Saturday, July 26, 2008

7th Grade Final Plans

Over the last three days, I've done nothing but homeschool planning and testing. I am very thankful that I mapped out my ideas earlier in the year, because I haven't had the time to spend studying and figuring this summer like I usually do.

As usual, I have planned way too much. There's so much that appeals to me, but never enough time. Then Doc has to go and mention a cool economics program that looks good. That will have to wait for another time.

So, here's our 7th grade:


Rod and Staff
Thomas hates this. He hates Rod and Staff math. But, as I've learned over our homeschooling career, you have to use what works. Rod and Staff works for him. It's the best fit I've found for him. I have to remind him that he hates all math programs, which made him laugh.

I'm going to order their master pack CD. Thomas needs practice with speed. And just practice doing problems. I haven't ordered this, but if anyone knows of a secular program similar to Calculadders, please let me know! I know this is overkill, but I also know that a little practice won't hurt.

I purchased two middle-school textbooks with teacher's guides on eBay in March. They arrived minutes before I left for Denver to help my dad with his surgery. I haven't even looked at them. Last year Thomas read two science text books, one on earth science and the other life science. This year I'll let him read, but hopefully I'll have time to look through the teacher's guides and be a little more active. Believe it or not, Thomas requested science text books. He loves science and would read those texts (and any other books on science lying around the house) for hours.

United States History:
We will finish our Glencoe Civics text that we started last year. Thomas loved that and requested to do it daily. We bought it late in the year, so lucky for him, we have about 3/4 of the book left.

I also want him to memorize the states and capitals. Shame on me for waiting so long to do this. This falls into the category of "someday we'll do that" or the category of "started but not finished". Also on the agenda is to memorize the presidents. President memorization isn't high on my list, but we have the Yo! Millard Fillmore book, so why not. I wish we had Yo! Sacramento, but we don't.

We will also be doing a mini-unit on the civil war. (We didn't get to this last year.)

World History:
Yes, I realize it's stupid to do US history and world history, but I have a compulsion to do both. We were going to use a text book for this, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I will be ordering Story of the World IV on CD. We will stop when we get to the civil war section and do the civil war unit I have loosely put together.

I can't say enough about our love for the Story of the World series. Well, let me rephrase that: For the CDs. We have listened to them in the car on the way to Denver and South Dakota and around town, besides listening to them in the house. Thomas has retained so much of what he's heard. Plus, we've listened to the other volumes several times.

I gave up on buying their activity books. We don't use them. We don't test, nor do we write reports. We just listen and soak it up. By doing this, Thomas has developed a real love for history. It really surprised me when we were in Denver this last time that Thomas asked that we go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science one last time. Why? He wanted to see the Egyptian Mummies one last time.

We will continue (or basically start over) our study of Spanish. I held us up because I struggled with it. Why can't we study German instead? I've decided this year we will work one half hour a day on Spanish. No scheduled completion dates, just constant study on a daily basis. We're using Bob's college Spanish text book and tapes.

Prentice Hall Geography will be our course of study this year. I purchased a text and teacher's guide last spring.

This is a very neglected subject in our home. A year or two ago I purchased Themes to Remember. Very "young" for Thomas, but we agreed to go through the book this year. I would really like to get Thomas started with piano lessons, too. I'm looking for a teacher, but if I can't find one that will work for him, I'll try to teach him myself.

Thomas begged to do logic last year. We used the Blast Off with Logic series in the past, so it's time to find something new. I didn't have a lot of time to research, nor do I want to start a formal logic study just yet, so I have selected Think Harder! Word Puzzles and Think-A-Minutes C1. I think Thomas will approve.

Thomas will continue with his ceramics classes. I have begged the instructor to teach regular art classes, but she says there isn't interest. He'll do a wheel throwing class when she offers. For our home study, we are going to use Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters. This is another book that I've meant to get to every year, but haven't. We'll pick and choose projects, but learn about some artists while we're at it. I also have Artistic Pursuits on my shelf, and I plan to pull that out and take a look. We do a lot of unplanned art projects through the year, and Thomas has free reign over all our art supplies. I had planned to set up an art studio in our laundry room, but I haven't got to it yet. I brought home a huge table from my dad's house that will serve as "art station central" so that we can leave projects out.

Yet another project we've worked on for years, but I've dropped the ball: Keyboarding. I have two books, Kids Can Type, Too! and Baron's Typing the Easy Way. I guess I shouldn't say I've dropped the ball. Thomas does know correct finger placement and uses it! I just want him to develop some speed and accuracy. In my day, I typed over 100 wpm with fantastic accuracy. I'd like for him to work up to 40 wpm by the end of the year.

We are going to study Word and Excel in more detail as well.

English is the focus of our school year.

Spelling is an issue here. We've used AVKO's Sequential Spelling for a few years and Thomas has improved, but he's a rule-kid and I think he needs to know spelling rules. He still uses a lot of incorrect phonetic spelling in his writing. We're going to try Spell Bound.

Grammar will be Exercises in English Grammar I and possibly II. A rather dry looking workbook with just grammar. From the samples I've seen, it looks just about right. Nice review in the first book and hopefully some new learning in the second.

Since the grammar book does not cover mechanics, and since Thomas whined his way through the mechanics portion of his standardized test, we'll be doing a workbook called Mechanics, too.

Writing will be every day this year. I have decided to buy the Spectrum Writing 7th Grade workbook, which we will probably follow loosely, read over The Write Source's writing section, and a few other writing books I have on my shelf. I plan on tons of writing for poor Thomas this year.

Thomas actually requested a vocabulary program, so I just put Words on the Vine in my shopping basket. A small workbook that goes over Latin and Greek roots. We've been doing that hit or miss for a few years now, but he wants more. I wanted something light and easy and quick, though.

For grins and giggles, we're also going to do Lightning Literature. My friend Carole wrote to me about it in detail, and I may skip some of their exercises. I trust Carole's opinion. I don't like to over-analyze literature. Okay, what I call over analyzing. All those questions and discussions about books when I was in school just zapped the love of reading for me. I didn't understand why I couldn't just read something, savor it or hate it, and be done with it! Instead I just had to play the game with my high school teachers and pretend to love it for the reasons they did or hate it for the reasons they did so I could get my good grade and move on.

I think that's it. Ambitious. We have never been the type of homeschoolers to start at 8 and finish by noon. We won't be this year, either.


doc said...

Looks good.

7th grade was difficult for both of my boys. Puberty. They both shot up several inches and school was constantly interrupted by eating and needing naps. Actually, it was hard for the girls too. I think I figured out later that 7th and 8th grade are actually one academic year, but they're so all over the place physically and emotionally that it takes two years to complete.

Carole said...

MATH We used Math Worksheet Factory instead of Calculadders for years, then I feared we were missing something so I got Calculadders in. This spring I sold it cause I had returned to Math Worksheet Factory. It is free on the web, secular ---

I set mine up to print out 100 random, simple, math fact problems, one sheet per operation, with the ultimate goal of each page being done in 4 min or less. We all like it so much better than calculadders, and being free works.

Ambitious for sure. I'll ditto Doc's comments. 7 & 8th grade kids do go through growing-pains and that can be quite tough on the kids educational days.

Juno said...

Frankie I have a program you might be interested in. Email me and I will send it off to ya.


Summer Fae said...

I think that you plans looks great!

I am off to check out some of your links. ;)

Mama B said...

If you ever get tired of good old Jim on the SOTW cds you might check out Little History of the World Audio. I love the SOTW too but sometimes its nice to break out something that sounds a little different and I've loved the audio person on Little History too.