So what’s a S&S? It’s simply a list of what’s learned in each grade. Using a S&S is not necessary if you homeschool, but they simplified my life in a number of ways.
First, they took the guessing out of the game. What math does the typical 1st grader learn? When is division usually introduced? Am I pushing a topic too soon? Did I miss something, leave something out? An S&S will quickly let you see what’s typically taught and when. The easiest ones to use are just lists for each subject for each grade.
Second, they are reassuring. I would flip through my at the beginning of a school year (oh yeah, we haven’t tried that yet), part way through the school year (when I started worrying we weren’t “covering” enough), and at the end of the school year (wow, look what all we got done!). Under most circumstances, you are always doing “enough.” Glancing through your S&S and checking off what you know your kiddo knows shows you that.
Here are my favorites with comments following:
- Teaching Children by Diane Lopez
- What Your Nth Grader Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch
- Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp
Lopez’ chapters on educational philosophy are not for me. But her book is the clearest and easiest to use. It has a list for each subject for each grade. I’d literally go down the margins and just check off what we were done with.
Hirsch’s books are not technically S&S but can be used that way. We read them aloud and checked them off in the table of contents. We never finished one in a year but who cares? We’d just roll the remainder over to the next year.
Rupp’s book has the lists and a wealth of resources and ideas. But it can be overwhelming. You have to approach it with the attitude that no one could do all she suggests. So you take what she lists as just that–only suggestions.
A final word on S&S: it’s a tool and nothing but a tool. (Say it again and again.) Your child does not have to do anything on any particular timetable. If the S&S has learning to carry in addition listed in the second grade and you try it with your child and it just isn’t working, put it aside. It’ll still be listed there later when you come back to it. When it’s mastered, you can check it off. In the meantime, don’t sweat it.