Whether you are seeking a book to help supplement your homeschooling or to discuss in your parenting book club, E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and John Holdren’s classic, What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know, might just be what you are looking for. Don’t let the dated cover fool you if you don’t have an updated version.
This book is a very handy guide to use when ensuring that your children are learning all that most children are expected to learn by the time they graduate Kindergarten. You’ll likely find that your child knows a good portion of the objectives—if not all of them!—through your simple day-to-day living and adventures, from fables to nursery rhymes, adding and subtracting to facts about plants and animals. Still, it’s nice to have a handy guide for parents who worry about their children meeting milestones and knowing all they need to know. It’s also a comfort to parents who unschool and are just curious to see what their children “should” know by now; many find that their kids do know most of the material covered and realize they were worrying for nothing.
The book is pretty much a complete program for your annual learning; you can purchase or check out a new one each year as your child grows, following this one with What Your First Grader Needs to Know and so forth. It’s so much cheaper than a curriculum, too; you can purchase these books for mere cents on Amazon.com used. And most of these activities are things that we already know and can teach our kids (we are adults, after all)—but if you aren’t sure about something, the books also contain lots of information to help us teach children about each objective. In fact, the program is even used in some classrooms.
Of course, if you are just looking for the CORE Program to use as a basis of learning objectives, you can also find a free PDF file for each grade available for download here. The objectives are a bit updated, so if you have an older version of the books, you may find some added items, such as additional stories that were not included in the original editions. The PDF version also does not include actual text, so keep in mind that if you want that sort of support to lean on, or actual curriculum-type information, you’ll want to get the books instead.