Our Seventh Grade Curriculum

nobg-drown-freebie11Seventh grade sucks. Moods are crazy up and down. Bodies feel either too developed or not developed enough. Friends shift and change; some stab you in the back and you feel so alone. Parents seem mad at you all the time. You just want to lash out at them and hurt their feelings to make yourself feel better, yet really you want rocked like a baby and soothed. You want to fit in somewhere, but not with the younger kids. You know you’re ready to fit in with the high schoolers if they’d drop their airs and stop treating you like a baby. It’s time for a boyfriend. But that’s exciting and scary.

Homeschooling seventh grade students is a tightrope act. But if you can hang with them like a true funambulist (That’s a tightrope walker. Did you know that? I didn’t!), try hard to understand, stop talking, and start really listening and sitting with them, the metamorphosis is truly breathtaking. You’ll find them witty, concerned, compassionate, and raw. Looking back now, my seventh-grade self is probably an accurate portrait of my true self before contorting it to fit what I wanted it to be.

Anyhow, each year, I write a post about the curriculum of my oldest. She gets the test run so I know what I’ll do for the rest. Lucky her. I tend to stick with the same curriculum from year to year as long as it’s working. We work on a rolling schedule. If the book isn’t finished in an academic year, no biggie. If we finish a book before the academic year, we move on to the next one.

Our Curriculum

Saxon Algebra I:

We started this last year in sixth grade, and we will finish it nicely by the end of this seventh grade school year. Last year was kind of rough starting algebra; we really took our time. Because I was raised on Saxon Math myself, I knew that if she could just hang in there, at some point the Saxon Algebra work would seem easy. This year, it clicked and we’ve progressed very nicely. She has requested tests, and so she has been taking tests this year.

An important concept I learned was to teach algebra on our chalk board (chalk wall) and show lots of examples, not skipping any steps that may seem simple to me.

We will start geometry when we are finished, but I doubt I will keep the Saxon curriculum for geometry. I want something with proofs to develop logic. We will come back to Saxon for Algebra II.

Easy Grammar: Plus and Daily Grams Grade 7:

Nothing fancy. Just good, solid, easy explanations and black and white worksheets. There is no (little) practice with writing. Just grammatical skills.

Drawing Sentences:

This is a diagraming (or diagramming) book that I use to supplement the grammar curriculum, although it is not from the same author. It helps to logically break sentences down into all that has been learned from the grammar book. It reinforces the grammar in a different way, and I feel it develops logic. We do about 1-2 lessons a week, and this book will be rolled over into our eighth grade curriculum because we won’t get it finished.

How to Spell Workbook 4:

We continue to work through How to Spell Workbook 4 slowly and thoroughly. My daughter requested weekly spelling tests this year, so we have implemented those using words from the book. We will probably finish this book by the end of the year.

LivelyLatin:

This is a live, interactive on-line course taught by the instructor of the LivelyLatin book that I tried to go through with my daughter in fifth and sixth grade. The class is great, and my daughter loves it. She enjoys interacting both with the teacher and the other students. It does a good job covering history too. She is assigned homework and tests.

Spanish:

A good friend whose primary language is Spanish helps teach. Our goal is conversational Spanish at this time.

US Geography:

I found this PDF which I used as a guideline: Geography of the United States. We worked hard to cover this thoroughly and also review states and capitals.

Science:

Unschooled. I don’t see much point in starting formal science until kids have figured out how to logically sort, categorize, and start making connections. Until then, science should be fun and led by fascination with the world around. Memorizing the number of bones in the body is fun, but the fact that bones act as repositories for minerals, immune cells, and function as levers is productive information. About the time kids have mastered algebra seems to be the ripe time for formal biology and chemistry.

We keep lots of fun books around that the kids can pick up and learn from on their own. When they ask questions, we make sure and provide the answers we know. If we don’t know, they look it up. Curiously, their science scores on standardized tests seem to be their highest.

Art:

Our local homeschool co-op offers an amazing, monthly class through our town’s museum.

Physical education: Dance and volleyball

Music: Violin

Literature: Abundant, mostly self-selected books.

That’s it! Best wishes with your seventh grader! Hang in there, know when to push, watch when to pull back. Ask when it’s okay to hug them and then squeeze them tight!

Terri

13 thoughts on “Our Seventh Grade Curriculum

  1. mommytrainingwheels

    In French, the word for tight-rope walker is “funambule” so, I figured that one out pretty quickly (though, admittedly, I didn’t know that “funambulist” existed in English). I like your outlook on Science! And violin! Oh boy, you are one brave women. Out of all the instruments, string instruments are the worst when they are first learned – earplugs anyone? Just kidding 😉 How long has she been playing for?

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello! She has been playing three years now. I was very impressed with how her teacher somehow, I even asked her how, managed to teach without her students having that “squeaky” phase! Because when I took piano, we had a piano and violin recital together. All the violinists were squawky! My dad hated going because of that! LOL! Actually two of my girls take violin, and neither one had that phase. I think their teacher is incredible! (Or else my girls are, 😉 )

      I’d love to listen to you say “funambule” in French!

      Reply
      1. mommytrainingwheels

        How awesome that you have found a teacher capable of skipping the squeaky phase altogether. Playing an instrument is such a great thing to learn, I hope my children will be interested to learn one.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I hope you’re children pick up an instrument too. I play piano, not great, but good enough to accompany the girls sometimes and help them with their music. That makes it all the years of it worth it.

        But playing a stringed (maybe any instrument; I’ve only read on strings) instrument develops certain parts of the brain differently! I read that Einstein, when he was stuck on an equation he was trying to work out, would get out his violin and play.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2704009/

        “Family members and friends have documented that, when stuck on a physics problem, Einstein would play the violin until, suddenly, he would announce excitedly, ‘I’ve got it!’ (Bucky, 1992). It is interesting to contemplate that such synthesizing may have contributed to Einstein’s insights, and that his extraordinary abilities may, to some degree, have been associated with the unusual gross anatomy of his cerebral cortex in and around the primary somatosensory and motor cortices. Although these views are speculative, the identifications of previously unrecognized cortical morphology on Einstein’s brain will, hopefully, be of use to future scholars who have access to new information and methodologies.”

      3. mommytrainingwheels

        Wow, that’s super interesting to know about Einstein! I’ve no doubt that learning any type of musical instrument develops certain parts of the brain differently. I played flute for about 20 years before stopping after giving birth to my second. I really should start again; I’ve been missing it lately. In any event, I’ll at least be able to help them with reading sheet music later on. How old were your children when you started them in music?

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Well, the first was probably 5-6. The second was probably about 5-6 too. And the third just started at age 7. Hope I can endure and get the fourth one in! I thought I’d try to treat them all equal, equal opportunities. Yeah. Not going to happen. But they seem happy. 🙂

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