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.

 

Homeschool Curriculum Combined Subjects {Grades 7, 6, 5 & 2}

Fresh start.  Sharpened pencils.  New year — bring it on!

Today I’m sharing our homeschool plan for the year.  I’ve never done this before.  Why in the world would I want to?

I think it comes down to encouragement & inspiration –> you can do this!

I can’t tell you how many homeschool blogs I visited in the early years when I just wanted a sneak peak into another family to see how they did it.  What about the toddlers?  How does first grade look?  What about when the kids enter middle school?  How do you educate multiple kids on multiple levels?

So, I’m sharing our plan, not because it’s the best plan ever, but just for plain encouragement if you’re another mom in the trenches.  Just to share ideas and curriculum choices that I think will work for us in this season at this time with these kids.

So, without further ado… our mostly classically-inspired yet eclectic homeschool curriculum for 2015-2016.

Homeschool Curriculum Combined Subjects @4onemore.com

Combined Subjects

This is how I keep my sanity.  This year we will have kids in grades 7, 6, 5 & 2.  Did I also mention that we have a new adorable sister in the mix?!

Combining subjects brings more order from the potential chaos and streamlines the day.  Since we {mostly} follow a Classical Education model, I know that subjects like history and science don’t have to be taught “on grade level.”  My kids will get these subjects at least three times in their educational careers, each time at a deeper and more age-appropriate level.

For example, we all studied The Early Church & Middle Ages for history last year.  My first grader got a taste for it (grammar stage).  He will study it again in upper elementary at a deeper level (logic stage), then again in High school (rhetoric stage).  We gain more than we lose by having everyone “on the same page” in these subjects.

Looping

This is a new concept for me, but it looks like a great way to get all the little extras covered without going crazy!  Check out this helpful discussion.  Looping basically helps you navigate the frequency of subjects that don’t need to be taught daily.

So, we will be combining and looping the following group subjects this year:

Homeschool Curriculum Combined Subjects @4onemore.com

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Mystery of History –>  We are studying Volume III: The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations.  We will listen to the lessons, add information to our timelines, work on related mapping exercises, and read additionally from The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.  My 5th, 6th & 7th graders will complete outlining and summary writing several times a week from their outside reading.  Their personal reading lists will include titles that correspond to our history study.

 

Homeschool Curriculum Combined Subjects @4onemore.com

Science –> For several years now we have used God’s Design science curriculum. Written for use in grades 1-8, your students will have an opportunity to circle through once in lower elementary and again in upper elementary and middle school.  Great for including multiple ages together.  This year we’ll be studying “God’s Design for Chemistry & Ecology.”

GreatCommissionLanguages-logo

French –> Since we started our homeschooling journey in the bilingual province of New Brunswick, we purchased The Easy French by Great Commission Languages and studied the Junior level several years ago.  This year all four of the boys will work through Level 1 together.  We will work on French daily (not looped).

Bible –>  Our morning loop will alternate between the following:

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

Herein Is Love, Volume 2: Exodus

The Westminster Shorter Catechism

Daily Life at the Time of Jesus

Daily Scripture memory review using this system.

Fine Arts –> this is the subject matter that usually slips through the cracks!

Music:  All of my kids take private music lessons, but I hope to incorporate a study of composers and music styles alongside history for context.

Homeschool Curriculum Combined Subjects @4onemore.com

Art:  I have found the Deep Space Sparkle blog to be my go-to source for great art lessons.  We have gotten comfortable with many different mediums and techniques, but I do need to be more consistent with art this year.  I would love your input!  Any other great art resources that you have used?

Individual Subjects {coming soon!}

  • Seventh Grade
  • Sixth Grade
  • Fifth Grade
  • Second Grade

How do you manage multiple levels in your home school?  Share your favorite combined subjects and curriculum in the comments.