Ages eleven to thirteen/Middle grades

When our children enter Middle grades, they are still very much the way they were in Elementary grades…only more so. They need a richer vocabulary, more challenging ideas, and more balance in their activities. This period of time is often a time of great change where our children are beginning that transition from childhood to adulthood. At times they can appear to swing wildly from one extreme to the other. Providing them with big ideas to chew on and a broad selection of subjects with help to keep them grounded while they are experiencing so many physiological changes.

The biggest changes from Elementary subjects is the emphasis on formal writing and the addition of Citizenship for Secular studies. Of course, the big focus in Jewish studies will be preparations for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Otherwise, Middle Grades work is very similar to Elementary work, only more challenging!

For more information on how you can plan your student’s education at this specific stage of development, see our Ani VeAmi Your Way Curriculum Guides available for Middle Grades.

Thinking Jewish Teenager’s Guide to Life by Rabbi Akiva Tatz

The Other Side of the Story by Yehudis Samet

Above the Bottom Line: Stories and Advice on Integrity by Hanoch Teller

Give Peace a Stance: Stories and Advice on Promoting and Maintaining Peace by Hanoch Teller

Courtrooms of the Mind: Stories and Advice on Judging Others Favorably by Hanoch Teller

Growing up and puberty

Wonder of Becoming You: How a Jewish Girl Grows Up by Dr. Miriam Grossman

Videos

Aleph Beta offers video lessons on Jewish holidays, weekly Torah portion, and other topics.

Torah Live offers video courses on many Jewish topics.

Chabad.org offers many educational materials for all ages.

Book of Our Heritage (Pocket Edition) by Eliyahu Kitov

A Story A Day: 6 Volume Slipcased Set [Hardcover] — stories for every day of the Jewish year by Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Klugman

The Lost Children of Tarshish: Book One by Ehud Tokatly, Judy and Shmuel Klitsner

The Lost Children of Tarshish: Book Two by Ehud Tokatly, Judy and Shmuel Klitsner

Choose Light!: Chassidic Tales for Chanukah, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkos, Passover & Shavuos by Libi Astaire

And Rachel Was His Wife

Akiva by Rabbi Meir Lehmann

The Complete Story of Tishrei by Nissan Mindel

The Call of the Shofar: And Other Stories by Nissan Mindel

Holiday Workbooks

My Very Own Yom Tov Guide: Tishrei by Rabbi Chayim Boruch Alevsky (review)

Music/Liturgy

Tishrei Tunes – High Holiday Hits by Rabbi Chayim Boruch Alevsky

The Complete Story of Tishrei by Nissan Mindel

Holiday Workbooks

My Very Own Yom Tov Guide: Tishrei by Rabbi Chayim Boruch Alevsky (review)

Music/Liturgy

Tishrei Tunes – High Holiday Hits by Rabbi Chayim Boruch Alevsky

Mango Languages offers courses in both Biblical and Modern Hebrew. A comprehension of Hebrew letters is necessary before starting the course. Good for ages 6+. The courses focus on speaking, reading, and grammar. Many libraries offer a free membership for the service. They also offer a homeschool option where you can pay one price for all your students.

Duolingo is an app that teaches Modern Hebrew.

Migdalor offers both Biblical and Modern Hebrew resources for all ages.

My Hebrew Books offers Modern Hebrew resources for all ages.

If you’re not familiar with trope, a nice introduction can be found on the Wikipedia page on Cantillation.

Trope taamim — brief explanation of cantillation marks and their pronunciation.

Interactive Torah reading trainer at chabad.org — teaches the basics of trope.

Daf Yomi Review Torah readings provides recordings of Torah, haftorah, psalms, and other traditional texts in Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Chassidic, and Yemenite styles.

Note: Begin at the level that is most comfortable for your child. As your child progresses, he or she will be able to move on to the next level of Hebrew.

Tanach

No Hebrew Required:
The Little Midrash Says series (review)
The Family Midrash Says series (review)
Select a Beginning Hebrew Curriculum

Minimal Hebrew:
Lashon Hatorah
Lehavin U’lehaskil
Key to Torah
P’tach Chumash and Hebrew materials (especially The Dikduk Difference)

Basic Biblical Hebrew skills:
Tools For Torah Chumash workbooks (review)
Torah Skills Chumash with Rashi workbooks

Intermediate Biblical Hebrew skills:
Navi curriculum from Migdalor

Mishna

Bonayich Elementary Mishna Curriculum by Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Hayman
Mishnayos Workbook Series by Rabbi Benzion Weissberger
Tallis Ends and Other Tales by Rabbi Dov Channen
The Illustrated Mishnayoth Shabbath from Feldheim by Rabbi Daniel Haberman
The Annotated and Illustrated Mishnah from Koren (Hebrew only)
Mishnayot Meirot by Avraham Cheshin (Hebrew only)
Mishna Run Video Series
Visual Mishnayos Video Series

Literature recommendations can be found on the Time Period pages, corresponding to the time period you choose to study.

In addition, you can choose books from the Jewish and secular lists of recommended books.

Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling

Grammar-Land: Grammar in Fun for the Children of Schoolroom-Shire by M. L. Nesbitt — engaging book that explains grammar in a narrative style

Simply Grammar: An Illustrated Primer by Karen Andreola — a Charlotte Mason grammar workbook for upper elementary/middle grades

KISS Grammar — a free resource that seems to work well for dysgraphic and dyslexic students

Winston Grammar — an excellent choice for dysgraphic and dyslexic students

Stylized Writing

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition — for older children who are ready for a challenge

Brave Writer

There are many math curricula to choose from. It is important to choose the one that fits the needs of your child.

Life of Fred is a literature-based math curriculum that covers elementary through college level math. The books are engaging and humorous. (Note: they are written from a Christian perspective, with occasional religious references, which can be skipped when reading aloud.)

Art of Problem Solving follows Beast Academy and offers curriculum for upper grades aimed at mathematically inclined students.

Key To Series is a great follow up to Miquon for middle grades, good for very spacial children.

Math Mammoth is a popular self-study curriculum.

Right Start is an elementary and middle grades curriculum which includes a large hands on component.

Math U See is another hands on approach which covers elementary through high school and includes DVDs with thorough explanations of the material (be aware that MathUSee has extra Bible songs on some of their DVDs).

Khan Academy offers online instructional videos on many math topics for elementary through high school age.

Depending on your child’s interests and learning needs, you can choose one of the full curricula listed below or build your own science education based on living books, also listed below.

Full Curricula

Elemental Science — K-8 homeschool science curriculum.

Lyrical Learning — music-based science curriculum for middle grades.

Ellen McHenry — science materials for grades 3-10

Science Living Books

The Sciences, Illustrated Edition (Yesterday’s Classics) by Edward S. Holden

The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim

The Story of Science: Newton at the Center by Joy Hakim

The Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension by Joy Hakim

The Stars: A New Way to See Them by H. A. Rey

The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Jeanne Bendick

Geography is covered in Ani VeAmi Curriculum Guides. In addition, these living books are especially conducive to the study of geography.

Take Me to the Holy Land: A Youngster’s Tour of Eretz Yisrael by Tsivia Yanofsky

Take Me to Europe: Jewish Life in England, Spain, France and Italy by Tsivia Yanofsky

Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass by Charles Gatty (trained Charles Lindbergh and knew Amelia Earhart)

Books on Famous Explorers: Marco Polo, Juan Ponce de Leon, Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Ernest Shackleton, Richard Halliburton, Neil Armstrong, etc.

Calligraphy

Fun and Friendly Calligraphy for Kids by Virginia Lucas Hart

Calligraphy Multi-Color Set – very thin specialized markers for calligraphy

Cooking

The International Cookbook for Kids by Matthew Locricchio

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Cooking by Patricia Daniels and Darcie Johnston

Teens Cook by Megan Carle and Jill Carle

Teens Cook Dessert by Megan Carle and Jill Carle

Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio and James Peterson 

Gardening

Gardening Projects for Kids by Jenny Hendy

Square Foot Gardening with Kids by Mel Bartholomew

Garden Tool Set – smaller version of a trowel, a rake, and a shovel. Ideal for little hands and quite functional.

Leathercraft

Get Started in Leather Crafting by Tony and Kay Laier

Introductory Kit – make 6 different crafts. All supplies for crafts included. Recommended for ages 10+

Moccasins Kit – introductory kit to leather sewing while making yourself a pair of moccasins

Woodcarving

Carving for Kids by Robin Edward Trudel

The Little Book of Whittling by Chris Lubkemann – beginner level

Complete Starter Guide to Whittling by Editors of Woodcarving Illustrated – intermediate level

Beginning Woodcarving DVD by Ellenwood Arts

Cutting Knife

Carving Tool Set 

Safety Gloves

Discuss current events and use them as a springboard for studying citizenship.

Traditionally, Plutarch’s Lives have been used for citizenship because Plutarch looked at the lives of these men through the lens of character. A Charlotte Mason Plenary offers Plutarch Study Guides to assist in this.