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Elementary school - learn skills and gain confidence for more specialized subjects to come.

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The elementary years are traditionally when children received the real “building blocks” of knowledge—instruction in reading, handwriting, and arithmetic (commonly known as the “3Rs”).

Age 6 or 7 is still when most children are developmentally ready to tackle these tasks.

This doesn’t mean sitting glumly at a desk for hours each day, though!

The actual “work” of homeschool should take no more than an hour or two for a first grader. Gradually this increases. A fourth-grader is usually able to work independently for most assignments and activities, and spend several hours a day at academics.

“Independently” doesn’t necessarily mean “all by themselves,” though. Children of a more social disposition need more oversight and interaction, as do children who for whatever reason learn more slowly.

Once the 3Rs are done for the day (and we do recommend tackling them first), there are so many fun ways to tackle the other subjects. Keep subscribing to Practical Homeschooling for the latest great ideas!


22 Top Tips for the Elementary Years Practical Homeschooling staff shares 22 tips for teaching elementary school children.

Teach Your Children to Work Nothing will make your homeschool run more smoothly than having your children learn to cooperate & help. Teaching your kids to do chores helps Mom and builds good character. Suggestions for how to get it organized.

Yes, Kids Can! Kids can do more to help around the house than most people think.

Top Ten Ways to Establish Lasting Relationships with Your Children Homeschool pioneer Chris Klicka’s top tips. Christian viewpoint.


First Grade on a Shoestring Inexpensive doesn’t have to mean your child misses out on educationally rich experiences!

Hands-On Second Grade on a Shoestring More ways to substitute/supplement activities for workbook pages.

Exploring Interests in the Real World: Third Grade Tips Third grade on a shoestring.


Top 10 Bible Tips Top ten tips for teaching Bible in your homeschool. Christian viewpoint.


Easy Start to Language Arts How to increase the size of your child’s vocabulary, starting from the earliest years

Print Awareness: A First Step Towards Reading

Learning the Code Phonics is all about learning the “code.”

Teaching the Alphabet The first step in reading is to learn the names of the letters. Learn how to teach this foundational skill.

Teaching the Alphabet Sounds So many sounds, so few letters. Sam's the man with a plan for making sense of it all.

Teaching Blends Teaching your little one to read the traditional intensive phonics way—meet the blends and digraphs.

Teaching Long Vowels Teaching your little one to read the traditional intensive phonics way—learning the long vowels.

Important Concepts in Early Reading

Phonemic Awareness: A Major Factor in Reading Phonemic awareness: the second step toward reading.

How to Tell Real from Phony Phonics? How to tell whether a program will really teach your child to read, or just pretend to.

Succeed with Phonics the Easy Way! Mary Pecci outlines a no-fail strategy for teaching your child to read.

Free Your Child from the “Sight Word” Trap Mary Pecci has a nifty strategy for helping a beginner read non-phonetic words.

Phonics the Montessori Way Secrets of readiness, timing, and teaching letters with stories.

Phonics the Montessori Way, Part 2 More on teaching reading with phonics the Montessori way, this time with blending!


Reading Corner: Learning to Speak What speaking skills can we expect from our children and at what age?

Spelling Fluency: Pre-Drills for Teaching Spelling A roadmap to speedy, accurate spelling.

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1 Language arts the Montessori way.

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 2


Handwriting Showdown Check out these different handwriting styles and see which one works best for your homeschooled child.

The Benefits of Cursive Writing The case for skipping manuscript handwriting and teaching cursive from the start.

Teaching Fluent Handwriting Skills Help for developing fluent handwriting.

Teaching Fluent Handwriting Skills, Part 2 More help for developing fluent handwriting.


Getting Started in Arithmetic Mr. Blumenfeld kicks off a new column on how to tutor, by tracing the history of arithmetic.

Teaching Arithmetic Find out what counts about how to teach arithmetic.

Elementary Math Part 1 Bob Hazen explains how to have fun and success teaching math.

Elementary Math Part 2 How skip-count songs can make all of elementary math much easier.

Elementary Math Part 3 Rectangle magic and more!

Math Games in the Curriculum Math games can make learning fun.

Math Games, Part 2 Would you rather play games or do flashcard drills?

Montessori Math Math the Montessori way.


Introduction to Twaddle-Free History The Shearers describe their method for teaching twaddle-free history.

Put the Story Back into History Rob and Cyndy Shearer tell how to make history exciting.


Another Way to A-B-C Teaching the military alphabet for better communication.

Teaching Abbreviations Using Flashcards Using flashcards to memorize commonly-used abbreviations.

Testing Tips For Little Ones What do your little ones know?


A Taste of the Old Days Just for fun—Sam Blumenfeld gives us a little taste of what elementary school was like 80 years ago, when he was a young child.

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