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Here are our plans for Alexa's 1st 6th Grade school year, 2011-2012. We have decided to stretch this schedule out over a two year period, giving Alexa two years of "6th Grade" before moving her on to 7th. This is because when she first started Kindergarten in elementary school, her birthday was right on the cutoff date, making her the youngest child in her class. If she'd been born one day later, she'd have been in a lower grade. (And the following year, they even pushed the cutoff date back a whole month where we live).

I have had a couple of causes to regret not waiting that extra year before getting her started with formal schooling. The first was right in Kindergarten when I realized how academic it was and how strict it was about being at a desk all day, losing recess for talking too much, silent lunches, a focus on standardized testing right from the beginning and so on. Now I wish she'd had that time to play, imagine, explore, be a kid.

The other was when our homeschool curriculum started getting much more in depth on the reading and writing assignments, and while she held her own pretty well (with some hand-holding), I found myself thinking from time to time that she'd have gotten more out of it and had an easier time with it if she'd had that extra year of age and maturity under her belt.

NOW, I find myself thinking about her high school years, and what comes after them. Will she do better with high school level work with an extra year of maturity? What if she wants to move out, go away to college, travel etc right after she graduates high school- wouldn't I rather her have an extra year of age and maturity THEN? Wouldn't I rather that happen at 18 instead of 17?

So, we've decided on stretching Oak Meadow 6 out over two years, and supplementing with some other things to make sure it's not too "light" of a school year. So, here's what we're looking at for 6th grade studies, spread out over two years:

Oak Meadow 6 "Ancient Civilizations and English"

Ancient world civilizations provide the foundation for an integrated experience that weaves together the history, geography, literature, government, and art of ancient cultures. We encourage critical and independent thinking by challenging students to understand opposing viewpoints and to write from the perspective of different cultures and time periods. Grammar lessons and activities are woven into writing assignments and students expand their vocabulary and composition skills. Art explorations include sculpture, drawing, calligraphy, mosaics, marbling, costume making, and mask making.

(The English/Social Studies curriculum does incorporate Geography and Civics which are subjects "required" by PA Home Education Law, but we will also continue using Little Passports for fun, which also covers Geography, and which we have a monthly subscription to).

Required Literature:

An Indian Epic: Ramayana
The Rainbow People
D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
Growing Up In Aztec Times
Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest
Tales of King Arthur

There will, of course, be lots of supplemental/optional reading, too, as well as reading (both independently and aloud) just for fun.


"Cave Painting"

Writing Assignment

Playing Senet

We will also continue with The Story Of The World, Volume 1, Ancient Times, for history. Since Oak Meadow 6 focuses on ancient times anyway, The Story Of The World will go nicely with it. This is something we've been doing over the past couple of years in the summer months anyway, when we weren't busy with our main curriculum, because we enjoy doing it (see sidebar to left under My Reviews for more information about it and photos of some of the projects and activities). Now that we're stretching our 6th grade curriculum out over two years, there will be more time in the day to make The Story Of The World part of our regular curriculum throughout the year (including the Activity Guide).

We will also continue with the Killgallon series as part of our language arts program- Last year, fifth grade, we did "Sentence Composing for Elementary School." This year we will move on to "Story Grammar for Elementary School." 


Oak Meadow 6 "Basic Life Science"

Sixth graders study Life Science, including plant cell division and reproduction, plant classification systems, invertebrates and vertebrates, animal life cycles, ecosystems, and the human body. Emphasis is placed on using the scientific method to help students analyze their findings and to make connections between the overarching themes of the course. Students develop skills in objective observation and accurate recording of data.


Plant/Music Experiment

Trying to Form a Clay Boat that Won't Sink!

Teaching Textbooks "Math 6"

Designed specifically for homeschoolers, the Math 6 curriculum includes a 623-page consumable workbook, a print answer booklet, and 4 CDs that contain step-by-step audiovisual solutions to every one of the thousands of homework and test problems. The program has a total of 116 lessons and 19 quizzes. It covers all the topics normally found in 6th grade school texts including fractions, decimals, percents, simple geometry (e.g. area and perimeter), units of measure, probability, bar and circle graphs, and equation-solving. The Math 6 also has a digital gradebook that grades answers as soon as they are entered and calculates percentages for each assignment. (We had lots of success with Teaching Textbooks 5- see sidebar to left for my review and some photos- and are looking forward to continuing with it).


Life of Fred "Fractions"

If you're not already familiar with "Life of Fred" books, see sidebar to the left for my review. This is basically "storytelling math" which intrigued me enough to want to give it a try in conjunction with TT6 this year.



www.kidshealth.org "Personal Health Series" and "Human Body Series"

This is a FREE Health curriculum!  We will be using the FREE 6-8th Grade health curriculum found at kidshealth.org.


Eye Diagram

Writing Activity

Writing Activity


I was able to purchase the Meet The Masters curriculum for half the price by buying via www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org. It looks like a great art curriculum that incorporates art history, art appreciation and art projects via an online multimedia slideshow presentation, pdf files which I printed out that include entire scripted lessons that are used in conjunction with the online multimedia slideshow presentation, art supply lists, art prints, and various activities that culminate in an art project that comes with step by step instructions.

Starry Night

Mary Cassatt Unit, Portraits/Hats

Youth Judo

Alexa will continue with the weekly Youth Judo lessons she's been taking at the Y. She will also continue with American Red Cross Swimming Lessons (summer) and participate in the Homeschool Bowling League again (winter).

Guitar Lessons

This year, Alexa began taking weekly guitar lessons at a local guitar studio and practices at home regularly. We also sometimes attend live musical performances, listen to music of our choosing, and the kids have a bin full of simple musical instruments- some store-bought and some homemade- that they are free to play with whenever they'd like.


"Safety education, including regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires" is another "required subject" according to PA Home Education Law. This will be accomplished in varied ways, which will likely most often come up spontaneously. In the past, for example, we have done such things as: American Red Cross Swimming Lessons, an American Red Cross "Disaster & Preparedness Class," a tour of an ambulance facility that included a first aid slideshow, tours of various firehouses which include fire safety and prevention talks, 911 center tours, and so on. We also have age-appropriate conversations revolving around various relevant topics as they come up, including sports safety, street safety, water safety, anti-abduction conversations and so on. We do practice fire safety precautions in our home and have discussed what to do in the event of a fire, have made a fire escape route plan and so on. Alexa has also visited various fire safety interactive websites and done activity booklets and sheets regarding same.


Alexa will use the Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum software to improve her typing skills and will begin utilizing typing more for things like reports and essays rather than having to handwrite those things.

We will use "Getting Started With Spanish" to begin learning a foreign language at her request.

We will use some of the Mind Benders Grid Perplexors workbooks for "logic."

She will continue to participate in Girl Scouts on a weekly basis as a Cadette.

She will continue to participate in our library's book club, and she and I will continue with our Mother/Daughter 52 Books In 52 Weeks Challenge.

We will continue to look for and participate in various community service related projects. In the past, this has included such things as hosting Fresh Air Fund Children in our home, raising and donating money for charity, doing an Earth Day playground cleanup, volunteering time at the Salvation Army, playing games on sites that help various charities by our doing so (such as www.freerice.com), etc.

We will continue to be active in our homeschool group, which will involve many and varied educational tours, field trips, classes and social gatherings, and we will see what other opportunities come up along the way.

We are looking forward to another fun-filled year of homeschooling. :)

UPDATE: Here is the link to our first day of Alexa's first 6th grade year, as well as Ben's first day of our second attempt at Kindergarten:


AND, here is the link to our first day of Alexa's second 6th grade year:


Ben was actually still wrapping up Kindergarten at that point. But here is the link several days later to his first day of 1st Grade:



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
I found with my daughter that having her work back a grade made a big difference in her school work. She was born in the late summer and just turned five when school started. She did ok in school but was never at the top of her grade. With us homeschooling I just decided to put her down a grade, she was not happy about it, but we homeschool so her grade doesn't really matter. Now she is at the top of her grade, and she seems to be more independent. She is more relaxed as well when it comes to school. I'm really glad we kept her back that extra year. The only slight problem is she wants to tell people she is in fifth grade, when we are really doing fourth. But I told her to tell people that she is homeschooled and she has been doing school for 6 years, instead of telling what grade she is in.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, art, singing and music, theater/performing, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 9, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 15 months and my little ray of sunshine. :) Enjoys pointing at things, chasing the cat, trying to pull all the books off my bookshelves, eating, playing, and snuggling.

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secular homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!


Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


Welcome To My Blog!


The ABCs Of Relaxed Homeschooling

A Perfect Day

Affidavits, Objectives & Samples, Oh My!

A Kindergarten Dropout

Homeschooling, A Year Later

Preschool Or Not?

I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

A Day In The Life Of A New Homeschooler

Homeschool Poem

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day?

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day Part 2

What About Socialization?

Why Homeschool?!

Dear Judy Molland

What I Really Mean When I Say I Homeschool


Funnix Beginning Reading Program Review

Getting Started With Spanish Review

Growing, Growing Strong Review

Insect Lore Negative Review

Life of Fred Math Review

Little Passports Review

Meet The Masters Review

Movie Review: Snowmen

Oak Meadow Review

Sentence Composing For Elementary School Review

Story Of The World Review

Teaching Textbooks Math Review

Times Tales Review

Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum Review


Alexa's Third Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fourth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fifth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 1

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 2

Alexa's Seventh Grade Book Log

Alexa's Eighth Grade Book Log

Ben's Pre-K Book Log

Ben's Kindergarten Book Log

Ben's First Grade Book Log

Ben's Second Grade Book Log

Ben's Third Grade Book Log


Oak Meadow Kindergarten Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 5th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Our 6th Grade Stretched Over Two Years Plan

Some Of Our Most Fun/Interesting Projects & Activities, Oak Meadow 5th Grade


Homeschool Affidavit

Homeschool Objectives, Elementary and Secondary Level

Homeschool Portfolio, UPDATED

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 1

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 2

Standardized Test Results


Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles A-I

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles J-R

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles S-Z

52 Books In 52 Weeks, Mom & Daughter Style, 2011

Homeschooling Quotes & Funnies

Our Fresh Air Fund Experience

Funny Things Alexa Has Said

Funny Things Ben Has Said

My Favorite Links

How I Got Alexa's Eczema Under Control!

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 1

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 2

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, Part 3

The Family Who Wouldn't Change The Toilet Paper


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