I've been thinking about next year for my daughter's 8th grade and my sons prek. I'm horrible with piecing together things and keeping up the scheduling my daughter needs. My son should be pretty easy, but my daughter, she is tough. The first four years we started homeschooling we used a package curriculum, my daughter loved it. She loved the schedule and knowing when and what she will be doing. Well during the fourth grade year the curriculum let me down, let her down, and we started looking for pieces that we could do to make our curriculum. Well fifth grade didn't go well, sixth grade was better, but still not working. Again this year for seventh grade, things work but things don't.
Sonlight History - Sort of works
Sonlight readers with Lightning literature - Sort of works, maybe a little too much reading.
Mr Q's Advanced Chemistry - Did not work out
Great Science Adventures: Discovering Atoms, Molecules, and Matter - Works wonderfully
Essentials in Writing grade 7 - Sort of workds
Life of Fred Pre Algebra 1 and 2 with Lial's PreAlgebra - Did not work
Saxon 8/7 - Works wonderfully
Winston Grammar - Works
All About Spelling - Works
I'm just afraid to do this all over again next year and I have no idea what I would put in for History, Literature and composition, and Science. Then having to schedule it out. Then adding in my son's stuff.
I've looked at different things Calvert, Sonlight again (used secular), or Oakmeadow, just to make things more simple for me. I just don't know anymore.
In working with more than one, I tended to go for programs that didn't have to be scheduled out in which my guys to work through sequentially like Switched on Schoolhouse, Thinkwell, Math-U-See, etc. The programs just let your child do the next lesson, which is helpful. I did a lot of scheduling out too, but was able to minimize it by using some programs that were laid out lesson-by-lesson.
I feel that I'm finally content with what we use and how we schedule. That said, I am still very open to change things when needed. My ds is also in 7th grade now. I found that keeping things simple, interesting, and fun is the best way he learns. Here's what we use:
Saxon Math Algebra 1/2: I just love Saxon and ds thankfully does, too. He uses a whiteboard & markers to work out the problems. We do this 4 days/week, 1 hr/day. For 8th grade we plan on using Saxon Algebra 1.
Lightning Literature 7: So far, so good with this. We read Rikki Tikki Tavi and now we're on Tom Sawyer. Each reading section has vocabulary, comprehension questions, and at the end, there are lots of writing exercises (and some puzzles) to choose from. We do this 4 days/week, 1 hr/day. For 8th grade we plan on using LL8. (Just an aside: my 17 y/o dd was unschooled from 3rd to 8th grades. In 9th grade she was accepted to one of the top high schools in the country - many celebrity children go there. Every writing assignment got an A. This is without ever having any formal writing instruction AT ALL. She's graduating this June, btw. One of her best friends, also unschooled and went to high school, is currently on the Honor Roll. So, I hope this helps you relax a bit, lol).
K12 Human Odyssey 1: This is interesting and enjoyable. We just read and discuss. We do this once a week for 45 minutes. We plan on using the 2nd and 3rd books in this series as well, completing them before 9th grade.
World Physical Geography (Runkle): We like this. It's full of interesting info, it has activites, and comprehension questions. It gets right to the point and ds likes it. We do this once a week for 45 minutes. I plan on carrying this into 8th grade as well.
Holt Physical Science: Love this. We just switched from Apologia, which wasn't working. This text is so fun to read, has lots of activities and labs, and comes with a teachers guide cd rom, and a chapter resource cd rom. It's like a breath of fresh air and ds likes science again! I plan on carrying this over into 8th grade as well.
In addition to bookwork, a lot of history, geography, and science are also covered in the many field trips we go on. We dropped spelling and grammar, incorporating those into any reading and writing. Also, our academic day begins around 11am and we're done by 1 or 2. It's the perfect amount of time for ds to get formal seatwork done without pooping out and losing interest. I believe this is why he retains just about everything we cover.
The rest of his week is full of technology (he creates web servers, makes tutorial videos, etc), muay thai boxing classes, scouts, Confirmation prep classes, field trips, homeschool group activities, fine art, music, practical arts (finance, home/car repair, cooking), etc. Remember, everything counts toward their education - even the things you are not directly teaching, overseeing, or involved in. Don't let scheduling stress you out. :)
Well the things that flat out didn't work were to hard for my daughter to complete. The Advanced Chemistry my daughter had no idea what she was doing after chapter 4 or 5, the math was more than she could handle. The LoF and Lial's PreAlgebra moved way to fast for her.
Just curious on why it's not working? What's happening?
Somethings we stick with, like the history, since it's sort of working. Somethings we changed like Math and Science, since we had a little extra and I got a gift card that covered it completely. Usually we have no choice but to stick with what doesn't work, which leads to frustration and arguing and trying to figure out how to make it work.
I'd love to have back up plans but at middle school I can't find things cheap that would work best for how my daughter learns. She reads and is verbal for answers, writing for her is a chore. She also learns by hands on, as long as it's creating, but I'm not crafty and I can't put together anything that would help my daughter, I've tried.
What do you do when it is not working? Do you stick it out or change gears? I suggest having a back up plan for everything. I use living books for history.
I'm sorry, I'm not much help. My oldest is in 6th, I have four, and we aren't so academically advanced as all that.
This is what we are doing...
Math: Math U See for each of them, then some group math challenges, logic problems, whiteboard math, and math games both online and board games.
Science: Apologia Anatomy and exploring the extra websites and extra resources from the library.
Social Studies: Rod and Staff: Heritage of North America (5th grade). We do this together but add in art projects, notebooking, and extra reading for deeper learning.
Spelling (rod and staff 6) hit and miss, more for fun because my kids are natural spellers and spelling/word games.
Grammer/english: Rod & Staff 4th and 6th grade levels. Madlibs and other misc. grammar stuff including games.
Literature/reading/writing: Currently,. we are just reading some stuff aloud because of being so busy, however, after Christmas we are starting a heavy 7th grade literature text (with workbooks and more!) from Pearson. We are also currently doing the NaNoWriMo (novel writing challenge) this month and finishing up the workbook to work with it.
They are also doing...
Art, Drama, Bible Quizzing, and more.
How are you at typing up a schedule on the computer? I am writing our own school work. We use encyclopedic reference books, historical reference books, world reference books, old old school books, and I use a whiteboard to write down a daily, a weekly and a monthly schedule. Then I help whenever however I am needed.