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