Frequently Asked Questions
We often get the following questions about our literature-based homeschooling curriculum. Here are the FAQs for using Train up a Child Publishing Curricula, organized into the categories below. If we don’t have an answer to your question, please fill out the contact form here, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
Here are the categories covered below in our FAQS for using our Curricula:
Ordering Train up a Child Publishing Curricula
Go to the page for the individual item you’d like to purchase. You can do this in two ways. Either click on “Store” directly in our navigation menu at the top of the page or go to our Curriculum Options Page. Then look for your item from there.
When you click through to the curriculum’s product page, you’ll find a product description. If you scroll down, you should also see a graphic that is titled “Sample,”where you may download a generous sample of that curriculum.
Once you’ve made your buying decision, look for the “add to cart” button. Click the button and buy it from there, or shop further and check out once you’ve selected everything you want..
From there, you can keep shopping or check out by clicking on the “view cart” button or clicking on the shopping cart icon at the top/top right of your page.
If you have a discount code, put it in the coupon code box directly under the item(s) you’re buying. Then click the “update cart” button. (Take a look at the graphic below.)
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Leaving a Review
We love our customers to leave reviews for the curriculum they use and love! To leave a review, please navigate to the curriculum page by finding it in our store. Then click on “Reviews,” as indicated by the arrow in the graphic below, and leave your review.
Editor’s Note: the “Description,” “Additional Information,” and “Reviews” headings may appear on the left-hand margin on your screen.
Daily Lesson Plans
If you prefer a more structured curriculum that tells you what to say and do,’ you might feel most comfortable with our Daily Lesson Plans. If your homeschool would benefit by having pre-made lesson plans for history, science (K-8th), language arts, and fine arts, you should consider lesson plans. You should choose the Daily Lesson Plans over our Unit Programs if this sounds like you: • You don’t know what you should teach for history, science, art, or geography and don’t have the bandwidth to figure it out. • You don’t have the desire, energy, or time to come up with fun projects or science experiments and choose copy work, spelling, and vocabulary words. • You’re worried you aren’t covering the right things, so feel more secure with structured daily lessons with reading assignments, discussion questions, narration prompts, spelling, vocabulary, grammar lessons, and all assignments laid out for you. You should choose the Unit Program Tools over our Daily Lesson Plans if this sounds like you: • You’re a roll-up-your-sleeves and jump in homeschool mom. You like creating your own curriculum and lesson plans or tweaking someone else’s curriculum. (But you would love to have a framework to start with!) • You’d rather move at your own pace, enjoy going down rabbit trails, and don’t want to feel the pressure of a curriculum that tells you what to say or do. • You want to teach all your children history and science at the same time with one curriculum. And actually, many moms get a combination of both Daily Lesson Plans and Unit Program Tools or buy the Daily Lesson Plans and the Teacher’s Manual. There are many more ideas, projects, and book selections in our Unit Program Tools curriculum, as well as Teacher Overviews summarizing each period in history and an extra unit of Resources listings that are not in the Daily Lesson Plans. In addition, although the Daily Lesson Plans are very clear and easy to implement, the Teacher’s Manual has more detailed information regarding teaching and evaluating writing, for example, than the lesson plans. In summary, you don’t need the Teacher’s Manual to use the Daily Lesson Plans, but you might find it helpful. The Daily Lesson Plans give the Unit Program Tools structure; the Unit Program Tools give the lesson plans flexibility.
We originally designed our Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans* to assist moms who were starting their home school journey.
Our thought was that more experienced home-educating moms would appreciate the flexibility and economy of having a three-year curriculum, so we designed the other grades in that manner. However, over the years, moms have requested that we add daily lesson plans, so we listened!
In addition to Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans*, we also have Daily Lesson Plans for first, second, third, and fourth grades and one level of middle school plans that can be adapted for 6th through 8th grades.
We plan to add Daily Lesson Plans for 5th grade and at least one more level of middle school in the future.
Note: We are updating our Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans, temporarily removing them from our online catalog.
Feel free to modify an activity so that it fits your student. If he has fine motor difficulty, for example, you might want to shorten his copy work selection or let him dictate some of his other writing assignments to you rather than have him struggle to do all of the writing himself.
Generally, our reading levels lean towards the higher, rather than the lower end of the scale. However, if your student is an exceptional reader, you find the reading is too easy.
If you also own our Unit Program Tools and the Daily Lesson Plans, refer to your Unit Program Tools to find additional reading selections on the same topic as the books in your lesson plans, but at a higher reading level.
In this case, we recommend following the Lesson Plan’s schedule and activities and adding or substituting higher-level books.
Note: the copy work, vocabulary, and spelling words are chosen from the reading specified in the Daily Lesson Plans, so they would no longer be as relevant to your student if he does not read the stated assignment.
No, you absolutely don’t. We give you a book list in our Daily Lesson Plans and tell you how many and which weeks we use each book. You may substitute another book for one that is used less often. That is perfectly OK!
Or, if you want to skip a book altogether, you may do that. However, the language arts (spelling, vocabulary, composition, and grammar) assignments are integrated into the main history and science reading. So we suggest skipping the books used just for reading, but not for language arts.
However, that said, you can still effectively teach using different books – you may always follow our lead in the Daily Lesson Plans and develop similar lessons using your preferred book.
We do include Scripture memory during our Ancients unit when the Bible is one of our primary texts. However, we leave that up to you for the rest of the year. Each family has a preferred version of Scripture, and each student has differing abilities in this area.
We encourage you to include Scripture memory and devotions in your homeschool, even though we don’t include them on a regular basis in our curriculum. (Although we always support biblical values and concepts in all of our curricula from Kindergarten through High School.
We believe in many of the principles and methods espoused by Charlotte Mason who used copy work as well as narration as very useful methods for students to assimilate knowledge and learn how to write. Copy work also offers the chance to study excellent writing models, which is much more relevant to students than random worksheets and workbooks.
We’ve found with our kids that grammar rules are much easier to teach and remember when taught within the context of ‘real’ writing.
The out of print books we suggest are particularly good works. At the time of publication, they are readily available either through your public library system or for purchase as used books inexpensively online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and/or Half.com. Many of these are worth collecting!
There are many evaluation tips and answer keys for specific assignments in the Daily Lesson Plans. Also, much general information is given about how to evaluate students’ writing in our Teacher’s Manuals, which are available separately or as part of our Unit Program Tools. (Additionally, there are detailed evaluation instructions in all of our High School Courses.)
If you need more help than that, we recommend you purchase language arts resources/writing guides written at the level of your students. (See our Language Arts Resources page.) This will also help you explain language arts concepts at your student’s level and be easy to understand for everyone.
In our High School courses, we include answer keys, grading rubrics, and evaluation tips for each and every assignment. We also recommend you have a solid high school or college-level writing resource book. (Again, see our Language Arts Resources page for ideas.)
Of course, you don’t have to do everything suggested in the Daily Lesson Plans! They are to be used as a guide, but please tailor them to fit your family.
And I found it worked best with my kids to gently ‘transition’ into school after an extended break. You might want to take one to three weeks, for example, to ramp up more slowly, adding a subject every day until you build back up to your normal school day.
That is no problem. Each day is numbered rather than dated, so you can pick up easily where you stopped.
These plans are to serve, not enslave you! Work at the pace that fits your family. There’s no law that states you have to finish on anyone’s schedule other than the one that fits your family. We can’t emphasize this enough!
Many people opt to skip some more minor assignments if they need to, to finish when they would like to finish. Others decide to work on a few areas over a break until they are done. It is really up to YOU.
No, they should print just fine the way they are. You do have to have Adobe Reader, which is available as a free download: Get Adobe Reader here.
Of course, you may make as many copies as you need for use with your own family, but we request that you not copy, e-mail, or otherwise share our Daily Lesson Plans, projects, ideas, or methodology with others. Additionally, if you have purchased a digital trial Ancients unit, we ask that you not offer it for resale.
When you buy a digital or other product from us, you are licensed only to use it for your own family. However, you’re welcome to resell any tangible, non-consumable product that you purchase from us. (That said, if you’re interested in using any of our curricula in a group setting, please use the contact form in our top menu bar to let us know what you’re thinking, and we’ll send you our info sheet about how you can save money buying curricula in a group.)
Unit Study Tools
You can easily combine our Unit Study Tools with other curriculum. Our Unit Study Tools are unstructured, and there are some subjects you might feel less confident teaching without a structured program. We teach you how to teach phonics, for example. We provide clear directions ad phonics checklists for everything your child needs to know, but if you’d rather purchase a program rather than create your own, that’s fine, too. You may use our Unit Study Tools however you want and need to.
Actually, we developed the Tools as Microsoft Word documents so that you could customize them as much as you would like! The great thing is that you can alter the document, choose “save as,” and rename the document as you save it on your computer. Then you’ll always have the original in the Tools folder.
Again, our Unit Study Tools were designed to be flexible.
We recommend the layered effect of history that comes from studying from Creation to Modern each year, but some of our parents are more comfortable completing the program every three years, as that is a more familiar rotation for many moms.
If you choose to study history in a three-year rotation, just read all of the books and study three units per year.
We used to sell hard copies of our Unit Study Tools, but with the increased cost of paper and binders, it became too costly to produce them. Offering these programs digitally allows us to pass the savings on to you.
Primary Unit Study Tools (Kindergarten through Second Grade)
It really depends on your child. Parents often use the book lists as early as 2-3 years old, reading aloud and exposing their child to excellent literature. Parents are not teaching, just reading. Phonics then becomes the next logical step, typically beginning between the ages of 4-6, depending on the maturity of the child and his ability to focus on a lesson long enough to make it profitable. Phonics readiness is developmental, and pushing a child to sit still and learn is not fruitful. If your child is not interested in phonics after age five, put it away for a few weeks and then try again. Projects, language arts skills, and science concepts are best added to your child’s program when she demonstrates a desire and the ability to learn.
Our Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans* were designed for parents who prefer pre-written daily lesson plans. Some homeschool parents enjoy the flexibility of designing their own daily plans. However, beginning homeschooling parents may prefer to start with a program that outlines each day in detail.
In contrast, The Primary Unit Study Tools is designed to be used over a period of three years and requires that the parents actually plan their lessons, following the instructions in the Teacher’s Manual. Because of the flexibility and focus on phonics, using the Unit Program Tools in Kindergarten is not difficult.
The more structured parent may be more comfortable purchasing a phonics program to use with the Primary Unit Tools, but that isn’t necessary. We teach you in the Teacher’s Manual how to easily put together your own phonics program.
Instead of planning daily lessons with our Unit Study Tools, many moms note what books they want to read and which activities they want to do that week and then journal what they read and did. This more informal approach works perfectly well for a more relaxed homeschool.
Note: We are updating our Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans, temporarily removing them from our online catalog.
Not necessarily. If you prefer a more unstructured Charlotte Mason-inspired curriculum, you may use our Primary Unit Program Tools for both of your children. If you would like more structure than that, you have a few choices:
- Use the Unit Study Tools for your Kindergartener and our Second Grade Daily Lesson Plans for your 2 grader.
- Use the programs above and add a pre-planned phonics program.
There are some overlapping book listings. Books you read to your second grader may also be listed in the Intermediate Unit Study Tools. So that your 4th grader can read them aloud or independently.
This allows parents to use books in creative and flexible ways. For example, your third-grade child may read a book to your first-grader that’s on both reading lists. (Also, you get more use from your books this way.)
No. Each Unit Study comes with a Teacher’s Manual as part of the digital download.
Determining the reading level of a book is not an exact science. We look at the vocabulary, content, and sentence length when we decide upon a reading level.
Books that we recommend for certain grade levels may be suggested at a higher or lower grade by another curriculum company. The authors use their combined years of both classroom and homeschool teaching experience to make these determinations with the understanding that these are recommendations. Also, children on any grade level vary greatly in their personal abilities.
In our Unit Study Tools we recommend waiting to teach formal writing because often children are asked to write before they have developed the ability to do so. This can result in frustration and leave a child with a negative attitude about writing, which can be difficult to change.
We do introduce writing a little earlier than third grade in our Daily Lesson Plans because we felt that some of our children were ready to begin writing earlier than third grade.
However, as with reading, children develop at different rates. If your child demonstrates a desire to write, by all means, encourage it! You should still evaluate the written work so your child doesn’t develop bad habits that will have to be fixed later, which can also lead to frustration.
So we suggest caution if you begin writing earlier than third grade; ease into it and see how your child responds.
Intermediate Unit Study Tools (Third through Fifth Grades)
There are some overlapping book listings. Books you read to your second grader may be listed in the Intermediate booklets so that your 4th grader can read them aloud or independently. This allows parents to use books in creative and flexible ways. For example, your third-grade child may read a book to your first-grader that is on both of their reading lists. (Also, you get more use from your books this way.)
The middle school years transition a child from elementary to high school. With the abundance of reading required for most high school curricula, ours included, it’s essential that middle-grade students have time to make that transition successfully.
From our experience, students adapt to such changes better in 6th grade than in 7th or 8th. By making the change in 6th grade, they also have more time to adjust to the more challenging material. And most 6th graders demonstrate the ability to do just that.
Probably. Most families don’t use every single book in any given set of curriculum. They may bypass a book because of content, lack of interest, reading level, or book availability. We recommend that you read the core books (they have the core book symbol & next to their listings), but even that may not be possible if those books aren’t readily available.
Reading a majority of the books would be a worthy goal. Do keep in mind that children using our curriculum typically read many more books than most others require.
Also note that between Primary (K-2nd) and Intermediate (3rd-5th), science and history concepts are often repeated to help retention.
Additionally, the Preparatory (6th-8th) curriculum may not cover basics that are assumed to have been addressed in elementary school. Therefore, you would want to be confident that the general science and history topics have been covered before moving on.
It’s not the books themselves that are the concern, but your child’s reading level. There is a significant jump from 5th to 6th grade, and you want to be sure that your child can take that step. We recommend looking at the Preparatory (6th-8th grades) sample and selecting a few 6th-grade reading level books to evaluate your child.
Remember that the sample is from the Civil War unit, meaning that it is later in the school year, so if your child struggles a little, that’s okay. If your child really can’t read any of the books and comprehend them, you might want to consider one more year on the 5th-grade reading level.
Another option would be to pull independent readers from the 5th grade curriculum but read them with your child using the 6th grade level books.
Preparatory Unit Study Tools (Sixth through Eighth Grades)
Because of the increased development of the middle schooler, the middle school years are an excellent time to learn about why things happen and to develop an understanding of the scientific method. Students discover rather than just read about important scientific concepts by doing experiments. As well, the hope is that older students will find science more enjoyable and easier to understand through experimenting. Most high school science programs require labs, so preparing your student for that environment makes sense. It’s helpful to provide your middle school student with experience writing up lab reports and understanding the process of laboratory science, too.
No. You’re correct; the books are longer. You want to stay within your weekly guidelines (see the Teacher’s Manual for page guides at this level) for each unit if you plan to finish in one year.
This will probably require choosing fewer books per unit. So, we don’t list as many book suggestions at the Preparatory (6th-8th grade) level for that reason.
Some parents plan the history units over 1.5 years, allowing them to cover all of the material twice in middle school. This gives them longer units with more time to read in each unit, but the material isn’t covered as often.
Again, the idea is to prepare your middle school student for high school. Longer reports of 4-8 pages (not quite research paper length) utilizing a thesis statement (main idea), outline, research, and note-taking, as well as resources, are a good starting point.
Essay styles such as expository (a factual essay designed to teach or inform) and narrative (the retelling of an event) are certainly appropriate, 4-6 paragraphs long. Continued skills practice by pulling examples from books being read is essential. Simple lab reports provide wonderful writing opportunities. Poetry and short story writing should also be assigned during the middle school years.
That depends on your child. If you feel your child has understood and retained the information from the texts, he should have a basic foundation.
Your middle school student may not have the detailed ideas and examples that an elementary student would have using our curriculum, but he or she can pick up much of that if you work faithfully throughout middle school.
Yes – The Kingfisher History of the World contains enormous amounts of information for reference purposes. Note that it has evolutionary material in the beginning, but overall the information is quite valuable. It is not necessarily a daily reading resource, but is readable and provides an interesting overview text. You can also use it to develop note-taking skills. Assign your Middle School student to take reading notes on a section of the book now and then.
Another resource that is even more readable, but best for younger children, is Susan Wise Bauer’s, The Story of the World. It is a 4-volume set that reads more like a story than a historical text. It may not be as useful for reference, but it is much more palatable for younger readers.
The Little Brown Handbook is a teacher favorite. Although it is a college-level text, you can find the answer to almost any grammar question in it. This book will also take you through the high school years as a grammar resource. It has multiple examples and a very detailed, user-friendly index.
We don’t recommend using the assignments in the text.
Note: a new copy of this handbook is extremely expensive. However, it is readily available used. Don’t worry about the edition…grammar hasn’t changed much over the years!
We’ve enjoyed using Writer’s Express (4th – 5th grades), Write Source 2000 (6th – 8th), and Writer’s Inc. (9th-12th). As they are written to the student, they are especially helpful in the younger grades in explaining specific grammar points in language easily understood by an elementary-aged student.
Secondary Unit Study Tools (Ninth through Twelfth Grades)
In high school, students have very specific science courses such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Colleges are looking for specific material and lab activities in these courses, and there are no whole books designed to teach these courses in full at the high school level. Although, you can find some helpful supplements.
Actually, there are reading levels in the form of Most Challenging (MC), Challenging (C) and Less Challenging (LC) noted with each book. We used these identifiers based on the book’s length and the vocabulary’s difficulty.
We often refer to this list as “mini-research topics” or “MRTs.” This list primarily offers the student and parent an overview of the time period in a list format. You can use them to select a topic for a research paper or essay, create a timeline of events, research and write paragraphs, or orally review people, places, and events.
You might have your student initially highlight anything on the list that she can orally explain and then research those that aren’t highlighted, writing a few sentences explaining each item.
Most definitely! Throughout the Secondary Unit Study Tools, PCC (Possible Course Credit) listings in the high school book lists note which books can be applied to which courses. Some of the possible course credits include World History, U.S. History, World Literature, American Literature, British Literature, and Religious Studies or Church History. American and World History could be divided into I and II because of extended periods. You can use these listings to create your own courses with this program.
Additionally, if you would rather not create your own high school courses, we have already created high school courses for you: General Literature, American Literature, British Literature, World Literature, Essay Styles for High School, The Art of Public Speaking, The Steps to Writing a Research Paper, American History I and World History I. Read more about our high school courses here.
While state laws vary on this topic, we recommend that students do something evaluative for each unit other than just reading. Options include short writing assignments, oral or written narrations, book reports, artistic expression, projects, timelines, and maps. We don’t typically create tests prior to high school, but some parents like to do so.
Essay tests are usually the best format for older students to express all that they learned from the reading. However, narration often suffices with younger students.
High School Courses
Yes, there are four credit tracks with our high school courses: Two semester College Prep (CP)-1 credit, One semester College Prep (CP)-1/2 credit, two-semester Honors track, and a one-semester Honors track. Check your accountability group or state laws to discover how much credit (or how the credit is weighted) you may award with Honors courses.
Our history courses (American History and World History) and our literature courses (General Literature, American Literature, British Literature, and World Literature) are all one-year, 1+ credit courses. Our English electives are one semester: Essay Styles for High School, The Art of Public Speaking, and The Steps to Writing a Research Paper.
Yes, it does. Especially when rounded out with our English electives, our literature courses will cover all the coursework you need for high school English.
Many homeschool moms would answer that question with a resounding “Yes!” If your student begins with our Essay Styles course, a basic high school composition course, our literature courses will build on that. Our homeschooling moms have sent excellent reviews telling us how well their students write after our courses.
First, our courses use real, whole, excellent books, instead of textbooks or excerpts of books. Secondly, our courses are not “cookie cutter” where everyone does the same assignment. Instead, our courses offer several choices of assignments, and you and your student are free to choose.
Yes, we have writing assignments, and we recommend your student write at least one or two of every essay type. But we also have assignments that utilize the gifts and talents God gave your high school student. The assignments in our history and literature courses will allow your student to build a model, design and cook a historically accurate feast, dramatize a scene from a story or an event, design period costumes, illustrate a scene in a story, and more.
Using your students’ natural gifts will make learning not only more enjoyable but it will also make the learning stick.
We have already divided books based on grade level for a school setting. As well, we can alter booklists as needed to meet the needs of the school. If you would like to find more about becoming licensed to use Train up a Child Publishing Curricula in a school setting, please get in touch with us by using the Contact Form listed in the navigation at the top of the page.
No. Most schools can’t afford for students to have a copy of every book, and it’s unnecessary anyway.
Not only is it possible, but it’s better! Students who use our Unit Program Tools in the classroom often express how much more they’re enjoying history and science. They remember information more readily because of the unique and interesting presentation.
Our curricula emphasize writing assignments and hands-on projects, which textbook publishers often overlook. As well, students receive an education that is detailed and fascinating, often demonstrating more than one viewpoint, rather than being led by the viewpoint of the textbook publisher. Finally, our methodology promotes classroom participation and more interaction between teachers and students.
The transition doesn’t have to be difficult. Using our curricula often allows teachers to actually do what they’ve been trained to do…teach!
Flexible and enthusiastic teachers tend to operate better with our Unit Program Tools. Teachers who are more used to traditional curricula are often more comfortable with our Daily Lesson Plans.
As well, schools that are looking more at character training, Biblical influence, and mastery of skills will find either type of curriculum beneficial.
Typically, there are books in the library that parents can check out to use in the interim. Often, in private and cottage schools, parents purchase books and establish a home library so that their other children also benefit from the excellent literature utilized in the program.