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Colleen in SEVA

What do "seventh grade" and "ninth grade" look like to you?

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I briefly taught first grade and fifth grade, so I have a picture in my head of where someone in either one of those grades is at academically. Ok, OBVIOUSLY there is a huge range of normal within either one of those, but generally speaking MOST kids are at a certain place (not talking about the outliers).

 

I am not sure what the upper grades look like, though. What would you consider to be within the "normal" (however you choose to define that) range for seventh grade and/or ninth grade?

 

And YES, I know that grade levels don't really matter in homeschool, and of course I teach to where my kids are actually AT rather than what grade label I put on them, but I think it is perfectly healthy and fine to have a general sense of where he would be expected to be if he were in school (this comment is to hopefully prevent some of the snarkiness other posters have received when asking similar questions). :)

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I briefly taught first grade and fifth grade, so I have a picture in my head of where someone in either one of those grades is at academically. Ok, OBVIOUSLY there is a huge range of normal within either one of those, but generally speaking MOST kids are at a certain place (not talking about the outliers).

 

I am not sure what the upper grades look like, though. What would you consider to be within the "normal" (however you choose to define that) range for seventh grade and/or ninth grade?

 

And YES, I know that grade levels don't really matter in homeschool, and of course I teach to where my kids are actually AT rather than what grade label I put on them, but I think it is perfectly healthy and fine to have a general sense of where he would be expected to be if he were in school (this comment is to hopefully prevent some of the snarkiness other posters have received when asking similar questions). :)

 

I only have a moment.

 

One of the big hallmarks is that they can be assigned a book (historical fiction, non-fiction or a chapter in a history or science text), read it and be ready to talk about it. They have hopefully moved beyond needing to have me walk them through each page or section.

 

They are able to write a paragraph to several paragraphs about a topic.

 

They are able to read through a math lesson, understand it, work the problems and then ask for help if they need it. (I don't "teach" math lessons anymore at this level unless they are struggling with a concept.)

 

Something I'm still working on but hope to have pounded into them over the next year is how to follow a syllabus or chapter checklist. Right now, I keep finding that they have left assignments undone in their online classes or that they have neglected assignments in coop class. This is a combination of using the checklists they have and time management.

 

I also expect them to have more opinions and an ability to discuss different conclusions about what they have read. To be able to have a back and forth about a topic without just parroting a book (or a parent) and without getting upset that someone doesn't agree with them all of the time.

 

Hope this helps a little.

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In general, students develop the abstract thinking and logic portions of the brain around age 13-14. Some develop earlier -- age 12; a few later -- age 15-16. Abstract thinking/logic is used heavily in Algebra, Logic, and analysis (literary and film analysis; making historical connections; science labs/analysis/connections). Why I bring this up is that this really needs to be taken into consideration in planning for your students -- there is still a pretty big development curve in grades 7, 8, 9, 10, so what is "average" is a pretty wide field.

Another thing to keep in mind is that girls tend to mature sooner than boys. In addition, adolescent and puberty are huge factors to take into account -- bodies are changing and growing fast, hormones are raging, and all of it takes away from abilities to focus, remember, deal with complex/analytical/abstract subjects.

So... with all of the above as my explanation, this is just my very "big picture" set of expectations for an *average* student, depending on the individual student's mental and physical development:

grades 7-8 (ages 12-14)
- solidify foundational skills
- you still go over the teaching instruction portion of the lesson with the student (i.e., average student not reading/learning/doing completely independent of you)
- you heavily guide discussions/analysis (Literature, Science, Logic, History, etc.)
- you are heavily involved in writing revisions, and with helping in initial writing organization/brainstorming and structuring of paragraphs or papers
- note: beginning hormonal changes which will affect schooling

gr. 8-9 (ages 13-15)
- begin to transition into high school amounts of work, study skills, responsibilities (i.e., some areas still at middle school level, others at high school level)
- depending on the student, beginning to hand off some instruction to the student to do independently (areas that are typically more complex, such as math and science, the average student probably still wants some interaction)
- you still guide discussions/analysis (Literature, Science, Logic, History, etc.)
- you are still involved in writing (initial organization, structuring, revisions)
- note: boy hormones/development often results in a lot of friction of working with/under mom

gr. 9-10 (ages 14-16)
- working at high school level of increased work load/complexity of material, and moving towards more independent working
- you guide discussions/analysis, but students are beginning to input more -- not so much like "pulling teeth"
- note: still a lot of teen hormones/development with resulting attitudes, friction, etc.

gr. 10-12 (ages 15-19)
- over the course of these 3 years, you slowly move to full independent working; your role becomes mostly administrator/mentor/counselor
- over the course of these 3 years, your role moves to discussion (probably now 1-3x/week rather than daily), and grading papers
- potential dual enrollment of community college coursework (esp. in grades 11 and 12)
- note: over these 3 years, boy hormones settling down (get their "brains back", attitudes improve; begin to move towards leadership and responsibility)


I realize you are probably looking at a more specific skills list, so I attempted to also do that below. Hope something here is somewhat in the ballpark of what you are looking for -- and I really shot for *average*, NOT advanced, and NOT remedial. Of course, everyone's list will look a little different -- mine is based on our 2 DSs (one above average, but not highly advanced; the other very bright, but with mild learning issues, which moved him into the remedial area for math, writing, spelling, and most independent work). Also you may want to look at the World Book "typical course of study" lists online for each grade level to have a general feel for what typically is covered in public schools at which grade.

Warmest regards, Lori D.


grades 7-8 (ages 12-13)
Regular cardio physical exercise (30-45 min/session, 3-4 days/week a huge help), along with good nutrition and move away from junk/fast food a big help at this age.

Math = Pre-Algebra or Algebra

Reading (at this level, it is now "Literature")
- beginning to read easier classics (ex: Call of the Wild; Animal Farm; or Adventures of Tom Sawyer with some jargon and vocabulary help) as Literature
- learning literary elements, beginning gentle introductory literary analysis

Writing
- use of a writing program for instruction
- learning how to organize thoughts
- key word outlines
- learning how to write a solid paragraph
- proofing symbols
- working toward solid single paragraphs; occasionally attempting 3 or even 5 paragraph essays
- if ready, possible occasional short History research papers and Science lab reports

Grammar
- practicing grammar mechanics and word usage
- formal grammar instruction in word usage, types of sentences, more complex types of modifiers, and diagramming (if desired)

Spelling
- solidify vowel patterns, syllabication rules, etc.
- possible tie in with vocabulary, word roots, foreign word spelling patterns
- note: some students are natural spellers and don't need spelling after grade 6; some are strugglers, and it may be helpful to continue through grade 9, 10, 11

Logic
- critical thinking puzzles, moving towards beginning formal Logic topics, discussion, etc.

Study Skills
- use of reference materials
- library organization and finding materials
- beginning time management and schedule skills
- note taking and outlining skills
- learn touch typing


grades 8-9 (ages 13-14)
At this point regular cardio physical exercise (30-45 min/session, 3-4 days/week a huge help) and good nutrition a *huge* "must" for taking the edge off of attitudes. Also consider moving towards starting a bit later in the day, as teen sleep patterns shift towards later night/later rising in morning; shoot for longer hours of sleep as well for most nights of the week.

Math = Pre-Algebra or Algebra or Geometry

Literature
- reading primarily classics
- learning literary elements, using them with more literary analysis
- exposure to a variety of literature types: poetry, essay, short story, play, as well as the novel/novella

Writing
- use of a writing program for continued instruction in writing
- 3 and 5 paragraph essays
- occasional short History research papers and Science lab reports

Grammar
- practicing grammar mechanics and word usage
- final formal grammar instruction

Spelling
- probably no formal spelling, unless it is a weak area, or is more vocabulary-based

Logic
- beginning formal Logic program

Study Skills
- continue honing skills from above
- PSAT and possible SAT/ACT test prep and practice


grades 10-12 (ages 15-18)
Good lifestyle choices/habits -- exercise, nutrition, etc. Still more sleep, and a later start to allow for shift in teen sleeping patterns.

Math = Geometry, Algebra 2, Trig/Pre-Calc., Advanced Math...

Literature
- read, discuss, write about classics

Writing
- weekly timed essay practice from a prompt
- write a variety of types of papers, longer papers
- practice writing essays for college entrance and scholarship applications

Grammar
- light review/GUM practice as needed

Vocabulary
- often more geared toward SAT prep

History
- use of primary source documents
- independent research and longer papers

Science
- read/learn/study from a formal textbook
- formal lab reports (includes data tables, graphs, charts, etc.)

Study Skills
- practice college classroom skills (ex: responsible for homework, deadlines, online aspects, etc.)
- practice note taking from lectures (live and/or DVD)

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These are both VERY helpful, thank you!! As I was starting to lay things out for next year, I sort of felt like I was shooting in the dark with my oldest -- without knowing exactly what I'm aiming for.

 

You've given me lots to consider to far! :)

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In general, students develop the abstract thinking and logic portions of the brain around age 13-14. Some develop earlier -- age 12; a few later -- age 15-16. Abstract thinking/logic is used heavily in Algebra, Logic, and analysis (literary and film analysis; making historical connections; science labs/analysis/connections). Why I bring this up is that this really needs to be taken into consideration in planning for your students -- there is still a pretty big development curve in grades 7, 8, 9, 10, so what is "average" is a pretty wide field.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that girls tend to mature sooner than boys. In addition, adolescent and puberty are huge factors to take into account -- bodies are changing and growing fast, hormones are raging, and all of it takes away from abilities to focus, remember, deal with complex/analytical/abstract subjects.

 

So... with all of the above as my explanation, this is just my very "big picture" set of expectations for an *average* student, depending on the individual student's mental and physical development:

 

QUOTE]

 

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your post, which gave me confidence to proceed. I my case, I was getting hung up on what grade to put my ds, who has a birthday in the middle of the school year. The PS calls him an 8th grader, and that's what I've reported on the paperwork, but I can't imagine having some one graduate from hs when they are 18 1/2! What helped most of all was to be reminded that development in the adolescent years is uneven -- with some skills more advanced than others.

Thanks to your post, which puts developmental cues next to our artificial grade categories, I feel like the solution would to start the year with 8th grade earth science and to see if a spring-time shift to intro physical science would work. The other subjects are definitely 9th grade in difficulty and quality of work.

You don't know me, but thanks for holding my hand!

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...I was getting hung up on what grade to put my ds, who has a birthday in the middle of the school year. The PS calls him an 8th grader, and that's what I've reported on the paperwork, but I can't imagine having some one graduate from hs when they are 18 1/2! What helped most of all was to be reminded that development in the adolescent years is uneven -- with some skills more advanced than others... I feel like the solution would to start the year with 8th grade earth science and to see if a spring-time shift to intro physical science would work. The other subjects are definitely 9th grade in difficulty and quality of work...

 

 

You are very welcome! Really, all I said in a VERY wordy way :tongue_smilie: is that homeschooling allows us to work with our students *where THEY are*.

 

And just to encourage you to NOT worry about age -- our younger DS was 18.5 when he graduated this year (middle of school year birthday), and older DS had turned 19yo a month before graduation when he graduated from high school (late spring birthday). It was perfect timing for each, allowing them time for emotional development, and for older DS who has always been physically small and emotionally young, the ability to blend with those who were at the same emotional/physical level of maturity all along as he was.

 

I know a number of homeschoolers (and public school students) who are 19yo when they graduate -- a later start is encouraged by the school districts in our area -- and the vast majority of high school graduates here are 18yo, and often nearly 19yo.

 

Yes, I do know two homeschoolers who graduated high school at 16yo, and a few who were 17yo, but that seems to be a bit rarer in my experience. I'm all for giving students a little extra time for maturity so they really are ready for the NON academic challenges that come with college.

 

All that to say, sounds like you have a great plan, and will do a great job with high school! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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