On The Trail

Homeschool Hiking

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Sixth Grade Wrap Up!

IMG_0828 IMG_0829 IMG_0830May 15 was the last day of Sixth Grade for Maddie and yes, she did “totally rock it” as her sign says! We finished all our curriculum by that date and wrapped up some bits and pieces. Brian and I are exceptionally proud of the job she did this year. Maddie completed all her work on her own each day with little supervision and while I had the flu in February she continued to work without prompting, pestering or supervising from Brian or me!

Maddie completed level 6 of Teaching Textbooks for math. This is her main math program and is completed on the computer which gives her immediate feedback on each problem. She finished the year with 87% average on all her quizzes. She also worked through Life of Fred Fractions. This series of books follow Fred, a 5 year old college professor. Yes, they are very silly but they really do pay off. Maddie’s score on the fractions section of her PASS test (standardized test for homeschoolers) came back as high average. She also pulled all the other areas up to average. So Fred, Daddy and Momma are all working to get Maddie really comfortable with math!

We also completed Analytical Grammar year 1. This was not easy. It included sentence diagramming and other concepts we had only brushed on in earlier years. Maddie finished Writing with Skill Level 2 by completing a 1250 word essay on Walt Disney, the topic of her choice. We also finished most of GUM drops for Grade 6. This is more grammar and spelling practice! We zipped through levels 1-3 of All About Spelling. Maddie was having such a hard time with spelling that we went right back to the beginning! We will be working on levels 4-6 in the coming year because we have seen great improvement!

We read some Shakespeare and The Canterbury Tales this year. Maddie enjoyed both of them.

In history we were in the Medieval times and so talked a lot about kings, queens and the church. Maddie read sections in a history encyclopedia and made notes in her history book. She also wrote a weekly essay on the topic being covered that week. Maddie worked on learning more about the Civil War. She knows her Revolutionary American History really well and its time to move on a bit!

Astronomy and Earth Science were the topics for Science. We really enjoyed some of the weekly topics and experiments. Maddie did quite well here as well and continues to apply her learning when we are “out in the field” (meaning the woods, camping, national parks and forestry camp!).

Maddie has done really well with guitar and enjoys her time with Miss.Lisa each week. She is learning chords and finger picking, both are challenging!

So I think that’s it! We’ve taken time off for vacation and are planning some fun things this summer. We will be starting 7th grade the third week of July and trying out a year round schedule to see how we like that!


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5th Grade Wrap Up

I can’t really believe that another year has come and gone. I’m also having trouble believing that we are planning for sixth grade! Its one of those pinch me, this can’t be real moments.

So in fifth grade we made a very large shift to putting the daily work on Maddie’s shoulders. I gave her a list at breakfast of what we expected her to accomplish that day and sent her off to do it. She still worked with me at times, especially on writing, but mostly it was up to her to get things done and learn them. This was (no surprise!) a hard transition for both of us. By the end of the year however Maddie was up to speed and able to get things done without my hollering up the stairs every half hour to see what was happening! As always her history and reading went along beautifully with little help from me. Science was a bit trickier as she had tests this year. When I questioned her later about the things she got wrong on the tests she generally knew the answer. I think we have to do more discussion together each week about her reading. She still worked with Brian on math problems and geography since they are able to have time together on Mondays and Wednesdays.


We had to make some changes mid-stream too. We started out using Voyages in English for writing. I changed it up after a month to Writing With Skill The writing assignments in the first program were very disjointed without follow through to actually complete a written piece. Writing with Skill was a challenge. We found out in February that Peace Hill Press decided it was geared more to sixth grade but we kept going. In the end Maddie wrote a paper on Thomas Jefferson that was just over 1000 words long (roughly 4 1/2 typed pages) and was very proud of herself for accomplishing that! We try very hard not to compare what we do to what happens in public school but I can’t help and wonder if the fifth graders are writing reports of that length with that research.

The other change was in math. We are still using teaching textbooks as they seem to be a good fit for Maddie, but we wanted a little more. So we added in Life of Fred. Here we miscalculated and got the fractions book. Maddie struggled with it so we went backwards a bit and did the intermediate books: Kidneys, Liver and Mineshaft (yes, you read that right, those are the titles!). Fred is a 5 year old college math professor. The books tell stories about what he is doing and creates math problems from them. Now she is working on the fractions book over the summer and doing much better.

So now its on to summer break however I am making some plans for her then too! And sixth grade in August. I simply cannot believe it!

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Almost the end of school

Tonight we did a little bit of celebrating the end of 5th grade. Maddie is still working through Science (I cannot figure out exactly how we got behind there!!) and Writing with Skill but has finished her math program and history along with Latin and Logic. She had been saving for the Ranger Station Lego kit but it looks like it will be discontinued soon. The price kept inching up and then it was only available online. Brian and I offered to pitch in the difference between what she saved and the new cost for her end of the year celebratory, lets do something super fun now present. She was just a little excited!!


And so was Brian….


This is not something that will be done quickly that’s for sure! She broke it open though and got busy on the first 2 packets…a tree with some mini figures and some vehicles.


In the first bag was the girl Ranger….with binoculars….I guess it was meant to be!! Meet Ranger Maddie as a minifigure!


Look out for the bear!!


I plan to spend some of the weekend going through our work for the year, organizing and evaluating how things went. More on that later!