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.
Homeschooling curriculum in the state of Texas must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and good citizenship. Science, history, and social studies are also included for you. Not in Texas? Check out state requirements for homeschooling 9th grade in your state.
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.
- Carbon Sugar Snake
- Extract DNA from a Strawberry
- 6 Amazing Eggs-periments
- NASA’s STEM Resources for 9th Graders
- Build your own world with Disney Imagineers
Good Citizenship Lesson Plans for 9th Grade
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.
14-Year-Old Gross Motor Skills
- Begins experiencing longer periods between growth spurts
- May be more mature in some topics and immature in other topics such as physical, emotional and mental actions due to uneven body and brain growth
- Reaction times improves, contributing to motor skill development
- Shows increased awareness of physical skills in all areas and is able to coordinate movements like dribbling and shooting a basketball, dance or martial arts with better coordination
- Overall increase in large muscle development, strength and hand-eye coordination
14-Year-Old Fine Motor Skills
- Writing is fluid and less of an effort
- Writing speed increases
- Continues to increase skills while performing tasks such as folding clothes, typing, writing and drawing
- Fine motor skills used in team sports increase
- Hobbies and activities further increase fine motor skill development such as making jewelry, playing an instrument, playing video games, etc.
Language Development and Comprehension for 9th Grade
- Uses voice inflection to add meaning to sentences
- Vocabulary increases as diversity in reading increases
- Asks relevant questions
- Uses complex sentences and different types of sentences to express ideas clearly
- Able to memorize information more easily
- Begins to not take everything at face value and may begin to question authority
- Contributes meaningfully and understands social etiquette in conversations
- More aware of others’ perceptions
- Begins to understand body language cues and tone of voice as indicators of mood
- Able to shift conversations based on increased awareness of the listener’s needs and engage in meaningful and respectful discourse
- Uses humor and even sarcasm effectively
- Able to follow and give complex oral instructions to perform specific tasks, answer questions, or solve problems and complex processes
10 Classic Books or Series Homeschool Reading List for 9th Graders
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. president Barack 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:
10 Awesome Homeschool Field Trip Ideas for 9th Graders
Don’t feel you have to leave your town, your neighborhood, or even your own home to enjoy a fun filled field trip! Be creative! A walk around your backyard can be an educational experience.
- Government: THSC Capitol Days are one-day, hands-on events that allow homeschooling families to fully participate in the state legislative process. These events give the opportunity to defend the rights of homeschool families in Texas, meet representatives and staff and actually help pass a law. A free grade specific tour is available at our Texas state capitol, which includes history, architecture and the legislative process.
- 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 their Cenote 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 list here.
- 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 parks offer 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.
For more Texas road trip ideas and beyond, check out our road schooling page.
We hope you found this helpful in preparing to homeschool 9th grade. Have fun this year!
We believe homeschooling is one of the best models for educating children, which is why we support families with encouragement and practical resources like you found in this article.
Won’t you join us in making these resources available to homeschooling families by becoming a member?