Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What We're Doing for Middle School This Year

Dear friends,

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post on www.startwellhomeschool.blogspot.com about What We're Doing for Elementary School This Year.  We're also home schooling two middle school students: a son in 8th grade and a daughter in 6th grade.  My son has always been home schooled, while my daughter attended a public elementary school for the last four months of the last school year.

Our family is continuing with the home school co-op that we've been in for several years with the exception of one year we just home schooled - at home.

Here is a run down of what we're doing in and out of co-op.

My daughter is taking 6th grade math, with only one other student in her class. They are using the McDougal Littell text, along with a student notebook volume. 

For science and history, she is in mixed level classes with 4th-6th grade students.  

Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 1  -     
        By: Jeannie Fulbright
The science class is using the Apologia text about flying creatures, which is mainly birds and insects but includes bats and other airborne creatures as well.  They are doing lots of hands-on activities and creating a Charlotte Mason style notebook of all they are learning.


The Mystery Of History, Volume 2: The Early Church and  the Middle Ages  -     
        By: Linda Lacour Hobar
The history class is using Mystery of History Volume 2 by Linda Hobar. It covers the time period from the early church up through the Middle Ages. Each day they read a lesson, make note cards with the important facts, do an activity (such as mapping or a short report) and add a figure to their time line.

The Book of Virtues   -     
        By: William J. Bennett
I teach my daughter's English class, which is 5th-6th grades. I chose to integrate the literature and writing assignments with their history topics, so if they are studying about Genghis Khan in history, we'll read a legend about him for English. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use The Book of Virtues as our main literature resource. 

We are also reading through the book of Acts in the Bible and C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and theWardrobe. I have been writing my own study guide for that.  For the last class, I brought in some Turkish Delight candy since Edmund eats this while being lured by the evil White Witch in the third chapter.  The first two chapters featured the Professor's huge country mansion and the Faun's small cave, so I assigned the following for creative writing: “Imagine that you could design a dream house that reflects your own interests. It can be as large or as small as you want. Where will it be? What will it look like on the outside? Describe each room in your house. What will they be used for? What will they contain? Draw a floor plan if you would like.” and “Yesterday you wrote about a big house you would like to live in. Today, you are going to write about a small one. If you had an entire home to live in by yourself that was as small as Tumnus's cave room, what would it be like? Make a list of what would you need to live in your home and a few extra things that you would want. What are some practical ways you could “make do” in such a small space?” I know my students (6 girls and 1 boy) enjoying this project immensely and we had a lot of fun when they read their house descriptions in class. I mentioned that they might want to download the free version of the Sketchup 3-D drawing program to design their houses, and some of them have been doing that, too.  In the spring, we will also read the book The Door in the Wall by Marguerite DeAngeliUsually I would assign more novels, but since we have a lot of stories from The Book of Virtues and the co-op leaders asked me to focus more on writing this year (a current need), I limited it to just those two.

Spectrum Language Arts, 2007 Edition, Grade 6   - Spectrum Phonics, 2007 Edition, Grade 6   - Besides the reading and writing, they are also doing two workbooks from Spectrum: Language Arts 6 and Word Study and Phonics 6.  My classroom assistant, another mom in our co-op, has been helping a lot with the grammar lessons in the Language Arts workbook.  She is very enthusiastic about this, and has even set some grammar facts, such as the list of indefinite pronouns, to hymn tunes.  Speaking of that, we're also going to try to tuck in a little music sight reading skills along the way. Singing is a form of communication, isn't it?

In addition to her co-op classes, my daughter is doing some reading on her own. One of her older sisters convinced her to start Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which has been a good pick for her.

Dangerous JourneyMy 8th grade son is using the McDougal Littell Pre-Algebra text for math. For history, he and the other 7th-8th graders are doing A Beka America, Land I Love. Like many of the other 8th graders in co-op, he is taking Apologia Biology for high school credit, since that follows last year's General Science course pretty nicely. His English class is using the BJU Press Writing & Grammar workbook, as well as a variety of literature. Their first book is The Dangerous Journey, an adaptation of Pilgrim's Progress. They will also be reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Light In The Forest, Sounder, and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

My husband is responsible for helping my son with his math and science, as well as grading assignments for both of those classes. I am very grateful. He does this for our high school son's math and science, too.

Handbook of Nature Study   -     
        By: Anna Botsford Comstock
In addition to his co-op classes, my son likes to draw, take pictures of nature (especially birds, especially after taking the same Apologia flying creatures class this his sister is in now), make videos, and read a wide variety of non-fiction. My sister sent a big box of books this week and he immediately claimed a biography of Thomas Edison, a drawing book, and Anna Botsford Comstock's massive Handbook of Nature Study, which was orginally published a century ago.

Our family also has a Fun Pass to Sea World, thanks to help from my mom.  If you pay for a single day ticket, they give you the rest of the year free!  That's a lot of marine science field trips.

So that's what we're doing for middle school this year!

Virginia Knowles

1 comment:

  1. Lots of great books for your middle school children. We're doing the Handbook of nature this year as well. For the other subjects he'll be doing Oak Meadow curriculum and for math he'll supplement with Teaching Textbooks.


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