Outside The Box Homeschooling // My Why & 2015-2016 7th Grade Curriculum Choices

I get a lot of questions from people when I tell them we are homeschooling our 7th grade son this year.  They are not the “why” questions, but the “how” questions. If you don’t already know, I work full time — outside the home. I’ve always had my children in public school and they have always done well. Did I have a desire to homeschool? Sure. I just never knew how to do it as a working mom. We have successfully graduated one child from public school, helped to graduate another from a homeschool setting (where I co-taught with a friend who showed me the homeschooling ropes), and I have another about to start her Sophmore year in public school.

Why did we make the decision to homeschool our 7th grade son?

My youngest son exhibits signs of ADHD just like my oldest. He was formally diagnosed about two years ago. We medicated, lightly for a while, but it really made no difference. We worked alongside teachers and counselors and put Section 504 plans in place to help him to be successful. But last year, in the 6th grade, we saw him slipping just a bit. He is a bright child, but is an auditory learner. So while he can read very well, it does not come easily. He can’t shut off his mind long enough to engage in a book. He struggles with comprehension and writing, among other things. We knew that if we sent him to middle school, we may very well be setting him up for failure in a setting where he’s not yet able to function both physically and emotionally without much frustration.

My son came to me in the 5th grade and asked to be homeschooled. How could I say no?

The beauty of homeschooling for us is that it does not have to look like it does for anyone else. The laws do not say “when” we have to school, just that we must school. So much of our “school time” will happen in the late afternoons or evenings, and possibly some weekends. I like that I can think outside the box when it comes to schooling my child, thus I chose the name “Outside the Box Homeschooling” for all things homeschooling on the blog and social media. I realize that my methods are completely unconventional, and that it will not be easy. But I am here to tell you that it can be done.


What about curriculum?

I am eclectic in my approach to homeschooling, which means I pull from a variety of resources, in order to create what I feel is a good fit for my child. Below are the initial choices we’ve made for our 7th grade curriculum. All is subject to change as we find out what works and what doesn’t.



We have chosen Saxon Math 6/5 this year. My son tested in at a lower level and I was a little concerned. But my homeschooling friends set my heart at ease and helped me to realize that it’s not so much about the grade level as it is what my son has mastered and when he is ready to move on.



My focus for science this year is creation. We will be using Christian Kids Explore Creation Science this year. I chose this curriculum for it’s bible-based view of creation, and because it appears easier than most of the other science curricula for his grade level. There is just enough reading and projects in this curriculum to keep my son interested in science, while at the same time allowing him a little breather before he begins the harder sciences next year.



I poured over countless history curriculums and was just not happy with the black and white, dry texts. I was so excited to find out that Answers in Genesis had a History Curriculum that I believe will keep my son engaged. We will be using America From the Beginning as our main text.  I love that this curriculum starts at creation.

Language Arts


This was a hard one for me. I just could not decide. My purpose for language arts is to keep my son’s grammar, vocabulary and spelling going strong. I’ve used LifePacs before so we are hoping LifePac Language Arts 6 will be a good fit.



Writing will be one of our main focuses this year. My son has struggled with writing because he struggles with comprehension, as well as just taking the time to slow down and think. I came across Essentials In Writing 6 and believe it will be a great fit for my son. He is auditory, and I believe he will really enjoy this DVD based curriculum.


My focus with literature this year will be to introduce some of the good ‘ole classics, as well as allow my son to choose a few books he’s interested in. We will most likely use audio books or read aloud together to assist with comprehension. We may or may not incorporate the literature resources from his history curriculum. My goal is to have my son fall in love with reading again.


My son has chosen Cooking as his elective this year. He loves all things Food Network and has expressed an interest in culinary school. I could not find a ready made culinary curriculum, so we will be making it up as we go along. I will be sure to keep you up to date as to our progress.

Physical Education

Between swimming lessons, recreational basketball, climbing the stairs and co-op outings, we will have more than enough to keep my son active physically throughout the week.

Foreign Language/Arts

We have opted to put this off until at least next year, possibly waiting until high school. I do not want to overwhelm either of us as we begin this new journey.

Over the next weeks I hope to answer some of your questions about the “how’s” of our homeschooling. If you have a specific question  you’d like answered, you can leave it in the comments.

I hope you will follow along in our journey as we homeschool “outside the box”.



Seeking beauty in the ordinary and embracing life to the fullest. Thank you for stopping by and come again soon!

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17 Responses

  1. June says:

    Your son is truly blessed! As you say, this won’t be easy, but God will provide the strength and He will honor and bless your obedience. Praying for you in this new season, my friend.

  2. Nita says:

    From one working parent to another – homeschooling gives us flexibility, more time with our kiddos, teaches them independence, and slows us down for a different perspective. We are also using Saxon this year. We got a deal on CTCMath and are using that as a supplement to review facts like Fractions we just can’t seem to retain, lol! Hope you have a great school year.
    Nita recently posted..Morphing Into What Works

    • Barbie says:

      Nita, I am so thankful you stopped by. I’ve been looking for blogs to follow of other working homeschooling parents. Looking forward to following your journey.

  3. Barbie, have you ordered a DIVE cd to go with your Saxon Math? My son did their pre-algebra last year and the cd was a life saver, and where your son is an auditory learner it would be perfect for him. It goes in the computer, and the teacher is writing on a smart board while the kid listens to him teaching the lesson. Joel listened to his cd and then I went over the Lesson Practice questions with him. If he was on-track, he went ahead and did the thirty Lesson Review questions. If he couldn’t do the Practice questions, we went back over the lesson together. That guy on the cd was my hero last year.
    Michele Morin recently posted..Your Story Matters

    • Barbie says:

      Thanks Michele! I’ve been looking for a used copy of the current CD. It’s about $50 new, but since I still have the Writing program to purchase, I haven’t been able to get it yet. Hopefully on will turn up! Blessings!

  4. Barbie, I just want to add another note of encouragement. I was a teacher for over 20 years – both public and private schools – and I can tell you adapting curriculum for your child is the absolute best way to go.

    I applaud you for the decision to home school. No matter what public or private schools say (or the teachers in them), it is sadly impossible anymore to teach to an individual child’s needs. I’m certain your son will flourish in the home school environment you provide.
    Susan Irene Fox recently posted..Capillaries

    • Barbie says:

      Susan, thank you so much for your encouragement. Our first week went very well. He only had 2 classes. Next week will be the real test with a nearly full load, with writing to add in a week or two.

  5. Carrie says:

    I’ll be cheering for you both on the sidelines! Proud of you for answering the call to homeschool your son. One day he’ll understand all the hours you studied and researched for his education…and he will know how much he is loved and cherished.
    Carrie recently posted..I Almost Called It Quits

    • Barbie says:

      Thank you for allowing me to lean on you during all of my late night Facebook messages. I miss those. I’m going to have to think of a way to continue leaving you my nightly love notes 🙂

  6. I didn’t home school, but I admire those who do. Kudos to you for adapting to your son’s needs and for your creativity in finding non-traditional hours.
    Constance Ann Morrison recently posted..The Teeth (and Claws) of the Lion

  7. Brenda says:

    Prayers for a great year for y’all, Barbie. 🙂
    We’re beginning our 13th year of homeschooling, (won’t be starting until after Labor day because mama needed a longer break. 🙂 )
    Hope that you all fall into a rhythm that works well for your family, and that you love it. 🙂
    Brenda recently posted..Who Do You Think You Are Anyway?

    • Barbie says:

      Thank you Brenda. I considered starting after Labor Day, but since daughter started when she did I figured why not. We are easing into it. Have a blessed weekend.

  8. Mindy says:

    Prayers for you as your family begins a new school year. We did a half year of half day home school (she went the first three periods of the day and did the other classes at home) to get our daughter through a rough patch in junior high and then she went back full time the next year. As parents, you see things in your child that the school sometimes misses and her anxiety level was through the roof. The part time home school kept us all from the edge. So grateful for God’s grace to see us ALL through the rough patches!
    Mindy recently posted..Never stop singing

    • Barbie says:

      I love the flexibilty homeschooling provides to meet the needs of each individual child. So thankful you had the opportunity. Blessings!

  9. Barbie, My heart goes out to you as you embark on this new adventure with your son in homeschooling and as a working, homeschooling mom. My son has autism and we haven’t been able to find a Junior High that will “fit” his needs so I am homeschooling him this year. It will be a challenge I know but we are going through a Charter School where we get all of the materials and meet with them a few times a month. My son is all about structure, schedule, routine…I am the opposite….complete opposite. I do things as they come and really have no rhyme or reason to my madness. I will be praying for you my friend. Much Love and God Bless ~Shannan
    shannan williams recently posted..Centralia by Mike Dellosso (my review)

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