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Share Your Hits and Misses for Middle School


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7th Grade

 

Hits: 

  • CPO Life Science-straightforward science that gets done
  • Independent Reading-It really took off this year :thumbup:
  • Spelling Workout-A pleasant surprise that DD likes this worktext.

Misses: 

  • Hake Grammar and Writing-She retains Shurley English better. It's those jingles!
  • History Odyssey-Kingfisher does not outline well, and The Story of Mankind is too dated. The map work was good and the extra literature OK, but not enough to continue using going into 8th grade.

Near Misses: 

  • Dimensions Math 7-My most frustrating subject to teach.  :banghead:  I found that DD does well with the presentation of the same material in Dolciani Pre Algebra combined with the problem sets from Dimensions Math. Dimensions Math does not have enough teacher support for this teacher.
  • Windows to the World-Would love it to be secular, but this is a wonderful introduction to literature.
Edited by Ms Brooks
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HITS:  

Apologia Science - we just really love it that it is written with homeschoolers in mind and all experiments actually WORK

 

Apologia Online- our particular teacher was very very annoying but the motivation, level of challenge, and accountability was a HUGE plus.  

 

Horizons Math- still working really well for my dd. 

 

Derek Owens Pre-Alg -- took some getting used to, but it's working well.  They have good support and customer service.  If your child really gets stuck, you can contact them for assistance.  It's not really that they offer tutoring, but more that he stands by his product, and wants to help if something's not going well for you.  (Like TT)....We really like his voice, teaching style and the layout of the practice, homework and syllabus.  My daughter enjoys being independent, and likes for me to sit and hang out with her while watching the videos.  She also likes the feedback of the grading.  The grading also helps me to see where she is weak and catch it before it's time for a test.

 

ADDING Jacob's Algebra here...for smart math students who like great explanations this is a HIT!  

 

Misses:

AOPS online...unless you have an extremely gifted learner that is just using it for the accountability of pacing and the accredited grade, and not for the actual teaching, then I think it's kind of a wash.  

 

Paradigm Accelerated English

 

AOPS Math- It turns out at the end of the year that AOPS lost my gifted son.  Apparently the Discovery Method was leaving major gaps for him and he was using his intelligence to fill in the gaps by some sort of guess and check methods in certain areas where he was confused.  We are now having to re-do half of Algebra 1 in March! WHich means, after all year of doing two hours of math per day, my poor kid now has to do math through part of the summer, so as to fully completely Algebra 1.   :o(  I think AOPS is great...lots of geniuses use it with great success.  The trouble is that the way it's structured and the method of teaching could cause other kids like mine to have certain gaps and problems that may not really surface until or unless you take an end of year test and see where those problems lie. ......I would just proceed with caution for anyone other than extremely extremely gifted math students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Calming Tea
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Hits: 

  • Ellen McHenry science (we used Brain, Elements and Botany - all winners)
  • Galore Park math series - So You Really Want to Learn Maths (now called Mathematics for Common Entrance), works well paired with the AOPS videos
  • Galore Park science (used the old SYRWTL book, now they are split up into Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
  • Key to Fractions, Key to Decimals
  • A History of US (condensed version)

 

Misses:

  • Phonetic Zoo
  • Spelling By Sound and Structure
  • English From the Roots Up
  • Oak Meadow 6th grade (Ancient Civ and English) - never even got started. I could tell from the syllabus it was going to be a terrible fit by the time we got to it. It was perfect at the time I ordered it, but DD has these jumps in ability, and one happened between ordering and starting.
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Hits:

WWS1 is helping my daughter become a better writer.

Exploring Creation with Botany.

Famous Men of Greece and doing narrations instead of filling in a workbook.

Our library. We are there atleast three times a week and it fills our gaps.

 

 

Misses:

The entire MP package that we started out with. We hated the schedule, we hated the workbooks, we hated the writing. Oh gosh by three weeks we were tweaking heavily. I'm never buying a full package again.

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Hits-

Apples and Pears Spelling-this is the only thing that has worked for my daughter.

 

Guesthollow anatomy, God's Design for the Human Body, and Lyrical Life Science human body have been a great mix

 

Veritas Press self-paced history Explorers to 1815-I love having one subject that is practically hands off with great retention.

 

Read alouds-My favorite part of school.

 

Misses-

Nothing

 

Just OK-

Teaching textbooks-I like it, but our computer stinks, so we have had way too many issues with it.

 

Life of Fred Fractions-I love how it complements Teaching Textbooks by offering lots of word problem review with deeper thinking, but my daughter struggles with the bridges. I wonder if her frustration with it is because of a lack of retention or a good amount of mental stretching.

 

EIW- just OK. It gets the job done. I'm changing this next year.

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7th grade:

 

Hits:

 

Jacobs Algebra. He's almost finished and will be sticking with Jacobs for geometry.

 

Lively Art of Writing: recently started. He actually looks forward to it so that's a win.

 

Coursera physics class with Harold Bloomfield

 

Latin Prep: so far so good. He's having fun with this first venture into foreign language.

 

Just OK:

 

OUP chemistry and physics. Solid but uninspiring so we switched to a textbook. Now formal science gets done.

 

IEW theme book (technology): was a hit most of the way through. Ditched it with a few lessons left for a fresh approach.

 

Misses:

 

None

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I saw the 7th grade thread first. :P

 

Hits for the DS/7th (more notes in the 7th grade thread in K-8) and DD/5th (precocious):

-STEM to Story writing assignments, it only has 12 writing projects, though some of them span a couple/few weeks, it's written for a classroom, but we give it two hearty thumbs up (both)

-Guesthollow Chem, dropped the more elementary books, added daily reading from extra books and Chemistry 101 dvds (both)

-Harmony Fine Arts geography schedule (7th)

-Spanish for Children paired with Duolingo (both)

-homegrown literature based on Harry Potter's Bookshelf by Granger (Love!!) (7th)

-Analytical Grammar (both)
-History Lives church history series (7th, 5th will use them next year)

-AoPS math is great for him, but he has a love/hate relationship with it (both actually)

-Horizons prealg, going through it quickly to make sure we don't have holes from all the hopping around (Hilariously, after all the AoPS and MOEMS, they were getting stuck on the very simple word problems. They actually solved them in two minutes and were so very sure they'd missed Very Important details and kept asking for help. LOL )

 

Misses

-Rod and Staff spelling 6 for the 7th grader, serious balking, put him in WRTR instead (DD/5th is doing fine with the series, as did my teens)

-writing curricula in general for DS/7th, went to homegrown assignments with STEM to Story sprinkled around

 

 

What I can remember from my teens...

Hits
-Lively Art of Writing for basic essays, just make sure to plan changing the topics of the writing assignments

-Jump In writing

-Latin Alive!

-homegrown literature, heavily based on the Veritas Press lists

-Rod and Staff English

-vocab through Latin and literature (they finished R&S spelling 6 in grade 6, and the root based vocab 7 and 8 books were redundant with Latin/lit)

-Rod and Staff math was fabulous for my math struggler

-Lial math

-Saxon even for one particular kid

-Veritas Press history (diy, not online), yes, I know it's written for grades 2-6, but it's so easy to beef up for older kids and keep the family on the same cycle

 

Misses
-Apologia General Science. Colossal flop. Makes science work instead of wonder.

-Beautiful Feet lit/history

-Abeka math

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No hits, no misses. Just all working well enough.

I'd say that I'm happiest with my decision to make Key to Fractions part of daily math practice. Fractions are not causing difficulties, and the boys are accepting that some things in math just require a lot of persistent practice to master. I've also been over the moon excited about CW Homer as I've adapted it for use. I slowed down the pace of Second Form Latin which also turned out to be a good decision. History is getting done and I'm not worrying about it. Same with science, geography and literature.

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This is tough--as you move through multiple children so this is not exhaustive and somewhat "off the cuff"

 

HITS:

Tapestry of Grace--I love the history discussions. This year we are doing a book club for one dialectic book a month. I am using Teaching the Classics/Deconstructing Penguins type questions. I LOVE this.

Jump In is working well for my 7th grader. The previous child (and third) thrive with IEW materials (Ancient History them, Siic-b)

Saxon 7/8 is working well for my 7th grader and we will continue with Saxon (Dolciani and Jacobs were hits with the first child)

The Elementary Greek series

Art of Arguement

Rod and Staff (hit for me, kids tolerate) for grammar (but Climbing to Good English is working best with the 5th grader)

Apple and Pears Spelling

 

Just Okay:

Prentice Hall Science Explorer Life Science. I really like it and it is great support for study skills, but my students have never particularly enjoyed the series. Oldest doesn't really like using science textbooks. 7th grader doesn't love science.

 

Misses:

none right now--but I'm sure there were some the first time around that I've discarded. I never could get into Horizons Pre-Algebra although I own it and love the elementary series.

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Hits--LOVES 

Here are things we have really loved

  • OUP World in Ancient Times series -- we read the entire series
  • OUP Medieval and Early Modern series -- we just have 2 remaining
  • OUP Technology in World History series -- very similar to the other OUP series but focuses entirely on technology and covers a wider time period; we really are enjoying this too and will use it through all of middle school 
  • So many Great Courses, Coursera, and EdX courses
  • Español Santillana -- finally a Spanish program I like and it goes up to AP Spanish so we finally have a long-term solution
  • Philosophy for Kids and Philosophy Rocks
  • Our cobbled together science -- basically we don't do textbook or demo-based science. We read as many books about science that we can, discuss as a family, attend lectures and field trips, add in documentaries, MOOCs, Great Courses, etc.
  • Grammar Revolution
  • Danica McKellar's math books--DD just loves them and they are perfectly fine supplements
  • A Sentence a Day ... by Prufrock Press

Hits--Good

These are things that are working well for us, and they're doing what we want them to do even if we don't love them; they work for us.

  • Blackbird Poetry
  • Blackbird Essay program
  • MCT materials
  • K12 Human Odyssey--it's fine and much less $$ than OUP series, but we just don't love it like we do OUP

Misses

  • TabletClass -- it's just too dry and it doesn't go deep enough. We tried really hard to make this work (completed about half of it) but we finally threw in the towel and ditched it
  • Analytical Grammar and Hake Grammar -- I've posted threads before about both
  • Pretty much any curriculum specifically designed for homeschoolers. We do much better cobbling together our own things from multiple resources or using materials designed for schools and homeschoolers (like MCT, Blackbird, AoPS, etc.)
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  • OUP Technology in World History series -- very similar to the other OUP series but focuses entirely on technology and covers a wider time period; we really are enjoying this too and will use it through all of middle school 

Thanks for mentioning this. I think the boys might enjoy this for reading next year.

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Thanks for mentioning this. I think the boys might enjoy this for reading next year.

 

I should clarify too that technology covers a very broad set of topics--agriculture, textiles, medical, math, writing, science, inventions, etc. The only downside is that it's incredibly expensive normally, and I've never seen the individual volumes for sale separately like with the other OUP series. I found the entire series brand new from a used book seller on Amazon for about $150. I basically stalked it for a while before I bought it. Also, here's the list of cultures per volume if it helps:

 

Volume 1: Prehistoric and Ancient Worlds (Stone Age, Ancient Egypt, Ancient and Classical India)

Volume 2: Early Empires (Early China, Ancient Mediterranean, the Romans)

Volume 3: Medieval World (Europe, Islamic Europe, Late Imperial China)

Volume 4: Traditional Cultures (Sub Saharan Africa, Pacific Peoples, Maya and Aztecs)

Volume 5: Industrial Age (Early Modern Europe, Industrial Revolution in Europe, Early Industrial America)

Volume 6: Modern World (United States 11870-1970, Soviet Union and Nazi German, World since 1970) (series was published in 2005 so 10 years out of date now)

Edited by deerforest
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Hits:

 

Writing With Skill- all levels, paced according to our needs.

 

Conceptual Physics -- done at home, with supplements and labs.

 

The history lessons from sheg.edu, incorporated into our history plans.

 

Human odyssey-first volume. Did not like the others as much,

 

 

 

Not "misses" exactly, but ambivalent:

 

Ellen McHenry. We tried both chemistry programs. They were just okay. I don't get the raves. We didn't care for the activities much; would rather have traditional experiments or just read the material.

 

American Odyssey. Liked some, but really disliked the coverage or lack of coverage in certain time periods. I have a hard time seeing it as a high school text without a lot of supplementation. Perhaps the K12 courses do use other materials with it; I felt even in eighth grade it needed more.

Edited by Penelope
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I can't say that I am *ecstatic* about any of our materials for 8th grade, but they work well and get done consistently.

 

Holt Science & Technology Physical Science - labs are dumb so we skip them (lol); we both learned a ton and will finish early!

 

Holt Course 3 math - Love that all of the components are on the teacher CD so we have things like chapter reviews, cumulative reviews, etc. I'm very glad we've used this series for middle school.

 

8th grade Math Minutes - LOVE Math Minutes for keeping things fresh.

 

Bookshark 8th grade US History (analogous to Core 100) - although the bias in the questions is really off-putting

 

Moving Beyond the Page 12-14 LA - too much busy work that does nothing to further understanding and not enough discussion, but it's the best I've found

 

Youth Digital - He just really can't stay motivated with these classes, not really sure why. I have to keep reminding him to do it.

 

Essentials in Writing - keeps him writing, which is my goal.

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Hits:

Analytical Grammar - I can't say enough good things about this program! Hits for all of my oldest 3 so far, and none of them has the same learning style so definitely a winner here.

Math Video Challenge - Great fun for all, even the non mathy ones and it's a great way to work on being part of a team.

Figuratively Speaking - Great examples and I feel like it prepares them well for lit analysis in high school.

Artistic Pursuits - They love that they can do art on their own and I love that it has art appreciation as well.

Human Odyssey and History of US - Simply wonderful to read! They enjoy these reading assignments and don't mind summarizing/outlining them either.

Apologia science - My kids love Dr. Wile! Some of the experiments are lame, but they're learning a ton and I don't have to do it, so it's a win.

 

Misses:

Saxon Math - Tears, tears, and more tears

Life of Fred prealgebra - Did not prepare DS for algebra at all

 

Going OK:

Math Mammoth - No real complaints, but it can get frustrating at times. They're learning and it does great at explaining the concepts and making sure they're solid on those. But it can be a tough slog at times.

Wordsmith Creative Writing & Craftsman - This was great for oldest DS and so far is working well for DD, but younger DS has been struggling. He's an amazing creative writer, but academic writing ... not so much. So this has been a challenge for him. But I'm not sure any other program would be any better.

Trail Guide to World & US Geography - Gets the job done

 

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7th Grade:

 

Hits:

  • Apologetics using The Unseen Realm
  • Homemade music & art study
  • McHenry's Botany paired with herbal medicine using Rosemary Gladstar's books, Herbal Antibiotics, Herbal Remedies & Herbalism 101 Class lectures by Spirit of Health on YouTube.  Because of this class, DD is changing the way she eats and designing a healthy diet for herself.  She also wants to help me collect wild edibles around our farm this spring and attend the herbal medicine seminars at a local herbalist's farm this spring into the summer.  DD says she wants to apprentice with this herbalist as well.
  • Bible & Lit class combined reading Chronicles of Narnia, Journey Into Narnia, A Family Guide to Narnia, & Tillman's Chronicles of Narnia Study Guide
  • Fallacy Detective
  • Free reading of 20th century missionaries

Just Okay:

  • 20th Century History using a combo of materials from TOG 4 reading list; Human Odyssey 3; YouTube Documentaries. DD enjoyed reading about Hitler and most of the documentaries chosen.  She also liked the PowerPoint project chronicling the 20th Century. However, she found some of the books we read boring, especially Human Odyssey. 

Misses:

  • Tablet Class Pre-Algebra:  Instructor confused terms and DD became very confused with pre-Algebra.  I was extremely disappointed because I thought the visual instruction (DD is a better visual learner) would appeal to DD and help her through her math anxiety. Unfortunately it only increased her anxiety.  We switched to doing Khan Academy Pre-Algebra Challenge with supplemental AOPS videos, Horizons Pre-Algebra workbook.  She sped through KA within 3 months! This made me too nervous so now she is about 3/4 through GC's Mastering the Fundamentals of Math and continuing with supplemental work from the Horizons workbook and some other resources.
  • Reading Plutarch.  DD hated this so I couldn't see making her plod through it.  We had enough on our plate, so we ditched it. 
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I can't say that I am *ecstatic* about any of our materials for 8th grade, but they work well and get done consistently.

 

Holt Science & Technology Physical Science - labs are dumb so we skip them (lol); we both learned a ton and will finish early!

 

Holt Course 3 math - Love that all of the components are on the teacher CD so we have things like chapter reviews, cumulative reviews, etc. I'm very glad we've used this series for middle school.

 

8th grade Math Minutes - LOVE Math Minutes for keeping things fresh.

 

Bookshark 8th grade US History (analogous to Core 100) - although the bias in the questions is really off-putting

 

Moving Beyond the Page 12-14 LA - too much busy work that does nothing to further understanding and not enough discussion, but it's the best I've found

 

Youth Digital - He just really can't stay motivated with these classes, not really sure why. I have to keep reminding him to do it.

 

Essentials in Writing - keeps him writing, which is my goal.

 

Just wanted to say we like Math Minutes  for the same reason--it keeps things fresh.

 

Math Minutes 7 online free.

 

Math Minutes 8 online free.

Edited by Ms Brooks
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hits:  R&S English, done HOD style, mostly orally (I assign about 12 sentences or problems of written work daily)

          IEW Medieval History Writing, and the Elegant Essay (I just used portions of this one)

          Plato Learning Middle School Science- he did this completely independently

          Jacobs Algebra (it got done, but he forgot it over his ninth grade year!  Going to review over summer before Algebra 2)

          Truthquest History- This is the way I would have wanted to learn history- just revel in real books and conversation with a sprinkling of writing.

          Words Aptly Spoken Literature (From Classical Conversations Challenge A)- love the discussion questions

          Dictation from HOD (also found on google books, Dictation Day By Day by Kate Wegenen)

          HOD Resurrection to Reformation (not crazy about some of the titles.  Skipped A Child's Geography in science)  I love the narration, storytime,           independent history study, research, geography, notebooking for both science and history, and Shakespeare study.

          

Misses:  AOP Lifepac LA- dry and boring and not as rigorous as I would have thought

              Apologia Science- preachy.  Lots of pushback from thinking eldest ds.

              Science Fusion, Module E, Dynamic Earth- dry and very difficult.

              Mathhelp 6th grade: Duplicate lessons on different grade levels.  This program didn't give ds any confidence with the concepts.

 

OK: Growing with Grammar

        Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals

        Drawn into the Heart of Reading (Ds loves reading real books, finds the worksheets annoying)

Edited by SnowWhite
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  2 Different kids, and here are their various hits and misses:

HIts:
Saxon Math, McHenry The Elements/Botany/Carbon Chemistry, History Odyssey, SOTW, Exploration Education Physics/Chemistry, Conceptual Physics, R+S English, Writing With Skill, CAP Writing and Rhetoric

 

Misses:  LOE Foundations, WriteShop,

 

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I think DS1 and I would both agree on these for 6th.

Jousting Armadillos (switched after Math Mammoth 6A)

Prodigy Math (online game....all the kids love it)

Homeschool in the Woods New World Explorers Lapbook (Something I did with 6th, 5th, and 3rd grader)

Wordsmith Apprentice and WWS1 (waiting until 6th was the right choice for us)

History of US

Giggly Grammar

CNN Student News

Vocabulary from Classical Roots

Handwriting Without Tears "Can Do Cursive"

Zaccaro's "10 Things Future Mathematicians and Scientists Must Know But Are Rarely Taught"

He loved this 40 Philosophers for Kids free book I got on the Kindle

Really is enjoying Sean Covey's "The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make"

 

Hits for Me (but not well loved by DS1):

CLE Reading 6

CLE Language Arts 6 + the Diagramming Sentences Booklet

Math Mammoth (even if he hated it sometimes, he did well...and was well prepared)

Khan Academy

 

OK:
Typing Pal

Build Your Library US History 1 

 

MISSES:

EIW (never got done....having to put in the various DVDs (three different kids so three different DVDs) and rotate them each day just didn't happen)

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Big hits for us:

Expository Writing 1 at WTMA

Math Mammoth 7 (Pre-Algebra) paired with the spiral review of Simple Solutions CC Math 7

Mapping the World with Art

Duolingo

CNN Student News

 

 

Hits:

AG

Science Detective (we use for critical thinking/test prep)

Stretching SOTW Vol 4 out over two years to read lots of real books along the way (re: WW1 & 2, Cold War/Space Race, Civil Rights, 9/11/War on terror, etc)

Co-op Botany class using Ellen McHenry Botany

Co-op French class

 

Misses:

Can't remember because we ditched them the second I realized they weren't working!

Edited by fourisenough
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Hits:

  • Fallacy Detective/Thinking Toolbox
  • TT Algebra 1
  • Apologia science
  • Vocabulary Cartoons
  • School Composition
  • God's Design science
  • Story of the World

Misses:

  • MEP secondary math (not enough instruction or review for us)
  • Lively Art of Writing (I adore this book but my son did NOT)
  • Jump In (not even sure why; just didn't work)
  • R&S English 6 (too wordy, too complicated)
  • Climbing to Good English (I LOVE it but my boys DON'T)
  • History Revealed (just got too complicated to keep up)

Get Job Done/Will Keep Using:

  • Blast off with Logic series
  • R&S spelling
  • WTM-style writing (narrations, outlines, lit essays, rewrites)
  • Math Mammoth 6 (I'm not thrilled about it; I love all the levels up through 5 but 6 just seems unnecessarily difficult)

I really need to find an English/grammar that works for middle school!

 

Edited because I forgot things.

Edited by hollyhock
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Hits:

  • R&S English 2-5
  • CLE LA grammar 6
  • Dictation Day by Day
  • CLE Math through level 6
  • MUS Pre-Algebra
  • WWS 1
  • Fallacy Detective
  • Beautiful Feet History
  • Duolingo French
  • Draw and Write through History for one child
  • Notebookingpages.com for one child
  • Tiner science books
  • Science in the Beginning as a family
  • Family read-alouds
  • Family CM subjects

Misses:

  • R&S English 6
  • Draw and Write through History for another child
  • HOD CTC
  • Waiting for Mom to put together WTM writing assignments (why we swtiched to WWS)
  • R&S spelling 5 and up
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