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11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

The last few weeks have involved a bit of scrambling (if you will) to pull together all of our curriculum for the upcoming year. As I mentioned in this post – each year for our various kids has been different. While we may use some core curriculum pieces from one child to the next, other components may be different.

So far, McKenna has earned a total of 20 credits toward her high school diploma. At the end of her 11th grade year she will have completed 5.5 more credits, making a total of 25.5 credits toward her diploma. 

McKenna spent a few days a week working last year, which wasn’t always the best for her study habits, or life in general. Since she is driving and purchased her own car this summer, that will help out some, but she does still need to work to help pay for her gas and any car repairs. This year I’m hoping to help her establish a little more balance so she isn’t quite as hard on herself, since she tends to stress herself (and those around her) out. 

11th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 5.5


We’ve used Teaching Textbooks for many years now and this year we will be using Pre Calculus  3.0 online version. We made the switch from the CD version (pictured above) to the online version and loved it, since I can log into the account at the same time and view the lesson, and we can access from any computer, not just one specific (which we had to do with CD-rom version).  

American History

We’ve used Notgrass other years (for different subjects), and McKenna has enjoyed the format of the books in years past, so we’re looking forward to the continuity and familiarity of the layout. 


Out of the different programs we’ve tried over the years, Breaking the Barrier has been the best alternative for us in teaching Spanish. We switched to this last year and have had a few hiccups, but overall it’s been more user friendly and easier to follow.


Marine Biology

This is a new-to-us curriculum. A friend of ours used it with one of her sons, so we borrowed it all from her. I’ll admit, when she handed me the HUGE dissection tray, I was a little worried! BUT our squid and dog shark dissection specimens were ordered from Home Science Tools and now on the way!! I’m super excited about this class since we had so much fun with our biology dissections. McKenna picked this science herself after I sent her a bunch of options from a homeschool convention. :)



We’re trying something a new to us this year – Lightning Literature, the American literature packs. I’m really intrigued by the format of the program and how it uses various literature to teach different styles of writing (i.e. Narrative of Frederick Douglas to show persuasive writing). McKenna will be working through both of the American Literature sets, possibly jumping over one of the books in one set because she has done so much work in past literature classes. Books focused on in these units include: Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, The Narrative of Frederick Douglas’s Life, The Scarlett Letter, Moby Dick, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild, and The Red Badge of Courage


This fall our local community college is offering their final youth theatre class. McKenna has participated in this program the last two years and will be participating in workshops, vocal training, and at the end of the semester the group will be performing songs from various musicals. She will earn 1/2 credit for the class. 


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:

Planning the Middle and High School Years

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 our kids  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. 

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.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum


See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks


9th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Update

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? 

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.


Our Homeschool Happenings – First 9 Weeks of 2016

My plans to keep updates on our homeschool happenings every two to three weeks are way overdue. That doesn’t mean we haven’t been working hard at school, just that a momma has been a wee bit sidetracked with other things and at times has a lack of pictures to share (especially of the older two). 

We have officially finished nine weeks of homeschool. Gah! The last week of October we took a week off, which gave me a little bit of a chance to re-evaluate where we were with each of the kids and tweak our schedules to make sure we were getting everything in that needed to be done, including adjusting things as necessary (i.e. laying down the law with a kiddo or two and making sure they were back on track). 

I will say, that means also taking a hard look at a few of the things I am (or am not doing) and making plans to follow through in those areas. I’m just as guilty of ignoring some things and thinking I’ll tackle it later, which can be both to my detriment and the kids. Although we have a weekly schedule, there are subjects that are very easy to put to the side and say we will get to them ‘tomorrow’. We have a lot of tomorrows stacking up in our house, people. Am I alone in this? 

That said, here is a quick sum-up of what we have been doing the last six weeks (or so) by kiddo. 

4th Grade –  Kaleb

View our 4th grade curriculum choices HERE. 


Our biggest focus this year has been improving Kaleb’s reading skills. While there have been a few days with tears (from both myself and him), the last month and a half has shown remarkable improvement for him. While we are using the lessons from All About Reading 3 still, we have currently put aside the reader and picked out a huge stack of books from the library for him to read to me. His current favorites are from the Frog and Toad series (or Amelia Bedelia), so he will typically read one story a day to me from the reader. I’m not sure what it is about the AAR readers that gets him worked up (I think the smaller and tighter text overwhelms him, because he quickly says the same words in other settings – it’s interesting). That said, I’m not stressing about it right now because his fluency has picked up and he is reading with inflection and happily – so we are good for now. I do feel the AAR lessons are still very important because they show him how to break down words and read proficiently as well. 

super slime

We haven’t had a formal curriculum this year with Kaleb (which I am having a love/hate relationship with). Together he and I have picked out experiments to work on. In October we worked through a few different homeschool science kits and otherwise are using the book Smithsonian Maker Lab as our guide for the year. The hands-on experiments have been a great incentive for Kaleb to keep up in all his other subjects too. :)  You can see how we made the above in this Facebook video – a fun and quick lesson on molecules. 


The boys have been working on history and we are currently studying the American Revolution. At home we are working through lessons and once a week we get together with a few other friends for hands-on projects. In the last few weeks we have tried a few colonial dishes, created gardening tools from deer bones and sticks, making a simple compass, and taken a few field trips to learn about colonial life and Native American tribes. Based on the above picture you can tell one of the cooking projects wasn’t well received (hasty pudding). The ginger cakes though – HUGE hit! Overall it’s been a very relaxed learning time and so much fun. 

homeschool world geography

Geography has been slow-going at best, but we’re taking it slower because that’s what Kaleb wants to do (and I’m all good with that). We’ve gone over basic world geography and while we aren’t doing super in-depth studies of each country, if Kaleb wants to look at something more we go ahead and do that. He really enjoys using Little Passports whenever we have a chance because he can also get online and play games to go along with the countries we study. 

writeshop E lesson

We held off starting our WriteShop D lessons until three weeks into school and now we are having a great time working through the activities. Kaleb doesn’t like the physical part of writing, so he dictates his stories to me and we work on them that way. When he has a final copy, and depending on the length of his story/project, he might copy a portion of it of the entire thing. 

spelling you see lesson

One thing we have added to our daily routine for Kaleb is Spelling You See C. We didn’t have a handwriting program this year, so we are using it primarily for that purpose and also for additional reading practice.  He loves the daily practice and it has also been great for him to work on daily identifying various vowel blends and additional reading and dictation work.  

Ivy Kids Pezzettino Kit

Another thing we try to work on several times a week are a few of the activities from one of our Ivy Kids Kits. Sometimes it’s a simple activity like creating a puzzle or a writing activity, and other times we had a chance to play with some fun new art products. Above were three activities we did to go along with our Pezzettino book. 

6th Grade – Zachary

View our 6th grade curriculum HERE

robotics for kids - Q the robot from EEME project

Zachary has absolutely been loving his robotics project from EEME. The most recent one he worked on has really piqued his interest in robotics. We have had so much fun playing with Q the Robot too. :) 

reading in the dark

A few days ago I shared a picture of Zachary, albeit blurry, but it was one that literally brought tears to my eyes. Two years ago, Zachary was in the same boat as Kaleb when it came to reading, but at the start of his fourth grade year, something literally “clicked” for him. 

We had a swim meet this past weekend and Zachary brought along three books with him to read. Not one – THREE. And a flashlight so he could read in the car on the return trip. Diary of a Wimpy Kids may not have been my first choice of reading for him initially, but now that he chooses to read on his own, I’m a huge fan. :) Especially since he read five books from the series over the course of the weekend. 


Zachary’s planning sheets are doing well keeping him on track (most weeks). He still has a difficult time staying focused throughout the day and tends to be the wanderer in our group. :) Having him write down his daily work and track it himself has been a good stretch in independence for him. Overall he is staying on target with his subjects (and may be ahead in one, but please don’t tell him that quite yet!). 


Every now and then the boys take a break together to work on LEGOs or Little Bits together. In the above they were creating a soccer ball kicking machine. 


Field trips have been something we’ve really focused on this fall too. All of them have focused around our US history studies, including a trip to Monticello where we toured the gardens and shelled beans together. One of the best parts of our field trips this year has been taking them with another local family. In case field trip are something you push off to the side for another day, you may want to check out my post  Your Homeschool Needs a Field Trip


Another thing Zachary has really been enjoying is his time in Boy Scouts. Rick and I are still trying to wrap our brains around how the badges and various ranks all fall into place, but he has been working hard toward advancing to First Class by taking on added responsibilities with his troop. Unfortunately for me, this means he is even more into fires, knives, and also poison ivy. :) The bulk of his birthday and Christmas presents revolve around items he would like for camping and Scouts – which is a good thing!

8th Grade – McKenna

View our 8th grade homeschool curriculum HERE. 

high school physical science

McKenna has finally gotten into a groove with her schedule of classes. The first few weeks were a little bit hectic/crazy and she felt overwhelmed, but she has really embraced her studies and jumped all in. The physical science class has her working on many hands-on projects (above she is building a miniature house that will have wiring). She has also worked on a glider, boat, and battery powered car as well. 


North Star Geography honestly scared the girl a bit at first and she went overboard crazy memorizing every tiny detail on maps. Since then she has been working at a pace that is keeping her on target in her class and she loves the hands-0n aspect of the class as well. In the unit covering the structure of the earth, she created a ‘lava lamp’ of sorts to learn about the earth’s mantle. It honestly makes me happy that she and Laurianna still are able to include so many hands-on learning helps with their curriculum instead of having it be just reading and memorization. 

high school lit 

Speaking of reading, McKenna has logged in some major reading already this year and is now fully into reading Jane Eyre. As time consuming as the class is, it has been great to see her digging into literature and writing some solid papers for her literature class.  

10th Grade – Laurianna 

View our 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices HERE


Most days, this is where you will find Laurianna – on her bed, headphones in and working hard on schoolwork. With the boys moving around a lot in the school room, she finds it easier to focus on her work where it’s a little quieter. 

apologia chemistry - candy bonds

Chemistry might be a rather dull class all by itself, but when you add candy to equation (literally), it can perk it right up. Laurianna is working on a chemistry lab with one of our friends and they had a very candy-filled day to go along with learning various bonds during Apologia Chemistry time.


Granted the above image doesn’t quite seem to fit in with anything, but we may have had a little bit of fun using SnapChat filters during a semi-boring video on Benjamin Franklin. Mind you, I rather enjoyed the video, but the kids were starting to lose interest, so we opened up a few filters and brought the laughter in.  Seriously you all – sometimes we just need to have a little fun. Colonial times never looked quite so hilarious…

notgrass history creative assignment

Laurianna’s artwork overall has been fun to see from her general art class, but during Exploring America from Notgrass history time she has turned in several different projects that I have loved. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book, “George Washington’s ABCs” and above is one of the pages from the book. It is seriously adorable and may have earned her some huge points. :) 

That’s the sum-up from the last nine weeks or so. How is your school time going with your family? 


Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past year’s 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

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

7th Grade Year in Review – Homeschool Curriculum Choices

7th Grade Homeschool Year in Review 2016 from Homeschool Creations

Very few pictures exist from this past year showing McKenna throughout the year. Well, I say that and then realize there are pictures, but many of them show her hiding behind a book, under covers, or doing something equally as goofy when the camera was anywhere around. Her self consciousness increased quite a bit this year, especially when she embarked on the wonderful journey of braces. I absolutely love looking back through my pictures though because I cannot believe how much she has really grown and matured in this past year! 


Overall, nothing in school really impressed McKenna near as much this year as her vocabulary program this year. She absolutely loved it. And PE (which is saying a lot, since she strongly dislikes PE). McKenna moved more toward independence during her 7th grade year, taking responsibility for many of her subjects – which worked at times and at other, there was a little catching up that needed to be done. (We’ll chat about that later.)

BUT even if she didn’t necessarily love all of her subject areas, that doesn’t mean she didn’t make progress. And all progress is good progress and we will take it! One of her favorite things was using a Student Planner I put together specifically for her. She marked that planner up and had fun making it her own. 

Here’s a quick look at the initial 7th grade overall plan…



Best vocabulary lesson EVER! All of a sudden McKenna started cracking up while working on vocabulary today – she is using WordUp from @compassclsrm – and then we all had to watch this and are laughing our heads off. This program has been so much fun! Here’s the program we’re using: http://hscreations.net/WordUpVocabulary (affiliate)#homeschool #hscreations

Posted by Homeschool Creations on Monday, 12 October 2015

The Word Up Vocabulary program from Compass Classroom brought more laughter into McKenna’s day. She absolutely loved this video class – enough so that she wants to work on Visual Latin next year. The above clip was one that we watched over and over (and still laugh about). 



McKenna was more than a little worried about starting pre Algebra this year, but Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra 2.0 made it SO much easier for both of us. We started out the year with the non-grading version, and DEAR MOTHERS. Do yourself an immense favor and buy the 2.0 version of Teaching Textbooks everything. You will thank me when you no longer have to grade a single thing. Amen and hallelujah. 

This would be one area though that carried over to the summer months for her because of poor planning (on her part). Math is not one of her favorite subjects (this and science she would rather find a million other things to do), so she will quickly distract herself from the subject. She will definitely be fine for the start of next year though – but I can’t guarantee a love for math will top her list (grins). 


Grapevine’s New Testament Overview was the program we loved the most. Although we thought the Route 66 would be a great fit for her, I let her put it aside a little after Christmas, because there were some frustrating (to us) parts of the program. I didn’t get a physical book (instead opted for the ebook version), and the teacher’s book was tied up in the ebook as well, making it really difficult to print off parts for her to fill out and really thoroughly review as well. She wasn’t crazy about the format overall, even though the concept was good, and since it wasn’t necessary for her year, we moved on to Grapevine and had a lot of fun with that.  



Out of all of the kids, our comic strip printables were MOST enjoyed by McKenna. While the boys enjoyed it because they didn’t have to write and take notes, McKenna loved the opportunity to be creative. Her drawings were always so much fun to review with her. 

While we loved the two programs we mixed together this year, next year McKenna will be moving to work on a program independently – North Star Geography


While one kiddo says this is a favorite subject area, another thinks it’s just ho-hum. Nothing super special to report in this area, other than basic grammar is done and she did great with it – and is ready to move onto a high school level course next year. Growing with Grammar has been a great move for our kids though and overall we really do enjoy it. 

For spelling, we did an occasional lesson here and there as needed and will finish up the entire program next year with McKenna (through level 7).



McKenna wasn’t too sure about all of the books on her list this year, but we sat down together and talked about the overall plot line, characters, and more of each book over the course of the year. The list was compiled using Reading Roadmaps and I absolutely LOVE that tool! 

Favorite book: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Least favorite: A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck – she may have left me a sticky note with how many inappropriate words were in the book. (I may have laughed when I saw that.)


For read-alouds, she loved, loved, loved the audio drama Beric the Briton from Heirloom Audio. When she saw the CD sitting on the counter, she may have actually squealed a bit. 


If there is one program I am thankful for, it’s WriteShop Basic Set II. Over the years it has been such a fantastic program for our kids to get a grip on writing a solid paper. While I’m sad she will be moving on to a high school literature class next year, I am also thrilled because I know she has such a great foundation!


As much as her sister loved the Rainbow science program, McKenna almost disliked it. This year is was so hard to get her to complete the weekly labs, but she did work on the reading. Next year promises to be a little more involved since we will be doing physical science with a small group of other kids. 

Co-op Classes

 CKC Message Refugees-15

Out of the two different co-op groups we were a part of, McKenna had a favorite class in each one. The larger co-op class offered PE and a musical this year. McKenna tried out for one of the speaking parts and played the nurse (rather comically – which was much fun to see her add her personality to the character). Her favorite class otherwise in the co-op was PE. 

Co-op pictures-6

In our smaller co-op, the kids had two classes they took part in: a lit/science class based on the Mad Scientists’ Club book and a law/court class (learning how the judicial system works). All of my friends teaching these classes do an amazing job of making it fun for the kids, including creative projects for them to deepen the learning. Mad Scientists wrapped up the year with a mini science fair (McKenna did her project together with a friend and focused on different egg experiments), and the court class put on a mock trial for the entire co-op, pooling from those in the high school class and above for a jury. Overall a great year and a group we can’t wait to get together with again!

Swim Team & Just for Fun

Outside of our homeschool time, McKenna also participated in a local swim team, practicing almost every evening. She is really an incredible swimmer and has improved her time much – especially when she applies herself. The first several months were spent convincing her that her focus/dedication does make a difference and once she did begin to apply herself, her techniques and times rapidly improved. We are still deciding on swim team for the upcoming year since there are new coaches and practices, but it is something we are definitely considering! 


One of the things that I’ve loved seeing throughout the year is McKenna playing with Spielgaben. While we have it primarily for Kaleb to use, I frequently find her sitting down somewhere with all the trays and creating different scenes. It’s a different art medium but creative still!

Other Year-End Reviews

 Take a peek at our 3rd grade and 5th grade year end reviews too! Click on the below images to read the post.

3rd grade homeschool year in review 5th grade homeschool year in review