This year I have two middle-grade learners at home, age 11 and 13. Because they’re so close in age, they’ll be doing most of the same things, albeit at different levels. In this post I’m sharing our general plans and key resources, but I’ll share more throughout the year, giving more specific resources and how we do things.
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We have a few everyday basics they do mostly on their own. This includes Practical Spelling and Pentime handwriting workbooks, plus journaling. Yep, I’m one of those who insists we learn and practice cursive. For math, we’ll continue with Teaching Textbooks, a program that has worked for us for years.
Daily work can usually be done without assistance from me, so they can generally do it while I’m working. If needed, I can answer questions later so they’re prepared for the next day.
We don’t do every subject every day. Keep in mind that what I have listed here is our more structured work; we also do all sorts of unstructured, interest-led learning, which isn’t written out in advance but still counts! (New homeschoolers, make a note of that for when you’re feeling like you’re not doing enough!)
We do all sorts of sciencey/naturey things on a regular basis simply because of what we’re interested in and where we live. Often, our nature study is simply learning about the wildlife that lives around us: sharks, alligators, sea turtles, snakes, birds, whales, and more. We like watching science and nature TV shows as well.
Mostly, we’ll use:
- Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures from Apologia
- 100 Backyard Activities by Colleen Kessler
- Lessons from the Sand – a Southern Gateway Guide
- Outdoor Hour Nature Challenges by Barb McCoy
- plus occasional Chemistry experiments or Biology lessons from The Homeschool Scientist (check out her other resources, too!)
I have a piles of other resources around here, including animal encyclopedias, bird and wildflower field guides, and so forth. We’ll also use some of these Nature Notebooking Pages for their nature journal.
We’ll be working our way through a great big pile of books for a literature-based American history study. We’ll supplement this with history and geography shows like Travel Thru History.
In addition, we’ll be using Geography Through Literature from Beautiful Feet Books. The maps are gorgeous and we already own the books.
Literature & Composition:
I love books and if there’s one thing I’ve done well as a mom (and homeschooler) it’s instilling this in my kids. Admittedly in varying degrees, but in my book (see what I did there?) I count any kid who likes books as a win. Each day they’ll listen to audiobooks I’ve chosen for them, and they’ll have independent free-reading time daily as well.
This year we’ll be using WriteShop; it’s the first time I’ve done such a structured writing program, but I feel they’ll both benefit from it. As with most things, we may put our own spin on it once we get the hang of it all. This will be a subject they’ll do separately because they are at very different levels.
And…. Poetry Tea Time! It’s been eons since I’ve done this — and never with either of my youngest two. I expected some eye-rolling when I told them about it but they were both excited and looking forward to it. We’ll read poetry, of course, but also Shakespeare Stories and more.
- Weekly art time, with Masterpiece Society as well as Chalk Pastels.
- Board games. Check out these gameschooling resources.
- Running, yoga, and other workouts: they like it, it counts as phys ed, it helps them mentally as well as physically, and we’ve got an in-house personal trainer (me!), so… yep.
- Field trips, real-life and virtual, ideally once a month but we’ll see what we find and how that works out.
Other posts you may like:
- Workbox Crate: Simplified Homeschooling
- Homeschooling High School: Ocean Study
- Our Imperfect Homeschool
- Understanding Personality Types Changed my Parenting
Check this out too: Notebooking helps kids retain what they’re learning and is a great way to keep records if your state requires that. This site has notebooking pages for quite literally EVERY subject you can think of, and they’ve got free resources and sample pages to get you started.