I still can’t believe my daughter is a middle schooler. We’re well into the school year, so I thought I’d share our 6th grade homeschool curriculum. Julia does a combination of work at home, classes with other homeschoolers, and classes with public school students. It’s really working well for us so far.
6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum
Julia is taking a writing class one day each week at our homeschool co-op. She has a wonderful teacher who uses the Institute for Excellence in Writing.
For the fall semester she’s been involved in Speech Boot Camp as part of the course. The class watches videos of other children giving speeches, talks about the components of good speaking skills, and prepares speeches to give to their peers. The students give feedback to their classmates through written notes. It’s been a positive experience. Julia has given three different speeches and has one more to go.
We’re using Wordly Wise 3000 Book 6. There are 20 lessons, each one structured so that there’s a different activity for each day of the week.
I especially like the page on applying meanings. There are four choices and you have to decide which ones pertain to the vocabulary word. For example, “Which of the following might linger?” (a) a smell (b) a flash of lightning (c) a paper clip (d) guests. The final activity for each lesson entails reading a passage and answering questions.
Last year I didn’t do any formal spelling with Julia and I wanted to bring that back this year. She’s not a bad speller, but I know she has room for improvement. I used to make word sorts to go along with the Words Their Way developmental spelling approach. It was a lot of work for me, so maybe that’s why I dropped it last year. I discovered that they now publish separate books of pre-made sorts for each spelling stage. What a time saver! That would have been handy back in my teaching days.
Julia is in the derivational relations stage, so I grabbed a copy of the book Word Sorts for Derivational Relations Spellers on Amazon. Now I just print a copy of the sort for the week which she stores it in a small container to reuse for different activities. During the week she practices sorting her word list, looks for words in her reading that follow the pattern she’s studying, and takes a word test on Friday.
We’ve been using Easy Grammar since third grade. It’s very thorough, providing lots of exercises to practice the concepts. I like how it’s easy to follow and teaches children to eliminate prepositional phrases from the sentences, so they can easily find the other parts of speech.
Julia has challenged herself to read 60 books in 6th grade. This year I am requiring her to read a variety of genres. Half of the books will be ones from a list I made for her. The others are free choice.
We’ve enjoyed reading books that have been nominated for the Maine Student Book Award. Sometimes she reads one and tells me it’s a must read. Other times I read one and recommend it to her. If our library had two copies of the books it’d be even more fun. We could read them simultaneously and discuss as we go.
I’ve chosen a handful of titles for Julia to enjoy as a listener. I try to read to her three days a week. Her dad reads to her at night. We are still trudging along through Little Women. The language is rich, but very old fashioned. We always feel amazed at how people used to talk. I’m hoping we can get through it soon, so we can watch the movie version.
Julia has been using Singapore Math since second grade. I am finding that the concepts are challenging me this year, and I thought I was pretty good at math! I took a bunch of math courses in college and almost minored in it, but I guess I’m pretty rusty with my thinking skills. Julia likes it but doesn’t enjoy doing corrections.
In Biology for the Logic Stage you have options for a five-day or two-day schedule. I’m tweaking it a bit more to make it fit with three days. There is an experiment, vocabulary work, important dates, reading, and labeling/coloring sketches.
The reading selections are found mainly in the Usborne Encyclopedia of Science. After reading and discussing together, Julia writes a brief outline or summary of what she learned. There are six units with tests for each.
I’ve been pleased with the curriculum. The only challenge has been finding some of the specimens for the experiments. One lesson required a fern with spores, and because it was late fall, there were no ferns to be seen in our part of the country. In two weeks we need worms. I’m pretty sure the worms will be well out of reach under the snow by then.
Julia is listening to the Mystery of History on CD while reading along in the text. She got through half of the book last year and is finishing up this year. I’m hoping to do some US geography with her once she’s finished, but I’m not sure what exactly yet.
Last year Julia took a Latin class at our homeschool co-op, but this year we opted to try it at home to save us another day of driving. We chose the same curriculum they use at co-op in case we change our mind next year.
Doing Latin at home is not easy. I have absolutely no Latin background, so we rely on the teaching DVD. I’ve noticed that Julia’s scores are lower than they were when she was taking the class. Part of that is probably due to my inability to teach it, but also due to the lack of peer pressure. I think Latin at home is only working because she has a good foundation in pronunciation and Latin rules.
I wish I had worked through her books from last year, so I could be learning right along with her now in Second Form Latin. However, I have learned a great deal trying to play catch up. Sometimes Julia gets impatient with me and just wants to do it herself. Most of the time she is working independently, but I find I learn more when I participate with her.
Julia attends art class at the public school again this year. She’s currently working with clay to create a sculpture. She just finished a zentangle drawing, which she enjoyed very much.
Music is one of Julia’s strengths. I remember when she was just three years old how she’d hum-sing while wiggling her tongue back and forth to provide an accompaniment to her songs. It’s hard to put into words what she did exactly and how it sounded, but it was really cute. Now she sings in the 5th/6th grade chorus at the elementary school and sings in the children’s worship team at our church.
Julia’s clarinet skills are improving this year. She takes a group lesson each week and private lessons every other week. She’s playing in the school band and practicing for a trio for the upcoming Christmas concert.
Julia is taking a computer class through our public school. She’s learned a lot about internet safety and is currently learning to code.
Ballet is definitely a physical activity. Julia has ballet class twice each week. She also chose to take phys. ed. at school. This fall she did several fitness tests, including running a mile. In the spring she’ll take them again to see how much she has grown in skill and endurance.
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