Intro to Homeschooling Part 5: The 11 Subjects

Posted by Jen Garrison Stuber

Intro to Homeschooling Part 5: The 11 Subjects

You don’t have to cover the 11 required subjects (reading, writing, spelling, language, math, science, social studies, history, health, occupational education, and art and music appreciation) every day, every week, or even necessarily every year.

Reading — we read a lot of “real” books (instead of text books or excerpts).
Writing – We did a lot of writing of all sorts. (Frequent question: does writing include penmanship? Answer: That’s up to you).
Spelling – We used the bright orange Spelling Power which has lists up to/through college.
Language – Fundamentally, language is part of the reading-writing-language triangle — reading is the intake of the written word, writing is the written expression of ideas, and language is the oral / aural expression / reception of ideas.
Language might also include foreign language.
Language might also include things like computer languages.
Maths – We did a lot of “hands on” and experiential maths for arithmetic, and then did the Algebra / Geometry / Algebra 2 sequence. We tried a lot of different things before we found the right one.
Science – We again did a lot of hands on things, especially with Chemistry and Biology. We counted her training as a fire fighter for both fire science and anatomy and physiology.
Social Studies – This is the second most frequent question about he 11 subjects: what is social studies? Here it is, in a nutshell: there are other people and cultures in the world. It is only slightly different from
History – The study of the peoples and cultures of the world (including your own) and their progression through time.
Most people do SS in elementary school while children still have a really hard time grasping the concept of time (and think that Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, and their grandparents were all children together).
Some people do their social studies through their history.
Health — This can include PE (and it will — those little people will be wound up and you’ll send them out to run around the house 5 times or get out the Wii Fit), but also includes nutrition, human sexuality, and lots of other things.
Occupational Ed. — this is the first most often question I get about the 11 Subjects: Jen — what is Occupational Ed? Are you ready? There are people in the world. They have jobs. That’s it. When your kids are little and they as “why” about everything, have them go ask the person they’re asking about — people love to talk about their work, and they love it even more with a young person who’s actually interested. We did internships with small business owners starting around 11 or so.
An Appreciation of Art and Music — You don’t have to love art or be musical. You merely need to encourage an appreciation of music and art. Go to the museum. Go to the theatre. Go watch musicians. Play music in your car. Don’t write essays. Just go and do and be — it is enough to have the experience. Don’t turn it into a soul-sucking writing assignment.

This is critically important:

RCW 28A.200.020 states that “parents who are causing their children to receive home-based instruction shall be subject only to those minimum state laws and regulations which are necessary in ensuring that a sufficient basic educational opportunity is provided to the children receiving such instruction. Therefore, all decisions relating to philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, and methods, timing and place in the provision or evaluation of home-based instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent except for matters specifically referred to in Chapter 28A.225 RCW.”

The homeschool law also states that “the legislature recognizes that home-based instruction is less structured and more experiential than the instruction normally provided in a classroom. Therefore, the provisions relating to the nature and quantity of instructional and related educational activities shall be liberally construed.”

This allows you, the parent, great latitude in how you go about covering the 11 subjects. This is the part of the law that lets you choose anything from a Classical education to Unschooling or anything in between.

This bears repeating:
“ALL decisions relating to philosophy or doctrine, selection of books, teaching materials and curriculum, and methods, timing and place in the provision or evaluation of home-based instruction shall be the responsibility of the parent.”

~Jen

Continue the Series:

Intro to Homeschooling Part 1: Compulsory Attendance

Intro to Homeschooling Part 2: Qualifying

Intro to Homeschooling Part 3: Declaration of Intent

Intro to Homeschooling Part 4: Test or Assessment

Intro to Homeschooling Part 5: The 11 Subjects

Intro to Homeschooling Part 6: Part Time Attendance and/or Ancillary Services

Intro to Homeschooling Part 7: Common Core