So we’re now homeschooling eighth grade. We’re about seven weeks in and I wanted to share our curriculum choices for this year. With Caroline’s input, I’ve put together an interesting collection of materials that should make for a good year.
If you happened across this post without any context about our homeschooling experiences, the short version is that we’re relaxed homeschoolers and Caroline is gifted/2e. She learns best through read alouds and video so we implement those choices a lot. There are massive amounts of information about all of this on my site so I’ll simply leave that by way of introduction. You can check out the various topics in my menu header to learn more or ask a question in the comments and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
I shared my overall middle school plan a few years ago in Relaxed Homeschooling in Middle School and our Relaxed Homeschooling in Seventh Grade last year. I read through the middle school plan again and realized that we’ve followed through on quite a bit of it and other things we haven’t. This is one of the reasons why we are relaxed homeschoolers. The ideas and goals in that post continue to be my guide, but I’m not a slave to it and I naturally adjust as we go based on my daughter’s needs. So what is below is an outline of what we are doing. I will be filling it in as we chase rabbit trails and find new things that interest us.
Eighth Grade Homeschool Goals
My goals for this year are pretty simple. I would like to fill in any gaps I perceive before we formally begin high school. So as I’ll point out with some of the choices we’ve made below, one of the big goals is to be prepared in kind of the overall arc of learning since we’ve had to make up some lost ground due to learning challenges. I hope that make sense. It probably will as you continue reading.
We have a membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com that we are using this year. As I mentioned recently in another post, we receive a free membership because David is the designer of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Up to this point, we haven’t really utilized it because what was there wasn’t a good fit for Caroline’s needs in the past.
However, I looked through what is there now and was impressed by how much they have added in the past few years. There are quite a few things I can use or adapt for our purposes. So I’ll be mentioning where I plan to utilize the site below under the appropriate subjects.
If you haven’t looked at SchoolhouseTeachers.com before or haven’t checked it out recently, it’s well worth your time to pop over and see if this is something that might be helpful for your family. You pay one price and it covers all the subjects for all of your K-12 children. If you are a relaxed homeschooler and/or not closely married to a particular homeschooling style, there is a lot there for you.
I love history so this is the easiest subject for me to teach. I could truly teach nothing but history and fit every subject into it with the exception of higher level mathematics and math-driven science. Ironically, Caroline took a lot of her history through our homeschool co-op so I taught very little history in her elementary years. We’ve switched to all history at home now though so I’m happy about that.
This year we’re doing a variety of things. One, we’re taking a sweeping look at the arc of history to make sure she’s been at least introduced to all the big ideas, people, and events. For this, I’m reading aloud to her the four books in The Story of the World.
- The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor
- The Story of the World, Vol. 2: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages
- The Story of the World, Vol. 3: History for the Classical Child: Early Modern Times
- The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age: From Victoria’s Empire to the End of the USSR
We are continuing to use the Timeline Trio from Homeschool in the Woods which I reviewed in History Timeline for Relaxed Homeschoolers. We both like it and it works very well to tie together things we’re learning in History, Bible, and Read Alouds. I highly recommend it as a good investment you can use for multiple years in your homeschool.
I’m also going to have us fill in some gaps where Caroline really has not studied much. One of these is the Middle Ages so we’ll use the The Middle Ages Project Passport that I received to review over the summer. We assembled it to write the review, but I did not dig into it with her because I wanted to do The Story of the World first.
Another thing we’re going to hit is Greek and Roman mythology. We haven’t studied that other than mentions in passing so it will be good to read a few books about it to get a solid overview.
We have been reading aloud through books from the Pilgrim Institute the past few years. We have one book left that I would like to go through this year. I am planning to use Divine Providence – A Child’s History of the United States of America this year.
Lastly, I’m going to pull topics from SchoolhouseTeachers.com to fill in some of the other areas depending on how much time we have left after all of these. I’ll come back and add details as we use things so people in the future can find this post and see ideas.
David and Caroline do science together and they have finished up the last book in our Middle School Chemistry for Relaxed Homeschoolers. They really enjoyed the books so I don’t hesitate to recommend them if you are looking for something like this. Due to budget constraints, we opted not to purchase the hands-on things I had included in that post. But they were able to find lots of interesting videos online to follow up on what they were reading. For middle school, I think Caroline has received an excellent introduction to chemistry. Even more importantly, she really enjoyed it.
Now that they are finished with our foray into Chemistry, I’m going to have her do two more things this year.
First, we’re going to spend some time on understanding creationism as a worldview. I want her to understand the creation and evolution debate so none of it takes her by surprise when she encounters it in the real world. We’re starting with videos and materials available for free online to get the conversation started. As we identify topics we want to dig into more, I’ll search out the books or materials to order.
Second, we’ll do some biology. I’m not sure what yet. Caroline’s not too excited about biology so we’ll start with some of the less yucky stuff. LOL! This will be a good way to use some of the resources from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Again, this is about introducing her to ideas and concepts as preparation for high school science.
We’ve been very slowly making our way through The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories. Like really slowly. I’m not sure why, but we’ve read it in fits and stops. We finally finished reading aloud the Old Testament section. Now we’ll go through the New Testament, hopefully a bit more quickly so we can move on to other things.
We are reading aloud Scripture. We’re using both the KJV and the NIV. I want Caroline to be comfortable reading the KJV both silently and aloud as a way to prepare for reading other materials written in more formal language. I don’t have a specific plan for this. I am choosing passages, Psalms, etc. that fit with where we are in family life each day. I am making sure we hit a lot of the best known passages and stories.
I’d like to do an introduction to doctrine using something like the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Obviously not in a super deep way, but as an introduction. I would like Caroline to understand the core components of the Christian faith that we adhere to as Baptists and see that there is a methodical and logical approach to the Bible and matters of faith.
We have been using the Learn Math Fast series for a number of months as well as supplementing it with other things. I don’t want to say much about this beyond reminding people that we’re dealing with dyscalculia here. I’m praying a lot.
My goal is still to have Caroline writing at an appropriate level by the end of the year. As I wrote in WriteShop for Homeschool Writing and Gifted/2e Learners, I’m using WriteShop to give us some structure. Since I wrote an entire post about that, I’ll let you click over and see the details there.
I may also include some materials from 7 Sisters Homeschool. I don’t have anything specific picked out at this point, but they have some good solid materials that will work well for Caroline.
I also have access to writing materials on SchoolhouseTeachers.com so those will probably be in the mix.
I’d like to introduce her to Shakespeare. This will be read aloud books and videos. Nothing complicated, but something to lay the foundation.
In addition to all the reading aloud we are doing for other subjects, we are reading aloud through a lot of books I think Caroline should be familiar with. Caroline is not a reader but she loves it when we read aloud to her. So we’re reading through classic books this year. Right now we’re well into the Little House series. I’m not sure what we will do next. I have bookcases full of books so we’ll keep pulling off whatever seems good at the time. I’ll come back and update this post with the books we end up reading this year as a record.
Culture & Economics
I am looking at the books on The Tuttle Twins website. I think these would be good for us, but I haven’t ordered them yet.
We still have a number of units from Art History Kids so David and Caroline are using those as a jumping off point for art study. They are also mixing in videos from YouTube, Curiosity Stream, etc.
We haven’t started in on the piano as I had hoped. I’d like to get into that now, but I confess the pandemic lockdown has made me put this off. It’s just not the right time. Hopefully sometime this year.
So that’s a bit about what we’re doing this year. Hopefully it will be both fun and educational. Sadly, Caroline doesn’t have any outside activities going on at the moment. Hopefully that will change as we’re all feeling that loss. She had found outside activities she enjoyed the year prior to this and it’s been very disappointing to have everything she was enjoying so much taken away from her.
In the meantime, we press on!
My Beautiful Homeschool Planners
Click on any cover to see more details, including an editable preview file that you can try out!