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.

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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

A Peek Into Our Homeschool ~ October 2013

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Woo-Hoo!  My goal is to keep up regularly with a Weekly Wrap-up post, this is my 2nd this year, I am off to a good start!

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This year we don’t do much as a whole group, it just wasn’t working.  The boys have been participating in some of Ladybug’s Integrity Time lessons, I “make” Krash sit in and I invite Pac when I think he might like it.  Recently we did the letter D for Determination lesson and explored magnets together {they stick with it}, as an object lesson.

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See our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for this year!


 

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I decided to make a few changes to K’s curriculum.  Although we use Calvert through a cyber school, I have a lot of freedom and basically use what I want and change if needed.  I am very blessed with my situation.  One thing I have always disliked about Calvert is their Calvert Script, so with Pac I used a basic cursive and with Krash I have decided to use Logic of English’s Cursive Handwriting program. I wanted a plan and this gives it to me.  I did TONS of reading prior to choosing this one and purchasing it.  I am really happy so far and he loves it.

We are learning 2 letters per day, going through the sequence of using the salt tray,

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A dry erase marked on large lines…

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Finally the pencil and paper practice.  We each circle the letter we think he wrote the best each time.

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I have decided to let go of the phonics and spelling program that comes with Calvert.  It’s not bad, I just like All About Spelling and All About Reading better. I was having him do both, but realized that at this point it’s not necessary.  We are now doing two AAS 2 lessons per week and three AAR 2 lessons per week.

Below he was using the AAR/AAR word cards to work on alphabetizing to the second letter.

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I am keeping the literature portion of Calvert, which brings in sight words, vocabulary words and awesome stories and themes. I really like this aspect of Calvert.

One thing I love about Calvert this year is the option of using Singapore’s Math in Focus. We are in LOVE so far, it is a great fit for Krash and for my teaching style! This is an aspect of Calvert I am definitely keeping and love.  The hands on aspect is a big win for both of us.  I won’t say it’s always easy, he does struggle with some of the intense methods that are teaching the WHY behind the problem.  However, I am glad he is being taught this way, I think it will benefit him in the long run.

Below was an activity he did, to find the missing number in the addition problem.

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Our Continent Box is a fun extension to our homeschool, Krash likes working towards his goals on his Continent Box Challenge.  Below he completed the one of the challenges from our Australia Continent Box to create the continent out of a material of his choice, he chose rainbow blocks!

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Here he was matching the 3 part animal cards

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Recently Krash had to write a story, to work on writing structure {we use Calvert’s writing portion}. He uses a Try-It notebook for words he has difficulty spelling.  It’s a technique I used when I was a classroom teacher.  He tries a word on the left side and then brings it to me and I write it correctly on the right side. This enables him to use his phonics and spelling skills while also having the correct end result to reinforce correct spelling.

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He had to read his final story aloud, and since it was about Minecraft, PacMan was an eager listener!

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We are using Calvert’s science and have been learning about seeds and plants. We soaked bean seeds and investigated them the next day.

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He learned to identify the seed coat and the embryo.

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Ladybug joins in when she thinks it looks fun!

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Best part of homeschool, the cat gets to come!

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I don’t get many photos of PacMan, since 6th grade isn’t always a photo-worthy as the younger grades! 

Below you can see his study notebook.  Calvert uses assessments every 20 lessons and they can sometimes be a bit overwhelming in my opinion.  In order to stay prepared throughout the entire 20 lessons, he utilizes printed flashcards I prepare in advance.  I use the free flashcard creator software here, and print them out and file them in a study notebook. As we read he looks for key terms and writes the page number and definition on the paper.  In the end, before the tests, we cut them out and work through the flashcards to prepare!

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He is currently reading City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction, and learning a lot.

City

This book as amazing drawings, I learned SO much when I read it this past summer to prepare to teach him!  He is enjoying it, but he much prefers novels with more of a story line.


That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured over the past couple of weeks! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

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A Peek Into Our Homeschool ~ 2nd & 6th Grade

Homeschool Life

It’s a new school year and once again I will attempt to keep up regularly with a Weekly Wrap-up post.  I will probably fall off of the wagon again, but it’s worth a shot!  This year we have a 6th graders, 2nd grader, and preschooler. I hope to share every couple of weeks or so.

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A common view these days…

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I am using the Picture Smart Bible lessons with both of my boys. 

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My oldest uses the tracing pages…Picture Smart Bible -7315 

My younger son colors.  They both LOVE it and so do I!Picture Smart Bible -7311

The Picture Smart Bible will take us through each book of the Bible, I love the teaching manual {it tells me what to say}, Bible passages we read together, and of course the fun element of artwork!  Krash actually begs to do it, I was surprised!

I am not combining many subjects as I did last year, It just doesn’t work well for my personality and teaching style.  This year I am mostly separating individual subjects.  Below I will share a peek into the older boys’ school!

See our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for this year!


 

Krash  2nd Grade

Krash is in second grade and is moving along at a very typical pace.  I am so grateful that God led us to homeschool, I think he would be falling behind in traditional school.  Thankfully I am able to adjust and teach in a way that helps him.

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This year Calvert switched to using Singapore’s Math in Focus {they also have their own math program}. We are in LOVE so far, it is a great fit for Krash and for my teaching style!

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It is filled with hands on work, and we even increase the amount since it benefits Krash’s learning style.  Here’s he’s using pieces from our Spielgaben set in a tens frame.

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There is a large written, and oral part too, which I like.  These are more challenging for K, but he is doing well.  Math is taking about double the time I had scheduled but I  am finding he just needs more time with me to grasp things. I am adjusting as needed for this.

Below you can see his math mini-office, which actually was Pac’s when he was in lower grades!

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We bring hands on into other worksheets too. He isn’t fond of writing, and instead of pushing I let him use materials like this to mark answers sometimes.

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We are using Calvert’s science and have done 2 experiments so far, which he loves. First was about how a frog balances on a lily pad…

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The second was mixing oil and water…

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PacMan 6th Grade

My oldest son is a joy to teach and is really transitioning well into more independent learning.  Homeschooling this young man in the early years was anything BUT easy, so I am very grateful that we found our groove back in about 4th grade.  We have our moments, but overall he is a great student.

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He is currently reading Theras and His Town, and learning a lot about ancient Greece. I am learning a lot too!  This is a simple read {I read it over the summer to prepare}, but very engaging and educational!

 

He loves science and his first experiment was about dissolving hard colored candy…

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I had him explain the results and experiment to his captive audience…

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We were shocked to see making Oobleck and experimenting with it was his second experiment!  We had just made Oobleck a few weeks prior!

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He had to invent his own experiment and process, he chose to add vinegar to see how it would change.6th grade Homeschool -6681

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That’s certainly not everything we did, but a glimpse of what my camera captured over the past couple of weeks! To see more weekly wrap-ups, visit…

kris_weekly-wrap-up

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!

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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!

Home Art Studio Weaving

Home Art Studio

We are reviewing a fabulous home art curriculum, Home Art Studio! We were using just the third grade level, but recently got the 1st grade kit to review also. I am blogging through our art projects to help keep me {the non-art lover} accountable, and also so I can prove to my kids that we DID do art!

Our latest project was Weaving, which I was excited about, although it did involve paint {which I normally dislike}. This is the second project on the 1st grade DVD, and is broken into 2 lessons. We watched the DVD before beginning, and then referred to the printed lesson plan while working.

On day 1, we painted…

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Ladybug joined us on painting day and really got into it, she loves paint!Home Art Studio Weaving-8550

On Day 2, we watched the 2nd part of the lesson on the DVD and did our weaving together…Home Art Studio Weaving-8714

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Ladybug was resting, so I cut her strips for her and did it with her later, but the boys both finished theirs and LOVED them!  This was a really fun lesson!Home Art Studio Weaving-8728


Helpful Home Art Studio Links: