I am a member of an email list that is dedicated to discussion of kids who are expected to graduate in 2027, which is my second oldest. This week, a thread got started about reflecting over the past year, and thinking forward to planning for next year. After making my contribution, I thought it might be helpful to share our 6th grade homeschool year in review here as well.
This is absolutely the type of thing I could be expected to discuss, at length, at homeschool park day. I recall last summer having hours long conversations with several homeschool mom friends about what we had tried, what we had planned, etc. for the next year. Gosh I miss our in person network so much!
With that being said, here are some points to keep in mind in reading this:
- If you’ve been following this blog for a while, at least some of this information may be duplicative;
- We homeschool with a charter, meaning we have to do some things to check boxes that we may not otherwise do;
- This particular child is an avid reader, so the choices for her involve a lot of literature and reading;
- This particular child was a “late” reader, so I absolutely take that into account when planning for her;
- I have 5 children, so the way I plan is reflective of that; and
- This will be our 10th year homeschooling, and I am still learning of new approaches, curriculums, etc. every single year.
This year, she read all of the Brave Writer Arrow books. (side note: the new books will be announced on June 1, and I can.not.wait) In addition, I signed her up for the Arrow class, apparently called the Arrow Book Club, in February so that she could have more in depth group discussions about the book selection for that month, The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales.
(My 7th grader took two brave writer “Boomerang” classes this year, one was for Emma by Austen, and the other was for Other Words for Home, a story about a refugee from Syria– same rationale, I wanted to have someone facilitate an in depth discussion of the books. As a result of the Emma class, my 7th grader has a weekly zoom meeting with a girl that lives on a boat, and they are co-authoring fan fiction from different characters’ perspectives).
During normal homeschooling time, we are members of a book club that reads the Brave Writer Arrow books, and so once a month we have a big collaborative event where everyone brings the supplies for an art or craft project, food from the book, decorations, etc. This year we have been missing that dearly. However, we have still enjoyed reading the various book selections as Brave Writer has become more intentional about selecting books that are not only mirrors, but also windows, and I feel that our homeschool can always use more of that.
We began hosting our poetry tea time group online last March, and we still do that every week. My 7th grader is the facilitator, and the kids take turns reading poems to each other. More recently they have been working on writing poems collaboratively as well. Sometimes they end up telling each other jokes.
My 6th grader also does daily “book work” which is from spelling workout, spectrum vocabulary, and Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics (GUM). My 7th grader does those things as well as wordly wise, and she did the Brave Writer Boomerang curriculum, which involves various mechanical language arts exercises and copywork.
This year my kids got really into creative writing projects, so my 6th grader will often jump onto google docs and write a short story (You can see one example on my instagram account, that I posted a while back). I am waiting a while longer to push on formal writing projects, as she was a “late” reader, and I don’t want to escalate expectations prematurely. I know she’ll get where she needs to be when the timing is right.
For the fall, I am looking at Lightning Literature & Composition. I will certainly do it for my rising 8th grader, but am uncertain for my rising 7th grader as I don’t love the book choices. I just heard of this curriculum in the past couple of months. We will definitely read the Brave Writer Arrow books, but I don’t know if my 6th grader will do the curriculum as it doesn’t usually get done in a meaningful way, she may take 1 or 2 classes, we’ll see what happens with in person stuff.
This is the first year my 6th grader took an online math class through our charter, which is called Math Revolution. It encourages a growth mindset. In addition, we are making the switch from Singapore to Saxon, as the scripted approach may be a better fit. In addition, she does daily practice on Khan Academy. We are with a charter, and I am cognizant that they will be doing state testing, and while I don’t personally care about the outcome, I don’t want them to get caught off guard and panic, and obviously additional math practice is beneficial for obvious reasons.
Next year we’ll continue with the Saxon, Khan, and probably the charter math class, which is in person every other meeting during non-Covid times.
My 6th grader started out this year using Bookshark’s Eastern Hemisphere curriculum, which is my absolute favorite history curriculum. It is literature based, and only covers countries/continents in the Eastern Hemisphere (Level F is what it’s now called). The literature is incredibly rich, and she started it last March/April and finished some 6 months later. She then started Bookshark’s 6th grade history, Level G, which is the first year of a 2 year sequence of world history.
In addition, because I have one 4th grader, I planned out a big California History reading list for all of my kids, so she read several books about California History from the non-state standard perspective. i.e. we didn’t obsess over missions.
She is very interested in anthropological type books, so for next year she will be doing the level 7 from Build Your Library, which is about different cultures, religions, etc. It incorporates mythology, religion, and geography, and lots of books, as it’s also literature based. It’s another great secular resource that I only learned about this year. In addition, we usually do the Studies Weeklies papers for our charter, she prefers to do them online, but we also have to generate work samples.
Additionally, I started planning out an in depth Roman & Greek literature book list after I discovered that the many of the Hunger Games series’s characters were based on Romans. So I felt like I actually had to do the whole Plutarch’s Lives thing I always dreamt of covering.
I also started daydreaming about doing a whole in depth study of Russia in terms of historical literature, music, art, science study, etc. So we may do a bit of that in the background, as a family. I’ll post whatever I come up with on that here, once my list(s) are complete!
My 6th grader is very interested in animals, and she requested to do some sort of animal science this year. So, after extensive research, I connected with the creator of Blossom & Root, and decided my kid would do the Wonders of the Animal Kingdom curriculum, which she has enjoyed. We did do a bit of the same biology and taxonomy last year through Real Science 4 Kids, so she expressed there was some overlap that was annoying. In addition to the studies weeklies for the charter, I ended up getting her a Spectrum science workbook for the days when it’s just easier to do a worksheet to check the charter’s box, if that makes sense.
Next year, I am having all of my kids study Physics. They have had a smattering, but no concentrated study. She will do Real Science 4 Kids middle school focus on physics, plus the lab kid from home science tools. My oldest will be using the Oak Meadow Physics, which we purchased a year ago but it was too advanced. My 2 boys will be doing the Blossom & Root wonders of the physical world first 1/2 on physics.
In theory, I may eventually write one of these out for each kid, we shall see. Let me know if you’ve found this helpful in the comments!