Simple Middle School Plans for a Fantastic Homeschool Year

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Our plans for homeschooling middle school include a year of American History, Earth Science, fantastic literature, and math. In addition, we have some fun electives planned to keep things interesting and keep the kids engaged in their unique interests.

These particular plans are for my youngest two children – yes, my youngest is now in middle school – but I’ll also have both of my high school daughters at home with me. It’s hard to find ways to study anything as an entire group anymore, at least not during school hours. That means that our plans this year reflect a little more independent work.

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Middle School Homeschool Plans

I have always enjoyed incorporating as much family learning as possible. I know there are subjects and skills that must be individualized but I am always amazed by how much we can read and study together.

My 6th and 8th-grade boys will complete the majority of their core subjects together though they each have their own math program. At this point, they have started to develop individual passions, so they each have their own plan for some fun individual electives.

Middle School Curriculum: Math

Mr. D math is our solution for middle and high school math. This program saved my homeschooling sanity many years ago and we haven’t looked back. There are plenty of good reasons we are sticking with Mr. D math and I previously shared five of them!

A lot of people want to know when it is the best time for their child to begin pre-algebra. That’s definitely different for every child, so I talked to Mr. D about it. He assured me that a child with a solid foundation in math who can confidently solve whole number problems involving all four math operations (+, -, x, ÷) is ready for pre-algebra and Mr. D’s program will take it from there.

8th grade – My son will continue a self-paced course he began last year with Mr. D. He had finished a few chapters before we took a break for the summer.

6th grade – We’ll continue with his Sinapore math through the end of book 5A or 5B, then he will also join a pre-algebra class with Mr. D.

We also play a ton of Math games during the year, which are a nice break from our school work and they reinforce math skills. Some of our favorites include:

Find more great math games:

Middle School Curriculum: English

Last year we made some changes to our English curriculum based on feedback from my older girls. It was clear we needed some more direct grammar and writing instruction. We’ll continue to have more formal English instruction now that the kids are older

Grammar

8th and 6th Grade – Last year we began using Fix-It Grammar and both boys asked to continue this year. The lessons are short, but effective. They edit and copy a sentence each day and this year the work will move on to Book 2: Robin Hood.

Writing

8th Grade – We’ll use a local English course for my son’s literature and writing this year. His literature list is a varied lists of books focused on the theme of “Dreaming Big.” The instructor uses IEW for writing instruction and he will learn using Year One, Level B.

We didn’t have success with IEW when the kids were in elementary school, but now that they are older, they WANT to learn how to write well. They have plenty of original thought and they are ready to learn how to structure it.

6th Grade – This guy will be receiving all of his instruction from me this year. I am working on a literature list for him to read during our quiet reading time each day. He’ll also participate in our middle school book club so there will be plenty of reading going on!

Some of the resources I will use to continue to develop foundational writing skills are:

Getting Started with Middle School Sentence Composing: A Student Worktext. This worked well with his brother last year so I’ll grab a second copy for my 6th grader this year.

Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson is another writing resource I will pull from this year. Jeff’s lessons are based on copywork passages from quality literature and he uses these passages as a jumping point for students to develop their writing skills and craft.

Freewriting is something we do as a family each week. We’ll continue this practice because I find it an effective way to record thoughts without censoring yourself. We may use a freewrite or two and develop it into a more formal piece of writing.

Vocabulary

We are returning to Worldly Wise books this year. They are independent and effective, though we do skip the exercises that go with the reading passages.

Spelling

We aren’t using a formal spelling program this year. Regular copywork and vocabulary works well in our home to teach spelling.

Book Clubs and other Literature

Each month I plan to read one short story, one essay, and one novel with my boys. We’ll use our selections to discuss plot elements, theme, characterization, conflict, and other elements of fiction.

Our Middle School Book Club list is fantastic this year. I can’t wait to dive into these great titles. We’ll use a Celebrate a Book Guide with each title as they are released. Ender’s Game is the only one on the list currently available, but they’ll be released throughout the year.

Literature Resources

Annotating Literary Elements from Rooted in Language. We use this guide to identify and discuss literary elements each month. I also use a tri-fold display board to create a plot arc using 3-4 of our books every year.

Trees in the Forest from Rooted in Language. This is another great resource I’ll reread to help guide my boys to deeper comprehension.

Less is More: Teaching Literature with Short Texts is a resource I have owned for a few years. We’ll use this one to narrow down our short stories and select ones that focus on particular literary elements.

Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays is a collection of essays written by your favorite children’s authors. These essays make essay writing look fun so we read and discuss elements of a great essay.

The Little Norton Reader: 50 Essays from the First 50 Years is a book I’ll add into the mix this year. These essays are by well-known authors and will kick up the content of the essays a notch.

Poem of the Month from Learning Through Literature. I am so excited about this FREE resource. The monthly PDF guides are a perfect addition to our literature routine. We’ll use them during Poetry Teatime.

Speaking of Poetry Teatime, I plan to have my younger three kids plan one a month and I’ll plan the fourth one. These planning pages are perfect to keep us organized.

Handwriting

6th and 8th Grade. I feel like we are finished formal handwriting practice, yet my kids need more time practicing cursive if it will become natural to them at all. I am still working on ideas to make this happen, but keep it light and fun.

Word Play Games

We love incorporating games in all areas of study, and langauge arts is no exception! These games continue to develop vocabulary, spelling, and a general increased power with words.

Some of our favorite games for middle school language arts fun include:

For more ideas:

Middle School Curriculum: History

Last year we used a literature-based history curriculum and it was nice to return to a literature-based approach. This year we are diving into American History with the Build Your Library Grade 12 Guide.

This is the first time we have used Build Your Library and I am thrilled about the booklists. The 12th-grade guide actually covers literature, government, economics, and an elective. It’s a 4.5 credit class, but we’ll only use it for history this year. I’ll use the same guide to complete government and economics next year.

Documentaries

My plan is to add documentaries to our studies throughout the year from Amazon, Netflix, and Curiosity Stream. Build your Library suggests several for the year, but we’ll also dig around to find some of our own.

Middle School Curriculum: Science

Both my 6th and 8th grader will use Mr. Q’s Advanced Earth Science. My 6th grader will read the chapters and enjoy the labs with us, while my 8th grader will be held responsible for completing the quizzes and tests as well.

We’ve already started and the curriculum is going well. We’ll be adding some fun science kits from Home Science Tools. At the end of chapter 5, renewable and non-renewable resources, we enjoyed the Solar Power Study Kit to extend the learning and fun!

Science Master Classes

We are going to kick off the year with Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s class on Scientific Thinking and Communication from Master Classes. I think this will be an important discussion with my older kids in particular, though the 6th grader will join in.

We already completed Chris Hadfield’s Master Class on Space Exploration and it was excellent!

Nature Study

This year we are going to use No Sweat Nature Study to bring nature study back into our homeschool routine. Nature study is something that I have allowed to slip through the cracks too often in the last few years and I hope these monthly live classes will get our homeschool back on track.

The topics for the remainder of the year are listed below:

Middle School Curriculum: Sign Language (Foreign Language)

We’ll be taking American Sign Language (ASL) Level 1 from Mr. D this year. This is one the entire family will be taking this year and those who are old enough will earn a high school credit, which includes my 8th-grade son.

Middle School Curriculum: Technology

8th Grade – My son will dive into a class from My Tek Lab, which we registered for using Mr. D’s website. I believe this will give you a reduced rate for homeschoolers. After a deep dive into computer game development this summer, we decided to register him for My Tek Lab, Level 2.

Middle School Curriculum: Fun Additions

Universal Yums – This one is for the whole family. It’s our hands-down favorite subscription box and we decided to add it back into our year. We had an annual subscription a few years ago and we have missed it. Everyone LOVES this one.

Check out a tour of our Egypt Universal Yums Box:

If you are feeling hungry and ready to tour the world through food, then check out the options at Universal Yums. I am certain this is one box you will love.

Annie’s Young Woodworkers Kit Club

Annie’s Young Woodworkers Kit Club – This one is for my 6th-grade son because he loves working with his hands. In the past, he attended a local woodworking class, so we thought this might a good replacement this year.

You can receive 75% off your first kit with the code: SHARE75 or by clicking this link to check it out. (expires 9/1/20)

It’s going to be a great year for both of my middle school boys. I know we’ll all have a great time learning and discovering!

Be sure to check out:

Start a book club for your Middle Schooler:

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2 thoughts on “Simple Middle School Plans for a Fantastic Homeschool Year”

  1. Michele L Palmer

    Thanks Mary for this awesome post!
    And thank you for the great Language Arts game ideas for this age group. It’s exactly what we needed to add to our Friday fun. We have loved playing math games on Fridays like Prime Climb, Yahtzee, and Farkle, but we needed some LA games!
    Hope you have an amazing school year!

  2. Thanks for sharing all this! We got “Breakfast on Mars” from the library when you mentioned it earlier, and it’s been great so far! I will need my own copy. I’m super excited about the poem of the month! Off to check out a few other things you mentioned (your youngest is my daughter’s age, conveniently!)

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