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I’ve been at this homeschooling gig for a while. Starting our 11th or 12th year… not really sure at this point. I’d like to think I’d have a handle on things. Each year brings unique challenges. Each year brings opportunity to explore and enrich. I did not come into this year excited like I have in the past. To be honest… I just wasn’t feeling it. I am essentially just going through the motions… faking it until I’m making it. I told my husband a few days ago that I really can relate to my son… not really knowing the point of some of the classes I’m requiring of him. But sometimes we just have to play the game, right? But I want more than that for my kids. I want them to love learning. I want them to have the keys to identify what they want to learn and go after it! Ug… such is the life of a homeschool mom… living in the tension of the want to and the have to.


I have an 8th grader this year. She is brilliant and creative. She helped me put together her course work. We have the spine, or the core of the year in place. I’m sure we will rabbit trail as the year goes on.


I learned my lesson with my older child. I should not bear the full responsibility of teaching Algebra. I just don’t get it myself. I was barely staying a step ahead and I think I may have broken him. My daughter is very talented at math. I was afraid I would break her too! I signed her up to take Algebra from a local homeschool dad. She uses Saxon and is doing well so far as I can tell.

Language Arts/ Literature

You may have read my post about our Elementary Plans and how I am incorporating visual reading lists into our year. This is an idea I saw through 1+1+1=1

Download a printable version here:

The larger 6 books are the required reading for the year. I ask that she read for at least 20 minutes per day. If she completes the required six before the end of the year, she has the others listed on the bottom to choose from.

Can I just tell you how much I failed in the first week with this new idea that had me so excited? I was so thrilled to curate book lists and design the covers and put together reading notebooks. I was so proud of myself. Well… you’ll notice the first book on her list is “Peace Child.” This is a book that is on all the Christian book lists… I saw it come up over and over again as I was researching books. She came to me the first day and said, “I’m nervous to read this book… it says it is about cannibals. Can I pick a different book?”

Now… mind you… I’d never read this book so my response was really not fair.

I informed her that it is a book primarily about missionaries and not cannibals. It is a book on all the Christian book lists. It probably doesn’t even really focus on the actual act of cannibalism. She needed to read it. She would be fine… just read the book.

The next day, she came upstairs… pale and shaking. She handed me the book. She said that someone’s head had been chopped off and they ate him. She opened the page and pointed. I saw words like “blood” and “skull” and “dripping.”

She was now terrified and asked again if I could just let her pick a different book. I let her move to the next on the list… Holes. I guess I should do a little more research next time I curate a book list.

For writing and grammar, we are using IEW’s Structure and Style Year One Level B. It is very similar to what my younger girls are doing, just at a higher grade level. She is doing Fix It Grammar alongside the program. I was hesitant for a very long time to use anything IEW, but as I’ve gotten to know the program, I have come to really appreciate it. The program is 24 weeks long… which is great because we can slow down or speed up as we need. My son completed level C in three months last year, but my girls will likely take a little more time with it.


This year, she picked Physcial Science through Schoolhouse Teachers. She was thinking to go ahead and do biology like her brother did in 8th grade. She is more scientifically minded than he is and I want her to take a more intensive biology than he did so I encouraged her to give herself one more year before jumping in. So far she is enjoying the Physcial Science course. It utilizes World Book Online and has a lot of hands on experiments.

Right now through November 3rd, you can take advantage of the Mama Bear sale on Schoolhouse Teachers! Use the code MAMABEAR and get a full year plus a Mama Bear tote and Print copy of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for just $159.

Trip Around the World

My dear friend Marji from Master’s Mark Academics teaches some amazing classes through our local co-ops and online. With the uncertainty of the world right now, I was super hesitant to sign my children up for any in-person classes (other than Algebra… because… Algebra). Instead, we took advantage of some online learning. I signed the 8th grader up for a fall class called “Trip Around the World.”

Part of the class description reads:

“A Foreign Language Survey Course

Your student will experience a taste of six languages and cultures, and touch on the geography and culture to go with them.

We will explore Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian and Arabic.

Your student will learn the same Scripture in each language, the chorus to “Jesus Loves Me”, how to count (at least from one to ten), the basic colors, as well as elements of the culture and the countries who speak that language.”

You can learn more about the class and Master’s Mark Academics HERE.

Well. There you go! This is our plan for middle school this year. Middle School really is an amazing time. They start to learn more independence, more self regulating. They really hone their interests and are just super fun creatures all around! Check out my post on homeschooling middle schoolers if you need a little more inspiration!

How about you? What is your middle schooler learning about this year?

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