Our youngest son, Little Fish, is starting sixth grade this year. Each year, I make a grid of all the subjects we plan on covering for the school year and then fill in the curriculum I want to use. I explain more about this in A Simple Way to Plan Your Homeschool Curriculum.
This year, he picked some of the subjects we will be covering. In addition to each subject, we will also be working on building his organization and independence skills. Here is the curriculum we are using for 6th grade.
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We have used RightStart Math for years now after having tried several other math curriculum. This is the hardest subject area for Little Fish and so we move slowly through it making sure we build a strong foundation.
We love how it teaches number sense and mental math skills. Little 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. Our goal is to finish Level E this year and to supplement with other materials such as XtraMath for fact practice and workbooks for additional calculation practice.
We used this placement test when determining where to start him in RightStart Math.
Middle School Homeschool Science
I thought we would study Earth Science this year as Little Fish has never done a full study of that area of science. But, he is really into astronomy so we decided that’s what we would study. In addition to practicing many scientific skills, it will be a good review of many science concepts we have studied in chemistry and physics. We decided to stick with R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey as we have used their programs for several years now.
Their Middle School Astronomy program is for 6th-10th grade with a target year of 6th grade so it will be a great fit for us in that respect. In addition to the Student Book and Teacher’s Guide, we also order the Stargazer’s Notebook, which looks like a fun project whether or not you are studying astronomy as your main science.
We like how their lessons are presented with photos and cartoons that model the concepts and short exercises to practice them. Each lesson has a lab that uses household objects, suggested videos and books, a famous person or event to research and a quiz to assess what was learned.
We break the lessons up into several small chunks to accommodate our shorter attention spans. That means it will take us longer to move through the program than intended, but that is ok as long as we are learning well! It took us two years to move through their Biology curriculum, but we learned so much that we often review on our nature walks now!
Little Fish has also been really into birds over the past year and requested that we learn about different birds this year. I figure that we can tie this into our geography lessons (see below) and practice some math, writing, reading, and art while we learn about different birds!
We will likely do most of this study on our Fun Fridays and save the astronomy for Monday through Thursday. I am sure I will share more about this in the coming months in case you have animal lovers in your house and want to create a similar type of study!
For now, we are going to start with the book below that we bought him this past Christmas. There are sections on feathers, movement, migration, colors of birds, what they eat, their senses, and so much more that we will start with.
Last year, we used Journey Through the USA by Fearless Faithful Mom, which was perfect for the way Little Fish learns. We learned about the United States through good literature, map work, cooking, and projects. We were so excited when she came out with Journey Around the World this past spring!
It is divided into seven sections of the world based around each continent. There are two to three books for each section such as Who Was Joan of Arc?, Anne of Green Gables and Number the Stars. These will provide us with Little Fish’s reading list for the year. Once again there is map work, cooking and projects!
How to Build Your Own Country
I found this fun book at the library this summer and purchased a copy for us. There are 15 steps to create your own country and I plan on working through one step a week on our Fun Fridays. It will be a great way to further learn about how countries and their governments work. We also have the For Which We Stand book to finish during read alouds this year.
I have a new goal this year to make sure Little Fish is fully developing his reading comprehension and vocabulary skills: to read each of the books on his book list with him.
In the past, this goal has gotten us way off schedule and last year I did not do this. So this year, my goal is each weekend to read the section of the book that Little Fish will read that coming week.
This will allow me to make a list of vocabulary words I think we should discuss and to better check on his comprehension of the text. I have broken out an old professional book of mine and plan on skimming it to make sure that we are targeting ALL the important skills he needs.
This is the last level of All About Spelling! Big Fish finished Level 7 in 6th grade and now it is Little Fish’s turn. One thing I love about this level is it spends a lot of the lessons teaching Latin and Greek roots, prefixes and suffixes as well as words we have borrowed from French. 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 Homeschool Writing
Little Fish has been using Write Shop for years and this year he will work through Level F.
Each unit starts with grammar pages that relate to what will be taught in the unit. (We will also use the grammar curriculum below as this is an area of weakness for Little Fish.)
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 both my boys and has improved their writing skills greatly!
We started using Fix It! Grammar from IEW last year and Little Fish liked it! So we purchased Level 4 for him to complete this year. The program teaches some new skills each week and then has students practice them by analyzing and correcting a sentence or two from a story each day of the week. Level 4’s story is Mowgli and Shere Khan. Little Fish has always loved a good story so this has been a good way for him to develop his grammar skills, which has really improved his writing.
Listening and Language and Logic
Little Fish benefits from some direct instruction and practice in all three of these areas so we will work on them each day for a short amount of time. We will continue to use our own monthly following directions packets as well as the directions activities in around Country Unit Studies to correlate with our Journey Around the World. We also started these analogy worksheets last year and have been using these logic puzzles for a long time.
We have enjoyed read books aloud in our homeschool in the afternoons and no matter how old the boys get as long as they are still under our roof, I will be reading aloud to them! 🙂 This year we will read from Jesus Calling each day. We are going to start the year off with using some of the supplemental astronomy books as our read alouds and will work in other books related to our subjects.
We have used lessons from Music in Our Homeschool for several years and plan on working through their Music Theory lessons this year as well as the World Music lessons as they relate to our Journey Around the World.
Little Fish has spent a lot of time over the last year learning Scratch, a block-based visual programming language from MIT, that is free to access. This year he feels that he is ready to start learning Python, a text-based programming language. I am still researching ways to do this.
It feels good to have our plan all set. Now just to prep everything so the homeschool year runs smoothly!
Do you use any of this curriculum or have others you have loved for 6th grade? Comment below!