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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



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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.

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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).

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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.

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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

5th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

Last week I shared our 3rd Grade Mid-Year Review, and today I’d love to share what our 5th grader has been up to. Pretty much everything we had in our initial homeschool curriculum choices has been wonderful, but we have tweaked (or held off) on a few things – and I thought you all might like to see what Zachary is enjoying the most as well!


One of the main focuses for Zachary this year was helping him become more independent in his learning – and also more focused. That means less of mom needing to remind and constantly nag, threaten, cajole, or want to hide in the closet and more of “Hey mom! My work is done and you didn’t say a thing!”

We may still be working on that last one, but most days are a step in the right direction. Hallelujah.

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5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Here’s a look at the overall plan for our 5th grade year…

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Zachary is most loving history, Christian Kids Explore Chemistry and the various EEME projects (especially Project Amp). One of the biggest helps for him this year has been his weekly assignment sheets. They have been huge in keeping him on target and making him more accountable for his schoolwork – and what is (or needs to be) finished. The special STEM projects are also incentive to get his overall school work done. It may seem mean, but unless his assigned work is completed, he isn’t allowed to work on any other projects. Typically this has been amazing motivation for him to get it all done (and fast).

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One thing that is so exciting to see is Zachary’s desire for reading increase. In addition to the books he is reading for fun (yay!!), he is willingly pulling other books off the shelf to read for school. A little over a year ago this wasn’t the case, so it brings such joy to my heart.

Our combination of Mystery of History and Story of the World has been great. Zachary really loves the comic strip illustrations for taking/drawing notes and cracks me up with his drawing. Although we are cycling back to an era of history we have covered before, we are covering some new material and refreshing what we learned before (which is always good!).

The vocabulary cards are another favorite as well. Zachary and McKenna are remembering so much and Zachary specifically enjoys the picture reminders. He’s usually first to jump in with an answer and remind me when we don’t review the cards.

What We’re Adding (or already have)

  • Bible – We have been using Big Truths for Young Hearts to start our week and will begin Grapevine’s New Testament Overview this week.
  • Times Tales – To help out with the upper times tables, both boys worked through Times Tales (we used the download version)
  • PE – The kids decided to participate in swim team for the year. Zachary has practices 3-4 times a week, depending on our schedule, and he has really enjoyed swimming. Within the first few weeks he was bumped up to a harder level, which has been very good for him on so many levels.
  • Boy Scouts – While this isn’t necessarily school related, in a round about way, it is. Zachary was eligible to join earlier, but we held off until he was showing a little more responsibility in areas at home and school. He has been over-the-moon excited to begin, and we are thrilled too, since our church has a Scout troop that is amazing with wonderful godly leaders from our church.

What We’ve Put Aside & Postponed

  • Geography: Although I had grand plans with this for the year, we are focusing on what we are learning through history and not working on a specific program. Waiting until next year on this one.

What Mom Needs to Focus More On

Read-alouds – Much of our read-aloud time was spent with audiobooks in the car, but was also hard since one child was here and another was there and no one wanted to miss out on anything. We’ve decided instead to push along in a book and later tell the missing sibling what happened when they were gone. That way we can cover more ground together. Having the kids DOING something (like building with LEGOs or drawing) has been a huge help.

Being Calm – If there is one of my children that can push my buttons quickly, it would be this one (and another one). Sometimes it’s very hard to be firm and know when to let something go. There has been a fine balance of figuring out when to let boy wonder be accountable (because he seems to think he knows best) and also pushing to ensure the necessary is completed. And stay calm in the process.

That’s about it for our 5th grade mid-year curriculum review! How is your year going so far?

Take a peek at our 3rd grade5th grade, 7th grade, and  9th grade curriculum choices for the year as well! Click on one of the images below to look over their curriculum piles.

 

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

 

3rd Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

We’re at the halfway point in our homeschool time, and even a few day beyond. Even though it’s technically a little closer to the middle of January, our Christmas break provided more of a chance to sit down and look at how each child is progressing and see if there are any changes we needed to make to what we are using.

Overall, we’ve been really happy with our homeschool curriculum choices, but we have tweaked a few things – and I thought you all might like to see what the kids are enjoying the most as well! Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing a post on each of the kids (it seemed easier than grouping it all into one post!).

3rd Grade Mid-Year Curriculum Review

Overall our 3rd grade curriculum choices have been a great fit. We have added and/or delayed a few subject areas. Kaleb’s favorite subjects are definitely science, grammar (he loves Daily Grams), and anything art related. He strongly dislikes diagramming though (my heart breaks). While history hasn’t been his favorite, adding in comic strip illustrations to help his take notes and remember the lessons has made a difference the last two months.

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations



Kaleb is one of our most dedicated learners (i.e. not one to complain about his work other than possibly reading). He is typically working on school work before it’s even time to start the day and it isn’t uncommon to find out that he’s finished his math and handwriting – always a nice start to the day! He is also the boy that wants to do as much as he can 1:1 with me, so this year we are pushing him a little bit in working on math via the computer (last year we used Teaching Textbooks, but I did all the lectures with him because he said the computer was too hard – it wasn’t, he just wanted to be with me more).

On the other hand – he is my baby and I want to enjoy every last minute of this 1:1 time that we have together (shhhh – don’t tell him).

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Here’s a look at our overall plan for the 3rd grade year…

Our cursive handwriting has really been fun too (although there are complaints some days). I haven’t figured out a way to share the printables yet, but each week we review a verse from the Bible and practice letters and words based on those verses from our Seeds Family Worship albums. It’s been a great way to review verses we’ve learned via song and further cement them in our hearts (for me too!).

The youngest three and I are working on history together and combining Mystery of History and Story of the World has been great. With comic strip illustrations, he is remembering the bulk of what we are learning. Through history we are looking at past and modern geography (I’ll admit that I’m learning a thing or two!).

The vocabulary cards aren’t Kaleb’s favorite, but he is remembering quite a bit, although he is slower to grasp the words than Zachary and McKenna. He tolerates them, but gets frustrated easily since the older two want to give the answers quickly. They have been a fun way to start the morning though.

What We’re Adding (or already have)

  • Life of Fred Readers – We added these in about a month after we started school and they have been a HUGE hit. You can read my Life of Fred beginning readers review for more information, but Kaleb LOVES them. We are using our 3rd grade reading list for additional book choices too.
  • A few unit studies from Ivy Kids. So far we’ve used A House for Hermit Crab and are in the midst of Make Way for Duckling – absolutely loving them.
  • Big Truths for Young Hearts has been our Bible time, until we start Grapevine in February.
  • Times Tales – To help out with the upper times tables, both boys worked through Times Tales (we used the download version)
  • PE – The kids decided to participate in swim team for the year. Kaleb has practices 3-4 times a week, depending on our schedule and he has really enjoyed swimming (and is improving quickly).
  • Weekly LEGO, Keva Brain Builder, or Little Bits projects – Kaleb is typically finished with his school day a little earlier than the rest of the kids and he LOVES challenges and projects like these. While this has been on our initial list, we haven’t worked them in yet, but I am planning out a weekly project for him to do
  • Kaleb has LOVED his Rock Hound’s backpack and has already added that into his school time. He is constantly looking for rocks to learn more about and I love that it has inspired something in him. While this isn’t a daily subject, it has definitely been a great addition to his learning.

What We’ve Put Aside & Postponed

  • Writing – We absolutely love WriteShop but are focusing on Kaleb’s reading for now. He does have writing prompts and copywork through his handwriting and history, so we have shelved it for the time being. If we are at a point where we can add in lessons, we definitely will.
  • Geography: Although I had grand plans with this for the year, we are focusing on what we are learning through history and not working on a specific program. Waiting until next year on this one.

What Mom Needs to Focus More On

Looping subjects – Occasionally there are areas that I tend to push aside (or they just get pushed aside) because we have other things happening or something interrupts and we get sidetracked. Spelling and learning games are two of those areas (as well as read-alouds – see below. With these two, as well as science projects, we’re going to put onto a loop schedule where we rotate what comes next. Rather than having an assigned day of the week for each subject, they are going on a rotation schedule a few days each week and work on the next in line. That way if we miss a day, it’s really not a big deal because we can work on it the next day and no area gets lonely.

Reading with Kaleb – I also need to focus more on reading alone with just Kaleb – my reading TO him, other than our read-aloud time. He is a ‘get it done’ boy and focuses in on making sure everything is done properly (cough) and doesn’t always take a lot of time to relax and enjoy – and that is so important too.

Read-alouds – Much of our read-aloud time was spent with audiobooks in the car, but was also hard since one child was here and another was there and no one wanted to miss out on anything. We’ve decided instead to push along in a book and later tell the missing sibling what happened when they were gone. That way we can cover more ground together. Having the kids DOING something (like building with LEGOs or drawing) has been a huge help.

That’s about it for our 3rd grade mid-year curriculum review! How is your year going so far?

Take a peek at our 3rd grade5th grade, 7th grade, and  9th grade curriculum choices for the year as well! Click on one of the images below to look over their curriculum piles.

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

 

 

Our 5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

5th grade homeschool reading list - book choices for the year from Homeschool Creations

Last year was HUGE for us in the area of reading with Zachary. For years the boy had struggled with his confidence in reading, and he finally started picking up books independently and finished his first book – cover to cover. Yes, he was in the 4th grade, so I’m sure you can understand my overwhelming joy (and tears) that went along with that!

On a complete sidenote, if any of you all have kids that struggle with reading, can I encourage you? Hang in there! Rather than go the route of reading regular chapter books, he was more interested in historical periods and biographies. And Diary of a Wimpy Kid – while they are silly and really non-sensical, he laughed and learned to love the written word, reading them over and over again. They wouldn’t have been my choice of literature for him, but they were fun. We also knew there weren’t any underlying issues (dyslexia, etc…) and being patient was hard, but he has been reading so much since then, which just brings me such joy!

Zachary’s list is built in part from suggestions from  Reading Roadmaps. If you haven’t picked up a copy of it, I highly recommend it to help build quality literature lists for your children.

Our 5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

5th grade homeschool reading list

You may be scratching your head at a few of the books (The Bee Tree and Elbert’s Bad Word) and wondering why in the world they would be on our 5th grader’s reading list. In a few weeks we are going to switch up how we ‘read’ our books a little bit and get into more discussion time about what is happening in the story: rising action, crisis, falling action, etc… In order to teach that, we’re going to use some shorter books to map together and then focus on the bigger reading pile.

For each of the books, Zachary is also filling out a book report form. The above list doesn’t include his ‘fun’ reading – these are just books that we’re focusing on for our homeschool time. Currently he is reading The Lightning Thief and also the first book in the Gregor the Overlander series (one of of favorite series!!).

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children (and Years Past)

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. Stay tuned for our 3rd and 5th grade reading choices!

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

5th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations Take a peek at our 5th grade homeschool curriculum choices as well and see what we’re up to this year!

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations



Kaleb is one of our most dedicated learners (i.e. not one to complain about his work other than possibly reading). He is typically working on school work before it’s even time to start the day and it isn’t uncommon to find out that he’s finished his math and handwriting – always a nice start to the day! He is also the boy that wants to do as much as he can 1:1 with me, so this year we are pushing him a little bit in working on math via the computer (last year we used Teaching Textbooks, but I did all the lectures with him because he said the computer was too hard – it wasn’t, he just wanted to be with me more).

On the other hand – he is my baby and I want to enjoy every last minute of this 1:1 time that we have together (shhhh – don’t tell him).

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Here’s a look at the overall plan for our 3rd grade year…

Kaleb will be going solo with me this year on Nancy Larson Science. The FIRST day of school he was already asking to do that and art (we phase in our subjects, so we are waiting until this week). He is also watching Zachary create from afar, so he’ll have a chance soon to work with Little Bits as a ‘bonus time’ at the end of each day for him for some STEM work.

Overall, he has been so excited to start this school year – and I honestly am too with him!

Co-op Learning

Kaleb is still in the younger age group of one of our co-ops and this year they will have two classes together: Spanish and Five in a Row. We have loved the books from Five in a Row and each week we meet will focus on one book and work on several go-along activities for the story.

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:

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

 

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

Take a peek at our 5th grade, 7th grade, and  9th grade curriculum choices for the year as well! Click on one of the images above to look over their curriculum piles.

Want to see how the year ended

3rd grade homeschool year in review

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

5th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations



Our fifth grade homeschool curriculum choices were a mix of familiar programs and adding in a few (new to us) pieces. This 5th year will be a bit of a stretching year for Zachary as he will be pushed a little out of his comfort zone with a few subjects, working on a few things more independently (still meeting with me for lessons), and require more personal responsibility overall. While intentions are always wonderful and his focus can be amazing when it comes to things he wants to do, the goal this year is to keep him on task.

(Please pray for me.)

There are a few things that I am still working on for his curriculum this year, including handwriting based on Seeds Family Worship and a simple geography program based on National Geographic Kids Ultimate Globetrotting World Atlas. However, I may be a bit behind. It’s all in my head, just needs to make it to paper and reality! There are times when I wonder why I feel the need to re-invent the wheel, but I have something specific in mind for him, so it’s more fun this way, right?

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Here’s a look at the overall plan for our 5th grade year…

Zachary has been showing some great initiative as we have talked about what curriculum he’ll be using this year, and he has set some goals for himself for what he would like to accomplish by certain points in the year (yay!!). He is very excited to start Chemistry. For the last five years he has used Nancy Larson Science and while he loved that, he wanted to work on something by himself (and with just me) this year. We looked over several programs and decided on this one from Bright Ideas Press. He is also very much into learning how things work, so Little Bits and EEME projects are going to be a ‘bonus time’ at the end of each day for him for some STEM work.

Overall, we are SO excited for his year to start and see how he grows this year!

Co-op Learning

The fact that Zachary is technically in middle school is about to make me cry. Our co-op class has a growing group of this age group, so Zachary will be working on the following two classes with them twice a month. One will require a little more reading, but will also involve some fun science projects too:

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:

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.

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

 

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

Take a peek at our 9th grade, 7th grade, and 3rd grade curriculum choices for the year as well! Click on one of the images above to look over their curriculum piles.

 

What subjects are you excited to work on this year with your kids?