Where in Science do I start?

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  • HI, My name is Leslie and I’m new to all of this. I just took my son out of PS in January. We’ve been using free resources and a lot of books while we finished up the year and decided on curriculum for 7th grade. One of our main reasons for doing that was the fact that when we assessed him he was WAY below where he should be and I needed time to really “study” him before we jumped head first into curriculum. He’s my step son and lived with his mother until about 2 years ago and education was just not a priority. We knew he was struggling, but had no idea to what extent! For example, we decided to go with MUS and we had to go all the way back to Gamma. Grammar and Language Arts is the same, every book we got just confused him more, according to the assessments for those subjects I would of had to go all the way back to their 3rd grade levels. So right now we are in the middle of GrammarLand by Nesbit, and when we finish we will start ILL. Sorry my post is so long, I just wanted to give the backstory before I ask my question. Here it is: Wink

    Because of him being so far behind I originally decided to follow SCM’s guide for Elementary Science, we purchased 106 Days, CGC, and Exploring Creation with Botany so far, I planned on buying the rest of the Apologia series as we need them. I never even considered Exploring with Gen Science figuring it would be way too advanced for him. Now I’m not so sure that I’ve made the right decision. He’s already supposed to be in 8th grade because he failed K. If I take Lord only knows how long to go through that whole series and then start Gen Science he will never catch up. If he has no Science background do you think he can handle Apologia’s Gen Science course? I’m so confused I’m trying to take him back to what he know and build from there, but he has retained almost nothing. My worry is he won’t be ready for high school if we try and go back too far. What do you guys think?

    Again, sorry for the LONG post, I know I’ve rambled a little. You’ll have to excuse me it’s late and I’ve been researching this Science thing since like 8 o’clock tonight. It’s 2 am now!


    Why not show him the sample of General Science from Apologia’s website, have him read it, and see what he thinks? I would go with whatever was more interesting to him. The book is not a difficult book. I think my 8 year old could probably work through it if I worked with her. (Not that I am planning to do that!). In my opinion, that book is really about learning to think scientifically and realizing that science isn’t infallible. It lays a really solid foundation and I think it’s a book that should not be missed.

    While I think the resources you bought are great, I think the tone of the writing might be too young for him. I know that my 12 yod and my 11 yos would say that. And I know they would not want to do the coloring, cutting, and pasting of CGC.

    Another thought… why not have him just read the books recommended in the free SCM guide and work on is narration skills, both oral and written, for a year? It is okay not to use a science textbook.

    I think your best bet would be to use something that is interesting and engaging to him. Let him be part of the decision making process.


    I do know that pressure of having a child behind, and how it feels when everyone is saying you HAVE to have this course or this course or your child will never amount to anything – never go to college, never have a job where he makes really big bucks, never be successful…it’s so hard to feel adequate sometimes.

    I know that you are worried about catching him up and getting him on grade level. I encourage you in that direction, of course, but with a gentle reminder that it is better to teach him at his level and bring up his interests in a way that fosters his love of learning. He will want to learn and will continue to learn if he is not made to feel that he is too dumb…so as Sonya says: “teach the child, not the curriculum”.

    I recently discovered several living books science courses for middle school (up to 8th grade). These might work especially well in your case. The plans are free, but you may have to purchase or borrow the books themselves. 

    Here are several links from Guest Hollow:





    Here is one from At Home Science:


    Lists of living science books:





    Sheraz – Some of those titles in the Botany link I may have to get for myself!  They look very interesting.  


    sophismommie – I’ve never been in your position as my oldest is only 6, but I would definitly look to find a science topic and curriculum that interests your son.  It sounds like he needs a positive experience this school year.  Something that will challenge him without being overwhelming.  I don’t know what that is, but there are soooo many curricula out there that if you take your time to sift through them I’m sure you will find something that will work well for him.  🙂


    Did you know Apologia’s elementary series new release is available June 29?

    It is like a General Science for the elementary series….


    I am so excited for it!

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