What is considered a 'basic' education?
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  1. #1
    sisymay is offline Member
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    Nov 2007

    Default What is considered a 'basic' education?

    My daughter is 13 in 7th grade, but is VERY far behind in all subjects due to many situations. I am now wanting to teach only the 'basics' of education, so she can get caught up quickly to grade level, but I'm not sure what is included in 'basic' education? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mandy in TN is offline Senior Member
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    Jul 2011


    First, I have a couple of questions for you. Do you live in a state that has homeschool regulations? If so, what has your state determined is the bare minimum? Anything less than this can cause you to be considered educationally negligent and may get you into hot water legally.

    Outside of any legal restrictions, for me the bare minimum of educational instruction for the average student without learning differences would leave the door to college open even for a student who was highly, highly unlikely to attend college. It could look something like this:

    1. Daily reading instruction for at least 10 min/ day (ex. reading to the child, listening to the child read, or phonic/ word study)
    2. Daily math instruction for at least 10 min/ day (this could include counting objects and all kinds of manipulatives)

    1. Daily reading instruction for at least 20 min/ day (ex. reading to the child, listening to the child read, silent reading or spelling)
    2. Daily math instruction for at least 20 min/ day (This should include mastery of the four operations with whole numbers by the end of grade 6)
    3. Consistent writing instruction (could be copywork)

    1. Daily language arts instruction for at least 30 min/ day (ex. reading with the child, silent reading, or spelling/ vocabulary Also, an overview of grammar should be included by the end of grade 9.)
    2. Daily math instruction for at least 30 min/ day (This should include mastery of the four operations with fractions, decimals and percents by the end of grade 9)
    3. Regular, perhaps 2x weekly, composition instruction (This should include the ability to compose a well-formed basic essay by the end of grade 9.)
    4. Regular, perhaps weekly, coverage of history topics (The goal being a general understanding of the flow of major events from pre-history to present by the end of grade 9.)
    5. Regular, perhaps weekly, coverage of science topics (The goal being to cover a wide range of topics in Earth, life, chemistry, physics and technology by the end of grade 9.)

    1. Daily language arts instruction (should include at least some basic literary analysis, basic American Lit and basic British Lit)
    2. Daily math instruction (This should include at least basic algebra, basic geometry and personal finance)
    3. Regular composition (This should include business letters as well as essays)
    4. Daily instruction of history topics (At least world history, world geography and US history including govt before graduation)
    5. Daily instruction for at least 2 years (The goal being to cover at least high school level biology and chemistry.)

    Some kids may be able to score high enough on college testing to go to college and even be highly successful with less preparation than this, but I would think that the average student would need at least this much for college to be a realistic option.

    I could list all kinds of specific products, but it is difficult to make suggestions without knowing exactly how far behind your dd is, what you consider on track, and how long you have to get her there. I always suggest focusing on LA and math while catching up, but at 13yo I wouldn't totally ditch science and social studies. Even though I would spend the majority of the day focused on reading/ phonics type skills and math mastery, as above, I think I would still try to do composition 2x/ week, history 1x/ week and science 1x/ week.

    Some more questions- Has she mastered the 4 operations with whole numbers? If not, this is where I would start with math. Use something like The Complete Book of Math Timed Tests (but don't feel the need to time them). Move from there to Kumon Grade 4 Math workbooks (Grade 4 Multiplication, Grade 4 Division, Grade 4 Decimals & Fractions). After the 4 operations are sound go to the Key to books (Key to Measurement, Key to Fractions, Key to Decimals, Key to Percents). From here the first 3 books of Key to Alg will prepare a child to jump into Math U See Algebra and Math U See Geometry. These are very basic courses, but should provide enough foundation to jump into remedial courses at the community college.

    For reading/ spelling, place her in the level of Spectrum Word Study and Phonics where she is comfortable and have her move through them to grade 6 as quickly as she can retain the material. When she finishes those begin Amsco's Vocabulary for Enjoyment 1, 2, and 3. These will allow her to move into Vocabulary for the High School Student 1 and 2 and Vocabulary for the College Bound. There are tons of reading lists. Kumon has a recommended reading list that isn't stamped with grade levels. Level A1 is about first grade first semester, so level D1 would be about fourth grade first semester. I would just start her wherever she can read the material independently with comprehension. Pick a book and co-read (where you read a page and she reads a page), have her read silently, and have her read aloud. Just move up as she is able.

    LA, Walch's Power Basics Basic English and Power Basics Introduction to Composition are hopefully accessible to her now. I think they are written at about a 4th grade level. This is a high content/ low reading level program.

    For history Steck-Vaughn History of Our World: People, Places and Ideas : the Ancient World and History of Our World: People, Places, And Ideas: The Modern World are high content/ low reading level world history texts that may work.

    Steck-Vaughn Wonders of Science (6 book series) may work for science coverage.

    This is really long. Let me know if there is something different or more specific that you needed.
    Last edited by Mandy in TN; 12-08-2011 at 02:55 PM.
    ds Doodlebug 11yo
    currently homeschooling with an eclectic mess of stuff

    homeschool graduates:
    ds Cashew 20yo
    ds Peanut 22yo

  3. #3
    fairylover's Avatar
    fairylover is offline Senior Member
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    Mar 2009
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    Mandy gave a really thorough answer to your question. I think if you asked ten people this question you would probably get twenty answers. To me, the most basic education would include Readin, Riting, and Rithmetic as they used to say. Basically the ability to read and write well and do basic math. You do need to check with your state laws to make sure that you are within the bounderies there.
    Kathi Homeschooling Mama to Twelve year old Dakota

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