Earlier this school year, after my husband and I decided that we were definitely withdrawing our children from public school, I was researching homeschool curriculum and had such a hard time finding information about middle school and high school options. There is so much information out there for preschooler, kindergarten, and elementary school ages, but there isn’t a whole lot about the middle and upper level grades. I’d like to share with you our curriculum choices for our 7th grader in hope it may help other mamas out there that are in the same boat I was in just a few short months ago.
What we chose: For History, Bible, and Literature (HBL) we used Sonlight. I cannot say enough good things about Sonlight. I am going to make a separate blog post all about it because I have so much to say on that subject. But anyway, we chose HBL level D+E which is 2 year American History condensed into one year. It is recommended for ages 9-12, so I could have bumped him up to a different more advance level, but I chose this level because #1: he is very interested in American History and I knew he would enjoy studying it for his first year homeschooling and #2: his 5th grade brother could join in on this level, too. I loved this because we could all read together, learn together, and discuss opinions and ideas regarding American History together.
What we thought: My kids and I really enjoyed the HBL from Sonlight. We read so many wonderful books about so many amazing people and time periods in America’s history. So not only are the kids learning about history, they’re exposing themselves to good writing which in turn helps them to become good writers. The bible program got my kids into the Word every single morning. They always read their bible first thing. Not only is that a great way to start the day, but reading the Word first thing in the morning is an excellent discipline to have. Sonlight’s Instructors Guide also gives comprehension/discussion questions about the history they learned about that day and vocabulary and discussion questions about the books they read that day, too. The verdict is that my middle schooler loved it and I did, too! Two thumbs way up.
What we chose: For math, we used the Pre-Algebra level of Math U See. If you haven’t heard if it before, Math U See comes with a workbook, teachers book, and an instructional DVD. The student watches the DVD lesson for the section and then they have about 3 pages of practice work, 3 pages of review, a chapter test, and even honors pages if your student would like to take their learning a little bit further.
What we thought: My son really enjoyed this math program. Each lesson was very thorough and he really didn’t struggle with any of the concepts that were taught. It was easy and painless to use, which is always a plus. Reviewing previously taught material for a few pages each chapter really kept the concepts fresh in his mind. I would definitely recommend this program!
What we chose: For Science we chose Sonlight’s Science Level E. Level E goes over electricity and magnetism, astronomy and space, and a little bit of chemistry, technology, and early American life. The kit comes with several books, student activity worksheets, the box of supplies (that has virtually everything you need for the experiments), and a Discover and Do DVD so the student can watch the experiment performed either before, during, or after trying the experiment themselves. There is assigned reading 4 days a week and an experiment 1 day a week.
What we thought: This Science program was great. We used it for both my 5th and 7th grade sons and they both loved it. My 7th grader really enjoys Science and this was his favorite subject to do each day. I know that worksheets can turn some parents or students off, but there were only about 2-4 questions everyday. Sonlight also includes notes in their Instructor Guides about discussions you may want to have with your children regarding topics that come up in Science that may conflict with your own beliefs on things like young world vs. old world or evolution. I found that really great and it encouraged great discussions with my children.
What we chose: For LA we chose Sonlight’s LA level D+E. This LA program comes with the Instructor’s Guide and the student activity sheets. This LA level utilized a lot of the text from the books we were reading in our HBL for the dictation and writing assignments. Each week the student goes over different grammar and writing concepts . My son isn’t the best at spelling, so we also used Spelling You See’s Americana level along with the LA program.
What we thought: Ok, you know how they say that things that come easy to you are the hardest for you to teach? Well for me, thats English. English was the area both of my children were most behind in when I pulled them from public school. They never learned cursive except for the little bit my husband and I taught them, their grammar was sorely lacking, and they didn’t write well at all. This LA program that we used was effective. Both of my kiddos progressed by leaps and bounds this year. However, while this LA program was very effective, my children didn’t find it very interesting. Is there more interesting LA programs out there for the middle school age? I’m not sure since we’re pretty new to homeschooling. But that is my honest opinion. Now that being said, would I use it again? Yes.
These core subjects took my 7th grader about 2.5 hours a day to complete. He also had some electives (Music, Logic, Typing, Life Skills, etc) that were spaced throughout the school year. In addition to these subjects, we also joined a local co-op and did Art and PE with them a few times a month.
So there you have it. That was our curriculum for our 7th grade school year and I couldn’t have asked for a better year.
What about you? Do you have a curriculum that you absolutely love? Are you currently searching for middle school curriculum? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Disclaimer: I purchased all of his curriculum with my own money and I’m not endorsed or paid by Sonlight, I just really love their program and their company!! However, if you click on the links I posted and you do end up purchasing from them, I do get points for referring you, and you get $5 off an order of $50 or more. This has no influence on my recommendation, though!