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Middle school curric. that best replicates the English/Reading on the SAT/ACT?


homeschoolally
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I appreciate all the feedback I get here as I make curriculum decisions-thanks in advance!

 

Trying to simplify our homeschool for a 2E 6th grader. I feel like I've wasted far too much time in the past working on skills that he won't use in High School/College. Now that I'm reading the English and Reading sections in ACT/SAT study guides, I find that not only are we not preparing for these types of questions, we are actually working on skills that might hinder my DS.

 

He is very literal, black/white (Aspergers) about what we learn so its especially important to do things 'right' (from my POV in these two subjects 'right' is well enough to test well on these subjects and do HS/College papers--he has special needs that make doing the usual well-rounded approach impractical) from the beginning--not backtrack later when its time for the test. That time is rapidly approaching because he's taking it for the first time as a 7th grader.

 

Just as an example, we've spent lots of energy using IEW to develop his writing skills with dress-ups, and I see now that a huge part of the English test is picking the choice that is the least 'wordy' and straightforward. For a typical student this wouldn't be a big deal, but in his case it will really throw him off. Our school-time is very limited, because he works very slowly, so I can't afford time-wise to cover everything. In LArts, I'd like to really zero in on what will be on these tests and the basic essay/research paper.

 

So my basic question is, what middle school Language Arts curriculum best covers the skills needed for the SAT/ACT? To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, I like the practice in the ACT study guides--but because the passages are written at the college level it seems impractical to do that on a daily basis right now. I'd love the same kind of material, but at a lower reading level. Does such a thing exist? :001_smile:

Thanks for any ideas!

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I think it would be far more interesting to NOT prepare for the test and see how he does. It seems like a waste of time to me to try to prepare a 6th grader fr a test he will need 4 yrs from now.

 

I guess my question didn't come out the way I meant it--what I mean is not that I'm specifically drilling him for the test now, but that I don't want the time we spend on Language Arts (which is very minimal now because we spend so much time on other subjects) to be as broad as the other LA curriculums we've used in the past because so many of those skills are irrelevant to both the tests and what he needs for HS/College work. I don't want to spend any more time doing things that aren't helpful for HS/College English or the SAT/ACT.

 

I like the ACT/SAT practice guides because they focus on the basics. In the past we've done these broad curriculums that do narrative writing, poetry, deep grammar skills etc. that were not a good investment of our time. They may be great for other kids, but in our case we have to narrow things down in this subject.

 

Basically, the skills on the ACT/SAT like usage/mechanics, sentence structure are what I consider to be the 'meat' of a LA curriculum, and I only want the 'meat' because of his learning issues. I've found in reading up on these tests, that the method students use to study for them meets the our needs--simple, straightforward--what a college-bound student needs--without all the extra material. It looks to me that we could do one passage per week and cover all the bases he needs for a basic Language Arts study.

 

In the case of Language Arts, for this student, the skills needed for those tests are the ones I consider most important--not specifically to do well on the test, but for general English proficiency. Thats all I want in this subject--no fluff.

 

FWIW, in response to your specific suggestion--I'm not specifically trying to prepare him to ace the test, I am just trying to narrow down our LA study to the bare minimum. We're all preparing our kids for the test unless we quit doing LArts all together--and in our case, we're only studying LArts about a half hour a week anyway. Hope that makes more sense! :001_smile: Also, in our case this student may need to graduate early so I have to consider this stuff earlier than some other moms. We have some unusual circumstances that make decisions like this different from the typical student. I guess I should have made that more clear in my original post, so it wouldn't be misunderstood as some crazed mom trying to drill an 11 year old for the SAT! I just didn't want it to get so bogged down with details that the original question got muddied, and its also hard to briefly explain the situation. I used the term 2E to cover it, but I forget some people might not be familar with that. Basically it means he has both significant learning disabilities and significant giftedness--so we have to take a much different route than the average student.

Edited by homeschoolally
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My oldest is in 7th grade and will be taking the ACT through DUKE TIP this winter. We got a practice book and by looking at what's covered, I am glad we did a lot of editing practice. We use Daily Paragraph Editing by Evan Moor.

 

We have also always written a short summary of our history reading. I think this has been helpful. I'm also glad I have insisted on "assigned" reading rather than letting her read whatever she wanted. Her assigned reading is often a little more challenging that what she would choose on her own. Since she hasn't actually taken the test yet, I can't say for certain these things have made a difference, but she has done well on the practice tests.

 

HTH,

Karen

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