Hillsdale College's K-12 Curriculum

Hillsdale College’s K-12 curriculum is content-rich, balanced, and strong, and with emphasis upon the four core disciplines of math, science, literature, and history, with attention to music, art, physical education, and foreign languages. 

Hillsdale College has written and published multiple curriculum products. These include a complete collection of lesson plans for teaching American history, civics, and government K-12, Literacy Essentials: The Journey from Spelling to Reading, and the K-12 Program Guide

Hillsdale College provides the K-12 Program Guide to Member and Curriculum Schools. This is a comprehensive curriculum guide for schools detailing what should be taught in each subject and grade through a student’s entire K-12 journey. This 600+ page curriculum guide is the basis from which all Hillsdale-affiliated schools plan their instruction. It provides the foundation for curriculum choices at Hillsdale-affiliated schools, including resource recommendations for primary and secondary materials like novels, poems, speeches, and textbooks.

The K-12 Program Guide at a Glance

Built over decades, the Hillsdale College K-12 Education curriculum is content-rich, balanced, and strong across the core disciplines, with instruction in Latin, fine arts, modern foreign languages, and physical education. Focused on the skills that all students must develop, and the rich knowledge in the humanities and sciences that must accompany the teaching of skills, the curriculum provides students and teachers with a tried and true course of study for the K-12 years. 

The cornerstone of this curriculum is the K-12 Program Guide, a comprehensive resource that includes all of the topics a student ought to study across the disciplines, and the order in which to study them. This complete scope and sequence covers a student's kindergarten through 12th grade journey. 

Hillsdale’s K-12 curriculum forms a complete whole, one that helps to ensure that a student’s learning is integrated between subjects and across grade levels. Within a grade, for example, history lessons connect with art, music, and literature, and science lessons connect with mathematics, history, and music. In all subjects, the foundation built in the younger grades enables deeper study as students mature. 

  • For students and families, the K-12 Program Guide is a carefully built course of study in the liberal arts and sciences, one that, with careful study and excellent teaching, leads to knowledge of human nature and the natural world.
  • For teachers and school leaders, the K-12 Program Guide gives shape and form to a school’s curriculum, uniting the faculty with a clear plan and common purpose.

To see the connections within and across grade levels and subjects, click on the curriculum overview below. 

What’s Included?

  • Essays on how to teach each subject 
  • Dates to remember
  • Poetry to memorize 
  • Pacing guides 
  • Teaching tips
  • A complete list of topics for every subject and grade, K-12  
  • Resources for students and teachers that accompany every topic 
  • Cross-curricular connections between literature, history, science, art, and music 
  • A clear and consistent plan for building language skills, from the letter “A” to high school logic, rhetoric, and philosophy 
  • A plan for the senior thesis, the capstone project for a classical education 

Click a grade level or subject area below to learn more about how our curriculum is both vertically and horizontally integrated. Selecting a grade level will show an overview of the selected grade, or for high school, an overview of recommended course selections. Selecting a subject will reveal a deeper dive into what a student will learn as they advance through their K-12 journey. 


Books in Our Curriculum

Hillsdale's curriculum provides a well-rounded course of study in the liberal arts and sciences. Some of the surest guides are the great works of literature, philosophy, politics, and art, which teach us about human nature and the human good, along with the serious study of mathematics and the sciences, which teach us about the natural order. The books in our curriculum are carefully selected to achieve these goals. Click below to see a sample of books recommended in the K-12 Program Guide, including books that students read and some that we recommend as enrichment for teachers.


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Using the K-12 Program Guide

Hillsdale College is pleased to license the K-12 Program Guide to schools who share the College’s objective of leading students towards intellectual, moral, and civic virtue in a traditional education setting. Like all of Hillsdale College’s work in K-12 education, curriculum licenses are granted free of charge. License holders are designated as a Hillsdale College Member School or a Hillsdale College Curriculum School, further explanation of these designations and a map of affiliated schools are available here. While the K-12 Program Guide is available at no cost, it contains book and curricular recommendations which schools will have to purchase. For more information or to apply for a curriculum license, please email [email protected]

Request a Curriculum Sample

The K-12 Program Guide is available to Hillsdale’s affiliated schools. Fill out the form to request a free sample.