Homeschooling in Elementary, Middle School and High School
One of the questions I am asked the most is “Where do I start?” “Do you have any tips for me, my child is in x-Grade?” These free guides (Creating a Homeschool Curriculum) might provide a starting point for those of you just starting your homeschool journey and may give you an idea or two if you’ve been at this homeschool thing for a while! They share some of the units, topics and activities we did when my (3) kids were around those ages. 🙂 Every family’s journey will be different but perhaps there might be a thing or two that is helpful.
Be sure to check out this Homeschool Page to grab our FREE Homeschool Resource Guides. These are each around 30 pages and share some of the units and topics we covered in K-Grade 1, Grade 2-3, Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8 (middle school) and high school.
Homeschool Tips: Are you are looking for some general tips about creating routines, organizing and keeping on top of things during the year? This packet is designed to help you think about the strategies and routines to help your family life run smoothly. You can grab our Homeschool Foundations Packet here at this post: Establishing Homeschool Routines that Work! (It is currently free!)
Our free Homeschool Science Checklist is also pretty popular. These are the units and topics we tried to cover for science in elementary and middle school. I have three kids and we covered science together in elementary and middle school. Many of the units, we did every few years (covering these topics more in depth as we went along). You can grab that free Science Checklist printable at this post: Homeschool Science Unit Checklist for Elementary and Middle School
Homeschool Books and Resources We Use a Lot
I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can look to see some of the books we have used a lot in our homeschool. This is not a complete lists of homeschool curriculum options. You will find those in separate posts. These are actual books that we have used a lot in our homeschool!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
History Homeschool Resources:
Early Times History Books by Suzanne Strauss Art – We love the way these books are written and they have been the perfect read-aloud spine for our studies of China, Native Americans and the Middle Ages. There is a lot of detail, but they are written in a way that appeals to all of my kids (ages 6-10 when we used the China and Native American books, ages 7-11 when we used the Middle Ages book)
- Early Times: The Story of Ancient China (We loved this book! We also used China’s Later Dynasties by this same author, Suzanne Strauss Art)
- Early Times : The Story of the Middle Ages
Story of the World – We have all the books, but actually have used the CD sets much more in our homeschool
- The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor
- The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance
- The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times
- The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age: From Victoria’s Empire to the End of the USSR
Jim Weiss Audio Books (Great for car trips. My kids love these!)
- Story of the World – All 4 volumes on CDs We had both the books AND the CDs. My kids absolutely loved Jim Weiss’s voice and we listened to these CDs both on car trips and at times we listened to this version during our homeschool day! These were well worth the price for our family! We used them throughout elementary.
- Egyptian Treasures: Mummies and Myths
- Galileo and the Stargazers: Including Archimedes and the Golden Crown
- King Arthur and His Knights
- Heroes in Mythology: Theseus, Prometheus, Odin
- Masters of the Renaissance: Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and More
Hands-On Type History Books (for elementary)
- Ancient Greece: Ancient Greece!: 40 Hands-On Activities to Experience This Wondrous Age and Classical Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in Ancient Greece and Rome
- Ancient Rome: Explore Ancient Rome!: 25 Great Projects, Activities, Experiements
- Middle Ages: Great Medieval Projects: You Can Build Yourself , Knights & Castles: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Middle Ages, and Days of Knights and Damsels: An Activity Guide in elementary we also read Crispin: The Cross of Lead. We also built the Easy-to-Make Castle (Dover Children’s Activity Books) and the Make This Medieval Village (by Usbourne)
- China: Great Ancient China Projects You Can Build Yourself
- The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia – This big thick book has beautiful photos and illustrations. It is an amazing resource to have on hand. It has great information and I find it to be an excellent supplement to our history curriculum.
Blank Outline Maps
- The World Reference & Map Forms – Blank outline maps of countries/states. I use this book ALL the time and couldn’t imagine studying history without this great resource!
Our Blog Posts with Book Lists: And we use endless numbers of children’s books and novels to supplement our history studies. You’ll find book lists for each of the regions we’ve studied as separate posts in the blog: India book list, China book list, Books and Movies about the Civil Rights Movement (elementary) etc.
Science Homeschool Resources:
I made a lot of our own science packets and you can read more about those here: Science Units Page:
- Earth Science Units
- Animal Units (elementary)
- Biology Units (upper elementary/middle school)
- Chemistry Units
- Human Body Units-Each year our family would study a different human body system. Then every few years we circled around and studied these systems again in more depth. Some topics we covered included the Human Body Systems in general (cells, tissues, organs), the Skeletal System, Muscular System, Digestive System, Circulatory System, Nervous System, Endocrine System,
Janice VanCleave’s books such as
- Biology For Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments That Really Work
- Chemistry for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work
- Machines: Mind-boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects
- Physics for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments in Motion, Heat, Light, Machines, and Sound
- Earth Science for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work
- The Human Body for Every Kid: Easy Activities that Make Learning Science Fun
Human Body Projects
- The Body Book: Easy-to-Make Hands-on Models That Teach – This was a really fun project book!
Earth Science Books
- How the Earth Works: 60 Fun Activities for Exploring Volcanoes, Fossils, Earthquakes, and More
- Geology Rocks!: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth
- Planet Earth Science Fair Projects: Using the Scientific Method
- Explore Rocks and Minerals!: 25 Great Projects, Activities, Experiements
- The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World
- Janice VanCleave’s Earthquakes: Mind-boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects
Biology Textbook – Prentice-Hall Biology This is an actual textbook used in public school (high school probably), but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve reached for this in our homeschool! We got an older version of the textbook used. I’ve linked to the 2004 edition since you can get that for under $5.00 used.
Math and Critical Thinking Homeschool Resources
Spectrum Math Workbooks — We have used the entire series as a source of math practice problems. We used these from 1st through 6th grade. Then we used the 7th/8th grade book as quick review before my kids did standardized testing each spring (to fulfill the homeschool requirements of our state). Best $10 we spend each year! 🙂
I made a HUGE number of Multiplication and Division Worksheets and Games for my daughter. You can check out that bundle of more than 20 PDFs (3 or 400 pages pages of worksheets/games/activities) at this page: Multiplication/Division BUNDLE
We tried many other homeschool curriculums along the way including Right Start Math, Math Mammoth, Singapore Math, Life of Fred, Horizons Math, Saxon Math but we kept coming back to the Spectrum Workbooks in elementary. I know other homeschoolers have used Abeka Math, Math U See, Teaching Textbooks and others.
Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1: Complete Curriculum – I can’t rave about this book enough. My kids love, love, love these math puzzles and challenges!!
Kidoku Puzzles – an *amazing* resource for those looking for Sudoku puzzles in small (kid-friends grids). These are free (though you can donate to his site): 4×4 grids, 6×6 grids, 8×8 grids mazes and so much more!!
Middle School and High School Math: We used Thinkwell’s math program in middle school and high school for all three of my kids. We used it for Geometry, Algebra II and PreCalculus. Note: you can get 15% off using my link for Thinkwell.
Grammar/Language Arts Homeschool Resources:
One of the first Language Arts Programs we used starting in kindergarten and first grade was First Language Lessons. I really liked how easy this program was to implement with my kids early on. I still remember some of the poems they memorized and loved how it gently introduced kids to nouns & proper nouns in an engaging way.
We played a lot of spelling games along the way! You can check out some of the Spelling Word Sort Games and Activities that I made for the kids here: Spelling BUNDLE (Our spelling packets are also sold separately.)
Free Grammar Practice Pages: We made a lot of our own grammar sheets. These are free to download. Our most popular worksheets: 11 Comma Rules and Practice Sheets, Apostrophes, Quotation Marks and Underlining, Their/there/they’re and its/it’s but we have tons of other free sheets as well!
Write Source Skills Books: We also use the Write Source Skills books for learning basic grammar rules (the use of commas, apostrophes, capital letters, and so forth). I’ll link to a couple: Write source Skills Book Grade 1 , Write Source Skills Book Grade 2, Write Source Skills Book Grade 4, Write Source Skills Book Grade 5 These are under $10.
We continued to read many, many lovely books together! Here are some books we have loved over the years:
- 25 Beloved Picture Books for Kids Ages 4-8
- 15 Children’s Books Your 4-7 Year Old Shouldn’t Miss!
- 14 Picture Books My Kids Love at the Moment! (ages 4 and 7)
- Books and Series My 8-Yr Old Has Been Racing Through
- 10 Books (and Series) My Kids Love (Ages 9, 11)
- 15 Chapter Books My 7 Year Old Loved
Literature Textbooks: When the kids were older we used some other language arts books including these literature books
These books touch on various important literary elements (plot, theme, character, etc.) We’ll definitely keep this going. in Grade 2, for example ED used Write Source: Student Book Grade 3 while DD (grade 5) used: McDougal Littell Literature Yellow Level and LD (grade 7) used: McDougal Littell Literature (green – Gr. 8). We went on to use many of the McDougal Littell Lit books!.
When the kids were a bit older here were a couple of posts I wrote
- Free Literature Guides -The Literature Study Guides include sections such as Meet the Author, Introducing the Novel, Before you Read, Active Reading activities, Personal Responses
We used a Writing Workshop in our homeschool for many, many years. You can watch a video I created and find dozens and dozens of writing resources here: Writing Workshop. This post explains how and why I changed our approach to writing after I read No More “I’m Done” Fostering Independent Writers in the Primary Grades Here are some links to part of our writing journey:
- Creating a Writing Workshop: Post #1
- Creating a Homeschool Writing Workshop – Post #2: Creating a Writing Workshop Area and Materials to Have on Hand
- Creating a Writing Workshop Post #3: This post is about Mini-Lessons during writing time, mentor texts and includes reviews of 8 or 9 writing books that you might find helpful.
- 40 Journal Writing Prompts (Free Printable)
- Animal Portfolio Project: writing, art and geography activities that go with any animals… With many activities to choose from. Writing activities include both fiction and non-fiction suggestions
Art & Music Homeschool Resources:
Come look With Me series – This series is great way to introduce famous art pieces to kids ages 3-8 or so. Exploring Landscape Art with Children (Come Look with Me), Exploring Modern Art (Come Look with Me)
When my kids were in early elementary, we also *really* loved the Draw, Write Now books. They come in all different kinds of themes and I think in the end we wound up getting four or five of them. 🙂 A few titles include from the Draw Write Now series: On the Farm, Christopher Columbus, Autumn Harvest, Native Americans, North America, Pilgrims, Animal Habitats (on land, ponds and rivers, ocean)
If your kids are older, you might be able to use some of these resources:
Free Beginner’s Music Curriculum: Learning Notes, Rhythm, Music Notation and More This is a free packet of materials I made for the kids when we were focusing on music.
Modern Art Packet including 20+ Artists – Notebook Pages and More! Grab this free packet here.
Modern Art Books: We read a number of books about artists in this series: Pierre Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Georgia O’Keeffe, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, We also used 50 Modern Artists You Should Know (to help us figure out which artist was born when) and Splat: The Most Exciting Artists of All Time which has good overviews of some (but not all) of these artists.
Learning German Homeschool Resources:
My kids learned German as their foreign language. We started in elementary (and I’m so glad we did!!). My kids became conversationally fluent by the time they entered high school (and my middle daughter got a scholarship to study in Germany as an exchange student – all expenses paid – for the year! She’ll come back and do her senior year and apply for colleges when she returns.)
- Free German Worksheets for Beginners – Since we started learning German when the kids were young, I had a hard time find the kind of materials I wanted. You’ll find of free worksheets here at this post!
- Bobo Siebenschläfer – We use this children’s book AND the CD in our homeschool.
- Floppy Das Monster Ist Fast Auf Immer Verloren (German Edition)
- Es War Einmal (German Edition)
- Practice Makes Perfect Complete German Grammar – My older two are using this workbook as they start to learn the basics of German grammar (der/die/das; ich bin, du bist, er ist… and things like that)
Learning Spanish Homeschool Resources:
My girls also started to learn Spanish in elementary. It’s a long story which you can read about here!! I paired up with Sra. Morato and we created a lot of Spanish elementary worksheets along the way. You’ll find some of the free Spanish worksheets here: You can also check out our Spanish Store. And of course, be sure to check out Sra. Morato’s Elementary Spanish homeschool course as well!
- Check out Sra. Morato’s Spanish Elementary Course here.
- Free Spanish Numbers Worksheets
- Daily Calendar in Spanish! La Página de calendario de Hoy – It will help your kids learn the days of the week, the months of the year, the weather and other skills!
- Spanish Fruit and Vegetable Cards: Tarjetas para clasificar las frutas y los vegetales
- Free Spanish Worksheets for Kids: Fall Words and Colors
- Free Spanish Worksheet: Parts of the Body – El Cuerpo
- Read this post about some activities my girls did in Sra. Morato’s Spanish Elementary Course
- Read more about Sra. Morato’s Elementary Course (and my girls’ experience with it) in this post
- Check out Sra. Morato’s Spanish Elementary Course here.
Finding Homeschool Planning Materials:
Over the years, I have made lots and lots of Homeschool Planners, Planning Guides and have a yearly calendar that I make each year. I have shared these (FREE) here on the website. Hope you find something that is useful!
Homeschool Planning for Next Year (Free Planning Pages)
These are some free Homeschool Planning Pages that I use as I try to figure out our long-range homeschooling goals. This post shares share the process I go through… and also will share the planning pages that I’ve been using the past few years. I like having colorful planning pages to work on. This isn’t really a weekly/monthly planner, but rather a homeschool vision planner. This 30+-page pdf is currently FREE to download! Let me know if it’s helpful! ~Liesl
If you are looking for more general tips about creating routines, organizing and keeping things running smoothly, be sure to grab our newest Homeschool Packet: Homeschool Foundations: Establishing Routines that Work! It is currently FREE and I will be adding to it throughout the summer (2021).
And, if you are looking for some printables to create your own Homeschool Planner, you might want to check out our free Homeschool Planner. This unique homeschool planning packet is currently FREE to download! It is nearly 100 pages! Not only does this packet include daily and weekly planning pages, checklists and record keeping pages, but it also includes various homeschool journaling pages… think gratitude journal meets homeschool goal setting! Again, you’ll find it at this post: Free Homeschool Planner and Discovery Journal. I tend to change up my homeschool planning pages regularly as our needs change, so this packet of materials has steadily grown in size! There might be something you can use there! 🙂
We also have a half-page booklet style homeschool planner as well. I print the pages out one-sided, fold them in half and bind along the left side. That free printable can be found here: FREE Booklet-Style Homeschool Planner
FREE Printable Yearly Calendar. I print these out both for my homeschool planner and also to put on our fridge. Hope this is helpful. Here is where you can find the 2022-2023 School Year Calendar:
The new Fall 2022 Homeschool Planner has just been released! It is free as well! I hope it is helpful! Visit this post for the download link: Free Printable Homeschool Planner for Fall 2022
Finding Homeschool Curriculum:
Here are some posts I wrote for those trying to find a homeschool curriculum that works for their family. If you have any suggestions, feel free to drop me a note and I can add your suggestions in!
Sorry, this section is in dire need of editing! Hope to update this soon!
Choosing or Creating a Homeschool History Curriculum – This is a post about the many history homeschool resources available.
That brings us to the end of this resource page.
I hope you found some useful information here! 🙂 You might also check out this Homeschool Resources post. ~Liesl
See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts. Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. ~Liesl
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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.