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FAQs

We often get the following questions about our literature-based homeschooling curriculum — so for everyone’s convenience we have organized those FAQs into the categories below.

First, we begin with FAQs pertaining to ordering curricula, then questions regarding our Daily Lesson Plans, followed by those that relate to our Unit Programs, our High School Courses (still under construction) and then Questions related to using our curricula in Private or Cottage schools.

If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for in this collection, feel free to email us at infodesk@trainupachildpub.com and we would be glad to personally answer your questions!

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Ordering

  1. How do I order products from this website?  

You may order directly from any product page.  You can click on the shopping cart icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen at any time to change or complete your order at any time.

  1. How does shipping work?

We offer several shipping options that are based on the actual postage costs, so you can pick the option that’s best for you.  To find out what it costs to ship to your home, click on the “Calculate Shipping” on the left side of the shopping cart page. From the drop-down menu, select your state.  Then type your zip code directly into the gray field.  On the right you’ll see the shipping options and costs.  Just select which one suits you best, and that’s how we will send your curriculum.

Choosing Curriculum

  1. Should I buy the Unit Programs or the Daily Lesson Plans?

If you prefer a more structured curriculum and worry about whether you are covering ‘enough,’ you would probably feel most comfortable with our Daily Lesson Plans. If your home school would benefit by having pre-made lesson plans for history, science (K-8th), language arts and fine arts, you should consider lesson plans. If you have trouble knowing what you should teach for art, for geography, or difficulty coming up with fun projects or science experiments, or if you feel more secure with structured daily lessons with reading assignments, discussion questions, narration prompts, spelling, vocabulary, grammar lessons, and all assignments already decided,  you should choose the lesson plans.

If you prefer more unstructured curriculum that you may tweak or follow at your own pace, you should choose the Unit Program curriculum.  If you want the tools to teach using a literature-rich, Charlotte Mason methodology easily to all of your children at the same time, you will prefer our Unit Programs. Additionally, if finances are a major issue, our Unit Programs curriculum is our more cost-effective option, as each component covers a three year period, except our Secondary Unit Program for high school that covers four years.

Many people purchase a combination of both types of programs for their family, or buy the lesson plans and the Teacher’s Manual. There are many more ideas, projects and book selections in our Unit Program curriculum, as well as unit overviews summarizing each period in history and an extra unit of Resources listings that are not in the lesson plans. In addition, although the Daily Lesson Plans are very clear and easy to implement, the Teacher’s Manual has much more detailed information regarding teaching and evaluating writing, for example, than the lesson plans. The Daily Lesson Plans give the Unit Programs structure; the Unit Programs give the lesson plans flexibility. However, you may certainly use the Daily Lesson Plans without purchasing the Teacher’s Manual.

  1. Why do you only sell Daily Lesson Plans for some of the grade levels? Do you plan on selling daily lesson plans for other grade levels in the future?

We originally designed our Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans* to assist moms who were just starting their home school journey. Our thought was that more experienced 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 have listened!

In addition to Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans, we also have Daily Lesson Plans for first, second, third, and fourth grades as well as one level of middle school plans that can be adapted to use for 6th through 8th grades. We plan to add plans for 5th grade, as well as at least one more level of middle school in the future.

*Note: We are updating our Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans so we have temporarily removed them from our online catalog.

  1. What if the reading or activities are too easy or too difficult for my child?

Feel free to modify an activity so that it fits your student. If he has a 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, and you find the reading is too easy and you own our Unit Programs as well as the Daily Lesson Plans, refer to your Unit Program and pull additional reading selections that are on the same topic as the books in your lesson plans, but at a higher reading level.  So follow the Lesson Plans schedule and activities, just add or substitute higher level readers.

Note: the copy work, vocabulary and spelling words are pulled from the reading specified in the Daily Lesson Plans, so they would no longer be quite as relevant to your student if he does not read the stated assignment.

  1. Do I have to use all of the books that you recommend?

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.  If you need to substitute another book for one that is used less often, that is perfectly O.K. 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 that are used just for reading and not for language arts as well. However, that said, you can still effectively teach using different books – just follow our lead in the Lesson Plans and develop similar lessons using your preferred book.

  1. Why don’t you have Scripture memory work for each week?

We do include Scripture memory during our Ancients unit when the Bible is one of our primary texts. However, for the rest of the year, we leave that up to you, as each family has a preferred version of Scripture and each student has differing abilities in this area. We do encourage you to include Scripture memory and devotions into your homeschool, even though we don’t include it on a regular basis.

  1. Why do you include copy work in your lesson plans?

We believe in many of the principles and methods espoused by Charlotte Mason (see our article Charlotte Mason in a Nutshell http://www.epikardia.com/charlotte_mason_in_a_nutshell.html ) 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 have found that grammar rules are much easier to teach and remember when taught within the context of ‘real’ writing, as well.

  1. Why do you include out-of-print books?

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!

  1. How do I evaluate my student’s writing?

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 Manual, which are available separately or as part of our Unit Programs.

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 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.)

  1. These plans look pretty difficult to start after a long summer vacation. Do I have to do everything?

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.

We also suggest you ‘transition’ into school after an extended break. You might want to take one to three weeks, for example, to do the first week’s work, or add in math (or foreign language) in the second or third week of school, rather than in that first week.

  1. What if I get behind on the plans because of illness or vacation?

That is no problem. Each day is numbered, rather than dated, so you can just pick up easily where you stopped.

  1. What if it takes us longer to complete the work than the plans allow?

These plans are to serve, not enslave you! Work at the pace that fits your family. There is 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.

  1. Are there any special instructions for printing the plans from the CD?

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.

  1. May I print additional copies of the Daily Lesson Plans?

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 with others our Daily Lesson Plans, projects, ideas, or methodology. Additionally, if you have purchased a digital trial Ancients unit, we ask that you not offer it for resale.

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Unit Programs

General Questions

  1. Can I use other programs, such as spelling and grammar curriculum, while using your Unit Programs?

You can definitely combine our Unit Programs with other curriculum. Our Unit Programs are unstructured, and there are some subjects you might feel less confident teaching without a structured program. Some people supplement with phonics programs, for example.  You may use our Unit Programs however you want and need to.

  1. Is it okay for me to change the documents on the Tools CD?

Actually, we developed the CD 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, save it on your computer, and you will always have the original on your CD.

  1. Do I have to complete your Unit Programs in one year?

Again, our Unit Programs were designed to be flexible. We recommend the layered effect of history that comes from studying all of it 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.  This seems to be particularly true in high school when the material becomes more challenging.

If you choose to study history in a three year rotation, just read all of the books and study three units per year.

  1. Primary Unit Program (Kindergarten through Second Grade)

1a. At what age should I begin using your Primary Unit Program with my child?

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.

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.

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.

1b. What is the difference between your Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans and the Primary Unit Program (K-2)?

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 homeschool parents may prefer to start with a program that outlines each day in detail.

In contrast, The Primary Unit Program 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, it is not difficult to use the Unit Programs with Kindergarten.  The more structured parent may be more comfortable purchasing a phonics program to use with it, but that isn’t necessary.

Note: We are updating our Kindergarten Daily Lesson Plans so we have temporarily removed them from our online catalog.

1c. I have two children, one in Kindergarten and one in second grade. Do I need to buy two different programs?

Not necessarily.  If you prefer a more unstructured, Charlotte Mason-style curriculum, you may use our Primary Unit Program for both of your children.  If you would like more structure that that, you have a few choices:

  • Use the Unit Program for your Kindergartener and our Second Grade Daily Lesson Plans for your 2nd grader
  • Use the programs above and add a pre-planned phonics program.

1d. Does the Intermediate Unit Program (3-5) overlap with the Primary Unit Program (K-2) in any way?

There are some overlapping book listings. Books that you read to your second grader may be listed in the Intermediate booklets so that your 4th grader may 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.)

1e. If I purchase the Primary Unit Program (K-2nd)  and the Intermediate Unit Program (3rd-5th), do I need two Teacher’s Manuals?

No. Our lower grades manual covers from K-5th grades so you don’t need to purchase a new Teacher’s Manual until you get into the Preparatory Unit Program (6th-8th grades).  To avoid buying the duplicate manual, buy one “Unit Program” and one “Unit Notebook only,” which saves you $20.00.

1f. Why are some of the books denoted as R:2 (interpreted reading level, second grade) more challenging to my son than others with that same notation?

Determining the reading level of a book is not an exact science. We basically 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 and that children on any particular grade level vary greatly in their personal abilities.

1g. Why do you recommend waiting until 3rd grade for formal writing?  My child loves to write, but she is only in the second grade. Should I stop her?

In our Unit Programs 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 impression, which is not something we like to see.

We do introduce writing a little earlier than third grade in our Daily Lesson Plans, because the authors 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 that behavior. You should still evaluate the written work so your child does not develop bad happens that will have to be repaired 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.

 

  1. Intermediate Unit Program (Third through Fifth Grades)

2a. Does the Intermediate Unit Program (3-5) overlap with the Primary Unit Program (K-2) in any way?

There are some overlapping book listings. Books that you read to your second grader may be listed in the Intermediate booklets so that your 4th grader may 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.)

2b. There appears to be a large leap from 3-5 to 6-8 in the reading levels and book lengths. Why is that?

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 is essential that middle grade students have time to make that transition successfully. From our experience it appears that students adapt to such changes better in 6th grade than 7th or 8th. As well, by making the change in 6th grade, they have more time to adjust to the more challenging material and most 6th graders demonstrate the ability to do just that.

2c. If we do not use all of the books in 3-5, should we still move on to 6-8?

Probably. Most families do not use every single book in any given set of curriculum. They may bypass a book because of content, lack of interest, reading level or availability of the book. We do strongly recommend that the core books be read (they have the core book symbol & next their listings), but even that may not be possible if those books aren’t readily available. A majority of the books read 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-2) and Intermediate (3-5), science and history concepts are often repeated. However, the Preparatory (6-8) 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.

2d. If my child cannot read some of the chapter books independently by 5th grade, should we not move on to 6-8?

It is 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. Our recommendation would be to look at the Preparatory (6th-8th grades) sample and select a few 6th grade reading level books to use in evaluating 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 with your child using the 6th grade level books.

 

  1. Preparatory Unit Program (Sixth through Eighth Grades)

3a. Why are there so many experiment books on this grade level compared to others?

Because of the increased development of the middle schooler, the middle school years are an excellent time to learn about why things happen and also to develop an understanding of the scientific method. By doing experiments, students discover rather than just read about important scientific concepts.

As well, the hope is that older students will find science more enjoyable and easier to understand through experimentation. Most high school science programs require labs, so it makes sense to prepare your student for that environment, as well as providing him with experience writing up lab reports and understanding the process of laboratory science.

3b. Should we be choosing as many books per unit on this level? The books seem to be longer and I am concerned that we won’t have enough time to read as many books.

No. You are correct; the books are longer. You want to stay within your weekly guidelines (see the Teacher’s Manual for page guides this level) for each unit if you plan to finish in one year. This will probably require choosing fewer books per unit. However, you’ll note that there are not as many books listed 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.

3c. On what type of writing assignments should my middle school student be focused?

Again, the idea is to prepare your middle school student for high school. Longer reports (not quite research paper length) of 4-8 pages 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 (retelling of an event) are certainly appropriate with a length of 4-6 paragraphs. 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

3d. We used textbooks for writing and history in elementary school, but are switching to Train up a Child Unit Programs now for 6th grade. Will my child be well enough prepared to use your program?

That depends on your child. If you feel that your child has really understood and retained the information from the texts, he should have a basic foundation. He may not have the detailed ideas and examples that an elementary student would have using our curriculum, but he can pick up much of that if you work faithfully throughout middle school.

 

 

3e. Is there an overview of world history that you would recommend?

Yes – The Kingfisher History of the World contains enormous amounts of information for reference purposes. Note that it does have evolutionary material in the beginning, but overall the information is quite valuable. It not necessarily a daily reading resource, but is readable and provides an interesting overview text.  It also can be used to develop note-taking skills.

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.

3f. What grammar resource do you recommend on this grade level?

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 do not 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!

Dana has 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.

 

  1. Secondary Unit Program (Ninth through Twelfth Grades)

4a. Why aren’t there any science books listed on the high school level book lists?

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 not whole books designed to teach these courses in full at the high school level, although you might find some helpful supplements.

4b. Why don’t you have any reading levels for the high school book lists?

Actually, there are reading levels in the form of Most Challenging (MC), Challenging (C) and Less Challenging (LC) noted with each book.  These identifiers were used based on the length of the book and the difficulty of the vocabulary.

4c. What is the purpose of the list of people, places and events at the end of each unit?

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. It may be used to select a topic for a research paper or essay, create a timeline of events, research and write paragraphs or just 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 things that aren’t highlighted.

4f. Can my student get high school credit using this curricula? What courses can be acquired through your curriculum?

Most definitely! Throughout the Secondary Unit Program, 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. World History may be divided into I and II because of the extended time 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: 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.

4g. Can my child get credit for just reading books or does he have to do something with the information in order to receive credit?

While state laws vary on this topic, we strongly 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 make tests for each unit, but some parents like to do so. Essay tests are usually the best possible format for older students to express all that was learned from the reading, but with younger students particularly, narration often suffices.

 

High School Courses

(This section is under construction.)

 

Private/Cottage Schools

  1. How do you decide which of the Train up a Child Publishing book suggestions or curricula should be used in each grade level when utilizing this program in a private school?

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 contact us directly for more at dana@trainupachildpub.com.

  1. Do students need to have a copy of each book in order to use this curriculum?

No. Most schools could not afford for students to have a copy of every book and it’s unnecessary anyway. We do recommend specific books per grade level as classroom sets. As well, we suggest multiple copies of certain books for work in small groups and pairs. Finally, all other books would be utilized primarily by the teacher in presentation to the students.

  1. Is it really possible for teachers to replace reading, language arts, science and history textbooks with whole books in a classroom setting?

Not only is it possible, but it’s better! Students who use our Unit Programs 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 are often overlooked by textbook publishers. As well, students receive an education that is detailed and fascinating, often demonstrating more than one viewpoint, rather than having to only be led by the viewpoint of the textbook publisher. Finally, our methodology promotes classroom participation and more interaction between teachers and students.

  1. Obviously this would require teachers to instruct their students differently. How difficult is the transition?

The transition doesn’t have to be difficult. Using our curricula often allow teachers to actually do what they’ve been trained to do…teach! Teachers who are flexible and enthusiastic tend to operate better with our Unit Programs, while our Daily Lesson Plans are often more comfortable for teachers used to more traditional curriculum. As well, schools who are looking more at character training, Biblical influence and mastery of skills will find either type of curriculum truly beneficial.

  1. How do teachers handle students who are ill or take time off when there aren’t copies of every book for every child?

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.

Why do “public school at home” using textbook curricula, when you can use innovative programs that are based on the way children actually learn?

 
Learn more about our curricula’s subject integration and our unique history cycle and see our curriculum options.  Explore our blog and receive two free gifts for subscribing to our free homeschool helps.

Train up a Child Publishing offers literature-based homeschool curriculum from Kindergarten through High School, all written from a Christian worldview. From our unstructured, Charlotte Mason-style Unit Programs, to our structured Daily Lesson Plans and our popular High School Courses, we have you covered.

Uniquely engaging with assignments appealing to different learning styles, Train up a Child Publishing curriculum makes homeschooling fun and effective.