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Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review for 6th Grade

Our 2016-2017 6th grade homeschool curriculum reviews
Our 2016-2017 6th grade mid-year homeschool curriculum reviews

So how are things going this year in our homeschool? Which homeschool curriculum are we still using and why? Which curriculum did we ditch and why? What’s been added? What’s changed? Below is our subject by subject 6th grade homeschool curriculum review and changes. Click here to read what we started with at the beginning of the year: Our 6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links that I have provided for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Homeschool Curriculum Review of Our Essential Subjects

Math

We have been using Math-U-See for 4 years now and so far it is great. Are my children in love with math as I am? No, but they are mastering all the concepts presented in this curriculum. Read my post, How to Effectively Implement Math-U-See to get an idea of how we use this curriculum in our homeschool.

English

We have been using BJU Press for 4 years for our language arts and writing. When it comes to learning grammar, I think this curriculum is great. However, after 4 years of their writing component, the boys and I are bored to death of it. It is really turning us all off to writing.

With that, I started the new year by omitting the writing chapters. Instead, I am allowing the boys to work on research papers of their choosing. They are to choose a historical person, event, or scientific concept on which to do their papers. I can’t begin to tell you the difference in their attitudes towards writing assignments now. What took days to draft a single paper now takes about a couple of hours.

So what does this look like in our homeschool? We take on a writing assignment every other week. This gives them time to decide on their topic or person, do a little research, and order books from the library. We also use our membership with NotebookingPages to make our reports look good.

Here is what that week of writing looks like:

  • Monday: planning (usually an outline of their paper based on their research)
  • Tuesday: drafting
  • Wednesday: revising and proofreading
  • Thursday: bibliography and images added
  • Friday: formatting and publishing the final paper

Literature

So far this year, we have read Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and will end the year with ‘As You Like It’.  Josh really likes it and gets into character when his speaking part comes up. Jack, not so much. He really hates reading the parts. However, he does pay attention and enjoys watching the movie clips for each part we read.

We continue to read the Harry Potter series for independent reading and are enjoying the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for school reading time. Next month, we will be covering short stories.

This is a list of all that we have read and will cover soon:

World History/Geography

We are still using Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World Curriculum. I like this curriculum because it doesn’t just cover the typical European/American history I encountered throughout my elementary years. This curriculum covers the Far East, Africa, and even Australia.

I pair this curriculum with writing now (see above) allowing the boys to do a one-page research paper on a historical person or event of their choice. We also watch parts of the History Channel’s DVDs: Mankind, The Story of All of Usand America, The Story of Us. The boys love watching these DVDs. These really bring out history for them.

U.S. Geography

This has not changed from last year. We take 6 days to cover each state and use NotebookingPages‘ individual state study sheets. I also pair this with Scholastic Highlight’s Which Way, USA subscription. While I do not like the mazes and crossword puzzle activities in the book, they do have other fun activities that require fact checking and mapping skills. We are almost done with this curriculum having covered this over the last two and half years. 50 states are a lot!!

U.S. Government

This year we read Presidential Elections and Other Cool Factsby Syl Sobel around the time of the election. On election day, I printed out a blank U.S. map where the kids could color in each state red or blue depending on the candidate who won that state. We also tallied the electoral college votes on our white board until we reached the winning number.  I still can’t believe how excited the boys got on election day. They really took to their activities. It was fun watching them cheer on the candidate of their choice.

Science

This year, I changed things up and purchased Dr. Bernard J. Nebel’s Scientific Understanding and Elementary Science Education books. Both these books cover K to 5th grade but can be used for any grade with some modifications. These are not textbooks or workbooks for kids. These books are guides for parents to use in order to teach different science concepts.

I really loved these books. Dr. Nebel explains each concept in simple terms and best of all, his experiment suggestions are doable. That is, most of the materials can be found in the home. The few items I have had to buy were things that I found easily at Walmart or on Amazon. You don’t have to worry about trying to find crazy electronic parts or chemicals.

I am also pairing this subject with writing as well. The boys can research either a topic or scientist of their choice. We will be working on creating a periodic table (coming to a post soon) where we will cover each element on a report sheet from NotebookingPages (this site has everything, can you tell?).

Homeschool Curriculum Review of Our Electives

Technology

We are currently using Homeschool Programming Inc.’s Digital Savvy for learning simple computer skills. The boys can’t wait to learn programming but I believe that they should learn the basics first. I am so glad I decided to do it this way. What they are learning now, they are applying to their research reports such as word processing, using images, and search engines. This program even teaches about spreadsheets, social media, and how to be safe online.

We also included the subscription based EEME as part of their tech curriculum. Read my review of EEME to find out more about it.

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Spanish

So far I have been winging this without curriculum. I have not found anything that goes beyond simple labeling and maybe a few common phrases. I did start touching upon the basics of verb conjugations in order to get the boys creating simple sentences but I am running into a little trouble finding resources to further their grasp of the language. Would love to hear from anyone who has a great resource.

Typing

We are using Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Family Edition that we purchased as a download off of Amazon. Scheduling this every day, the boys ended up finishing the tutorial part before Christmas. I think it did a good job of teaching the boys how to type. Josh has really taken to using his skills whenever he is on a keyboard; Jack, not so much.

Right now, the boys are working on the typing tests available at the end of the tutorial. As far as scheduling goes, I only require typing practice on those days that they are not working on research papers since this gives them an opportunity to practice their typing skills already.

Health

We have not done health yet. We will be starting after U.S. Geography is finished which will be some time in March. I’ll update this post with that review once we finish it.

And this is it folks, our mid-year homeschool curriculum review. I hope you found it helpful and if you have any suggestions for curriculum, I’d love to hear from you. If you would like more information on a particular curriculum, don’t hesitate to contact me or leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to sign up below to receive my newsletter alerts. I am in the habit of making lots of freebies so don’t miss out!

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2016-2017 6th Grade Homeschool Schedule

picture of school schedule

Our 2016-2017 6th Grade Homeschool Schedule

6th grade homeschool schedule pin pic

Below you will find the boys’ 2016-2017 6th grade homeschool schedule. After choosing their curriculum, I was able to create the boys’ school day schedule that takes us from 9am-3pm. Keep in mind that there are days when we are unable to stick to our schedule due to appointments, errands, etc. We try our best to stick to the schedule so that we can finish our day on time.

2016-2017 6th grade homeschool schedule
http://www.homeschoolingtwinkies.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Our-2016-to-2017-school-schedule.pdf

We will be starting our first day of school this year on August 8. It does seem a little early but I plan on making several trips this year. The boys are bummed out about the early date but they are looking forward to those breaks throughout the year.

Coming soon…Planner inserts!

This year I created a student planner for each of the boys so that they can keep track of their schedule, work, and grades. Just another little step towards independence. I included a laminated daily schedule and a laminated school day schedule where they can insert tasks with a dry erase marker. Jack really likes this since he tries to stay on task. Josh, not so much.

I am currently preparing to offer planner inserts for students and moms (and dads). These inserts were made for mini binders but I realize that some people prefer regular binders and so I will make both available soon. Here is a sneak peek of what I am creating:

  • goal worksheets
  • menu planner
  • fitness tracker
  • blogger’s planner
  • homeschool planner
  • household chores checklists
  • weekly couponing checklist
  • finance tracker
  • student reading logs
  • grade tracker
  • attendance sheet

It seems like a lot of inserts but some are laminated so that you can use them over and over like the daily/weekly chores list insert. One simply crosses out each chore using a dry erase marker once its been completed. Then simply erase the marks and reuse it for the following day/week.

Stay tune for future posts where I will make these available for you for free. ????

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links that I have provided for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

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Our 6th Grade Curriculum

6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum 2016-2017

Our 6th Grade Curriculum for 2016-2017

6th grade homeschool curriculum pin pic

It amazes me how time flies. The boys are now entering 6th grade: middle school. This homeschool year will be a little different in that the boys are expected to take on a little more independent work. They will have less ‘elementary activities’ such as lap books, and have more writing assignments in the form of reports. I know the boys won’t mind the first two things but the last is going to be difficult to sell since they hate writing, but I have a plan for that. Below is our 6th grade curriculum along with how I am scheduling these subjects so far.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links that I have provided for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

6th Grade Curriculum for Math

math 6th grade curriculumWe have been using Math-U-See for the past three years and it works very well for our family. The boys really enjoy watching the videos and seeing if they can solve a given problem before the answer is given. This year they will be taking on the Zeta level which deals mostly with decimals and percents, but also metric conversions, mean, median, mode, probability, area of a circle, angles, and more. Math is a daily, Monday to Friday subject.

6th Grade Curriculum for Language Arts/Writing

English 6th Grade CurriculumFor our Language Arts and Writing assignments, the boys will be using BJU‘s English 6 Curriculum. We used BJU for third and fourth grade, but last year I decided to try a more Charlotte Mason approach to this subject. Unfortunately, we ended up going back to BJU’s curriculum because Joshua was having trouble with dictation. We did well with BJU in the past so we are sticking with them again. This curriculum is also a daily, Monday to Friday subject.

6th Grade Curriculum for Literature

6th grade curricula literatureOur approach to this curriculum will be a little different this year. Each month we are going to tackle a different form of literature.

For August, we will complete our last ‘Classical Start’ lap book activity for Gulliver’s Travels, by Confessionsofahomeschooler.com. We really enjoyed their literature curriculum.

In September, we will concentrate on the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. The twins will read and discuss selected poems from his book, A Child’s Garden of Verses.

For October and part of November, and in April, we will delve into Shakespeare covering the plays “Much Ado About Nothing” and “As You Like It“. In the past, we did one Shakespearean play per year but I am doubling that now mostly because the boys really love it. Every day we read a scene then watch a movie clip for that scene.

In March, we will cover selected short stories by O. Henry. In between these assignments (part of November-March), the boys will be given independent reading time. I selected the Percy Jackson Series by Riordan and Classic Start’s The Man in the Iron Mask. This is also a Monday-Friday assignment.

6th Grade Curriculum for Technology

This year I am introducing the boys to computer science. I scoured the internet trying to find an appropriate curriculum and found Homeschool Programming Inc. They offer both textbooks and online courses. They also provide a curriculum syllabus for each course helping to plan out my whole year. We will be doing the online course called Digital Savvy. Once the course is paid for its access is granted for only one year as their servers cannot hold student records for an indefinite period. After reviewing the syllabus, I decided to make this a daily Monday-Friday course because it offers so many different modules.

I am also considering adding another technology component as an elective. Right now, I am looking into EEME‘s monthly subscription kits that get kids to create various electrical components. The subscription also includes lesson plans. I came upon this after being disappointed with Lego’s kits which are very pricey. I am going to wait a few weeks after we settle into homeschool mode and then work this into our curriculum.

6th Grade Curriculum for Typing

This is a also a new subject for the boys. Seeing that they will be taking a computer course I figured they should start learning to type as well. I chose the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Family Edition download from Amazon. This will also be a Monday-Friday course but I will omit it only on days when school runs a little late for the boys.

6th Grade Curriculum for World History/Geography

History 6th grade curriculumThis year we will stick to our newly loved curriculum, Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer, Volume 3, Early Modern Times.The boys will have to write short summaries of famous historical people and events using NotebookingPages.com inventory. We will also use Homeschoolinthewoods.com’s timeline record for placing the figures and events that we touch upon. For a review of these curriculums, see my post: http://www.homeschoolingtwinkies.com/2016/02/01/history-curriculum-reviews/. This is a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday subject.

6th Grade Curriculum for Science

This year I am taking a different approach to our science curriculum. I tried to find a curriculum online instead of trying to create my own using Virginia’s Standards of Learning. Because I love the Charlotte Mason approach to this subject, I went to Sonya Shafer’s site: https://simplycharlottemason.com/ and looked up science books in her very handy guide, the CM book finder. I came upon Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding by Bernard J. Nebel, Phd. After reading the introduction to this book, I was hooked. In fact, I went ahead and purchased the next book as well, Elementary Science Education.

The first book is geared towards K-2 grades but as the author suggests, no matter how thorough a science course is, there may be gaps that are missed. He recommends using his books (there are 3) together as he has created a way to integrate science topics for better understanding. He provides a flow chart for how to teach each topic as well as the pre-requisite topics students need before moving on to the next topic. Once we complete a couple of months of this curriculum, I will provide a review of our progress.

6th Grade Curriculum for U.S. Geography

Scholastic 6th grade curriculumJust as last year, we will use NotebookingPages.com United States state study forms to research various state facts such as the state motto or state symbols. We also accompany this with Confession of Homeschooler’s Road Trip USA curriculum and Highlight’s Which Way, USA subscription. We only have 16 states left and will finish this curriculum in March. This is a Monday, Wednesday, Friday course but I plan on suspending the course for the month of October so that I can add in our U.S. Government before Election Day in November.

6th Grade Curriculum for U.S. Government

Government 6th grade curriculumFor the month of October, I added this curriculum with a focus on presidential elections. This will primarily consist of reading Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts by Syl Sobel and watching presidential debates as they air on T.V. The boys will write down definitions for certain vocabulary and I may add in activities where the boys can debate each other and create a mock election and ballot box. This will be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday component to replace U.S. Geography for a few weeks.

6th Grade Curriculum for Spanish

I am currently working on creating this curriculum as opposed to buying one. For the past three years, the boys’ Spanish consisted mainly of naming and labeling objects. I believe they are ready for small phrases and sentences. I’ll keep you posted if I am able to create this curriculum or give in and buy a curriculum. This will be a Tuesday/Thursday subject.

6th Grade Curriculum for Health

Health 6th grade curriculumThis year I decided to add this component as the boys are embarking on puberty very soon. I chose Kelli Dunham’s The Boy’s Body Book because it has a strong focus on puberty, hygiene, and safety. I plan on adding this in when our U.S. Geography component is finished in March.

Well, this is it, guys. It seems like a lot but I do spread this out so that the kids can get done before 3pm. I usually allot about 30-45 minutes per subject. If I make any changes to their curriculum I’ll be sure to update them here.

Please note that I added affiliate links to some of the products. I have, in no way, been given any free curriculum and even if I had, my reviews would still be honest. If a product disappoints me then I will say so. Throughout the school year, I will also try to review products so you can see if it is a fit for your family.