This is a record of Hezekiah and Tucker’s 2019-2020 homeschool year. I get so many questions on some variation of, but what exactly do you do? In fact, Hezekiah has been fielding this question from friends who wonder what exactly he does “at home” all day. So this is a record of our year of learning together. I will update this page on a regular basis with resources, projects, and photos. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful. This post contains some affiliate links.
Homeschooling upper grades can be intimidating…especially in the early years when you haven’t graduated a child yet and it all seems like a grand experiment. What about when your kid needs to take classes that you never took in school?
Thankfully, I have five kids who have graduated from our homeschool with high school diplomas and AA degrees thanks to dual enrollment in our community college. This page is a resource to help you see exactly how we are homeschooling the upper grades. This year I am homeschooling Hezekiah (10th grade) and Tucker (8th grade). The boys are learning together with the only separate classes being math. I will be updating this page all year long with resources and completed projects. Think of it as a real-time yearbook.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments. This post contains some affiliate links.
2019-2020 Homeschooling Overview
This year both boys will be taking World History and Geography, Chemistry, Culinary Arts, English, and Intro to Photography. All of that is done together (yes, it’s totally fine to do the same work with kids of different ages!) and the boys do math sepearately at their own level. Hezekiah was taking mostly advanced classes in school last year and has already earned 11 college credits!
Upper-Grade Science Resources
Guest Hollow’s High School Chemistry in the Kitchen
Dr. Joe and What You Didn’t Know: 177 FascinatingQuestions about the Chemistry of Everyday Life
This is a cool book fun of random chemistry questions. We read one section a day at the start of school. Each question is only a page of two long.
The Mystery of the Periodic Table
The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry
Breaking Bad- Yes, we are using Breaking Bad to study chemistry. Before you call the police on me for being a bad mom, we watch each episode together and discuss a ton of chemistry. Any time we have a question we write it down and find the answer. Plenty of lessons to be learned about morality, logic, the legal system and more.
Homeschooling Math Resources
Blog, She Wrote has a great rundown of why Life of Fred works so well in her homeschool.
Khan Academy, of course, offers FREE classes on just about any subject you would want to cover. They also have a coaching program for parents and teachers to use.
If you are unsure of how exactly to use Khan Academy to homeschool check out this guide.
Homeschooling Social Studies/History/Geography
Story of the World Activity Book Volume 4
Wait…you are using Story of the World? Isn’t that way below grade level for those two? Sure, it is. But for us, the book is just the starting point. We go through each chapter, read the books, do a few activities. Usually, the boys’ curiosity gets piqued by something and we go down numerous rabbit trails learning as we go. The boys love doing map work and learning about Geography.
Homeschooling Language Arts in Higher Grades
I have Hezekiah and Tucker both keeping a log of every book read this school year. Most of them are chosen by the boys, a few are required by me.
The only “textbooks” we are using are the two listed below.
The Mysterious Case of the Misplaced Modifier
The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need
Teaching Foreign Languages When You Homeschool
For our older kids, we used Rosetta Stone. We have since switched to using Duolingo. You can read about our reasons for the change here.
Hezekiah expressed an interest in learning about photography…and let’s just say he didn’t exactly have to twist my arm to get me on board with that idea.
This is a class Jubilee took in school last year and one that Hezekiah would have taken if he attended public school this year. We are having a great time in our own culinary arts class. The boys are doing a ton of cooking and learning. Each time they make a new recipe, I have them print it out and add it to a binder so they are creating their own cookbooks and a record of their skills.
Books Read in 2019-2020 School Year
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker (H)
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (H&T)
Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom (H&T)
Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens: The Secrets about Money–That You Don’t Learn in School! (H&T)
Movies Watched for School
Empire of the Sun– Based on the book by the same name. A British schoolboy (who has never actually been to England) lives in Shanghai with his parents. He is separated from them during the Japanese invasion and ends up in a prison camp.
Blackfish– tells the behind-the-scenes story of orca whales in captivity, including Tillikum who is responsible for more than one human death. This will give you a new perspective of Sea World and other aquariums.
Survival Skills 101
Updated: December 1, 2019
Survival Skills 101 wasn’t a planned class at the beginning of the year, but the beauty of homeschooling is you can pivot at any moment. A few weeks ago some friends caught a pesky raccoon (it was eating their eggs and bothering their chickens) in a trap. I heard her discussing it with her son and asked if I could have the dead raccoon*
*Let me state clearly I DO NOT BELIEVE IN TROPHY HUNTING OR HUNTING FOR SPORT) in any form. However, I was raised in Alaska and am not vegetarian, so I have no issue with hunting for meat and am a big believer in being respectful and using everything from an animal.
I had a hunch that Hezekiah and Tucker might want to dissect it. We see a lot of roadkill where we live and often go and examine the dead animals. Because this was fresh, I thought there was a lot to learn.
We made arrangements and picked up the raccoon. The boys prepared by watching YouTube videos and my friend brought her daughter (11) over so she could participate.
My friend and I handed the kids some latex gloves and wished them luck. Amazingly, they managed to identify the coon as female, skin it, and prepare it’s hide for tanning. They gave it a salt bath and ordered tanning lotion. I was so very impressed with their work! Currently, the coon is hanging waiting for the next step in the process. While none of this was planned, it has been an amazing learning experience for them.