20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

9th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Update

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

Yesterday I shared a bit about how our 11th grader is doing mid-year and today I’d love to share a little about our 9th grader, McKenna is faring. 

In short – fabulous

This has been a year of her discovering new passions and jumping in with both feet. There are still struggles to find the right fun:work ratio (fun is always more tempting, isn’t it?), but McKenna has been doing great finding her own groove. Granted, it isn’t always the way I might have her do it, but for me that’s also a part of this whole high school journey – guiding her, but giving her the freedom to make her own decisions (and helping redirect her when needed). 

9th Grade Homeschool Update

McKenna has 7.5 credits on her plate for this year. Several of the classes are using programs we have used in past years (history, math, literature, and Latin), and a few of them are new to her (or us) this year. We did make a change in one program around the end of October (biology), which I’ll share more about below.  

History – Notgrass has a great format that we really enjoy. Each lesson is broken up over the course of five days and has a weekly quiz and project. We are only using the history portion of the program (it includes a literature and Bible portion as well, but we have opted not to use either of those). 

Science – This is an area where we’ve made a big switch this fall. We are working on this class with another family and together decided to change programs. We started out with Biology from Science Shepherd, a program we used with our oldest a few years ago. When Laurianna worked through it, one of our other friends taught both her daughter and Laurianna. 

While the program wasn’t quite what we expected, when we pulled it out this year to go through with two new girls, both were struggling to fully comprehend some of the concepts – and truthfully, the moms were having a hard time too. Some of the answers were hidden in subtext and odd places and trying to wade through was rather difficult. We did love the labs we were working on and worked through nine chapters before making our switch.

We found a new program, The Riot and the Dance, which we really liked the layout of and found it explained things in a way our girls both understood much more clearly. The book is full of hand-drawn illustrations and analogies that give you an “aha” moment – something we love. 

Our plan with this is to merge some of the labs from the new program with the ones we had initially planned on doing with our other biology program (I may like the mashup we’ve put together). One other thing that we like about this program as well is there are weekly quizzes at the end of each chapter, tests after every three chapters, and then unit tests so the girls are constantly reviewing the information they are learning. 

(So far our only complaint is there isn’t an answer key for the chapter questions at the end of each lesson.)

Drama – This has BY FAR been one of the best things we decided to do with McKenna. She loves singing and truly has an amazing and unique voice (yes, I know we are biased parents, but she does) and stepped out of her comfort zone and auditioned for a role in Les Miserables. 

Acting is something she has decided she would like to continue pursuing in the upcoming years. Auditioning was a challenge for her since she had never done anything like it before, but when she was placed in a part (not the part she had hoped for), she fully embraced it and ran with it. 

Over the course of the class she made some great new friends, and as parents we learned the ins and outs of working behind the scenes. Rick helped out by running sound for the production (something he loves). This past month, Rick has also been looking at various recording programs for the kids to use as they record some music together. 

Literature/Writing – One of the books we read this year, The Count of Monte Cristo, about kicked McKenna’s bum. Weighing in at 1200 pages, it was about the death of her. This is one of the classes we are working on with a few other kids and so far they have read through four different books: Robinson CrusoeWalden, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Heart of Darkness. 

During the spring semester we will read through four more books. Each of the book units takes us four weeks to work through and the kids work through a cycle of three papers: an author profile, an approach paper, and an essay. One of the weeks the kids work on peer reviews of each others papers and then take an extra week to make adjustments to their paper. 

Latin –  Visual Latin is one of McKenna’s “no problem” classes. She is in her second year of the program and loves the teacher. 

Personal Finance – I love seeing a subject carry over into real life. McKenna has been fully embracing the principles being taught in Foundations in Personal Finance. One of the first things we covered was putting aside the $500 emergency fund which she recently completed. 

Her next goal is saving for a car, even though she still has a bit of time until she will have her license (she has a little over a year until that can happen), but it’s great seeing her set goals for herself and treat her money with responsibility and planning. 

Currently we are talking about not incurring debt when attending college, and as she follows along with her older sister’s journey, it’s a great hands-on look at how there are other options available when working toward a degree. It’s also given her some time to sit and consider what she would like to do after college (still deciding on that). 

Math – Geometry is the subject of the year for McKenna. Math really isn’t her favorite subject – ever – but many days you can find Kaleb sitting along side her with her explaining things to him. It’s rather sweet. 

Swim – Over the course of this fall McKenna hasn’t been able to participate in as many meets as she would have like because of the weekly drama classes. The next few weeks have us in a bit of a lull, but things will pick back up after the start of the year.


That’s about it for our 9th grader up to this point. You can read our 11th grade mid-year update here. I’ll be sharing how our 7th and 5th grader are doing as well soon. 

How is your year going so far? 

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

10 great tips for people who are teaching a struggling learner


Would you rather SUBSCRIBE BY RSS?

Leave a Comment



Send this to a friend