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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.




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5th Grade Science Homeschool Curriculum

5th grade Science Feature

5th Grade Science Homeschool Curriculum

5th-grade-science-curr-pin-pic

How We Implemented 5th Grade Science in Our Home

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

For 5th grade science in our homeschool, I do not rely on any particular outside textbook/workbook curriculum. In trying to follow the Charlotte Mason approach, I rely on finding information on our science topics by borrowing books from our local public library. We used this same approach last year and it worked very well for us. The following is how I put together the boys’ 5th grade science curriculum but the approach can be applied to any grade.

In order to find our topics, I, first, go to the Virginia Department of Education’s website and search for their standards of learning (SOLs) for the 5th grade science. I print out both the standards and its accompanying curriculum framework. These documents help break down each topic into smaller manageable units as well as provide the essential knowledge, skills, and processes that students in this grade level should possess and/or demonstrate. For example, SOL 5.2 deals with the topic of sound:

“VA SOL 5.2: The student will investigate and understand how sound is created and transmitted, and how it is used.

Key concepts include

a) compression waves;

b) vibration, compression, wavelength, frequency, amplitude;

c) the ability of different media (solids, liquids, and gases) to transmit sound; and

d) uses and applications of sound waves”

As you can see the standards list the concepts involved with sound such as compression waves, vibration, wavelengths, etc. I then use these concepts as my keyword entries when looking up books in the library’s online catalog.

After gathering as many books as I can find on the topic, I use the curriculum framework to choose the best and most appropriate books to use. When searching for these books, I stick to those found in the juvenile or youth section. I also try to include books that have experiments. After choosing the books I want to use, I also like to search online for supplementary activities and worksheets. You can find lots of ideas on sites like Pinterest and Teacherspayteachers.com. For example, I scored some free printables on plant cells where the boys color coded and labeled parts of the cell.

Now, remember that I use the 5th grade science standards as a guide but I don’t stick to them to the letter. For example, when we covered the phases of matter, the standards addressed solids, liquids, and gas. As the boys and I read our library books, there was one more phase that was not included in the framework, and that was plasma. The boys were fascinated by this 4th phase and I saw no reason why we couldn’t add this to our learning.

Each of the boys has their own science journal. 5th Grade Science Journals

These are divided by the standards’ main topic. For example, the boys learned about sound and light, SOLs 5.2 and 5.3. Both these standards fall under the broader topic of Force, Motion, and Energy. In their journals, the boys keep vocabulary, worksheets, drawings, scientific histories/biographies as well as any data taken during experiments and any results. The examples below include: (from upper left going clockwise) a diagram showing the changing phases of matter with labels, planets sorted by whether they are terrestrial or gas giants, a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting frogs and butterflies, a unit’s vocabulary with definitions, a small biography of Aristotle and his belief on the orbits of planets and data from a plant experiment we did last year. Note that some of these sheets below come from my membership with NotebookingPages.com.

Another thing I sometimes do as part of their science studies, is to find kits online. Amazon has plenty of these if you have the money in your budget but it really isn’t necessary. For example, I recently purchased a rock science kit as a way to incorporate the classification of different rocks, SOL 5.7. It was $10 and since I have Amazon Prime it shipped free. I am sure we could have went into our backyard and found some rocks to do this (and we still can) but I was afraid we may only find two or three different types of rocks whereas the kit has 15 different types.

Lastly, I also try to incorporate relevant biographies as part of the topic we are covering. For example, we read about Alexander Graham Bell when we covered our sound unit as well as Marie Curie when we finished our unit on atoms and elements. I used lap book activities that I purchased from one of my favorite homeschool sites, ConfessionsofaHomeschooler.com.

Now, I know that some people may question my use of the state’s standards but here is my reasoning: if something should happen to me and my children are put back into the public school system, I can feel confident that they will be at the same level as their peers if not more so. Again, I use the standards and framework as a guide but I supplement their learning with lots of hands-on activities and scientific histories/biographies.

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Growing Crystals for Science Homeschool

Growing Crystals Crystal Growing Kit

Growing Crystals for Science Homeschool

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

pin pic of crystals

I bought this Crystal Growing Kit by Thames and Kosmos for Josh this past Christmas. After reading through the manual, I decided that both boys could benefit from doing the activities so I added to our science curriculum. Here is a review of this product for growing crystals, a review of what we learned, and pictures of all the different crystals we created.

Growing Crystals Kit

I purchased this kit from Amazon and found it reasonably priced. Before you attempt to start growing crystals, I suggest reading the manual not only for the safety precautions but you may also have to make a few purchases. For example, you will need to have distilled water and several small jars. I thought I could get away with using old spaghetti sauce jars which ended up being too big for many of the experiments. They did suggest smaller jars (like those used for jam) so I would recommend that if you do not have small jars, head to your local Walmart or Target and pick up small canning jars.

Growing Crystals Manual

Also, be aware that growing crystals will take a few days. This means that you will have several jars of ‘chemicals’ around. For safety, make sure that they are stored in a safe and out of reach place if you have very young children.

There are 15 different experiments that teach basic concepts of solubility and saturation. We also performed experiments that involved the evaporation and cooling methods so that we can see the effects of temperature of particular solutions.

Growing Crystals cooking

One of the first experiments, we were able to create a few small crystals which we stored in a clear treasure chest that came with the kit.

Growing Crystals Hand

Growing Crystals chest

In another experiment, we created crystal ‘seeds’ that we could use to grow larger crystals.

Growing Crystals Jar

Below are the larger crystals.

Growing Crystals Jar 2

Growing Crystals Big Crystal

If you look carefully, you can see the hexagonal shapes of these crystals.

Growing Crystals Crystal Collection 2Later, our experiments would include some artful designs. Below are the plaster moldings we created before encrusting them with crystals. (And yes, the molds and plaster come with the kit.)

Growing Crystals Crystal Mold Shapes

Growing Crystals Crystal DolphinOne of the last experiments we did was making an crystal-filled geode. At first, the geode came out in a lavender color, not the dark purple we were expecting. Also, the picture below doesn’t do a good job of showing the crystals but believe me, they are in there.

Growing Crystals Inside Crystal GeodeAfter waiting a day, the geode’s outer shell did finally change into a deep ‘denim’ color which was so cool. You can really see the difference between that lavender and denim color below.

Growing Crystals Crystal Geode Front View

Growing Crystals Crystal Geode Side View

I have to say that this product was fun to do even if it took weeks to perform all the experiments. By the way, we still have so much of the inventory left that we can do all the experiments again, at least 3 more times, making it worth the money spent on it.

This post may contain affiliate links which help pay for this blog.