Where can I buy strong social studies and science homeschool curricula?
May 11, 2015 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Wanted: Ancient Civilizations and Earth Science homeschool curricula for a 6th grader. Trickiness after the jump...

The child, who I have been hired to teach, is currently enrolled in a popular online school whose curriculum basically involves reading a textbook and answering comprehension questions. Like any good parent, his mom would rather her son be exposed to a more robust, creative curriculum. For social studies, this means interesting essay topics, close readings of primary source documents, etc. and for science this means experiments and projects.

As a teacher, I am well familiar with the many awesome resources out there on the web and in bookstores, and would LOVE to put together a fun and engaging curriculum using these resources. However, that is decidedly NOT what the child’s mom wants to do. She wants to purchase something as close to a fully-realized, turnkey curriculum as possible, and is willing to spend substantial money on this, so that if she needs to move cross-country in the middle of the year, she won't be dependent on me to guide instruction. Does such a wonderful curriculum exist, or are mom, child, and tutor out of luck?
posted by chickenandwine to Education (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does it have to be designed for home school? Doesn't pretty much every school district have publicly available currucula for each area of study and indivdual courses? Obviously some suggested activities require groups of kids and such, but I bet most of the content itself and certainly essay topics would be adaptable to one student.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:15 PM on May 11, 2015

I'm a 6th grade teacher.

I've done a lot of internet searching for interesting lessons and curriculum. I haven't found much. I do have my own outline of my English/History curriculum, and I'm happy to share that with you (or anyone else!) if that's helpful. It has lots of alternative texts, primary sources, writing topics, projects, etc.

I also think that the World History Crash Course series on YouTube is GREAT for most of the Ancient History standards. There's also the Big History Project, and if you register as a teacher, you can find some really cool lessons linked to the Crash Course Big History series.
posted by guster4lovers at 5:47 PM on May 11, 2015

The Charlotte Mason homeschool approach is sort of mixed: heavy reliance on original texts, so lots of folks who like to roll their own will use it. You can also buy booklists and lesson plans per grade level (like this). Provided you have all the books, the whole thing is generally portable (assuming Mom can find a teacher on the far end who can pick up where things were left off).

Homeschool science curricula (of the turnkey type you're looking for) are a little tricky. Most of the ones I've looked at start with the notion of a "Young Earth" as a first principle. If this is not what you're looking for, there's a thread on the subject here with some links to alternative resources. Singapore Science might be what you're after - there's a review of it here. We used Singapore Math for several years with some of the kids and liked it very much.
posted by jquinby at 6:10 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Ah - my better half reminds me that TOPScience is exactly what you're after. Experiment-driven and the year starts off with a list of items you'll need for the year's worth of work. Each kid in our house maintained their own box of stuff. Mostly.
In any case they have an Earth science unit for grades 6-12.
posted by jquinby at 6:14 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

For the Earth Science at least, I highly recommend Delta Science.
posted by atlantica at 12:16 AM on May 12, 2015

I'm a 6th grade teacher. The science curriculum my school purchases is called SEPUP, and is pretty good. Most of the activities are hands on/experiment based, and there is at least one design-your-own-experiment/apparatus activity per unit.

It's handy in a school setting to be able to purchase the lab kits along with the book, but looking at the kit list, it'll be 8-16x too much stuff for one child. Maybe you could find 7 other interested families to help defray the cost.
posted by coppermoss at 3:44 AM on May 12, 2015

Take a look at CK-12 - they have textbooks for life science and , earth science, physics, US History, and more.
posted by kristi at 6:03 PM on May 12, 2015

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