Middle School Homeschool Curriculum: Top Picks
Middle school homeschool curriculum is some of my favorite! Read on…
The year before I got a full-time job teaching, I was a substitute teacher for three school systems, K-12. Let me tell you…after about two months, I let the central office know that I was available for anything except middle school. I loathed middle school. There were so many stinky attitudes and hormonal distractions! I actually wondered how I would possibly like my own children at that age. I’m happy to report that not only do/did I like my own middle school kids, I’ve learned that these years have GREAT potential – both academically and spiritually.
We have had SO much fun! Oh, the depths an interested middle schooler can go. Yes, I said interested – that’s the key. It’s during these years that I see my kids make the transition from “fun” learning to more “serious” learning. Just because things take a turn, doesn’t mean learning has to be stiff and dull all of the sudden!
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Middle School Homeschool Curriculum
Below are some of my very favorite curriculum choices for middle school homeschool curriculum. Of course, these aren’t the only things we use in 6th-8th grades, but they are things I have used over and over again (and will use with my little man before long, too!) Remember that my top picks may or may not work for your family. Do your research and use things that meet your family’s needs.
Language Arts Homeschool Curriculum
Easy Grammar is, well, easy. Really. Besides a bit of gentle grammar a time or two through the upper elementary years, this is all I use for grammar instruction. It takes us about two years to go through this book from start to finish – but then we never worry with another grammar lesson again! Unless, of course, there’s a small issue here or there that needs review. I love the short and sweet lessons that don’t waste our precious time! (My review)
Writing a research paper isn’t easy or fun for most students. Research in Increments is the best tool I’ve found to make the process as painless and simple as possible. We love the step-by-step method that produces great papers in the end! (My review)
I’m also a HUGE fan of using picture books to teach writing! Check out the Teaching Writing with Picture Books Homeschool Masterclass and Using Picture Books to Teach Writing Blog Series for more information.
Math Homeschool Curriculum
Saxon Math is our go-to math program from 4th grade on. It’s an excellent program that creates mathematically smart kids. We typically used 7/6 in 6th grade, 8/7 in 7th grade and Algebra 1/2 in 8th grade. Some people choose to begin Algebra 1 in 8th grade. Once we reach algebra, I begin purchasing the Saxon Teacher CD’s. They’ve been a HUGE life saver for us!
Saxon got a bit overwhelming by the time we hit Algebra 1/2 with my son. We opted to use a bit of each of these programs instead – No-Nonsense Algebra and Real World Algebra. The mastery approach (vs. the spiral approach of Saxon) gave him a more solid understanding of algebraic concepts.
One more math resource we’ve LOVED…Mathability: Math in the Real World. It’s consumer math practice for the middle school crowd.
History Homeschool Curriculum
During middle school, we still use a lot of history and science unit studies!
Brimwood Press is new to us this year, but quickly worked its way into my list of middle school favorites! The creative, literature-based, hands-on, visual approach is just awesome. In just a few short weeks, we whizzed through an overview of history from ancient times to the present. It was a great review of major eras, people and events before jumping into our regularly scheduled history studies this year. (My review)
We’ve also thoroughly enjoy reading the Genevieve Foster books that take you on wonderful, living, historical journeys. If you like to study history chronologically, you should read these in the following order: Augustus Caesar’s World, The World of Columbus and Sons, The World of Capt. John Smith, The World of William Penn, George Washington’s World, and Abraham Lincoln’s World.
While I’m talking about wonderful literature, I might as well mention that I LOVE the Holling C. Hollings books for early middle school students, too! These include Paddle to the Sea, Tree in the Trail, Minn of the Mississippi, Seabird and Pagoo.
I’m going to highlight the History Revealed curriculum in my upcoming post about high school curriculum picks. Since it’s written for 5th-12th, though, I’ll mention it here as one of my very favorite history programs for older students.
Science Homeschool Curriculum
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry and Christian Kids Explore Physics are other books we have loved during the middle school years. They present detailed lessons about chemistry and physics concepts in a very hands-on way and work well when teaching multiple ages. It was super easy for me to pick up and use them, too. (A post from our experiences with the chemistry book.)
The Exploring Creation Series from Apologia is normally touted as 1st-6th grade curriculum. I’ve found the books to be great for older middle school students as well. When using these books in the earlier years, I have to be very hands-on with my children. In the middle school years, however, I can assign one book per semester (or so) and leave my children to learn independently, for the most part. The living textbook approach keeps my children interested in the lessons, too!
Oh, there are so many wonderful science options at this age! The curriculum from Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop has proven to be absolutely perfect for our homeschool style. If you hop over to the high school curriculum post later, you’ll see me mention this curriculum there, too. Her books are very approachable for most middle schoolers and still have plenty of use for high schoolers, too. When to use them depends on your overall plan, but they aren’t to miss!
Of course, we don’t give up nature study at any age! NaturExplorers studies are written for 1st-8th graders, but don’t think there aren’t enough meaty ideas for the upper end of that age spectrum. Quite the contrary, middle school students are finally at the age to take nature study to a whole new level and these books give you what you need to help them!
I’m HAPPY to help you teach nature study during No Sweat Nature Study LIVE lessons, too!
Logic Homeschool Curriculum
While we still keep up with logic puzzles, middle school is the time to begin more formal logic instruction, too. The Fallacy Detective is a super-fun way to introduce children to logical fallacies! We do the 10-minute (or so) lessons together and have a ball. We also enjoy the follow-up book, The Thinking Toolbox. (My review)
Vocabulary Homeschool Curriculum
English Roots Up is my favorite way to boost middle school vocabulary, while teaching a bit of foreign language at the same time. The flashcard format makes for quick and easy practice. To make it more fun, we play games with the flashcards, too. I’ve seen my children’s ability to decode word pronunciation and word meaning skyrocket since using this program consistently. (My review)
Another favorite around here is WordUp! The boys, especially, have really responded well to the zany teacher, Dwane Thomas, and his sense of humor. You can either stream the 15-ish minute lessons or purchase a DVD. After each lesson in which your children learn several words having to do with two Latin/Greek roots, there are online quizlets for practice and testing.
Economics Homeschool Curriculum
Whatever Happened Penny Candy? is a wonderful little book for teaching mighty economic principles to middle school (or older) students. We’ve learned SO much about current day economics! Economics may seem like an “extra”, but don’t miss this book and the important teaching it provides. (My review)
Bible Homeschool Curriculum
We love the Picture Smart Bible. Don’t be fooled…even though it looks like you’re placing coloring pages in front of your children, the pages are wonderful visuals to help study each book of the Bible. You can actually use the pages with all ages – including adults! (My review)
A free resource we’ve enjoyed during the middle school years is The Bible Project. You can find videos to give an overview for every book of the Bible. Be sure to check out the coloring posters you can buy to go along with the videos.
A lot of the books listed in the following two posts are great for middle school kids!
I can’t end this post without sharing my very favorite devotionals for this age. These are written specifically for boys and are absolutely fantastic.
That’s a wrap. Please share your very favorite middle school homeschool curriculum choices with me!
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More Top Picks
Early Elementary Top Picks (K-2)
Upper Elementary Top Picks (3-5)
I was wondering if someone can lead me into the right direction. With this pandemic going on and our kids staying home for school I am struggling with my son on the online classes. My son hates it and I am in a constant battle with him to do his work, he is failing every class he is a 7th grader. So I sat down with him to figure out what is going on. He told me he did not like that work has to be done online and misses using books and paper which to him was a simpler time. As we know most school today are now using computers and are slowly getting rid of books in the classroom. So finally to my question, I was wondering if there are any home schooling programs for 7th grade that still do most of the work using books. I understand that work still gets done on the computer but if a book is still being used. Thank you
Hi TJ. Yes, there are several options for middle school textbooks. If you’re looking for an entire program that has textbooks for every subject, check into A Beka, Alpha Omega LIFEPACS, and BJU Press. They are the ones I know of that are most like traditional school textbook curriculum. (They are all taught from a Christian worldview.) If you’re looking for individual subjects, check out Apologia for science and Notgrass for history. Again, both are from a Christian perspective and both are the most traditional paper and pencil that I’m aware of. Best wishes!
Thank you for this work of love. What an amazing resource. My oldest is starting 6th grade next month, and I’m still trying to figure out what that’s going to look like. I have some curriculum picked out, but I don’t feel settled. Reading your post, I kept opening links in new windows until it was getting ridiculous. 🙂 So many wonderful suggestions. I am so grateful to you for putting this together!
I hope you’ve settled on an amazing plan for 6th grade. 🙂
do you have any suggestions for extra curricular subjects, coding, things that kids will need to know as far as the internet/technology world that we live in? 🙂 any foreign language suggestions, art, music? thank you so much!!