My oldest son is beginning 6th grade this year in our homeschool. Each year, I make a grid with all of the subjects we plan on covering for the next school year and then fill in what curriculum I think I want to use. I explain more about this in A Simple Way to Plan Your Homeschool Curriculum.
Since this is Big Fish’s first year of ‘middle school’, we are going to focus on his independence, organization, time management, and note taking and research skills. Of course, we are going to continue to develop his critical reading, writing, and math skills as well. Here is the curriculum we are using to do all of this in 6th grade.
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6th Grade Homeschool Math
This will be our second year using RightStart Math after having used a variety of other math programs in prior years. This gave Big Fish the stronger foundation he needed in math and it showed in our end of year testing! For the last several years, he had gained less than a year of math skills each year. But last year, testing showed that he gained two years of math skills in one year! While I don’t rely on test results alone to make decisions, this was a nice, objective way to see that our switch to RightStart Math was a good one!
We love how RightStart Math teaches number sense and mental math skills. Big Fish has enjoyed how it lets him explore math concepts through hands on activities and make his own discoveries about how numbers relate to each other. We will be working through most of Level E, which we started near the end of last year. Then, we will move on to Level F. We used this placement test when determining where to start him in this program.
6th Grade Homeschool Science
At the beginning of this calendar year, we started the R.E.A.L Science Odyssey Physics curriculum, which is designed for 3rd through 6th grades. We had used their Chemistry curriculum the year before. We like their curriculum because each concept is taught with a short story or article that I read aloud to the boys and then there are hands on labs to follow up to each concept.
The boys like exploring each concept with their hands. So far we have learned about matter, Newton’s Laws, friction, and some simple machines. We will finish the simple machine unit and move on to sounds and waves, magnetism, and electricity and hopefully finish it half way through this school year.
Read more about Teaching Physics to Your Children and see the review of this curriculum.
6th Grade Homeschool Spelling
We started this last level of All About Spelling last year and will be finishing it up by Christmas this year. We have been using this program since first grade. It has given Big Fish a great foundation for spelling and the language and concepts for us to discuss how to spell new words. You can read more about it in a Homeschool Spelling Curriculum that Makes Sense.
Once he has finished it, we will keep a running list of difficult words and spend a few minutes each week reviewing and practicing them.
6th Grade Reading
Big Fish reads a ton on his own from a variety of genres. He will also have assigned reading to accompany his history curriculum this year. So I decided instead of assigning other books for ‘reading’ during his school day that this would be a good area for him to take ownership and learn some time management skills. I pulled together a list of books for him in Goodreads and he will pick one each month. He will then have one month to read the book, take notes on it and write a book report.
I have created some note taking sheets for him that we will be trialing during the first few months of school. We will also be learning how to write a book report through our writing curriculum during the first month of school. (I did not assign book reports during his earlier grades because he loved to read, but did not like to write and I didn’t want the book report to kill his love of reading.)
For our first month, he has chosen the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I warned him that I thought this was a challenging book to start with on his own, which is exactly why he chose it-ha! Since the content is mature, I will also be reading it so I can better shape discussions around it as they arise. (I have put an annotated version on hold at the library to make this easier for me!)
Big Fish will read his books on his Kindle so that he can look up words that he does not understand as he reads. His vocabulary is above average and he has a history of looking up words on the Kindle. As he says “I am just a curious kid.” So, we are not doing any formal or structured vocabulary work this year.
We love this Kindle for the boys because it is ONLY a reader. Nothing to distract them!
6th Grade Homeschool Writing
Big Fish has used Write Shop for his writing curriculum for the last two years now. It has worked well for him and we will be continuing it for this coming year. We have two units to finish up from last year and then we will start Level F.
Each unit starts with grammar pages that relate to what will be taught in the unit. We have been using this as his main grammar work lately since he is not a big fan of grammar. These pages keep it simple and fun and he enjoys doing them.
It then leads us through practice with the target skill, guided writing and then brainstorming and organizing the writing project for the unit. Graphic organizers are included. Once the draft of the writing project is done, the unit guides us through editing and rewriting. This level of support and guidance has been great for my reluctant writer and he has improved his writing skills greatly with little angst!
6th Grade Homeschool History
Big Fish loves history and so I decided this was going to be the subject where we really worked on some of the middle school goals such as working independently, taking notes, and doing research.
We are trying a new curriculum, History Odyssey, by the same company that we have purchased our science curriculum from. Their set of Level Two curriculum aligns with middle school. We are starting back at the Ancients, which Big Fish was hesitant about because we studied ancient history a couple years ago. But, by starting at the Ancients, it will teach him how to research and take notes from the very beginning. There are a list of literature books to buy with each level so Big Fish’s love of reading will serve him well with this curriculum.
6th Grade Geography
Last year near the end of they year, Big Fish asked to study geography at a deeper level. This is another area of high interest for him. So we started Mapping the World by Heart. We are going to work through it more this year. However, since his history curriculum covers geography, too, we might let this slide off the schedule if it becomes too much.
We purchased Mapping the World by Heart through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op, which is a resource we really need to make better use of!!
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6th Grade Homeschool Latin
We have actually been slowly working our way through this curriculum for a year and a half now. It is providing a great foundation for vocabulary development and for learning other languages later in his school career! It also is providing a good grammar foundation and has led to some good discussion about sentence structure and parts of speech. Somehow when it is part of our Latin lesson, Big Fish doesn’t mind learning grammar!
This year for art, we are going to be using Beyond the Stick Figure, which provides us with daily online videos that we can all use as a family to develop our art skills! We got a start on it this summer and you can read more about it at Beyond the Stick Figure Drawing Course Review.
Do you use any of this curriculum or have others you have loved for 6th grade? Comment below!
If you are interested in seeing our curriculum choices from last year and how they worked out, check out: