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Feedback needed on combining kids and history/science plans for the next couple years!


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This school year I will have DS almost 13 in 7th grade, DS11 in 6th grade and DD10 in 5th grade. I'll be honest, the last two years we haven't done much in the way of history or science, so we are way the heck off of the 4 year history and science cycles described in TWTM! I want to do history and science this year, but I don't know if I should combine them or what to have them do. In elementary school we used SOTW for history and a mix of things for science such as RSO and Mystery Science.

What would be good for my oldest to have exposure to before high school? I was thinking for 7th grade doing a year of American history and reading through the Hakim's History of US concise books along with some sort of output. Then for 8th using BYL World Geography and Cultures. I have no idea what to do for science for the next two years.

Should I have my 6th and 5th graders follow along with what their older brother is doing for the next two years? I feel like this would be the easiest option for me but then I am worried that if I end up doing most of the reading aloud from a spine to them it will be detrimental in some way to my oldest. Ugh, I am just completely stuck by indecision! Help!

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I will give you two senarios based on different perspectives.

Perspective #1- the reason you haven't done as much Science nor History is because your hands are truly full teaching the basics and keeping your home going-jfyi this is where I am.  The last trimester this year I have decided to work in a topical study using Considering God's Creation as the basics will be hit hard during the 1st and 2nd trimesters.  If this is you as well you can either do something like what I am doing or require the subject to be done simply independently using living books or textbooks- we are also doing this during the first 2 trimesters this year.

Perspective #2- You do have the time and energy to teach them together as a unit study- this was me before my 5th born...lol.  MFW or BF History of Science are awesome for this.  All 3 can be taught this way.  If your child wants to do Apologia General Science in 8th grade that would set him up for Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and one extra science for HS.  

Brenda

 

God bless your endeavors with your family?.

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It can certainly work to combine them and I don't think that's detrimental to your oldest. I still combined mine at that age and he's done fine in high school. You could either continue the cycles where you left off, or have them choose what they want to learn about. I think that really helps them engage at those ages, if they are interested in what they are learning. There is no danger in "missing something" because it all gets covered again in high school. When mine were those ages, we used Science in the Beginning to combine science and SOTW for history (I think we were on volume 3 or 4; maybe volume 1 would be too young for your oldest).

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If I could do junior high science over again, I'd probably alternate subjects each year for interest and focus on some of the memorization that we found tough to do once we were in the midst of high school science. Formulas for all subjects, the periodic table, vocabulary and abbreviations, basic concepts. Life would have been much easier and I think their understanding would have been deeper. 

So I'd combine interesting books on science and nature (high school is soon enough for formal texts) with experiments for fun, and use games and online sites to keep the memorization fairly fun and interesting. Even ten minutes a day of targeted memory work can cover a lot in a year (and so much in two or three!), and once they know a certain amount they can practice with the games. 

There are a lot of cool games, including interactive ones online, but once we hit high school the text took up all the time they were willing to spend on science, lol. They did not want to add in anything once that lesson was done. 

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2 hours ago, Delphine said:

This school year I will have DS almost 13 in 7th grade, DS11 in 6th grade and DD10 in 5th grade. I'll be honest, the last two years we haven't done much in the way of history or science, so we are way the heck off of the 4 year history and science cycles described in TWTM! I want to do history and science this year, but I don't know if I should combine them or what to have them do. In elementary school we used SOTW for history and a mix of things for science such as RSO and Mystery Science.

What would be good for my oldest to have exposure to before high school? I was thinking for 7th grade doing a year of American history and reading through the Hakim's History of US concise books along with some sort of output. Then for 8th using BYL World Geography and Cultures. I have no idea what to do for science for the next two years.

Should I have my 6th and 5th graders follow along with what their older brother is doing for the next two years? I feel like this would be the easiest option for me but then I am worried that if I end up doing most of the reading aloud from a spine to them it will be detrimental in some way to my oldest. Ugh, I am just completely stuck by indecision! Help!


First: Truly -- ANY History and Science exposure your children have had in the elementary grades is probably more than what they would have had if attending a lot of brick & mortar schools. Sounds like you've had good History & Science studies over the years, so stop beating yourself up about having 2 light years. Just pick something you know you can get done for each subject, schedule time for it each day, and you'll get that elephant eaten one bite at a time. (:D

re: having Youngers follow along with big brother
If they all get along, then sure! The more the merrier. (:D You can always assign an additional book for digging deeper on a topic here and there for your 7th grader to read and report on separately and in addition to the Hakim. Or just have your 7th grader practice doing a weekly few outlining/note-taking practice of a paragraph per chapter for each chapter you read aloud out of the Hakim. Or give your 7th grader a few short-answer study questions to answer as complete sentences, where he goes back into the week's chapters to find the answers. In other words, give the 7th grader a bit more work that doubles as study skills practice as prep for high school.

re: "prepping" your oldest for high school
Looking ahead and "working backwards" can help in planning for middle school. Science credits typically covered in high school, depending on how "STEM" or advanced the student include a combination of Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Science. Working backwards, frequently, Physical Science is done in 8th grade. Or, advanced students do Physical Science in 7th and high school Biology in 8th.

Social Studies credits you'll likely want to do at some point in high school include: 1.0 credit (1 year) each of American History, World History, and 0.5 credit (1 semester) each of Econ. and Gov't. -- those are specific credits that *colleges* often require to have been completed in high school in order for the student to meet admission requirements.

So, knowing what you'll likely need to cover in a few years might help you decide what you want or need to cover now in the next 2 years of middle school. Hakim US History in 7th and BYL Geography in 8th would be great. Then you could do a high school level of American History at some point in high school -- possibly waiting until 11th or 12th grade so it's not repeated right away from 7th grade. You could wait and do it in 12th grade alongside Gov't, which really enhance each each other.

For Science in middle school -- do your students have one area of science they esp. enjoy? Or is there a branch of science you haven't covered previously? If so, I'd suggest doing that in 7th. Then for 8th grade, you could possibly do Physical Science (a combo overview of Chemistry & Physics topics) -- or save it for 9th if your student isn't very strong or interested in STEM fields -- either way, that falls right into the typical Science progression. Or, if your 7th grader is advanced, you could separate your students this year, and the 7th grader could do Physical Science in 7th and Biology in 8th grade -- and you do other programs those 2 years with the Youngers.

Middle School science (secular) ideas:
- Nancy Larson: level 5 -- for ages 10-13
- Ellen McHenry units -- (you would likely need 3 to cover 1 year of Science for your 7th grader)
- Elemental Science -- choice of Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry, Physics for the Logic Stage
- Prentice Hall Science Explorer Textbooks -- for gr. 7-8
- ACS Chemistry -- free, downloadable
- "DIY": Reader's Digest How Earth Works and + TOPS Science Rocks & Minerals unit & supply kit + other resources

In case it helps you plan middle school by looking at typical high school progressions, below are several -- note that if you homeschool high school, you'll have LOADS of options. : ) BEST of luck as you plan for this year!
_________________________

Typical Non-STEM Student Brick & Mortar progression & credits:

. . . . . . Science . . . . . . . . Social Studies
7th = ----- . . .  . . . . . . . . . .  ----- (no one typical subject studied)
8th = General Science . . .   ----- (no one typical subject studied)
9th = Physical Science . . . 1.0 credit = ?
10th = Biology . . . . . . . . . . 1.0 credit = World History or Geography
11th = ?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1.0 credit = American History
12th = ?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  0.5 credit each = Gov't & Econ
. . 2.0-4.0 credits = Science    3.0-4.0 credits = Social Studies
_________________________

Typical Regular Brick & Mortar progression & credits:

. . . . . . Science . . . . . . . . Social Studies
7th = General Science . . . .  ----- (no one typical subject studied)
8th = Physical Science . . .   ----- (no one typical subject studied)
9th = Biology . . . . . . . . . .  1.0 credit = World Geography
10th = Chemistry . . . . . . .  1.0 credit = World History
11th = Physics  . . . . . . . . . 1.0 credit = American History
12th = Adv. Science . . . . .  0.5 credit each = Gov't & Econ
. . 3.0-4.0 credits = Science    4.0 credits = Social Studies
_________________________

Typical Advanced Brick & Mortar progression & credits:

. . . . . . Science . . . . . . . . Social Studies
7th = Physical Science . . . .----- (no one typical subject studied)
8th = Biology . . . . . . . .  . ..Geography, History,  Econ, Gov't, AP courses, etc.
9th = Chemistry . . . . . . . . .4.0-6.0 credits = Social Studies
10th = Physics . . . . . . . . . .
11th = Adv. or AP Science  . . . . .
12th = Adv. or AP Science . .
.   4.0-5.0 credits = Science    
_________________________


Homeschool High School Options:

Science
Physical Science; Biology; Chemistry; Physics; Adv. Science; Earth Science/Geology; Astronomy; Forensics; Environmental Science; Equine Science; Anatomy & Physiology; Marine Biology; Meteorology; etc.

Social Studies
History: Ancient/Medieval/Early Modern/Modern 4 year cycle; American History; specific time/place of interest; special history topic; etc.
World Geography; Government; Economics
Political Science; Anthropology; Sociology; Archaeology
Philosophy; Logic; Worldview; Religious Studies; Comparative Religions
etc.

Edited by Lori D.
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Thank you so much for all of your input! I sat down with all my kids this morning and we made a plan. My oldest prefers to work on his own for history and is going to do U.S. history this year and World Geography next year. My younger two want to do ancient history this year, they were very young the first time we went through it and don't remember much. I think I've got enough resources on my shelves to pull together a good year for them. All of the kids want to work together for science, which is fine with me because I think science is the hardest to implement, only having to do one thing for all three will be easier. They could not agree on a single topic for the year so I suggested we do unit studies instead. I think we are going to shoot for four, one a quarter, then they can each pick a topic and I can pick a topic I think we need to cover. My middle son picked rocketry and since he already has a great book about rocketry with a lot of hands on activities I think we will use that. We are all happy with this plan and it feels doable for me! 

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