Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sixth Grade Curriculum Plans

The official start of sixth grade is less than a month away and we have finalized our curriculum plans, even if the extra curriculars are still a jumbled mess. I have detailed out each subject and resource on our full 2013-2014 curricula page, but today I'm going to just give a quick (for me) summary.

This school year marks our formal switch to a classical education from a more eclectic style based in both classical and traditional styles. I realize a classical education isn't suited to everyone, but time has shown us that this is how Amber learns best.  The curriculum discussed below is our take on an "Amber friendly" classical education.

Math was an easy selection since we are remaining with the wildly successful Saxon Math. Amber will be using Saxon Algebra 1/2 for pre-algebra. 

We also decided to remain with BJU English (English 6) for the grammar portions only. We will utilize Writing With Skill and The Creative Writer for Amber's writing curriculum.  After some debate, spelling still has a (small) slot in our daily schedule using BJU Spelling 6

Ancient times is our topic for History in sixth grade.  The Mystery of History is our spine with lots of supplemental books, especially for Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome. 

Many fantastic books are scheduled for literature this year. The majority are related to our history studies, yet we have a couple fun ones.  There is also always plenty of free reading going on around here. Our scheduled literature books are:

Poetry will now be its own distinct subject, used in units as a break between each grammar unit.  After much consideration I chose The Art of Poetry, from Classical Academic Press (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers).  It is important to note, though, we do not intend to complete the entire book in one school year.  This will be an ongoing study throughout middle school.

Another Classical Academic Press offering we use is Latin for Children. This year we are up to Primer B.  It is another runaway success for Amber.  I have considered other Latin curricula, but when something works, why risk the change.

Elemental Science won out for science this year and we are utilizing their Biology for the Logic Stage this summer and first semester. Hopefully, we will be moving on to Earth Science / Astronomy for Logic Stage in second semester.  

As for logic itself, Amber is completing Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural that she began in January of fifth grade.  Critical Thinking, Book One is on deck after Building Thinking Skills is complete.

Also under the logic topic, at least in my lesson plans, is Kidcoder: Windows Programing from Homeschool Programming.  We are going to make this a very relaxed, once a week, introduction to computer programming. Amber has recently expressed some interest in learning programming. To be honest, I'm not sure if that's because I'm a software developer disguised as a stay-at-home mom and Amber thinks she is expected to be like me, or if she has true interest.  We will find out.

As for Religion, I'm still a disloyal rebel using Christ Light from Northwestern Publishing House (Lutheran, Wisconsin Synod).  I wish the Missouri Synod could put out some decent products.  Oh, how CPH has fallen.  I'm also very strongly considering, as in it's in an online cart and I need to push the purchase button,  Old Testament Hands-On History Activity Pak from Homeschool in the Woods.

In that same online cart is Artists Hands-On History Activity Pak for use in art appreciation.  Our failed attempts at art appreciation and home art classes are a long and rather boring story.  This is yet another attempt to bring some culture to our homeschool.

Now for those jumbled extra curriculars.  I know other people who successfully juggle outside classes for many children, yet we have such schedule issues for our one girl.  On the definite list is piano lessons, thankfully still taught by me, and handbell choir (an upgrade from her previous chimes choir) at church. Girl Scouts and any other scouting type group is out the door.  Musical theater and voice have lost favor with Amber too.    Dance remains as the king of the definite list, but this is where things get hairy.

Amber wants to focus more on ballet and pointe, keeping only two other favorite styles of dance (yes.. only two), and her private lessons.  That's great.  Yet we still don't have a fall dance schedule, making it VERY difficult to commit to anything else.  Additionally, dance class schedules change at the semester end. This makes it EXTREMELY difficult to commit to other activities when there are particular dance classes that must be taken no matter the day / time.

Amber also very much wants to add another instrument to her repertoire, and she has chosen the flute.  I'm thrilled she has such an interest in music and am more than happy to arrange flute rental and lessons.  Though again, we are back to the fluctuating dance schedule problem.  How do we commit to flute lessons while telling them they come second fiddle to a dance schedule that will change at the semester?

Stay tuned for the saga of after-school activity scheduling.

That, in a rather large and overflowing nutshell, is our sixth grade curriculum.  Thanks for hanging in there.

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