The high school years are officially here! If you’re wondering if you have what it takes, don’t worry! You definitely do! Here’s a list of competencies, developmental milestones, virtual field trip ideas and more to get you started and keep you on track once you begin homeschooling 9th grade.
Your 14-year-old is going through a lot of physical and emotional changes right now. Communication is key as your teen navigates these formative years. They are better able to express their feelings through talking and have the abilities for complex thought. They also will develop a better sense of right and wrong this year and may like a good debate with you or your spouse to prove their newfound knowledge.
Focuses on listening, speaking, reading, writing and thinking
Able to give a presentation using informal, formal and technical language effectively
Presentations meet the needs of audience, purpose and occasion
Uses pauses for effect, volume, enunciation, purposeful gestures, eye contact and conventions of language to communicate effectively
Participates collaboratively, building on the ideas of others, contributing relevant information, developing a plan for consensus building, and setting ground rules for decision making
Familiar with common types of poetry forms
Analyzes the structure, prosody, line length and word position in poems
Able to read and respond to American, British and world literature
Familiar with the functions of dramatic conventions such as asides, soliloquies, dramatic irony and satire
Able to analyze an author’s purpose, audience and message within a text
Understands how diction and syntax contribute to the mood, voice and tone of a text
Uses brainstorming, journaling, reading or discussing to plan a piece of writing appropriate for various purposes and audiences
Able to develop drafts into a focused, structured, and coherent piece of writing and revises drafts to improve clarity, development, organization, style, diction and sentence effectiveness
Understands the use of parallel constructions and placement of phrases and dependent clauses, as well as variety of complete, controlled sentences and avoidance of unintentional splices, run-ons and fragments
Writing Skills Checklist for 9th Grade
Writes legibly in print and cursive
Writes to express feelings, tells stories and summarizes information
Able to follow complex written directions and write effective directions
Understands how to use reference materials, takes notes and prepares written reports
Demonstrates clarity in writing with beginning, middle, and end of stories
Uses grammar and punctuation correctly and effectively in writing
Can self and peer edit written works
Able to write based on the needs of the audience or assignment by changing sentence structure, vocabulary and voice
Consistently uses the appropriate verb tense and pronoun-antecedent agreement
Uses correct capitalization, punctuation (including commas, semicolons, colons and dashes) and spelling with ease
History and Social Studies for 9th Grade
Familiar with the history of the United States since 1877
Understands the significance of the following years as turning points: 1898 (Spanish-American War), 1914-1918 (World War I), 1929 (the Great Depression begins), 1939-1945 (World War II), 1957 (Sputnik launch ignites U.S. Soviet space race), 1968 (Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination), 1969 (U.S. lands on the moon), 1991 (Cold War ends), 2001 (terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and the Pentagon), and 2008 (election of first black president, Barack Obama)
Understands the political, economic, and social changes in the United States from 1877 to 1898. Analyze political issues such as Indian policies, the growth of political machines, and civil service reform
Analyzes economic issues such as industrialization, the growth of railroads, the growth of labor unions, farm issues, the cattle industry boom, the growth of entrepreneurship and the pros and cons of big business
Understands the emergence of the United States as a world power between 1898 and 1920
Understands the impact of Progressive Era reforms, including initiative, referendum, recall, and the passage of the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th amendments
Familiar with significant events, social issues, and individuals of the 1920’s such as immigration, Social Darwinism, the Scopes Trial, eugenics, race relations, nativism, the Red Scare, Prohibition, the changing role of women; and individuals such as Henry Ford, Marcus Garvey and Charles A. Lindbergh
Able to identify the causes of World War I and II, the reasons for U.S. entry and the impact of our involvement both in our country and worldwide
Understands the impact of significant national and international decisions and conflicts in the Cold War on the United States including the U.S. responses to Soviet aggression after World War II
Able to explain the reasons and outcomes for U.S. involvement in the Korean War and its relationship to the containment policy
Able to explain the major events of the Vietnam War, including the escalation of forces, the Tet Offensive, Vietnamization, and the fall of Saigon and is familiar with responses to the Vietnam War such as the draft, the 26th Amendment, the role of the media, the credibility gap, the silent majority and the anti-war movement
Understands the impact of the American civil rights movement from the late 1800’s through the 21st century, including the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments
Able to explain how Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan created obstacles to civil rights for minorities such as the suppression of voting
Can identify the roles of significant leaders who supported various rights movements, including Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Rosa Parks, and Betty Friedan
Able to compare and contrast the approach taken by the Black Panthers with the nonviolent approach of Martin Luther King, Jr., and can discuss the impact of the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. such as his “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on the civil rights movement
Evaluate changes in the United States that have resulted from the civil rights movement, including increased participation of minorities in the political process; and how Sweatt v. Painter and Brown v. Board of Education played a role in protecting the rights of the minority during the civil rights movement
Understands the impact of political, economic, and social factors in the U.S. from the 1970’s through 1990 including the leadership of U.S, presidents in the normalization of relations with China and Peace Through Strength; our involvement in the Middle East such as support for Israel, the Camp David Peace Accords, the Iran Hostage Crisis, Marines in Lebanon, and the Iran-Contra Affair; understands the conservative resurgence of the 1980’s such as the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority; and is familiar with the significant societal issues of this time period such as the War on Drugs and the AIDS epidemic
Understands the emerging political, economic, and social issues of the United States from the 1990’s into the 21st century including U.S. involvement in world affairs, such as the end of the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War, the events surrounding September 11, 2001, and the Global War on Terror
Identifies the differing viewpoints of significant social and political issues such as health care, immigration, and education across party lines
Understands and is able to describe the impacts of cultural movements in art, music, and literature such as Tin Pan Alley, the Harlem Renaissance, the Beat Generation, rock and roll, the Chicano Mural Movement, and country and western music on American society
Explains the actions taken by people to expand economic opportunities and political rights for racial, ethnic, gender, and religious groups in American society and how these groups have shaped American culture
Able to describe the Americanization movement to assimilate immigrants and indigenous peoples into American culture
Able to explain the effects of technology and scientific discoveries on the economic development and daily life in the United States
Understands the impact of geographic factors on major events including the impact of physical and human geographic factors on the Klondike Gold Rush, the Panama Canal, the Dust Bowl, and the levee failure in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
Able to create written, oral and visual presentations to solidify learning
Math Checklist for 9th Grade
Applies math skills to daily life and understands how they apply to business, society and everyday situations
Fluently adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides rational numbers
Understands that numbers can be represented in many ways (fractions, decimals, bases, and variables)
Demonstrates mathematical understanding of ideas by using precise mathematical language verbally or in writing
Understanding of linear functions, equations, and inequalities
Uses technology to collect and explore data and analyze statistical relationships
Understands quadratic functions and equations and is able to apply mathematical process standards to solve these equations with and without technology
Uses algebraic formulas to solve more complicated problems
Uses select tools including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, technology, mental math, estimation, and number sense to solve problems
Able to use graphs, maps, or other representations to learn and convey information
Science Experiments and Skills for 9th Grade
Analyzes, evaluates, and critiques scientific explanations of biology by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing while developing critical thinking skills
Able to conduct laboratory and field investigations and uses safe, ethical practices to do so
Understands that cells are the basic structures of all living things with specialized parts that perform specific functions
Able to explain the differences between viruses and cells, compare their structures, describe viral reproduction, and is able to describe the role of viruses in causing diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and influenza
Able to compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and compare and contrast scientific explanations for cellular complexity
Able to explain homeostasis
Can describe the stages of the cell cycle, including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) replication and mitosis, and the importance of the cell cycle to the growth of organisms
Recognizes that components that make up the genetic code are common to all organisms and can describe the roles of DNA, ribonucleic acid (RNA), and environmental factors in cell differentiation
Understands and identifies the components of DNA, and how information for specifying the traits of an organism is carried in the DNA
Familiar with the scientific explanations for the origin of DNA
Able to explain the functions of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids and the role of enzymes
5 Science Experiments for 9th Grade
What better way to enhance understanding of our natural world than to incorporate science into your 9th grade school day? Here are five fun and easy experiments that you and your budding scientist can do at home.
Being a good citizen not only means understanding your right to vote and the privileges of citizenship, but also respect for our planet, good stewardship and understanding the world around us.
Below are ideas to assist you and your young learner in understanding the relationship among individual rights, responsibilities, duties, and freedoms in societies with representative governments and why civic participation is so important. If you are in need of resources and lesson plans to fulfill this requirement, consider joining THSC. We offer our “Lone Star Study” guide as a free download for our members.
Here are a few ideas:
Become involved in events and initiatives such as Capitol Days sponsored by THSC
Learn about the electoral process in local, state and national elections
Register to vote and vote! Better yet, take your child with you to see the voting process. Children under the age of 18 are allowed to go with you and even go inside the booth with you in every state in the United States. In Texas, one child under the age of 18 is allowed to accompany a parent.
Compare the principles and concepts of the Texas Constitution to the U.S. Constitution, including the Texas and U.S. Bill of Rights. How are they the same? How are they different?
Discuss the text, intent, meaning, and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights as a family.
Discover the meaning and history of the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to the Texas Flag
Write a letter to your elected officials in support or against legislation affecting lives within your community. Start a letter writing campaign to get others involved!
Attend city council meetings as a family and discover the workings of your town.
Volunteer at a food pantry, animal shelter or other organization. Many places allow younger children to participate with a parent.
Learn about local and national non-profit organizations and how each serves your community
Attend rallies of causes you believe in as a family
How is your town significant in Texas history? Find out! Online research, a visit to your local library or a chat with a local historian will uncover the rich history of the place you call home
Discover how each of us affects the environment from how much water we use to how much trash we produce. Then, discuss and implement ways you as a family can lessen your impact.
Learn about recycling in your area. What items are recyclable and where and how do you recycle them? Discuss as a family why recycling is so important.
Keep our state clean by picking up litter everywhere you go
Why is our state motto “Friendship?” Dive into this and to the historical significance of the mottos “E Pluribus Unum” and “In God We Trust.”
14-Year-Old Developmental Milestones
All children develop at different rates. However, certain skills are easily identified by the age of fourteen. If you have concerns about your child’s development after reviewing this list, please discuss those with your healthcare provider.
Find these books at your local library or find them on Amazon. If you do shop on Amazon visit Amazon Smile and choose Texas Home School Coalition as your charity of choice! We also recommend checking with a site such as CommonSenseMedia as to the appropriateness of any particular book for your child.
“The Book Thief” by Markus Suzac tells the story of Liesel Meminger. As a foster child in 1939 Munich, Germany, Liesel’s life revolves around bombings, Nazi threats and parades of Jewish prisoners. The one thing in her life that remains constant is books. She steals them whenever she gets the chance. As the war comes closer, her stolen books are what bring solace to not only Liesel, but her neighbors and the Jewish man hiding in her basement as well. As told by the narrator–Death.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. One of the most beloved books of the 20th century, this novel by Harper Lee is a must read in any homeschool classroom. Told through the eyes of a six-year old girl nicknamed Scout, this novel tells us of her father, a crusading local lawyer who risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of raping a young white woman.
“The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien. Drawing from his extensive knowledge of philology, colorful myth, and folklore from a vast array of cultures, these books are the saga of a group of sometimes reluctant heroes who set forth to save their world from malevolent forces. They teach students how to do what is right regardless of the odds against them and to fight evil, whatever form it presents itself in.
“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. First published as a serial in his weekly periodical All the Year Round, Great Expectations introduced us to Miss Havisham and Pip, two characters often transported into our pop culture. Set in the early to mid 20th century in Kent and London, England. Dickens delivers to us the contrasts of poverty vs. wealth and love vs. rejection.
“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells. Could H.G. Wells predict the future? In his work the Time Traveller, a gentleman inventor living in England, travels first thousands of years and then millions into the future, before bringing back the “knowledge of the grave degeneration of the human race and the planet.”
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. When this book first published in 1952, it remained on the bestseller list and won the National Book of Fiction—unheard of as the first book by an unknown author. Narrated by an unnamed black man, this story tells of the social invisibility he experiences, “the Brotherhood,” speaking against racial injustice in Harlem, and processing the death of his friend Clifton who is shot and killed by a policeman while resisting arrest. Time magazine named it on its “TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005” and called it “the quintessential American picaresque of the 20th century.” In fact, U.S. presidentBarack Obama modeled his memoir “Dreams from My Father” on this novel. *Please note: this book contains sexual content.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou “captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.” Angelou’s debut memoir is considered a modern American classic. In it, she learns that “love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors…will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.” Please note: Angelou discusses the trauma of sexual assault at age eight by a friend of her mother’s.
“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare. This tale of two young star crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families has been read and performed since 1597.
“A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. First published in 1962, the book has won the Newbery Medal, the Sequoyah Book Award, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. The main characters—Meg Murry, Charles Wallace Murry, and Calvin O’Keefe—embark on a journey through space and time, from universe to universe, as they endeavor to save the Murrys’ father and the world. The novel offers a glimpse into the war between light and darkness, and goodness and evil, as the young characters mature into adolescents on their journey.
“Anne of Green Gables” series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has been translated into at least 36 languages and has sold more than 50 million copies, making it one of the best selling books worldwide. The novel recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year old orphan girl, who is mistakenly sent to two middle aged siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who had originally intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Magazines offer a great way for children to learn core subjects and relationship skills. Here are a few great options:
First Responder Appreciation: Police, fire and EMS stations are located throughout most cities. Locate the one closest to your house and give them a call! Many are ready for tours, and if one isn’t available, gather up some goodies and some thank you cards as a gift to drop off to show them how much they are appreciated. Our frontline workers need our support every day.
Job Fair: We’re in ninth grade now, which means we are getting closer to graduation. Your child is probably talking more now about college and a career path these days. Electricians, college professors, nurses and more are available to show you the ins and outs of their jobs and help guide an eager learner on a possible career choice. Visit a farm, watch a lawyer in court, chat with a pastor or priest or cook alongside a chef. Reach out! Professionals in every background were once where you are.
Historical Sites: Bring your homeschool studies to life by visiting the cities and towns you are learning about each day. Are you studying the Alamo? Visit historic San Antonio! Or, if you are studying the effects of hurricanes, head to Galveston and learn why the Galveston Seawall was constructed. Discover places close to home or go on a road trip tour through Texas and learn along the way. How is your town important in the history of our state? Librarians and local historians are quick to assist you discover what makes your city unique in Texas history.
Museums: Many museums in Texas are now offering virtual tours you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. View the underwater worlds of sea life at Dallas World Aquarium. Live web cams show you the undersea world of manatee in their Large Fresh Water River Exhibit. Further your oceanography skills while you check out their Shark Cam and view sharks, lionfish and more anytime in theirCenote Exhibit. From sea to air, the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field offers online tours and stories of its exhibits including the “Titanic of the Skies,” a history of the Hindenburg tragedy and even a Google Earth style, street view of its interior exhibits for you to navigate through.
Sports: Sports fans! Did you know that tours are available at your favorite stadiums throughout the state? Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, and AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, offers tours and lesson plans to educators. Tours of the AT&T Stadium’s art collection are also available! The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center For Physical Culture and Sports the University of Texas in Austin offers online exhibits focused on “educating the public about the cultural and scientific significance of physical culture and sports.”
Libraries: Teen groups, anime meetups, coding camps and more are held throughout the year at local libraries throughout our state. Check with your local library and see what activities you can plan ahead to take advantage of free programs and educational opportunities. The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station offers a virtual tour of the entire museum. On this walkthrough, learn behind the scenes facts about living in the White House and details about the life of our 41st president.
Theater/Music/Art: Grab a blanket and head to a free outdoor concert, stroll through a sculpture garden or get those must see tickets to the latest show. If you prefer virtual performances, National Public Radio (NPR) is offering an updated multi genre list of daily concerts and performances from all over the world. You can see the most current listhere.
Get Outside: Go for a walk around your neighborhood or head to the lake and discuss the different types of wildlife, insects, and birds you see. Our Texas state parksoffer opportunities throughout the year for hiking tours, educational programs, scavenger hunts and more.
Living History: Groups across the state work to ensure historical accuracy and diverse programming, such as the Crossroads of Texas Living History Association and the Texas Living History Association. Museums in your area and special events held throughout the year offer presentations and workshops that keep the craftsmanship, allure and heirloom skills of our past available for your family to learn today.
Dawn Michelle Michals is a writer, homeschool mom, musician and social media strategist based in Hewitt, Texas. To learn more about Chelle, visit her website at DawnMichelleMichals.com and follow her on social media at @dmmwrites.