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What is a Scope and Sequence?

What math skills does a preschooler need to learn? What fine motor skills should your little one work on before you teach them how to write? What order do I teach letter sounds? What pre-reading skills should a 4-year-old be working on? These are the kind of questions that can be answered with a scope and sequence, but what’s a scope and sequence?

scope and sequence booklet  a book and a list

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What is a Scope and Sequence?

A scope and sequence is a list of topics, skills, concepts, and ideas that give you a guide for what to teach and the order to teach those things in.

scope – what you want to teach

sequence – the order to teach them in

A scope and sequence can be the backbone for helping you plan out your lessons so you can wisely choose the curriculum and resources you want to use.

When using a scope and sequence, for planning lessons, keep in mind they are just guidelines. Each one can vary greatly.

Don’t let these differences overwhelm you or make you feel pressured to cover everything from any one list. Instead, think of it as an educational smorgasbord, where you get to pick and choose, what’s best for your child.

What if I Miss Something?

One of the biggest concerns homeschoolers have when it comes to lesson planning is, “what if I miss something?”

Oh, Sweetheart, you are going to miss something – a lot of somethings. Even if you use a complete curriculum it’s just not possible to cover everything. As Debra Bell put it, “You are going to miss something. Further, it will probably be something REALLY IMPORTANT.” She goes on to say, “Instead of wasting one sleepless moment worrying about skipping something, all you have to do is teach your child HOW TO LEARN.”

A child who loves learning will want to learn new things on their own. My daughter for example devoured every William Shakespeare and Jules Verne book she could find during her middle school years. She also mastered the piano so well she was offered a couple jobs before even reaching high school ( one as an instructor for a piano studio!). She turned them both down and opened her own piano studio, which she ran out of our house during her high school years all the way up until she got married. The summer after she graduated she started reading Les Misérables just for fun! She is now married, has a daughter of her own, and has a productive photography business.

I am not sharing this to brag – although I am mighty proud of her – lol. I am sharing this because all these were some of “the somethings that I missed.” These were things that grow out of a love of learning which started during the early years of homeschooling as a preschooler. These things were not in my lesson plans. I don’t even know how to play the piano. And who in their right mind would assign reading Les Miserables!!??

My daughter is not an isolated example.

  • Her friends also have similar, love of learning stories. As a result of having a love of books, one of her friends, wanting to learn more, completed her 2-year degree during her high school years. So by 18, she had earned both her high school diploma as well as her associate’s degree.
  • This friend’s brother hated reading but loved math and science. As a result, his mom didn’t require him to do much reading of the classics that are usually assigned, especially during high school. How did that work out? After high school, he became a tutor at a community college and is now a chemistry professor at a major university… in spite of not having read piles of classics during his homeschool years! Which, incidentally he LOVES reading today!
  • Another one of her friends taught herself how to invest in the money market during her high school years ( something not in her lesson plans) She worked and invested her money and pretty much paid for her bachelor’s degree on her own which she completed in two years ( as opposed to 4 years).

I could go on.

The point is, as homeschool parents, foster a love of learning in your child. Teach according to their learning style and interests and then trust the Lord with the outcome. After all, isn’t He the one who made them that way?

When children are encouraged to enjoy learning, they can and will find a way to learn on their own, even if it’s “something missed” in their lesson plans.

Examples of Scope and Sequences for Preschoolers

There are a lot of free scope and sequence examples you can find online. I’ve saved you some work and compiled a few of them here that include scope and sequences for preschoolers. Most of these include a scope and sequence for every grade through high school, so earmark these pages and revisit it as your child gets older. Following these are a few checklists that would also serve the same purpose as a scope and sequence would.

Use these as a tool to help create a tailor-made scope and sequence for your child, and start your preschooler on their journey of a lifelong love of learning.

Free Scope and Sequence From a Christian Perspective

Other Notable Guides and Checklists

If you’d prefer a book version, I would recommend The Educated Child: A Parent’s Guide From Preschool Through Eighth Grade by William Bennett. The link here is to Amazon, but check your library, they may have it too ( that’s where I originally got mine.)

Be sure to check Preschool Activities for more teaching ideas.

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