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Hi, I am wondering what all of you experienced high school homeschool parents would have approached 7th and 8th grade looking back on it now? What would your ideal approach? What would have been your focus? What would you have let go? What resources would you have definitely used, what would you have passed on? Just any thoughts in general you could share.

I am going to have a 7th grader next year and would love to get the insights of folks who have BTDT! Thanks! :)

 

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Basic skills

 

Read -- Read, read a lot, read more, read well, and with comprehension

Vocabulary- (comprehension) vocabulary study, continual review of old words

Composition -- (comprehension) written narration, write about the reading

Math -- Math, student pace, mastery, repeat weeks if necessary, mastery. (Did I mention mastery...?...)

 

 

:seeya:

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We've just been discussing this in our co-op in order to see what we should offer for those years. I think the ideal 7/8 grades should prepare the student for high school level work (of a more rigorous type). I'm happy that this year I have been able to do my ïdeal" program with my 2 youngest. With my older 2 I was locked into some classes at co-op that I'm not sure were beneficial. So here's my list:

 

1. Science - science should provide a base on which the high school sciences build. It should provide a strong vocabulary component as well as a conceptual component. I don't think it needs to be math intensive. The student should be able to go into high school sciences and recognize the subject - not *know* the subject, but recognize the basic components. For example, he should be familiar with the periodic chart, atoms and their constituent parts, basic physical properties (Newton's laws), etc. before encountering these in high school chemistry, biology, and physics.

 

2. Math - my ideal is to have my sons complete Algebra 1 before high school. I think it just makes the sciences easier.

 

3. History - A basic knowledge of world history as well as US history. They should know who the major players were in various historical eras. They should have a general understanding of *where* history is going and some of the *whys*.

 

4. Writing - Ideally the student would learn to write a good paragraph and move into a good 5 paragraph essay. I would like to see that the student has learned all types of essays by high school (argumentative, comparative, research paper, etc.). He will perfect those essays in high school. We have too many co-op students who have never written a 5 paragraph essay. It's hard to teach a class that requires essays when one has to teach essay writing at the same time.

 

5. World View - this is a big one for us. I think the 7th and 8th grades are a wonderful time to solidify a worldview thinking in a student. When my sons take high school biology, I don't want them to be afraid to read about evolution. I want them to realize they will need to be able to speak intelligently about biology (or any hard science or social science) as well as understand how it differs from their worldview (if it does). I want them to understand history from our Christian perspective (which may differ from others' Christian perspective). I think 7th and 8th grades are the time to get that into their heads rather than waiting for high school. I believe those ideas will be perfected and tailored by each of the kids during high school.

 

Those are the things that I think are most important. Also, I like to use those years to have the student explore fun electives. Once in high school, it seems that the time is so full with all the required courses that one doesn't have a lot of time to explore electives.

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Here are those things that I think should be covered at least in 8th grade:

 

1) study skills -- how to take notes from a text, how to outline a text, how to take notes from a lecture, how to organize for class, meeting deadlines, test taking skills, how to study, etc.

 

2) writing skills -- essay writing and basic research skills.

 

3) literature -- familiarity with basic literarary analysis and terms.

 

4) science -- every family is different. I see no need for text-based science in 7th grade. In the best of all worlds, I'd have the student pursue delight-directed science studies with writing, projects or a science fair for accountability. By 8th grade, I like to transition into text-based science.

 

The most important thing for the middle grades, to me, is to nail down as much as possible all skill areas so that you aren't revisiting them in high school. The content in high school takes off and will come much easier to the student who has solidified the basics (spelling, grammar, basic writing, typing, etc.)

 

HTH,

Lisa

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What I have corrected after our first ds hit 9th grade:

 

1) I would have had him take an outside class in middle school, rather than starting in high school. (He had had previous "enrichment" classes outside home, but nothing for a grade.) This would have exposed him to learning from a textbook, to study skills for a traditional classroom setting, and to tests prior to it actually "counting" for his high school transcript.

 

2) I would have given tests in our home setting more often.

 

What I'm glad I had done:

Ds #1 was always strong in reading. I pushed writing and math. I'm a big believer in the basics. If you are an excellent reader, writer, and your math is on target for your life's goals, you're going to be fine academically. I had also emphasized living foreign language while in elementary school.

 

Other subjects, including science, history, fine arts, and other content areas are "add ons" --icing to the cake, but if you go "lite" with one of those subjects in middle school, it's not going to really impact long term.

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Hi, I am wondering what all of you experienced high school homeschool parents would have approached 7th and 8th grade looking back on it now? What would your ideal approach? What would have been your focus? What would you have let go? What resources would you have definitely used, what would you have passed on? Just any thoughts in general you could share.

 

I am going to have a 7th grader next year and would love to get the insights of folks who have BTDT! Thanks! :)

 

Anita

 

Well, I have one toward the end of HS and one in 8th. Still don't know the answer to your question, as I'm looking at what my 8th grader is / isn't doing and deciding what I want to change up for my next two.

 

Writing. My 2nd is doing my than my 1st, when my 1st was at this point, but I think I want to be doing more with my next set.

 

That's all I can think of at this instant, I'll give it some more thought.

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7th and 8th grades can be such a tough time as most kids hit puberty at some point in this period and their brains temporarily shut down. I think the push for harder and harder work in order to be prepared for high school can backfire for all involved especially when the hormones start wreaking havoc. Kids at this age alternate between being little kids and young adults, and you have to be ready for whichever version of your child stumbles out of bed in the morning. They mature out of it with brains that better equipped for high school level work.

 

Middle school was particularly brutal with my oldest son, with me freaking out on a regular basis. Regular life got especially messy too during that time, but in spite of it all he has been able to handle high school just fine.

 

My approach with my 2nd son has been to enjoy this age as much as possible while steadily working on basic skills. We got off the 4 year history cycle treadmill and pursued interests, spending a lot of time reading aloud and discussing books together. He had to write weekly and do math daily, and we talked about high school and college plans and what it will take to make it all happen. His transition to 9th grade work this year has been seamless.

 

So my advice for academics is to be like the tortoise in Aesop's -- slow and steady, and my advice for mothering kids during this period is to make a point of cherishing this time because they will be launching into their own lives before you know it.

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7th and 8th grades can be such a tough time as most kids hit puberty at some point in this period and their brains temporarily shut down. I think the push for harder and harder work in order to be prepared for high school can backfire for all involved especially when the hormones start wreaking havoc. Kids at this age alternate between being little kids and young adults, and you have to be ready for whichever version of your child stumbles out of bed in the morning. They mature out of it with brains that better equipped for high school level work.

 

Middle school was particularly brutal with my oldest son, with me freaking out on a regular basis. Regular life got especially messy too during that time, but in spite of it all he has been able to handle high school just fine.

 

My approach with my 2nd son has been to enjoy this age as much as possible while steadily working on basic skills. We got off the 4 year history cycle treadmill and pursued interests, spending a lot of time reading aloud and discussing books together. He had to write weekly and do math daily, and we talked about high school and college plans and what it will take to make it all happen. His transition to 9th grade work this year has been seamless.

 

So my advice for academics is to be like the tortoise in Aesop's -- slow and steady, and my advice for mothering kids during this period is to make a point of cherishing this time because they will be launching into their own lives before you know it.

 

Thanks. Great post.

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We've just been discussing this in our co-op in order to see what we should offer for those years. I think the ideal 7/8 grades should prepare the student for high school level work (of a more rigorous type). I'm happy that this year I have been able to do my ïdeal" program with my 2 youngest. With my older 2 I was locked into some classes at co-op that I'm not sure were beneficial. So here's my list:

 

1. Science - science should provide a base on which the high school sciences build. It should provide a strong vocabulary component as well as a conceptual component. I don't think it needs to be math intensive. The student should be able to go into high school sciences and recognize the subject - not *know* the subject, but recognize the basic components. For example, he should be familiar with the periodic chart, atoms and their constituent parts, basic physical properties (Newton's laws), etc. before encountering these in high school chemistry, biology, and physics.

 

2. Math - my ideal is to have my sons complete Algebra 1 before high school. I think it just makes the sciences easier.

 

3. History - A basic knowledge of world history as well as US history. They should know who the major players were in various historical eras. They should have a general understanding of *where* history is going and some of the *whys*.

 

4. Writing - Ideally the student would learn to write a good paragraph and move into a good 5 paragraph essay. I would like to see that the student has learned all types of essays by high school (argumentative, comparative, research paper, etc.). He will perfect those essays in high school. We have too many co-op students who have never written a 5 paragraph essay. It's hard to teach a class that requires essays when one has to teach essay writing at the same time.

 

5. World View - this is a big one for us. I think the 7th and 8th grades are a wonderful time to solidify a worldview thinking in a student. When my sons take high school biology, I don't want them to be afraid to read about evolution. I want them to realize they will need to be able to speak intelligently about biology (or any hard science or social science) as well as understand how it differs from their worldview (if it does). I want them to understand history from our Christian perspective (which may differ from others' Christian perspective). I think 7th and 8th grades are the time to get that into their heads rather than waiting for high school. I believe those ideas will be perfected and tailored by each of the kids during high school.

 

Those are the things that I think are most important. Also, I like to use those years to have the student explore fun electives. Once in high school, it seems that the time is so full with all the required courses that one doesn't have a lot of time to explore electives.

 

 

Thank you for taking time to outline your thoughts. It's really appreciated.

 

Anita

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What I have corrected after our first ds hit 9th grade:

 

1) I would have had him take an outside class in middle school, rather than starting in high school. (He had had previous "enrichment" classes outside home, but nothing for a grade.) This would have exposed him to learning from a textbook, to study skills for a traditional classroom setting, and to tests prior to it actually "counting" for his high school transcript.

 

2) I would have given tests in our home setting more often.

 

What I'm glad I had done:

Ds #1 was always strong in reading. I pushed writing and math. I'm a big believer in the basics. If you are an excellent reader, writer, and your math is on target for your life's goals, you're going to be fine academically. I had also emphasized living foreign language while in elementary school.

 

Other subjects, including science, history, fine arts, and other content areas are "add ons" --icing to the cake, but if you go "lite" with one of those subjects in middle school, it's not going to really impact long term.

 

I agree about outside classes. I am seriously considering an online Latin course for fall for the reasons you mention.

 

Thanks!

 

Anita

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7th and 8th grades can be such a tough time as most kids hit puberty at some point in this period and their brains temporarily shut down. I think the push for harder and harder work in order to be prepared for high school can backfire for all involved especially when the hormones start wreaking havoc. Kids at this age alternate between being little kids and young adults, and you have to be ready for whichever version of your child stumbles out of bed in the morning. They mature out of it with brains that better equipped for high school level work.

 

Middle school was particularly brutal with my oldest son, with me freaking out on a regular basis. Regular life got especially messy too during that time, but in spite of it all he has been able to handle high school just fine.

 

My approach with my 2nd son has been to enjoy this age as much as possible while steadily working on basic skills. We got off the 4 year history cycle treadmill and pursued interests, spending a lot of time reading aloud and discussing books together. He had to write weekly and do math daily, and we talked about high school and college plans and what it will take to make it all happen. His transition to 9th grade work this year has been seamless.

 

So my advice for academics is to be like the tortoise in Aesop's -- slow and steady, and my advice for mothering kids during this period is to make a point of cherishing this time because they will be launching into their own lives before you know it.

 

Thank you so much for your post. I agree that children grow up so quickly, and it really is so important to cherish this stage because I know all too well how quickly it will pass. My oldest is in her second year of college already!

 

Your approach sounds lovely, and I think this is a great approach with kids this age.

 

I really appreciate your advice.

 

Anita

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7th and 8th grades can be such a tough time as most kids hit puberty at some point in this period and their brains temporarily shut down. I think the push for harder and harder work in order to be prepared for high school can backfire for all involved especially when the hormones start wreaking havoc. Kids at this age alternate between being little kids and young adults, and you have to be ready for whichever version of your child stumbles out of bed in the morning. They mature out of it with brains that better equipped for high school level work.

 

<snip>

 

 

 

Indeed, an excellent post Jenn!

 

More writing is my immediate thought to the original question but I think that I would add one other thing. I would also give students a chance to work on life skills. My son sewed a fleece jacket in 7th, learned some computer programming, built some electronics devices, etc. I would allow for some hands on time in the midst of the academics.

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We've done the WTM approach since 2000 or so, but a few things that popped out at me when I read your post were:

 

Logic - I would have started logic earlier and done much more of it. Slowly (see JennW's post). I see them using their logic in so many aspects of their school. I just never realized just how useful it could be. Even in their Bible study. They all did Introductory Logic, Intermediate Logic, Traditional Logic 1 & 2, and some read Isaac Watt's "Logic". We are all currently about halfway through Suppes' "A First Course in Mathematical Logic" and will follow that with a few more logic books. It almost seems impossible to do too much logic.

 

Bible - I would have started them on much more in-depth study, much earlier. Again, slowly, keeping in mind that this is something they will spend the rest of their lives doing.

 

Biblical Greek - I would have started this much earlier. Young children seem to be able to handle languages with ease, mostly.

 

Saxon math - I would have let that go ages ago when ds's initially began telling me about problems they were having with it. We are now doing a list I got from someone who used to post on this board and enjoying math much more now. Harder, yes, but much more rewarding.

 

Writing - We've done a variety of programs, but dc say that the writing sections in ABeka grammar were the most helpful to them. It also helped that they did/do extensive reading in all areas while writing, constantly. They wrote about anything and everything, and I think that has helped them learn to write, most of all.

 

History - WTM approach has worked great for us. I would have had ds's (15-16yo at the time) go through the Logic stage quickly before jumping into the GB's when they did. They needed that panoramic view to really put the GB's into context in their brains. Dd's did all the KF, etc., and things seem to connect better for them in history.

 

Science - They've always read tons of library books on every topic in science. That seemed to work well. Then, when they got to Rhetoric level stuff, it was much easier to comprehend. We did WTM for that, too.

 

Well, that's all I can think of for now.

 

 

 

HTH

 

Great suggestions, Kathy. Thank you.

 

Anita

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7th and 8th grades can be such a tough time as most kids hit puberty at some point in this period and their brains temporarily shut down. I think the push for harder and harder work in order to be prepared for high school can backfire for all involved especially when the hormones start wreaking havoc. Kids at this age alternate between being little kids and young adults, and you have to be ready for whichever version of your child stumbles out of bed in the morning. They mature out of it with brains that better equipped for high school level work.

 

Middle school was particularly brutal with my oldest son, with me freaking out on a regular basis. Regular life got especially messy too during that time, but in spite of it all he has been able to handle high school just fine.

 

My approach with my 2nd son has been to enjoy this age as much as possible while steadily working on basic skills. We got off the 4 year history cycle treadmill and pursued interests, spending a lot of time reading aloud and discussing books together. He had to write weekly and do math daily, and we talked about high school and college plans and what it will take to make it all happen. His transition to 9th grade work this year has been seamless.

 

So my advice for academics is to be like the tortoise in Aesop's -- slow and steady, and my advice for mothering kids during this period is to make a point of cherishing this time because they will be launching into their own lives before you know it.

 

Slow and steady on the math skills. Read out loud and talk about books and ideas. Write weekly. Explore topics that they find interesting. Cherish this time. During these years, my ds discovered he really loved art and really had an interest in foreign languages. We discovered that he had a wonderfully developed voice in writing.

 

This is a tumulutous time for kids. Have you noticed all the posts "My 14yo doesn't seem to care ....."

 

Slow and steady and lots of time discussing ideas and learning to think about ideas, express ideas, organize, and explore new ideas seems to help them.

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They are learning to be adults. I'm doing much better with the academic transition from middle school to high school with the last of three than I did with the first two, sigh.

 

The first time round, I homeschooled middle school and then sent my son to public high school. This was a huge mistake for our family. (My nephew is doing ok in the same high school. My particular children just don't do well in public school. I think it is a perfectly good option for lots of people.)

 

Here is a post that talks about some of the mistakes I made the second time round, as well as a general summing up of some of the 8th grade threads as I've watched them go by through the years and some of my 8th grade advice. This says most of what I want to say:

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=653077#poststop

 

We are doing 8th/9th with the last son this year.

 

I agree with Jane that at this age you should do lots of hands-on stuff. Traditionally, I think home-ec and shop were taught in 7th and 8th grade. This is a good age to do those things. Children are tall enough to use stoves and power tools, and they need the boost to their self-confidence badly. They are old enough to see that they are going to be grown up soon, and to grasp how much they don't know yet. Getting started on learning those things comforts them and helps calm the panic. Also, their brains work in a rather spotty manner at this age, so it is nice to have something else useful to do with them. And it is genuinely nice to have their help, nice for them, since they are old enough now to see how much they owe you (even if they hide from it or resent it most of the time) and nice for you.

 

And I agree with Jenn about exploring interests during this time. The last year of the four year history cycle is tough. You have world wars and other atrocities and it all feels much more real because it is so recent. Their grandparents remember a lot of it. I think this bothers some children a lot more than they may admit. We go very lightly through history at this point. I have them read Kingfisher, but I save the logic stage 4th year WTM history reading list for high school and put that together with a US history spine and the foundation documents and count it as US History and US Government. That leaves some extra time to work on other things.

 

This is a good year to talk about what you want as an emphasis for high school. Is it finish high school with an associates degree from the community college? Get some of the general education courses out of the way at community college? Concentrate on music or art or history or great books? Do non-traditional learning like travelling, volunteering, a teen business, building something (someone here built an airplane), political action, environmental action, wildlife rehabilitation, robotics, horses, farming, sports, dance, historical reenactments, work for a museum or history site, sail, backpack, do some sort of apprenticeship (in the trades or otherwise)... Picking an emphasis will make your child into an interesting adult. It helps you to narrow down the millions of possibilities out there, set your priorities (if the emphasis is sports, you are probably going to have to cut down on your history and literature reading lists, since both are very time consuming). It will make your child more interesting to the colleges, or give them a head start in the working world. It will get them started on a hobby for the rest of the life. It will help motivate them to do high school and help them to feel like they are learn something they want to learn. It helps you to feel like you are taking full advantage of homeschooling. And lots of other good things.

 

I'm trying to have the third one actually read the literature list, not listen to it on tape or check off because I read it aloud when he was 6. I didn't realize how important that list is for transitioning into adult level reading. Both my children read for pleasure, often adult level books, so I assumed they would be fine reading the high school lists, but I overlooked that most adult pleasure reading is at about a middle school level and that listening on tape is much easier than reading to oneself (in some ways).

 

I'm trying to have the third one do more writing, and I'm not going to suddenly demand a higher level of writing. I'm just going to have him write lots and often and let him slowly, over the course of middle school and high school, arrive at the level of writing he needs for college.

 

We are continuing to put lots of time into math.

 

I'm doing more formal science with this one because he is probably headed for engineering and will need to take his high school science at community college. That means that he needs some exposure to it first. Everyone tells you to back up from the end to find out what you need to do each year (good advice) and when I did that, I found that we needed to do some sort of physics and chemistry in middle school. We did Singapore's Inter???? Science in 6th, Conceptual Physics in 7th, and now we're doing Conceptual Chemistry in 8th. (Sort of 8th - he's 14 because we delayed sending him to public kindergarten a year, but he's also brightish and has been working with his older brother quite a bit, so it is hard to pinpoint him gradewise now. Officially, he's 8th, which will probably work well from the point of view of when we feel he's mature enough to go away to college. The extra year at home won't be a bad thing. He has a summer birthday.)

 

So this is what we are doing with the youngest this year. I'm pretty happy with it. The emphasis, as usual, is skills not content. That means our top priorities are music, foreign languages, math, reading, and writing. He can already draw or drawing would be on the list. These are listed in order of priority.

 

Help Grampa one afternoon a week (how to be grownup, shop, repairs, etc.)

Math: NEM2

Gymnastics

French with a tutor (mostly conversational)

Latin: Ecce Romani 3

Piano lessons

Writing: Dictation and parts of Writing Strands 6 and 7 (what he didn't do last year) and a proofreading workbook

Great Books with his older brother (US foundation documents and Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc.)

Sight reading workbook

Conceptual Chemistry (which we won't finish because we're going slowly and doing it only if he has done all those other things)

TWTM logic literature list (just reading on his own and writing a book report a la Writing Strands for each one)

Kingfisher (just read and outline one spread - he does this Friday afternoon)

Geography Colouring Book

Hopefully read A Rulebook for Argument and (totally mangling the title) Skunk and White's Style book or whatever it is called (he will do geometry instead of logic)

 

I wish we had time to do vocabulary with Vocabulary from Classical Roots. I believe that you can raise your reading level by working on grammar (which we do through Latin), vocabulary, and reading lots.

 

The plan for high school is:

Continue great books, reading some things in their original Latin and French, and read Spielvogel's Western Civ and a US history spine

Continue working on writing with a variety of resources

Learn another foreign language

Continue working on music

TTC anthropology tapes

NEM3 and formal geometry next year, then CC math after that starting with pre-calc

Natural History next year and then CC chem, electronics, and physics after that

The CC basic computing course

The CC speech course

Some sort of large, non-traditional learning project that we will fit the academics around, possibly his own small sailboat?

 

Sorry this was sooooo long. Hopefully something in here will give someone some ideas for preparing for and planning an interesting high school program.

 

-Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
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7th and 8th grades can be such a tough time as most kids hit puberty at some point in this period and their brains temporarily shut down.

 

Ds 13 is experiencing this. Great soul, but scatter-brained. I "parent" him more than my little girls, ages 4 & 5. He needs lots of love and grace during this season.

 

So my advice for academics is to be like the tortoise in Aesop's -- slow and steady, and my advice for mothering kids during this period is to make a point of cherishing this time because they will be launching into their own lives before you know it.

 

Thanks, Jenn. I needed to hear this today. Thank you for being a voice of reason. Ds has barely 4 years left w/ us here at home. I don't want to waste those precious moments with him fretting over the small stuff.

 

God, grant me wisdom!

 

 

.

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The most important thing for the middle grades, to me, is to nail down as much as possible all skill areas so that you aren't revisiting them in high school. The content in high school takes off and will come much easier to the student who has solidified the basics (spelling, grammar, basic writing, typing, etc.)

 

 

 

:iagree:

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I spend 7th and 8th grade especially, in prayer. There are so many more options in high school than there are in elementary/junior high or maybe we just allow more freedom to come into their lives. I fight signing them up for everything but also don't want to hold them back.

 

We started hsing 16 years ago and I remember when our ds hit 7th grade-I thought I am going to just get piles of books and lots of milk and let him sleep and read. Well, it didn't work that way-he wasn't the sluggish, crabby one. He wanted to stay pluggin away at school. He is still a "slow and steady as she rolls" kind of person. I had to adjust my thinking.

 

I would've done more family field trips...not just educational ones with the children and our support group but I would've organized more things around what we were studying so that we could experience it as a family. We did go to Williamsburg off season, but our oldest two are adults and that family time through hs is just precious.

 

We are on the last two children...and we pop around a lot more with them. Susan Peterson's book on Fun Things To Do in California is one of our favorite books.

Edited by CherylG
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Memory work, poetry, drama. I love drama for this age. They are so dramatic anyway, kwim :)? Most kids love to perform and this gives them (both genders) a chance to be outlandish in an environment that is safe and contained.

Logic /debate skills.

Nail down writing skills.

Read alouds. Every Day. Mandatory. So much great discussion comes about because of this. You can talk about touchy subjects- i.e. sex, bullying, etc without it being too personal. Keeps lines of communication open.

Walks, working out together, gardening, sports. Keep those teens moving and sweating- daily jobs for the same reason- discipline and physical work :)

Nail down math skills.

For us, Bible overview/worldview.

lots of hugs.

Talking with the kids about how they are gifted, where you see their strengths are-areas they can capitalize on. Areas where they are weak and need more work. Talk with them about their vision-who they want to "be", what their mission is "how they want to get there."

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I wish I had given my son more responsibility for keeping his own schedule. Instead, I was The Organizer. I was the one to say, "time to go to class" (for outside classes). I reminded him about assignments and kept him aware of what was coming up in his syllabus. Do you have your books? A pencil? I kept him from showing up unprepared.

 

In retrospect, 7th and 8th grades were a perfect time for him to assume responsibility for these things. I should have let him miss some assignments and suffer the consequences so he'd learn the importance of keeping up with them. I should have made him responsible for telling me, "Mom, it's time for me to go to class."

 

It's much better to learn this discipline in middle school when grades don't show up on transcripts to colleges than in high school when they do.

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Anita,

 

I haven't taken the time to read everyone's response, but I will chime in with some random thoughts.

 

7th and 8th grade is a great time to make sure that you have all of your ducks lined up. Yes, yes, yes - it's a great time to let kids move ahead in the areas of the curriculum that they are strong in. Certainly! But IMHO the most important thing to do is to shore up their weakness (and yours) so that you can hit high school with confidence.

 

From what I have found - most colleges are not interested in seeing "high school" level courses that kids took in jr high on their high school transcript. Most kids who are strong in math will probably do algebra I in 8th grade. They might do physical science with a lab in 8th grade. They might cover their first year of foreign language in 7th and 8th grade, so they begin 9th grade with "Spanish II" or "French II." These scenarios are really quite common.

 

But ultimately these kids are still going to have to have "three years of foreign language" in high school if they want to have a humanities-strong transcript. So they should still plan on doing "French II, III, and IV." Those jr. high credits will make them distinctive in that they are eligible for tougher courses, but the top-tier colleges want to see that they still did those three years of additional language study as a high-schooler.

 

Same with a math/science major. It's great to cover algebra before high school, but the colleges are going to want to see that the student went on to push through four math credits as a high-schooler. Same with physical science; if they take physical as an 8th grader, they should be working through the science sequence (Bio, Chem, and Physics) and adding something distinctive their senior year - an electronics or human anatomy course, or AP science or CC dual-enrollment.

 

I've said all that to say this: getting ahead in jr. high doesn't ALWAYS mean that you are ahead. You may just be loading their schedule at the end with more difficult course-work in their junior and senior year. So think it through before you tackle a ton of high-school level work in jr. high; make sure that it's in the child's area of expertise because they may run out of "high school" level work to do in that area.

 

So before you jump ahead, maybe consider the skill areas that they should be developing in those 7th/8th grade years. Don't short-change that stuff in order to "get ahead" because you may be generating head aches for yourself.

 

Take the time to make sure that their arithmetic skills are strong.

 

Have they had a science course? Do they know how to learn/study from a science textbook? Have they had some exposure to life science and the physical sciences (chemistry and physics) at the jr. high level and below?

 

How are those writing skills coming along? Can they write a strong paragraph? Do they know about the different kinds of paragraphs, and can they choose an appropriate type to match the assignment? Can they outline a simple argument? Do they know the difference between a "topic sentence" and a thesis - at least a rough idea? Can they do ANY of this in a timely manor WITHOUT you doing all of the thinking? Are the processes ingrained?

 

How are their reading skills progressing? Can they READ or do they just read? (See TWEM or Adler's How to Read a Book.) This takes time, but kids should have an idea about where they are headed as readers. My oldest entered high school thinking that he KNEW how to read; it took a LONG time for me to realize that he didn't KNOW that he wasn't really a reader yet. Once I "got" that, and HE got it, it's been easier to teach him; he listens to me instead of tolerating me. :001_smile:

 

How are their study skills?

Do they keep their work organized: papers have headings and are filed in notebooks or _______. Do they understand how to take a larger assignment and break it into smaller assignments? Do they keep a schedule/log/learning journal or do you do it all for them and they just check the boxes? Do they keep track of when assignments are do? Do they DO the work that they KNOW they are supposed to do without being nagged, bugged, or CONSTANTLY being check up on. Can they and DO they regularly work independently on SOME level? REALLY re-think this IM (not so very humble!!!!!!!) opinion. :D ESPECIALLY if you are teaching more than one child; your older kids need to know how to plan their work and work their plan so that your "teaching" time with them is optimized. There is SO much daily work to cover in such a very short amount of time with each of my kids. We do NOT have the time and NOR do I have the energy to walk around saying (nagging, moaning, complaining...):

 

"Did you get that assignment done? No? But this is done. Hmmm. It is? This looks EXACTLY like the LAST time I asked for this and you said that it was done. There is no "Works Cited" at the bottom of this paper. Where is the heading? This isn't double-spaced. Didn't we discuss all this already????

Your schedule says you were going to do pages 122-124. How come you only did page 122? Did you correct this yet? How do you know if you are doing this right if you aren't checking this exercise after you finished this? Haven't we discussed this?

Did we agree that you were going to memorize these dates by YESTERDAY afternoon? What do you mean you haven't even made flash cards yet? How are you supposed to memorize these by blankly staring at the page? Haven't we discussed this? (Can you see the cartoon steam that is starting to come out of my ears?) Didn't you say that you were going to make cards? I DON'T CARE IF YOU FORGOT! Who should be writing this down? ME?!? WHAT IS YOU PLAN, YOUNG MAN!!!!!!!????????!!!!!!" :glare: BIG, HUGE, FAT :glare:

 

(PLEASE understand that this is a theoretical conversation. I have never actually HAD a conversation like this - all the while WISHING that I had taught this stuff BEFORE we HIT HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!! With EASIER CONTENT!!!! AND WITHOUT ALL OF THESE SCHEDULES TO JUGGLE BECAUSE IT ALL COUNTS NOW AND I'M SO TIRED OF TRYING TO TEACH PEOPLE WHO ARE TALLER THAN ME (SO THEY THINK THEY KNOW MORE THAN ME) HOW TO FUNCTION!!!!!!!!!

 

Theoretical conversation. Strictly an imaginary "what-if" conversation!)

 

:D

 

TEACH study skills in 7th/8th grade. It's a BIG PAIN! But it packs a HUGE punch later on. I'm learning. And let's just say that these things are SOLIDLY in place with my younger two. I don't worry a BIT about what they know about history, science, or literature content. I know that they are learning. I care BIG TIME about that procedural stuff!

 

Oh - there's more.

 

Didn't I tell you that I was going to ramble? :001_smile:

 

Have you done your homework? So many moms that I meet (myself included) think that we want to do the "great books" in highschool with our kids. But we haven't read them. Any of them. So we don't really know what we want... at least I didn't. I wanted what someone else wanted, and I had the plan to do it all laid out. But I didn't know what I wanted. If you don't have the time to read the great books when your kids are in junior high and you have never had the time to read the great books ever in your whole life, you might want to really sit and think about what you really want. Let me just say that they really are great. Really! But it takes work. And it has taken me a while to hit my groove. And even THEN, sometimes it feels like I'm failing. Or at least it isn't working. Or sometimes I feel REALLY LOST and confused and .....

 

Spend some time looking ahead into the content of the high school subjects that you plan to teach. Read. Think. Learn some more about those subjects. And develop a rough but "I'm pretty sure that I can do this" plan BEFORE your kids hit those subjects - preferable at least an "I think this is the direction that I'm going in" BEFORE you hit high school. And start taking serious inventory about the subjects that you are NOT planning to teach. And come up with a PLAN for those subjects. All of us are different. All of us have a different set of skills and resources. And life happens. A LOT! Even the subjects that I KNOW that I can teach really well - I mean RELLY WELL, I have had to out source. And I KNOW that I can teach it better than the outsourced option. But it wasn't happening. And life MUST go on, even when my ego is bruised! :001_smile:

 

KNOW yourself! And be realistic about what you can (and WILL!!!) accomplish. I tend to be overly generous toward myself and am always hopeful that I am going to figure out how to accomplish ______ tomorrow even though I have NEVER to this date EVER managed to do it ever. High school can be messy if the momma handles everything with a "New Years Resolution" mentality (You know the kind where you make BIG plans to change everything about who you are on January 1st and then by January 5th you've dropped everything and are doing NONE of it, but you plan to try again next year because it's 360 days away so that means that you're off the hook for now. Once again - completely theoretical. I would never DO that! ;))

 

It's better to be serious about what you can manage (and PRACTICE managing it) when your kids are in jr. high.

 

So it's a GREAT time to practice doing things well. For you and your kids!

Homeschooling really is such a grand ride. Such a FABULOUS way to grow as people - for me AND my kids!!!

 

PEACE TO YOU AND YOURS!

Rock on! Stay hopeful! The best is yet to come!

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

Edited by Janice in NJ
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I am loving this thread. Thanks for all of your wisdom!

 

:iagree: I was just fretting with elegantlion that these jr. high years are coming on quickly and I need to prepare. I feel so overwhelmed as I'm trying to prepare my 5th grader for her jr. high years so I can in turn prepare her for high school.

 

Thanks, Janice, for reminding me I need to really think about what I want~I do plan to teach the Great Books and so your post hit home. :)

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Seems like every time you post, Jenn, I try to figure out how I can get you to move up here and be my neighbor.:) I so appreciate your wise words. For the very reasons you've stated, I've not felt the need to push and rush my oldest. I did that a bit too much when he was younger and regret that as it is. Thanks for your post.

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I think if you are moving along at a nice, steady pace, then they will automatically be ready for highschool and then college.

 

My 2 best friend's kids are all in private prep schools (2 different schools). Their poor kids NEVER just get to enjoy the moment. It seems that almost everything they do in school is to prepare them for the next grade or level. Sometimes their kids spend YEARS working on skills and even trying to get them to remember certain facts and info, that I've found my kids get MUCH quicker if I just wait until they are more than ready for it.

 

Maturity has way more to do with "being ready" for highschool than we often think.

 

 

Greta:)

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I think if you are moving along at a nice, steady pace, then they will automatically be ready for highschool and then college.

 

Yes. It concerns me at times, the stress I sense from some on this board as they get children "ready" for high school and/or college. I'm not referring to people who have admittedly dropped the ball year after year as far as their child(ren)'s education is concerned. Rather, these are folks who have clearly been diligent in teaching, both directly and indirectly, their children. They prize self-education and live that out in their own lives. Many allegedly value paths that vary from the norm. But oh my! how they quake and quiver and compete when it comes to high school and beyond! So much so that, at least from my perspective, joy and individuality takes a back seat to all else.

 

Sometimes their kids spend YEARS working on skills and even trying to get them to remember certain facts and info, that I've found my kids get MUCH quicker if I just wait until they are more than ready for it.

 

You're right; well said.

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But oh my! how they quake and quiver and compete when it comes to high school and beyond! So much so that, at least from my perspective, joy and individuality takes a back seat to all else.

Interesting. I haven't sensed that here. I'm impressed with the "joy and individuality" I see among the Moms -- and kids represented here. The quivering and quaking, as I see it, is a result of Moms & Dads doing their due diligence as educators of their children. We type A's might over-think and over-plan -- but w/ the best of intentions.

 

 

Onward & upward :)...

Edited by Beth in SW WA
typo
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I think sometimes people get shaken up when they first try textbook-style learning after TWTM-style learning. Or when they first try some sort of standardized test. Often, their children don't do very well. They don't realize that neither do people who have done their schooling someplace else. It is sort of a cultural problem of unspoken assumptions or figuring out what the test or text-writer considers important. Sometimes the solution is as simple as explaining that you have to give answers in the form that appears in the material in the chapter, not the answer that appeared in a library book you read two years ago that shared this vocabulary but dealt with a diffrent subject. They get worried and begin to question whether their child has learned anything homeschooling, or even if they obviously have, whether they will survive college. -Nan

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I think if you are moving along at a nice, steady pace, then they will automatically be ready for highschool and then college.

 

My 2 best friend's kids are all in private prep schools (2 different schools). Their poor kids NEVER just get to enjoy the moment. It seems that almost everything they do in school is to prepare them for the next grade or level. Sometimes their kids spend YEARS working on skills and even trying to get them to remember certain facts and info, that I've found my kids get MUCH quicker if I just wait until they are more than ready for it.

 

Maturity has way more to do with "being ready" for highschool than we often think.

 

 

Greta:)

 

:iagree: Thanks for your post! That's one reason I asked this question. I wondered if there were moms who, looking back, would take a more relaxed approach to those junior high years. 

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Our own individual styles no doubt colors how we react to others'.

 

Colleen,

 

True.

 

I would hope that this place can be a venue where we can post w/o worrying how someone else will react. The beauty of this board is that we can be transparent and open w/ our weaknesses -- because we are all on this journey together. Only then can we learn, grow and pay it forward (which is my goal for myself.)

 

Susan has provided this venue as a gift to us. I have learned so much over this last year from the fine folks here. My teacher's lounge.

 

Rambling to self now.

 

Anyway, happy Friday, Colleen. Stay warm & dry up north. :)

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But oh my! how they quake and quiver and compete when it comes to high school and beyond! So much so that, at least from my perspective, joy and individuality takes a back seat to all else.

 

"Quake, quiver and compete"? Wow--I had no idea. Self doubt is occasionally expressed on this board. If you have not experienced any second guessing on your methodology or curriculum, then you are indeed a rare individual. But self doubt expressed within a support group is not exactly quivering, at least in my mind.

 

I think that many of us operate with "due diligence" (as Beth put it). In many cases, this means that our kids are subjected to assessments which in my eyes are relatively joyless, AP exams and SAT-II tests. But if the admissions office of colleges to which your child is applying requires these tests, will you avoid them?

 

Parents "compete" on these boards? On the contrary, I find my fellow homeschooling parents here to be highly supportive of other parents and our children. I love the boasts of scholarships won! Many of our students have created rich and unique paths for themselves. I am amazed by the interests of these teens in languages, literature, science. Parents are often faced with the challenge of how to describe our students rather non-traditional studies on a traditional transcript. Do we quake? Do we quiver? No, we turn to our fellow boardies for advice since so many have BTDT!

 

Welcome to the high school party! May you and your high schoolers partake of rich and wonderful conversations in the years ahead.

 

Jane

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I would hope that this place can be a venue where we can post w/o worrying how someone else will react.

 

Of course. Are you worrying how I'll react, or thinking I'm worried how you'll react, or...?:001_huh:

 

The beauty of this board is that we can be transparent and open w/ our weaknesses -- because we are all on this journey together. Only then can we learn, grow and pay it forward (which is my goal for myself.)

 

Of course ~ again. I feel like you're sending me a subliminal message here, but I'm missing it. I've been on these boards for many years and learned a great deal from all manner of people whose styles run the gamut. Having said that, I've noticed in uptick in what I perceive to be the stress-o-meter about testing, transcripts, etc. To me (note emphasis), that makes for a less enjoyable atmosphere, but I still do read and learn here, and share, too, when the opportunity arises.

 

Any-hoo. Happy weekend to you.:)

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Where else can we express our worries and be comforted? Doesn't everyone worry, at least sometimes? Making an adult person (or helping them to make themselves) is an awe inspiring undertaking, and homeschoolers have less help in that task than schoolers. The worry is good worry, I think, usually, the kind that foresees and forestalls problems. Naturally most of us also have the middle of the night irrational worries, too. Friends are people to whom you can confess these worries and get hugs. The hive mind is a fabulous tool. For every someone brave enough to express a worry, there are some lurkers who also are comforted by the responses. People pool their great solutions, like making room in the schedule for extra languages by doubling up language study and history or geography. Fitting multiple languages into a high school schedule without overburdening your child is a common worry, and one I've worried about in advance for years. And I don't know how many times someone has worried about something that I hadn't thought of but am definately going to have to deal with. Like the NACC or whoever it is that manages college sports... (I probably don't even have the letters right.)

-Nan

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