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Sixth Grade Homeschool Curriculum Plans

Middle School has never looked so good. 

Seriously, I have nightmarish recollections of my middle school journey, don't you?

It never ceases to amaze me just how DIFFERENT my own children's education is, and just how thankful I am we had the COURAGE to buck the system and homeschool our kids.

Sixth grade is year full of mixed emotions for the homeschooling mom! Many children are still "little", but they are capable of BIG things.  My prayer is that I can stretch my sixth grader, while retaining his youthful wonder and enthusiasm. 

Sixth Grade Homeschool Curriculum Plans

Grant is enrolled in a Classical Conversations community - Foundations and Essentials. While those serve as the framework for our days, we still have an immense amount of freedom within the Classical framework CC provides. 

Our schooling style has changed so much over the past eight years, and I can truly say that we have hit our sweet spot with educating Classically. This is our fourth year on this path and I don't see it changing from here. 


Geography

Grant has always really enjoyed the geography memory work, so this year we continue to trace maps and work on drawing the world. (When he gets to Challenge A I hope all of this practice will benefit him!) We spend more time on this part of the memory work than any other!

In the past we've made a geography table and we still make a geography binder each year. 

It really doesn't matter which maps you use, as long as you keep them consistent and trace daily. 

Map Tracing in Classical Conversations Foundations Program

 

Math

We've used Saxon all along with Grant. 

This year he is finishing 7/6 and moving into 8/7.  The goal is to have him in pre-Algebra by the time he starts 7th grade next year. 

He is my math kid, and if I approach math with the end in mind and work backwards I come up with a good schedule. I want to set Grant up for math success in his high school years. This is what it will (hopefully) look like.  

Keep in mind, we switch to Mr. D Math for the upper grades because I feel that Saxon spirals WAY too much for the older kids.  In talking with Mr. D he advised me to stick with Saxon as long as it works for Grant, and then make the switch.  This is wise advice. 

Looking at math with the end in mind, this is hopefully  the schedule for Grant.  I know that Saxon doesn't break its math curriculum down this way in the high school years - but I think by that time we will have switched to Mr. D Math. 

7th grade: Pre-Algebra (Algebra 1/2) 

8th grade:  Algebra I

9th Grade:  Geometry

10th Grade:  Algebra II

11th Grade:  Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry

12th Grade:  Calculus


Science

We're trying something new this year - an online class - Experience Astronomy.

The recorded classes are each about 20 minutes long, with a quiz, reading assignment, and project in the field guide as well. 

The textbook for the class Signs and Seasons, is a beautiful explanation of Classical Astronomy (I'm really enjoying it, too!) , while also incorporating works of art, Bible verses, and more. 

 I'm so excited for all of us to become more familiar with the night sky. 


Vocabulary

We needed more this year to help Grant develop his vocabulary and reading comprehension. A good friend of mine suggested Wordly Wise, and so far it's been EXACTLY what he needs!

Yes, it is a workbook curriculum, but I'm ok with that, and I think as Grant gets older it definitely has the benefit of teaching him how to "test" and function with this type of assessment. 

He still prefers to just plop down wherever (normally with the dog) and not sit at a desk, and I'm OK with that! 

Wordly Wise 6 is where we are starting - hopefully going into Wordly Wise 7 after Christmas. 


Grammar/Writing/Spelling

We participate in the Classical Conversations Essentials program, which includes weekly instruction in grammar and diagramming sentences and writing, as well as spelling rules and editing exercises. 

I am SO impressed with the knowledge Grant has gained in this program. This is his third tour of Essentials, and by the third year students are MASTERING the concepts of grammar and writing.  It truly amazes me.

This year he is working through IEW's Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons.  Years ago, when I would look at IEW I would be greatly intimidated - yes, it is a complicated program, but VERY WELL WORTH the time investment. I have even found my own writing improving in the process! 

Playing Board Slam in Classical Conversations Essentials Program

At the end of each Essentials class the children get to play math games.  I think this is their favorite part of the day! 

The healthy competition to cross off all the numbers on the chart in Board Slam makes math FUN.  They also play tons of other fun card games -- and we like the book Mega Fun Card Game Math to keep playing games at home, too!  


History/Reading

Veritas Self Paced History was such a hit last year, so we are doing it again this year. 

Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation is the course we chose for this year - it matches up perfectly with CC Cycle 2 and the writing lessons for the year. 

I love that the course is 100% online, and Grant does this independently. He follows the Level 2 reading assignments for the course, so we either order the books or grab them from the library. 

This year I'm finding myself truly transitioning from a TEACHER to a FACILITATOR and it makes me both happy and sad.  Courses like this self paced history help give Grant independence and accountability. 


Music & PE

Grant continues to take piano lessons. 

It's always been a non negotiable that my kids would know the language of music, and I'm so thankful they both enjoy it. 

This year we've decided to also focus a little more on tennis, and Grant is playing on a tennis team at our local YMCA.  He goes to drills twice a week and has team practice on another day, so he's busy - but for an 11 year old boy it's SO important to get that energy out!   My daughter plays, too -- so they will often just play tennis together.  

That's a bonus of homeschooling. You can take a break in the middle of the day to go play tennis with your sibling. 

 


All the Rest - Morning Time

All of the other things I want to give Grant are incorporated into our Morning Time. My 15 year old also joins in during this time. It is a dedicated hour for us to be intentional about TRUTH, BEAUTY, and GOODNESS.  

I've created a very Simple Morning Basket, but here's a brief overview of what Morning Time entails  (Keep in mind - we alternate music and art each morning, and morning time takes about 45 - 60 minutes.) :


When I write it all out, it seems like A LOT of work for this sixth grade year, but it's been very manageable so far, with plenty of time to read books, play LEGOS, and spend time with friends, too.

 

I'd love to hear about your curriculum this year!  Leave me a comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschool 10th Grade - Curriculum Plans

Homeschooling high school doesn't have to be scary.

Yes, it is higher stakes than homeschooling elementary school. Yes, it requires more planning, record keeping, and grading. 

And yes, it can sometimes feel like an enormous responsibility (because it IS). 

Homeschooling "big kids", however, is a great joy and honor. It is where we are able to witness the fruits of our labor.

There are so many wonderful CONVERSATIONS to be had when you homeschool high school. There are DEEP subjects to be tackled. There are so many social aspects (too numerous to count) to be avoided when you homeschool high school. 

There are abundant opportunities to grow and learn alongside your teen, and for this I am thankful. 

Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans

Homeschool High School - The BIG Plan

We have made the commitment to homeschool high school using the Classical Conversations Challenge program as our SPINE. My daughter is part of a class of 7 young people who come together once a week to discuss their work and receive guidance from their tutor. 

( It really is a BEAUTIFUL model for learning, and I'm very thankful we have a thriving Challenge community in our area. )

This year Anna will be participating in Challenge II:

Challenge II is a rich study of ideas that challenges students to work hard, write well, and think deeply. Students are given thought-provoking British literature that ranges from Paradise Lost to Out of the Silent Planet. Tutors lead lively class discussions and debates, and students are challenged with writing assignments they complete at home. Students participate in biology labs and read dramas aloud in radio theatre style. In the method of earlier research-based science seminars, students are asked to write their own history of art and music. In conjunction with their art studies, students design an art installation, write a hypothetical art grant, and vote on allocating funds to the various proposals. Students also enjoy challenging each other in formal team policy debates on related topics.
— Classical Conversations

 

Notice I say SPINE... not everything in the Challenge curriculum has worked for my daughter, nor do I believe one size EVER fits all for homeschool.  One of the largest reasons we began homeschooling eight years ago was to  tailor our children's educations to their needs and interests. 

To that end, we are adding and subtracting from the Challenge program - while still maintaining the overall integrity of a Classical education.

Math

For the past two years we have been using Mr. D Math. Really, I could go on forever about why we love this math program. 

For 10th grade Anna is enrolled in Geometry. She attends a once a week online class meeting, and then completes the rest of the coursework during the week. 

So many people ask why we abandoned Saxon Math (it is after all the gold standard, right?).  It's very simple:  the spiraling got to be TOO MUCH for my student.  (We still use Saxon for my youngest - it works for him but it may not when he gets to be older - who knows?)

My daughter was checking out during lessons and getting extremely frustrated by the amount of repetition - and not enough time spent on individual concepts. Math was a source of tension and anxiety - for BOTH OF US! 

Mr. D puts math into a language she understands. He goes concept by concept -- AND (my favorite thing) he integrates SAT test taking strategies in his math courses.  Best of all, my daughter genuinely enjoys Mr. D and he instills confidence in her. 

    Mr D. and Anna at the SE Homeschool Expo this summer! 

    Mr D. and Anna at the SE Homeschool Expo this summer! 


British Literature

This will be a challenging year of British literature. The theme of the year is learning about making wise choices through an analysis of the characters in the books they read. 

We follow the schedule of readings in our Challenge guide and will read (and write a persuasive essay on and discuss) the following novels this year: 

Homeschool High School with Challenge II Classical Conversations as the Spine

Biology

SO MANY PEOPLE wonder how homeschooled children will complete science labs at the high school level. 

Anna reads the text this year and completes lab reports and tests at home, while doing work with the microscope and dissections in her Challenge II class.  She is my science kid and really looks forward to this seminar each week! 

This year's text is Exploring Creation with Biology.


Latin

This is another area where we diverge from the Challenge II curriculum. 

Yes, we are still using Henle Latin - but we are moving at a slower (and I believe more thorough) pace. 

If there is one struggle I constantly hear from Challenge parents it is that the Latin is TOO difficult. We aren't ones to shy away from difficult - but the difficulties we were having with Latin (especially since Anna jumped into Challenge with no prior CC experience) were huge stumbling blocks to learning. 

Last year we gave ourselves permission to START OVER in Latin. We enrolled in Memoria Press Online Academy and completed the year long Henle I course (covering Units 1-5). This was the BEST decision we could have made! 

Anna attended a once a week 90 minute class meeting and was led BY AN EXPERT LATIN TEACHER through the Henle book. It was such a huge sense of relief - after feeling that Latin just wasn't sticking or making much sense during Challenges A & B.  

This year she is enrolled in Henle I Units 6-14.

Benefits of outsourcing Latin?

  • Learning from an EXPERT in Latin eliminates confusion.
  • A strict, graded online class environment is good to experience. 
  • Having this variety in her high school experience makes her more well rounded.
  • Mom can be 100% hands off! 

Western Cultural History

This is probably MY favorite part of Challenge II -- because it is just so rich and beautiful:

The significance of choices is clearly demonstrated through the lens of western art and music history. Students research and write about significant artists and composers in their own histories of art and music. Class discussions focus on Francis Schaeffer’s ideas in How Should We Then Live? Using this insightful book, students learn to define and compare artwork and appreciate its cultural relevance and, as always, hold each idea up to the truth. Students design an original art installation and write an art grant application, then present their ideas to the class. The students vote on allocating funds for the projects.
— Classical Conversations

As a special gift to our family, I've subscribed to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. We will be going to see five concerts this school year - to get a closer look at music history.  

(We will also continue to use SQUILT during our Morning Time because it perfectly prepares Anna for a deeper study of music appreciation this year. )


Logic

Our Logic studies come from Memoria Press - Traditional Logic. 

Logic was very difficult in Challenge B, but I have heard that this year's Logic is a bit easier.  I'm hoping so! 


Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans

Extra Curriculars

As I look at this 10th grade schedule it IS demanding. 

What I love, however, is that Anna has learned to budget her time. After three years in the Challenge program she has disciplined herself to create a weekly schedule and stick to it. 

Our favorite saying lately is:

"You can always do more than you think you can do!" 

School work is our priority - most days Anna will be working from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., and it is amazing what can be accomplished in that time. 

She is also taking piano and guitar lessons, and tennis drills twice a week at our local YMCA. Add to this youth group and babysitting jobs, and she's a busy girl - which is a GOOD THING! 

 


I keep asking myself how we got this point, and how I could possibly have a 10th grader I am homeschooling?

How could we have gone from pulling this avid third grade reader out of public school to registering for the PSAT?  

I marvel at how God has paved the way for this homeschool experience, and how He will continue to pave the way through graduation. 

Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans

Honestly, I never thought I would be able to homeschool high school, but God truly has equipped me to guide Anna through these years, and to be the "learner in charge" - NOT the expert in all areas. 

Are you homeschooling a high schooler this year?  I would love to hear about it!  Leave me a comment below!

 

Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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