Inside Our Homeschool After 12 Weeks (7th Grade)
We have been schooling for 12 weeks now and I can say we have hit a good groove . . . I think . . . but I probably shouldn't even say that or I might jinx the good thing we have going . . . My new 7th grader had a huge jump in curriculum and I will say the first four weeks were in straight out panic mode. At week five, I had to have a discussion with the director of our entire classical program for a bit of guidance as my head was beginning to swim with the amount of work. (she was drowning)
I was really hoping to be able to send my 7th grader to her desk or table or an area where she really could move herself along in her schedule throughout the day and the week. That simply was not happening and I was still needing to keep her on track at every task.
Also, since my 7th grader had such a huge increase in her work load as well as the curriculum itself is actually at a high school and college level, she is desperately in need of my assistance with her school work. After speaking with the director, we decided to give the option to take some classes as audit classes or simply drop one of them altogether.
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My middle child has this amazing spirit where she will literally give 100% +++ of her being in all the tasks that are presented to her. School work included. Week Five proved a turning point for her and week six seemed to just flow so much better. Each week that has passed since week five has been smoother than the week prior. Alleluia!
This week was workload heavy and she has five - FIVE - essays and/or papers due next Monday. needless to say, she obviously saved them all for the last day, Friday. I refuse to school on the weekends, I literally will make my girls work late into a Friday evening so I don't have to assist or do any "homework" on the weekends.
I'm happy to say that my 7th grader has been renewed and lifted in spirit and just works her little heart out to get her work done. I hear so much less complaining and she realizes the fruits of her labor because comprehension is up. I really thought she was going to be missing out on some valid learning this year with the rough start we had, but she has really focused and put all her attention back on school and is once again excited about learning.
Here's where we are so far this year:
I was sort of ready to throw in the towel after last year with Math. I would spend weeks trying to explain concepts to my daughter and in the end I hired a tutor because I just couldn't torture her or myself any longer. Over the summer, I have always schooled in Math, but this past summer I did absolutely nothing. I gave her a 12 week hiatus from Math. Perhaps this is what she needed because when we started Math this year, she knew what I was talking about.
I did chuck the Saxon Math 7/6 and we jumped right into Saxon Algebra 1/2 . (I moved my 5th grader into this book as well because I was not going to teach two different Math curriculum this year). I don't know if it is the competition of not being bested by her younger sister or if all these concepts are actually up there and they finally decided to pop out --- but, she is getting Math this year! Alleluia!!
We began our study of Latin in 3rd grade using Logos Latin 1, which was great and worked well. Our consortium used a Latin book written by an instructor at the school and my daughter used this curriculum for Grade 4 (Logos latin 2) and Grade 5 (Logos Latin 3). The first two years using the book were frustrating, but do-able and last year was literally aggravating and a complete waste of time and so many tears. The book was awful and everyone complained about it, even the teacher.
My daughter had the same exact teacher for three years in a row for Latin and I have to say this year she has a new teacher and I am so overjoyed! I really think students need different teachers and not the same teacher year after year, especially if they are struggling in a subject. This year, we are using Visual Latin and it is a breath of fresh air. My daughter loves it and breezes right through all her exercises.
We've used The Story of the World previously, which we all loved, but our Consortium uses The Mystery of History: MOH, so that is what we used. Since my 7th grader moved up a level this year, she will no longer be using MOH and has moved on to Omnibus II: Church Fathers Through the Reformation . This will be my second year teaching this as my son had used this curriculum when he was in 7th grade. I found it interesting the first time around and really enjoyed reading and rereading some of the classic literature.
My daughter on the other hand does not enjoy this class at all and the only book she has enjoyed thus far is The Nine Tailors. Eusebius, Saint Augustine, The Church History, Confessions, and On the Incarnation Saint Athanasius have not held her interest at all. I have either read these to myself and summarized for her, read them to her aloud or found an audio version of the books for her to listen to - which I still have to explain to her when she is done listening. This is the one class that was under consideration to drop completely. But, my daughter wanted to stick with it as she was enjoying The Nine Tailors at week 6. Now, at week 12, reading the On the Incarnation is once again slowly killing her and me along with it!
The issue my daughter has is she has difficulty analyzing the books assigned because they don't interest her. While they are great learning resources, she has yet to make that connection in her mind and how these books relate to History. I'm connecting the dots for her, but this is something that takes many hours a week for us. I would have been happy if she dropped this class and I would have found something else like American History, but she wanted to continue. We will see how the semester ends.
Here are the reminder of the books to read: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Song of Roland, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Dante, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Bondage of Will, Bede, Beowulf, and Macbeth.
We are using Apologia General Science again this year, the same as my son used in 7th grade. He didn't enjoy it and neither does my daughter. This saddens me because we have been a HUGE Science STEM loving family from the very beginning of our home educating journey. I'm not sure what the teacher does during class time as I really don't think they have enough time (50 minutes) and the teacher is trying to fit in as many labs as she can and the lecture.
This book is not a good fit for us - plainly said. My daughter does not like this textbook and the content in not laid out well in the book or the General Science Student notebook journal. The teacher is assigning every single page in the notebooking journal and it feels like busy work now. She is assigning additional work to supplement how bad the book is (in my opinion). But I wish she would eliminate some of the journal and just create these worksheets and various assignments.
We have loved all the grammar level Apologia books up to this point, but Apologia General Science is boring and factual and general. I think the issue is my daughter misses the singular focus on one area. I am going to supplement -- if I can find the time with some other material I have here at home -- which is the same thing I did with my son in 7th grade as this material was just not interesting - just factual.
My daughter is literally the least logical thinker ever! She is usually thinking about animals and rainbows and what to eat. So, I was pretty worried she would despise this class. In the beginning of the semester, she was a bit scared off by all the terms, but once I sat with her and really explained in great detail what Logic was and how to begin thinking logically -- she has spread her wings and just GETS logic! I do have to read the textbook, An Introduction to Formal Logic , to her and help her with her exercises, but for the most part, she answers everything correctly with minimal direction now.
This class is a new class for my daughter, she has always used God's Great Covenant for the past four years and we all love this curriculum. But this year, the Logic level students do a bit more and Church History delivers. The beginning of the semester threw her off a bit, but she is settling into this class well. While the book selected, Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity by Mark Noll is a college level book and my daughter can't even read it -- she is grasping the content once I explain it all to her. Plus, she has an amazing teacher who is excited about teaching Church History to the students.
The great thing about this book and this class is my daughter is making connections with the material to other subjects and with the history she is learning in catechism. We will see how second semester goes.
We are using Classical Composition: Fable , Classical Composition II: Narrative, Classical Composition III: Chreia/Maxim , Classical Composition IV: Refutation/Confirmation as this is what our consortium uses. My daughter is an avid journal writer and writing papers is easy for her. She has the same teacher as last year and I'm not sure if she will see any growth due to this, but I am hopeful.
My daughter doesn't like direction when writing, but these books do give her the necessary skills and tools she needs in order to become a better writer.
All in all, I think we are managing well and finding our pace. I don't know if we will continue at the consortium next year because the curriculum is not the best fit for my daughter. There is so much out there that I think would be so much better for her, but I just don't have the time to fit it in because we have so much busy work from the consortium assigns this year.
She has no interest to attend a public or private school and wants to continue to home school through high school and God willing, I will teach her if that is what she wants and where God keeps leading me. But I do think this will be our last year at the consortium, at least for her . . . and this summer I plan to have a planning weekend away with her so we can figure out what plan of action she needs going forward.
We are going to adjust accordingly and I hopefully can stop questioning myself every two days "Am I doing the right thing" "Am I making the right decision keeping her here" "Am I forcing too much" "Am I not doing enough"????