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6th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

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This boy. We sat down a bit ago and looked back at his progress over the last several months and map out the rest of the year. It was a great chance to see if we needed to make any adjustments (in curriculum, implementation, or attitudes – cough). 

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If the above is ANY INDICATION on this boy…well, then. The deal with my phone is – if I find selfies (however crazy they may be) on my phone, they can be used anywhere. Anytime. And this is my life, people. Every single day. :)

Overall, everything has been going well (we’ve been making minor tweaks throughout the weeks as we go), but I thought you might like to see what the kids are enjoying and also how it’s working so far. I’ll be sharing more on each grade level over the next week or two since it’s a lot easier than doing one gigantic post with everyone.  

6th Grade Mid-Year Curriculum Review

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Each of our 6th grade curriculum choices have been working out great. Zachary isn’t always thrilled with the reading choices I have laid out for him (he’d much prefer FUN book – well, ones that are fun according to him), but we continue to go over the fact that he can read those anytime during the day. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is great (and I’m happy he is reading for fun), but it isn’t counting for his school right now. :) 

Zachary’s two favorite subject areas are science and reading. Along with science he loves the projects he has been working on with EEME

We still have some work to do on his being thorough in all subjects – he likes to gloss over things he isn’t particularly crazy about, especially when it comes to things that involve writing by hand, but otherwise he is doing well as a whole and much more focused than he was last year. 

6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations

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

What We’re Adding (or Already Have)

  • Handwriting – One thing Zachary doesn’t like is his print handwriting. He has a good handle on cursive, but whenever he takes notes, he complains about how it looks. He asked if we could add in some handwriting practice, so I ordered a copy of this program to use (and it goes along nicely with the next addition). 
  • President Review – to go along with our US History studies, we have added in a quick review of the presidents (and what better time than an inaugural year?). Each week we are going through 2-3 presidents and writing down quick facts. I’ve put together some general notebooking sheets for the boys to use (and will be sharing them soon). 

What We’ve Slowed Down On or Put Aside for Now

  • Nothing! Zachary finished the first book in the Who is God?  series and has moved on to the second book for the last half of our year. 

What Mom Needs to Focus More On

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The above is something Zachary managed to get his legs stuck through the arms of his sweatshirt – and got stuck. 

Keeping the Boy in Sight – Zachary isn’t one that likes to stay in his seat. He is a fidgeting, moving around (all the time), tapping, and plain ol’ driving my senses batty most days. It’s hard to let some stuff go as he learns and help him learn to tone things down where others are concerned. The only problem is when he “needs” to go somewhere quiet (the irony does not escape me since he is one of our noisest kiddos) – and then doesn’t return. It’s easy for me to get sidetracked with another child and forget we haven’t seen him in a bit. As much as he dislikes it, we’ve been trying to keep him within eye sight.

Spelling – Zachary has really improved remarkably in this area, but this is one area I tend to forget easily about! He and I have set up a weekly date time (it’s on my calendar now) where we review some of his independent work and also go over a spelling lesson (or two) together.

Family read-alouds – The last few months have felt very helter-skelter and our kids have gotten SO picky about audio books (once you find ones you love hearing, it’s hard to listen to ones that are a bit ‘meh’). They love it when I read aloud and with the weather chilly and swim season almost done for us, these will pick up for sure.

See What the Kids Are Up To…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

4th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

January beginning means we are at about the halfway point in our homeschool year. Christmas break was a great time to evaluate what has been (or isn’t) working, how the kids are progressing, and see if we need to make any adjustments.

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Overall, everything has been going well (we’ve been making minor tweaks throughout the weeks as we go), but I thought you might like to see what the kids are enjoying and also how it’s working so far. I’ll be sharing more on each grade level over the next week or two since it’s a lot easier than doing one gigantic post with everyone.  

4th Grade Mid-Year Curriculum Review

Overall each of our 4th grade curriculum choices have been working very well. We’ve been tweaking reading as we go along because the main goal has been to get Kaleb reading more confidently. We are still using All About Reading 3 as our core, but have pulled back from their readers. We do the lessons, but Kaleb picks out various readers at the library (with my approval) and we’re using those books to boost his fluency (ironically, same words, but for some reason it flows easier). 

History has moved up the ladder as far as favorites go, mainly because we are teaming up with another family once a week and doing some fun projects to go along with our studies. We work through a few lessons at home each week, and then on Thursday afternoons the kids and I, along with our friend’s children, do an additional lesson and activity to go along (cooking, building, etc…). This has helped Kaleb find a new appreciation for history since he gets to see his friends too. :)

Kaleb has been working on several subjects fairly independently this year: math and handwriting (via Spelling You See). Otherwise, the bulk of his subjects are done 1:1 with me, and frankly, I rather enjoy that. :) With him being our youngest, I will savor each and every moment I have. He is loving science and anything that involves tinkering (Little Bits), and he also loves snuggling to read together with me (being read aloud to is a favorite of his). 

 

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations

Here’s a look at the overall curriculum plan for our 4th grade year…

What We’re Adding (or Already Have)

A Reason for Science D germination lesson

  • Handwriting – A few weeks into the school year we added in Spelling You See Level C, not as a spelling program, but more as handwriting and extra reading practice for Kaleb. He enjoys the handwriting practice (when ironically he hates writing) and it’s one subject he also feels independence in. 
  • Science – While we have worked on various science experiments over the last few months, Kaleb absolutely adores science and needs more structure in this area. For the last half of the year we are adding in A Reason for Science D. The program has 36 lessons (weeks), so there will probably be some we will either work through more quickly or gloss over based on what he has already studied. 

What We’ve Slowed Down On or Put Aside for Now

  •  Bible – we are still working through, but focusing on things that include all of the kids. Big Truths for Young Hearts is something we can read as a family at night and learn together. :)
  • Art – we’ve slowed down some on this because Kaleb loves to create (and does so during our other coop time as well). He has been picking/choosing the projects he wants to work on, instead of focusing on every single one. That also allows him more free time to work on other projects (like building). 

What Mom Needs to Focus More On

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Reorganizing subject order – Each year we find a different groove that helps us get things accomplished more quickly or puts us in a better flow. The last month before we took a break, we reorganized Kaleb’s workbox grid. This has been a great visual schedule for both of us to remember the various subjects that sometimes get pushed aside. (see the next item)

Geography – This tends to be the subject that gets shuffled to the end of the line, so it is moving up earlier in the day so we will get more accomplished. We aren’t doing a super in-depth study this year, but have picked countries that interest Kaleb and working from there. 

Writing Things Down – While the older three are all taking care of writing down their daily plans and then getting together with me, I have done a wretched job of writing down every thing that Kaleb has been working on (for my records). I know he is on target, so it’s more for my brain and filling in the blanks, but it is helpful to see what he has been working on when there are tough days. Sometimes that visual progress helps me push on and through. 

Reading with Kaleb – We started off well this year with read-alouds, but during the last bit of November and through December it all went out the window. He and I have been reading various books to go along with our history studies (just fun, light reading), but he loves it! 

Family read-alouds – The last few months have felt very helter-skelter and our kids have gotten SO picky about audio books (once you find ones you love hearing, it’s hard to listen to ones that are a bit ‘meh’). They love it when I read aloud and with the weather chilly and swim season almost done for us, these will pick up for sure.

See What the Kids Are Up To…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

Our 4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations

The main focus this year for Kaleb is reading. His reading skills grew tremendously last year, but with reading being the core of his starting to work on subjects independently (something important in the upcoming years), the core of all we do and focus on needs to be reading. Together he and I are reading aloud to each other and reviewing, reviewing, reviewing so the areas he struggles in becomes much more natural for him. Zachary’s 4th grade year (our other son) was the point when reading finally ‘clicked’ for him, so although I’m trying not to compare too much, I am truly hoping and praying everything really falls into place for him this year and he feels comfortable with his reading skills. 

Another area we will be targeting is history/geography. Kaleb will be working with Zachary (6th grade) on these two subjects, as well as some friends of ours. The intent in history is to work on a similar cycle with the boys and Laurianna so we can tie in some field trips with another family. 

The bulk of Kaleb’s studies are still done together with me, with the exception of math, since we use a computer-based program that essentially reads the lesson to him. He can definitely read more than he lets on most days – it’s just that struggle to actually DO it, rather than letting his siblings jump in (when they are so willing to do so). 

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Here’s a look at the overall plan for our 4th grade year…

Kaleb has been going through science experiment ideas with me and we are compiling a list to work on about one experiment or STEM project each week. This boy is ALL about math and science, so he will be working on plenty of hands-on projects throughout the year both with me and on his own. It’s not uncommon for him to pull out our Little Bits set and work on something while he is waiting for me or when he is finished with his work. 

On the flip side, he is also a boy that loves to create and work on art projects. As the year progresses, his wall will be covered with various creations from Home Art Studio. I absolutely LOVE this program and the fact that Kaleb can work independently on his art projects – and all I need to do is prep a tray for him with all the supplies. Super simple and he can’t get enough of it. Win-win! 

Co-op Learning

This year we are only participating in one co-op with all of the kids and trying to keep life a bit more simple in that regard. While Kaleb isn’t as upset about it (he’s a fairly even-keeled kiddo emotionally), he does love our smaller co-op because his best buddy is also a part of it. Our co-op meets every other week with the elementary and middle school kids, so it isn’t overwhelming for planning. This year they will be working on the following two classes: 

  • Spanish – last year they had a level 1 Spanish for elementary with one of the moms – and really loved it. She is hoping to use a new program this year – so we’ll keep you posted on how that is going. 
  • Five in a Row – two of the moms tag-team teach this class and work on one book each month – art projects, science experiments, etc… 

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…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

Our 6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations

This year we have some familiar programs coming back to the desk and have one new (fresh off the presses) program as well. Zachary’s going to have a little more responsibility on his plate. Last year was stretching for him, and when I asked him what he wanted most this year, the answer was focus. (I’ll amen that.)

We had great intentions of geography last year, so this year we are definitely targeting that area together with his younger brother. Friends of ours are also studying US History, as well as Laurianna our 10th grader, and our intent in history is to work on a similar cycle with the boys so we can tie in some field trips with another family. Granted, we don’t really need to have every field trip go-along with with the era of history we are studying, but it does make it more fun! 

Zachary is moving away from our workbox system this year as well and trying to manage his own paperwork. It’s a step back for me and a more hands-off approach, but it’s something we both felt he needed – taking control of his ‘stuff’ so we could let go of some of the mental battle with each other. I don’t know if that makes complete sense, but suffice it to say, it’s a battleground some days and we will see how it goes. 

6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

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

While Zachary isn’t necessarily thrilled at all the curriculum at his disposal (grins), he is looking forward to his new science program – and I’m looking forward to see how he likes Writers in Residence this year. History is also shaping up to be fun since our friends are doing it alongside us, meaning the boys will have projects to work on together as well. 

The ‘extra’ incentive of EEME is also something motivating for Zachary. While it technically is science, he works on his projects from them when he is done with his day-to-day subjects. He likes to keep the most recent box on his desk to remind him of what is coming! 

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One thing Zachary asked me to do this year – make him his own mini-planner of sorts. I printed off about 10 copies (front/back) of the daily assignment sheet I made for him last year, had it spiral bound for about $3, and he is using that to track his school work. He wasn’t quite ready for a full student planner yet like his sisters, and this is enough to help keep him accountable and make sure he is getting the things finished he needs to. It’s so tiny and cute – perfect for him. :)

Co-op Learning

Art isn’t necessarily Zachary’s favorite subject, so having it as part of co-op this year and being able to work on projects with friends may help sweeten the pot for him. Twice a month he will be getting together with a small group of middle schoolers to work on the following classes. 

  • Mad Scientists Club – kids will be reading short stories from this book and also working on go-along experiments. Last year they also completed a science fair project – FUN! 
  • Art – learning about a different artist and art technique each week/month. We’re still figuring out the best method of attack for this one. 

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:

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…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

Our 8th Grade Reading List

8th grade reading list 2016 

While McKenna is excited to start earning a few high school credits, she is also a little nervous because one of her credits focuses on literature this year. She enjoys reading, but the different types of papers she will be writing this year scare her a little bit. Many of the books on this list are similar to ones we have used in years past with Laurianna because they go along with the guide Introduction to Literature by Janice Campbell. McKenna will be reading one book a month for our literature class and writing three papers based on each book or short story. For writing reference, she will be using the book Excellence in Literature – Handbook for Writers. If you’d like to take a look at all of our 8th grade homeschool curriculum picks, you can do so here

We have added in a few additional books for her to read since they go along with the era of history we are studying (American History), and there are a few we’d like her to read before seeing some movies! Her typical pace is one book per month for the literature class, with three papers/essays assigned per book.

For the additional books she and I will have a discussion together, but otherwise, no special papers. The below books also do not include any book choices she makes during the year or read-alouds/audiobooks we work through together as a family. 

Our 8th Grade Reading List:

Many of the books also have a video version, so we’re hoping to watch them together (after we read the books, of course) and compare the book to the movie version. It’ll be a little something fun we can do with our co-op friends. Here are a few in our queue: 




A Few Extras on the List for 8th Grade:

8th reading list 2016

To go along with our American History learning, we’ve added in a few biography books for her to read as well as a few classic literature books. 

Overall not a huge list for the year, but several of the books are fairly hefty and will involve a lot of essay writing and discussion, so definitely enough to keep her busy for the year!

What books are in your kid’s reading stack for this year?

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this year by clicking on the images below. Stay tuned for our 4th and 6th grade reading choices!

American Literature high school reading list 2016_edited-1

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below. Stay tuned for our 4th and 6th grade reading choices for this year too!

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016

McKenna is a wee bit anxious about the upcoming year, even though she honestly doesn’t have much to worry about. Last year she made huge strides in working independently, but the thought of earning high school credits this year is a little daunting to her. We are so glad to be a part of a small co-op where she has good friends to learn alongside in two subject areas (and make it even more fun too). 

Our biggest hurdle this year will be getting her daily routine in place. McKenna is our late riser and while that can be a lovely thing, it also puts a kink in the day when everyone else is ready to go early in the day and then finished up early as well. While this 8th grade plan isn’t quite as high school ambitious as Laurianna’s was, it will be a great “easing in” for her. The credits she is earning will give her a good jump on her high school years. 

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 5.5

8th reading list 2016

Out of all the subjects, McKenna is most excited for Visual Latin and Physical Science. Literature and Algebra 1 are the most intimidating to her, mainly because – ALGEBRA – and the thought of writing three papers a month is something that seems overwhelming because they are a new style of paper for her. 

We opted not to include any additional grammar program this year because McKenna has a solid grasp of grammar and will rely heavily on it for her literature class (and a mother who is a stickler for writing well and editing). Both her physical science and literature classes will be a part of our small co-op group, although she will have a full load during the week in preparation for the classes.

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

One thing that has been a huge help to me in mapping out the upcoming years with McKenna (and Laurianna) is this middle school and high school planner. Essentially I am able to get an extended view and map out the future years to see what we need to work on and when it might fit in best -and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall. 

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:

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.

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016