Seventh Grade

This post is written up at the end of seventh grade, Reggio Emilia style, where you write the curriculum up when you’re finished.

For grade seven, the boys struck out almost entirely on their own. They simply have different educational needs and interests so we did almost nothing together. We stuck to doing core subjects and adding in projects and topics of study that they were interested in pursuing.

Together, we continued to go on field trips and do occasional workshops. We did things like sketching at museums or in gardens. We traveled together, including to the Yucatan, in the fall, where we saw Mayan ruins. We attended performances at the Kennedy Center, including to see the San Francisco Ballet and Alvin Ailey. We also continued doing co-op together. Our co-op is intentionally small and child-run. The kids did projects like creating historical re-enactments, running a large fundraiser for Heifer International, and playing role-playing games.


I designed a program for BalletBoy that kept up his “get it done” approach to math, tried to encourage him to read more books at a higher level, allowed him to really have fun with a crazy topic, pushed him to write more creatively, and allowed him to try his hand at studying Spanish. Overall, he was focused on language this year.

Math: Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course by Mary Dolciani was completed start to finish
Algebra: Structure and Method by Mary Dolciani was started
We supplemented with Harold Jacobs’s Mathematics: A Human Endeavor, Zometools, and some extra practice in various books.

Language Arts: Brave Writer Lifestyle, including routine dictation, writing projects, poetry teas, and freewriting time.
We supplemented Brave Writer by using part of Figuratively Speaking and with Evan Moor’s Daily Paragraph Editing.

Literature List:
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Sounder by William Armstrong
Crash by Jerry Spinelli
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
A selection of short stories

Spanish: Duolingo and Breaking the Barrier Spanish: Beginner

Projects and Topics:

“Weird Physics”
We used countless books for this topic, but I wanted to name Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku as having been the best one. We also used The Great Courses’ The Inexplicable Universe by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Elections Mini-Project
The husband spearheaded this project and used his own book about presidential elections for kids to guide it.

We used several shorter writings and Great Courses excerpts by John McWhorter for this unit.

We used many books, articles, and documentaries for this project. We especially appreciated’s Meteorologist badge and How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate by Lynne Cherry.

Chemistry Mini-Project
BalletBoy chose to do chemistry for his science fair project. If you’re not familiar with it, Science Buddies is an excellent web resource for kids to look through and choose science fair projects.

Governments Mini-Project
We used Crash Course: American Government for this short unit.

Cells Mini-Project
We used a variety of books for this short unit about cells.


Destination Imagination
Volunteering at a soup kitchen


I started the year not wanting to push Mushroom too hard. In the end, he finished up having done more impressive projects than I would have imagined and having dove deeper into his subjects. I’m glad I backed off the longer book reads for him to encourage him to read on his own instead.

Elementary Algebra by Harold Jacobs, first half
Mathematics: A Human Endeavor by Harold Jacobs, about half of the text
We supplemented with Zometools, some extra worksheet pages, and a little bit of Dolciani’s Pre-Algebra.

Language Arts: Mushroom did a variety of things for language arts. He continued with a Brave Writer lifestyle, including poetry teas, freewriting, and dictation. However, he also finished up Wordsmith Apprentice, did Evan Moor’s Daily Language Review and Daily Paragraph Editing, and some Killgallon’s Sentence Composing.

Literature List:
Sounder by William Armstrong
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
A selection of short stories

Projects and Topics:

Election Mini Project
The husband spearheaded this, and used his book about presidential elections to guide him.

Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
We used a variety of books for this project, but the two core books, World Tales, edited by Idries Shah and Favorite Folktales, edited by Jane Yolen, were excellent.

Flight, Space, and Rockets
We used countless books for this, but I wanted to specifically name the Horrible Science book about flight, Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming, and The Wright Brothers by Russell Freedman as having been outstanding. The series From the Earth to the Moon was also invaluable. He also used two rocketry kits from Estes.

We used a variety of books for this topic. World of Games is a wonderful book that goes over the history of games and how to build historic games.

Cells and Protozoa
We used a variety of materials. Most notably, Mushroom used Protozoa from Ellen McHenry. This was also the subject of his science fair style project.

History of China mini project
The primary text for this was an amazing series of books called Understanding China Through Comics. I majored in Chinese history in college and I give this series a serious thumbs up.

Graphic Design mini project
Mushroom taught himself to use the Affinity suite of products and began learning how to do his own vector art, as well as how to “photoshop” pictures and even sell his work.

Diving (fall)
Parkour (winter and spring)
Karate (spring)
Maker space workshop
Destination Imagination
Destination Imagination coaching for younger students