By Katja Kromann

Homeschooling 6th grade

Homeschooling 6th grade
Once a year, I write a little recap about our homeschooling year. We have been homeschooling for two and a half years now and we seem to have hit our groove.

You can read about why we chose homeschooling in the middle of 4th grade part I and part II, and our 5th grade recap here and here.

This summer B finished 6th grade and will be doing 7th grade in the fall.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade
Princess Mononoke via, H.C. Andersen via, Viking via

I will try and keep it to the highlights and that might still be a lot, so feel free to just read the pictures. It's ok. I understand. It will leave you with a good amount of flavor of what we did this year.

We are still homeschooling independently as a private school, enrollment of one, which means we can choose all our own curriculum.

We like to do a good mix of text books, classes, unit studies, independent studies and field trips.

Language Arts

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade

Language arts is a subject that we have outsourced to a terrific teacher that B sees every week. Together, they cover all the elementary requirements of Language Arts.

This year he read these books with her.

- Hatchet by Gary Paulson
- Julia of the wolves by Jean Craighead George (not a favorite)
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes (half way)

During the reading of these books, B participated in group discussions, read alouds, double-entry journals, comprehension questions, and responses to literature.

For writing, they worked on the following types of written works:
- Persuasive Essays
- Narrative Writing
- Expository Essays
- Descriptive Paragraphs
- Narratives with dialogue
- Responses to Literature

Around the middle of the year, B asked to be moved from the group classes of 3-4 students to have classes by himself to be able to have greater influence over the material taught, more challenge and less distraction.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 6On his own, B has read the Harry Potter series 1-6 and is currently half way through the 7th and last tome book. He has watched the movies as he has finished each book.

Together we covered the eight parts of speech. (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, interjections, verbs, conjunctions)

We did a unit study about Norse Mythology where B wrote an essay which was turned in to his LA teacher for review and feedback.

We did a unit study about Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish author as well.

Both were inspired by a field trip at the beginning of the year to a sand sculpture festival in Hundested, Denmark, which you can read more about here.

DK fieldstrips 1

B took a logic's class this school year and learned all about different types of arguments and fallacies.

We did a quick unit study of Haikus. This one was B's favorite:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense
Refrigerator.


It is pretty great!!

Math

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade

Last year, we ended 5th grade finishing "Decimals and percents" in the Life of Fred series. It used to be that Beginning algebra book was the next in line, but last year the author pushed out two other books and put them in between: Pre-algebra with biology and Pre-algebra with physics.

We began the year with Pre-algebra with biology, but soon found that it was not challenging B with math. It was still a good read, so he kept it as a "read on your own book", but for math, we switched to Beginning algebra and soon found ourselves (!) plenty challenged.

What B likes about this book series is that it's written very straight forward without a lot of repetition. I like that it is written as if the author wants you to actually get math as quickly as possible as opposed to the math books they use in our local brick and mortar school where it seems almost the opposite. I have read through a couple of them and it is night and day.

In Beginning algebra, the author is letting his political and religious colors fly a little louder than in the previous books, so we sometimes found ourselves in a discussion worthy of any social studies class. There was definitely some response to literature going on!

In other news, B took 3 semesters of Geometry for middle schoolers, which he really liked. He also went to a math club for a couple of months.

Science

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade

B did a year long study program at our local South Californian wildlands preserve: Starr Ranch with a group of other homeschoolers. They posed this question at the beginning of the year:

Are there more birds and predators close to natural streams than far from natural streams?


Then each month they would meet up at Starr Ranch, get trucked out into the wilderness, to a nearby stream, and sit quietly to record bird calls. An ornithologist was there to help identify what they heard. Then they would go to a couple of gypsum powder stations at the same location and identify predator tracks with a biologist. They would repeat this at another location far from the stream. At the end of the year they concluded that there is more wild life close to water.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 12

I stayed behind for these classes to give him a shot at independence. Then, for the last session of the year, when we were going to catch, count and release tad poles, we both went. Therefore, pictures.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 13

We counted over 100 tadpoles.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 11We went on a field trip to the Discovery Science Museum and that was a big hit. We saw their exhibit about the Star Wars movies. We also went another time when they had an exhibit about the Indiana Jones movies. They had some of the costumes and behind the scenes facts and much more. It was great!

Biology

Something very fortunate happened. I had bought the book Biology 2 by Blair H. Lee. It just came out very recently. We had used the first book in 5th grade and had eagerly been awaiting this second book.

Then one day, at a class B took to learn Magic the Gathering - a card game of sorts, I happened to sit across someone who was talking about that book. My ears perked right up and it turns out that it was the author herself! I had no idea she was from California. She told me that she just started teaching a class using her book - the book I already owned and would we like to come. It's tomorrow. Uhm... yeah!! And that's how a semester of Biology began, learning about anatomy and physiology. It was such a good class. One of the favorites of the year.

3D modeling class

Oh and at that first session of Biology, I got wind of a class that was beginning right after Biology: an 18 hour course - over 9 sessions - on 3 ds max 3D modeling taught by Patricia, a teacher at Santa Ana college. A seat opened up and B took that class as well and that is how our Wednesdays became very long for a few months going from 11 in the morning with Language Arts, then Biology and 3D modeling until 6.30 in the evenings. But so worth it.

B also took a S.T.E.A.M class this year. STEAM: Science, technology, engineering, art, math. Not his favorite.

Social Studies

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade

We have all 11 books in the series The history of US by Joy Hakim. B loves to read it, I think because he is pretty interested in history in general and it is written in a way that is straight forward and has lots of segments, pictures, maps and more. B read book 2 and began book 3 this year. I ask him to tell me what his chapter is about and sometimes we try to tie a chapter in with a movie. I am on a Facebook group called Homeschooling with Netflix, which is an excellent resource for finding movies about specific topics.

B took a class in cartography, learning all sorts of map terms and such.

We did a unit study of the Japanese myth: Princess Mononoke and watched the movie. I found this on the website Teach with movies, which was recommended to me. This website is an awesome resource with teacher guides and prompts. I can't wait to use this some more.

One of our favorite things to do has been our monthly hikes with Joel, the naturalist. Every month we have gone to a new spot in our local canyons to see and learn about our local wild life, flora and history. Joel is such a fountain of knowledge and we even did a survival hike with him, going to a location where two teenagers had wandered off and got lost for several days (drug related). Luckily they survived. We went to the spot they had gone and talked about what had happened and what not to do. We learned how to build a shelter, how to find water, what to eat. Survivor man meets "ripped from the headlines". So adventurous.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 7

For Christmas, while we were in Denmark, we went to a local Christmas service so B could see what that looks like. It was really cool. The pastor had spent the previous three weeks making handmade paper angels for all the kids to take home. I thought that was awesome. I *pushed* B into the line to go get us one. #thatmom

We also did a unit study about political systems. We learned about the 5 most common economic systems and we watched a couple episodes of House of Cards. It's a bit racy in places though, but the mind games that go on are unparallelled. We discussed those at length. We also watched the movie based on a social experiment from Berkly in the 60s called "The wave", which tries, rather successfully, to answer how did Hitler get people in Germany to go along with his preposterous ideas. It's really good!

Life skills, Field trips and travels

We went to a workshop at UC Irvine for a hands-on Exploration of three Innovation Kits prepared for the workshop (Superhydro-tensio/Nanotechnology, Superhero Adult Super Vision/Mobile Optics & Magnification, Polytropolis/Circuits & Electricity). It was really cool. B and a bunch of other kids got to test a macro lens kit for cell phones as one of the activities.

In the fall, we went to Denmark. Read all about our trip here and here. During our stay we went on 16 field trips/outings. Pictures and more information in the above two Denmark posts.
  1. Bakken - an amusement park - B got up on stage!
  2. The Blue Planet - an aquarium
  3. Sømods Bolcher - Sømod's Hard Candy
  4. Vor Frue Kirke - Church of Our Lady
  5. Rådhuspladsen and court yard - City Hall Square
  6. Glyptoteket - no translation - a museum with a lot of sculptures
  7. Strøget - This is the main shopping street in Copenhagen
  8. Rørvig-Hundested færgen - The Ferry from Rørvig to Hundested
  9. Sand sculpture exhibit - video on how they made them
  10. Frilandsmuseet. - The open air museum - I wrote a post just about this place here.
  11. Møn's Klint - The Cliffs of Møen
  12. Cirkusrevyen - annual variety show poking fun of society
  13. Copenhagen Zoo - I wrote a separate post about that here.
  14. Post and Telegraph museum - This was B's favorite out of them all.
  15. Kronborg castle - H.C. Andersen has a story about Holger Danske - this became part of our H.C. Andersen unit study
  16. Christiansborg Palace - Parliament and royal reception halls

Copenhagen zoo lions tigers bears polar bear butt 1

We also attended a beautiful outdoor wedding.

wedding picture shift ctrl art 1

Then, as mentioned, at Christmas, we went again and had such a great time. We experienced the Danish Christmas tradition of dancing around the Christmas tree and at New Years, we shot off some fireworks - also a Danish tradition - similar to 4th of July here.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 14

We did several Christmas crafts together: we made salt dough Christmas figurines with Grandpa and paper folded Christmas ornaments - "braided hearts" and German stars with Grandma. And we had a real live Christmas tree where all the tips had not been cut during the growth period (aka the cone shaped Disney effect). Then the three looks like this:

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 15

Camping

We went camping at Leo Carrillo and at O'Neill. At O'Neill all the kids made bows and arrows. There was also time to catch up on some Harry Potter.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 8

I am so happy to report that 6th grade was the first school year where B has voluntarily sat down to read. Voluntarily! Many times. That's big, you guys!!

In the spring, we went to El Capitan - a three hour drive north of where we live. We spent an extended weekend with our homeshool park group.

B did a quick wood working project. This is something I would love for him to do more of.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 10

He also found a tutorial online for this curlicue origami fold. It's a very long piece of paper folded up which you can then sculpt in various ways.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 5

For Halloween, B thrifted and spray painted his way to his own costume: Ness from Earthbound. Here he is going into his Geometry class on Halloween.

Ness from Earthbound video game halloween cosutme 1
(All parents gave permission to have this picture posted)

We ended the year with our baking Friday - now a tradition. We did three Fridays (I had planned four). The best thing B made were these "Thebirkes" a Danish pastries, but Paleo style, and they turned out really good. We also made Peppermint chocolates. Then we made Paleo chocolate chip cookies, but they didn't turn out great, so I didn't post about them and the fourth project we have pushed for later.

homeschooling 6th grade looking ahead to 7th grade 16

Last year, in 5th grade, we also did baking Fridays and B made Chocolate Eclairs, Crème Brûlée and French Macaroons.

7th grade

I am almost done planning for the beginning of 7th grade, After I do my initial planning, where I select what we want to do, I glance at this list: 7th grade curriculum. Then I fill in with whatever I feel will be of the most interest to B. I try to hit all the topics in one way or another during the school year. Sometimes with a unit study over several weeks with library trips, independent study, books, movies like we did with our Norse mythology unit study. Sometimes we do a quick unit study in just a day, to dive into a topic and find 3-5 interesting facts like B did with a quick sea glass unit study before a field trip to Crystal Cove. Then if it catches on, we do more. If not, we move on to something else.

To us it is not so much about what B learns, but more about how he learns. Our philosophy is that If you love learning and know how to study and find information and apply critical thinking, you can become a life long learner and that is what we work towards.

With that, here is to another great year of homeschooling.

homeschooling 6th grade - recap of what we did this year


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This article: Homeschooling 6th grade first appeared on http://ahomefordesign.com.
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Katja Kromann
About Katja Kromann

I am a Danish American decorating life in Seattle. I love all things design and DIY.

I can’t think of anything more fun than coming up with project, making it, photographing it and sharing it with you on my websites.

I am a Graphic Artist and home maker by day.

AHomeForDesign.com AHomeForFood.com AHomeForCrafts.com
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