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  1. #1
    Senior Member Enlightened lilypoo's Avatar
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    Apr 2011

    Default What are you doing (or have you done) for eighth grade?

    My daughter did three quarters on campus at an academically accelerated charter school for 7th, and was going to move to our regular public middle school for 8th (the charter was violating her 504 and I ran out of fight!) but now has decided she wants one more year at home before attending our local public high school.

    I'm totally at a loss for curriculum and am very overwhelmed with little time to plan. I would like to start July 24th, which is when our local district starts, and I'm stuck. I'd originally planned on homeschooling her through 8th anyway, but now the old plan doesn't seem to meet her needs...she wants more hands-on, interactive and lots of discussion with me and her brother. (He's about to turn 12 and finished a year working at the 6/7th grade level, so I think they can do the same curricula.)

    I have some MBTP at the 10-12 and 11-13 levels but she now deems it "babyish" and doesn't want to do it. She likes the look of Bookshark but she thinks there's too much reading, and I'm concerned about the pricetag.

    Any ideas? Thanks!! <3
    Michele, home educating since 2003

  2. Global Village Forum Post - Jul2018
  3. #2


    Have you looked at Build Your Library? They could do BYL 7, which is world geography. Great book list. Tons of good discussion topics. I wouldn't call it "hands on" exactly, but it's not going to be worksheet based. I also find MBtP to be kind of... I don't know? Canned? It really works well for some people though.

    Do you have math lined up?

    I guess it depends on what you want to do... We don't usually use an all-in-one, but everything you mentioned is, so I'm not sure if you're open to getting individual programs for different things? Or what about online classes? There are a lot more options now for middle school than ever before, like on Outschool and Open Tent.

    One of my boys did some of the Prufrock Press Exploring America series in 8th grade for history. I really liked it. Lots of primary sources and interesting questions. Earlier in middle school, we did Faltering Ownership, from Brave Writer - that could be another option for writing. We did Twisting Arms for a couple of months in 8th grade for writing and I really liked that. A lot of what we did for 8th grade was self-planned... BalletBoy studied some dance anatomy, Mushroom studied graphic design for awhile...
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Enlightened lilypoo's Avatar
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    Apr 2011


    Thanks for the reply. I have nothing lined up! She did Saxon Course 3, then dropped to Course 2 second semester (it didn't seem any easier LOL) and I'd like to do Algebra 1 this year, but still have her do Algebra 1 in 9th. The graduation requirement is four years of math and if she goes in already having Algebra 1 finished, she'll just have to do higher maths than she'd care to do. LOL

    It doesn't have to be an all-in-one program although I like the idea of programs that combine social studies, literature and language's what appeals to me and she likes the idea...Bookshark just looks like a LOT of reading and work to her, after feeling burned out with her 3-5 hours of homework nightly she did October through May.

    She did Hake and IEW for Language Arts, and I'm looking at doing some IEW with both of them since we liked it a lot.

    Other than that...just emptiness in my brain. I stayed up till about 3am researching and still am lost. I'll take a look at the stuff you mentioned usually something clicks when I'm researching and nothing has yet!
    Michele, home educating since 2003

  5. #4


    Hang in there! It is easy to feel overwhelmed for choice and the responsibility of making those decisions. It looks like you have a few alternatives to pick from for your combo language arts / social studies.
    mbtp, byl, or (ewww!) bs. (BS is not secular, and is pretty vanillan.)
    We just completed BYL 7 (World Geography), and my son (and I, too!) has a fantastic understanding of the countries and cultures of the world, and he had a fantastically well-read year. (BYL7 averages one novel every 1 to 2 weeks).
    BYL8, which we are going to try, covers World History through Science, so adds another subject covered. (BYL 7 incorporated a chemistry course into its schedule, but we did our own thing no problem.) I believe it is going to be as literature-heavy as the 7.

    As far as the math goes, perhaps Saxon wasnt doing a good job teaching her? Maybe look for a program that is less stagnant, more dynamic? You could always take your time through an Algebra 1 course, label it as “pre-algebra”.

    Do you need an elective course, as well?
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.


    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  6. #5


    Okay, other options for algebra:
    Thinkwell (online)
    ALEKS (online)
    Teaching Textbooks (online, very easy)
    Derek Owens (online, challenging)
    Jacobs (textbook, creative thinking, but somewhat challenging)
    Algebra: Structure and Method (textbook, challenging)
    Forester's Algebra (textbook, somewhat challenging)

    That should get you started anyway... there are others.
    In terms of whether you should "count" algebra this year... I would. It can still be a credit most of the time for high school. Or the vast majority of schools have an option that lets kids go "sideways" and take a stats or personal finance class in high school. But she can repeat it too, if you think it'll do her good.

    If you like IEW and Hake, you can stick with them and do something lighter for social studies. I think you'd like BYL though. I'm not into Bookshark... but you can do it. It's very, very laid out. Tons of little things - crazy thick binder of stuff. BYL is a lot of reading, but pared down. Ursa Minor now has their 7th and 8th grade years done, if you're interested:

    If you do something like BookShark and need to add science (don't do theirs, it's not secular) then you could look at Middle School Chemistry, Real Science Odyssey, TOPS, doing a MOOC (we liked Dino 101 from Coursera one semester) or a Great Courses (many good ones to choose from).
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  7. #6


    I did OakMeadow 8th Grade with Saxon Algebra 1 for my daughter last year. She loved the hands on material. It incorporates everything together in the curriculum (social studies, science, english, and math.) I also have the teacher manual so you won't feel too lost. The Algebra 1 is separate from the OakMeadow books since it's a 9th grade course. It'll have it's own textbook, test forms, and answer key. I still have all of it if you're interested. I was just looking this morning of getting rid of it now that she's about to start 9th grade. Let me know if you're interested or have any questions.

  8. #7


    Okay, this is my last 8th grader, this year. We did something different with each of the 3.

    Khan Acadamy: we did algebra together. I liked it...but they do their yearly changes in December, which can change progress goals. Doing it together means, we both did the problems, then compared answers. If they didn't match, student had to find out which one of us did it wrong.

    ALEKS: Kind of working this right now with youngest. Not sure I like it...we have to go to Khan Academy at times to find videos. It jumps around. Trying to find something else, thinking about Thinkwell.

    Grammar: Voyages in English.

    Writing: writing prompts, poetry, and have done Writing and Rhetoric. Probably not a good fit for youngest who is dyslexic.

    History: History Odessey for older two. Pretty much hands off for the parent though...last year I checked out Khan Academy with youngest and we read/watched together and discussed. We had done a lot of world history in the past so we did some US last year. We did not non-AP and I thought it was pretty good.

    Science: my kids all did this through a STEAM program at our local charter type school. But...for hands on, check out Science Buddies online. It is all project based, set up with various levels of difficulty, has suggestions for how to write up for lab or poster (which really does mimic what my chemist husband has to do for his work.) You and kids could pick a new project each time and do the experiments then write it all up. You would be ready for any local science fairs by the time you got to it.

    Literature: Have not done...but have considered using this: Glencoe Literature: Literature Library

  9. #8


    When my daughter, who is now a rising junior, was in 8th grade we used History Odyssey (Early Modern, I think--The one that covers early American history), Oak Meadow LA, Algebra 1 (combo AoPS, Fred and Prentice Hall), a cobbled together Environmental Science curriculum that was part Science Olympiad, part AP study Guide, part trusted on-line resources and independent study, art through independent study, guitar through a local teacher and Spanish from a variety of resources. She also did Nanowrimo and some short courses through Coursera and Khan on topics that interested her (anthropology and coding mostly). She transitioned to high school really well academically in spite of some learning challenges.

    If I could go back and change anything, I think I would have skipped the HO and done Oak Meadow's Civics course instead.

    Watching my daughter move from home to school I realized that a lot of what she benefited most from in 8th grade was a focus on the skills she needed to learn and research, rather than on the acquisition of specific academic information. Something that helped a ton (my daughter is autistic and has executive function challenges) was constant and explicit teaching and reinforcement of note-taking skills. MBtP had a great graphic organizer for taking notes on reading in the 11-13 (14?) level that I just kept modifying until she could do it without visual prompts. By 8th grade I also gave actual short lectures at a whiteboard to show her how to take notes from those. I also insisted she keep a planner and do work as independently as possible.
    AtomicGirl--Mom, old enough to know better
    Athena--13, 8th grade, home schooled, 2E, wicked cool
    Monkey King- 8, 3rd grade, home schooled, future owner of the galaxy

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What are you doing (or have you done) for eighth grade?