Starting Year 6 Resource ideas

I must confess I do not put as much research into planning for my youngest just because I have done this year before with his sister and I already have quite a good idea about which resources worked well and which ones we are going to avoid.

With my son he tends to do his Maths and English separately from his sister (although he often joins in and reads her English Literature books) and then with his Geography, Science and History we link up. I have found that when it comes to educating two kids it helps if everyone is looking at the same topic even if the activities they end up doing are a bit different. So for example we all read and watch documentaries about World War One together and then the kids work though activities based on their ages. So what is our basic plan for his Year 6?

Maths.

I have become quite a big fan of Twinkl’s Planit section for his Maths. I tend to download a whole section – eg Fractions and then I sort through which lessons and activities we are going to do. In some cases we work through lesson by lesson but in other cases we just select certain lessons. Anyway, which ever way we do it I find the PowerPoint Explanations handy and the fact that most of the Activity sheets have different levels really useful (plus they always include the answers which means the kids can check their work themselves). They also include a general plan which suggests what you need to cover for year 6 and they give you an idea of how long you could spend on each topic (like I said it is an idea – one that is handy to look at but we do not stick to it 100%).

I also have the full set of Schofield & Sims Understanding Maths range which I really like. Each page has a nice brief explanation at the top and then you get a few exercises. I find them handy as I like to make sure we get a wide range of questions with our Maths.

And a new one that I discovered last Year was the CGP Times Table book. Now my son is actually quite good at Maths but remembering the times tables was just not his thing. So last year I bought him both the Year 4 and Year 5 Times Tables book and he worked through them (a double page at a time – which is not long) and I have to admit his ability to remember the times tables greatly improved. So This year just to keep that going I have bought him the KS2 Maths: Times Tables 10-Minute Weekly Workouts – Year 6: ideal for catch-up and learning at home (CGP KS2 Maths)

English

Last year we used the CGP Grammar, punctuation and Spelling workbook and it actually worked really well so I am going to get the Year 6 version for him – KS2 English Targeted Question Book: Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling – Year 6 Foundation: ideal for catch-up and learning at home (CGP KS2 English).

Then because we like tying our English in with our other themes and because he really likes working through the Twinkl original eBooks we are going to cover a few this year. I have already selected – Code Cracking for Beginners and Percy’s Peculiar Plants. But Twinkl are always adding more to this range so I have no doubt we will find some new ones that interest us and do a few more during the year (the worksheets that link up to the eBook always include lots of Grammar practice and often some really good writing activities).

We are also going to make a point of reading some more of the condensed Classics. I want the kids to have a basic understanding of the classics in terms of the plot and the main characters and for this we really like the BIG CAT Books.

Then something a bit different but fun – we subscribe to the Night Zookeeper website. I love this site, it really is English but with a fun spin on it and my son ends up doing a lot more “work” on the site than he ever would if he was working through workbooks or worksheets.

History

This year the plan is it cover World War I and World War II. I will use his older sister’s History book with both of them (Technology, War and Independence) and we will use other books like these ones – The Story of the First Wold War for Children and The Story of the Second World War for children.

We are also going to cover Ancient Greece this year. Last year he used a few CGP Student book and workbooks for his Geography and he really enjoyed them so we are going to give their Ancient Greece books a go ( KS2 Discover & Learn: History – Ancient Greeks Study Book: superb for catching up at home (CGP KS2 History) and KS2 Discover & Learn: History – Ancient Greeks Activity Book: ideal for catching up at home (CGP KS2 History)).

Science

We often link his Science in with his sisters and actually he manages really well. This year I want to do a big section on Electrical circuits – he has a set that he loves using so he already has a good understanding on how it all works. We are also going to work through the Electrical Circuits topic pack from Oaka. Now this set is for KS3 ages and my son is still KS2 but he did some pages out of KS3 packs last year and he was fine (he does seem to “get” Science so I am also purposely going to challenge him a bit with Science this year).

And we also want to work through the Skeletons and Muscles pack and possibly the Solar System pack.

We also have all three of the KS2 Science board games from Oaka Books which I really like using and I know we will continue to play and learn with these games this year.

Space Race Game by Oaka Books

Geography

Again we will link most of his Geography with his sister in terms of topics. I know we are going to revisit Volcanoes, earthquakes and the Rock cycle (so I will probably get the CGP set for this KS2 Discover & Learn: Geography – Volcanoes and Earthquakes Study Book: superb for catching up at home (CGP KS2 Geography) and KS2 Discover & Learn: Geography – Volcanoes and Earthquakes Activity Book: ideal for catching up at home (CGP KS2 Geography)). And we are going to do some country studies. He really enjoyed working through the UK and Europe CGP Books last year so I think I am going to get him the American set ( KS2 Discover & Learn: Geography – North and South America Study Book: superb for catching up at home (CGP KS2 Geography) and KS2 Discover & Learn: Geography – North and South America Activity Book: ideal for catching up at home (CGP KS2 Geography)).

Art

My son is actually teaching himself how to draw and I am leaving it to him to do his own way. I actually did Art and I love drawing and painting but he does not want to be “taught” he just wants to be left to experiment and discover drawing by himself. And in all honesty he is doing an amazing job, he is always drawing and creating pictures and they are really good so I am leaving him to continue in this way and when he asks for help or advice I help him.

So that is our starting point. We always make changes and add in stuff during the year but I think it is a good point from which to start for his Year 6.

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Starting Year 9 Geography Resource Ideas

Geography is one subject that my daughter is a bit unsure about, she does not mind it, in fact some sections she finds interesting but it does not grab her attention the way History does. This year we are going to decide if she is taking it as one of her exam subjects so we want to cover all the important topics (make sure she has that good foundation in case she does do it as an exam subject) but I also want to make it as interesting and engaging as possible. So for us that means seeing if we can tie topics in with some of the books that she is reading and including practical activities.

Our Main resource will be the Geog.3 book. We have used the Geog.1 and Geog.2 in our previous years and I like the fact that it gives me a guide on what to cover and how much detail to go into.

So the Geog.3 topics are as follows

  • From Rock to Soil
  • Using Earth’s Resources
  • Earning a Living
  • International Development
  • Our restless planet
  • About Russia
  • The Middle East

We have actually already done quite a bit on the Rock to Soil theme and Restless Planet topic, but they are the topics that my daughter actually likes so we will cover them again and possibly extend them a bit. I also want to include some map work (she is not a fan of map work and I feel it is important so I want to revisit sections out of Geog.1 and Geog.2 on map work and try and really engage her with some map work activities).

And I am also not sure that we will cover the topics in the order of the book. I am actually thinking of doing Russia first mainly because I think some background information on Russia will tie in nicely with our History topics.

And sticking with what works, I plan on linking in some of the Oaka Topic Packs (my daughter really likes these packs). So this year we are going to use their Transport and Industry Pack. Now I must admit the Human Geography side is not our favourite part of Geography (we like what my daughter calls “earth Geography”) but we did use the Population and Settlement packs in her Year 8 and she liked the packs.

And we already have their Tectonics, Volcanoes and Earthquakes pack so we will dig out the topic booklet for a reread and also have another look at the game (the games are always great for revising topics you have already covered).

learning game included in the Plate Tectonics_ volcanoes and earthquakes topic pack

This year I want to try their Geography crosswords. My daughter really enjoys things like crosswords so I have a feeling these are going to go down well with her and they will help to reinforce some of the key terms. Level 1 crosswords includes some images as hints and level 2 has no image hints.

A new book. I spotted this one recently – Help Your Kids with Geography. My daughter likes having extra books on the topics that we are working through so she can read different explanations (she just seems to understand topics better when she can reread explanations written with slightly different wording and examine slightly different pictures, so I try and accommodate that). She is a visual learner and in the past we have found the DK style of books suits her so I thought this one might be a great addition to our Geography for this year (and if she does decide to do a Geography exam I think it will be used a lot). They have amazing pictures, detailed diagrams and great explanations, so I have a feeling it is going to be a good fit for us.

And lastly one of our most used games – On the Map. We have had this for a few years but I keep digging it out for a game of two as a way of reminding the kids (and myself) where everything is and even after all these years we are still massive fans of this game.

Geography Board game by Oaka Books On the Map

So that is our starting point for Year 9 Geography. I will write detailed posts about the resources once we have had time to use them and I am sure we will add a few goodies as the year progresses.

Amazon links for the books discussed.

geog.3 Student Book (geog.123 Fifth Edition)

Help Your Kids with Geography, Ages 10-16 (Key Stages 3-4): A Unique Step-by-Step Visual Guide, Revision and Reference

Admin – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use.

I did approach a few publishing companies and request some of the items mentioned in this post. All the items where chosen by us based on past experience and all items are going to be used by my daughter in her home education this year.

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Starting Year 9 English Language Resource Ideas

My daughter loves English literature so we tend to do a LOT of it which is why I covered that in a separate post so this is going to be more about English Language resources (although there is some overlap).

For the past two years we have been using the Get It Right Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar workbooks and we are going to stick with the range and work through workbook 3 this year. My daughter has found the previous two workbooks a good combination of revising things she knows and then slightly extended her practice/implementation of everything. We also get the answer book and then once she has worked through her pages she checks her answers herself.

A fairly new one, towards the end of last year we discovered the Get It Right Vocabulary books, again there are three workbooks for KS3 but because we started them late we are still doing a bit of catch up (my daughter insisted that she wanted to work through the entire series because in her words – having a good vocabulary is vital for writing – and she loves writing). So she still needs to finish workbook 2 and then we will progress onto workbook 3. With this series all the answers are free to download for the site.

  • Boost Your Vocabulary workbook 2. KS3 English resource great for Year 8 students
  • Boost Your Vocabulary workbook 2. KS3 English resource great for Year 8 students

Then a new one. War Anthology. I know I have mentioned this book a lot lately but I feel like it crosses over many “subjects”. It is part English Literature, part English Language and it brings in war topics which are covered in History. Okay so why do I say part English Literature, part English Language? Well the War Anthology book takes extracts from well know pieces of war books / war poetry / and actually not-fiction war related items (including films) which the kids need to read and then do a series of activities on it. And the activities are wide ranging activities – from answering basic do you understand what you have read type questions, to lovely writing activities, to some language style questions. It really is just a wide, all encompassing English resource. And it is the style that we like because your English work is linked to a topic. (This is going to the second book in this English Anthology series that we are using and it is safe to say we are fans of this series).

  • KS3 English Anthology series from Hodder Education. War
  • KS3 English Anthology series from Hodder Education. War
  • KS3 English Anthology series from Hodder Education. War

We also tend to use Twinkl quite a lot for English. We have done a few of the English units in the past and we have often just found an individual lesson that covers what we want and done that. But however we do use it the KS3 English section is one that I visit on a regular basis. I love their comprehensions for KS3 (especially the non-fiction comprehensions – I like using a comprehension after we have covered a topic), I also really like some of their writing activities and we have used a lot of their English literature units already. We like that there is normally a Powerpoint which explains the concept / or activity so my daughter goes through that and then she does the activities linked to it. This means she is able to tackle them independently which she likes. So for this year I know we will be working through more of the KS3 Comprehensions, we are going to tackle the Whodunnit writing unit and the Fiction Writing unit, oh and we are going to use the SPaG Samurai units (Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation).

Oh and I must also state that I will probably dip in and use some of the GCSE Language resources on the site (we used a few of the GCSE English Literature units last year and my daughter really enjoyed them and managed really well so I am not restricting us to only KS3 pages)

Okay then lastly my daughter actually wants to start doing “tests”. She has requested it so we are going to start including them. I am still looking for what I am going to use for these English Language tests, but once I find something I will write about it.

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Starting Year 9 English Literature Resource Ideas

English Literature is a big one for us, my daughter really enjoys it and I let her have quite a big role in deciding what we cover each year. For some my list may appear a bit long but it is what works for my daughter (we normally chooses 2 books to cover in detail for each term and then we will read others independently and discuss them together).

Shakespeare. This year we are planning on tackling Macbeth. So to start with I am sticking with the RSC School Shakespeare book. We already have two of the books in this series and my daughter really enjoys the format (we already have Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and I must confess I find them really easy to use because all the extra bits of information that they include really guide you through the text. She also used one the Oxford Literature Companions this past year (for Pride and Prejudice) and she has already asked for the Macbeth version.

Then I do have a Twinkl membership and I really like their English Literature section so I have already been on and downloaded the full set of Macbeth activities that they have (it is actually under their GCSE literature). Now complete disclosure we don’t tend to use the full set, I go through and find lessons or activities that I think we will enjoy. But I find downloading the full set helps me as I can read through it and pick out what I want. I really like this Macbeth revision guide that they have.

Then War literature. This is probably going to be a big one for us this year because we are covering World War 1 and World War 2. I have a list of books that I would like us to cover, some my daughter will read by herself, some may be audio books and some we will do as units of work (what I mean by that is we read it together and do some activities based on the book). Okay so these are our thoughts (they may change as we get into the war theme).

World War 1 books (we will probably do two world war 1 books as units of work)

Soldier Dog – (We had actually planned on doing this one in her year 8 but we ended up changing our mind and worked through an extra Victorian themed book and 2 other Gill Lewis books instead). So I have already read it myself and know we will use it for one of our units that we will do together with my youngest (we will read the book together and then the kids will do some activities from the Free to download unit from Oxford University Press but I will adjust the activities slightly for my youngest and possibly extend a few of the activities for my daughter). In fact that is one of the reason I like these sets I find they are a good guide but I also find I can easily adjust activities to suit two kids of different ages.

  • Starting Year 9 History resource ideas. War literature
  • Free to download resources from the Oxford Univeristy Press site linked to the Rollercoaster book series
  • Free to download resources from the Oxford Univeristy Press site linked to the Rollercoaster book series

Private Peaceful – is one of those books that I would really like to read with my daughter so we can talk about why an army would kill a soldier for cowardice. Twinkl have a few activities on their site which look interesting including chapter questions which are always handy.

When the Guns Fall Silent – Not sure if this will be the 2nd unit we do or if Private Peaceful is the 2nd unit. But regardless it is a book I would like us to read and there is a Free to download set of lesson plans and activities on the Oxford University Press site.

Starting Year 9 History resource ideas. War literature

War Horse – We actually have an audio book for this one so it will probably be a case of my daughter listens to it and watches the movie and then we discuss. We might even try and use the National Theatre Playscript just for a bit of fun but we will do a full unit on it (possibly write a review of the movie and comparison of the book vs movie).

The Flambards series is set around the First World War and is a series I think my daughter will enjoy reading but it will be one she reads by herself.

World War 2 books (not sure if we do 1 or 2 books as units yet)

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – I think we will do this one as a unit using the Free to download set from the Oxford University Press site.

An Elephant in the Garden – we have the audio book for this and a friend has lent us their book so it is probably going to be one that we listen to and then my daughter can read it herself.

Starting Year 9 History resource ideas. War literature

Carrie’s War – we have actually just taken out a copy from our local library and my daughter is about to start reading it. I think this will be one she reads by herself.

I know I should include the Diary of Anne Frank here but my daughter has actually already read it, so that is why it is not on our list for this year.

Okay so those are the books we currently have on our “war” list. Now linked in with these books and the “book units” that we will do we are also going to use our War Anthology book that I have. I am already so impressed by this book. It has a number of extracts from the books that I want to read and then there are some really interesting activities based on these extracts (I really like how varied the activities are). This book deals with a war theme so it includes works from a number of different wars but we are going to focus on the works that deal with World War 1 and World War 2. And there is also a fantastic poetry section which I am really happy about and can’t wait to use.

KS3 English Anthology series from Hodder Education. War

But we are not done yet. She also wants to do what she calls a more Classic book but we have not selected which one just yet, possibly An Inspector Calls or Frankenstein but honestly we have spent so much time thinking about which Shakespeare play and which War books to cover that we need to give it a bit more thought.

Our book lists are one of those things that tend to have a life of their own and as the year progresses we often make changes but I feel like this is a good starting point for us.

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KS3 English Resource. War Anthology

Often when a new resource arrives I think – hmm that will do, it ticks all the boxes, covers what I want and looks good. And then sometimes, just sometimes something arrives that actually gets me excited, yes after nine years of home educating my kids I can still excited when a new resource arrives and it actually exceeds my expectations, and leaves me itching to start using it, like this War Anthology book by Hodder Education.

This year we are covering World War I and World War II in our History and we will be reading a lot of World War fictional books as part of our History, but then those books are also going to be part of our English (I love combining subjects, it always makes the learning journey that much more exciting and engaging when we cover a theme across multiple subjects – in case anyone is wondering we are going to link in some Geography as well). So I really wanted to find something that could bring our War theme into our English work, something that would allow my daughter to do her typical English learning activities (writing letters, diary entries, working on adjectives or synonyms etc etc) but do them as part of our War theme. And this book does just that, it takes all those English activities that can sometimes be a bit dry and wraps them up in War literature to make them more exciting (especially for kids who find History fascinating).

Even at my very first look at the book I spotted extracts and activities on a wide range of books/movies that I was already planning on covering this year – War Horse, Carrie’s War, The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas, the Book Thief, 1917 and the Diary of Anne frank are included. And that was just on my very first look. When I gave it a closer look I found a number of other fascinating works that I had not thought of and that are our now on my list – including 3 brilliant poems. (I should make it clear this book deals with sources from different wars but we are going to focus on the ones to do with World War 1 and World War 2.)

If you have not heard about this range (this is our second book in the English Anthology range that we are using – we used the Myths and Legends book and we highly recommend it), the layout is as follows. For each book/movie/poem you normally get four pages. The first two pages are the work itself / or extract of the work. There is normally a context block – which is an introduction of sorts, the extract or poem is then included with little “knowledge blocks” as my daughter calls them – these are blocks which explain about about what is being said in the extract (my daughter loves these).

Then the next two pages are your activity pages. For each extract you will get three blocks of separate activities spread over a double page. The first is called Look Closer and gets the reader to think a bit more about what they have read. Then you get the block called Now Try This – which is more detailed and often involves slightly more time consuming activities. And finally the third set of activities are called Practice Questions. Plus sample answers for all these activities are FREE to download from their website – sample answers here.

And they really do include a wide range of activities e.g – design a survival booklet, write a letter, synonyms and antonyms, do research on a topic, explain what is the impression created by certain phrases, design a brand logo, imagine you are a tour guide what information would you tell people, really it is an incredibly wide range of activities that they include. Which is one of the reasons I love this. Not only are we getting activities based on books, films, poems that link into our History but there are so many excellent English activities that my daughter will be working through. And by linking the two I know she is going to find these activities fascinating and interesting (more than if I gave her an random English worksheet on synonyms and antonyms) and if she finds the work interesting I know she is really going to engage and put a lot more effort in.

So yes it may sounds strange to some but this home educator is actually really excited to find an English resource that not only looks interesting and has lots of excellent English activities in it but is going to help us merge together our historical fictional reading and our English activities.

You can get these English Anthology books directly from the Hodder website – War Anthology or you can also get it from amazon – Key Stage 3 English Anthology: War

Admin Bit – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.

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