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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

6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks (2018-2019)

This year our youngest, Kaleb, is in the 6th grade – it seems strange typing those words. Last year Kaleb made some great progress in a few areas he struggles (specifically reading and handwriting). We were able to make adjustments and he took keyboarding (which he loves) and his reading made some great jumps, which was encouraging to him. 

While typically we add more and more independent subjects as the school levels progress, Kaleb will still be working a little more 1:1 with me until I’m sure he has a firm grasp on reading comprehension. His tendency is to get a little more frustrated – he gets it when he reads it, but the speed/fluency is more his struggle. That said, I’ll be sitting along side him for a bit more than I normally would. Besides that, he’s our youngest and frankly, I want to enjoy every last moment I have with him.  

We’ve stuck with some tried and true curriculum pieces, but we are also adding in a few new things this year, tailored more to Kaleb’s learning/doing process. One of them does involve a little more reading (another reason why I will stay alongside), but it’s one he can pace himself and work ahead (he likes seeing he is completing something), so hopefully that will work to our advantage. :) 

Below you’ll get a peek at our 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices – a look at the new (and favorite) programs we are using for the upcoming school year. An * depicts curriculum/programs that are new to us this year. 

*feed readers, please click over to the blog for some of the additional links to curriculum

6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

 

History & Geography

For history this year we are switching things up and trying something new to us: AOP Lifepac History and Geography Units. The older kids each have their own programs they are working on, so this is one Kaleb and I will be going through together. There are ten units for the entire year, and each unit is broken up into small booklets which will be an encouragement to Kaleb (seems less overwhelming, but gives him bite-sized chunks to work through). 

Math

Although we have the paper version of the book, this year Kaleb will be working on the online version of Teaching Textbooks (3.0). It follows along with the book, and I’m excited that I can log in on my laptop and see what he is doing since everything is stored online! (WOOT!). 

Handwriting/Cursive

As I mentioned earlier, Kaleb really enjoys the subjects that are do “this” and you are done. He struggles with his handwriting and keeping his letters smaller, but is really fascinated with cursive writing (last year he kept practicing different letters and his name), so he will be using Teach Yourself Cursive. Copywork is something he doesn’t mind as much, even though he isn’t a fan of writing in general, so we’ll use that to our advantage. 

Language & Spelling

To keep reading a little more laid back for Kaleb, we will be using Learning Language Arts Through Literature Orange. There are four main books as the focus of the curriculum, one of which Kaleb has already read.  All About Spelling Levels 4 will be our primary spelling curriculum. 

We’re also continuing with Growing with Grammar (Level 6) and working through several of the Reading Comprehension skill builder books from Carson Dellosa. We used one last year and they were great for helping Kaleb with not only his reading speed, but his comprehension and confidence in his reading. 

Science

A few years ago we used Christian Kids Explore Chemistry with Zachary and he loved it. Kaleb remembers the fun hands-on projects that went with the program and was really excited when I mentioned we would be working on it this year. He especially remembers the atomic cookie skillet models we made and is looking forward to those!

EEME projects are going to be a ‘bonus time’ at the end of each day for him for some STEM work.

Lego League

This year we will continue with our small Lego League group. Last year was Kaleb’s first year participating and at first he wasn’t too sure about it all. As the year progressed he started enjoying it more and more (despite the practices typically falling during Sunday afternoon football – the boy is serious about his football!). We’re excited to see how the boys do this year! 

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.

Fifth Grade Year in Review 2018

These wrap-up posts are a little bit late in coming, but something I still definitely want to do because we used a few new curriculum pieces this year and I’ve had some questions on how we liked it all. 

Overall, this was a definite year of growth for Kaleb, especially in the area of reading and writing. Kaleb is a kiddo that excels in math and science and could quite honestly care less about a few other areas. Over the course of the year his confidence has grown leaps and bounds, which is the most encouraging thing to see. 

 

5th Grade Homeschool Update

All that said, here’s a peek at what we are used this year and how it’s worked for us. 

Math – This is one of Kaleb’s favorite subjects (this and science). Teaching Textbooks is hands-down one of my favorite programs, especially now that they have an ONLINE VERSION, people! Math was the first subject Kaleb completed this year because he doesn’t mind working on more than one lesson some days. He even had fun helping his older siblings on some of their lessons. :) Especially when he would answer problems before they did. 

History – History ended up being so much better once we switched over to Mystery of History. Both of our boys retained more and really like the lessons so much better. We often incorporated a YouTube video with the lesson. Neither of them is thrilled with doing hands-on activities, so it was mainly reading and watching, but 100x better than how the year started! We finished off the first book and moved on to book 2 and worked through it as much as we could. 

HandwritingPrinting Power Plus was a great addition to our year. While we won’t be using the program next year, it was fabulous in helping Kaleb write smaller (and a bit more legibly). We used the keyboarding program that went along with it and he LOVED that, so we will purchase a higher level for him to work on in sixth grade.

Grammar/WritingGrowing with Grammar 5 was a daily subject and one Kaleb also finished early. We added in Soaring with Spelling this year and it was also great handwriting practice – and spelling/reading practice for him as well. This is another program we will be ordering again for next year to keep working on. 

We are definitely huge fans of WriteShop Junior as well. Next year we will include some WriteShop in our time, but are planning to switch up our curriculum in this area a bit as well (more literature-based for the year to incorporate reading and writing based on the books we read). I have some ideas for this and something we plan to use from WriteShop and will share soon!

Reading – We finished up All About Reading Level 4 – our last level!! This is bittersweet in a way for me, because this is our last kiddo to use the program. We did add in some additional books along with level 4 to round out the year, and that ended up being a great mix for him. 

Science – Kaleb’s favorite subject hands-down is science! Nancy Larson Science 4 was a great mix of reading and science for him. If you have a struggling reader, I really recommend their program since kids can follow along in their small workbooks and learn to highlight key words. It really has been good in building his confidence since he recognizes more difficult words, reads them in context, and in turn it helps boost his other reading. 

This year he had the chance to also participate in Lego League (we’ll do it again next year with the same group of boys) and he is really looking forward to working on that now that he better understands how the program works. 

We’ve been working on some robotics projects this summer from EEME (my arm has been slowing us down). I love that we can work on something simple over the summer, but it can still spark his interest and continue the learning. 

Bible – Truthfully, we didn’t work through the study I had printed off. I’ll admit that I got sidetracked with other things, but we plan to pull out the James study to work on this next year. 

Geography – This subject ended up being more included in our overall history studies than being a separate study of its own this year. As we look forward to next year, we are planning to use a Alpha Omega’s Lifepac for History/Geography that will encompass everything. 

Co-op – This was our last year doing this group co-op (a little bittersweet!!), but the boys had so much fun working on various projects together, mainly focused on science experiments and fun team-building activities (instant challenges).

Those were also wonderful to see the kids work together with a limited amount of supplies and quickly brainstorm to meet the challenge. 

Overall – another great year. We’ll definitely be tweaking some things for our sixth grade year and changing some things out (isn’t that always the case?). 

Stay tuned for updates on the other kids end of the year wrap up as well (better late than never!). 

How was YOUR year? 

5th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Update

The week before Christmas we shared a mid-year update for our 11th grader,  one for our 9th grader and our 7th grader. This week we will wrap it all up with our 5th grader, Kaleb. 

Our main focus this year has been Kaleb’s reading, since he has struggled in this area for quite some time. Confidence is a HUGE goal and fluency – and the first one can be tricky. One thing I love is that one of the subjects he loves (science) helps incorporate both of them into our day – and subtly. :) 

That definitely has helped him out as he realizes that he KNOWS the words and can read through the bulk of the material. 

5th Grade Homeschool Update

All that said, here’s a peek at what we are using this year and how it’s working for us. 

Math – This is one of Kaleb’s favorite subjects (this and science). Along with working through his own program, he is having fun sitting with McKenna once or twice a week and watching her work on Algebra. :) It’s rather sweet, and especially fun when he can answer the questions while she is working through them. 

History – One of the main switch ups for us this year was our history program. Granted, it wasn’t huge, but around the end of October Zachary mentioned that he wasn’t particularly enjoying the history we were using (not a set curriculum per se, but it just wasn’t working overall). After one lesson, he started spouting off all this information about the topic that he had learned years prior via Mystery of History

At that point the boys asked if we could use that program instead. We’ve gone through the set with the kids in years prior and have all the books, so we pulled them out and have been working through books 1 and 2 instead. 

Handwriting – We pulled out Printing Power Plus to use this year and really focus in on helping Kaleb write smaller. He is NOT a huge fan of anything handwriting related overall, but we’re trying to tighten up and get it more legible and enjoyable. He has worked through the one book and we will be moving on to the keyboarding part starting in January. 

Since his book is completed, the trade off is having him physically write more in his other lessons. (When I tell you all this is most-hated, I don’t know that you fully can grasp how much.)

Growing with Grammar 5 and Soaring with Spelling are the additional two programs we are using to have him write our answers and practice his handwriting, which is working well. 

Reading – We’ve pulled out some older readers for Kaleb to work through in the upcoming weeks, but the last few months he has really made some great progress in this area – something that is encouraging to him (and me). 

Yes, it’s slow-going at times, but progress is always wonderful. 

We are working through our All About Reading lessons as well as reading other books around the house, and that has been a good mix for him. 

Science – This is another area Kaleb LOVES. When working on this subject, it’s almost like you can see the little wheels in his head moving. Nancy Larson Science 4 has been a great fit for us this year and has been especially fun when it ties in with McKenna’s biology lessons too. Earlier in the year they both were working with microscopes, so he had the chance to look at many of the specimen slides we ordered for her. 

Lego League – At first, Kaleb didn’t seem super thrilled about Lego League. You might laugh when you hear why: Sunday football. 

The only time we could find for the four boys to meet was on Sunday afternoons. Kaleb is a HUGE football freak. Meaning, at age six, he knew more about the game and players than I know myself. 

It took him a bit to adjust to the few hours in the afternoon (haha), but it ended up being one of the highlights of his fall. The group will be getting back together in a few weeks to rebuild their robot and learn more about programming so they are prepared for next year’s tournament. 

One of the hardest parts (but in a good way, since it pushed him out of his comfort zone) was the presentation the team needed to make. They put together a skit and had to read their lines and perform in front of a small panel. Kaleb was literally shaking and so nervous during the trial runs – but again, it was a growing experience for him. In order for the team to do well, they had to work together in ALL areas. 

Co-op – Kaleb is in a small group with three other boys and they are working on science experiments together (some edible and some just for fun). It’s been a lot of fun and something he looks forward to twice a month. 

As for all the extras (art, Bible, geography), those are all subjects we are rotating through as we have time during the day. The programs we started with (other than history) have been working very well and in just a bit we will be back in the full swing of the school year!

How is your year going? 

Just One Peanut (and a whole lotta laughing)

Sometimes you overhear conversations between kids and just have to scratch your head. Or laugh out loud for HOURS after when the conversation comes back to mind. 

Zachary (age 12) was in search of a peanut for a science project, and the following conversation took place between him and Kaleb (age 10). Why this particular situation even happened in the first place? I have no idea. But I do know that it possibly speaks to my pantry cleaning abilities (although I have no idea how long it has been hiding). 

So I just continue to laugh. 

 

Zach: I need a peanut for my experiment but I don’t know where to get one.

Kaleb: Just one peanut?

Zach: Yeah.

Kaleb: Only one?

Zach: Yeah…

Kaleb: I have one.

Zach: What?

Kaleb: Here I’ll show you. *leads Zach to pantry*

Zach: You have just a single peanut?

Kaleb: Yeah look. *pulls cereal boxes away to reveal single peanut sitting on the shelf* *picks up peanut* Here.

Zach: Why… do you have this?

Kaleb: I put it there a while ago. I was saving it.

 
Apparently being the fourth child means one has to hoard and ration food, wherever one is able. Because I have NO idea when the last time was that we had peanuts in the house.
 
For real. 

4th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

January beginning means we are at about the halfway point in our homeschool year. Christmas break was a great time to evaluate what has been (or isn’t) working, how the kids are progressing, and see if we need to make any adjustments.

fullsizerender-2

Overall, everything has been going well (we’ve been making minor tweaks throughout the weeks as we go), but I thought you might like to see what the kids are enjoying and also how it’s working so far. I’ll be sharing more on each grade level over the next week or two since it’s a lot easier than doing one gigantic post with everyone.  

4th Grade Mid-Year Curriculum Review

Overall each of our 4th grade curriculum choices have been working very well. We’ve been tweaking reading as we go along because the main goal has been to get Kaleb reading more confidently. We are still using All About Reading 3 as our core, but have pulled back from their readers. We do the lessons, but Kaleb picks out various readers at the library (with my approval) and we’re using those books to boost his fluency (ironically, same words, but for some reason it flows easier). 

History has moved up the ladder as far as favorites go, mainly because we are teaming up with another family once a week and doing some fun projects to go along with our studies. We work through a few lessons at home each week, and then on Thursday afternoons the kids and I, along with our friend’s children, do an additional lesson and activity to go along (cooking, building, etc…). This has helped Kaleb find a new appreciation for history since he gets to see his friends too. :)

Kaleb has been working on several subjects fairly independently this year: math and handwriting (via Spelling You See). Otherwise, the bulk of his subjects are done 1:1 with me, and frankly, I rather enjoy that. :) With him being our youngest, I will savor each and every moment I have. He is loving science and anything that involves tinkering (Little Bits), and he also loves snuggling to read together with me (being read aloud to is a favorite of his). 

 

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations

Here’s a look at the overall curriculum plan for our 4th grade year…

What We’re Adding (or Already Have)

A Reason for Science D germination lesson

  • Handwriting – A few weeks into the school year we added in Spelling You See Level C, not as a spelling program, but more as handwriting and extra reading practice for Kaleb. He enjoys the handwriting practice (when ironically he hates writing) and it’s one subject he also feels independence in. 
  • Science – While we have worked on various science experiments over the last few months, Kaleb absolutely adores science and needs more structure in this area. For the last half of the year we are adding in A Reason for Science D. The program has 36 lessons (weeks), so there will probably be some we will either work through more quickly or gloss over based on what he has already studied. 

What We’ve Slowed Down On or Put Aside for Now

  •  Bible – we are still working through, but focusing on things that include all of the kids. Big Truths for Young Hearts is something we can read as a family at night and learn together. :)
  • Art – we’ve slowed down some on this because Kaleb loves to create (and does so during our other coop time as well). He has been picking/choosing the projects he wants to work on, instead of focusing on every single one. That also allows him more free time to work on other projects (like building). 

What Mom Needs to Focus More On

homeschool world geography

Reorganizing subject order – Each year we find a different groove that helps us get things accomplished more quickly or puts us in a better flow. The last month before we took a break, we reorganized Kaleb’s workbox grid. This has been a great visual schedule for both of us to remember the various subjects that sometimes get pushed aside. (see the next item)

Geography – This tends to be the subject that gets shuffled to the end of the line, so it is moving up earlier in the day so we will get more accomplished. We aren’t doing a super in-depth study this year, but have picked countries that interest Kaleb and working from there. 

Writing Things Down – While the older three are all taking care of writing down their daily plans and then getting together with me, I have done a wretched job of writing down every thing that Kaleb has been working on (for my records). I know he is on target, so it’s more for my brain and filling in the blanks, but it is helpful to see what he has been working on when there are tough days. Sometimes that visual progress helps me push on and through. 

Reading with Kaleb – We started off well this year with read-alouds, but during the last bit of November and through December it all went out the window. He and I have been reading various books to go along with our history studies (just fun, light reading), but he loves it! 

Family read-alouds – The last few months have felt very helter-skelter and our kids have gotten SO picky about audio books (once you find ones you love hearing, it’s hard to listen to ones that are a bit ‘meh’). They love it when I read aloud and with the weather chilly and swim season almost done for us, these will pick up for sure.

See What the Kids Are Up To…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

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