Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Curriculum Plans for 7th Grade, 2011-2012

Not Back to School Blog Hop

(This was posted a few months ago, but I thought I'd share it on the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop that is going on this week, 8/8/11.  Thanks for stopping by!)

A few days ago I shared our plan for next year for our rising 9th grader.  With the exception of one subject, I'm pretty solid on her plan.  For my son, a rising 7th grader, my plan isn't as clear-cut.  Being the younger, it seems like I already have several options for him sitting on the our shelves. It is a matter of having too many options and needing to decide what will work best at this time.  I have five or six history programs, for example, that could work for next year.  (Hello, my name is Heidi and I'm a curricula addict.)

While, I'm still a bit fuzzy on exactly what his schedule will look like, below is a start.  No promises it won't change before fall.

Math: Math U See Pre-Alegbra

History: All American History (though I'm toying with the idea of Sonlight Core 5 instead)

Science: Apologia's General Science, he'll also be doing an 8-week Botany course at a local Metropark late summer/early fall

Language Arts:
IEW: I think we'll do SWI B, though SICC A is a possibility.
Phonetic Zoo B
All About Spelling Level 5 and 6
plenty of reading from our Sonlight shelf
local homeschool writing class
I’m unsure on grammar – Michael Clay Thompson materials, Winston Grammar, Growing with Grammer, Grammar Ace, and Easy Grammar are all considerations right now.

Fine Arts: Guitar, possibly a theater production

Phys Ed: Shotokan karate, jump rope team

I'll likely add more on to this schedule, but not until I see how it plays out in the fall.  My main focus is in the language arts area and improving writing skills.  He's come a long way this year and it seems as though he'll turn another corner soon.  Unlike my daughter's plan where much of it is a new resource and almost all is outsourced, I've slowly found what works for my son and am careful not to change much when I find a combination that works, the perfect alignment of curricula that makes everything happen.

One thing I really need to add to our schedule is consistency, not just with curricula, but with our schedule.  I can’t get sidetracked with the next shiny opportunity or program that comes my way. Unfortunately, consistency is extremely difficult for me. My son thrives on it, but my execution of it is shaky at best. I sure wish I could just open up my Rainbow Resource catalog and order a big dose of it for our homeschool. I think it would be my best homeschooling resource!

For the past three years, we've had over-scheduled our fall, which included very time-consuming activities like First Lego League and theater productions.  I promised myself that I would keep our fall 2011 extremely simple, because fall sets the tone for the rest of the year, and coming out of the gate with a zillion activities makes me feel perpetually behind long after the hectic season ends. I also think a more textbook-based schedule will help keep me on track.  Some of it might be a little dry, but it helps my son to see progression (e.g. moving through the chapters) and gives me some structure, too.

After two years of competing and one year of coaching, I opted to not have my kids participate in First Lego League.  It is a great activity, but extremely time consuming.  Instead, my son is going to try out a local jump rope team.  This will be the one completely new thing on his schedule. The jump rope team requires less of a time commitment than some of our previous fall activities and will count as Phys Ed as well.  I'll admit to having a side agenda.  I'm hoping that all that repetitive jumping and exercise will also help my son keep his rear end planted in his seat long enough to complete his academic work. 

I just realized that my post for my daughter's plan was all about change and my son’s plan is all about consistency.  The beauty of homeschooling is that I can do both for my kids.


Debbie S. said...

So true about the textbooks keeping you on pace. I read that in "Managers of their School" (The Maxwells).
I have one son who always wanted to have a beginning and an end to the curriculum. He wanted to see where he was going. We used SOS for this reason.

Luke said...

May your final plans provide you with the consistency you want with the flexibility you need. Have you tried Sonlight's Language Arts? I know it's not for everyone, but I thrived with that model. And if you're thinking about Core F anyway... [smile].

May God give you wisdom as you weigh your options, and may next year be your best homeschooling year yet!


Heidi said...


I actually have the LA for Core 4 (or what used to be called Core 4), but it isn't a fit. His abilities in LA have a pretty large span. He's been reading books from Core 5 (F!) on his own throughout the year, though. I'll have to look and see how many he's read! So many times he finishes up a book from our Sonlight shelf and says, "Wow - that was a really good book!" Gotta love it!

Kathleen @ Kath Ink said...

I, too, would order a dose of consistency from Rainbow Resource if I could. I, too, am trying to keep things simpler this fall. I see that you, too, are trying to figure out a grammar component for your 7th grade son! Me, too.

Blessings on your school year.