Homeschool Middle School Curriculum Choices 2011-2012 {Grade 6}

I am so excited about our curriculum this year. I’ve made a couple of changes from last year hoping to find something that both my son and I enjoy using.  I don’t like the idea of trying to teach something, that  I don’t like. I also don’t like teaching something that my son doesn’t like. I know all children go through the stage of not liking school at some point, but do we really have to allow that dislike become a lifelong thing? I don’t think so!
Bible~ We are doing a daily reading of Proverbs along with memorizing Bible verses using the note card box method. You can read more about it HERE. Once we are finished with Proverbs, we are going to start the Bible study God is ~ Learning About My God then on to What Does God Say About My Sin, both of these books are from THE WILDS. I’m also using Wisdom and Millers Proverbs for Children by Mildred A. Martin and Polite Moments by Gary and Cathy Maldaner. We’ve been using these every few years off and on just as a simple reminder about simple things.
Math~ We are using Teaching Textbooks 6. We really love this Math program! It is something that I don’t have to worry about trying to teach and totally confusing my son. This is an independent computer math program that he can work on. We both highly recommend it!
Language Arts~ This was really difficult for me. After the many years of Abeka’s Language Arts, and the rigorous work pages of many, many sentences to correct, I made the decision to leave the “textbook” learning behind for grammar. Not having good grammar skills shows in everything you say and write. I want our home educating years to show the fruits of our labor and I want that fruit to be good. After many months of researching and studying different curricula, I finally decided on Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Winston Grammar, Sequential Spelling, and Writing Strands.
I really love the way LLATL teaches without the mundane worksheets and dreaded review. I’m able to teach grammar skills using literature passages from many classical books and stories.
Winston Grammar is great! We are using this three times a week for reviewing the parts of speech. Jamie is diagramming sentences a fun way. I know that there are many moms out there who don’t see the need of diagramming, but let me tell you ~ if your child is headed to college it is a needed thing! I’m not willing to pay for remedial English classes at the college level, when I can teach this myself.
Sequential Spelling  is another item that I’m loving. Words are being memorized for a lifetime of remembrance and not just for a weekly test.
Writing Strands is something that I think I’ll love once we get through the initial shock of this way of teaching. Of all the years of teaching upper elementary school in a school, I really did not have many students who could not put their thoughts down on paper. A few of them only needed a little prodding to get going. Now, I’m with my own 6th grader and I’m floored at how to help him. I bought both book 2 and 3 and we are working on a couple of lessons at a time in book 2 trying to get him up to where he should be.  He would croak if he knew that this book for much younger students, of course, it’s my little secret.
Science ~ We are using Apologia Zoology book 3 and we are loving it. I bought the journal again this year. If you are using any of the Apologia Elementary Science books and are contemplating on whether or not to buy the journal…DO IT! There is so much in the journal that will help reinforce learning. We also have the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. This is our second year using this book for our Nature Study. There is so much outside that is so interesting!
History ~ I made a change again this year. I personally loved The Mystery of History Vol. 1 but my son really did not care for it.  I loved how it went chronologically starting with creation and weaved in world history along with Bible history.  But the bouncing around and the “ancient” history just did not appeal to Jamie. That is fine. I want him to love history. So if I need to go with a textbook for him to love it, so be it.  I did look at other history curricula and really could not decide on what to buy. So I decided to give MOH Vol 2 a try. I printed off the first three weeks of lessons and we started them last week. At least I could see if this was going to work or be a problem. Thank goodness I only wasted paper and ink! I had a sneaky feeling that Jamie was not going to be happy with it, since he has really been talking about American History and the wars that our country has fought. So, I ordered old faithful ~ Abeka Sixth grade History and Geography. I also have downloaded the free American History  lesson plans from HERE along with some free lessons and worksheets from Currclick.
Reading ~ I love reading. Jamie is not much of a reader, but I want him to learn to love it. I was not always a reader. When I was brought home to home school, my junior year, I had to learn to love reading, since there was a huge reading list that I had to complete that year. Needless to say, I quickly learned to love reading books. We have several books that are on our list this year that is part of LLATL’s book study and those are listed first with an asterisk. Of course, this list will continually be added to as the year goes on.
*Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
*The Bronze Bow
*Big Red
*The Horse and His Boy
Of Mice and Men ~ I’m reading this book aloud, so I can skip over the not so nice words and phrases. If you’ve never read this, try and find the book that is geared towards young readers. If you’ve never seen the movie, I highly recommend the black and white version.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ~ again!  it’s one of our favorites
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ~ again! another favorite
Around the World in 80 Days
The Swiss Family Robinson
The Prince and The Pauper
The Hiding Place
The Story of My Life
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights