My daughter completed the 6th grade in back May, and I wanted to document what we ended up using throughout the year as I know it can help others. Here is our official Sixth Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year in Review.
As you have likely guessed, we review a slew of curricula throughout the school year, but we still have our core curriculum that we stick to in order to complete the core subjects.
My daughter is like me and LOVES variety. Reviewing curriculum helped with this, because our main homeschool curriculum choices stayed constant throughout the year. We made sure to get everything done, even though our school year didn’t begin until October. In fact, I freaked out around December and we ended up rescheduling everything so she actually finished with most of her work in April!
For language arts this year, Grace finished Writers in Residence and began working in Readers in Residence. These don’t have to be completed at the same time, but they do line up with each other and work well together.
Grace is a gifted writer, so the writing came fairly easily to her, but she hated how long each assignment took to get to the final stages. We worked at a pace of 4-5 lessons a week. She loved checking off the bubbles at the end as she completed the work! Nonetheless, Grace just wanted to be DONE already. Because of this, we will be changing gears and using a different program for the 2017-2018 school year, which I’ll discuss in a future post.
Readers in Residence was completed an average of 4 times a week. She got bored being “stuck” on the same books for so long. We will use a program with literature at a higher reading level for the coming school year.
Despite my kids’ issues with Debra Bell’s programs, I think they’re very well done and interesting. They’re done in a way I’ve never seen a program put together before, and hope more families give it a try. Even though my kids weren’t huge fans, their writing and reading comprehension did improve.
For spelling, I used the book Spelling Power(affiliate), which I purchased used. She did spelling 3-4 times a week. The way this program works is that you test your students on spelling words and only have them work on what they MISSED. We adapted it to fit us by giving the spelling list, and once she missed three words, we stopped. At that point, I had him go through the 10 steps listed in the book to review each word, and then had her write the words three or four times and in a sentence.
Once we got to those 3 words missed, I would just mark it in the book in pencil so we could pick right back up the next time at that part of the list. When we did spelling the next time, I would first review the words she had missed last time, and then introduce the new words. If she did a lesson where she didn’t miss any words, or if she got to the end of the list without missing anything, Grace was just done with spelling for that day.
For review, I assigned her about 8-10 games to play on Spelling City. Every week or two, I would go through all the words she had missed doing Spelling Power and put them into lists of about 10 words each for him to review on the website. I left 2 lists open for her to work on at any given time. Throughout the school year, I also put up spelling words that went along with our astronomy as well so she could practice some other words, too.
Grace is a natural speller, so this program worked well for her, as I had predicted it would. Really, she’s quick to pick up new words. I’m glad that we did this program, because she enjoyed the variety of the lists we went through.
I also required 10-30 minutes of personal reading every day. This could be pretty much anything. I don’t require any kind of assignments to go along with that. I want my kids to WANT to read, so I like to have at least one part of the day with no pressure!
Teaching Textbooks 6 is what Grace used for math. WE LOVE TEACHING TEXTBOOKS! Each day, she would just load the disc and get started on whatever lesson was next. Every so often, there would be a quiz before moving on to new concepts. She did very well with this program, again. We’ve been using Teaching Textbooks for a few years now, and I have a hard time thinking we’ll ever change.
Teaching Textbooks has automatic grading, so I didn’t have to worry about teaching the lessons, administering tests, or grading any work. It was all part of the program already! It has colorful graphics and a light and fun learning atmosphere. Teaching Textbooks is one of our favorite things ever!
Around the beginning of the year, I had her doing Fact Fluency exercises on Moby Max to keep her fluent on her multiplication and division facts. After a few weeks, I dropped that for her because she was acing all of the reviews.
For history, Grace completed Explorers to 1815 through Veritas Press Self-Paced History with her brother. They allow siblings to work together for the same price, as long as you understand that they will be sharing the responsibilities of test-taking, reviews, games, watching the videos, and so on. This worked out fine for most of the year, but toward the end of the school year, there was more fighting about who did the most work and if it is fair for them both to get credit.
Next year, I won’t have any students using VP History, and it makes me sad! Veritas Press has done an AMAZING job with their self-paced courses. I may combine my oldest son and second oldest son to do this history again the school year after next, when they are in 3rd and 6th. Until then, we’ll be doing something different for the upcoming school year.
We finished the brand new second edition Exploring Creation with Astronomy curriculum by Apologia during the 2016-2017 school year. I purchased a supply kit so that I would have zero excuses when it came time to do experiments. We are a big science family, but my daughter is like me and would rather watch documentaries all day than do experiments.
This curriculum did have a fair amount of experiments, but it also included plenty of assignments where they got to draw or sketch things, answer comprehension questions, and simply restate facts from the book. It worked well for us, and I plan to use Apologia again.
We did science an average of 3-4 times a week. On the days that we did not have a formal lesson, I would usually assign a set number of minutes reading science-related books of their choosing or to watch specific science videos, usually from PBS.
We also used a variety of other things throughout the school year for computer and typing skills. Ultimately, they weren’t a large enough part of our curriculum to earn a permanent spot int he planner, but I’m still thinking about doing so for the next school year!
It was a pretty good year, and I feel like we accomplished a lot, but now we are on to more serious schooling: 7th grade!