In Our Classroom: Junior High Edition (January 2014)

In Our Classroom Junior High

Our second week back to school was a bit more productive than our first!

I feel like we got quite a bit accomplished, in spite of a trip to urgent care for me and getting my hubby packed for a trip. I feel like we’re finally starting to get back into the swing of things!

I explained last week that I’m going to try something new. Instead of trying to report what everyone is doing every week, I’ll spend one week a month on each child, updating on what they’ve been doing for the past month. This week, I’m going to focus on Karate Kid and what he’s doing right now in 7th grade.

So, here’s what’s been going on in junior high at our house:


History: Karate Kid switched to Notgrass History this past fall like his older sister. He’s doing America the Beautiful (which I reviewed here) while she does Exploring America. They’ve both just gotten past the Civil War and into Reconstruction.

Last fall we coordinated Dave Raymond’s American History Part One with the Notgrass lessons and both kids loved it. Part Two is now available, so we’re taking the next 3-4 weeks off from Notgrass to pick up where we left off and catch up in it to the same point in history. We did the first lesson of Part Two this week, picking up right after the Revolution ended with lessons on Washington, Adams, and Jefferson.

I’d really like to fit in a Texas Adventure unit this spring, since the public schools here teach Texas history in 7th grade, but I’m still working on when and how I want to fit that in.

Literature: Karate Kid just isn’t the voracious reader his sister is, so it’s not as easy to get him to stay on schedule with his literature readings. Like her, he hasn’t enjoyed all the Notgrass literature selections as much as he did the Sonlight literature from years past. He wrapped up Brady by Jean Fritz, which he really did enjoy, right before Christmas, and is working his way through Bound for Oregon, which he’s not as fond of, now. When he finishes it, I’ll let him take a break and read something of his choosing, like a Mysterious Benedict Society book, before he starts on Across Five Aprils.

Writing: He’s just wrapping up an Essentials in Writing course. When he’s totally finished, I’m going to have him start Jump In: A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers, which I loved when the Dancer did it. I’m looking forward to it! I’m also thinking I probably need to do a bit more All About Spelling (which we’ve been doing off and on for the last couple of years) with him. He’s definitely not a natural speller, and he gets in a hurry and misspells more than he should.

Math: We’re continuing with Teaching Textbooks. He loves that he can do it independently and get immediate feedback, and I love not having to mess with it!

Science: We have just a couple of months left in our Supercharged Science subscription. This year I’ve just turned him loose with it and he really loves it! It’s definitely not going to be in the budget once our subscription ends, though, so he’ll start working through The Rainbow Science in March. Since we started back, he’s been learning about the possibility of time travel and how theoretically it really could work.

He’s also been spending hours the last few weeks designing and assembling Transformers, both out of his actual Legos and on Lego Digital Designer, that really transform from a robot to a car! This is pretty impressive to me – my brain turns to mush just trying to think about how to assemble something like that! I definitely consider this engineering/science time (although I do require him to do his other schoolwork first)! 🙂


Bible Study, Life Skills, and Electives

Spanish: I haven’t been as consistent at requiring Karate Kid to do Rosetta Stone Spanish as I have with his older sister, and I think I’m going to have him stop it for the time being. Next week, we’ll all be starting a new online language program that looks really awesome: Mango Languages. I will require them all to focus on Spanish, but I’m also going to allow them to pick one language just for fun that they can work on after they finish what I require in Spanish each day. We’re all looking forward to starting this!

Bible Study: I’ve still been deciding what I want Karate Kid to do for Bible study this semester, but I think I’m going to have him start The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study by Starr Meade in the next week or two.

Life Skills: I’m going to be focusing quite a bit on life skills this semester with all four kids! I’m revamping our chore schedule, and we all need to step up to the plate to help out with some things around the house that my husband usually takes care of. He’s working two jobs right now and just doesn’t have the time to do it all.

Karate Kid loves to cook and I definitely want to continue to encourage that! I’m planning to get back to our Real Food for the Next Generation lessons soon, so he can keep learning healthy methods and nutritional principles. He also loves to help his dad in the garden, so we’ll have plenty to report there in the near future too!

I feel like we’re off to a good start, and I’ll be working on planning and adding a few more things over the next few weeks. Next month, after we’ve been back at it for several weeks, there’ll be much more to report!

Peanut, my 2nd grader, has been busy too! I’ll be reporting what’s going on with her next week, so don’t miss it! 🙂

What’s going on in your classroom?

Linked with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Heart-Filled Fridays, Proverbs 31 Thursdays, Thrive at Home.    


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  1. I really enjoy reading older kids’ wrap ups. We are not there, yet, but will be before I know it. It helps to have seen other’s curricula choices and school days to give me ideas :). LOVE the Lego transformer, my son would love it, though probably isn’t old enough. I will be looking for that in a few years, though! So cool!
    Lisa (@4OurCountryRoad) recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up 2014 Week 2My Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Lisa! 🙂 Yes…trust me. It WILL be here before you know it! I’m still trying to figure out how I got here! 😉

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. That is an impressive load! I will be looking for jr. high Texas curriculum in a year or two. We are doing a TX History course this year (4th grade) – your method looks much more exciting!

    • Thanks Mary! I keep thinking I’m going to put my lesson plans into a printable schedule/curriculum I can offer to other Texas homeschoolers! Hopefully I’ll find time before too much longer. We’ve really had fun with it!

  3. Supercharged Science looks great! I think I’m going to do the free trial. We have been terrible about science this year, which is embarrassing as my husband is a biology professor!

    • It’s a really neat program, Sarah, though it’s a bit pricey. I totally understand…we’ve had a hard time being consistent with science too!

      I’m so glad you stopped by! 🙂

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