Discussion Forums - Homeschoolers' Corner Homeschoolers' Corner

Topic: How do you design your own curriculum based on state standards

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: How do you design your own curriculum based on state standards
Date Posted: 6/19/2009 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,838
Back To Top


I want to design my own curriculum based on the Florida State Standards. Is there anyone here that done anything like this before? Does anyone have any suggestions. I am going to homeschool my grandson in the fall. He will be a  2nd grader.  I already have a head start with reading books, some workbooks and others types of books that I know fit in with 2nd grade standards. I do not know which standards correlate with what I have.. But I have a beginning.  I need a solid curriculum. One suggestion that was given to me was that I should go to a place like Ace School Supply and look for 2nd grade text books which have the state standards. Some of them apparently have state standards listed with each assignment. Another was do the same thing with workbooks.

Any of your ideas or personal experiences would be much appreciated.





Last Edited on: 6/19/09 10:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/20/2009 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
Back To Top

May I ask why you want him to align with state standards?   I ask because many HS'ers HS for the explicit reason to stay away from them due to their low levels of ability and their narrow focus.


Subject: Homeschooling curriculum
Date Posted: 6/20/2009 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,838
Back To Top


Thank you for responding to my question.

I am interested in the state standards, not because I want to adhere to them. I want to make sure I know what the minimum standards are and go from there. I want to have my own choice of books and activities. I am going to homeschool my grandson. It will be our first year homeschooling. If, for some reason, we have to put him in public school, I don't want him to be left back, because I didn't cover the areas and the minimum state standards of what the state Department of Ed. expects.

I have seen other curriculums mentioned on the net. Do you think they would serve my purpose better?

Any opinions and ideas are very welcome.





Date Posted: 6/20/2009 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2007
Posts: 308
Back To Top

Though I'm not in FL, our library carries a hard copy of state education standards.  They can also be found at the Dept. of Education website.  You can also try googling "world book" or use resources like the "what your 2nd grader needs to know" series.

And aside from all that, I say relax and have fun.  Homeschool doesn't have to be "school at home".  Maybe check out some different curriculums?  Places like www.thehomeschoollibrary.com and www.welltrainedmind.com are good sites for curriculum reviews/ ideas.


Keep us posted!

Subject: Standards
Date Posted: 6/22/2009 7:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2008
Posts: 114
Back To Top

Check the Dept. of Education website for your state to find the guidlines you are  looking for.  I do not base my entire curriculum on what my state requires, but I do check them from time to time just to make sure I'm not overlooking somehting.  For example if there is a science topic that I don't think my child has studied, then I will search the library for books on the subject and do a mini-unit.

On a side note, my state standards call for 2nd graders to know how to use calculators.  That's one standard that I chose to ignore.  What sort of math is a 2nd grade child doing that would require a calculator?  Just one example of why many say that the state standards are inadequate.

I'd also like to mention that I have found great homeschool materials on this site.  You might try searching for "2nd grade" just to see what's available now or once you know a publisher you want to use you can search that way.

The What your (grade level) needs to know book published by the Core Knowledge Foundation is a nice reference as is Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp.  Also Kathryn Stout has several subject guides availabe which list grade level expectations.  They can be found at the "Design a Study" website.


Date Posted: 6/22/2009 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,838
Back To Top



Thank you for the links. I found the Florida State Standards at the DOE. In my second post, I mentioned I wanted to insure that my grandson was not at risk for being left back a grade, because his homeschooling was not in keeping with Florida State Standards. Florida DOE rules require that homeschooled children be tested once yearly. It can be done through the school system or privately. This does put some constraints on homeschooling, but I am ok with that. The type of method I want to use is ecclectic. This method give me the flexibility I need, plus it has a philosphy that is compatible with my grandson's learning style. I want to use montessori materials combined with unit study. The hard part is that the state standards on the internet are not very user friendly. They're presented more as a reference than a manual. I will go to the links you have given me. I'm sure they'll be useful.

Thanks for your help. I appreciate it very much.



Date Posted: 6/22/2009 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
Back To Top

Hi, Once you have the standards in hand it is not has hard as it might seem. The standards will list objectives like "math: liquid measurement, addition etc." If they are too vague though you may think to teach it all. For example perhaps for grade 2 fractions they only do basics of 1/2, 1/4 or something but don't do all the fraction work like adding fractions, simplifying, multiplying, common denominator, etc.  For history/social studies they might list "black history month, statue of liberty study, history of Native Americans (common Thanksgiving time unit study).

You mentioned using workbooks from teacher store. This might not be good enough because often those workbooks are for extra practice for children who need help at home not an entire math curriculum such as the school or a homeschooler is using. IMO you would be better off buying a normal math curriculum grade 2 level that is designed for home use. Those teach the parent/teacher how to teach the material since we are usually not educated in formal education of every subject (or any subject).  Another issue is the workbooks may focus on one thing, like subraction grade 2 when really in math they do subtraction, addition, estimation, fractions, etc., so you will wind up buying all different kinds of workbooks. The workbooks often are just problems for math and not teaching the material, I can't stress that enough.

In my first days of HSing I mistakenly thought a teacher store was the best place for materials. Better places are HS catalogs like Timberdoodle (see their website). Rainbow Resource Center is great but overwhelming especially for newbies, with its 4 inch, phone book like appearance and thousands of products for sale.

For the other subjects like science and history you can use regular children's books nonfiction even from library that teach on the topics. I have seen school textbooks and homeschool science textbooks made by schools (such as used for Calvert HS curriculum) and can say they are shallow and often one picture book on that topic from the library tells more data in a more interesting way.

A great book that a library may have or is sold for about $10 on Amazon (I doubt it is on PBS) is Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp. It gives general guidelines by grade from prek-grade 12 and tells what HS curriculum or books are good to use to match that. It may be a bit off from Florida if Florida has customized things for themselves. Some of the curriculum may not be the most brand new but old staples are in there and it provides enough info and encouragement to make using it worthwhile.

Once you see how fast and easy you can get through the requirements for school you will see all the left over time you have to study other topics that are not on FL list and do things in other and different ways, museum learning, all kinds of good stuff.

Also if you contact a FL HS support group I am sure others can help you out.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 6/25/2009 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 63
Back To Top

Hi there, Elona!

I have homeschooled my own daughter in Florida as well as teaching classes for other homeschool students. As a Florida certified teacher, I also provide yearly evaluations that are required. I just wanted to let you know that these evaluations do not put any real constraints on what you teach or how you teach it. At least in my county (Hillsborough), you are only required to show that he has made sufficient progress according to his ability for the year in--at the bare minimum--language arts and math. A test is not required--any certified teacher can evaluate his progress based on a portfolio of his work. (Just be sure to save his work throughout the year!)

Don't think I'm discouraging you from looking at the state standards to get ideas, but please don't feel constrained by them. It's bad enough that the unfortunate school teachers have to conform to them all! Don't put yourself (or your grandson) through that unnecessarily!

Like others have said, relax! Homeschooling can be an opportunity for creative and exciting learning. Have fun with it!

Subject: From Elona re homeschooling
Date Posted: 6/25/2009 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,838
Back To Top


Thanks for your advise.I just have to cross all my t's and dot all my i's, because my grandson has high functioning Austim. Sometimes the school system in Miami can get finicky. First Miami-Dade is an anti homeschooling county, by reputation. Second,it's such a big city,here, and there are so many transients an immigrants they tend to set up rules that infringe on basic homeschooling freedoms some other counties take for granted. I'm going to look into this further. It looks promising though. I hope all they are used to doing here is looking at portfolios and seeing improvement. From what I've read so far they want formal testing. Maybe I just read too much into it. But I know that in third grade Jiovanni will need to take the FCAT or an equivilent exam. This makes me wonder whether they will scrutinize my homeschool methods and expect grade level improvement. I am going to look into this further just to make sure.

Is it possible for you to describe to me what a portfolio review is like. Does the the teacher look over samples of writing, math computations, reading books, workbooks, projects, and tests given. What if you don't test the same way that the public school does?  How does a teacher evaluate reading progress?

Thank you so much for your help. Would you be interested in me keeping you posted for your own professional interest?



Subject: thoughts & advise
Date Posted: 6/26/2009 3:09 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 91
Back To Top

But I know that in third grade Jiovanni will need to take the FCAT or an equivilent exam.


  • WHY??  Respectfully I ask where did you get that information as it fortunately isn't how the homeschool law works in FL.


Is it possible for you to describe to me what a portfolio review is like.


  • My advise is to contact a certified teacher in your area who you'd like to do your portfolio evaluation as each teacher is different.  Moreover, one of the services that I offer my clients is curriculum consultations and help starting the homeschool journey...hopefully, yours will too.

because my grandson has high functioning Austim

  • also find an evaluator that is confortable working with special needs children who (I assume he does) already had an IEP in the school system as the law is much friendlier and flexible
  • Remember....don't try to recreate a classroom...if you wanted a classroom you probably wouldn't be homeschooling



FL certified teacher & homeschool Mom




Date Posted: 6/26/2009 3:13 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 91
Back To Top

I do have some books to recommend on FL standards just so you can reference and a few others, one on how to set up a portfolio.  PM me if you'd like



Subject: Homeschooling in Florida
Date Posted: 6/26/2009 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,838
Back To Top

Hi Stephanie,

You are absolutely right about it not being mandatory for Florida homeschoolers to take the FCAT:

It states on the Florida Home School page:

"In accordance with Florida Law Chapter 1002.41, Home Education Program, it is required by law that the parent/guardian provide an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the student’s demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with her or his ability.


and they are flexible about the methods of evaluation:


A parent may select one of the following methods to fulfill the evaluation requirement:

1. A teacher selected by the parent or guardian shall evaluate the student's educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the student. Such teacher shall hold a valid regular Florida certificate to teach academic subjects at the elementary or secondary level;

2. The student shall take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher;

3. The student shall take a state student assessment test used by the school district and administered by a certified teacher, at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district;

4. The student shall be evaluated by an individual holding a valid, active license pursuant to the provisions of s.490.003(7) or (8); or

5. The student shall be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the school superintendent of the district in which the student resides and the student's parent or guardian


I also found on the site information on how to obtain the MDCPS Competency Based Curriculum, as follows:

"The parent/guardian may use any curriculum he/she prefers.However, a copy of the Miami-Dade County Public School's Competency Based Curriculum (the curriculum, by grade level, taught in all the district's schools) may be secured by calling (305) 995-1469. Please note that if you are registered in the Florida Home Education Program, there will be no charge for this curriculum. To obtain a Florida School book Depository, Inc. textbook catalog and ordering information you may call (305) 995-2573".


I do intend to use this curriculum as a guideline. My whole purpose of homeschooling is to use an individualized and creative curriculum for my grandson. He especially needs me to be fleible and creative when addressing issues that involve Autism.

I am excited to find this information on this site. It, at least gives me some security that I am on the right track legally and academically.

I am going to look further for a certified teacher that is well versed in (hopefully Austism) ESE to help me design a fine curriculum.

This is going to be so gratifying. I can picture the whole thing in my mind.

I will PM you about your resources.


I want to thank you so very much for helping me. Your advise has been very valuable to me.

Looking forward to talking with you.