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9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

The fact that we’ve already had two kids in the ninth grade would make it appear that picking out curriculum would be a piece of cake. But one of the huge benefits of homeschooling is that we can tweak programs, switch up the grade level we teach a program, or even completely change to a different program. As I mentioned in this post – each of our kids has been different in their likes/dislikes and focusing on individual strengths is a definite plus!

Last year Zachary started work on several high school credits and about 3/4 of the way through the year we realized that his current swimming times may shift our academic focus as we delve into the world of NCAA course approval (because life just isn’t fun enough!). 

We’ve slowed down the pace a little bit for him (which is GREAT) because his swim practices will really be intensifying this year. Last spring something really clicked for him in several events, and he made some incredible jumps in time and technique. Our mantra through this entire process has been to let the boys lead us in their desire to swim – we don’t want to push them too hard because we want them to enjoy what they are doing. Yes, work needs to be put in, but we also don’t want them to burn out. 

That said, below you’ll get a peek at our 9th grade homeschool curriculum choices – a look at the new (and favorite) programs we are using for the upcoming school year. An * depicts curriculum/programs that are new to us this year. 

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

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 6


Co-op Learning

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

Math

We have the paper version of Geometry, but this year Zachary will be working on the online version of Teaching Textbooks Geometry (3.0). It follows along with the book, and I’m excited that I can log in on my laptop and see what he is doing since everything is stored online! (He’ll earn 1 credit for this class.)

Confession: boy wonder still has about 20 lessons of Algebra 1 to wrap up before he can jump into Geometry. Keeping it real, people! 

Geography

Zachary is continuing to work through North Star Geography.  Last year we opted to follow the two year plan included with the book so we could “ease” him into high school work. When completed, he will have earned a full credit as a high school class. 

Writing & Literature

Zachary will be using a brand new program from Compass Classroom for grammar/writing this year: Grammar for Writers. He will be watching the lectures online and working through the workbook (we have the print version). Last year he worked through the Grammar of Poetry (1/2 credit), so these classes will be combined together for essentially an “English 9” class for him. 

We will also be continuing with All About Spelling Levels 6 & 7 for spelling. He is sitting down with me this week to choose four main books for his reading over the year. 

Biology

We’ll be working through The Riot and the Dance  biology this year and have a local friend to complete our lab activities with each week. This program is one we switched to with McKenna and really enjoyed the layout and the way things were explained in the text. We mix up the labs a little bit from how the book presents them and added more dissections (because they really are fun!!) to the mix as well. 

Reading

We aren’t focusing on a dedicated literature program this year, but there are a few books Zachary will be reading through over the course of the year. It’s a fairly eclectic list, but some are ones he chose and a few are ones I am reading along with him. 


Swimming

This past year Zachary decided to swim year round. For those of you with swimmers, he not only competed in short course (25 meter pool) but also long course (50 meter pool) this summer. He is now measuring in at a bit over 6’3″ and essentially has flippers for feet. He has been dropping even more time and really loves most everything about swimming (his parents are not as fond of the early morning practices!). :) 

Quite honestly, swimming is a mixed bag for me personally. It does mean quite a bit more running around in the evenings, especially as Zachary is in the top practice group and expected to attend a high percentage of practices each week. But he is WILLINGLY putting in over 12 hours of pool time in each week as well as multiple dryland practices weekly, so his physical activity is beyond admirable.

Sidenote: this is the boy who will now come home after practice and eat about a dozen eggs for breakfast. Our grocery budget is about ready to go nuts again.

Boy Scouts

This will be Zachary’s last year participating in Scouts. He is currently ranked as a Life Scout and our troop will be disbanding next June as our current troop leaders retire. Zachary is working hard to complete the remaining four merit badges he needs to earn and deciding on his Eagle Scout project (ideas welcome!!). Our troop has been such a great outlet for Zachary, and he has really loved it over the last four years. 

Personal Finance

One of the best things that happened for Zachary this past summer was getting his first job at our local pool. He helped serve in the snack area, and it’s been a great jumping point for teaching about saving and spending. The Foundations in Personal Finance class is one of my favorite electives to go through with the kids because it really has helped shape how they view their current and future finances (McKenna saved up and paid cash for her first car this summer and has a $1000 emergency fund!). We’ll be working through this class with a small group of kids – and it will be fun! 

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 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

11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

 

 

8th Grade Mid Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

This year had me a little anxious when it came to Zachary taking a few high school classes (truth be told). He and I had a few great conversations prior to (and during) this school year to make sure he was ready and prepared for a little more accountability and intensity (if you will) associated with taking a class for a credit. 

Here’s the thing: I am very much of the mindset that not all of my kids are on the same academic course. Do I want them to excel in their studies? Absolutely. Will they all put the same effort in? Likely no. Not all of our kids will be dual enrolled in the community college. And that is JUST FINE. Really – it’s fabulous.

That said, I’m really pleased with how Zachary has been doing and working so far this year. Granted there are days when he would prefer to put in the absolute minimal effort required to get an assignment completed, but we are finding a good groove, tailoring things to his interests and strengths, and moving from there. Ah, the joys of homeschooling! 

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Here’s the mid-year look at how each of these subject areas is progressing: 

Math: We are loving the online version of  Algebra 1 from Teaching Textbooks – not needing to worry about WHICH computer we log on to the program with (or where) has made things so much easier. There are a few things he keeps tripping up over, but fortunately each time he is figuring it out more quickly. 

Physical Science: One of the things I love most about our Physical Science from Exploration Education are the hands-on labs and building projects Zachary has to complete. There are times when he is learning that he can’t just throw something together and skip steps (shocking, I know), and fortunately for him (or much to his dismay) I have enough leftover pieces from prior lab kits with the girls that he is able to rework something he may have done incorrectly – and slow down to get it done right.

He’s had the most fun (and frustration) making the steamboat since it actually floated and worked. And also because it involved matches. 

Geography: I wasn’t quite sure how geography would go over with Zachary this year since it involved a whole lot more memorization and reading for him as well as sometimes having to dig for answers, but he has done great with North Star Geography. He is working through the program over two years, rather than one year like his sisters did and in some ways I like that option (although I do feel he could push himself a bit more as well). 

Prior to this year we haven’t done a lot of weekly quizzes or tests with him, it’s been more 1:1, but with this being a high school class I’m wanting more a paper trail (call me paranoid). But he has done SO WELL and been learning a lot. 

Language: We definitely could be doing a bit more with this program than we are, but with the shift in reading material (see below), Zachary has worked through the units for books he has completed and then we have skipped over some material that I felt he didn’t need to work on because it overlapped something we have already covered or he has already mastered that specific area – a bonus to homeschooling !

Poetry: We’ve finished up the bulk of  Grammar of Poetry, and one of the best parts of the class was participating in a poetry workshop at a nearby Shakespeare theatre. It was a full-day event and tied in so well with the program we were using. 

Reading: Zachary has read a few books that tie-in with the Learning Language Arts Through Literature (Gray) program, but in December I may have upped the ante for him a little bit. He is NOT a reader (not a fan of reading, rather). So we discussed various book series he might enjoy (because of course whatever I choose is never enjoyable – just insert me rolling my eyes here). 

He decided to read some of the Harry Potter books – and YOU ALL. The boy has been reading for school each day WITHOUT COMPLAINING and some nights staying up until late to read just a bit more in the book. He finished one this weekend and spent much of his Sunday afternoon with me and reading. It was so great to see. For his reading out of school time, I may have also thrown in some bonus Fortnite time to reward him – but he has now declared that it is his favorite series ever – so huge win.  

Writing: We are working through the second half of the WriteShop Basic Set 2 program. Zachary has been doing really well with this program as well and his writing has improved so much, other than typical grammatical errors and his usual here-and-there spelling mistakes because he doesn’t run spell check. 

Spelling: Confession: we’ve only done 2 lessons of All About Spelling Levels 6 . Yep. Need to step it up a little here. 

Art: Confession #2. Zero art with either of the boys. Big fat zero, nada, nothing. In my defense, they are very involved in swimming and Boy Scouts. If starting fires can count as art, Zachary is passing with flying colors. 

Bible Studies: I held off in this area until after Christmas break, so the boys and I will be starting the Do Right study this coming week, just after our halfway point.

Swim Team and Boy Scouts – Zachary has not only grown taller, but he’s gotten so much stronger this year. Just after Christmas, he was asked to join the Level 1 group of our swim team. He’s been dropping time like crazy in his events, qualified for the state swim meet, and is so close in several events to qualifying for nationals. 

Traveling to Pittsburg with our team was a big step for him this year and he’s really been pushing himself to both work hard and improve his stroke technique. The season hasn’t been without struggle though. We lost our primary coaches in October and were thrilled to have a new head coach join the team, but he was only able to stay a short time because of a health issue with a family member. Despite all of those changes though, it’s wonderful to see Zachary’s improvement. 

Boy Scouts continues to be one of Zachary’s priorities as well and he will be ranking up at the next Court of Honor (and thinking of Eagle Scout projects next!). They haven’t had the opportunity to camp as much lately since the weather has been crazy ridiculous with ice one weekend and rain/sleet/FRIGID temperatures another. While they have camped in snow before, the 20 degree temps weren’t something to get too excited about. 

That’s about it for our mid-year wrap up.

How are things going with your homeschool time? 

 

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

 

 

 

 

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

My word for Zachary this year is FOCUS. He is a boy with many interests who can excel in many things, but sometimes his focus can be hard to refine. Along with the focus, we are honing in on doing things well and completely (the first time).

He is a teenage boy. :) 

Both of our girls worked on a few more credits their 8th grade year, but if anything I’m realizing that each of our kids has different learning curves, interests, and also doesn’t need to start on credits as early. Yes, it’s a bonus, but not a necessity. That said, Zachary isn’t in the same place academically (and that’s perfectly fine), so he will be working on 3.5 credits overall throughout the year. 

Below you’ll get a peek at our 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices – a look at the new (and favorite) programs we are using for the upcoming school year. An * depicts curriculum/programs that are new to us this year. 

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

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 3

 

Math

We have the paper version of the Algebra 1 book, but this year Zachary will be working on the online version of Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 (3.0). It follows along with the book, and I’m excited that I can log in on my laptop and see what he is doing since everything is stored online! (He’ll earn 1 credit for this class.)

Geography

Another program we will be using again is North Star Geography. In the past we have worked through it in one year, but this time we are choosing the two year schedule for Zachary. When completed, he will have earned a full credit as a high school class. 

Language & Spelling

Zachary will be using Learning Language Arts Through Literature Gray, and his reading will be tied in with his language/grammar program. There are four main books as the focus of the curriculum: Daddy-Long-Legs, A Lantern in Her Hand, Eric Liddell, and God’s Smuggler.   We will likely add on an extra book or two over the course of the year, but these are the four we will start with. 


This year we will also be working through the Grammar of Poetry from Compass Classroom. There is a local workshop that will tie-in with what we are learning in the program, and Zachary will earn .5 a high school credit for this class. We will also be continuing with All About Spelling Levels 6  for spelling. 

Writing

We will be continuing with the second half of WriteShop (Zachary completed WriteShop Basic Set 1 last year). Used it with both girls and LOVE it! 

Science

Both Laurianna and McKenna used Physical Science from Exploration Education. When they worked through the program, they were in a smaller group co-op setting, so this year will be a little different with Zachary doing it with me each week, but he is really looking forward to the program and the hands-on projects.

Swimming

Zachary and Kaleb have both asked to swim the full year again. With Zachary’s growth the last year, he has been dropping time like crazy and is hoping to qualify for nationals (he did last year), but this year will definitely be more difficult for him. The last few months have seen him becoming more focused on what he enjoys and loves and how it will impact him in the future (thinking ahead to college – yikes!).

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 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 Mid-Year Homeschool Update

The past few days I’ve shared a mid-year update for our 11th grader and also one for our 9th grader – today, our 7th grader, Zachary, is on deck.

In the first bit of this school year, our boy managed to become both a teenager and also pass me in height. Zachary is currently eyeball-to-eyeball with his dad, but OY!

Incidentally, boy wonder has one of two dress codes, even when the weather is freezing: a sweatshirt and pants or NO SHIRT and shorts. Because of his growth spurt lately, I’m rather inclined to let the shorts go all winter and not deal with finding him pants unless absolutely necessary. (true story)

I’ve realized we have very few pictures of him this year. Someone isn’t as happy to see the camera pulled out most days. :) 

7th Grade Homeschool Update

One thing that we started this year – watching CNN10 in the morning with both boys. They have really enjoyed this addition (and it’s only 10 minutes to our day). Our biggest frustration with it is our streaming speed. Inevitably it freezes up as we are watching and it’s easy to get distracted and/or sidetracked because they want to finish it. 

Here’s a peek at what we have been working on this year for 7th grade: 

 

History – One of the main switch ups for us this year was our history program. Granted, it wasn’t huge, but around the end of October Zachary mentioned that he wasn’t particularly enjoying the history we were using (not a set curriculum per se, but it just wasn’t working overall). After one lesson, Zachary started spouting off all this information about the topic that he had learned years prior via Mystery of History

At that point he asked if we could use that program instead. We’ve gone through the set with the kids in years prior and have all the books, so we pulled them out and have been working through books 1 and 2 instead. 

Writing – This is one area that is pushing Zachary into a bit more independence this year. I had his WriteShop 1 text printed and spiral bound which has been GREAT for him – mainly because he can’t lose it. (cough)

Not that my child loses anything. Ever. 

I truly love the WriteShop program and the foundation it lays for future years with our kids. It has been instrumental in helping our girls become the writers they are and is encouraging to see Zachary working hard in this area as well. 

Boy Scouts – Granted, I know it’s not on the list, but Zachary has been rather motivated by Boy Scouts this year and moving up in rank. Kaleb was able to join this fall too. His troop is working through one badge a month (above would be part of his cooking badge). 

It’s been great too seeing him take his brother alongside and help him out with Scouts as well and also more leadership with his troop. He ultimately would like to become an Eagle Scout by the time he is 16. 

Science – This is one area that Zachary has been moving through rather quickly. Typically he is supposed to work through 2 lessons and one lab each week, but he ends up working on more lessons. 

He’ll complete his book before the end of the year for sure, so we are looking at some other options (STEM related) for him to add-on. 

Co-op – We only have one co-op we are a part of this year, and Zachary has been working on a forensics class. It’s one we pieced together using several different texts for our middle schoolers and has focused on different areas such as handwriting samples, fingerprints, and other similar topics the last few months. 

Bible – Zachary has almost finished up the last two books in the Who is God series. This is another area that he has been working ahead in. 

Vocabulary: We actually haven’t started this yet! We will be starting after the first of January on this. 

MathPre-Algebra is actually going great! Truly. :) It may not be his favorite of all subjects, but he is doing well and that’t the important part. 

 

How is YOUR year going so far? 

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?

Just One Peanut (and a whole lotta laughing)

Sometimes you overhear conversations between kids and just have to scratch your head. Or laugh out loud for HOURS after when the conversation comes back to mind. 

Zachary (age 12) was in search of a peanut for a science project, and the following conversation took place between him and Kaleb (age 10). Why this particular situation even happened in the first place? I have no idea. But I do know that it possibly speaks to my pantry cleaning abilities (although I have no idea how long it has been hiding). 

So I just continue to laugh. 

 

Zach: I need a peanut for my experiment but I don’t know where to get one.

Kaleb: Just one peanut?

Zach: Yeah.

Kaleb: Only one?

Zach: Yeah…

Kaleb: I have one.

Zach: What?

Kaleb: Here I’ll show you. *leads Zach to pantry*

Zach: You have just a single peanut?

Kaleb: Yeah look. *pulls cereal boxes away to reveal single peanut sitting on the shelf* *picks up peanut* Here.

Zach: Why… do you have this?

Kaleb: I put it there a while ago. I was saving it.

 
Apparently being the fourth child means one has to hoard and ration food, wherever one is able. Because I have NO idea when the last time was that we had peanuts in the house.
 
For real.