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7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

This year we’ve changed up (yet again) a few areas of study with our youngest, even though we’ve used different programs with our older kids at this stage. 

If there’s ANYTHING I’ve learned in the last 13 years of homeschooling, it’s that the best plan is to follow where your child is and not try to fit them into something they aren’t. While there may be things they never enjoy doing, sometimes it means switching things up a bit so it’s at least a little more manageable. 

Kaleb 100% dislikes most anything related to writing and/or extensive conversation. Unless it involves a favorite video game or he is with his best friend, much of his life has been overshadowed by rather talkative older siblings. He is emerging from his shell some and branching out a bit in some areas as he gains confidence, but many of his subjects this year, even though seemingly below “grade” level, are targeted so he can do as much INDEPENDENTLY as possible: reading, answering questions, etc. 

The primary goal is focusing on his reading, writing, and spelling skills – but sneaking it all in via the other subject areas. He is a boy who appreciates a good (and concise) layout of a workbook, so we’re taking advantage of that. That said, here’s a peek at what we’re using this year with our youngest.

7th Grade Curriculum Choices

 

STEM and Swim

I’m hoping to add in a few additional “fun” activities for Kaleb this year as we go along. Right now we’re trying to get into a good groove with the new subjects/format and also balance the boys’ swim schedule. Currently Kaleb has the opportunity to practice 2 early mornings a week and six additional afternoon/evenings – so a whole lot of pool time!

This year we will continue with our small Lego League group. Last year the boys took first at the regional competition and went to States where they were awarded first place in robot performance and second for robot design. They are working on some major robot redesigns and have started on the challenges in preparation for the regional meet in November! 

Overall, it’s a full year with all the extras, including Boy Scouts, and there are literally very few days/evenings free so we enjoy the down time when we have it!

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Kaleb the past few years:

 

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

 

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

11th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Fall Read-Alouds for Middle School Boys

This fall our read-alouds are focused more on the boys and their interests (or things they will hopefully be interested in). While our girls were avid readers, our boys have more of a “meh” attitude when it comes to reading, so one of my goals in reading out loud with them daily is making it FUN and enjoyable. 

We have four books in our pile for our fall reading: 

We are currently reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt – and it is HILARIOUS. If you have middle schoolers (boys or girls), they will love this book told from the perspective of a 7th grade boy. And beyond that, you as the reader will love it too (I’ve laughed out loud and even teared up at a few points). 

The boys may have had to remind me IT’S NOT REAL, MOM! (For real.)

Anyway, here are a few thoughts on our choices for the fall read alouds. 

Read Aloud Tips

Maybe your family is having a hard time settling down for a read aloud time? If so, maybe one of these Six Read-Aloud Tips will help your family out {especially little ones}.

Books We’ve Previously Read Together

Here are a few other books that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

 

Our Adventure to the Netherlands Begins – Homeschool and Life Happenings

Last weekend was a flurry of last minute errand-running and making sure we had everything together for our upcoming trip. I’m so very thankful that we had some time on Monday morning to relax, recheck our packing, and clean up the house a little before we left. 

Our dog, Addie, was all over the place (especially our luggage) and in the middle of everything while we were getting ready. We have a friend staying at our house with her while we are gone, and apparently she is rather out of sorts and not very happy at the moment.

We brought lots of fun gifts to share with my cousin. She and her family are hosting us for the entire time we are staying in the Netherlands. So plenty in our suitcases on the way there! Two of ous weighed in just shy of the 50 pound limit. 

The big “discussion” on the way over was who would get to sit at the window seat, mainly because the girls wanted to take pictures out the window. The boys said they could care less, so Laurianna and McKenna switched off. 

Just as we were getting in line for takeoff on the runway, storms started rolling in. The line of clouds was crazy and within just ten minutes we could barely see out the window of the plane. Our plane ended up taking off about two hours later than expected. 

We found out later that the above is a shelf cloud – and there were some severe storms and a tornado warning in our area. This is where I will say I am thankful for the wonderful on-board entertainment KLM offers (we were on one of their newer planes) and the distraction that provided in the delay. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the trip – the boys slept ZERO minutes, so they arrived rather exhausted and konked out about 15 minutes into the two-hour car ride from Amsterdam. :) 

The first few days we spent relaxing with the kids riding bikes into town for ice cream. On Thursday we got together with one of my uncles and some of his family for lunch and then to visit a few places nearby. 

Our first stop was to visit a wooden clog (klompen) maker, Klompenmakerij ten Hagen in Winterswijk. His family has been making wooden shoes for four generations. (He told us he has three sons, so another generation can continue. :) 

We were able to watch the process from their start as a round of wood to the unfinished shoe. At this point they have to dry for several weeks. The shoes were made of either willow or poplar and damp when you touch them. 

A fun fact we learned: each klompen maker has their own pattern they add to their shoes. This is the pattern you will find on their shoes. The kids had fun trying on pairs but decided not to buy any for themselves. 

We later took a walk through a swamp area near the German border, not a common part of the Netherlands, but it was a nice walk to see some of the nature and different plants in their area. 

In a few areas there were border markers between the Netherlands and Germany, so Zachary took a quick trip to Germany while we stayed in the Netherlands. :) 

This next week we will be heading to France and Belgium with my cousin for a few days, and all the kids are looking forward to the trip. 

I hope you all are having an amazing week as well and would love to hear what you have been up to! 

Be sure to stop by WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers.com and hang out with some other moms who are sharing their day-to-day happenings. 

The Week of Running Here and There (and Everywhere)

In some ways it feels as though my bum has spent a good portion of the week in the van. We are trying to get as much as we can D.O.N.E. before we leave for the Netherlands in a few short days. You all – I made a five page list of all the things I wanted to do before we left (I only wish I was kidding). 

  • Pick up suitcases from friends  ✔
  • Get all the swim team stuff lined up before we leave – (mostly) ✔
  • Run to various appointments ✔
  • Finish up a few subjects with McKenna ✔

The bulk of it will get done, but I’m a little over-zealous to say the least. Just call me crazy. 

Meanwhile I’ve been busy sorting curriculum too since the Build Your Bundle sale is happening and I wanted to snag a few things for next year

We started off the week with a sleepover. One of the upsides to homeschooling – your friends can sleep over whenever the moms say YES. 

These two are hilarious together and one would think the world is coming to an end because they won’t see each other for a little over two weeks. So movie night and a fun day together after should hopefully be enough to hold them over until we see them again in June. :) 

McKenna and I have been working on wrapping up a few of her classes. She took her last biology exam and I helped her with a few geometry problems she hadn’t finished – so two more things checked off the list! She is *this* close to finishing history and Latin, but will likely have to wrap those up when we return from our trip. Meanwhile, McKenna is chomping on the bit to get her permit. Saturday is the earliest she can take her test, so guess what we’ll be doing bright and early in the morning? 

Kaleb finally had a chance to work on a model we gave him for Christmas, mainly because we didn’t realize we needed to buy practically every paint color the store had to work on it. Let’s just let it sink in for a moment that it’s been FIVE MONTHS since he received it, and we finally bought the supplies for it (because a certain mom kept forgetting). 

Laurianna has been reveling in the fact that she doesn’t have to drive anywhere this week. She has been trying to finish up her final two classes, Latin and Pre-Calculus. We’ve been using the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 version (which we love), and it was great when she was at the community college or at a friend’s house. Our internet at home lately has been horrible, so it’s difficult for her to work on the online portion. BUT – in early June we should have high-speed internet installed and we are beyond excited for that! 

Zachary only has a few more math lessons to go and he will be done, and Kaleb is almost done with All About Reading 4, which will finish up his year (YAY!!). I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming weeks with a year-end wrap-up for each of the kids, so stay tuned for those. 

Other than that, the kids and I have been stopping over at my parent’s house a few times over the week since they have the most adorable kitten. Now the kids want us to get another cat too (not going to happen). There are now approximately 1, 562 pictures of this kitten on my camera thanks to the kids. 

Be sure to stop by WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers.com and hang out with some other moms who are sharing their day-to-day happenings. 

Slowly Winding Down the Year – Homeschool and Life Happenings

Each day we are one step closer to the end of our school year. Our overall goal was to be fully completed by May 11th – and for the most part, that’s still in place. 

We started off the week with a trip to the dentist for Kaleb. Somehow on Sunday he managed to crack a tooth (fortunately a baby tooth) while eating a bagel. The tooth was already loose and then part of it broke off, so off to the dentist we went to have the rest of the tooth pulled out. His treat was a Chick-fil-a Frosted Lemonade (and some time with mom). Really not a bad trade. 

Laurianna finished her classes at the community college this week. Three finals finished up and grades are already returned on two of them, so she is breathing a BIG sigh of relief! At home she is still working on Pre-Calculus, but have the 3.0 online version from Teaching Textbooks has been a huge help for us on that front. 

But the above is the ridiculously happy girl who knows that she essentially has a summer break ahead of her and no more driving back and forth to school multiple days each week. 

This week McKenna also finished up the last of her biology, with the exception of her final exam. We crammed in two different dissections which turned out to be rather interesting. 

Our first, the fish, was really quite nasty and our LEAST favorite of all dissections (odor-wise). McKenna typically doesn’t have many issues with the dissection part of lab, but this one really made her rather queasy and she opted to sit back and watch her friend, Emily, finish up hers. This was one we did outside, which I am SO thankful for, because the smell – just yuck. 

This week has seen me with the beginnings of piles in the schoolroom, sorting curriculum for the upcoming year. The overall framework is in place, but it’s been fun having a few new things in place as well. One of our new pieces for next year will be the History & Geography Lifepac for Kaleb. 

Another things we’ve been working through with Kaleb (and new for him this late in the year) are reading and comprehension guides. Typically during his reading time, he reads aloud to me, but with these he is reading a short bit and answering the questions to check his comprehension. It’s something little, but helps me make sure he really is grasping concepts especially when he has to sort out words on his own. 

The tears this week from me were rather crazy. The boys and I finished up the last few chapters of The Hiding Place and – you all – such a great book. For us, this will make visiting her home in the Netherlands even more special. 

Thursday, we finished up our last lab with a fetal pig dissection. We weren’t quite sure what the girls would think of this lab, but they both jumped in with no problem and once we were finished with the basic dissection, they wanted to examine even more. 

As far as all of our dissections have gone, this was really one of the most amazing ones, especially because you can see the various organs (both of ours were female) and really get a great look at the overall anatomy. The fish was ok, but this was the best one. :) 

That’s it for this week! We are a little over one week away from our big trip to the Netherlands!!  Hope you all have had a great week – would love to hear how it’s going for you! 

A Prom, a Subject Down, and a Play – Homeschool and Life Happening

First off – PROM! The weekend was a flurry of getting Laurianna ready for prom: hair, pictures, and ALL THE FUN. 

You all. I know I’m her mom and biased, but she was simply stunning. 

Her dress was the icing on the cake, especially since she found it at Goodwill for $4. Yep. Her shoes cost five times that. Rather fun. 

She went with one of her friends to a nearby homeschool prom (who says homeschoolers don’t socialize or have fun?). I have to say I find it amusing that my daughter has gone to prom – and I never did. :) 

This week Kaleb started feeling better on Tuesday, after spending much of the weekend sleeping and laying on furniture somewhere around the house. We’d find him curled up in bed, a beanbag, the couch…and Tuesday it finally changed. With that he wrapped up his last lesson of Teaching Textbooks Math 6. 

We’ve been using the 3.0 version, which is their newest *and much fun* update to their already great math program. Everything is online, so no more books or lost disks!! (And all the mothers rejoice.)

We celebrated with cake. Because finishing a subject warrants having cake, right? Granted it was a leftover piece of birthday cake from a party on Sunday, but that’s ok. It was an occasion to be happy about. Another subject finished for the year! 

Our high school homeschool co-op wrapped up the year by taking a trip to see The Taming of the Shrew at a local theatre. We are SO thankful to the amazing staff for year after year letting our small group come along with the larger schools for their education days. The productions are AMAZING and it’s always so much fun to see Shakespeare in action. 

Our group co-op wrapped up this week and next week we will finish up our science co-op as well with our last dissections. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been working like crazy to get things ready for our trip to the Netherlands! This week we booked a place to stay in both Paris, France and also Belgium for a short 3-day trip during out time there. We’re trying to squeeze in as much as we can and still make time to relax and visit family since we haven’t seen the bulk of my mom’s family in almost 17 years. 

That’s about it for this week for our family – how are things going in your house? I’d love to hear!!