The most basic element … is parental love, which finds fulfillment in the task of education as it completes and perfects its service of life.
– Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio
Young People’s Book of Saints is a wonderful compilation of very short saint stories appropriate for sixth grade.
Friendly Defenders Flash Cards – Here’s an easy introduction to Apologetics. Have your child memorize one card a week and discuss it with him.
Primary Math 6A and 6B – At a minimum, use the textbooks and workbooks. I recommend using the test books and extra practice book as well.
For more info on this program, see Lesson Plans that Simplify Singapore Math.
For free lesson plans, see Free Singapore Math Lesson Plans.
Alternatively, you might want to look at Saxon 7/6.
GRAMMAR AND WRITING
Voyages in English 6, (2011 Loyola Press) – text, practice book, testbook, and Gr. 6 Practice/Assessment Key. This is an expensive but excellent program. I have not seen many grammar programs that are as thorough or analytic. The Daily Maintenance exercises in the Practice book provide daily practice with diagramming and continual review. To reduce the cost, look for a used textbook at Amazon. My kids read the textbook on their own and do the exercises in the Practice book. Thus there is no need for the Teacher’s Manual, which is very pricey.
Fix It! Grammar, Teacher’s Manual Book 3 – If you think your child needs practice with Editing, this is a great book. Purchase the Teacher’s Manual and you will be provided with a code to print out the student book. This is meant to be a complete grammar book on it’s own and is an excellent complement to IEW’s writing lessons. Since we only use it for editing, I do not have my kids do all the other activities, such as labelling clauses, prepositional phrases, sentence openers, etc.
For writing, use one of the Theme Based Writing Lessons by the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I cannot recommend this writing program highly enough. The genius behind IEW’s program is that it teaches writing, which can be nebulous and subjective, with concrete and manageable steps. Students are given tools and vocabulary with which they can expand and develop their writing style. Parents are given checklists to help them objectively assess their children’s writing assignments.
Alternatively, IEW’s Student Intensive Writing, Level B is a set of DVDs where the student can watch Andrew Pudewa teach a series of writing lessons. This is a great resource if you feel overwhelmed at the thought of teaching your child how to write. Be sure to watch along with your students so you know exactly what they need to do for the assignments.
Whether or not you use this writing program, I highly recommend listening to these free podcasts by Andrew Pudewa, the founder of the Institute for Excellence in Writing.
Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop Level Blue, 2005 Ed. – student book and teacher’s manual. To save the books for younger siblings, I have my kids write the answers in a notebook. This gives them additional practice in spelling the words.
Each week my children copy and memorize a new verse. At the end of the week, they recite as much of the poem as they can. This is an excellent way to fill your child’s mind with beautiful language patterns and imagery as well as sharpen his memory.
The Harp and Laurel Wreath – This is a wonderful collection of poems presented by level.
Favorite Poems Old and New – This anthology has over 700 poems for children categorized by theme.
READING COMPREHENSION AND STORY TIME
Check out this post: What to do About Reading Comprehension.
Encourage your child to read children’s literature on his/her own. One way to get a child hooked onto a book is to read the first few chapters aloud. If a book is really exciting or intruiging, they will be happy to finish it on their own.
Also, continue to read aloud to your children. According to this study, reading aloud is the best way to help children develop word mastery and grammatical understanding. Perhaps just as important, reading aloud to your child is a wonderful way to bond with him and to develop his moral compass. It’s our favorite part of school. We usually read historical novels or picture books from our history book list, saint biographies, and classic children’s literature.
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
For History, see Gr. 3-6 History Lesson Plans. You will find lesson plans for Ancient History, Early Church and Medieval History, and American history. All lesson plans contain lists of historical novels that you can assign as independent reading or read aloud to your child.
Alternatively, continue with Apologia’s Young Explorer Series.
ART AND MUSIC
Draw and Write Through History series. Choose a book that corresponds to the time period in history that your child is studying.
Paint by Number Museum Series – If your child has the patience and interest, this is a great introduction to painting.
Art Smart: Spot the Details and Find Out the Facts! – Here’s a fun way to encourage your kids to look carefully at art.
Little by little, build a collection of classical music and play it for your kids. I give my kids their daily dose of classical music during breakfast.
If you can, encourage your children to sing in a choir or learn a musical instrument. It is so enriching and worth the time, money, and effort.