • identifies trees by bark and leaves
  • identifies habitat and micro-climates
  • can build wooden garden beds (as assistant (since age 5))


  • uses bee suit properly (ie it’s shut in all places)
  • doesn’t panic if stung
  • can use bee smoker
  • can use hive tool
  • can use hive brush
  • written observations


  • will think of using bike for trips of up to 5 miles (we’re in a hilly rural area)
  • can repair a flat
  • can carry school books on a rack
  • can carry 20 lbs of cargo in panniers
  • can ride comfortably at night with lights
  • knows what to say and how to react when hassled by drivers (ie nothing)
  • can ride in urban areas when we take our bikes into cities


  • can read paper maps
  • can give directions with street names
  • can write directions in a list
  • can review train and bus schedules
  • can organize a trip to a large city with a list of where to go and in what order / plan 3 trips per year: transit, activities, museums, shows, costs
  • can organize his own schoolwork, homework, chore schedule, to get X amt of tasks done in a week, a month,
  • can use a wall chart calendar
  • can use Evernote and Ical for time management / project management

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