Our 2016/2017 Homeschool Curriculum Choices for Elementary and Middle School


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#homeschool curriculum choices for #elementary #middleschool


Here is a list of the curriculum we are using for the 2016/2017 school year.  My son is in middle school and daughter in 3rd grade.


3rd Grade

My daughter was bored with the standard curriculum.  One thing that I love about Saxon is that they have half steps up.  So instead of getting her grade 3, we got her intermediate Grade 3.  It moves faster, provides more advanced questions, and challenges her more – which is what she needed.



625867: Saxon Math Intermediate 3 Complete Homeschool Kit Saxon Math Intermediate 3 Complete Homeschool Kit
By Saxon PublishingSaxon’s Math Intermediate 3 is a perfect transition into Saxon Math 5/4!Incremental lessons provide daily practice and assessment; mathematical concepts are taught through informative lessons, diagrams, interactive activities, and investigations that build critical thinking as well as real-world problem solving skills. Saxon Intermediate 3 includes 11 sections, 110 lessons and 11 “investigation” activities. Concepts cover patterns; addition; subtraction; money; fractions; measurement; multiplication; arrays; angles; congruent shapes; symmetry; geometric solids; division; capacity; estimation; sorting; and more.Textbook lessons are divided into three sections. The first section is “power-up practice,” which covers basic fact and mental math exercises which improve speed, accuracy, the ability to do mental math, and the ability to solve complicated problems. The second part of the lesson is the “New Concept,” which introduces a new math concept through examples, and provides a chance for students to solve similar problems. Thirdly, the “Written Practice” section reviews previously taught concepts. One “Investigation” per session is included; “Investigations” are variations of the daily lesson and often involve activities that take up an entire class.The included Power Up Workbook provides consumable pages for students to complete the Power Up exercises from the textbook, including the Facts Practice, Jump Start, Mental Math, and Problem Solving sections. The textbook may refer students to problems within this Power Up workbook, or the text may contain necessary problems and instructions (such as the mental math problems), which students will need to complete the exercises in this workbook.The Solutions Manual arranges answers by section and lesson, and includes complete step-by-step solutions to the Lesson Practice, Written Practice, and Early Finishers questions, as well as the questions and practice items in the Investigations. It does not contain the answers to the Power-Up Workbook, which are currently unavailable.

The Homeschool Testing Book features reproducible cumulative tests which are available after every five lessons after lesson 10. Tests are designed to let students learn and practice concepts before being tested, helping them build confidence. Tests, a testing schedule, test answer forms, test analysis form, and test solutions are included. The three optional Test Solution Answer Forms provide the appropriate workspace for students to “show their work.” The answer key shows the final solution only, not the steps taken to arrive at the answer.

This Kit Includes:

  • Saxon Intermediate 3 Textbook, 623 indexed pages, hardcover. Pages are two-tone and don’t include any distracting illustrations.
  • Power-Up Workbook; 110 non-reproducible, newsprint-like pages, three-hole-punched, perforated pages. Softcover.
  • Testing Book, 63 reproducible, perforated, newsprint-like pages, softcover.
  • Solutions Manual, 123 pages, softcover.
  • This kit refers to “Activity Pages;” email our customer service department at homeschool@chrbook.com to receive these!


We also opted for the Adaptions workbook for simplicity. Basically, it gives enough space to answer each problem in the problem solving and written practice.  You can go without it (which I have done in previous years), but the sheets that you copy do not leave enough space to work.  The workbook just makes things easier.  Being a homeschool mom, sometimes it makes sense to just make it easy.


Middle School

My son has a more difficult time with math.  Last year, when he was in 6th grade, we use the Saxon Intermediate 5 curriculum.  I think of it as 5-1/2.  It gave us more time to build up his confidence and go over difficult concepts again.

This year, we are using the Saxon 7/6 curriculum.  I think of it as 6-1/2.  It’s made for 7th graders or struggle or 6th graders.  I really like it, and he is doing really well with it.  He has really improved on his skill and confidence.  He has stuck with it through the storm and is coming out on the other side. I am proud of him.



Saxon Math 76 Home Study Kit Fourth Edition
By Saxon Publishing

Saxon Math Homeschool 7/6 teaches math with a spiral approach, which emphasizes incremental development of new material and continuous review of previously taught concepts.

Building upon the principles taught in Saxon Math 6/5, this Saxon 7/6 textbook introduces functions and coordinate graphing, integers, exponential expressions, and prime factorization. Students will specifically learn about the order of operations, number lines, decimal place value, how to find the percent of a number, how to round decimal numbers, attributes of geometric solids, and more.

Lessons contain a warm-up (with facts practice, mental math, & problem-solving exercises); introduction to the new concept, lesson practice exercises where the new skill is practiced, and mixed practice exercises, which includes 25-30 old and new problems. In-depth “Investigations” are provided every 10 lessons, and have their own set of questions.

The Tests and Worksheetsbook provides supplemental “facts practice” tests for each lesson, as well as 23 cumulative tests that cover every 5-10 lessons. The included “activity sheets” are designed to be used with the activities given in the student worktext. Five optional, reproducible, recording forms are also included.

The Solutions Manual provides answers for all problems in the lesson (including warm-up, lesson practice, and mixed practice exercises), as well as solutions for the supplemental practice found in the back of the student text. It also includes answers for the facts practice tests, activity sheets, and tests in the separate tests & worksheets book.

Saxon Math 7/6 is designed for students in grade 6, or for 7th grade students who are struggling with math.

This Saxon Homeschool Kit includes:

  • Student Text; 120 lessons, 12 investigations, 744 pages, softcover, 4th Edition.


  • Tests and worksheets book; 241 pages, three-ring-punched. 4th Edition.
  • Solutions Manual; 331 pages, softcover. 4th Edition.Please Note: This product is only available for purchase by homeschools, consumers, and public institutions.




I am using the middle school curriculum and teaching them both.  I like The Holt program because it’s secular.  It has tests on 3 different levels.  It has great review sheets.  They have section review (3 different levels), vocabulary review and chapter review.  It also has standardized test questions with every chapter.  It also includes thorough labs.

It’s a really good program.  I am very pleased with the education that they are receiving.


Holt Science & Technology: Earth Science Homeschool Package with Teacher’s Edition
By Holt McDougal

Covering the major middle school sciences: Earth, Life, and Physical, the Holt Science and Technology curriculum provides a thorough, inquiry-based introduction to basic scientific concepts and principles that will prepare students for high school courses.

Chapters in the Earth Science Student Textbook are concise, providing students with a brief explanation and examples, and are followed by a section review that covers the key idea, critical thinking skills, and math concepts. Each chapter ends with a skills practice lab, comprehensive chapter review, standardized test preparation, and ‘science in action’ section. 851 pages with index, glossary, Spanish glossary, reading check answers, and study helps.

This secular middle-school curriculum covers minerals, rocks, energy resources, fossils, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, climate, the Solar System, erosion, and more, through an abundance of hands-on labs and interesting profiles of real-life scientists.

The teacher’s edition includes a unit-by-unit chapter planning guide with objects, labs, resources, review/assessment, and correlations laid out in chart format. Full-color reduced-size student pages are surrounded by wrap-around teacher notes. 856 pages, hardcover.

The included Chapter Resources CD-ROM is provided for each chapter in the text. Each chapter file provides everything needed to plan and manage your lessons, including skills worksheets (section & chapter reviews, reinforcement & critical thinking), assessments (section quizzes, tests, standardized test prep), Labs and Activities (datasheets for chapter, quick, and Labbook Labs), and Teacher Resources (teacher notes, lab notes & answers, answer keys).

Appropriate for 6th-8th grades.

System Requirements for the Chapter Resources CD-ROM:

  • Macintosh:9.2 or 10.2 OS
  • G3+ CPU, 233 MHz or faster
  • 128 MB RAM min.
  • 100 MB min. hard-drive space
  • CD-ROM Drive, 800 x 600 Display.
  • Windows: 95, 98, 2000, ME, NT, XP with latest updates, Windows 7
  • 133 MHz or faster
  • 128 MB RAM min.
  • 100 MB hard drive space min.
  • CD-ROM Drive, 800 x 600 display.

This kit includes:

  • Holt Science & Technology: Earth Science, 851 hardcover
  • Holt Science & Technology: Earth Science Teacher’s Edition, 856 pages, hardcover
  • Holt Science & Technology: Earth Science Chapter Resources CD-ROM

Please Note: This is a secular textbook, and thus contains two units which teach evolution and the history of life on earth. There is also a unit on both animal and human sexual reproduction with diagrams, and a discussion of STDs and infertility.

Homeschoolers: This curriculum set was created for public schools; therefore the teacher’s guide refers to a One-Stop Planner, Lab videos, online resources, and other components which are not included in this kit, nor available to homeschoolers. The teacher’s guide also includes reduced-size reproductions of worksheets intended to be printed off of the “One-Stop Planner” CD, which is not included in this homeschool kit.

Please Note: This product is only available for purchase by homeschools, consumers, and public institutions.


I have done something a bit different this year.  My 3rd grader knows how to read, so I have eliminated phonics.  I felt that our time would be better spent reading good books and writing.

If you read a lot, you can write well.  For both of them, I am really concentrating on the writing element.  So, I am in the process of developing a reading list of classic books.  We have reading time each day.  We have concentrated writing lessons, which they incorporate into their daily writing each day.

I haven’t developed the full year program yet, but here are some of the resources that I have successfully used.


The Complete Paragraph Writing Bundle – Has helped us a lot learn the basics of creating a great paragraph.  It covers the topics of organization, writing a good topic sentence, and writing a good conclusion sentence.

Writing a Good Book Report – We write every day after reading.  At the end of the book, we write boring book reports.  Yes! I know lap books are more fun and more pretty, but you need to be able to communicate well using the written word.  Writing is essential, even if it’s boring.  Honestly, my daughter loves writing, so… It talks about the elements included and breaks it down.

After we get that down, we will learn how to write a good essay.

I bought composition notebooks from the dollar store.



This is the only place where we are using a Christian Curriculum, Abeka.  I didn’t choose it because it’s Christian.  I chose it because they teach cursive first, which I support.

It’s the only English book I bought.  I didn’t buy anything else, no accessory cards, no felt thingies, no whatever.  I bought Grammar Seatwork 2.  I’m hoping that it’s going to help with the writing in the end.

They have scripture references which to me is fine.  It’s not frequent.  I do believe in Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t speak to creationism and such, so it passes.


Notebooking pages is my source for this.  In reality, if you can do library research, history and geography isn’t as important.  At least in my opinion.  With that said, it’s important to know the states in the US, and where they are situated.  It’s important to know the continents and where they are situated.  It’s important to know that Nigeria is in Africa and not in South America.

Ya know?

I don’t dedicate a great amount of time.

I use Educents for History lapbooks.  If there is a month theme, I just use that.  In September, we learned about 9/11.  In February we do black history.  In the fall, we will learn about the Native Americans and how they were pushed west by the settlers.  I think it’s important to understand history so we don’t repeat it (this election makes it apparent that we aren’t doing a good job), but it’s not a major focus.

This is where the fun and pretty lapbooking comes in.

For Geography, I use notebooking pages.  Basically, I make sure they know the state, where it’s situated on the map and the capital city.  Everything else is just fluff.  They like the fluff, they can learn it.  That’s why I like notebooking pages.  They learn what is of interest to them.


I am working on this as we go.  We are using YouTube.

I’m working month by month.

September – we are working on 1-point perspective.  We do weekly projects based on the topic of the month.

October – 2-point perspective.  We will do Halloween themed projects.


I’m not an art person, but I wanted them to learn real techniques that will help them if they want to pursue drawing/painting.  We are using pencil, chalk, watercolor, acrylic, etc.

By the end of the year, I am hoping to have a good free program that homeschoolers can use.


I would love to hear your ideas.  Do you have favorite art YouTubers?  I would love to hear!


About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. I”m not sure about YouTubers but I LOVE artprojectsforkids.org and thatartistwoman.org; they have great step by step instructions for fun paintings and art ideas.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Art Project #42: Splatter Paint CanvasMy Profile

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