Planning Junior High Homeschool

My son has finally reached junior high school or 7th grade. I won’t dwell on how quickly this happened. 😮

{Note: Every state seems to have different terms for these middle years. In Georgia, they call 6th-8th grade “middle school,” but for simplicity’s sake, I consider 6th grade part of elementary school and 7th & 8th grade “junior high school.”}

I spent the better part of last year thinking about his junior high level work….That is, 7th and 8th grade. It’s my goal to prepare him for high school level work by the end of 8th grade. It’s a little bit easier, I think, to plan for the next two years instead of one. And, yet, it’s harder to plan for this level too. I fell somewhere between a “relaxed” and “structured” homeschooler for elementary school, starting off very relaxed but then increasing the “structure” a little bit each year, and now we are much more serious and structured because he is college bound. (At least, that’s what he’s telling us. 😉 )

So what are my goals for junior high? This is what I hope to achieve so that we’ll be on track for high school. I’ll write about specific resources we’re using in future posts over this coming year, but feel free to ask me questions in the comments area too.

Writing — A solid grasp of outlining, summarizing, and writing the 5 paragraph essay.

Literature — The basics of literary analysis, literary terms, and a good dose of excellent, young adult literature. I’ve created my own literature unit (with some help from online teacher resources), and I’m very excited about it.

Vocabulary — We’re going to learn word roots and the history of the English language.

Math — Complete Pre-Algebra so that he’ll be ready for Algebra by the 9th grade.

Science — Complete Earth Science for Middle Schoolers curriculum and as much of a Physical Science curriculum as possible. Basically I want him ready for a high school biology course in 9th grade.

History — I don’t have a specific goal for history. We are surveying both World Civilizations and U.S. history, and we’ll just continue with this throughout junior high and high school. The older he gets, I’ll weave in more research and writing projects related to history. As we study World Civilizations, we will be learning more in depth information about the major world religions as well.

Foreign Language — Both the boys have convinced me that they want to study Chinese. (We tried both Chinese and Spanish.) We’ll continue on with this as time permits.

Critical Thinking — I have added some resources that will teach my son the basics of philosophy and critical thinking. There is no set goal here either. We’ll continue this throughout junior and high school as time permits.

Art — I want to continue with some basics of drawing and art history, but this won’t be a high priority. We’ll do it whenever we need a break from our other work. We’ve already learned a lot by taking this relaxed approach to art education.

Music — Last but certainly not least, classical music training is my eldest son’s top priority. This makes it imperative that I find the best resources for his academic work that will be efficient and engaging as well as less time consuming….

So, the academic priorities will be writing, literature, math and science for this next 7th grade year. Everything else will be subject to the time we have.

Note: I owe some credit to the following publications, which helped me the most in making this basic plan for junior high school:
Homeschool High School Requirements — The free printable that you can access on that page was very helpful in trying to figure out where my starting point needs to be for high school.
The Well-Trained Mind, 4th Edition — I don’t consider us classical homeschoolers, and I’m glad I didn’t have this book during my son’s elementary years. However, in planning junior high school, I found some helpful advice and inspiration. My final plans veer far away from this approach, but it continues to give me a compass whenever I need it.

What are your plans for this new school year?

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