6th Grade Homeschool Midyear Update

We’re now half way through the school year. Last week I gave an update on what curriculum changes I’ve made for my 8th grader, so today it’s time to talk about my 6th grader. Overall, things are going really well this year for both of my boys.

English/Language Arts: For ELA, my 6th grader is continuing to work through Fix it Grammar. We’re also still using Wordly Wise for vocabulary. The main thing I’m working on with my son for language arts is also reading comprehension. My son is a capable reader, but he often skims things too quickly and doesn’t remember what he read. We have a family friend that has weekly book discussions with my son over zoom. I’ve also shift more towards reading out loud with my son instead of only having him read to himself. This forces him to slow down and also gives us a change to discuss what we’re reading.

Math: We have been jumping around a lot in math for my 6th grade son this year. We started the year using a Spectrum Math workbook. It was too complicated. They concepts being taught were at the right level, but the numbers they used were way too hard. For example, they asked things like find the lowest common multiple of 86 and 104. Why? We shifted to using a single topic fractions workbook instead, since fractions is a big part of sixth grade math. Once my son finished that we jumped over to a different Math Skills workbook. This workbook is a lot easier than the spectrum workbook and my son’s flying through it. When he finishes this, I’ll probably just have him do some topic specific Kumon workbooks until the end of the year. Most of these workbooks are less than $10, and a Saxon curriculum cost almost $90, but still… I’m starting 7th grade with Saxon for use.

Science: I purchased the Bookshark Level H science curriculum at the beginning of the year with the hope that it could be used by both my 8th grader and my 6th grader. We started out working together, but my sons have such different learning styles, and temperaments, that group activities just don’t work well for us. The bookshark program uses 8 different books, so I’ve been having the boys choose what book they want to do next and each work independently on separate sections of the curriculum for most of the year. This has been working pretty well with my 6th grader, but he needed a little more structure. I got the Evan More Science Skill Sharpeners workbook and he’s been using that in conjunction with the Bookshark curriculum. During the earth science portion of the skill sharpeners workbook, he also read the Bookshark Planet Earth book. During the energy section of skill sharpeners, he’ll use the Bookshark energy book. On top of all this, my 6th grader is doing lots of labs. He’s doing all the Bookshark labs, plus some of the skill sharpener labs, he has a tinker crate subscription, and he got several science experiment kits for his Christmas that we’re adding in as well.

History: My son started the year using Curiosity Chronicles Snapshots in Ancient History curriculum. This is an elementary school curriculum that is pretty easy for my 6th grader. He can do an entire weeks lesson in about 20 minutes, and we were flying through the book. In October, I decided to slow down on Curiosity Chronicles and have my 6th grader join my 8th grader in studying US History several days per week. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the science update, my boys have very different learning styles and teaching them together is far more challenging than teaching them separately. Eventually, my 6th grader and I agreed that flying through a world history course is not a bad thing. He enjoys the curiosity chronicles program, even if he can do an entire weeks lesson in a single day. He’s almost done with the Ancient History book and is planning to get through the the Medieval History book this spring.

Social Studies: My parents come over once a week to help with homeschool. They have been teaching my kids US Government all year. This was great building up to the election, but extended beyond the election. US Government is complicated and they’re taking their one day a week teaching duties serious. For the second half of the year, they’re planning to teach economics/personal finance. My mom is a retired middle school teacher, and my dad is a retired accountant, so this should be great. I’m usually in work meetings for the entirety of these lessons and don’t have much to say about them, except that I’m supper appreciative of my wonderful parents. One other social studies related item that I added to my son’s schedule back when I was trying to pump the brakes on his history was geography. He’s working through the Evan More Geography Skill Sharpeners workbook about one day per week.

Typing: For the first half of the year, we spent a lot of time focusing on handwriting with my sixth grader. His handwriting has gone from completely illegible to just sloppy. My son still greatly prefers typing any writing assignments that are longer than a sentence. For this reason, we’ve decided to shift gears and have him learn typing for the second half of the year. He’s currently using Typing Club and really enjoying it.

PE: This is probably the subject I’m failing at the most as a homeschool teacher, but I’m trying to get my boys to get some form of exercise everyday. My 6th grader really enjoys jumping on the trampoline in our backyard when it’s not raining. We’ve also started doing yoga together on rainy days.

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