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.
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.
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.
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”.