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My 2021-2022 Curriculum Picks for Middle School and Third Grade

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So, what are our curriculum picks now that we have a middle-schooler and a third-grader? The first thing you should know is that we didn’t get super fancy with the curriculum this year and made very practical selections based on what gets the job done. The more we homeschool, the more we realize that the truest and greatest curriculum is life experience. So, we chose curricula that will allow us to have more time to do just that—live life.

When I’m choosing a curriculum, I like to take five things into consideration:

  1. Learning Styles. I have kinesthetic and visual-spatial learners. That means any curriculum I choose must have visual appeal, forgo rote memorization, leave room for hand-on learning, and pose enough challenge for my little complex thinkers.
  2. Philosophy. We are Whole Child homeschoolers. Our philosophy is to nurture and develop the cognitive, physical, spiritual, social, emotional, and creative selves of our children. While one curriculum can’t do all of that, I do look to see what areas are challenged outside of cognition. 
  3. Relevancy. It’s important that my children can connect with the curriculum. It’s also important that the curriculum keeps pace with the times.  
  4. Flexibility. Lessons must not be rigid and should leave breathing space for customization and enrichment activities. 
  5. Lesson Time. With two active boys, lessons must be short, sweet, and to the point. No fluff! Just give us the meat and potatoes.

Devotionals (Spiritual Development)

We typically hold family devotionals, but this year I wanted to try something a little different. I bought each of my boys devotionals catered to their specific age group and will be spending the first twenty minutes of our homeschool day having one-on-one time with them. I love family devotional time, but since I now have a preteen in middle school, I wanted to ensure he gets special and private time to ask questions related to all the challenges of becoming a teen.

Devotional for my Preteen:

1. Gotta Have God: Cool Devotions for Guys (Ages 10-12)

Devotional for my 3rd-grader:

2. Gotta Have God 52 Week Devotional for Boys (Ages 6-9)

Whole Child Learning Reads (Morning Basket)

We support holistic education in our home, so I wanted to be sure to incorporate good books for conversation starters during our Whole Child Learning Time. Let’s start with our morning basket reads. These books will accompany many other books throughout the year that we find interesting but aren’t necessarily tied to a particular curriculum. To reduce overwhelm, I divided the topics by semester.

First Semester: Social and Emotional Intelligence

1. Social Skills Activities for Kids: 50 Fun Exercises for Making Friends, Talking and Listening, and Understanding Social Rules 50 Fun Exercises for Making Friends, Talking and Listening, and Understanding Social Rules

2. Me and My Feelings: A Kids’ Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves A Kids’ Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves

Second Semester: Cognitive and Creative Development

3. Growth Mindset Workbook for Kids: 55 Fun Activities to Think Creatively, Solve Problems, and Love Learning

4. Investing for Kids: How to Save, Invest and Grow Money

Core Subjects

Of course, to keep in compliance with Georgia homeschool laws, we always include the four core subjects into our homeschool routine. We do not plan on doing every subject every day. For the most part, Math and ELA will be daily subjects, while social studies and science will be completed weekly.

Math

1. CTC Math (Online Math Program)

This math program has many great benefits. For one, it’s affordable considering what you get. Your children will have access to virtual math lessons, self-grading worksheets (with an option to download and print), award certificates, and more. Parents have access to a back-office database where they can set a passing score for each child, review their child’s lessons and results, download and print lesson results for record-keeping, and much more. No need to log into CTC every day, they will email you your child’s progress reports every week with all the details you need to know.

Now, we love CTC Math, but I do think it’s worthwhile to get a daily math workbook so that children can practice their math skills with a pencil and paper. Last year, we used Brain Quest, but it wasn’t conducive to daily work because of the length it took to complete the assignment. I needed something that could be completed in ten minutes or less and was specifically designed for everyday independent math work, so I decided to try out the 180 days series.

2. Practice, Assess, Diagnose: 180 Days of Math for Third Grade

3. Practice, Assess, Diagnose: 180 Days of Math for Sixth Grade

ELA

We will continue our Masterbooks curriculum this year because, well, it just works. If language Aarts frustrates your kiddos, I highly recommend Language Lessons for a Living Education. The lessons are short, include great enrichment activities for fun learning, and cover all the basics your child needs to know. What I like most about this curriculum is that it is not jam-packed with material and leaves room for customization.

4. Language Lessons for a Living Education 3

5. Language Lessons for a Living Education 6

Reading

In addition to daily independent reading for enjoyment, my boys will also do daily reading comprehension practice. I chose 180 Days of Reading because the stories are short but interesting, and the questions are few but challenging.

6. Practice, Assess, Diagnose: 180 Days of Reading for Third Grade

7. Practice, Assess, Diagnose: 180 Days of Reading for Sixth Grade

Science

8. Energy K-8 Science Unit Study by The Good and the Beautiful

We loved The Good and the Beautiful’s marine biology unit last year. This family-style curriculum truly made science lessons simple and enjoyable. There were gorgeous illustrations, cute informative booklets, and fun interactive experiments. We decided to keep the momentum going and try their Energy unit. I love that all the units include suggestions for making the curriculum more challenging for higher grade-levels

History

9. Woke Homeschooling Oh Freedom! A Conscious U.S. History

We’ll be continuing this family-style curriculum from last year. The Oh Freedom curriculum is one of the few inclusive U.S. history curricula on the market. It was so rich that we had to take our time and really delve into it. I believe this curriculum is really one you can split into two years, especially if you rotate subjects. Our favorite part of this curriculum was reading all the living books that truly brought history to life and sparked insightful conversations.

Extra Curriculars

Of course, we are taking some extracurricular classes this year. These extracurricular activities foster social, creative, physical, and cognitive development and offer opportunities for application. I’m excited about reuniting with our homeschool cooperative this year and my boys getting back on the soccer field. Most of all, I’m excited to take a break from teaching every week and let my boys learn from someone else for a change.

1. Soccer (Upward Sports)

2. Art (Co-op)

3. Music (Co-op)

4. Robotics (Co-op)

5. Physical Education (Co-op)


Some new homeschoolers may be reading this post and feel a bit overwhelmed by all the topics and subjects we’ll be covering this year. Here’s a special note:

✅ Our actual homeschool day will only take three hours.

✅ We plan to rotate most of these subjects each semester.

✅ I am not teaching all the subjects.

So, there you have it! Our curriculum choices for the 2021-2022 homeschool year. I hope you find this post helpful as you gather your homeschool curriculum and morning basket reads.


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2 thoughts on “My 2021-2022 Curriculum Picks for Middle School and Third Grade

  1. Nat

    I have a third grader as well and I think you just change my mind on purchasing an expense curriculum!! Thanks

    1. Nike Anderson

      You’re welcome! Enjoy your homeschool year!

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