Our aim is that the curriculum taught at West Hills be current, aligned with best practices, and viewed through the grid of Scripture. Below is a synopsis of the concepts and subject matter you can expect your children to be learning in the middle school grades. Also listed here are a few examples of the projects, special programs and milestone events unique to the years of middle school at West Hills.
As our entry grade into middle school at West Hills Christian School, 6th grade is a strategic year of transition where students begin to regularly move between two core teachers. Our program is designed to help students continue to grow in their academics, personal responsibility, and spiritual lives, leading to the increased autonomy required in the upper grades.
7th & 8th Grade
Compared to K-6th grades, the structure of the school day for 7th and 8th graders is more varied. Rather than being taught by one teacher in a single classroom, students switch classrooms and teachers teach by subject. Academic responsibility increases as students are called upon to manage classwork from multiple teachers. Curriculum is Christ-centered, research-based, engaging, and grade-appropriate. Teachers develop lessons to promote deeper thought, unmask complex concepts, and elicit thoughtful application to one’s life and to the world around them.
Math: Increasing fluency in multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and ratios. Students are introduced to algebraic concepts, expressions, equations and variables, integers, and rational numbers, and will broaden their understanding of geometry. Class is divided into a regular and accelerated course using the same curriculum.
Social Studies: Students explore geography, history, and culture of the western hemisphere. The history of the United States is examined from its founding through major events of the 20th century.
- Reading: Students read a variety of narrative and informational texts to advance fluency and comprehension skills and students’ ability to discuss and analyze increasingly complex literature. Sixth grade emphasizes understanding of plot elements, literary devices, informational text structures, inferences and textual evidence, central themes, connections to other texts and real life, summarization of main ideas, and academic vocabulary.
- Writing: Students write daily, in one sitting or over time, to craft clear, concise, well-developed and grammatically-correct written pieces for a range audiences and purposes, including:
- reflective journal entries
- engaging fictional and personal narratives
- well-supported argument essays
- lucid informational texts to clearly and accurately explain complex ideas, processes, and events
- thoughtful literary analysis essays to examine thematic elements and character development in novels and short stories
- Spelling Roots: Focusing on Greek and Latin word roots and their connections to essential academic vocabulary.
- Grammar: Students work to hone their skills of capitalization and punctuation and to understand and locate the following parts of speech: prepositions, verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns.
Science: Students investigate different facets of science through research and experimentation. In addition to a weekly science lab, teachers work to implement hands-on activities, mini labs, and demonstrations in class. At the 6th grade level, students continue to study a variety of topics in the areas of life, physical, and earth sciences.
Bible: Broad surveys of both Old and New Testaments, including the formation of the Biblical canon, how these scriptures point to Jesus as both Israel’s Messiah and the Son of God, and how to begin finding our way through the entire narrative of scripture. Additional focus given to introductory Bible themes and tracing such themes through, from Genesis to Revelation.
Unique milestones: Outdoor School
- Literature focus on short stories, poetry, and book studies
- Writing strengthened through the study of various genres
- Exercising vocabulary using Greek and Latin roots; strengthening spelling, word relationships and comprehension
- Literature focus on cultural awareness and “classic” authors through book studies, short stories, and poetry
- Writing honed through research utilizing the MLA style and the study of persuasion using great American speeches
- Building on vocabulary of Greek and Latin roots to continue to strengthen spelling, contextual vocabulary relationships, and vocabulary familiarity
- History of the World: Ancient history from Mesopotamia through the Protestant Reformation. 7th grade World History will also include a study of concepts of justice, individualism, and citizenship.
- History of the United States: History from the early colonies through World War II. 8th grade US History will also include a focus on the U.S. Constitution, change and continuity over time as well as regular discussions involving contemporary issues.
Placement determined by ability rather than grade level
- Pre-Algebra: Introducing algebraic expressions and equations; strengthening skills in concepts with decimals, fractions, and factors; growth in linear functions and graphing; application of proportions and percents; introducing exponential and rational expressions; area and volume formulas.
- Algebra: Focus on foundations of algebra equations, inequalities, functions and concepts; broad understanding of polynomials, quadratics and data.
- Accelerated Algebra 1: Accelerated studies in algebra in equations, functions, and concepts; understanding polynomials, quadratics and data.
- Life Science: Study of living things (microorganisms, plants, and animals), genetics, and ecology. All science classes are accompanied with hands on study in a laboratory on a weekly basis.
- Space and Earth Science: Study of space (galaxies, stars, sun, planets, and moons), atmosphere (structure, energy, and weather), and earth (structure and processes).
- Grammar I: Identifying parts of speech and their functions; applying correct grammar to formal writing and speaking
- Grammar II: Applying standard grammar and usage in speaking and writing; identifying types of phrases, clauses, and cases
- Broad study of the establishment of the Family of God in Israel, the life of Christ, and the Family of God in the Church, working through both Old and New Testaments. Particular focus on the Abrahamic Covenant and God’s promises within, and the New Covenant established by Jesus and respective promises within.
- Intimate study of ‘pillar’ characters throughout the Old and New Testaments, focusing on how the entirety of scripture develops the portrait of Jesus as Israel’s Messiah and the Word of God incarnate. Particular focus on the identity of Jesus as represented by the four Gospel portraits, along with New Testament characters’ responses to Jesus as such.
- 7th/8th grade retreat; trip to a Pacific Northwest landmark; participation in electives.
- 7th/8th grade retreat; Proverbs Project; participation in electives; trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City; 8th grade “clap-out” tradition (all students line the halls on the 8th graders’ last day of school to applaud them as they leave the building one final time); Graduation Ceremony.