The Checklist: a Homeschool Curriculum Guide



The Checklist by Cindy Downes is a homeschool assessment tool, a lesson-planning guide, and a K-12th grade recordkeeper, all in one!

Are your children spending too much time "filling in the blanks" or doing mindless busy work in order to finish the whole textbook by the end of the year? Would you like to save money in your homeschool by spending less on textbooks so you can spend more on "real" books, lab equipment, and those other extras you could never afford? Are you using a mix and match curriculum or other nontraditional teaching method and worry that your children might be missing something important? Would you like more time to spend on teaching your children the specific skills and character traits needed for them to fulfill God's call on their lives?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're a candidate for using The Checklist. By using The Checklist, in conjunction with your particular state laws, you will not only have a record showing that your children have covered what is necessary to fulfill requirements but, more importantly, they will have learned the skills needed to fulfill God's call on their lives. And you'll save money at the same time!

The Checklist is an ideal companion for homeschoolers who:

    • mix & match curriculums
    • use unit studies
    • use the Charlotte Mason method
    • are unschoolers
    • use the Montessori approach
    • are eclectic

The Checklist contains 184 pages and includes:

    • step-by-step directions

    • a checklist (scope and sequence) of topics that students study from K - 12th grade. Unlike other scope and sequences, The Checklist is not organized by grade level. Instead, the topics are listed sequentially or by subject matter so that you can teach the subjects you want, when you want. For example, the history topics are listed by time period from creation through modern times; the math topics are listed by skill development; and the science topics are listed within subtopics such as oceanography, astronomy and meteorology.

    • lists of major events, important people, important places, discoveries and accomplishments, and/or terms to know for each history topic.

    • lists of important people related to each topic along with their country of birth, date of birth and death, and a brief description of their contribution.

    • lists of explorers of the world, countries of the world, U.S. symbols, U.S. States and capitols with their abbreviations and the dates they entered the Union.

    • lists of well-known authors, artists, musicians, and missionaries

    • recommended books for primary and secondary students (both American and world literature)

    • lists of reading, math skills, writing skills, grammar skills, art skills, and MUCH MUCH MORE!

    • There is no need to purchase more than one copy. There is room on The Checklist to keep records for two or three children. Purchaser is granted permission to make copies of The Checklist for additional children, if needed. (This permission is restricted to purchaser's immediate family.)
The Checklist will help you:
    • identify your child's reading, writing, and math skills (assessment)

    • discover any “holes” in your child's learning (assessment)

    • plan what your child needs to cover each year (scheduling, lesson-planning, scope and sequence),

    • keep track of what your child has covered each year (recordkeeping),

    • prepare unit studies, if desired, by theme, timeline era, geographic location, or using biographies.

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View SAMPLE PAGES before purchasing.

PLEASE READ PAGES 12-20 on pdf sample below BEFORE ORDERING. This will give you an overview of my philosophy of education, how I created The Checklist, and how to use it. Also, read through Questions to Ask before Purchasing and Reviews. Refund Policy.

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The Checklist is $14.95 and is a PDF document. You must have Adobe Reader to open and read the document. Once you order, you will receive your pdf by email within 24 hours. If you do not receive your order within 24 hours, please check the email used by PayPal. Often, I receive orders through PayPal with an old email address! No refunds for electronic documents, so please read the sample pages first!

Questions: Contact Cindy Downes by email at

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not receive your order within 24 hours, please check the email used by PayPal.

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Reviews of The Checklist:

Too cool! Thank you! I am very eclectic and am designing a blend of Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, and Classical. I bought a product that works for setting up a year's agenda. I bought a spiral bound lesson planner that I'll fill in my agenda, and I bought another product for recording what I actually got done in the week (me while my dd is small and later she'll fill this in herself). But The Checklist is the cherry on top! Now I have one comprehensive record of what gets done through all our years of homeschooling! Yay!

Thank you for making this because it really is the piece de resistance for eclectic homeschoolers.

Cat Carter (Torrance, California)

Blog comment about The Checklist from Marcelino.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for all your work encouraging others, and myself, that are still homeschooling. I live in Illinois and enjoy reading your newsletters each month and I have gotten your Checklist and use it regularly with my two boys. We enjoy unit studies and your web site has been invaluable to us. You have provided me with a freedom to follow my children’s interests in schooling and a checklist to keep us on track. Once again THANK YOU.

Sharon Flachsbart (Champaign, Illinois)

I came across your website about a year ago, it is SO helpful and inspiring. I just recently downloaded your ebook of The Checklist. Its wonderful. I'm a homeschool mother to 6 Blessing and for years we have flip flopped around trying to find our direction in this homeschool journey. Thanks so much for the work you have done and the inspiration that you have given to many people. I recently shared your site with several of my homeschool friends and they are benefiting greatly from your advice as well. Your book, The Checklist is going to be a very helpful resource to my family.

Jennifer Grant (Texas)

I have struggled for YEARS changing curriculums around knowing it was my lot in life to alter each one in one way or another and trying to find a fit. Impossible. Ta da!!!!!!!!!!! The Checklist comes moseying along as a recommendation on our homeschooling support yahoo board and after a good perusal of your BRILLIANT idea to post not one page but one hundred pages, a purchase ensued.

Cindy, this is the ANSWER to what I have been going through all these years. I often joke that I like the no-curriculum curriculum but was always feeling uneasy about skipping around and "missing" something. Somehow I missed being exposed to any form of detailed scope and sequence. Seems like a no brainer to me.

Something to guide me without my having to teach with someone else's "stuff". WOOHOO! Thank you, thank you for all your hard work on this product and please know that you have eased yet one more homeschooling Mom's mind and heart!

Stephanie Clunn (Florid

I received The Checklist the other day, and I'm so pleased with it. I'm going to begin our homeschooling journey this year with our pre-school age daughter. The unit study approach appeals to me, but I felt like I would have to pull subjects out of thin air. This book is the most thorough way I've found to make sure we cover all the basics and so much more! I especially like the listing of people that we can tie in to certain events or subjects. It is truly amazing. Thank you.

Sandra Wilkins, (Meeker, Oklahoma)

I purchased your book "The Checklist" and find your information very, very helpful! Thank You!

Elizabeth Carnahan (California)

I LOVE The Checklist and will recommend it to others in my homeschool world here in Ohio.

Amy Zahniser (Columbus, Ohio)

I just began home schooling two weeks ago, but was a classroom teacher for 13 years. It's quite different doing things at home, due to not having any scope and sequence. I was thrilled to find your book! I admire the time and energy that you have put into your children and writing this book. Thank you!

Lisa Master (Oklahoma City, OK)

Review by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, click here.

I first heard about The Checklist through The Old Schoolhouse magazine (Summer 2006), and was eager to get a copy. So far, I've been able to browse through the first copy I ordered and have used it a little in planning my oldest son's schoolyear (he's currently in second grade). I loved it so much I just had to get an e-copy and another print copy to pass along to a friend! I can't wait to really use The Checklist; I haven't yet had a chance to utilize it as much as I would like because I've been super busy with my newborn (he arrived this summer! :) ). What a valuable tool you've given the homeschooling community. I plan on using it down the road for all of my children (my daughter who's turning 4 in October, my 2 yr old son, and of course my newest little guy!). I'll be telling my friends about it for sure, too! God bless you for sowing into the lives of homeschooling families!

Daisy B. (Pleasanton, California)

Thank you for creating The Checklist. I re-read the intro and pages preceding the actual list this evening and was deeply inspired and encouraged.... as well as challenged in my calling as a homeschool mother seeking to raise my children up for the Lord. Thank you for sharing the wisdom the Lord has imparted to you over the years with other homeschool moms that have the same goals and convictions. May the Lord bless all your dedication, research, and long hours of work!!

Sheri S. (Little Rock, Arkansas)

Review by Blogger "DandelionSeeds"


I am really enjoying The Checklist! Since I have 7 children and use a combination of methods in homeschooling them, I find it really helps pull it all together and be more organized in my approach. It really helps to keep priorities straight and to stay focused and to see what each child has covered, is covering and needs to cover in pursuing our Biblical studies/worldview and our academic responsibilities at the same time. Thanks for a great resource! I am so glad to have found it. Blessings,

Chris R. (Ohatchee, Alabama)

I ABSOLUTLEY LOVE The Checklist! We have home educated our children for nine years and I really needed to finally sit down and see if there were any "gaps" because we are in highschool now. I REALLY did not want to do it because there just was NOT a way to do it the way we educated. NOT ANY MORE!!! The book was worth EVERY penny I spent.

Diane Fristoe (Iron City, Tennessee)

What a wonderful resource this book is! It's almost my wish come true for a person like me that loves a checklist or a to-do list of what needs to be done. Around my home, the only way I get anything accomplished is with my handy journal book that I keep a near-daily record of what needs to be done. However, with my educational plans, there are days that I feel we have barely covered some of the topics, ideas and principles I had originally wanted to touch on through
the year! What can a parent do?

Cindy Downes has solved that problem! Her book, The Checklist is a wonderful resource, almost 200 pages of homeschooling To-Do lists for your children's education! She best describes the book on her website as: "It's a homeschool record keeper, a homeschool curriculum planning guide, and a K-12 Scope and Sequence created specifically for Christian Home Educators!

What a neat resource for those of us who don't use packaged curriculum and wander through the ecclectic world of home education! And I think it would work well for all sorts of disciplines as well as it helps you to organize your plans and education choices.

One warning! Even Cindy states... not everything in the Checklist is needed for a full education! It is a guide to help you refine your needs in home education that best suits your family! Check it out!
Sherri Chekal (
The Parent Teacher Newsletter

I purchased your "Checklist" book. WOW was it packed with helpful information! I am always concerned about learning "gaps" for my children...this was exactly what I have been looking for! In fact, I think I am thinking about purchasing one for each of my children as a record keeper. Thanks for a wonderful resource!

Teresa P (Canton, OHIO)

I am so impressed with The Checklist and the wealth of information you've included. What a resource!  I wish I had seen this 7 years ago...our transition into homeschooling would have been SO much easier.  I would have felt MUCH more comfortable and capable and the kids could have used it for a more independent, in depth, understanding of their subjects. Thank you! 

Ellen L. (Edmond, OK)

I received The Checklist and just want to say thank you so much for creating this checklist and making it available to other families. We are just starting out. Our children are 6 and 4. This is going to help me so much. We are using the living books style of homeschooling and the checklist fits so well with it. I belong to a couple of homeschool groups in Edmond, and I'll be sure to spread the word about your Checklist! Thanks again!

Jermaine (Edmond, OK)

I stumbled on your website when I was researching information on Ancient Rome for our Homeschool group's Ancient History Co Op. I found your unit study on this topic extremely useful!  While I was on your site I also looked into "The Checklist" and purchased it.  I was so impressed I took it to show some of the mom's in our group.  It sounds like a few might order it!  We are really impressed with how thorough it is and love that it is Biblically based.  I just want to thank you for all your hard work and making this available to homeschoolers.  I have been homeschooling my two girls for five years now (since kindergarten) using primarily unit studies for social studies, language arts, and science.  I'm looking forward to having such a useful resource at my fingertips!

Pamela H. Bayside Homeschool Network (Granite Bay, California)

Although I just ordered this (The Checklist) today, I have already received my ebook version and am printing it out as we speak. I am so excited to have this valuable tool to plan my years to come. I was beginning to get very nervous about my daughter who is nearly 13...I had no clear plan of what I should be covering, but knew I wanted to do unit studies with my children. I also love the advice you give in the front of the book concerning teaching different children at the same time. Of six children, I am currently homeschooling three. With them all being different types of learners, each with their own unique qualities, this book is a blessing to me. I can already feel that next year will be wonderful! Thank you so much for creating this wonderful resource for our children, and to help with the sanity of homeschool moms everywhere!

I have already passed the word to all my local homeschool friends via email about this book, and will be taking it to my next homeschool meeting to show it around. The names and dates are one of the features that drew me to this book. You saved me hours of research! I tend to be disorganized, and the kids get disorganized as a result. This will keep us on the straight and narrow.

Thanks again for a wonderful product. By the way, thought you might like to know, I found you through a website about unit studies..provided links to your free units. Those impress me as well, and we will definitely be using them.

Stephanie (Gonic, New Hampshire)

I just wanted to send a quick note of thanks. This wonderful "Checklist" is just the ticket I needed to get on the right track to proper homeschooling. I am so happy and can't thank you enough for all the time and effort you put into this project.

Jacqui (North Carolina)

“I have been homeschooling for ten years, and have tried many ways to keep track of what each child has studied in the various subjects. As we have gradually switched from a "textbook" approach to more of a Charlotte Mason/literature/unit study type approach, it has been increasingly difficult to determine what we have actually covered. So much occurs during literature discussions, or just driving around with the kids in the car as questions arise and opportunities are enjoyed.

For a little over 2 years, I have been using The Checklist by Cindy Downes. It has proven to be the tool I needed to provide freedom and accountability with very little time spent on record keeping. Cindy has taken the verse Luke 2:52 "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.", using it as the outline to account for everything we would ever need to teach our children, from preschool through adulthood. Cindy's checklist is so versatile, it will work with any teaching approach, whether you are using standard textbooks, the Principle Approach, Charlotte Mason, Sonlight, Robinson, unit studies of any kind, or even unschooling. She has comprehensive listings in all subjects, including concepts, events, inventions, people, and principles to be understood.

There are two columns to mark off - one for the elementary years, and one for the junior/senior high years (and beyond). I have copied the checklist pages from my master notebook and made individual books for each of my children. These have become their "lifetime learning" books. Several times each year, I sit down with each of the children and go through sections of the checklist, determining what they have or have not covered (and retained) during our studies. I have often been surprised at the things my children know....things I don't remember "teaching" them! Somehow, my youngest son has a very thorough grasp of world geography....and I never would have realized it without Cindy's checklist. This has saved me almost a semester's worth of pointless "busywork" I would have spent last year "teaching" Phillip something he already know! I was able to determine in only a few minutes what areas of science we still needed to cover for his 6th grade year, and was delighted to find that we can do the three remaining topics almost painlessly, with lots of time for "hands-on" experiments, rather than work through yet another textbook.

The Checklist has freed me to enjoy homeschooling. It has liberated me from the confines of the textbooks and others' expectations, and has allowed me to follow the interests and opportunities that arise in our family throughout the year, since I know that I can quickly note coverage of an idea without having to go through a stack of texts to find the "right chapter". I am truly grateful to Cindy for her wisdom and insight, and for the excellent tool she has created.”

Sue S. (Tulsa, OK)

More testimonials here.

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