Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sixth Grade Homeschool Review

Ok, I am pushing through this here - I set a goal to review everything in one week and I am sticking to this goal!

Sixth grade - I am not sure about some of you who have 6th grade boys out there but mine loves to get by doing the least amount possible. He likes to get good grade and work hard, but as long as he doesn't have to do too much. This made for a great school year - at least that is what I am telling myself. And this is what we did this year and what I thought about it all.

Math: can you guess - yep Saxon Math 7/6! I love this and what I loved even more was that I told my boy that he could teach it to himself. If he had any questions come to me and I would explain it to him. I taught him that you read the lesson and then do the numbered problems - which are the review of what they just taught. Then he does the actual problems. It worked pretty good. Sometimes he would try to do the problems without reading the lesson, and I could tell when I would correct it, so I would make him explain the lesson to me and then repeat the problems he missed. He did fairly well this year - he averaged B's or around 85%. I was just pleased that he was able to understand how to use the book to his benefit and not leave the teaching of the lesson up to me. I know this may sound mean to some of you, but when you are homeschooling multiple children you have to find what will work for you, and this my friends worked for me. I also think that it taught him a valuable lesson that you can find explanations in the book. This will help him out later - I hope! Oh and I loved the daily timed tests! There is nothing like drilling those math problems into your head daily for you to understand them, and I noticed that the most with this boy.

English: Rod and Staff Following the Plan (5th grade) and then Progressing with Courage (6th grade). I am not sure if it was the school my kids were at before or if they just inherited my capabilities when it comes to English, but they were all behind. We did two lessons a day here because he remembered some stuff and caught on with the other stuff pretty quickly. In doing this I only made him do the evens or odds on the actual homework. Which for those of you who are familiar with this program it is more than enough to drill the concept into them. But I L.O.V.E.D. this program!! This was the best English program I have seen. I love how it integrated the process of writing into the lessons. And it was thorough!! I learned a few things when I was teaching him - which may not be a huge surprise, but it was nice for me. If I had to do this over I would and I would see if they had it for my younger kids instead of doing the Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons. There were worksheets and tests and homework, it did seem like a lot, but since I was cutting some stuff in half it was not too bad.

Writing: We started with Writing With Ease, but stopped that after about a month because it was not challenging at all and we were learning the writing process in our English lessons. And I do not regret this decision in the slightest. It seemed to me that the level he was doing 4 or 5, I don't recall, just had them summarize a story they read. And that was teaching him nothing about proper writing.

Spelling: We stuck with Spelling Power with this kid. He liked that he did not have to study words over and over and then take the test. This kid is a reader - I cannot keep up with what he reads, because he reads everything. (I have to hand it to all the librarians that we have had because they have helped me out a ton when trying to give him books that are good for him.) But I think that reading has helped his spelling. He did not struggle too much with this program, but there were days that he would miss a lot and it would make him frustrated and mad. With spelling power when you miss a word you are supposed to go over it numerous ways and the whole process will help you to learn it correctly - unfortunately he did not do the process all the time.

Science: He loved doing the bring science home experiments, but when we stopped them I had him do the same thing as my 4th grader - pick a topic from our science book, he used the Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science, and then do research on that topic and write a report on it. We did one topic a week. I am pleased with how this turned out, they learned things which were interesting to them, and then practiced public speaking.

Music - we are still doing piano lessons, but they are going slow. He tends to practice the song, but doesn't fix his mistakes when he makes them. Then at the lesson gets a little upset when he has to take the song over. I sit with him sometimes to help but he doesn't like that and so we usually only do that once a month. But I moved his lessons to every other week. I also am trying to find songs that he likes to play, or songs that are popular - that is when I see the most progress in his playing. But we made a deal that he could quit when he could play 12 songs from our church hymn book. We started the simplified book, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel for him.

Art: Again lessons from Dad - he drew a lot of comic like things this year.

History: Story of the World: Middle Ages. He did the same as my 4th grader, but I would have him pick a topic from what we studied that week and give us a little bit more info on it at the end of the week - another report. This was a little hit and miss throughout the year. But he loves to read and has read all of the story of the world books at least twice - so I am not worried about getting the information into him.

Typing: Same as my 4th grader, but this had mixed results. He did not really care some days and did on others. . I tried doing some handwriting because he could really use it, but what I realized was that when he wanted to he could write nice - but it was when he wanted to, which was not that often - so I abandoned that and just praised him when he did write nice.

 And there you have my 6th grade year. I have learned a lot about my kids this past year and have enjoyed and loathed this whole homeschooling process. But we made it through the year. Next year they will go into the public school here. There are multiple reasons behind this but what it comes down to is that this is what is best for them right now. I am comfortable in my decision and also excited to see how our relationship will change. I sometimes feel that they listened to me as a teacher and then when it was time for me to be a mom they were done with what I had to say.

I hope that these reviews help you out (I know that most of my stuff came from the Well Trained Mind and there is other stuff out there, but we have to use what works for us). If you have any questions about homeschooling please ask, I would love to give you an ear full about what I know and think about certain things!! ;)
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