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Even though we are halfway through the 2017-2018 school year I wanted to share with you our curriculum choices for 9th grade and what we love about each one. But first a little bit of background.
My daughter went to public school for kindergarten through 3rd grade. She often struggled in public school (particularly math) as she takes a bit longer to fully understand a concept. Homework time usually ended in tears and frustration on both ends. I knew something needed to change so we started homeschooling her in the 4th-grade and it has been one of the best decisions. She is now technically in the 9th grade. I say technically because her curriculum is a bit all over the place in regards to grade level. I’m totally ok with that as I believe your curriculum choices should reflect your child’s strengths and struggles and not the pre-defined grade they should be in. I’ll admit though it took me awhile to figure that out. But once I stopped worrying about the grade level and based my choices on her, things have gone much smoother. With all that in mind here are our curriculum choices for 9th grade 2017-2018.
Math – Math-U-See
We have been using Math-U-See for about 5 years and we LOVE it!! We started our homeschool adventure in the 4th grade with Saxon Math. Sadly, it took me the whole first year to realize that was the wrong choice for us. Even though we were now homeschooling math still resulted in tears each day. After some research I realized that Saxon Math is a spiral teaching program – this is where each lesson will introduce a new concept along with a review of the previous concepts. This was not the right program for my daughter. I wish I had learned that sooner, but finding the right curriculum is a bit of trial and error.
Then I learned about Math- U-See! Math-U-See is a mastery-based learning program – this is where you focus on one concept or topic for a period of time, until you master it, and then move on. We started with Gamma and are now on Epilson. Often times our curriculum will overlap grade years. So for the 2017-2018 school year, we started by finishing up Epilson and then will be moving onto Zeta mid-year. As I write this post we currently have 3 more lessons to go in Epilson and then will be starting Zeta!! One of the things I love about Math-U-See is the parent resources section of their website. There you can find drills and a worksheet generator for printing worksheets for extra practice. Each Chapter in Math-U-See also begins with an instruction video that explains the concept for that Chapter. Mr. Demme does an excellent job on the video explaining each concept and engaging the kids. This is the only math program my daughter has enjoyed using.
History – Not Grass Exploring America
After using Story of The World for several years (and loving it) we went in a new direction with History for 2017-2018. I wanted to find a history curriculum that was fun and engaging but delved deeper into each subject. I heard about Notgrass on a homeschool forum and decided to give it a try. We are now 4 1/2 months into using Not Grass Exploring America. Exploring America has a higher reading level than my daughter is used to but we are finding ways to make it work. Although we are only using the history portion each course with Not Grass provides a full year credit for History, English (literature & Composition), and Bible. One of the things we love is the audio supplement, that came out earlier this year, which contains audio of the full text for each lesson. The pages of the books are also in color and have lots of pictures – great for visual learners. Each unit also includes a project to complete with 1-3 suggestions; a writing project, a hands-on/craft type project, or an audio/visual type project. My daughter is very artsy so she usually picks the hands-on/craft project.
Science – Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science
This is our first year using Apologia. In the past, we home-schooled through a parent partnership program and had some limitations on the curriculum we could choose. This year since we were no longer with the partnership program I knew I wanted to use a Christian based science program. I knew Apologia was up at the top of the recommended list, so after doing some research we went with that.
We are using Exploring Creation with Physical Science (2nd edition). The basic set comes with the student text and the solutions/test booklet. But I highly recommend going with the advantage set which includes the student notebook. The text covers subjects such as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, weather, an intro to Physics, Newton’s Law, and the solar system. The book is very wordy and includes quite a bit of math – so it may not have been the best choice for us. But despite that, we are sticking with it for now. You can purchase an add-on multimedia companion cd, which has helped with my visual learner. The CD helps to explain some of the more difficult topics and has video demonstrations of labs that students would not be able to do their own. Each module has several lab experiments that can be done with everyday objects you can typically find around your home. If you would rather buy all the lab items Homescience Tools has some great lab kits (with the harder to find items included) for Apologia as well as several other popular curriculum choices. We have purchased kits from them in the past and still use them as several of the items are re-usable.
Bob Jones University Writing and Grammar 9 & Sequential Spelling
Moving onto Language Arts. I fell in love with BJU curriculum our first year homeschooling, but as I mentioned before we were with a parent partnership program and after the first year they no longer allowed sectarian curriculum. We tried several another curriculum in the years between 5th-and 9th and never really found one we loved. Since we are no longer with the partnership program I didn’t even need to think about which Language Arts program we would use this year!
BJU WRITING AND GRAMMAR 9 reviews the eight parts of speech, sentence patterns, usage, and mechanics. It introduces relative pronouns, pronoun reference problems, and indicative/imperative mood. The text also goes over using a dictionary, library skills, study skills, and the writing process. Writing projects include compare/contrast and personal experience essays, a research essay, poetry, devotional writing, and a literature response essay.
Spelling – Sequential Spelling
Sequential Spelling is the only curriculum we started using on Day 1 of homeschooling and still continue to use to this day. This program was originally created to help students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Spelling “rules”are not taught in this program, instead students figure them out naturally as they work through the book. The emphasis of the program is on learning patterns of the English language. The set we have came with a student book, teacher guide, and DVD. Now Sequential Spelling has an online program. I Love how my daughter can do this program independently. She loves that there is no studying and each lesson can be done in about 10-15 minutes.
Health – Health In Christian Perspective
For Health we are using Health in Christian Perspective by A Beka. This book covers various topics such as; nutrition, exercise, hygiene, disease prevention, mental health, safety, first aid, drug abuse and much more. In the back of the book you can find an atlas of the human body systems. My favorite thing about this book is that it is written from a Christian perspective. The text is very easy to read and includes colorful photographs and illustrations.
And last but certainly not least is my daughters favorite subject; art My daughter loves to draw. This is the first year that we are not following a curriculum for art. In the past we used Atelier Arts Program and we ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! But sadly last year we finished the last course in their program. This year we are taking part in a homeschool art class that a local Art Studio puts on for homeschool kids every Friday. If you live in the Tri-Cities, Wa area you need to check out this place! We also incorporate art into history a lot of the times. I can’t finish this post off without showing some of my daughter’s artwork!!
And that concludes our 2017-2018 list of curriculum choices for 9th Grade. Have you used any of these programs before? Id so, If love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.