Our 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices



My oldest son is 12 and going into 7th grade this year. Up until now, we have used Calvert as our base curriculum, you can read here why we chose to change.  Below are the 7th grade homeschool curriculum choices we have made!  He had input on these choices and we are both excited about our final decisions.

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used below}

7th Grade Subjects

These are the subjects only Pac will be doing {the others are listed below in the group subject section}

The visual version…

Apologia General Science TT Prealgebra LOF Pre Algebra Write Shop 1Vocab Connections G Growing with Grammar 7 Spelling Workout G Who is God

Group Subjects

I also I chose some subjects to do with all 3 of my children together, you’ll see these below {and also in this post here}.  My kids will be Kindergarten, 3rd grade and 7th grade so I will adjust these subjects to each child’s academic ability as far as my expectations.

    The visual version…

YWAM Heroes of History U.S. History Curriculum Draw your way through the Bible  Continent Boxes What's in the Bible DVDs and Coloring Book Geography and Cultures Young Composers

All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices

All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices



I am really excited to be able to teach many subjects to my kids all together this year!  Since we used Calvert prior to this year {see why we switched here}, it wasn’t easy to do this and I always wanted to.  Ladybug will be in Kindergarten, Krash in 3rd grade and PacMan in 7th grade.  Below are the homeschool curriculum choices I have made for us all to enjoy together.

 

Group Subjects

    The visual version…

YWAM Heroes of History U.S. History Curriculum[12] Draw your way through the Bible  Continent Boxes_thumb[9] What's in the Bible DVDs and Coloring Book[13] Geography and Cultures[10] Young Composers[13]

 

I do plan to complete Mystery of History 1 in one year, but the US History will be spread out over 2-3 years or more.  The other subjects have no stressful time line in my mind, I want to dive in and enjoy our learning together. What’s in the Bible DVDs are making a comeback, we use these as our lunch time learning.  Here’s an old post showing how we do it.  This year we have the brand new coloring book which I am thrilled about.  They sent us these to review, one for each of my kids and they will go along perfectly with the DVDs since all 3 of my kids love to color!

Stay tuned, I will be sharing what I have chosen for each of my children in addition to what you see in this post.

A Homeschool Change

a Big Homeschool Change

This upcoming homeschool year for us will be a big one.  We have decided to make a big change and move away from box curriculum and our cyber school and onto a pick and choose method without the cyber school!

We had a great cyber school experience and have homeschooled in every sense of the word {other than the legal one meaning we were connected to the public school system via our charter school}. Our cyber school experience was vastly different than most and I did all of the teaching, using Calvert.  We didn’t do any virtual classes and had lots of freedom.  So why are we switching?  Calvert isn’t a great fit for Krash but I wanted to give it through 2nd grade to decide.  Towards the middle of this past year I had already decided, it just wasn’t working for Krash and knowing Calvert gets tougher in 3rd grade, I knew we needed a change.  It was just easier to switch PacMan {going into 7th grade} too.  We never even started Ladybug with Calvert or the cyber school, and had no plans to. So, here we are anticipating a wildly different school year for all of us! I am excited and nervous all at the same time!

I know many will want to know WHY Calvert wasn’t a good fit for Krash and why we decided to move Pac away from it to. Here are my basic reasons…

  • Calvert is a highly academic curriculum and although Krash could keep up, it wasn’t the best fit for him.
  • I strongly dislike the ATS service {not familiar, you can search on Calvert’s site to learn more}, which we were required to do due to our cyber school {this was the only part I disliked and was stuck to}.  I desperately wanted to rid our lives of “the green tests” as we call them.  Those of you familiar with ATS and Calvert will know my pain.  They assess every 20 lessons on every single subject. I do NOT want to spend so much time prepping for these and administering them.  With Pac it wasn’t as big of a deal but it got to be more of one these last few years. For K it is a big deal and we needed to be done with this. I must admit, the teacher in me loved ATS in the beginning, but now that I am more homeschool teacher minded than classroom teacher minded I dislike ATS! It took me awhile to realize I didn’t need these types of tests to know my kids were learning!
  • Calvert is not a Christian program and Pac specifically asked for a Christian based science, history and geography. We want our kids to have input and his request was something we took very seriously and wanted to do for him.
  • I really wanted to teach my kids a few subjects all together and Calvert isn’t set up like this at all.  It is child/grade level specific.
  • Calvert’s writing program is fine, but I didn’t love it.  I had a hard time maneuvering throughout their manual and wanted something that was a better fit for me and my kids.  Similar thoughts on their grammar program, the layout is what I didn’t like.  One year I liked it {can’t even remember the year} but the others, no thank you.
    I do think Calvert can be a good fit for some students and families, I am not saying it is bad.  It worked beautifully for PacMan and for me for many years.  Once I added in a second student things went down hill.  It was too hard to manage both and just didn’t work this past year.  The need to switch was very obvious and I am so thankful we made the change. So please know, I am NOT saying Calvert is bad, I am saying it no longer worked for us.  There are many fabulous aspects about it, but in the end I needed to make a choice and moving away was the choice we needed to make.
    HOWEVER, I am in the mess of struggling with weaving together our new choices as I plan this upcoming year.  Calvert and other box curriculums do a fantastic job of doing this FOR YOU.  Moving away from the simplicity of the lesson plans a box curriculum provides is a tad bit overwhelming. But, we are pushing through and I think I finally see the light!
    I do plan to share details on our blog soon about our specific curriculum choices.  In the meantime, here’s two iPhone pictures I have showing pieces of what we will be using {this isn’t everything}! I shared these on Instagram {we are 1plus1plus1}.
    IMG_7669
    IMG_8184

Do you use anything shown above?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Curriculum Choices 2013-2014

Homeschool Curriculum Choices

See other curriculum posts here:

See our Weekly Wrap-Up posts here where I share more about what our group time together looks like, as well as a peek into Krash and PacMan’s homeschool life! I plan to start these up again soon this year!

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used below}


Learning with Ladybug Preschool

Ladybug ~ Pre K, age 4 1/2


Krash ~  2nd Grade, age 7


PacMan ~ 6th Grade, age 11


   Family


FAQ ~

I heard your boys are enrolled in a cyber school, how does this work?

Yes, they are and we have a VERY unique situation.  We are enrolled in a cyber school but we traditionally homeschool just like someone using Calvert who bought it from their site.  The only difference is that my kids get their supplies, curriculum, computer, printer, and MUCH support for free.  We are so incredibly blessed to have this option, it is working for us right now.  I teach them every single subject, and we use traditional Calvert texts and books…hardly anything is done online for my boys-except fun games and such we have access to.  This is another perk for us we have free access to: First in Math, Study Island, Let’s Go Learn, Brain Pop, and more.  These sites are amazing.

If you are wondering what state we live in, you can email me privately.  I just don’t publicly share the name of our specific school and location online.  Let me emphasize that all sates are different and ALL cyber schools are different. I personally do not know ANYONE else who has a situation like mine, most are much more controlled from what I have heard.  Here is a place on Calvert’s website that allows you to seek out using Calvert with a partner school in your state.

Would you use Calvert even if you didn’t get it for free through your state? 

I am not sure.  I specifically have really enjoyed Calvert from grade 2 on, which is the beginning of where I am not as comfortable teaching!  I absolutely loved Calvert last year {5th grade} and am really benefitting from the box approach in a grade I am so uncomfortable teaching! I would definitely stick with it for PacMan, it is a great fit.  For Krash I would probably change, not sure about Ladybug yet!

Why are you using All About Reading for Krash if Calvert has a good reading program within it?

Honestly-I got AAR to review and decided to review it fully to help my blog readers.  I do not need a program to teach reading, I have done it with hundreds of children and it just comes naturally for me {I am a former Kindergarten teacher for any new readers}.  Something I truly love.  I followed Calvert’s program with Pac, but still basically did my own thing, which is what I have done with Krash too.  BUT, I get tons of questions from moms who tell me that teaching reading does not come naturally for them!  They want me to recommend a program and up until now I couldn’t since I had no experience with any homeschool reading program {other than Calvert}.  I can’t recommend Calvert’s reading program separately {it is great, but it only comes with the complete box curriculum}. When given the opportunity to review AAR Level 1, I jumped at the chance, knowing this would give me the experience I needed to give my readers an opinion on this reading program-which so far is amazing and definitely what I recommend!  I used All About Spelling Levels 1 & 2 with Pac and loved it.  We went to AAS when he began struggling early on.  He has now went back to the Calvert spelling program and does fine. Our great experience with All About Spelling led me to want to review All About Reading. We loved it so we still use it to supplement!

Why are you using a secular based curriculum if you are Bible believing Christians?

Honestly we decided to give Calvert a try and we liked it, so we stuck with it. The science and history texts are definitely not Christian based, but the teacher manuals are written in a very open way, meaning they encourage you to discuss with your children based on your own worldview.  This has worked for us even better than we thought it would.

We have decided to stick with Calvert and use it as a springboard for awesome discussion about the differences in worldviews.  This has already proven to be an awesome choice for our family.  We are slowly adding Christian world view supplemental texts; we added Who is God? last year, and Evolution & Building Blocks in Science  this year.  We use these for reading, not doing addition “work” from them.  Pac is really enjoying learning both sides of the spectrum regarding beliefs about historical science and the history of our world. We feel discussing and being knowledgeable on both sides is important and will deepen our children’s faith as they learn all about the people they will be living around {who might believe differently than they do}. 

Will you enroll Ladybug in the cyber school when she is in PreK or Kindergarten?

Nope! I am handling Pre K and K on my own.  Being a former K teacher, I just really, really enjoy doing my own things for these lower grades! I will possibly enroll her in Calvert 1st grade when I feel she is ready, or I may not.  Not sure at this point when that will be. We are in no rush!

Will you always homeschool?

We believe in making this decision on a year-by-year, kid-by-kid basis.  We had no idea we would ever be homeschoolers, so we realize that we have no clue what God has in store for our family.  For now, we cannot imagine not homeschooling, and are very thankful to have been led here. Read my "Never Planned to Homeschool” post to see more of how we ended up homeschoolers!

Are you against public/private school?

Absolutely NOT!  I believe that the decision of schooling needs to be made by individual families based on so many different circumstances.  I NEVER thought we would homeschool, but now am so glad we do {although it was very rough for me the first year}.  Some homeschooling families need to go back to group education for various reasons or during different seasons of life and who knows-that may be us one day.  I know the Lord will guide us each year in making this decision and I trust He guides families individually in this area. 

Why do you homeschool?

Honestly we started because of the area we live in.  We are inner city missionaries living in one of America’s toughest neighborhoods and the schools aren’t anything to jump for joy about.  We looked into private school but it just wasn’t in the budget, and it wasn’t something we really felt called to.  We have fellow missionaries on our team who homeschool and even though at first I thought they were a bit nuts-ha ha, I now adore them and the knowledge they have shared with me.  Although the decision to homeschool was made due to circumstances, we now feel we would continue even if we had the opportunity to send our kids to a great public school.

Do you have a daily schedule or routine? How do you “do it all”?

See our A Day in Our Homeschool Series Here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

We have a daily routine with anchors.  This is the most scheduled we have ever been for our school day, but I have to be or I can’t get it all in with a 6th, 2nd and Preschooler!  I give Ladybug 1 hour individually, Krash gets about 1.5 hours with me, and Pac gets 2 hours with me. They also work independently when it’s not their turn with me.

We still use a lesson plan blog for PacMan, and Krash is pretty easy going with following my lead for school, so we don’t have a super cool plan, we just get things done.  PacMan is VERY independent now and I am oh so grateful. Calvert 6th grade begins to transition students into independent learning and the manuals are written to the student.  He is thriving with this, I am very encouraged

I often get asked how I “do it all” and I wrote a post about that here if you’ve wondered my thoughts on this topic.  The post is older but still applies!

I will share our current daily routine for 2013 soon!


If you have any other general questions about our curriculum, please leave in the comments below and I will do my best to add the answers to this list!

Our Home Preschool Plan

Learning with Ladybug Preschool

After revaluating our current home preschool routine, I have developed a new one based on what I think will work better for my daughter {and me} at this time.  This plan is also subject to change at anytime as I follow her lead!  She is currently 4 1/2 years old, and you can read this post to see more about what led me to this plan.

Her actual time with me for focused learning is 1 hour per day, 5 days a week. You will see more about how that is working now in future posts, I will continue blogging in detail for her preschool year. Below is a brief list and description of the areas I have decided to focus on for her.  Much of what you see below takes pace outside of that focus hour.  For a preschooler, life is learning and these are the many ideas I plan to incorporate into her day.

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used below}

We are basing a large part of our play based learning around our new Spielgaben toy set and the user guides, inspiration cards, and worksheets that come with it.  I was blessed beyond words to receive the complete set to review, right at the time we needed something like this most!  God provides unique surprises and I am so grateful!

Home Preschool -6590 Home Preschool -6278

 

For our letter focused work, we will be using the following…

Home Preschool Letter Hh -3167 Home Preschool Letter Jj -3938

    For developing reading skills, we will be…..READING!  Fancy huh?  I believe the best way to get a child who is as close as Ladybug is to being ready to read over that hump is simply by enjoying books together.  No pressure, no forcing from me, just fun reading snuggled up together and also plenty of free reading by herself.  She will probably cross the final reading readiness line soon, but we are in no rush! Home Preschool Letter Jj -4011

     

      She  will be using many Preschool Packs that focus around her interests and specific seasons/holidays.  She loves theme based work!

      Home Preschool Letter Jj -4005Home Preschool Letter Hh -3123

      For her independent afternoon time, she is using her All By Myself Preschool Boxes.

      All By Myself Preschool Boxes -5597

       

      For social, emotional, character development we are using Integrity Time Online  ~  Know It. We were given this curriculum to review {review/giveaway coming soon}, and it is a good fit for where she is at.  Krash {age 7} will join us for this too.  We will also be role-playing a LOT as I help her learn appropriate responses in social situations.  This is an area she really struggles in, and role playing really helps a lot.

      Integrity Time -6448

       

      For our Bible focus, we are using Songs for Saplings, Questions with Answers Volume 1, God and CreationSee our printables here.

      cover

       

      She has focused iPad learning time for about 30 minutes a day, and we are using this method to focus on certain apps I have chosen for her to use. I scheduled this in this year along with a learning DVD because I really needed 1 hour with Krash uninterrupted.

      Home Preschool Letter B -8269

       

      I am scheduling in one educational or Bible based DVD per day, using Netlix or DVDs we own. I love the new profiles on Netflix.  I loaded up her specific Queue with the learning movies I have chosen {mostly Leapfrog, & a few Veggie Tales for now}.

      photo (1)

       

      For her love of all things sensory related, artsy, creative and messy we will be doing the following.

      Summer Challenge 2013 -4708 Home Preschool -6418Home Preschool -6559 Preschool Fun -5278Preschool Fun -5716 Preschool Fun -5714

       

       

      Extra Stuff: Easy Readers on the iPad, Blue Manor eBooks & drawing lessons, Readeez Videos.  None of this is an anchor part of our plan, but all stuff we have and enjoy right now.

      I will change our plan again, I’m sure, but after a week with this new plan, she is thriving once again! I am thankful for now and will continue to follow her lead as I make educational choices for her!

      Stay tuned, I will be sharing our first week back to preschool soon!