Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum plans for 8th grade

I still can't believe that our high school years, once so far off, are just around the corner now.  With Josh being in 8th grade, I feel the need to up our game play a bit in preparation for not only high school and college but the "real world".

Here is what I have on tap for this school year.  Things may change once we get into our routine but, for now, this is the plan.


Curriculum spine:

 Mystery of History, Vol. II
Josh completed Vol. 1 for 7th grade and we enjoyed it so much that we will keep this as our primary focus and build around it (similar to what Paths of Exploration does).

Before we begin that, though, we will be exploring WWI, WWII and possibly the Cold War era, via unit studies that I'm piecing together through some wonderful resources online.  My son has BEGGED me to learn about these two wars for several months now.  I minored in History in college (actually I'm a semester away from a second degree in it), so I'm linear and chronological when it comes to tackling history.  Because it tells a story (and you can't put the cart before the horse), I don't like to jump around too much nor do I like to skip ahead.

I've had to get over this, though.  Paths of Exploration for my 5th grader, is not chronological and it just seems silly to stomp out the love of learning about the World Wars in my eldest while we WAIT to get to that part of History (we are just beginning the Middle Ages this year, remember; He'd have awhile to wait!). So, I bring in the lovely beauty of unit studies and delight-directed learning!  He's so excited to begin the school year learning about something that he really desires to understand more... and I'm excited that he's excited!

Math: Undecided.  We will begin with refreshers in fractions with Keys to Fractions, however, after that...  I'm looking at Teaching Textbooks - Pre-Algebra or PLATO pre-algebra course.


 Both boys will be working together through a new curriculum from LearnChrist called "The Disciple curriculum".  Learn more about it here.

To help gain a better knowledge of the books of the Bible, Josh will also be reading "The Barebones Bible Handbook for Teens: Getting to Know Every Book of the Bible"

For his personal quiet time, Josh will be continuing his work through this highly recommended study. It is curriculum from Positive Action and you can learn more about it here

Language Arts:
We are switching gears this year from Shurley English to some other resources that will better fit our family, I believe.
For an well-structured writing program, we've chosen WriteShop I.  For formal grammar, we are switching over to Easy Grammar.  It's the same material as Shurley English but presented in a less convoluted manner, I feel.  Then, we are adding a gem that I found over at Rainbow Resource - Daybook of Critical Reading and Writing!  Once I got this in my hand, I KNEW this was an excellent resource!  Short, daily assignments in learning to critically read,write and think.

Both of my boys will work through English from the Roots Up together as well as well as be required to produce monthly research reports, write their own poem and short story.  My eldest will be working through The Grammar of Poetry one day per week. This will be an exciting course!

My 8th grader is a VORACIOUS reader, so to keep him challenged as well as tie his literary devourings to History, I've come up with a list of History readers he'll be working through this year. This is large but completely within his capabilities.  If he doesn't finish one or two, I'm fine with it but I must be prepared for his need to read!

* The Eagle of the Ninth (he can read the rest of the trilogy in his free time)
* Attila the Hun - A Wicked History book
* Black Horses for the King
* Beowulf
* Son of Charlemagne
* The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow
* A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
 * King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
* Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
* If All the Swords in England
* Robin Hood
* St. George and the Dragon
* Canterbury Tales
* A Single Shard
* Joan of Arc
* Otto of the Silverhand
* Castle
* The Great and Terrible Quest

In addition to this list of historical fiction, he'll add these to his literature line-up:

Science: First semester - Forensic Science.  We will be using a variety of resources for this that I've pieced together.  Detective Science book, Crime Scene Investigation kit from HomeScience Tools, and a unit study from CurrClick will be our materials.  Several years ago, my son read the entire Sherlock Holmes series for fun.  Like his mother, he has an interest in crime sleuthing and so we'll chase this interest during the first semester.  Consider it "Career exploring"!

Second Semester - Botany (along with my 5th grader).  Typically, 8th graders are knee-deep in a General Science, Physical Science, or Biology course at this point but I wanted to incorporate some interest-led learning here.  This is our last year to homeschool before all of it "counts" (In California, you don't have to record anything you do for school until High School).  So, I figure, we have 4 years to cover Biology, Chemistry, General Science and the like.  California only requires two years of Science but we'll do it all 4 years of High School, so that gives us the opportunity to explore now!


* The Art of Argument - We'll be working through this with a group of friends in our home each week.  I'm excited for this topic and group of kids!

* Piano lessons - we are still considering whether we will include this again this year or not.

* Various unit studies throughout the year

* Homeschool Computer Programming course that the boys will work through with their Dad

*Art - We are fortunate enough to have an artist in our family, so "Nana" leads the boys through various art lessons one time per week.

That's how our 8th grade year is shaping up around here!  Join me at the Not-Back-To-School Blog hop with!


  1. Hi Sheri,
    Looks like your year is taking shape. We also have an 8th grade student. He loves working in computers and programming. When you decide what type of curriculum or program your husband is doing with the boys, please let me know; just not decided on what would be best for him to tackle in that area yet:)

  2. I really like all of the programs you have chosen. I actually got some ideas for my son--for the future. I think he'd love to study Forensic Science, and I'm off to RR to check out that daybook! :) Have a blessed year!