Homeschool Curriculum for Middle School

I loved having babies.

I loved having toddlers (mostly, although it was quite a blur, and those years of my life are hard to remember!).

I loved teaching my kids how to read.

But this fall, I will have reached my favorite stage in teaching — middle school!  I will not have just one or two, but three boys in that coveted age.

I know most of you are probably feeling bad for me right now, but I am convinced that this stage is full of possibility.  The boys are moving past the foundational grammar stage of their education, and gaining some increased reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical skills.

homeschool curriculum for middle school

My years in a formal teaching position in the public school were spent with this age group, so I feel quite comfortable here.

I have enjoyed culling an eclectic mix of curriculum to fit my three middle schoolers.  Let me share the list with you, not because it’s perfect, but it might spark some ideas for your own situation.

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LANGUAGE ARTS

The best decision in our homeschool last year was to chuck the formal reading curriculum, in favor of wild reading, and lots of it!  We gain our structure from this classical reading list, but since a friend shared the Classical Reader website with us, we have been regulars there too.

Grammar and Diagraming instruction continues based on learning styles with each boy.  One is using the Analytical Grammar curriculum.  One son loves the King’s English book, which is color coded and visual.  We also use Daily Grams for short bursts of grammar review.

The best writing curriculum I have found is Writing with Skill by Susan Wise Bauer.  It is designed to be used mainly independently by the student, which is great for mom!  Rubrics are included for grading your child’s work.  My middle schoolers’ writing has improved greatly with this resource.  They are learning things that my high school didn’t teach until that dreaded research paper in twelfth grade.

Spelling has been a hit or miss subject most of our schooling.  I have tried half a dozen different programs and never really was satisfied.  Since finding All About Spelling, we have stayed put quite contentedly.  My kids enjoy it, and their spelling is improving.  It can be passed down from child to child, which makes it great on the budget when schooling several kids.  My rising eighth grader will have completed all its 7 levels, so he will be studying Vocabulary Vine this year.

 

LOGIC

We will continue with Building Thinking Skills and Mind Benders, both from the Critical Thinking Co.  Our next book will be the Fallacy Detective, which I have not used yet, but it comes highly recommended.  And I think that studying logical reasoning skills will be a fun task during an election year, don’t you?  **Cough, cough** lots of fallacies in reasoning to sniff out this year.  What a skill!

 

MATH

We continue to love BJUP math at every stage.  Complete, spiral, mastery education, with an emphasis on understanding the reasoning behind the math.  From K-5th grade, the books are consumable, and I don’t purchase the teacher’s editions.  For grades 5-7, the texts are not to be written in; rather, the kids do their assignments on their own paper.  So, the book is reusable year after year.  I do purchase the teacher’s manual starting in 6th grade, just for the answer key.

For my eighth grader, we will purchase the DVD curriculum and see how we like it.  That way, the pressure is off of mom in the upper-level math department, and they will get to experience listening to another teacher.

 

FINANCES/ECONOMICS

“What Ever Happened to Penny Candy?”

Personal Finance for Middle School by Dave Ramsey

 

HISTORY

We still love MOH!  This coming year will find us studying volume 4, which includes American history and modern history.  Downloading the audio version as well keeps it interesting.  As we listen to the lessons, the boys are drawing on their timelines.  This curriculum is easy to use for multi-ages.  My older kids will have extra outlining, reading, and reporting requirements.

 

SCIENCE

Answers in Genesis has served us well as a multi-grade science foundation.  We have added the Usborne Science Encylopedia to our curriculum.  This book makes it easy to find relevant videos that relate to each days’ topics.  The boys keep an illustrated science notebook.

 

BIBLE

We will continue learning catechism with this method.

In addition, our family will try to memorize chapters of the Bible this year, instead of one verse here or there.  Context is so important and healthy when understanding Scripture, so I hope that this endeavor will be very helpful for all of us.  Some friends on Facebook were sharing their own Scripture memorization strategy, and they learned two verses per week until the chapter was memorized.  I think that’s a great place to start!

Bible Commentaries for Children, by Nancy Ganz, have been great resources for understanding the first five books fo the Bible, which can seem very cryptic, especially to kids.  How do they relate to the whole Biblical narrative?  What’s the point of a book like Leviticus, especially to 21st century kids?  These books are written especially with children in mind, and have the goal of pointing everything to Christ.  We will continue on with our study of Numbers.

And finally, the boys and I will read through the book of I John with an inductive study method.  This method is one of the most helpful I have personally used.  It requires more work than simply answering comprehension questions, but it reaps more bounty in the understanding of Scripture.  Find more about this method here.

 

OTHER
Typing

Art

French

Art History & Music History as it meshes with our history studies

PA history

Gym class at the YMCA with other homeschoolers

Private music lessons in their instruments

 

Whew!  I’m eager to jump into this school year.  So much to learn!

What are essentials for your middle school curriculum?  I’d love to take a peek into your homeschool tool box.

 

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