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7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Many of Zachary’s 7th grade subjects will be worked on independently, but history and read-alouds are areas he and Kaleb will be joining up together. We are cycling through history and will be starting up this year with world history. 

Zachary definitely needs a little (or a lot) of direction throughout the day. He never stops moving. Or talking. (grins) This year we will be focusing on responsibility, serving others, and following through on projects (even though we might not always enjoy what we’re doing). This will be the first year Zachary will use a full Student Planner, but he is actually looking forward to it (and I know I’ll have to keep up with him to write things down too). 

7th Grade Curriculum Choices

One subject I think Zachary will really enjoy this year is the Word Up Vocabulary program from Compass Classroom. McKenna absolutely loved it when she used it a few years ago (both funny and engaging), so I think it will be a great fit. 

Co-op Learning



We are still in the midst of co-op planning for the upcoming year. At the moment we have plans for Zachary to help out with the 4th and 5th grade boys on STEM projects, but we may see if there is something else we can work in for him. 

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 Zachary 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 Zachary’s middle and high school years. As much as I don’t want to think about the fact that he 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! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

 

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming days and weeks on what our other kids are studying this year, so stay tuned for those posts. 

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017

 

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

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. 

Our Homeschool Happenings – First 9 Weeks of 2016

My plans to keep updates on our homeschool happenings every two to three weeks are way overdue. That doesn’t mean we haven’t been working hard at school, just that a momma has been a wee bit sidetracked with other things and at times has a lack of pictures to share (especially of the older two). 

We have officially finished nine weeks of homeschool. Gah! The last week of October we took a week off, which gave me a little bit of a chance to re-evaluate where we were with each of the kids and tweak our schedules to make sure we were getting everything in that needed to be done, including adjusting things as necessary (i.e. laying down the law with a kiddo or two and making sure they were back on track). 

I will say, that means also taking a hard look at a few of the things I am (or am not doing) and making plans to follow through in those areas. I’m just as guilty of ignoring some things and thinking I’ll tackle it later, which can be both to my detriment and the kids. Although we have a weekly schedule, there are subjects that are very easy to put to the side and say we will get to them ‘tomorrow’. We have a lot of tomorrows stacking up in our house, people. Am I alone in this? 

That said, here is a quick sum-up of what we have been doing the last six weeks (or so) by kiddo. 

4th Grade –  Kaleb

View our 4th grade curriculum choices HERE. 

 reading-with-amelia-bedelia

Our biggest focus this year has been improving Kaleb’s reading skills. While there have been a few days with tears (from both myself and him), the last month and a half has shown remarkable improvement for him. While we are using the lessons from All About Reading 3 still, we have currently put aside the reader and picked out a huge stack of books from the library for him to read to me. His current favorites are from the Frog and Toad series (or Amelia Bedelia), so he will typically read one story a day to me from the reader. I’m not sure what it is about the AAR readers that gets him worked up (I think the smaller and tighter text overwhelms him, because he quickly says the same words in other settings – it’s interesting). That said, I’m not stressing about it right now because his fluency has picked up and he is reading with inflection and happily – so we are good for now. I do feel the AAR lessons are still very important because they show him how to break down words and read proficiently as well. 

super slime

We haven’t had a formal curriculum this year with Kaleb (which I am having a love/hate relationship with). Together he and I have picked out experiments to work on. In October we worked through a few different homeschool science kits and otherwise are using the book Smithsonian Maker Lab as our guide for the year. The hands-on experiments have been a great incentive for Kaleb to keep up in all his other subjects too. :)  You can see how we made the above in this Facebook video – a fun and quick lesson on molecules. 

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The boys have been working on history and we are currently studying the American Revolution. At home we are working through lessons and once a week we get together with a few other friends for hands-on projects. In the last few weeks we have tried a few colonial dishes, created gardening tools from deer bones and sticks, making a simple compass, and taken a few field trips to learn about colonial life and Native American tribes. Based on the above picture you can tell one of the cooking projects wasn’t well received (hasty pudding). The ginger cakes though – HUGE hit! Overall it’s been a very relaxed learning time and so much fun. 

homeschool world geography

Geography has been slow-going at best, but we’re taking it slower because that’s what Kaleb wants to do (and I’m all good with that). We’ve gone over basic world geography and while we aren’t doing super in-depth studies of each country, if Kaleb wants to look at something more we go ahead and do that. He really enjoys using Little Passports whenever we have a chance because he can also get online and play games to go along with the countries we study. 

writeshop E lesson

We held off starting our WriteShop D lessons until three weeks into school and now we are having a great time working through the activities. Kaleb doesn’t like the physical part of writing, so he dictates his stories to me and we work on them that way. When he has a final copy, and depending on the length of his story/project, he might copy a portion of it of the entire thing. 

spelling you see lesson

One thing we have added to our daily routine for Kaleb is Spelling You See C. We didn’t have a handwriting program this year, so we are using it primarily for that purpose and also for additional reading practice.  He loves the daily practice and it has also been great for him to work on daily identifying various vowel blends and additional reading and dictation work.  

Ivy Kids Pezzettino Kit

Another thing we try to work on several times a week are a few of the activities from one of our Ivy Kids Kits. Sometimes it’s a simple activity like creating a puzzle or a writing activity, and other times we had a chance to play with some fun new art products. Above were three activities we did to go along with our Pezzettino book. 

6th Grade – Zachary

View our 6th grade curriculum HERE

robotics for kids - Q the robot from EEME project

Zachary has absolutely been loving his robotics project from EEME. The most recent one he worked on has really piqued his interest in robotics. We have had so much fun playing with Q the Robot too. :) 

reading in the dark

A few days ago I shared a picture of Zachary, albeit blurry, but it was one that literally brought tears to my eyes. Two years ago, Zachary was in the same boat as Kaleb when it came to reading, but at the start of his fourth grade year, something literally “clicked” for him. 

We had a swim meet this past weekend and Zachary brought along three books with him to read. Not one – THREE. And a flashlight so he could read in the car on the return trip. Diary of a Wimpy Kids may not have been my first choice of reading for him initially, but now that he chooses to read on his own, I’m a huge fan. :) Especially since he read five books from the series over the course of the weekend. 

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Zachary’s planning sheets are doing well keeping him on track (most weeks). He still has a difficult time staying focused throughout the day and tends to be the wanderer in our group. :) Having him write down his daily work and track it himself has been a good stretch in independence for him. Overall he is staying on target with his subjects (and may be ahead in one, but please don’t tell him that quite yet!). 

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Every now and then the boys take a break together to work on LEGOs or Little Bits together. In the above they were creating a soccer ball kicking machine. 

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Field trips have been something we’ve really focused on this fall too. All of them have focused around our US history studies, including a trip to Monticello where we toured the gardens and shelled beans together. One of the best parts of our field trips this year has been taking them with another local family. In case field trip are something you push off to the side for another day, you may want to check out my post  Your Homeschool Needs a Field Trip

 

Another thing Zachary has really been enjoying is his time in Boy Scouts. Rick and I are still trying to wrap our brains around how the badges and various ranks all fall into place, but he has been working hard toward advancing to First Class by taking on added responsibilities with his troop. Unfortunately for me, this means he is even more into fires, knives, and also poison ivy. :) The bulk of his birthday and Christmas presents revolve around items he would like for camping and Scouts – which is a good thing!

8th Grade – McKenna

View our 8th grade homeschool curriculum HERE. 

high school physical science

McKenna has finally gotten into a groove with her schedule of classes. The first few weeks were a little bit hectic/crazy and she felt overwhelmed, but she has really embraced her studies and jumped all in. The physical science class has her working on many hands-on projects (above she is building a miniature house that will have wiring). She has also worked on a glider, boat, and battery powered car as well. 

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North Star Geography honestly scared the girl a bit at first and she went overboard crazy memorizing every tiny detail on maps. Since then she has been working at a pace that is keeping her on target in her class and she loves the hands-0n aspect of the class as well. In the unit covering the structure of the earth, she created a ‘lava lamp’ of sorts to learn about the earth’s mantle. It honestly makes me happy that she and Laurianna still are able to include so many hands-on learning helps with their curriculum instead of having it be just reading and memorization. 

high school lit 

Speaking of reading, McKenna has logged in some major reading already this year and is now fully into reading Jane Eyre. As time consuming as the class is, it has been great to see her digging into literature and writing some solid papers for her literature class.  

10th Grade – Laurianna 

View our 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices HERE

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Most days, this is where you will find Laurianna – on her bed, headphones in and working hard on schoolwork. With the boys moving around a lot in the school room, she finds it easier to focus on her work where it’s a little quieter. 

apologia chemistry - candy bonds

Chemistry might be a rather dull class all by itself, but when you add candy to equation (literally), it can perk it right up. Laurianna is working on a chemistry lab with one of our friends and they had a very candy-filled day to go along with learning various bonds during Apologia Chemistry time.

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Granted the above image doesn’t quite seem to fit in with anything, but we may have had a little bit of fun using SnapChat filters during a semi-boring video on Benjamin Franklin. Mind you, I rather enjoyed the video, but the kids were starting to lose interest, so we opened up a few filters and brought the laughter in.  Seriously you all – sometimes we just need to have a little fun. Colonial times never looked quite so hilarious…

notgrass history creative assignment

Laurianna’s artwork overall has been fun to see from her general art class, but during Exploring America from Notgrass history time she has turned in several different projects that I have loved. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book, “George Washington’s ABCs” and above is one of the pages from the book. It is seriously adorable and may have earned her some huge points. :) 

That’s the sum-up from the last nine weeks or so. How is your school time going with your family? 

 

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past year’s 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

Making a Simple Compass – Learning about the Earth’s Magnetism

making a simple compass and learning about the Earth's magnetism - HomeschoolCreations.net

As part of our history time this year, each week we are working on simple projects with friends to go along with our studies. One week we may make miniature teepees, another we tie knots that sailors use. This past week we talked more about how compasses work and had fun making a simple compass of our own. 

making-a-simple-compass-2

We’ve been learning about early explorers to the Americas and talking about how they used compasses to help them find their way across the wide ocean. Truly they were much more adventurous than I am, because I don’t believe I’d be willing to do what they all did (however thankful I am to be living in North America now). 

It only require a few simple supplies to put our compass together and the best part of all – it really worked! Granted, we won’t be taking our compass on any grand ocean expeditions in the near future, but the kids were so excited and carefully watched as it found north each time. We tried it with several different needles to see if there was any difference, but all three we tried worked well.  

Making a Simple Compass

making-a-simple-compass-3

Here’s a quick look at what we used to create our compass. You’ll need: 

  • a needle
  • a magnet (a washer-sized magnet will work as well – we used one the size of a domino)
  • a cork
  • a bowl and water
  • tape (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Carefully rub the sewing needle on the magnet at least 30 times in the same direction (be sure not to rub it back and forth). 
  2. Tape the needle to the outside of the cork. We didn’t have any tape handy, so instead we poked it into the side of the cork. 
  3. Place the cork in a bowl full of water. Be sure the bowl is wide enough to let the cork rotate and move around a bit. 
  4. Once the cork has stopped moving, check and see what direction it is pointing. Compare the location to an actual compass – don’t hold the compass too closely to your homemade compass because it can skew the results. Gently turn the cork again and wait to see where it is pointing this time (is it the same area?). 

making-a-simple-compass

Why it works: When the iron/steel needle is rubbed against the magnet, the particles line up and turn the needle into a temporary magnet. The needle then aligns with the Earth’s magnetic field. 

The entire project took us less than ten minutes – super easy and a great chance to talk more about magnetism and compasses. 


Learning How to Make an Electromagnet – Project Attraction from EEME

Learning about electromagnets with Project Attraction from EEME

One of the best additions to our homeschool time this year has been the projects from EEME. Zachary has absolutely loved the hands-on learning and put it well into practice. One could say he is ‘wired’ this way (and yes, the pun was definitely intended)!

Learning about electronics one project at a time and gaining the knowledge of the ‘why’ behind how things work has been encouraging and confidence-building for Zachary. He has since started asking his dad to help out with projects (or may have attempted some on his own – cough), but it has given him a much deeper interest in how and why things work the way they do. 

Learning How to Make an Electromagnet

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Using Project Attraction from EEME, Zachary learned how magnetism is related to electricity and built an electromagnet. The project taught about: 

  • reed switches
  • electric current and heat

Overall, Zachary was able to finish the project in about an hour and a half (build time is approximately 1.5-2.5 hours) because he had a little bit of a hang up on one portion of the process and needed my help. Typically, he is able to work through the steps without parental help (I love that), but the fine wire used in the building of the electromagnet was more challenging and  required a little assistance from me at that point in the project. 

As with all of their projects, there are short step-by-step video tutorials to follow along in the building process. All of the materials needed for the project were enclosed in the box and detailed in the first video:

  • a small magnet
  • an LED
  • a 2″ wire
  • a resistor
  • a reed switch
  • a metal bolt with tape around thread
  • a thin wire coil
  • sandpaper
  • AA battery
  • rubberband
  • paperclip

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The timing of this project from EEME couldn’t have been better. As part of one of our co-op classes for The Mad Scientists Club book, the kids participated in a science fair where they chose a short story read during the year and then worked on a project based on what they learned. They needed to explain the scientific principle behind the project and create a display to showcase their learning. 

The electromagnet project fit in perfectly with the story “The Voice in the Chimney,” and Zachary was able to base his entire science display on this project. (We won’t talk about the short detour he took after putting together the project when he considered creating a much larger electromagnet using his father’s riding lawn mower battery. Fortunately, someone caught onto the boy’s mind meandering and he lived to see another day.)

Science Fair Project electromagnet-3-2

On a much more sane note, Zachary put together a science board explaining how electromagnets worked and showed the one he had created using Project Attraction and then another he tried on his own following the same principles learned in the video clips from EEME. I love that he was able to use the one project as a jumping off point to create more and learn more!

One of the big things learned during this process was the heat generated when creating the electromagnet (the bigger one he created generated more heat, so THANK GOODNESS he didn’t get far on the one with the lawnmower battery). The current flowing through creates the warmth/heat and the battery can also quickly drain if left connected. 

Things to LOVE About EEME

Aside from the fact that all the supplies are included in each of the EEME project kits, the video curriculum is well put together and explain the building process in detail. Each of the videos is between 2 – 10 minutes long. In addition:

  • videos explain the step-by-step process AND the principles involved (how/why something works) – a huge help for parents who don’t know the answers themselves (cough)
  • shorter videos help those with limited attention spans
  • comprehension questions ensure kids are understanding what you are doing
  • videos can be stopped/paused if needed during the process
  • the videos are free to watch – check them out here and get a peek!

The projects would be wonderful extensions to current curriculum or even as after school learning – or even make a great gift! There are different purchase options available, including a basic monthly subscription, individual projects, and a 6 month Project Set. They have different purchase options, and we’ve completed the first four projects so far from the basic subscription.  You can find more information on the EEME website, or follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Learn More About EEME

EEME makes hands-on projects and provides FREE online lessons to teach kids electronics, fostering their curiosity for how things work and prepping them for the STEM opportunities of tomorrow.

Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only show your family how to assemble the kit, but more importantly, teach them how it works.

They also have FREE interactive online lessons to teach your family the fundamentals of electronics. Sign up for FREE to access EEME’s online lessons.

Project Attraction is one of the projects in the Builder Basic 6 Project Set and also the fourth project in EEME’s monthly subscription program. Zachary has thoroughly enjoyed all he has worked on (especially Project Amp) – a HUGE thumbs up from our family!

As I mentioned, we’ve worked on several other projects from EEME. If you’re interested in learning more about their monthly subscription program, be sure to check out the below posts for more information:

Building an electromagnet with Project Attraction - EEME

Project Attraction is perfect for ages 7+

Time Required: 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child

 

We received this kit as part of a review campaign, and this review is our honest opinion. Our family has loved the various projects and highly recommends them. 

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?