We’re delving into “middle school” this year for the first time. My oldest is so excited for this milestone. He’s my Flint Lockwood (from Cloudy and a Chance of Meatballs), my absent-minded, super-dramatic, techy science guy. So putting together his curriculum is always a lot of fun. For the most part, we are classical homeschoolers, making a few adjustments here and there for our rampant ADHD. To accommodate for personality and attention-span, we include lots of variety with short lessons. None of our subjects extend beyond 20-30 minutes at a time, but I serve up a variety each day to keep all his firing cylinders on task. In classical terms, he will be in the logic or dialectic stage this year, learning to think critically and make deeper connections with what he is learning in his homeschool curriculum for 6th grade.
Our Homeschool Curriculum for 6th grade
- Tapestry of Grace, Year 2 (Dialectic stage)
- Visualize World Geography
- Abeka 6th Grade Spelling and Language C
- Writing and Rhetoric III and IV
- Reasoning and Reading I
- Christian Light Math
- Biology for the Logic Stage (Elemental Science)
- Latin for Children B
- Foreign Language for Kids Spanish (aff. link)
History and Geography
Tapestry of Grace continues to be our core curriculum for history, Bible and worldview, literature and writing. We will be using Year 2 of the cycle this year, covering the Middle Ages to the Colonial Period. It’s a fun, jam-packed year with knights and Vikings, Reformers and Renaissance artists, explorers and colonists. He’ll be learning lots of church history as well, with literature and writing assignments tying directly into his studies.
We’ll also be using a new product for geography once a week. Visualize World Geography teaches children to identify countries on a map using clever stories and pictography. When our product first arrived, my kids immediately plugged in the DVD and learned half of the Middle East in a little more than half an hour. They loved it! It is a little pricey for a geography program, but it accomplishes so much more than your typical geography program and can be used with your whole family.
I’m headed back to my roots this year, adding in Abeka for spelling and grammar. The spelling seemed like a perfect tie into his Latin studies; he’ll be studying latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes to build his vocabulary and spelling skills. While I’ve enjoyed using First Language Lessons with my kids, my son has completed all the levels they currently offer. Plus, I feel like he’s independent enough he can tackle Abeka’s grammar without too much extra teaching from me. We will be doing a modified version and skipping certain exercises to make it work for us. I’m also throwing in the Abeka Creative Writing cursive book this year as a brief poetry unit. He’ll only be using this for one term (12 weeks). It’s one of the books I contributed to, so he’s excited about using a book with my name in the credits.
I’ve loved using Writing Aids from Tapestry of Grace and will continue to use it, but I’m excited about supplementing with Writing and Rhetoric. This curriculum provides some writing exercises and instruction, focusing on providing solid examples of good writing and modeling the style and techniques of that writing. We will be completing one book on narrative writing and a second book delving into non-fiction writing. For my purposes, I’m using Writing Aids for the “big picture” of writing, and Writing and Rhetoric for the skills of writing.
Lastly, we are addressing some reasoning and critical thinking skills (largely to help my son on required achievement testing) with Reasoning and Reading. I expect him to fly through this workbook. We’ll probably only be using it for about 12 weeks.
Christian Light math is my son’s favorite subject. When I went to the homeschool curriculum fair this year, he begged for a photo and autograph from the Christian Light booth. He is a visual-linguistic learner; he learns by reading. So this curriculum has been a perfect fit for him, allowing him to read an explanation of new concepts and then work through the problems. It’s very structured and predictable, which is another thing he really likes.
For all my kids, I picked up the Right Start Math Card Games kit. We’ll be supplementing math with various games that allow them to play to learn and practice their math skills.
Last year we settled on the perfect balance for us in science. My son read a couple of pages in an encyclopedia on a science topic, wrote an outline or summary, and then completed an experiment from a kit each week. This year, we are maintaining that method and routine, but I’m delegating the scheduling to Elemental Science. We’ll be using their Biology for the Logic Stage curriculum, following the same pattern of reading in the Usborne Science Encyclopedia (or our set of encyclopedias from the Institute of Creation Research) and completing the included experiments.
One of the perks of ADHD is that my kids focus better with more than with less. They need that extra stimulation to stay on task. With so many cylinders firing, if they are not all engaged, the distractions creep in. Our days are structured, but not all the same. Each 12-week term offers something a little different. And short lessons with lots of variety have been a game-changer for our homeschool. What we do is not for everyone, but all the pieces work well for my kiddos.
For instance, my son loves languages. At his request, we are learning both a classical language and a modern language this year. So he’ll be completing Latin for Children B and learning Spanish through ForeignLanguagesforkids.com (aff. link). Latin will be assigned daily for 15 minutes. Spanish will be part of our “fun Monday” schedule once a week.
He’s also continuing his karate and guitar lessons and will be joining a local Lego Robotics team this year, as well. We also participate in an assisted living ministry a couple of times a month, where he will be growing in some leadership skills as he puts together the music for the worship time.
It’s been a ton of fun picking out my son’s homeschool curriculum for 6th grade, and I love his enthusiasm for learning and for life. He’s so much fun to teach—loud, energetic, quirky, with lots of sound effects and original ideas. And though my mommy-heart hates to see him growing up so fast, I do love to see the many ways he is changing and the person he is becoming.