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  1. #1

    Default Curriculum recommendations - overwhelmed!

    I live in Texas and am brand new to the concept of homeschooling. But I recently got the tuition bill for my kids private school next year and it’s just ridiculous. And public school is not an option. I’m completely overwhelmed by all the options for and am looking for help finding the right curriculum.

    My son is 11 and going into 7th grade. He is smart, as no learning issues, and is a self starter. I never in a million years thought homeschooling would be an option until I saw how well he is doing during the COVID-19 situation, where his school has him doing most of his work by himself at home.

    Based on my research so far, I’ve come across two main options in homeschooling. One is where you enroll your kid in a virtual school, and they handle all the curriculum and teaching. All reviews I’ve read of these types of programs are overwhelmingly bad. The teachers are bad, they drown your kid in work, the technology has constant issues, and others. This leads me to belief that the second main option, getting curriculum and teaching your kid yourself, is the better option. I really need help. Here’s my wish list in a curriculum:

    1. We don’t want to unschool or embrace any out of the box schooling methods. I want something at home as close to the content he’d get in school, but self paced.
    2. I want him to actually learn the material, not just memorize.
    3. I don’t want him drowning in homework.
    4. At an absolute minimum we want math, reading, writing and science.
    5. Ideally it would be a curriculum that he could handle on his own with minimal input from parents. Of course we’d be there to answer questions and grade work. Whether it’s pre-recorded or live lectures, online or print, we just want it to work and actually teach him the material.
    6. We haven’t completely ruled out online virtual school, if someone can recommend one that isn’t a nightmare scenario as the reviews make it seem.

    Thanks for your help!

    EDIT: To clarify, when I say curriculum, I mean materials, as in company x has good materials (books, worksheets, webcasts, etc) for topic y. I'm not asking what specifically I should be teaching him.
    Last edited by homeschoolcurious; 05-21-2020 at 03:15 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Welcome, and hugs about the stress of finding that the private school wont work for you next year.

    Youre right that those virtual things are pretty bad.

    Homeschooling success happens when you the parent take responsibility for the material, and its suitable for your kid. This doesnt mean a ton of work for you!

    I also hear that you want something pretty traditional, and that your son works well independently. That is all doable! If you are paying attention and following up with his work, you will have a good idea how well he is learning the material.

    As far as specific recommendations go, you will probably have the best success by picking separate products for each subject area. For your first year, and because seventh grade isnt a high stakes, gotta look good on his college transcript, why not let him pick a science topic he is interested in? A google search for “middle school (astronomy, botany, physics, etc)” should give you a few options that look good.
    If Texas teaches specific sciences and social studies in 7th grade and you want to stick with that, that is an option too.
    Find his level for math (there should be free placement ‘tests’), and what sort of math works best for him.
    With most of homeschooling, it will take a bit of trial to find out what works best. Dont buy anything too expensive!
    For language arts, where is he at, what does he need improvement with, what do you want him to be working at? Sentence diagramming or literature analysis? Spelling or 5 paragraph essay formats?
    One of the great things about homeschooling is that you can hone in on the areas where he needs work (or loves), and skip unnecessary stuff. You can also modify anything you purchase to suit your situation! (another reason to avoid those generic, online virtual schools!)

    There are plenty more recommendations to be made, I just an unable without knowing more about what you hope your son will be learning about.

    There is no generic 7th grade curriculum, and if there was, your kid isnt generic!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

    Default

    Welcome.

    AM has given lots of good advice.

    My DD is 11 (turning 12 in July). We have been homeschooling for almost 4 years but had to change things up this year as she reached the end of the math curriculum she was using.

    So these are some of the curricula we are using if you want ideas of some places you could go look:
    Math: Jousting Armadillos (my daughter loves this), Art of Problem Solving Prealgebra (good on this some days but it is quite dry so needs a break, hence the mix of math curricula), a general Year 8 (equivalent to US grade 7) math workbook that I picked up at a book store. She does 2 days per week of each of Jousting Armadillos and Prealgebra and 1 day per week of the math workbook. The Jousting Armadillos is for interesting math and creative thinking, the Prealgebra is for challenge, and the workbook is to check we are on par with what she would be doing at school. Our plan is for this to take her 2 years to get through (she is only the equivalent of US grade 6 this year), but I think she will finish Jousting Armadillos part way through this year, so we will go onto the next book in that series. She self-teaches out of all of these, unless she comes across something she does really not understand and then I go through it with her. Otherwise, I just mark and have a discussion about it with her so she explains it to me to help cement the learning and so I can pick up anything she might have misunderstood.

    Taught writing technique/skills: DD is liking Editor-in-Chief and Building Writing Skills. She also works through these independently. As an extra, she wants to learn cursive, so she has worked through the Handwriting Without Tears cursive books and now she does The Draw Write Now/Draw Your World books with her little sister (the younger one does it in printing and DD11 does it in cursive).

    Other writing: we have a list of writing tasks that are accepted for daily writing, mostly gleaned from the Bravewriter lifestyle and the Build Your Library narration cards. There is a long list of these and I don't have time to write them down now, but could later if you are interested.

    Reading: We come up with lists from a range of sources, such as general browsing at the library, recommendations from the librarians, lists at Bravewriter and Build Your Library, and other online lists. She just reads for a set time each day. We do not do any great analysis of her reading at this stage. At the most, we just discuss what she is reading, what she likes and dislikes about it, the plot, and she sometimes uses it for copywork or a narration tasks for her writing.

    Science: interest based. I have tried multiple times to make this more formal by following a curriculum but it always tends to suck the fun out of it (this is coming from someone who loves science so much they did a PhD in it). But if you are after a curriculum, you could look at Pandia Press, of the ones we have done from them, Physics was a lot more fun than Chemistry or Biology. This was at the lower grade levels though, and I have not tried their science for older grade levels.
    New Zealand-based freelance science copyeditor. Homeschooling DD 11 (year 7) and DD 6 (year 2).

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Curriculum recommendations - overwhelmed!