So, um, it’s been four years since wrote my first Top Picks series. That’s, like, 20 years in homeschool curriculum years (which are longer than dog years) considering all the new and exciting stuff that comes out each year. I thought it was time for an update and what better place to start than middle school, since we’re firmly entrenched in all things middle school at my house?
So, here you go: The Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers Top Picks for Middle School.
Top Homeschool Curriculum Picks for Middle School
It may have been four years, but my top picks for math are still Horizons and Teaching Textbooks. Horizons math now goes through Algebra I. If they had a PC version through high school, they would be my top pick. As it stands, we really enjoy Teaching Textbooks. I love the the kids can enjoy the benefit of having each lesson explained to them, while I can enjoy the benefit of math being a subject that they can each do independently – and the grading is done for me!
For my money, two of the most solid writing programs you can buy are WriteShop and Institute for Excellence in Writing. We have used and reviewed both – IEW review and WriteShop review. People often ask me which is better. I’ve answered that question in detail in my comparison of IEW and WriteShop. The short answer, though, is you really can’t go wrong with either.
My kids prefer WriteShop, but both are absolutely excellent programs that will meet your students’ writing needs all the way through high school.
Our love affair with Easy Grammar and Daily Grams continues. We’ve used them longer than just about any curriculum that we currently use and I foresee us using them all the way through high school. We’re currently on Easy Grammar Plus and grade level Daily Grams books. Once we finish Plus, we’ll continue on through the Ultimate Series.
I’ve answered many questions about Easy Grammar over the years. If you’ve got questions, check to see if I may have answered it.
We big-giant-puffy-heart love All About Spelling. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s super-easy for the teaching parent and it’s the best multi-sensory, logical, makes-sense-for-a-dyslexic-kid spelling program we’ve ever used. You can read my All About Spelling review or find out how All About Spelling works for dyslexic students.
Y’all probably also know of my ongoing love affair with the Trail Guide to Learning series, which is a history-based, all-inclusive curriculum. Yeah, I never thought I’d love an all-inclusive curriculum either, but I do – we do! We started with Paths of Settlement, which is intended for 4th-6th grades. The optional Middle School Supplement bumps it up to cover through 8th grade.
We’ve finished Paths of Progress, which is for 5th-7th grades, before Christmas. It has a High School Extension which bumps it up to 9th grade. We’re anxiously awaiting the first volume in the middle school series, which will cover ancient history. You can read my Paths of Settlement review and my Paths of Progress review.
As we wait, we’re enjoying one of my other top picks, History Odyssey by Pandia Press. I did a review of History Odyssey several years ago. Because we enjoyed it so much and it is includes the great literature that I so love, it was logical that we would come back to it as our history text for middle school. An updated review will be coming up in May
Because we thoroughly enjoyed REAL Science Odyssey in elementary, it made sense that we would try the middle school level after finishing the Trail Guide series, as well. We have not been disappointed. The REAL Science series offers a great mix of textual information and hands-on learning. Complete with microscope labs, REAL Science Biology (the only Level Two science we’ve tried so far) could conceivably be beefed up to provide high school credit, as well. (Review coming up in April.)
Brianna also really enjoyed Real Science 4 Kids chemistry. It’s colorful, detailed illustrations and easy-to-understand explanations make it another Top Pick for Science.
Note: REAL Science Odyssey and Real Science 4 Kids are often confused, but they are two different science programs.
We don’t really have any particular Bible study curriculum that we use. However, the scripture memory system from Simply Charlotte Mason is what I would identity as the most long-standing tool in our homeschool arsenal. We’ve used it every day for years and I can’t recommend this simple, yet effective system highly enough.
For Bible study, the simplest tool we’ve found is the SOAP method. I also highly recommend the book, Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day for a good overview of a variety of faiths and Christian Theology and Ancient Polytheism by Brimwood Press for worldview study.
If you read my review of Zeezok’s music appreciation course, you won’t be surprised to find it here. Grab-and-go curriculum that includes everything I need to use it is nearly always going to get my vote. Even though the course is intended for elementary, we’ve found that it works well for middle school.
A lot of middle school kids probably won’t want to do the lapbooks, but there is enough great information in the student workbooks that you could skip the lapbooks. You could also go over the lapbook information orally or use it as a starting point for further study.
We have really enjoyed the See the Light Art Projects DVDs for art lessons. Each DVD is a self-contained four-part lesson that focuses on a different artists style. I like the variety of the projects and the fact that we can do them as we have time and enjoy a finished art project without feeling like it’s something we have to do all the time. I’ve done several reviews, which you can find on my review page under “Fine Arts.”
These great products make up my revised Top Picks list for 2014. You can view my Top Picks for Fifth and Sixth Grades and my Top Picks for Seventh and Eighth Grades from 2010. All of the products I showcased then are still great choices. However, different choices work better for different kids and I love trying new curriculum as it becomes available.
I’ll probably update the middle elementary grades as I have time since they don’t include Trail Guide to Learning, which is perfect for 3rd grade and up. The early elementary grades will not be updated since I don’t have kids using those products anymore and I’ll begin to update high school next year since we’ll be starting High School Round 2 in the fall.
Homeschool Curriculum Reviews
Do you have a product or service that you’d like to have reviewed on Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers? Visit my Advertising and Social Media Management page for more details (there is a section on reviews).
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.