May 8, 2009

7th Grade Curriculum - Preliminary Decisions

As most of you have probably figured out - as I know I have stated it SEVERAL times - I am a HUGE planner, I need to feel like I have a game plan and though I am open to flexibility and wiggle room, I NEED to know that I have something set and ready to go! So before the warm weather gets here for real, I want to make sure that I have everything planned out for next year.

For the most part I have known for a while what we would be doing, but there were some final choices that I think I have committed to. So here is what KM's 7th Grade Curriculum will look like -

Summer Session - Yes we do continue our lessons during the summer, but it is on a much lighter scale. KM and I sat down and tried to figure out what she thought would be manageable and what I would agree to as enough. Here is what we came up with:

Summer Bridge Activities - This is a review type book that has different activities each day, but helps you kinda stay on track. Most of the things are fun activities and she has been doing them for YEARS now so she figured why change something that has worked for such a long time.

Egyptian Study - if we keep at the pace we are right now with our History timeline study we should be right at Egypt when we start the Summer session. I have TONS of projects, resources, sites, kits and books for this which I think I will list separately. This will be an ongoing thing throughout the summer that I didn't really want to schedule in so we will be working on this bit by bit throughout the session.

Cooking - We will be using the Usbourne Internet Linked Children's World Cookbook - to travel the globe through food. We will also be going to our local farmer's markets to get local produce of the season to cook with as well as using the bounty from our own garden!

Geography - along with our world food travels, we will be using Brighter Child Geography Grade 6 which we did not have a chance to get to during this last year's studies.

ELA - we have been using Scholastics Scope Magazine since last fall, but we could never manage to get to all of it, so we decided to save the reader's plays and the extra worksheets for the summer.

Science - I don't know how long ago it was, but at some point I picked up a copy of Homework Survival Guide: Science and I came across it when we were cleaning out our books over the winter. We decided to use it as a review and do one chapter a week for the summer. We will also be incorporating lots and LOTS of projects to go with each one so be sure to swing by for Science Thursdays starting in July. I think that this will really bring KM up to speed with the basic knowledge that she was SOOOOO lacking from her time at PS.

Math - another book that we just didn't get to as much as we would have liked was Fast Finishers Math so we thought this would be a good time to finish it up!

Starting in the Fall she will be doing -

Math - Teaching Textbooks was such a HUGE hit this year that I will stray from it! She will be starting Algebra 1 in the fall.

ELA - She will be doing 5-minute Daily Grammar - which should help to straighten out some of those things that really just need some repetition to get down. Also upon recommendation by a very good friend, countless internet searches and a LONG discussion with KM we have decided to give Writing Strands a try. We will be starting her off at Level 3 and she is very excited about the way that it is truly written to the student. It also has VERY little prep work for me! I also have on the back burner, Writing Survival Skills for the Middle Grades - which the same friend recommended and I lucked out and found on Paperback Swap! Also a great Paperback Swap find was World Smart Junior which will be in place of a formal vocabulary program.

Literature/Reading Comprehension - For fiction we will be using literature units from Teacher Created Resources. To start we will be doing The Cricket in Times Square, Island of the Blue Dolphin, Bridge to Terabithia and Tuck Everlasting. For non-fiction we will be using a workbook called As a Matter of Fact which seems like it will be a very good fit.

History - We will be continuing our timeline study using the Complete Book of World History as our time-line spine and we will probably begin with Ancient China in the fall. I will list these resources separately as well.

Geography - Our coop group is thinking of doing a full year Geography program, focusing on a different continent each session. This will be a GREAT way for the kids to learn about this in a group setting! I will be sure to post more about this as it develops as well.

Cultural Studies - In the fall we will be focusing on a Thanksgiving Unit that we got from Plimoth Plantation called Investigating the First Thanksgiving which helps to clarify what really happened at the first Thanksgiving and what it was really like for the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Then we will use several resources to dive deep into the cultures of Southeast Asia, Japan, and Mexico and Central America.

Science - We have a large mismatch group of things that KM really wants to cover for Science next year. We will be starting out with the Basher Series which looks like they are going to be rather enjoyable reading, then we will be using the MOS designed Engineering is Elementary Program, a variety of free electricity resources that we ordered from National Grid and a unit on Inventions and Inventors. We will also be supplementing with a new site that I found through Homeschool Buyers Co-op called Adaptive Curriculum. Once she has all these things done I think she will have a very good basis to start some of the higher level sciences.

Foreign Language Studies - We will be sticking with Latin next year and will be using Minimus Secundus: Moving on in Latin as well as Learning Latin Through Mythology. I am already seeing a huge improvement with KM's word recognition and decoding roots since we started the Minimus: Starting out in Latin.

Art - we will be using a program that looks really intriguing called Meet the Masters. KM is a bit nervous about having to reproduce masterpieces, but I think once she starts and sees that it is really more about the techniques that she will really enjoy the program!

Music - KM is still loving the keyboard so we will be continuing with Piano Adventures. I also came across this rather interesting classroom magazine called Music Alive and for $9 I got all 8 issues of this past years magazines, which feature a current artistic from a different genre each month. KM is so into music that I couldn't pass up a deal like that! We will also continue to utilize the incredible monthly content at Classics for Kids. I am seriously considering signing her up for private keyboard lessons, but I am worried that this may deter her natural drive that she seems to be following. She reads music incredibly and truly enjoys playing, so I will just wait and see if she starts to peak off or has trouble just using the books on her own.

So that is our 7th grade plan - I hope we will stick to it, but if you are a regular reader I would guess that bets are being placed as to when the first change will occur! It feels good to have it all laid out in front of me though and I think that I have found a really good balance of what KM wants and what CJ and I feel that she really NEEDS.
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