6th Grade Curriculum Review

The school year is almost over, and many people are preparing to order curriculum for next year. I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on the curriculum I used this year for my 6th grader. In citations where I’m planning to continue using the same curriculum next year, I’ll let you know.

English/Language Arts – Reading: The main thing my son did for language arts this year was read. He read independently. I read out loud to him. He had a weekly zoom call with a family friend where they discussed books they read together. This particular kid is a highly capable yet still somewhat reluctant reader. He likes graphic novels, and audio books, and listening to read alouds. But he would much rather be playing video games than actually reading to himself. So this year, we mainly focused on finding books he didn’t completely hate reading to himself.

ELA/Vocabulary – Wordly Wise 3000 Level 6: My 6th grader did the Wordly Wise Level 6 workbook this year. Since there are only 20 word lists per book, he finished this curriculum back in January. My son tends to complain a lot about busy work and most of the other workbooks I purchased at the beginning of the year were abandonded shortly after they were started. The fact that my son completed this entire workbook without noticible complaint is a huge win in my book. I am planning to have him do Wordly Wise Level 7 next year.

ELA/Grammar – Fix It Grammar: My 6th grader used Fix It Grammar as a grammar curriculum this year. My parents have been coming over to help with homeschool once a week all year. Instead of spending five minutes on grammar every day, he’s been completing an entire weeks lesson on a single day each week on the days his grandparents are here. This curriculum is fast enough pace that it can easily be done in 5 minutes per day or 20 minutes once a week. My son has enjoyed this curriculum enough that he actually asked to do the next Fix It Grammar book next year.

Math – Lots of Workbooks: My sixth grader has completed all or part of five different math workbooks this year. You can see a full list of my thoughts on all of them here. My 8th grader started using Saxon math back in January, and I really wish I’d switched my 6th grader to Saxon at the same time. Instead of repeating my thoughts on all the various math curriculum we’ve tried this year, I’ll just say that my son will be using Saxon for 7th grade. I’m very ready to be done with an endless stack of topic specific math workbooks.

Science – Bookshark H: I started the school year using Bookshark Science H with both my 8th grader and my 6th grader. My 8th grader switched to a different curriculum mid-year, but my 6th grader stuck with Bookshark. Beginning with the pro’s, my son did well with the read a chapter and then answer comprehension questions on a worksheet style presented in this curriculum. We read a lot of the chapters out loud together, and then discussed the comprehension questions before he answered them. I have a STEM career and can firmly attest that this curriculum taught very little actual science. The books were about scientific topics, but they didn’t actually teach any of the science behind those topics. The “lab activities” were basic hands on projects that were completely devoid of hypothesis or experimentation. I did supplement with both a Tinker Crate subscription and a Mel Science subscription. Even so, I would not recommend Bookshark for science and will not be using it again next year.

History – Curiosity Chronicles: Of all the curriculum I’ve purchased for either of my children, curiosity chronicles is my favorite. This secular world history curriculum is truly world history. Reading these books with my son, I’ve learned a lot of non-European history that I didn’t learn growing up. I did say books, with an s. This is an elementary school curriculum that doesn’t take very long to complete. If you are teaching a younger student, you probably only want to spend half an hour on history each week, and this curriculum will be perfect. But I’m asking more of my 6th grader, so he’s been doing 2-3 chapters per week and has thus completed two years worth of the curiosity chronicles curriculum in a single year. There are six years total in their curriculum and my son has already agreed that he wants to do books 3 & 4 for 7th grade and books 5 & 6 for 8th grade. If you aren’t afraid to purchase multiple text books for a single year, I would recommend this curriculum for pretty much any age. Like I said, I’m learning a lot from this curriculum myself.

Handwriting/Typing – Typing Club: My sixth grader has horrible handwriting. I got him a handwriting practice workbook at the beginning of the year, and also listened to him complain about how much he hated writing every time I asked him to write something longer than a few words. I agreed to let him start typing all of his writing assignments and then decided to shift from focusing on teaching handwriting to teaching typing instead. He has been using the online program Typing Club for the past several months. He is becoming a much more efficient typer and enjoys the assignments. A part of me wishes his handwriting was better, but typing is an equally important life skill and my son is definitely happier.

Civics – Painless Government: As I mentioned before, my parents have been acting as homeschool teachers for both of my kids once a week. For the first half of the year, they taught weekly civics lessons. They pulled a lot of resources from Teachers Pay Teachers and also spent a lot of time focusing on the November election. Painless Government was another resource that they used. They found the text informative and helpful when teaching the basic concepts of US Government. If you are planning to teach your kids government, I recommend this painless resource.

Economics – Economics and You: For the second half of they year, the weekly social studies lessons with the grandparents have been focused on Economics and Personal Finance. They have been using the Economics and You curriculum and really enjoying it. This curriculum has a long term simulation where students get a job, make a budget, and pay for all of life’s expenses from financing a car to getting an apartment. Both of my kids are enjoying this curriculum a lot, probably more than they enjoyed learning about politics last fall.

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