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7th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

This year has seen McKenna move to mostly independent work during her homeschool time. There are several areas that we review at the start (and end) of each week together, but truly the year has been going SO well overall for her. Overall, we’ve been really happy with our homeschool curriculum choices, but we have tweaked a few things (but not many with her) – and I thought you all might like to see what she is enjoying the most as well!

7th Grade Curriculum Choices

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015


One of the best helps this year has been using a Student Planner. McKenna absolutely loves it and it has been a perfect fit for her! :) That alone makes putting it together completely worth it! Here’s a look at each of the classes that she is taking and how they are going for her.


Writing WriteShop II is one of McKenna’s favorite subjects to work through. Her writing continues to grow and grow, and it’s has been fun to see her implement it in different areas of her schoolwork as well as one of her co-op classes. She is taking a journalism class this spring, and even in watching her write articles she is working through the different steps the program teaches. It’s a little scary thinking that next year she will be working on a lit credit for high school though!

Bible – While McKenna is enjoying her Route 66 from Positive Action, we recently started Grapevine’s New Testament Overview. Her Route 66 has been primarily on her Kindle and I wish in a way that we had a physical book because of the review and questions in the book (i.e. less for me to print and just have her work on).

Science – This may not be her favorite subject, but she is plugging along in the program (mainly because she enjoys other subjects more).


Math – Pre-Algebra is going as well as can be expected for algebra. :) Teaching Textbooks does make it more enjoyable on many levels though.

Grammar – McKenna loves Growing with Grammar and has a passion for diagramming. I love this child. We haven’t been using Easy Grammar Ultimate Series Grade 8 at all – wasn’t needed.

Reading – As much as she wasn’t excited about some of the book choices on her reading list, she has really gotten into the bulk of the books (and secretly enjoyed them). But I won’t tell.

Spelling – This has been on an ‘as needed’ and we haven’t been regular each week.


History – The comic strip templates have truly been one of the best additions to our history time. McKenna’s illustrations are always hilarious and she definitely remembers the lessons!

What We’ve Added or Finished

Swimming – We had considered adding swim team to the kids’ schedules and finally decided on the 8 month course for all the kids. Rick has been helping coach (to help defray costs), and McKenna has excelled in her swimming and improved so much over the last few months. The kids practice 3 times a week right now (compared to 4 times in the fall) and we are done with meets for the year (phew).

Vocabulary – McKenna has worked through the entire Word Up Vocabulary program (and we really hope they make more levels). This was probably one of her favorite subjects last semester – enough so that she is seriously considering Visual Latin for a class next year (and high school credit).

You can see our detailed curriculum posts for each child by clicking on the images below. You can also see our 3rd grade mid-year review and 5th grade mid-year reviews.

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

Student Planner PDF Download – Now Available!

Student Planner full year || Homeschool Creations

I am SO excited to share two printable student planners with you all today! Half-sized planners weren’t cutting it for our girls, so we worked together to create a larger planner for each of them. 

McKenna’s words after seeing it completely bound and put together were, “Mom, it doesn’t even look like you made it! No offense!” She is so happy with it! It is full of color, plenty of space, and undated, so we can print off a new copy each year and bind it however we please. We initially thought about putting it in a 1/2” binder, but ended up deciding to have it spiral bound and it turned out great! (Staples charge $4.50 for binding and I recommend a size 12 coil binding so the pages can be turned easily). 

We chose not to date the planner because the girls are able to personalize it more to their liking – and it also saves me the hassle of having to rework the entire thing each year. They’ve actually enjoyed taking the time to get it set up, so it’s a win-win for us!

Inside Our Student Planner

Want a peek inside? I promise it’s super simple – because we found we really didn’t need so much extra stuff, full of color, and ready to download and print. This is a peek inside the ‘circle’ version of the student planner. 

Email subscribers can watch the video here.

A quick note: I figured out that our printer will print FULL BLEED. It was one of the paper choices in settings. In the video you’ll see some of the pages that we experiments with (ones that were or weren’t printed all the way to the edge). Our front and back covers were printed onto cardstock and then laminated for extra durability. We use a heavy weight paper (24 lb.) to print the planner and make the pages a little thicker.

Weekly Student Planner layout from Homeschool Creations

The Student Planner contains:

  • 8 1/2” x 11” undated pages – use it year after year!
  • Year at a glance dates
  • Student information and schedule page
  • 12 blank monthly planning pages
  • Weekly planning pages for 8 subjects
  • Planning for every day of the week (smaller spaces for Saturday/Sunday)
  • Goals, notes, and ‘what I learned’ section
  • Tracking for books read
  • 2 layouts: August through July or January through December

Purchase a Student Planner

This student planner is undated so you have the option of printing off a new copy each year. Each planner version is available for $10 and you are more than welcome to print off copies for each of your children – this year and in years to come. You may also purchase a bundle option which includes a copy of BOTH student planner designs, in case your kids are picky like mine!

Your purchase also allows access to a ‘buyers only’ page where optional pages will be added including additional dated covers, as well as a additional bonus pages in both designs.

The Student Planner is only available as a pdf download, and prints off double-sided. 

student planner buy now


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Our 7th Grade Homeschool Reading List

7th grade homeschool reading list 2015 {%{% Homeschool Creations

  Last week I shared our 10th grade homeschool reading list with you all, and today I’d like to share our 7th grade homeschool reading list. Our daughter’s list is built in part from suggestions from Ready Readers 3 and Reading Roadmaps. Both guides are ones that I highly recommend if you are looking to build quality literature lists for your children. The Ready Reader provides a comprehensive look at the included books in areas such as  conflict, plot, setting, characters, theme, literary devices and author of the stories. It also contains  a fabulous set of questions (and answers) to get us started. We loved the one we used last year and look forward to this one as well. McKenna and I are definitely looking forward to many of the books on her list, and she has already finished three of the books. Each week we sit down together and talk about different aspects of the books that she is reading, including the story line, characters, theme, etc… 7th grade homeschool reading list - book choices for the year Homeschool Creations

Our 7th Grade Homeschool Reading List

This list doesn’t include our family read alouds or any books or series that she chooses to read during her free time. Typically she has an assignment due for each book: a short paper summary or a story map with corresponding questions for the book. There are a few books that will require a ‘deeper’ paper for her this year as well.

A few of the above books have a video version available, so we are going to have some movie fun together (McKenna is definitely looking forward to that!). Comparing the movie to the book is a great process as well, especially since they often differ so much from each other!


Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below.

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015

See all of our curriculum choices for this school year in our 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices post. It includes our lit program and several other wonderful programs we are loving!

What books are on your child’s reading list for this year?

The Past 3 Weeks of Homeschool = 5+ Weeks Down!

It’s hard to believe, but we are already getting close to finishing our first six weeks. Not because I’m looking at the calendar, mind you. A friend had to remind me of that!

The last few weeks since I share our first two weeks of homeschool update – well, we’ve been busy! In addition to our regular homeschool time, starting up with both of our co-ops, and swim team practice most weeknights, we also took a trip to Florida for the Family Forward event at Universal Studios.

Needless to say, there is a lot to share with you all, so I’ll try to highlight all the best stuff from the last (almost) four weeks. I’ve been trying to post on Instagram as often as I can, but I have a love/hate relationship with having my phone in the schoolroom. Trying NOT to get sucked in and distracted by different apps can be so very hard, but it is also fun to share what is happening as it happens.

LOTS of Family Time in Florida

Universal Family Forward 2015-120

We were at Universal  from Thursday through Monday and had an absolute blast. It was partly a conference, but the kids were so excited because they were able to be with me the entire time. Workshops were geared toward the kids, we enjoyed some special perks (like a nighttime visit to Hogsmeade with a dessert smorgasboard), a special VIP tour, and we rode practically every roller coaster at both parks (again and again). I’ll admit I have a hard time with the 3D rides though. Our favorite ride was definitely the Hulk, and we spent more time in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade than anywhere else – they were both absolutely amazing. Between butterbeer (a cream soda and butterscotch flavored drink) and the candy shops, we were on a sugar high much of the weekend!

A highlight was watching the kids jump right in and make NEW friends quickly. We spent our last day at the park with two other families – the adults chatting while the kids ran around and rode their favorite rides. Just wonderful.

Extracting DNA

Universal Family Forward 2015-65

Rick and Kaleb had fun working on a DNA science project while we were in Florida as well. Kaleb helped separate a strawberry’s DNA. It was funny because the actual DNA clump looked a whole lot like something that might come out of your nose.

Another Electronic Project



Finished the switch panel from @projecteeme – here’s a quick peek at how it works. Depending on which number is flipped on the switch panel, Zachary can make different numbers light up. This project used the base from our Project Genius activity last month. #projecteeme #Homeschool #hsscience #science

Posted by Homeschool Creations on Tuesday, 15 September 2015


Zachary has been having a BLAST building with EEME. His most recent project was a switch panel (we’ll be sharing more on it next week), but above is  a quick peek at what he did.

Dictionary Skill Learning

Growing with grammar learning how to use a dictionary {%{% Homeschool Creations

One of the things Kaleb has been working on during his grammar time is finding things in the dictionary, either by saying if a word will be on a page between two key words, or looking up the correct spelling of a word when given three choices. I have to say it’s nice using a good old-fashioned dictionary.

Learning How the Earth Rotates

seeing how the sun lights the earth {%{% Homeschool Creations

During our science time, we’ve been talking about the rotation of the earth. We pulled out our desk lamp and the globe to show how day and night work based on the earth’s rotation. Spinning it repeatedly is just a bonus.

Group Subjects…Finally

learning history together in homeschool {%{% Homeschool Creations

We waited a few weeks and eased into our group subjects last. History and Bible were the last two that were added in. It’s a little strange not having Laurianna at the table with us this year though (sniff). While we work together on our group subjects (vocabulary, history, and Bible), she is working on her own schoolwork.

History Galore

Meshing homeschool history together {%{% Homeschool Creations

This year we are combining two programs together (Mystery of History 1 and Story of the World 1) using Biblioplan Ancients Family Guide. Several of you have asked how we are doing that – and I promise I will share soon! We did this some last year and are really enjoying this approach so far. We love both programs and each offers a different style, so it makes it more fun.

Hands-on History

Notgrass world history project {%{% Homeschool Creations

Laurianna is 100% in love with Exploring World History from Notgrass. The hands-on projects are something she is having so much fun with (and she is learning a lot history-wise as well). Above she is working on a project from unit 5 and painting a picture of how the Israelites felt after receiving the Law. She chose to make the Hebrew word for ‘joy’ and is making her paper look like parchment.

Chalk Pastels

pumpkin pastel art from Home Art Studio project {%{% Homeschool Creations

Kaleb is getting back into his art projects now too with Home Art Studio. The walls of our classroom are needing some color as well! His project prompted the rest of us to work on some art as well – I love that!

A Messy Desk is the Sign of…


Typically my computer stays out of the classroom, but lately there have been a few things that needed to be transferred to Kindles for the girls or re-printed because I managed to miss something. But the above was enough to about drive me crazy. A messy desk makes me just want to stop everything and fix it and pushes me to distraction.

Mind you, after taking a picture, I had to take five minutes and just clean it off.

A Little Spielgaben Fun

Playing with Spielgaben {%{% Homeschool Creations

Our Spielgaben set is typically used by Kaleb for hands on math or to work on some fun projects, but McKenna is one that I find often like this – designing something fun with the manipulatives. Just makes me smile. Her final creation was so detailed!

Enjoying Co-op

co-op learning time {%{% Homeschool Creations

We are back in the swing of co-op now and our kids (especially McKenna and Zachary) are so excited about their two classes. This year we carved out space for a middle school group and they are working on Mad Scientists Club and a judicial class. Both have been a blast so far.


how much weight can egg shells hold experiment {%{% Homeschool Creations

To go along with the story, The Big Egg, they read this week from Mad Scientists’ Club, the kids tried some fun experiments with eggs. Using just half shells, they put them down to see how much weight four half shells would support.

how many books can egg shell support {%{% Homeschool Creations

The managed to get three books on, but when they added the hefty Mad Scientists’ Club book, the cracking started. We have a few more experiments going on at home too that we’ll have to share with you all – we’re just having too much fun trying different things.

Fun with Life of Fred Readers

life of fred eden readers-76

Earlier this week I shared our thoughts on the Life of Fred beginning readers that Kaleb has been using along with his reading program. If you haven’t seen the post, don’t miss it (there’s a giveaway and an additional 10% off coupon!!). Kaleb is a hesitant reader, but every day he pulls out several of these to read to me. And the laughter begins. It has been so wonderful hearing his giggles and to see the LIFE being infused into this little boy all due to the pages of a few readers. (The readers are so silly and fun!!)

That’s the abbreviated version of the last four weeks. How is your homeschool time going?

Our family attended Family Forward at a discounted rate as a part of a family social media conference. All opinions expressed in this post are solely mine. I was not compensated for my time or post.

The First Two Weeks of Homeschool 2015

While we aren’t in full school mode (a.k.a. we are weaning into a few subjects as the weeks progress), the kids were literally ready to go and in the schoolroom BEFORE me on the first day of school. They were ready to jump in and go from day one.

Kids Back to Homeschool pics 2015

And these four – well, they can drive me batty some days, but seeing these pictures literally made me cry. They are growing up too fast!! In just a few short years Laurianna will be ready for college. COLLEGE!!! What in the world??! We took these pictures just a bit before school started (nope, didn’t take first day of school pictures – dropped the ball on that too!), but I absolutely adore the pictures above and am happy to consider these their school pictures for the year.

I’ll confess. I dropped the ball and forgot to make our traditional back to school breakfast of funnel cakes. The kids still haven’t mentioned it, so maybe I can have a little grace on myself and make them as a surprise soon. (SHHH!)

That said…here’s a look at what we’ve been up to the first two weeks of our homeschool time.

Learning through Labs and Science

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry-1

Zachary is working on a separate science program this year, Christian Kids Explore Chemistry. So far it has been a great fit for him and he is enjoying the ‘lab’ part of each week. His first lab required quite a bit of writing (not his favorite thing to do) but was a pretty eye-opening look at the different ingredients in products and how many we recognize.

First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-36

The little boy and I are working on science all alone this year. He is rather sad that Zachary isn’t doing it along with us, but he is also excited to have some ‘mom time’ and learn more about the solar system with Nancy Larson Science 3.

Kaleb has jumped right in completely subjects, asking to do more, and was the one who couldn’t figure out WHY IN THE WORLD we weren’t doing more the very first day of school. His desire to do school is the best part of the year so far for me – because typically he is the more whiney of the bunch and doesn’t want to work on everything.

Learning Algebra…

First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-6

McKenna was more than a little worried about starting pre Algebra this year, so it has been wonderful to hear how much she is enjoying it (and asking to do extra lessons). We ended up finding a used version of Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra version 2.0 so it will automatically grade for her (and yay, I was able to sell my old version!).

She has several new programs this year and it’s been a mess trying to get some things transferred from one laptop to the other, but she’s been a great sport in working along with me as we figure out the curve in her new subjects too.

A Little History…


We made a last minute history switch for Laurianna to Exploring World History from Notgrass. It was exactly what I had been looking for, but the program didn’t release until mid-summer. SO glad that we made this switch! We’ll be sharing more throughout the year, but it has been a great mix of hands-on projects and textbook work for her and she is loving it!


Her first project was creating a collage of items/inventions that were specific to the country she lives in, so she made a collage shaped like the US and had a blast digging through old magazines for pictures to use. It was also very interesting to find things she thought originated in the States and where they actually were from.  Week two she had fun creating her own dough and hieroglyphics.

In case you are wondering about the stand that is propping up her book, check out this post for 3 Tools for Your Homeschool Year (and we are loving!).

A Little Music…

First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-46

One thing I am not is a guitarist – but the kids all are learning in bits and pieces from their dad. Laurianna pretty much taught herself to play with some instruction from Rick last year and is doing amazing, but that has brought out the other three in full force. Time to get a guitar that all the kids can use.

First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-7

There may also be a little puppy that is rather happy to sit at our feet all day and not have us running back and forth all the time. If only we can keep her out of the pencils!

From Mom’s Perspective

Overall the first two weeks have gone very well. Personally I feel more unprepared this year than in years past. All the curriculum is here and overall plans are in place, but things seem disjointed with Laurianna working on more independently and the rest of us trying to find a new groove as we settle into a different routine. There are still a few things I need to focus on getting lined up because I am teaching two classes this year for our high school co-op…so a bit more to think about and plan for on that end.

We are working with several new-to-us pieces of curriculum this year and my patience level with myself is fairly low. I want it all figured out yesterday (sigh). Together we’ll work through the kinks, but really are loving all we are using so far.

One of my main goals this year is to focus on the highlights and not get bogged down by the little stuff – because that is so very easy to do. There are many moments in the day that are frustrating – especially when I don’t ‘measure up’ to my own expectations. But then there is that little glimmer of hope and encouragement that reminds you of the WHY behind your efforts. Sometimes those moments seem so far and in between, but they make it incredibly worth it as both a teacher and a mom.

A little reminder for today and sharing a highlight from our week. Crazy children in the background are just and added bonus for you. You're welcome (and know that this was the 5th video because the previous ones resulted in the boys wrestling in the background, even wackier faces than what you see in this one, and more insanity). This is my life, people. Every single day. (But I do love it).

Posted by Homeschool Creations on Friday, 28 August 2015

Last week I shared a quick video clip on Facebook (with both boys being goofs in the background). Mind you, it was the FIFTH ‘take’ on the video because the boys were trying to be as goofy as they could possibly be.  It’s unedited and silly, but hopefully it will encourage you all a little bit as well.

Setting a Goal to Write Notes…


Each week I’ve also set a goal to write an encouraging note to the kids as well. I found these super cute encouragement notes from one of my friends Mary Dean Draws (she hand draws these and they are great!!), and I’ve been printing them off and putting one on each kiddo’s desk every Friday highlighting something I am proud of them for during that week. (Yes, there have only been two so far, but I printed off a stack to remind myself!).

That’s a quick overview of our first two weeks – what highlight can you share from your school time with us? Leave a comment and let’s encourage each other!

weekly wrap up

Linking up this week with Weekly Wrap-up!



3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015

For the most part, the bulk of McKenna’s 7th grade subjects will be worked on independently, but there are a few areas that we will still be working on as a group: history and Bible. We are cycling through history and will be starting back next year with the ‘ancients’ time period. Also since the kids have enjoyed getting back to Grapevine, we are going to go through the New Testament together.

McKenna is our growing independent learner who still needs a little direction, but wants very much to be seen as the maturing young lady that she is. She is so full of life and energy. All.the.time. This year we’ll be focusing more on responsibility, serving others, and following through on projects (even though we might not always enjoy what we’re doing).

7th Grade Curriculum Choices


One of the subjects I am MOST excited about with McKenna is her Route 66 study from Positive Action. This was something I picked up for her at HEAV this summer. Route 66 is a full year study that looks at the overall themes and structure of the Bible (and the cover already has her hooked!).

McKenna is most excited to continue with Growing with Grammar and also to work on Word Up Vocabulary. Word Up is new to her this year and the videos are funny and engaging, so it will be a win-win for us!

Co-op Learning

This year we are trying something a little different in our smaller co-op class. Because we have a growing group of middle school kids, there will be two classes targeted specifically to that age group:

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 McKenna the past few years:

Planning Middle School

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

These free middle and high school planning printables have been such a huge help to us as we started mapping out McKenna’s middle and high school years. As much as I don’t want to think about the fact that she is growing up, it has helped me look at the bigger picture and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall.

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! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

Take a peek at our 9th grade, 5th grade, and 3rd grade curriculum choices for the year as well! Click on one of the images above to look over their curriculum piles.