STEP 4 - THE ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM OF EDUCATION FOR AGES 11-HIGH SCHOOL, AND FOR CONTINUING ADULT EDUCATION!
WHAT IS “STEP 4”?
STEP 4 is three-five years of secular, religion-friendly curriculum, designed for use by students ages 11-adult, who read well.
Step 4 contains studies in History, Science, Study & Life Skills, Creative Writing, Reading, Spelling, and electives such as Music Theory, Music History, Acting, Animation, Literature Guides, Current Events, and Civics. We do not provide Math. The focus of Step 4 studies is to develop critical thinking skills, vocabulary, literacy, self-sufficiency and self-expression, while thoroughly educating the student at a much higher than high School level, in each subject.
Additionally. Step 4 History, our most extensive study, covers many important areas of study for emerging adults, all in context with history. These include politics, religion, economics, geography, art and science. STEPS is designed to provide a complete education, well into college-level work.
DOES MY STUDENT NEED TO DO STEP 1, 2 OR 3 TO GET A STEPS EDUCATION?
No. Each Step covers the entirety of each subject offered, but as the student goes up through the Steps, the materials become more detailed, and challenging. Students start at the Step right for their age and literacy. They do not need to go back to an earlier level unless they find themselves truly struggling, and for a significant amount of time.
IS STEP 4 FOR HOMESCHOOLING? OR THE CLASSROOM?
Step 4 is independent study for homeschoolers, but it has been used with success in the classroom.
ARE STEPS 4 COURSES BOOKS? HOW DO I GET THEM?
STEPS courses come as PDFs, online downloads. When you purchase courses on our site, they are immediately sent to the email address you give us.
HOW DOES STEP 4 WORK?
Like all STEPS studies, Step 4 courses are broken into daily lesson plans. Each lesson plan is made up of small things to be done, in sequence. The student does each step in the lesson plan, in order. Sometimes, the course shows students art work, video, or photography – all found in sequence, in the lesson plan. And in every lesson plan, the student uses what has been taught and does things, there are always activities.
Over a period of three-five years, the duration of Step 4 studies, students develop improved reading and literacy skills. Each student moves at their own pace in developing literacy, as in all their studies. By the end of Step 4, a student should have developed excellent critical thinking skills, a huge vocabulary, a profound ability to communicate, and an exceptional grasp for this age of history, science and related subjects. Additionally, the student will be facile at self-motivated, unassisted study – a skill that will serve the student well as they step into life.
HOW WELL DOES STEP 4 “TEACH” THE SUBJECTS”?
Very. That’s what Step 4 is all about, a detailed education in every offered subject. Each subject starts with the most basic ideas in that subject – usually a definition of the subject itself. Info builds on info, and becomes increasingly detailed. But the unique approach taken in STEPS allows students to understand the most complex information the first time they’re exposed to it. Step 4 is the longest, most important of STEPS levels. It is the Step that prepares the student to triumph in life.
Step 4 History is taught on the “time line”, in the order history occurred, as was suggested by America’s greatest historian, Will Durant. It is global history, rather than history focused on one nation, again, as Mr. Durant did. There are nine Step 4 History Courses, intended to be completed in two-four years of study. These are followed by two final “History” courses which add up everything the student has learned, and applies his huge base of knowledge to a comprehensive understanding of human cultures and civilizations, and of the current world. These final two courses wrap up an in-depth study of history and all the related subjects, and result in a highly educated graduate.
Step 4 History studies start with “Pre-History”, which covers religious and scientific concepts (without bias) of how the universe, the world, and mankind came to be. This course is followed by a massive course on early civilizations, including Egypt, Mesopotamia, Sumer, the Hebrews, India and China, and leading up to the third course, Greece. The Greek course is massive, and delves into the founders of science, philosophy, and politics, as we practice them today. A huge course on Rome follows, 1,000 years of history focused on a single awesome civilization. Then, another 1,000 years in covered in the Dark Ages. History gets busy with our course covering “The Three R’s”, the Renaissance, Reformation, and Restoration. A MASSIVE American civics and history course, which we call “an owner’s manual” for American citizens, follows. Then the last few courses demonstrate the growth of Europe, focusing on France, Russia, The British Empire, and into the 20th century and the U.S. This is complete history, a real study of mankind, its politics, economics, religions, philosophies, geography, language, science and the arts. The student receives a clear sense of the cause-end-effect flow of history.
And most importantly, the history student is constantly required to evaluate for himself every event in history, to determine its value to the student. This demands of the student that he develops real Critical Thinking Skills, as well as making history studies relevant and timely.
Step 4 Science provides 4 years of study, in eight courses. It starts with Advanced Science Basics, defining the overall subject of science, a step very often skipped in other studies. What is Science, and why should we know about it? Covered. The tools of science are explored in the first course, including the concepts of measurement, categorization, and the Scientific Method. The student tests every idea, hands-on. These are each lab sciences, using commonly-found articles. The student is prepared for rigorous science studies with this first course. Then, specialized courses in each of the following: Geology, Oceanography, Meteorology & the Atmosphere, Chemistry, Biology, Physics & Astronomy. By the time the student completes these massive seven courses, he’s ready for our final, graduate level science course – Science Projects, where the student sums up all the knowledge acquired in their science studies, and then fully designs several specific science projects, using their understanding of many sciences. And every one of our eight science courses may be considered a lab science – easily fulfilling any State requirements!
Step 3-4 Creative Writing is a full 3-5 year program in writing. The student may start it while doing Step 3, or start in Step 4. Either way, the five courses thoroughly cover all the concepts a writer needs to understand in order to do professional work. The student is asked to write increasingly longer, complex works, based on new techniques and information, and on his own ideas, until he is creating lengthy works of well-written self-expression. The goal is the building of professional writers who know how to write, and who have something worthwhile to say. This was the first program authored in STEPS, and it was tested in a classroom with 50 Middle School-High School students, for two years, with great success. This program, like all of STEPS, was authored by an often-produced, Emmy and Dramalogue Award-winning writer, (who had over 20,000 hours teaching time, had taught in the U.S.C. Professional Writing Program for two years, and has spent over 30,000 hours authoring this curriculum.)
Step 4 Study & Life Skills Courses are the foundation of a working education. At this level, the Student does Information – Right Or Wrong, our best-selling course, and the first Study course for Step 3-4. This course helps the student understand and spot truth, lies, or opinions when encountered in studies, or in life. This can be followed by Advanced Information – Right or Wrong, a course we call You Or Them – Control Over Your Life. This course covers in detail how outside forces such as peer pressure, advertising, and social expectations can influence our behavior – and how this can be avoided.
This is followed in Step 4 by Advanced How To Do Research, which provides powerful, modern ideas and tools that will benefit all the student’s efforts and studies, adding significant understanding and tools to the Step 3 version, and deepening the student’s ability and grasp on research. There is also our best-selling Step 3-4 Manner’s Course, which helps the student define what good behavior is toward himself, and toward others. These can be life-defining courses that open the door to success in all the student’s areas of interest! For students doing all of STEPS, they are the required beginning of their education.
Step 4 Reading & Spelling Programs help accomplish one central objective of in STEPS curriculum– improved literacy. The Reading Program revolves around the student’s interests, and helps him select the reading he’ll do rather than enforce specific reading. Spelling is entirely worked around the student’s own work the previous week. Words he used but misspelled are placed on a list, and this is used to develop his work in spelling, the following week. In this way (with a bit more detail), the student is learning to spell words he wants to use.
Step 4 Electives include:
We offer a Basic Exercise P.E. course, which can be done one student at a time, as well as a great Baseball Course, if you have 6 or more students.
Step 3-4 offers 10 Current Events courses, which use a unique approach we call “guided research”. In each course, a modern global issue (such as current wars, global poverty and hunger, energy or environmental concerns…) is fully defined. Then, guided through the research, the student discovers what is happening with that issue today. This keeps each Current Events course current. Finally, the student decides on an appropriate course of action to remedy the problem, based on his own understanding. These courses include studies in Current Wars, Racism, Terrorism, Energy Issues, Environmental issues, Endangered Species, Emerging 3rd World Countries, Human Rights Abuses, Religious Intolerance, and Global Poverty & Hunger.
Step 3-4 All-Purpose Civics uses guided research again, allowing the student to do a full Civics study for any selected country, state or province, or city. We also offer step 3-4 courses focused on the American Constitution, and another on the American Bill Of Rights. And of course, there is the MASSIVE Step 4 History 7 course – American Civics, An Owner’s Manuel.
CREATIVE WRITING/HISTORY HOLIDAY ELECTIVES:
We selected many of your favorite holidays and built a course around each one! New Year’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, St. Patricks’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, even Your Birthday! Each of these courses starts with a full explanation of the history of that holiday or observance. The history section is fun, and often surprising. Then, the student is guided step-by-step through the authoring of two short stories for the holiday, acquiring more Creative Writing skills and understandings! For our Valentine’s Day course, we even added some guided assistance to write some poetry!
There are many art electives for Step 3-4, including:
- Animation (for students who already draw well and love to draw).
- Music Theory (which teaches the student to read music, play a keyboard, understand music, and finally compose his own music).
- Music History courses, comprehensive and thrilling in scope, every major composer’s life and work is covered, with hundreds of links to watch/listen to their masterpieces.
- Step 4 Acting uses two HUGE books, The Great Actor’s Handbook; and The Great Scene Study & Monologue Book, over 1,000 pages combined, and comprising a massive course in acting intended for two full years of study. The program is built for home or classroom study, and needs only two students to create a true acting experience where all the essentials are learned. Authored by the veteran of over 250 theatrical productions as an actor and director, our acting program is creative and unique.
- Literature Guides are provided for ten books, at the Step 4 level. These are fantastically thorough, creative studies of famed authors and books, detailing the period of history when the book was written (for context), the author’s life, the reception of the book itself, elements of literature defined and investigated, and of course, the book – always included in the materials. Lit guides for Step 4: Short Works by Edgar Allen Poe; Short Works by Mark Twain; Scary Stories by Washington Irving; H.G. Wells The Time Machine; Sherlock Holmes Stories by Conan Doyle; Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha; and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. For students looking for easier reading material, we do offer The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz; Andersen Fairy Tales; and The Story of Doctor Dolittle.
- Reading Programs. There are three. The “standard” Reading Program”, and Reading Programs specializing in Science Fiction, and in Fantasy. Great fun for readers discovering literature!
Yes! We even offer a simple Step 3-4 course that makes vacations more fun and educative!
CAN I PURCHASE INDIVIDUAL COURSES TO FILL NEEDS IN MY CHILD’S EDUCATION?
Yes. Each STEPS course is a free-standing, independent study.
CAN I PURCHASE A FULL SEMESTER OF STUDIES IN STEPS ALL AT ONCE, OR A YEAR'S WORTH OF A CERTAIN SUBJECT?
Yes, as “bundles” on our site. Bundles are the least expensive way to purchase STEPS courses.
HOW QUICKLY COULD I START USING STEPS 4?
Start now. You can start STEPS at any time of the year, 24/7/365. Everything you need is pretty much included in the courses you will download, for STEP 3. (Some courses require films or outside books, which are carefully explained, with links provided detailing where to find them.)
HOW MUCH DO I, THE TEACHER OR PARENT, NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EACH SUBJECT IN ORDER TO USE STEPS? HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO DO
You (teacher/tutor/parent) do not need any expertise in subjects your student is studying, using STEPS. Not as a teacher, or in the subjects being taught. You do not need a degree, or experience as a teacher. Each course does the “teaching”. Just follow the lesson plans, and keep your eyes open for fun opportunities related to whatever the student is studying. The course does the teaching.
HOW QUICKLY CAN I MOVE MY STUDENT UP STEPS?
A student can move up at any time he has the literacy skills and maturity for the next level. The student does not need to “complete” a lower level of curriculum to move up. The student just needs to be able to successfully do the next higher level of curriculum as far as difficulty and literacy. With STEPS, a student is never “behind” or “ahead” – each student moves at the pace they’re comfortable with, every step in every lesson plan, every course, every level.
SUCCESS STORIES ABOUT STEP 4 STUDIES!
I'm homeschooling two boys, ages 14, 18. This is our second year of homeschool and I'm very happy with the Steps curriculum.
Steps encourages both boys to take hold of their education and really make it their own. The last curriculum we tried was written in a very boring way and even though it ultimately would've been less work to get their diplomas with it, both boys felt they liked Steps better. I'm happy that they care enough about what they're doing to pick the curriculum that's more of a challenge. That's a big step for them. I learn a little bit more every day and I'm excited to mark the changes in my kids' attitudes toward their education. M.M., Homeschool Mom
I have been going to private schools all my life. About one year ago, before summer, I was four grades behind. I knew I wasn't a moron. I just needed something that I wasn't getting--a real education. I was told I could catch up if I really tried. I knew this to be true, but I had no intention to do so because I felt that I wasn't learning anything. I had felt this was for about three years, yet I continued school because I "had to". I wanted an education, sure, but I wasn't getting one. So I stopped going to school the last couple of weeks, and I felt completely apathetic about education. My future looked scarce, for any potential success.
During the summer I was hanging out with the wrong people. I felt these were the only people whom I could have any reality with.
For a long time my parents had been telling me that if I go to school and study hard, I'd have a chance for a successful future. My parents couldn't have been more right but what they didn't get is that I wanted an education and I did try, but I was set up to fail. My parents thought I wasn't trying. It's true I wasn't, but that's because I wasn't learning anything!
Summer ended and the new school year started. I knew I needed an education, but I figured I'd just do my G.E.D. and work for my dad. I felt that this life time, I wasn't going to get a real education.
One day, my mom told me that there was a curriculum that was amazing, and that it was a real answer to an education. She said I had to do it. I thought Ok, this is the last time I'm going to make any attempt for an education. If I don't like this curriculum, I give up.
My dad and I went to check it out, and I thought it looked relatively simple. I didn't really care whether or not I did it. I just wanted my parents off my back.
After a couple of weeks I thought it was OK. But the more I did it, the more it made me want to study, and the more I felt I had a future, a good one. One thing I realized is that the more esoteric you make a subject, the more you find students unwilling to study it. And that's just the opposite of the Steps Curriculum. It's easy, and you learn a lot. So subjects don't have to be complex for people to understand them.
I was actually winning in school. Wow! The last time I remember doing that was the 1st grade!
I was now confident in myself and I felt I could do anything if I really wanted to. When I would hang out with my old friends I could barely find any reality. I think that knowing what I now know helped save my life.
I am now on the Pre-History Course, and I love it. I have never been so enthusiastic about learning! I think if anybody wants a real education, they should do this curriculum. R.Y., 15 year-old student
It's really amazing to teach this curriculum to students and watch them go from sheer boredom with the whole idea of school, to a very strong interest in learning in a short period of time. I've also seen new students become much more outgoing from having both a safe environment to learn in and subjects that are not only very interesting, but easily learned and applied." M.H., first teacher in a model STEPS school
I love STEPS courses + the kids love the courses = happy home educating family. S.M., Homeschool Mom
I wanted to start by telling you how much we are enjoying you curriculum! I have 4 children 3 of school age and I have homeschooled from the beginning. I recently started my oldest on your upper school course and they are such a perfect fit. Not only are they a great fit educationally for him but it is so wonderful to see our family values regarding education reflected in the materials (so much so that the other day he asked me if I really wrote it). Thank you for all the work you have done putting these top notch courses together! L.V.N., Homeschool Mom
STEPS has really changed homeschooling for me from something that I did because it fit our needs to something that I do because I enjoy it. I have learned a great deal along with my children, and the STEPS subjects (particularly history and science) are what we look forward to most. I always recommend STEPS as a fantastic option to consider, particularly now that this school year is wrapping up and many people are getting ready for next year. M.M., Homeschool Mom
WE were looking for a new homeschool curriculum for our 2 daughters. We are secular homeschoolers, it's sometimes hard to find nonreligious choices. I had used STEPS courses for electives and our girls enjoyed them. I researched the STEPS complete curriculum and was interested in giving it a try. This was the recommended course to take prior to purchasing the complete curriculum. My girls completed the course and they really enjoyed it. My girls are "outside the box" thinkers and this was excellent for them. STEPS teaches students to think for themselves. It isn't like most curricula, memorize, regurgitate, forget and move on. They actually LEARN with this curriculum and they like it!!!! I can't recommend STEPS enough! We have gone through so many curricula and this is the first one my girls have learned from AND LIKED! It is so much easier homeschooling when your kids LIKE school! I wish I would've found this 6 years ago! As the saying goes....better late than NEVER! B.B, Homeschool Mom
I chose STEPS after attempting several other programs. The approach fits my philosophy for learning, it has been so helpful having the STEPS tutor training...it made assisting my students a lot less stressful!!!! I'm looking forward to the school year! S.S., Homeschool Mom
STEPS is by far the best curriculum we have ever tried. I've been homeschooling for almost 8 years, and this last year with STEPS has been smoother than any before. We are going to stick with it for the duration, and I talk it up with anyone who will listen. I love teaching my kids to think for themselves!!! A.L.J., Homeschool Mom
Step 4 - The answer to the problem of education for ages 11-adult!