Curriculum help needed for 7th grade - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 05-30-2014, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Curriculum help needed for 7th grade

I KNOW I started a thread on this subject earlier this year, but I can't seem to find it now. Did MDC recently change formats? If somebody's able to locate and link to that other thread, I'd appreciate it.

My son is currently in 6th grade and miserable. For a number of reasons, I'm keeping him in school for the rest of this school year (another month) but plan to homeschool him next year. I want some sort of online curriculum for him so that when I'm having a "bad day" it's easy for him to continue his education without much input from me, plus it will take the pressure off me to always think of exciting fun things to do with him. We may use the curriculum very loosely at times and more "normally" at other times. But I don't feel comfortable starting off teaching him at home without some sort of formal curriculum at hand, preferably online since he doesn't learn from textbooks. He just can't sit and read something and absorb what he's reading. He needs somebody (or someTHING) to read it to him, preferably with accompanying visuals.

I was seriously thinking of using Time For Learning because it seemed to be everything I needed it to be- set up so he can use it by himself and it appeared to be interactive and engaging. The parent features were a nice touch but not really a selling point. I'm fine with doing my own record keeping.

I just got a 2-week trial of TFL and it's NOT a good fit for him. The animations are "too cutesy" and we both got the feeling that it was a very inefficient use of time. The actual material covered was fine, and explained in a way that he could comprehend and absorb (though he did find it a little boring) but the accompanying animations didn't really interest or engage him. He would have rather covered the same material in less time without having to sit through silly cartoons and a weak storyline as part of the process.

So TFL isn't a good fit and we're back to square one. I need something online for teaching science and social studies. I need a textbook for math, or something non-animated for math so I can quickly skim it and then teach it to him in a way that makes sense to him- neither one of us wants to sit through a video of somebody explaining math concepts in a way that may or may not make sense to him. Yet that's exactly the procedure I want for science and social studies.

I don't feel I need a Language Arts curriculum at all. I've never been a fan of the way LA is taught in schools; I feel it should be done in a more natural, organic way of just USING language. I plan to read with him and make him do creative writing regularly and occasionally assign him the kind of formal writing that his friends are learning in school.

One advantage of TFL was that it's so well priced it's not "wasteful" to have it even if we're only using it for 1 or 2 subjects. But a "more expensive" curriculum may not end up costing much more if we're only paying for the 2 subjects I actually plan to use.

Oh, I also want to learn Spanish with him next year. TFL wouldn't have covered that anyway.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#2 of 13 Old 05-30-2014, 03:28 PM
 
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Old thread is here. Yes, the format change (back to vbulletin) is hot off the press. I got to the old thread by searching with your username for old posts.

My dd11 is finishing what is considered her 7th grade year. She uses a "worktext" (a consumable workbook/textbook combo) for math, and Rosetta Stone for 2nd language stuff, but we're not big curriculum users otherwise. DuoLingo is a great free option instead of Rosetta Stone.

My dd really enjoys Hank and John Green's Crash Course videos (online) for social studies and for science. They're exactly what they claim to be: crash courses, so packed full of important stuff without a lot of background or discussion, and just videos, not comprehensive curricula, so they're not sufficient for us in and of themselves. But the delivery is wonderful for tweens and teens, and they spur us on to look up other information for her using discarded thrift store AP/college textbooks, documentaries, historical fiction, websites and such.

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#3 of 13 Old 05-30-2014, 06:01 PM
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Dang it. I just lost my reply to you.

Science. Have you looked at supercharged science? She has an online course for a monthly fee. She also used to have live courses offered sporadically for free. If I did her program, I would probably dedicate half the year to science and hit it hard. I would dedicate the other half year to history. That way, you only have to pay the monthly fee for part of the year. http://www.superchargedscience.com/escience-intro.htm

Social Studies/history. I don't know of an online course for middle school aged kids. However, if US history interests you, we have the dvd Story of US http://www.history.com/shows/america-the-story-of-us is a good documentary and I believe it connects with the series of the same name. There are lots of good documentaries on specific times in US history though.

Math. Have you looked at Aleks math? http://www.aleks.com/ It is online, requires nothing from the parent, and isn't cheesy like Time for Learning. Their trial is only a couple days long though so make sure you are really ready to try it before you sign up. Homeschool buyers coop sometimes has deals for aleks math.

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#4 of 13 Old 05-31-2014, 06:48 AM
 
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I remember your original thread but I have changed things up a bit. We got Oak Meadow for LA and I use Teaching Textbooks for math. I would like to add more formal science and history in next year (in case he goes to high school, I want to keep him caught up) and I am tentatively planning on using Oak Meadow for Civics and science next year. I have LOVED their curriculum for LA and my son thinks it's okay, too. He likes having defined lessons everyday.

He wants to learn a language and he has picked the incredibly difficult (to me at least) Chinese to want to learn. I was thinking of using K12's language curriculum (has anyone used it?). I wish he still wanted to learn french. I mean, I know enough of that to teach him the basics.

I thought Time for Learning looked too young, too.

Married, college student, part time work from home mom to DS (12), DD1 (10) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and two rats.
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#5 of 13 Old 05-31-2014, 01:41 PM
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I remember your original thread but I have changed things up a bit. We got Oak Meadow for LA and I use Teaching Textbooks for math. I would like to add more formal science and history in next year (in case he goes to high school, I want to keep him caught up)
We will be using Oak Meadow LA for ninth grade this year. It looks pretty good, and there is minimal parental involvement. Our copy is a book format. However, you can sign up for online classes for any grade. http://www.oakmeadowbookstore.com/5-...rriculum-c174/

Regarding Teaching Textbooks for math. . . and I only mention this because you stated that he might go to high school and you want him to stay caught up. . . but it is know as an "easy" math program that is light on the content. Here is a quote from Maria ******'s discussion of algebra 1 material. I put the quoted section in italics. http://www.mathmammoth.com/complete/algebra_1.php

What about Teaching Textbooks? This program is generally recognized as being quite easy and not challenging. The word problems I have seen in their samples are definitely too easy, for any grade I've looked at. Therefore, you cannot expect it to teach problem solving very well. This is actually unfortunate, because many parents and kids like its format. It would be a good program for low-performing students because it is so easy.

This is verified for example by this review left for my other math site:
We loved this curriculum until we looked at the Prentice Hall Algebra I book that the local high school was using. Then we realized that Teaching Textbooks Algebra I is way behind grade level! My son completed TT Algebra I and now is going through the Prentice Hall Algebra I book, to fill in the gaps, which are huge. This is taking him another 4-5 months! I had trusted Cathy Duffy's reviews of TT, and found I was wrong not to check it out more.
However, the method of Teaching Textbook is great -- the kids enjoyed doing it on their own, with access to the CD's and textbook.

If your student is college bound and plans to take the SAT and/or enter public high school, I would not recommend this curriculum.


Amy

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#6 of 13 Old 05-31-2014, 04:13 PM
 
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I will second what was said about Teaching Textbooks. However, not all kids are "mathy" and you can use it efficiently-you have to double check their work, help them out, keep on top of it. Don't have them use it and then bow out.


Oak Meadow has an online program (without teacher grading is *much* more cost friendly), and K12's middle school program is excellent from everyone I've talked to. I love their Human Odyssey history books and I have read their Language Arts and Art texts and those are wonderful, as well. You *can* find the non-online components used on amazon but some really need the online bits.

If you want a more "organic" language arts program, I highly highly highly recommend Bravewriter's Kidswrite Basic (or Intermediate if he is advanced-talk to Julie Bogart). My daughter really loves their online classes.

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#7 of 13 Old 06-02-2014, 04:35 AM
 
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[QUOTE=kittywitty;17646881]I will second what was said about Teaching Textbooks. However, not all kids are "mathy" and you can use it efficiently-you have to double check their work, help them out, keep on top of it. Don't have them use it and then bow out.



Yes I have found Teaching Textbooks to be below grade level based on the grade level it says it is. 7th grade math, which I got him, actually seemed to start with things his 3rd grade sister is doing. Honestly, I'm fine with that. It has progressed because he was skipping lessons and doing some really quickly. My son has struggled in math since 2nd grade when he was tested and put on an extra help plan at school. He's been on it ever since and, whenever I think he's doing okay and I don't sign it again for the next year, he falls behind and starts struggling. So I needed to find something that fit with the fact that he does not like math because he's always found it a struggle and feels he's dumb in math. He's even found the word problems in TT a struggle sometimes. We tried Life of Fred and hated it. He likes Teaching Textbooks because it is straightforward and explains things well. I am not math-y so, if Teaching Textbooks was not enough, I would probably have to hire a supplementary tutor. If he goes back to school in high school, we probably will have a tutor to help him in his math.

But yes... anyone who is contemplating TT should understand that it is below grade level. 7th grade seems to start with 3rd grade stuff that is not a review- it is teaching it as a lesson.

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#8 of 13 Old 06-03-2014, 04:01 PM
 
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Smile

My youngest and I just finished Seventh Grade this week.

We loved Oak Meadow this year. I don't use their math -- we used Saxon Algebra I, which I got cheaply on Amazon.

We used "Workbook in Everyday Spanish" Book One, Elementary/Intermediate by Julio Andujar. That was purchased for a few dollars at our local community college bookstore. I find that intro college texts are excellent for homeschooling from about grade 5 and up. The book was fantastic and we were even invited to open Spanish nights at the college. It was a supportive and encouraging experience.

There are probably more resources than people for homeschooling at this point. !

peace,
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#9 of 13 Old 06-09-2014, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As the trial of TFL continued, Jack changed his mind about it. He now finds the lessons enjoyable. He's tried ELA, social studies, and a couple of different science topics. I'm not sure if he's tried the math lately- first time, he found the online format confusing for math, but he may have given it another try and changed his mind about that too.

I can't make do with just a Spanish workbook or textbook- we need something with audio or I'll never get the pronunciations anywhere near correct.

I've found a bunch of abeka math book on ebay for reasonable prices. I know it's a Christian curriculum, but is there anything in the math books specifically that might be objectionable to a Jewish family?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#10 of 13 Old 06-09-2014, 06:39 AM
 
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Have you looked at Duolingo for Spanish yet?

Miranda
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#11 of 13 Old 06-10-2014, 12:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I've found a bunch of abeka math book on ebay for reasonable prices. I know it's a Christian curriculum, but is there anything in the math books specifically that might be objectionable to a Jewish family?
You will encounter Christian fundamentalist centered word problems or Bible quotes that might disagree with you. I was raised Jewish and I would never use them for anything. http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marb...na-tax-dollars
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/0...iculum-part-2#
http://boingboing.net/2012/08/07/wha...damentali.html

Not to mention it's tedious and dry. You would have better luck with Lial's Basic College Math found super cheap on Amazon. It's not dumbed down, it's easy to understand and thorough, and it's secular.

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#12 of 13 Old 06-12-2014, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input! I'll look for something else then.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#13 of 13 Old 06-23-2014, 07:36 PM
 
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take a peek at the intellego unit studies. I purchased the evolution one to use pieces of it with my 7th grader. It is a well-thought out collection of resources, most of them on the computer. We don't use the computer much in our homeschool, but I did pull some amazing activities from it and it was very affordable. They also have history units.

Angie, Mama to Finn (6/01) and Theo (4/05)
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