The First Month of 9th Grade Homeschool

9th Grade

In the past I have done one big wrap up post for all three of my kids.  I may go back to that but for now I wanted to do a post for each grade level, since I have more to share about each of my children this year. 

Here is the post about the curriculum choices we made for him. 





9th grade has brought many changes for our oldest son!  He is no longer doing “group subjects” with his younger siblings, and is working on his own for everything!  I am more involved with him this year and really enjoying my time with him.

We use Lessontrek for weekly planning. Here’s a peek at one of his recent lesson plans. I type them up each weekend to prepare for Monday. He uses this to guide him through his week. At the end of the week I record all of his grades from the paper into Lessontrek online since we use their Gradebook feature.

Lessontrek Lesson Plan 9th Grade



One of our big changes is with writing. This is our first year using IEW and so far so good! He is using Student Writing intensive Level C and I am watching the DVD classes with him and then he works on his own.


Honestly, it was a bit strange at first, so different than what we used previously. We are in the middle of unit 4 now and I am certain we made the right decision! This is a better fit for us and the whole subject of writing is flowing better now.

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I am in LOVE with Homeschool Spanish Academy!  They offered to give us free classes to see if we liked it and I am blown away! DEFINITELY a good fit for us! He takes two classes a week with a private teacher via Skype! The teachers are located in Guatemala and are fluent in Spanish and English. He has learned so much already and I just love that I don’t have to do ANYthing. I was dreading high school foreign language credit and now I am not.

9th Grade -6369[3]



Notgrass World History is another new curriculum for us and I am in love with this one too! We began with plans to earn the History and Bible credit {this course offers 3 credits if you do it entirely – English, History, Bible}. After about a week, we decided to drop the Bible portion and just earn the history credit. He is eliminating the Bible memory work, extra Bible reading and Bible projects. We never planned on him using this as an English credit, so there’s some eliminated by dropping that.  The history credit alone is enough work and we feel it is a great fit.

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He works a lot on his own, but comes to me for quizzes and tests.  Below he was taking a history quiz at my desk. 




We LOVE Foundations in Personal Finance! Originally I planned on him doing this independently but I have enjoyed the videos, and we have great discussion a few times a week! This is a great course!!!

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Ahhh, science. Daddy is in charge of science. BUT I am getting a tad bit more interested. Apologia Biology is great but hasn’t been the easiest for him. After module 2 we decided to purchase the DVD to see if it would help. We LOVE the DVD!!!  It is definitely an investment, but one we decided was worth it. The video lessons are so well done and even my son admitted they were really helpful. His score on the module 3 test was significantly better than his scores on test 1 and 2!

Apologia Biology DVD



We both love Northstar Geography. He does this almost 100% on his own, I love the layout, organization of the lessons, and all that he is learning.




Teaching Textbooks Geometry is definitely not easy, but I can’t imagine doing this without Teaching Textbooks! He does this on his own and is doing well, but he has learned that studying well for the tests is very important now. Math has come easily for him, but this is a bit more challenging as he learns all new concepts and ideas with a lot of memorization required.

TT Geometry



Although not an official school subject, his computer-love is going strong!  He has been building his own computer for almost a year now and recently he get some of the final parts. He showed an interest and we had 3 old CPUs sitting in storage and we told him he could take them apart and do whatever he wanted to learn! He mostly learned through dissecting those and using working parts to build one and then buying parts he needed. I had no idea he would be able to do what he can do, I thought he would just mess around with our old broken computers for awhile. Turns out he was able to teach himself a LOT! I’ve lost the ability to comprehend it all. So proud of his ability to learn, save $, and work through tough issues to reach success!! Here’s a video on Instagram showing the moment he started it up!

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Other fun news, he decided to join a year round swim team! We are looking forward to the new adventure as a swim family as we support him! That’s him in one of those lanes swimming!

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A Recap of his curriculum…

Science ~ Apologia Biology with DVD

Math ~ Teaching Textbooks Geometry

Writing ~ IEW SIW C and The Elegant Essay

World History ~ Notgrass

Geography ~ Northstar

Spanish ~ Homeschool Spanish Academy

Finance ~ Foundations in Personal Finance

Reading  ~ See book list here {which will most likely grow}


Follow along with us on Instagram to get peeks at our homeschool life {and our life in general!}. Stay tuned for a wrap-up all about 5th grade and one about 2nd grade!

Linking up with Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

My oldest son is 14 and going into 9th grade this year – his first official year of high school!!  Below are the 9th grade homeschool curriculum choices we have made!

Curious to see what he did in the past {since I’ve been blogging}?

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used below}

9th Grade Subjects

The Visual Version…

 `è HAS  TT Geometry


IEW SWI C IEW Elegant Essay Foundations in Personal Finance


Figuring high school credits – some of the credits are straight forward and some can count as different things in the end when his final transcript is developed for college. His 9th grade English credit will come from a combo of his work with his IEW writing course, the books he will read as an extension of Notgrass World History, his SAT Vocabulary work, and his extensive book list. His Geography will actually be a history credit. His Finance course will be an elective counting as a 1/2 credit. The plan is that he will end 9th grade with 6.5 high school credits combined with the 2 he came in with from 8th grade {Algebra 1 and Physical Science}. For Spanish he will be doing the 60 classes spread out over the entire year for a foreign language credit.

There may be more to come, or some changes, but this is our list for now and all of this has been purchased! We will see what the year holds!

See our 2nd Grade Choices here and our 5th Grade Choices here!

2nd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices


Stick around and see our homeschool year unfold!

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8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Review

The homeschool curriculum choices blog posts are great, but what I really want to know is what families thought AFTER they used the curriculum they chose!  I will be sharing a series of posts with you; evaluating our choices in each grade level from this homeschool year.

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}

First up, 8th grade!  Here’s a reminder of the original 8th Grade Curriculum Choices post.

8th Grade Subjects

    Overall it was a very successful year for my son!  Thankfully it was a fairly uneventful year especially compared to last year. He was VERY independent and overall our choices for him worked.

Below I will give a small review of each subject, if you have more specific questions about anything, just leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer!

Science ~ Apologia Physical Science

He did this subject with guidance and leadership from his Dad, praise GOD!  Seriously I am so so thankful my husband handled this subject. They both felt this was a solid science program and have chose to stick with Apologia for Biology next year for 9th grade.

The experiments were his favorite part…

8th Grade -9277 8th grade -27178th Grade -9056 8th grade -9909

Math ~ Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1

This was a big success for our son.  I can’t say he loves it, because it is a lot of work, but he likes it better than other math curriculums he has used.  We will be continuing on with Teaching Textbooks Geometry for 9th grade. Many do Algebra 2 next but my husband manages math and wants him to do geometry and then Algebra 2 right before Pre-Cal.

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Reading Sonlight’s American Historical Literature 130

This was a great fit and he read almost ALL of the books {click to see them all}! 

We didn’t stick with the guide intensely throughout the year, but we discussed the books. I had one goal this year and it was for him to truly love reading.  I prayed that by making him read SO many books, he would fall in love and I am THRILLED to say, it worked!  Since he completed this book list he has went on to read more including: Out of Water, A Long Walk to Water, Wonder, Paperboy and more! He giggles as he tells me I was right all along, reading is awesome.

Sonlight Core 130 American Historical Literature

Grammar ~ Growing with Grammar 8

This is a good fit for both of us. He doesn’t love grammar, but said he prefers this program if he HAS to do grammar. This is the last in the GWG series so he is done with this.


Writing ~ Write Shop 1

This has been such a tough subject for us. We made it through over half of the lessons, even bought the video course to go along and help. In the end we have decided to move away from Write Shop and on to something new for next year. It’s NOT because WS is not a great program, it really is. The organization of the manual and lessons just doesn’t fit with my brain and after two years of trying to make it fit, we are letting it go. I truly believe it is an incredible program and I just cannot figure out why my brain couldn’t jive with the layout. I am kind of sad to be moving away from WS, but hopeful that a different structure might help me teach better.

Please don’t let my moving away from this program shed a negative light on the curriculum itself.  I honestly think it is me, not the program. WS will be a GREAT fit for many of you!

WriteShop 1 Set

We have chosen IEW for next year and he will begin with Student Intensive C. I bought the combo package including the Teaching Writing: Structure & Style in hopes of better training myself to teach writing.

Vocabulary ~ SAT Vocabulary App

This was a GREAT decision! On a whim I got this app for him and it turned out to be a perfect solution.  My goal with vocabulary at this point is to prepare him for SAT and ACT testing. The app is free to try and then $4.99 to get all of the lessons, which is what we did.

SAT Vocabulary App

Spelling ~ Sonlight’s Word List from American Historical Lit. 130

This worked perfectly for him! The words were more practical. I created my own set of spelling sheets to reinforce the words. You can download those here if you want to use them!

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3

Group Subjects ~ History & World Geography

Pac joined us for The Mystery of History this year, which will be his last year with us.  We will continue on with MOH with our younger children, but he will be moving on to Notgrass History for next year.

He will also move on to his own geography after years of doing it as a family – bittersweet!  He will be using North Star Geography next year.

Stay tuned, I will be sharing our year-end review for 1st Grade soon. I will also be sharing our curriculum choices for 9th grade, 5th grade, and 2nd Grade.

See our 4th Grade Year-End Review here!

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Review


See last year’s Year-End Review posts by clicking on each grade level below!

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review

Lessontrek ~ A Great Choice for Your Homeschool Planning Needs

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner

{disclaimer ~ Lessontrek is a blog sponsor}

We have been using Lessontrek for 2 years and I can’t imagine my homeschool planning without it! Recently I have taught my oldest son {currently in 8th grade} how to use Lessontrek to create his own lesson plans!

Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) skills are becoming an essential part of education due to the high demand for these skills in the near and distant future. When our children go into the workforce in 2025, for example, they’ll be well equipped to perform at higher levels than other kids because the home school community can do a better job fostering the STEM education in the home. Lessontrek built a productivity application that nurtures STEM related curriculum. It not only equips the parent but the child as well to learn how to use modern and updated software applications to assist them with their daily tasks, and to prepare them for the types of software applications they’ll use in 2025.

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As you can see in the video below, he is fully capable of using the Lessontrek software to build his lesson plans. This not only encourages the development STEM skills but also encourages independence and teaches him to organize and manage his time. I want to do all I can to prepare him for college and beyond, both academically and in the area of time management!

He has a lovely sense of humor and he isn’t all too thrilled about me not doing his lesson plans any longer! Growing up and becoming more independent isn’t easy, but it’s good for him!

We have other reviews of Lessontrek, you can read my initial impressions here in our first review, and another post I wrote here. A video overview of the lesson planning feature is here and a peek inside the gradebook feature is here.

Lessontrek-Online-Homeschool-Planner[1]  Homeschool-Lesson-Planning-with-Less[1]  Lessontrek Gradebook Feature Review

Want to try Lessontrek? They offer a free 2 week trial and are offering my readers a special offer, which you can see on my sidebar! If you are a newsletter subscriber, look for an email tomorrow with an EVEN BETTER offer!

Enter to win…

Use Rafflecopter beow to enter to win a LIFETIME Membership to Lessontrek!  All emails will be shared with Lessontrek, giveaway is open worldwide, and ends April 27, 2016.

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Youth Digital ~ MOD Design 1 Review

Youth Digital MOD Design 1 Review

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided MOD Design 1 for review}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres[12]

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

We noticed Youth Digital a couple of years ago at a homeschool convention and my Minecraft loving children, especially my oldest, were instantly interested. I was immediately impressed with the whole concept, we just couldn’t work it into the budget at the time.  When we were offered the chance to review MOD Design 1 thanks to Educents I was obviously thrilled.

I wish you could have been sitting next to me and seen my 13 year old’s reaction when he found out we were getting this!  The excitement has only continued, he fell in love instantly and has continued to LOVE the lessons.md1

So, what is Youth Digital?

"The future will be made by creators, not consumers."

Youth Digital offers an innovative online learning solution that kids can access from any computer with an internet connection. Their learning platform provides kids a comprehensive educational experience that is amazingly fun, highly interactive, and rewarding. Through Youth Digital courses, kids will master critical technology skills and learn to use professional-level software that will help them be successful in today’s digital world.


What is MOD Design 1?

Mod Design 1 by Youth Digital is an engaging way for kids ages 8-14, to learn key technical skills while programming their own mods for Minecraft. The interactive lessons are fun to watch and easy to follow. Kids are able to learn at their own pace and use their imaginations to create their own Minecraft mods! Kids will code their own Minecraft mod from start to finish and watch as the end result becomes a unique, shareable Minecraft mod that they built from scratch.

Kids will learn the basics of one of the most popular coding languages in the world as they modify real Java code to build their own Minecraft mods. Students will master introductory computer programming concepts including object-oriented programming, methods and parameters, instantiation of new objects, and more. Kids will also learn to use a pro-level Java development tool, Eclipse.

What’s included?

  • Over 30 hours of self-paced, engaging online lessons
  • 1 year access to our dedicated team of online teachers to help your student along the way
  • Professional software


Here are some screenshots showing what things look like inside.  The first shows the student dashboard with the lessons…

YD Homescreen


Within each lesson there are videos and an outline of what will be covered.  Here are 2 outlines…

YD 1 YD 2

The informative and entertaining videos also include screencasts, showing the child exactly what to do and how to do it.  Here’s a peek at the sword lesson…

YD 3

Below you can see a screenshot of the coding section, your child is taught how and where to insert code!

YD 4


This was one of those reviews that I knew would be a team effort and I told my 13 year old son that from the beginning.  He agreed to work with me and this has been a fun process.  He has been into Minecraft for years now and I am very supportive of his interest.  Once I learned about Minecraft I quickly realized what an incredibly educational game this was for my kids. Extending the love of Minecraft into learning in this way through Youth Digital has been awesome!

Here’s what my son had to say about his experience with MOD Design 1…

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OK so when I was told that I was going to do the MOD Design 1 course I was extremely excited because I already loved to play Minecraft and I enjoyed programming. The people that created the course are geniuses because you can definitely learn a lot from the course.

It does get hard at times but it is really nice because you can get help with what you are stuck on just as simple at clicking the HELP! button and tell them and show them what’s wrong! I had to use this a few times and they are super helpful and respond quickly.

The program is awesome because as you go through the course you do interactive quizzes and and solve problems and you can earn points! You can use the points to learn even more stuff to put into your mod! What’s also cool about it is ALL the software to run the program comes with the course and even if your course expires you can still keep the software to keep working on your projects!

The age recommendation is from 8-14 years of age, I think that younger ones (8 and 9) can definitely do this course. It may get hard but with the HELP! button makes it ease to get unstuck from your problem. I’m turning 14 here soon and I love the course so I also think that 13, 14 and 15 year olds will learn and enjoy the course as well.

Going into the course you don’t have to know anything about programming to enjoy the course! They do a through job of explaining how to do it and what it means. So for all the Minecraft lovers out there this course is a great learning experience and fun way to play Minecraft!


Even better, here’s a video interview I did with him.  Ever wanted a peek at his personality?  watch this.  He’s a goof…I love him so.  The video is almost 7 minutes long, he had a lot to say!


Final Thoughts…

I definitely recommend MOD Design 1 and Youth Digital in general for a few reasons. Expanding on an interest and providing real life learning skills in our computer driven world is so valuable.  He has already begged for another course and we will be seeing if we can fit this into our homeschool budget.  Watching my children be comfortable with computers means a lot to us.  No matter what they decide to do with their lives, it is almost certain a computer will be involved somehow.  Pac actually has dreams of possibly working with software design so this was a fabulous experience for him. 

Want to Purchase MOD Design 1?

Educents is offering an EXTRA 10% off when using code: 1P10

Buy Here!