Our school year was fine. I had no fear of gunmen, confusing bathroom escapades, or bullying. Fear of toddler tantrums, maybe, but–not the same, eh?
Each year, I type up the curriculum of my lead child (after we finish the year). I don’t deviate material too much from year to year. Call it “boring,” but I prefer the label of “stability.”
Our Sixth Grade Curriculum
Learning definitely took place, despite my frustration of teaching three multi-level students with a toddler in tow. But check out the painting I used for this post titled The Schoolmaster. I’ve got it good compared to that guy!
- Math: Saxon Algebra I (Monday-Thursday)
- Grammar: Easy Grammar and Easy Grammar Daily Grams (Monday-Thursday)
- Spelling: How to Spell (2-3 days per week)
- Reading: Abundant amount of self-guided, usually self-selected books (Daily)
- Spanish: Live teachers (On average 1-2 times per week)
- Latin: Lively Latin (Monday-Thursday for a couple of months each semester)
- History and Geography: Lively Latin’s Roman history components, study of the states using The Star-Spangled State Book as a guide, and study of our own state (2-3 days per week)
- Typing: A computer program called Typing Instructor (Monday-Thursday for a two month block)
- Physical Education (extra-curricular): Dance (all year) and archery (three-month block)
- Music Education (extra-curricular): Violin and guitar (all year)
- Miscellaneous classes available through our homeschool group: Local museum history class, build a toothpick bridge class, science, art
- Self-led activities (with outside instruction as necessary): sewing, YouTube class, poetry contest winner
I’ll proceed with a few comments about our curriculum.
Algebra I: Saxon, 3rd Edition
We carried over Math 7/6 from fifth grade and finished that up early in the first semester of sixth grade. I then decided my daughter could handle Algebra I if she took it slowly.
She did about half a lesson each day and she covered about 50 of the book’s 120 lessons. We just keep math going on a rolling basis, and we’ll do a few lessons this summer, finishing up the book next year as her abilities allow.
Understanding the algebra concepts was no issue, but retention of the algebra rules and putting it all together was. (Like a child can spell words, but when he or she writes a letter, he or she will misspell even common words.) By skipping a book, I also noticed she needed extra practice in dividing decimals and fractions.
Starting algebra early required that my daughter have great patience with herself and be willing to re-do problems. Her confidence did take a blow because she was used to getting everything correct. It was a good time to reinforce that we are NOT learning for grades but for mastery and understanding.
If I could do it over again, I would have done Saxon’s Algebra 1/2 and just moved through it quickly based on her understanding. Why didn’t I? Because my husband and I both had that book in junior high school and hated it. In addition, I tutored many people in math (Saxon-style) in my younger days and felt confident I could watch for lapses and breaks in understanding.
Note: I saw that the 4th edition of this had mistakes in the answer keys. I’m sticking with 3rd edition.
Grammar: Easy Grammar and Easy Grammar Daily Grams
Easy Grammar makes my life easy. It’s super thorough and super straightforward. We’ve used it for several years now. It’s perfect for us. Stable. Boring.
There are two components I use: the Easy Grammar textbook and the cumulative, short, daily worksheets called Daily Grams. I just buy the teacher’s manual for BOTH the textbook and the Daily Grams. If you think your student will peek at answers, you’ll need to make copies of the worksheets and tests from the books. I love that the program has cumulative review tests and that the Daily Grams worksheets are cumulative.
Spelling: How to Spell
How to Spell is only our guide of what to cover, the order to cover it in, and the “rules” to learn. We tried a computer program for spelling, but I just couldn’t keep up on looking at what she did and finding the appropriate lists for her.
How to Spell doesn’t have enough worksheets, and I usually print off extra worksheets from the internet on each topic. It is not a self-contained curriculum. I just love the way it presents spelling in an orderly fashion with the rules defined as much as possible, and I supplement it greatly.
Latin: Lively Latin
We have been slowly working through Lively Latin (Book 1) for a couple of years now. We start and stop because sometimes other subjects are more difficult and pressing. Sometimes, the Latin grammar seems to be just a touch above her understanding. If I wait, I’ve noticed that her English grammar knowledge improves, and then we can easily move forward again in Latin after she understand more grammar in general!
I have not taken a Latin course, so I do not know the best way to proceed with Latin. The author of this program seems to keep it simple and moving forward, all the while keeping it fun and interesting. It’s full of Roman history, definitely a huge plus! My daughter loves this part!
Sixth and seventh grades seem perfect for this book (although I did start it a smattering in fifth grade), and I do not regret my purchase.
Typing: Typing Instructor
Typing Instructor is a computer CD program I bought several years ago. I’ve been satisfied with it, and the girls like it. I bring it out each semester so they can get faster at typing in a progressive fashion.
I love questions and hearing about what other people do, even if I stick with my own thing! That way if anyone ever asks me for an idea, maybe I’ll have a suggestion! Share away! Please know that this is OUR curriculum! I, in no way, condone following our curriculum for your child. But I’m happy to answer questions on what we do to generate ideas! Part of what we do now is contingent on knowing what I plan to proceed to later!
Art attribution: Adriaen van Ostade [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons