Curriculum options for 7th grade - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-31-2014, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For a wide variety of reasons, I've decided to keep my son in public school through the rest of 6th grade, but I'm very likely to homeschool him next year (and very likely for 8th grade as well, though we'll re-evaluate each year.)

 

Unschooling worked great for my daughter, but my son has a different personality and a different learning style and he needs something more structured. Not TOO structured- I don't want to re-create the problems of public school, nor do I want to spend a small fortune on a curriculum. He can't learn from a textbook- he needs to see/hear the information in a more interactive way. Ask him to read a passage and he won't be able to absorb most of it.

 

He focuses well on the computer, so I'm thinking that something online or software-based would work well for him. History is my weakest subject, and I don't have much faith in my ability to teach that to him, so I'd like something structured for basic history lessons, that we can then fill in with fun activities (such as watching documentaries and/or historical fiction movies together.) I also like the idea of instructing him to "go do his lessons for the day" while I check facebook and message boards (we both get some quiet work time) and then we do stuff together later in the day.

 

I'm good at science, but I'm still thinking that some sort of computer-based curriculum would serve him best, and then of course I'd enrich things with tons of home science experiments and nature studies in the backyard.

 

For math I want a physical textbook. I can quickly skim the pages and then teach him the material far more efficiently than any computer program could.

 

I tend to have very little faith in ELA as a subject the way it's taught in most schools. I'd much rather put together my own ELA curriculum for him, based on making him read (perhaps we'll alternate reading out loud), encouraging creative writing, and SOME time spent on learning formal writing styles (essays, research paper, etc.) I'd probably be best served by some sort of general  guidebook for me so I make sure I'm teaching him the correct forms.Vocabulary and spelling come from use, not stupid workbook problems.

 

I've done some online research on homeschooling curriculums and I'm quite overwhelmed.  Time 4 Learning looks promising, though I'd still want a separate textbook for math. Anybody have experience with that?  Any other similar programs that you'd recommend instead?

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#2 of 14 Old 03-31-2014, 01:49 PM
 
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If you want someone else assigning his subjects with online curriculum, it sounds like you're looking for something like K-12:

 

http://www.k12.com/

 

K-12 is mostly online, though I've heard it's pretty time intensive, and people often start out with that and then switch to regular homeschooling. 

 

There's also allinonehomeschool. It's got laid out lesson plans for each grade. The author is clearly Christian, though I wouldn't call it a religious curriculum:

 

http://allinonehomeschool.com/grades/seventh/

 

For math, you could consider Saxon Math or Teaching Textbooks:

 

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/024434/d5e6194da6698efa9416ff68

 

http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/

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#3 of 14 Old 04-01-2014, 07:53 AM
 
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I pulled my son recently.  I had planned on him completing 7th grade and homeschooling for 8th grade but it just didn't work out that way.  We have so far been a mix of deschooling and structured learning (he is unsure if he will want to go to high school or even 8th grade next year so we want to generally keep him caught up).  We are very piecemeal since, from the experience of homeschooling him in first grade, I know that I never really like ALL of a single boxed curriculum.  We have been homeschooling maybe a month now.. actually, maybe a week longer than a month.  I do units of history and science.  I alternate them.  We studied the Holocaust for a while and I piecemealed it from books from the library, documentaries on TV and a trip to the Holocaust museum.  We are learning about climate change and green energy right now.  Again, very piecemeal.  I found a classroom curriculum online and downloaded that and adapted it down to work for us.  Instead of filling out worksheets, we chat about things.  We have also read articles online and watched a documentary on it.  We will do some green energy experiments as well.  

For math we tried Life of Fred but hated it.  We are looking into Teaching Textbooks because it is online lessons.  I am weak in math and my son had a 504 plan in school for accommodations in math.  I totally farm out the math curriculum.  I'm hoping Teaching TExtbooks will work for us.

For lit, right now I read to him (we tied it history and read the Diary of Anne Frank and now I am currently reading him The Metamorphosis).  He also enjoys writing, I guess fan fiction based on the Halo video game, and reading books on his own.

 

That's what we do formally.  It takes maybe two hours tops a day.  The rest of the time he lives with me.  We talk, watch CNN, he plays video games and does a free HTML class I found that he said he wanted to take.  He loves electronic music and DJing and takes classes for that and also spends HOURS everyday creating music.  He takes a history homeschool class and we visit with friends, both mine and his.  We also spend a lot of time looking up stuff that's interesting.  We watched a dog spay on youtube after our dog was spayed because we wanted to know how it went.  The formal stuff is important but it's not as important as the "following interests" part.  I think he learns more following his interests than through the formal stuff we do, actually.

 

I tried K12 through the monthly, purchased curriculum (no oversight) but I found it moved way too quickly and was to dry and schooly for us (and I think I am pretty schooly sometimes!).  I have also used SOTW and really liked it.  We might return to it for history in 8th Grade if my daughter comes home to school.  


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#4 of 14 Old 04-01-2014, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I definitely DON'T want K-12 or anything quite that structured. That "all in one homeschooling" link doesn't look like a good fit for Jack's learning style (and i could do without the Christian references in the ELA selections and the science introduction.) I don't want to do "school at home." What I have in mind is a course that he can do online with fun, interactive lessons online for science and social studies, and then I'll find us some fun activities to do together for enrichment- science projects, documentaries, and/or historical fiction.

 

I certainly don't want something so structured that he'll be required to do a lot of reading and/or writing, then hand it in for some other teacher to grade. I don't want to be on somebody else's time table. I want the freedom to do all math one week and all science the next if that's what interests him at the time, or to take breaks from the formal academics for Jewish holidays and "weeks that are busy with homeschool group activities."  

 

Doing my own research before making this post, I found Time for Learning http://www.time4learning.com/ and I have yet  to find anything else I like better, or that I like as much for the money. It's inexpensive enough that I don't feel it's "wasted" if I only use it for 2 subjects when it comes as a bundle of 4 subjects, and even though it doesn't include Spanish.

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#5 of 14 Old 04-02-2014, 06:41 AM
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You can easily add Spanish.  My dd is loving https://www.duolingo.com  --  it is a free program, online, work at your own pace language program.  My dd uses her iPad for it, but any thing with a mic will work (as far as I know). 

 

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#6 of 14 Old 04-02-2014, 06:52 AM
 
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There was talk about time4learning on this board and also on a homeschooling group I am on.  Honestly, it seemed a little young for my son so I didn't look into it further.  There was some other people I think on the homeschooling group who posted the same thing.  

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#7 of 14 Old 04-30-2014, 11:56 AM
 
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subbing for updates!    Hope the great suggestions keep coming :)

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#8 of 14 Old 06-01-2014, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I couldn't find this thread so I started a new one. Curriculum help needed for 7th grade

I haven't quite figured out the new format yet. I'm no longer on here enough to really play with it (my kids are weaned, done with cloth diapers, etc.)

We did a free trial of TFL and Jack wasn't impressed. The material was presented in a way he could comprehend and absorb, though it was surrounded by "too cutesy" animations that he found boring and a waste of time. He'd rather spend 20 minutes online doing 20 minutes of learning, rather than 15 minutes of learning and 5 minutes of silly animation that entertains him as much as preschool TV shows do. Still, if I can't find something better (or something better enough to be worth the extra money) TFL is workable.

For math, I REALLY want to teach him myself, so I can tailor the explanations as I go to a way that he comprehends. Any of these online math videos are too time consuming, can't be paused to explain something he doesn't quite understand or sped up to skip something he already understands. I have experience with both daughters of taking the textbook, me skimming the instructions, and teaching a page in a matter of minutes- generally we'd do this once a month for half an hour or an hour and get a whole month's worth of math curriculum done. I'm good at math. So is my 18 year old daughter who's going to be home next year.

I either need a textbook or something online where I can skim a "textbook like page" rather than having to sit through a video to explain each topic.

There are two primary reasons for wanting a structured curriculum for social studies and math. First, my Mom is helping us out financially and she's both willing to pay for his curriculum materials AND uncomfortable with the idea of homeschooling him without a curriculum. I don't feel like I can really go against her wishes when I'm not financially independent.

Second is that I have fibromyalgia (which is also why I'm not financially independent) and I have "good days" and "bad days." Things in the household have a way of falling apart when I have too many "bad days" in a row. I want something set up that Jack can do on his own, so his education doesn't fall by the wayside even if the dishes and the laundry and the grocery shopping do. I need him to be able to sit and do schoolwork independently while I'm having some quiet time for myself- if not daily, then at least several times a week.

When Hannah was this age, she'd sit and devour books all day. We'd go to the library, and I'd add a few historical fictions to the stack of fantasy books she wanted to take out, and she'd read all of them. That system won't work with Jack. He'd rather sit and play video games than curl up with a book. One of my big projects with him is to get him reading; I plan to alternate chapters reading out loud together, plus allow him to listen to as many audio books as he wants. I also plan to have him do some creative writing every week. I don't really want or need a formal language curriculum.

I also plan to watch both history and science documentaries with him. But I don't trust my ability to consistently find enough documentaries for that to be our entire curriculum, especially not on "bad days." I want something as a foundation and then the stuff we find to watch together (via netflix and the public library) will be enrichment.

Primarily, I'm worried about my mental abilities to sort things out and pull things together when the brain fog sets in. I'm not worried about my ability to teach him math when the problems are laid out before me, or to continue any routines I set in place when things are good (such as the reading and writing plans.) But the process of figuring out what to teach is beyond me when I'm fibro-fogged and overwhelmed. So I like the idea of having a curriculum set up ahead of time that we simply need to continue to follow.

ARE there enough documentaries out there in history and science that a formal online curriculum isn't needed? Has somebody else already put together a list so that I don't have to?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#9 of 14 Old 06-01-2014, 11:15 AM
 
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My library has tons of DVD's for history and science,
DS just spent a 'gap' year watching many of them. Nat Geo, Mythbusters, Planet Earth, are a few that come to mind. DS would spend hours just wandering the shelves seeing what was there and picking and choosing for the week.

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#10 of 14 Old 06-01-2014, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've just spent some time looking at eBay, and I found a bunch of used math textbooks, for way less than the cost of buying something new. I noticed quite a few "abeka" items for sale, and a quick websearch reveals that "A Beka" is a Christian homeschool company. As a Jewish mom, I wouldn't use a Christian curriculum overall, but I'm wondering if there's anything I'm likely to find objectionable in their math book specifically.

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#11 of 14 Old 06-04-2014, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I've just spent some time looking at eBay, and I found a bunch of used math textbooks, for way less than the cost of buying something new. I noticed quite a few "abeka" items for sale, and a quick websearch reveals that "A Beka" is a Christian homeschool company. As a Jewish mom, I wouldn't use a Christian curriculum overall, but I'm wondering if there's anything I'm likely to find objectionable in their math book specifically.
I believe there is a bible quote at the beginning of each lesson. If you can ignore those, then I don't think it would be a problem. I don't know of anything else--I have only seen samples, I haven't actually used their materials.

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#12 of 14 Old 06-11-2014, 09:17 AM
 
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It looks like the system ate my reply?

I would hesitate to use A Beka. The word problems I have seen are often religion based from a Fundamentalist perspective. There are Scripture quotes scattered throughout.

I would highly suggest another economical alternative: Lial's Basic College Math. You can find used copies (edition doesn't matter) for less than $10 on Amazon. It is thorough, secular, and an easy format for this age.

And some links:
http://boingboing.net/2012/08/07/wha...damentali.html
http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marb...na-tax-dollars
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/0...riculum-part-2

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#13 of 14 Old 06-12-2014, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nothing ate your reply. I have two similar threads going, because I couldn't find my earlier thread and started a new one.

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#14 of 14 Old 06-15-2014, 09:22 AM
 
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Ha! I saw that later that day. I thought I was going nuts!

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