I have to admit I was just a little bit (okay, a lotta bit) concerned about having a 7th grader this year. Junior high… almost high school. Yeah, there were a few freak out moments about homeschooling 7th grade. But I'm learning that there's no reason to be scared of these years - we still have to work, discuss, and find a routine and schedule (and curriculum!) that works for both us.
This post contains affiliate links.
First Term Review
We've finished our first term. (We homeschool in 6-week terms, taking a week off between each term. It's a schedule we've used for a few years now and it works so well. Having that week to catch up on housework, appointments, and other life tasks creates a nice natural routine.)
Things went well with a few bumps - which is to be expected!
7th Grade Homeschool Scheduling
I have to attribute much of our success to our schedule. It’s taken us awhile but we’ve found a routine that works for us. We aren’t strict about, it’s more like a general daily routine. Here’s what it looks like:
Wake up between 7:30-8:30 - use that time to wake up (we aren’t morning people here - lots of lying around trying to pry our eyes open). When we are sufficiently awake we get ourselves ready for the day, do a chore or two, and read our Bibles.
We’re ready to get breakfast and start our morning meeting around 9 am. I spend about 1-1 ½ hours a day with TJ, going over independent assignments, discussing subjects we work on together, and doing a bit of reading aloud while she works on a project.
After our morning meeting, she grabs her agenda with her assignment list and gets to work, tackling the subjects she does independently. This is my time to do a bit of housework, laundry, or meal prep.
Around 11:30 or 12pm we take a lunch break until 1 or 1:30 when we take a little time to sit and read. TJ chooses literature from a book basket and I read a good book (from The Well-Educated Mind list or something non-fiction). After our reading time, TJ gets back to work on her assignments while I do some online work.
Around 3:30 or 4pm we break for a short ‘tea time’, chat about the day, and TJ finishes up any last minute assignments (depending on how much she dawdled that day).
To finish out the day, we make sure all the homeschool things are put away before moving on to free time and dinner prep.
This fluid schedule works, largely in part because she’s reached a more independent stage. That’s not to say it’s without its bumps. I’ve been letting her tackle science on her own but we’ve discovered she’s just not ready for the textbook and workbook method without a little more preparation.
But we’re working on the issues and finding a good daily rhythm.
7th Grade Curriculu
Here’s the list of our major curriculum choices:
- CTC Math
- Art of Argument
- Visual Latin
- Rod & Staff English 7
- Megawords 5 & 6
- Writing & Rhetoric 4 & 5
- Story of the World, vol 3
- Apologia General Science
Our schedule! Giving TJ some independence is working well.
For the most part, our curriculum choices are working well. We've used some of them for a few years so have found a good rhythm that works for us.
History is going very well. We're following The Well-Trained Mind history plans for the Logic stage, using The Story of the World as our 'spine' and adding in outlining, a timeline, mapping, extra reading, writing, primary sources, and the occasional history project. I created a weekly history schedule and TJ follows that, doing the work almost completely independently.
I'm so glad we came back to Writing & Rhetoric. I wanted to try something different last year and it really didn't work for us so we are back to this series - and TJ is as happy as a clam. She loves the discussion, interaction, and creative lesson format.
What's Not Working
Independent science isn’t working so well. TJ's not used to a textbook-based science program and I made the mistake of just handing the book and workbook to her and told her to follow the schedule.
Well, that didn’t work so great! So we’ve backtracked and she sits beside me while she does the work semi-independently. We’ll work up to full independence at a slower rate when she's ready for it.
Finding the right balance
The middle school years are all about building independence. I've made some mistakes along the way - letting TJ have too much independence when she wasn't ready for it (I'm still learning that lesson!).
But these years are also about focusing on your relationship. Pretty soon, those little birds will be flying the coop and one of the many benefits of homeschooling is the opportunity to forge strong family relationships. Middle schoolers are going through big changes and it can affect the family. Sometimes homeschooling takes a bit of a back burner as you focus on forming those strong bonds.
Homeschooling Middle School
Are you homeschooling a middle school child? I'd love to hear how it's going for you!