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9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 7.5

 

While the bulk of our classes for 9th grade are the same ones Laurianna took a few years ago, we have changed up the order a little for McKenna and are using a few different things with her. McKenna really took ownership of her classwork last year and earned 5.5 credits toward her high school diploma (8th grade). This year she will be earning an additional 7.5, possibly 8 depending on her class decision in the spring semester. 

We are switching the order of math for her (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2) where we did it a little differently for Laurianna (Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry), partly based on feedback from Laurianna on how they tied in with her other classes (chemistry, etc..). 

Also, McKenna is really excited to be taking a theatre class at our local community college. Each week she is participating in workshops, vocal training, and at the end of the semester the group will be performing Les Miserables (cannot wait!). Because this is an intense class with a lot of in-class and out of class hours, she will earn 1/2 credit for it. If she decides to participate in the spring semester class as well, we will bump it up to a full credit. 

The Joys of Independent Learning

Last year we did have a few issues with McKenna putting aside subjects she was “less enthusiastic” about, creating a bit of a back log in some areas (and then some added stress on her part). This year we are going to have to be on top of her a little more to make sure she is staying on target and we will be putting markers in her Student Planner so she can be sure she is where she needs to be in each subject at various points of the year (i.e. if there are 32 lessons in Latin, she should be at lesson ___ by Christmas break).  She and I may have butt heads a bit about this throughout the year. :) 

Hint: my idea of how things should be scheduled may be a little different than hers, and since this is a life skill, we think it’s important to master this now.

Co-op Learning

We have a small group of high schoolers that will be meeting weekly to work on literature and personal finance. McKenna will also be getting together with one friend to do the lab part of biology (because any dissection is better with a friend, right?). 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with McKenna the past few years:

Does High School Have You Scared?

If homeschooling high school is worrying you, don’t miss the free middle and high school planning printables and map out your middle and high school years!

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017

 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

 

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Many of Zachary’s 7th grade subjects will be worked on independently, but history and read-alouds are areas he and Kaleb will be joining up together. We are cycling through history and will be starting up this year with world history. 

Zachary definitely needs a little (or a lot) of direction throughout the day. He never stops moving. Or talking. (grins) This year we will be focusing on responsibility, serving others, and following through on projects (even though we might not always enjoy what we’re doing). This will be the first year Zachary will use a full Student Planner, but he is actually looking forward to it (and I know I’ll have to keep up with him to write things down too). 

7th Grade Curriculum Choices

One subject I think Zachary will really enjoy this year is the Word Up Vocabulary program from Compass Classroom. McKenna absolutely loved it when she used it a few years ago (both funny and engaging), so I think it will be a great fit. 

Co-op Learning



We are still in the midst of co-op planning for the upcoming year. At the moment we have plans for Zachary to help out with the 4th and 5th grade boys on STEM projects, but we may see if there is something else we can work in for him. 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Zachary the past few years:

Planning Middle School

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

These free middle and high school planning printables have been such a huge help to us as we started mapping out Zachary’s middle and high school years. As much as I don’t want to think about the fact that he is growing up, it has helped me look at the bigger picture and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall.

 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

 

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming days and weeks on what our other kids are studying this year, so stay tuned for those posts. 

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017

 

What subjects are you excited to work on this year with your kids?

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017

Even though we’ve been homeschooling now for almost 12 years, each year our curriculum changes based on the child and something new that may have caught our eye. This 5th grade year for Kaleb will be one where we continue to focus on his independent reading and comprehension as well as handwriting and spelling. Typically in the fifth grade year we add in another independent subject (or two) and walk toward fostering as much independence as we can.

Kaleb is one who enjoys worksheets and things that are cut/dry in what needs to be done. He is our science and math boy. Reading and writing aren’t necessarily his favorite things to do, unless it’s on his terms (more on that below). I’ve tried to cater to those likes and dislikes to push him a bit and yet make it easier for him to grow in the areas he struggles and that can be a difficult balance at times. 

Below you’ll get a peek at our 5th grade homeschool curriculum choices – a look at the new (and favorite) programs we are using for the upcoming school year.

*feed readers, please click over to the blog for some of the additional links to curriculum

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices


 

As I mentioned earlier, Kaleb really enjoys the subjects that are do “this” and you are done. He struggles with his handwriting and keeping his letters smaller, so we are including several things that will help along those lines this year (Print Power Plus). While he hates writing overall (I typically let him dictate his stories to me and write them out), he loves copywork. Go figure.

That’s one reason you’ll notice several workbooks focused more on that aspect (Spelling You See D and Soaring with Spelling). All About Spelling Levels 3 & 4 will be our primary spelling curriculum, and the other two programs are more for handwriting and extra practice. :) 

Kaleb has also loved Nancy Larson Science in years past, and he is looking forward to using that again this year. Last year we held off on the Level 4 program because his reading needed a little more targeting, but one thing I love about this program is the focus on reading aloud (and following along) as well as learning study skills (see more on why we love Nancy Larson science here). He is also very much into learning how things work, so Little Bits and EEME projects are going to be a ‘bonus time’ at the end of each day for him for some STEM work.

Overall, we are SO excited for his year to start and see how he grows this year!

Co-op Learning


The fact that Kaleb is technically in middle school is about to make me cry. Our co-op class has a group of all boys in this age group, so Kaleb will be working on two classes with them twice a month. We are tweaking the classes we will do with the boys, but they will likely be science-based and we are hoping to do one with a little more cooking/science fun. Explosions and anything that involves eating is typically a huge hit with the boys!

I’ve listed some of the books we’ll be using to go along with our studies above (feed readers can see them by clicking over to the blog post). 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Kaleb the past few years:

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

 

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming days and weeks on what our other kids are studying this year, so stay tuned for those posts. 

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017

 

 

What subjects are you excited to work on this year with your kids?

10th Grade Year in Review – Curriculum Choices

To say the least, Laurianna’s 10th grade year has been short from boring. The words to more accurately describe it would be exhausting, emotional, challenging, and growing among a slew of other words. The highlight has been starting to drive and subject-wise her favorite was history. 

The year started out fairly normal, but as Laurianna’s health went completely out of whack and the doctor’s visits started, we were scrambling to adjust her daily schedule to accommodate her exhaustion and inability to focus during the day. It didn’t matter how much sleep she had or didn’t have, one day she would be great and another completely opposite. What started with a tick bit has turned into a variety of other issues as well that no one can quite figure out at this point. She put subjects aside for a time in order to focus more attention on a few key ones: history, literature, and science, and still has a two subjects to finish 100%. 

As of the end of her 10th grade year, Laurianna has earned a total of 20.5 credits toward her high school diploma. While we did bulk up her course load the first few years (and she still has two years left of school), I’m honestly thankful we did based on her health. In the upcoming two years we are focusing more on dual credit classes and upcoming college visits and entrance exams – yikes! I cannot believe we are already at this point! She attended our annual homeschool convention with me this year to check out the college fair and sit in on some SAT and scholarship sessions – HOW IS SHE THIS OLD??

Our 10th Grade Year Plan

Credits earned: 7

US History with Notgrass

Last year we made the switch to Notgrass in history and we have LOVED it. We don’t use all the components of the program (literature and Bible credits). Although the program offers two additional credits that can be earned through the year (literature and Bible), we decided not to do those. Personally I didn’t feel the literature component was as strong and detailed as the program we have used in the past several years. 

The hands-on projects are ones that Laurianna loves, especially when she can add in her own twist of creativity. Her favorite (and most time consuming) project this year was a children’s book. She decided to create one based on the ABCs of George Washington – and it turned out adorable!! She wrote and illustrated the entire thing – and I LOVED it. :) 

This was one subject we decided to do as a co-op class this year so the kids could also take a big field trip together to Charleston, SC in the spring. She had three other friends in her class and they got together once a week to review the lessons and cover some additional topics. 

Officially she has completed all of her history and government classes for high school – yay! 

Literature

There was a LOT of reading this year and we did something a little different. We used the format of the American Lit program from Excellence in Literature (we’ve used their program for two years prior) and mixed some of the books suggested in their guide with a few other choices and lined up the time periods with what the kids were studying in history together. 

Overall it went great! I was a little nervous at first, but watching a corresponding movie with each unit was also a fun ending to each of the 600+ word essays the kids had to write. Typically for each book read (there were eight books on their American Literature list this year), the kids had three papers due: an author profile (learning about the author, time period, and influences), an approach paper (looking at a specific time period or breaking down important parts and characters of the book), and then a 600+ word essay using one of two provided essay prompts. 

This group of kids is one I have been working with for the past three years and it’s been so much fun seeing their growth and hearing their thoughts and ideas as they dig into literature and various themes. Sadly, this was our last year together since many of them have now met their lit requirements and will be taking dual credit classes next year. 

Chemistry

This year we again worked in a small group setting with two other families on chemistry. The mom teaching them is super sweet and always came up with fun ideas for the kids to work on during class. 

Chemistry may not have been her favorite subject (especially since more numbers/math), but this is the year that Laurianna made the decision to pursue nursing (hopefully pediatric), so there will be much more science in her future! 

Math

No exciting pictures. This was one area Laurianna had to put aside every now and then when her concentration was struggling, especially since it required a lot of focus on her part. :) Next year we are looking at Pre-Cacl and possibly a statistics class at our local community college. 

Government/Constitutional Literacy

Laurianna is almost completely through this class as it was one of the ones we put aside temporarily when she wasn’t feeling well. I do plan to share a full review of the Constitutional Literacy program (and we really do love it). It’s one I think would also be great in a co-op setting as it would bring up some great discussion. 

Art

Laurianna is a very creative girl, so art isn’t as much of a subject as just plain enjoyable for her. Thankfully it’s one area that doesn’t require a lot of energy and she can rest and relax by sketching or drawing. 

Using Artistic Pursuits Book 1 was a great fit for her this year for sure. She has a definite love in this area! 

Driving!!

 

 

In just a few short months Laurianna will officially be a licensed driver! We are car shopping already and she is working hard to save more money toward her purchase and insurance and all the other good things that come along with car ownership! She is about 2/3 of the way through her DriversEd class (online) and has driven all of the required hours for our state. I do have to say it’s rather handy and will be so even more in the upcoming year! 

Swim Team

Laurianna’s swim season ended a little early (November instead of end of February), which was very difficult for her. Swimming is definitely a time to decompress for her but it became something she struggled with physically when her health went out of whack. Ironically, in some of our more recent doctor’s visits, the recommendation has been 45 minute sessions 4-5 times a week and also water therapy, so at this point it is full on summer league for her! 

 

All that said, the last few weeks have been spent looking at classes that Laurianna can take at our local community college this upcoming year – specifically ones that will transfer over into several different colleges when she pursues nursing. Because she hasn’t taken her PSAT yet, she will be taking entrance exams, which does make her a little nervous, but I’m sure she will do fine! 

This summer she is also working through College Prep Genius to get ready for both the SAT and the PSAT this year. 

 

Other Year-end Reviews

 
Take a peek at our year end review for 4th grade.
 
 
Take a peek at our year end review for 6th grade.
 
8th grade homeschool year in review - Homeschool Creations
 
Take a peek at our year end review for 8th grade
 
 

8th Grade Year in Review – Homeschool Curriculum Choices

8th grade homeschool year in review - Homeschool Creations

The first few weeks of the school year I’ll be honest – they were rough. McKenna has done well the last two years working at her own pace and getting work done, but the first couple weeks were tough. While I had suggestions on how she could best manage her time/subjects, she was way overthinking some of the things and putting herself through much more work than she needed to. Once she settled into a good groove though, she was flying! 

Her favorite subjects overall were science and literature. Both were ones we did together with friends (I have a sneaky suspicion that is one of the main reasons). McKenna is very outgoing and loves to be interacting with others. One of the highlights of her year was attending Teach Them Diligently in Atlanta with some friends of ours – and being able to hang out all weekend with a group of kids. 

This year she has learned to play the ukulele, started working as a sports photographers assistant (earning money is always nice), and also learning how to play the piano (she is practicing herself and wants to be on the youth worship team this upcoming year). 

You can see all of our 8th grade curriculum choices in this post here, but below is a quick peek and then a brief look at how the different subjects/programs worked for her. 

The 8th Grade Year Plan

Credits earned: 5.5

Although McKenna is in the 8th grade, we opted to let her try earning a few high school credits over the course of the year – and she did great! Getting into a good groove was hard the first little bit, but once she figured out a routine that worked for her, she stuck with that and owned it. 

Literature/Writing

This one definitely one of McKenna’s favorite classes. Her literature load involved reading one book per month (you can see her literature list here). While some of the books may not have been on her “must read” pile, she kept up (and ahead). 

Each of the units involved writing three papers, some a bit shorter than others: an author profile, an approach paper, and then an essay, typically around 500+ words. Although she balked at the longer papers first, hers ended up much beyond that word limit. Overall her writing capabilities have exceeded what I even imagined (such a great surprise!!). I definitely credit WriteShop in prepping her the last few years for these assignments. 

And – being able to take a field trip during our Shakespeare unit was so much fun!! Incidentally, this book is a FABULOUS resource for teaching Shakespeare to kids.

Earned: 1 credit.

She also finished level 6 of All About Spelling. 

Science 

For eight months we met with a small group of other students to work on the lab part of physical science (once a week). While McKenna worked on the reading and other work during the week, building the hands-on projects, they would get together to review the projects and test their theories (we used this same program with Laurianna and loved it).  Earned: 1 credit.

McKenna also worked through two smaller science books from Masterbooks: Archaeology and Fossils Earned: 1/2 credit combined

Latin

So, no pictures to share from this subject, but overall McKenna loved Visual Latin and will continue with the second level next year. One of the things she mentioned is how it has helped her in various subjects (science). 

Geography 

Maps aren’t necessarily McKenna’s favorite thing, but this girl is nothing but thorough while studying North Star Geography. She definitely loved the hands-on aspect for each of the units, including a salt dough map of our state and so many other great projects. 

Math

Math is definitely not McKenna’s favorite class. At all. It isn’t the program we are using, Teaching Textbooks, and definitely appreciates it, she just isn’t a fan of Algebra. Period. Next year she will be moving on to Geometry. 

Swim

Swimming is one of McKenna’s favorite things and she grew so much this year in this area. Their team had new coaches this year, which pushed her in ways she didn’t always like, but she discovered new strokes to love and pursue and figured out that hard work definitely pay off. We are definitely considering the long term swimming in the fall again and she is currently swimming in a summer league. 

 

Other Year-end Reviews

 
Take a peek at our year end review for 4th grade.
 
 
Take a peek at our year end review for 6th grade.
 
I’ll be sharing our 10th grade soon, so be sure to check back – as well as our plans for the upcoming year!  

6th Grade Year in Review – Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Hands-down Zachary’s favorite subject again for the year was science (and much of that was tied into what he worked on with EEME). Another close second for him was his work with Who is God?  and Who Am I? This boy loves any activity that a project can be added to for him to DO instead of observe. 

I hope you’ll indulge me a little as I’m writing these year-end posts. They help my brain process our year and also answer some reader questions when people want to know what our thoughts were on some of our choices. You can see all of our 6th grade curriculum choices in this post here, but below is a more in depth look at what we used for Zachary this past year and how it worked overall. 

The 6th Grade Year Plan…

Here’s a quick look at the overall plan for our 6th grade year…

Science

As I mentioned earlier, science is hands-down one of Zachary’s favorite subject areas. This year he switched over to a two year program using Rainbow Science Year 1. It’s a program we’ve used with both of our girls and had great success with. One of the big parts of this was Zachary working almost completely independently. He had two days of reading followed by a lab or experiment. This was VERY successful for him and he ended up finishing his program almost two months early (no small feat for a boy who struggles to stay on task!). 

In addition to Rainbow Science Year 1, he worked on several projects with EEME. These were HUGELY favored, especially since he began working on more robotics (check out Q the Robot for sure!). Because he is a hands-on kiddo, he also created a lot with Legos, Little Bits, Sphero, and pretty much anything else we had on hand. :) 

Essentially this means that our science for next year is already figured out. We will continue with Rainbow Science and work on EEME projects as they become available! 

 

Reading & Read-Alouds

Reading was one area we struggled a little bit more with this year. At the beginning of the year I set up a list of books for him, and while we did get through all of them, it wasn’t without….incident. His idea of what constitutes a reading list vs. my idea has a wide area of difference. :) 

There were days when we struggled to get him to focus in on an assigned book. He definitely would like more control over the books on the list and we had several talks about his personal reading choices vs. assigned school reading – and why those two are different. After reading most of the books, he would complete a book report  and we would discuss key points of the book using this helpful guide.

That said, his personal reading time grew by leaps and bounds this year. Typically he isn’t a “for pleasure” reader, but there were several series that he either re-read in a very short time or started and loved. 

Math

Teaching Textbooks is definitely another program we plan to use next year with Zachary. It has been a perfect fit for our family. Math may not be his favorite subject, but he does enjoy it much more when we use this program. :) And so do I!

History

This year we switched up our history a bit and followed along with Laurianna in her US History learning so we could go on field trips together. Another bonus was using the same book as friends were using so we could work on a few projects together. 

Each week we spent an afternoon together reading, creating, and learning – which was definitely fun. :) One of the activities we did was making a simple compass

Writing & Grammar

Turns out our writing curriculum this year also had grammar included in it – something I neglected to process until about 2 months into the school year. Zachary still continued on with Growing with Grammar 6 , even though Writers in Residence would have been enough. My theory with this boy is he can use all the extra help he can get (and he didn’t complain, so there’s that too). I’ll be sharing more about this particular curriculum soon and overall loved the layout. 

Spelling

For All About Spelling we typically worked on one lesson a week (a few chunks where we did every other week). We didn’t push hard, but over the last year he has shown remarkable improvement in both spelling and reading but did see huge improvements in the area. For those of you who know me well, you know that it is our favorite homeschool spelling program, hands down!

Bible

One of the other subjects Zachary really enjoyed was Bible using the What We Believe series. I mentioned that we used it a little differently (he isn’t huge into notebooking), but he did enjoy the two books in the series he worked through. 

Art (via co-0p)

One of the classes Zachary had this year focused on different art techniques. One of the kids favorites was learning about fondant icing – because, HELLO FOOD. 

Other Activities  

Swim was (and continues to be) a sport the kids love participating in. Through January they participated in a local swim team and then moved to summer league. We will likely participate again in the fall, but it’s tough with the timeframe (it’s a lot of driving to two different pools for us). 
 
 
Boy Scouts has been another area of HUGE interest for Zachary. He recently completed all he needed to achieve First Class status and wants to hit Eagle Scout by the time he is 16 (his goal). He only joined this past year, but has truly jumped in running! This year he had multiple camping trips, day hikes, and projects to work through – and he loves it. :)
 

Other Year-end Reviews

 
Take a peek at our year end review for 4th grade. I’ll be sharing our 8th and 10th grade soon, so be sure to check back – as well as our plans for the upcoming year!