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  1. #1

    Default Middle School, 8th grade science questions

    We just gave up on Time 4 Learning 8th grade science because my 13 yr old daughter found it sooooo boring. I checked it out and thought I'd end up hitting my head on the wall if I had to watch the videos. We thought it would be ok, but no. So, I'm wondering about 2 other options -

    Has anyone used the book: Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks)? If so, what did you think?

    I'm thinking maybe use it as a spine and find video supplements. Or,

    Has anyone used the Oak Meadows 8th grade science distance program? Or the distance program at all (for middle/high school)? We would use it just for science. There's not a lot of info on their website. What do you think about it?

    My daughter does better with some structure so a class on a good online program is helpful (good as in not deathly boring like Time4Learning). I work full-time (with flexible schedule) or I'd create my own science curriculum at this point, but I just don't have time.

    My daughter's trying to do Physical Science, but would switch to an interesting environmental science with case studies about environmental problems (middle school levelish)as she's passionate about it.

    I'd be grateful for reviews of the above!
    Last edited by Tamar; 09-27-2019 at 03:52 AM.

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  3. #2


    I don't have any experience with any of the options you listed above. What I'm going to suggest is probably what you don't want to hear. I think kids who are truly interested in science do better without a set curriculum.

    As background, I homeschooled my kids through high school and am also a former science and math teacher. If your daughter is at all self-motivated, my suggestion is to find a text in the topic she's interested in and use it as a spine. (And a suggest a high school text, not middle school. I think middle school texts talk down to the student.) Then fill in with videos, experiments, etc. Are you near a college campus? Sometimes professors give talks open to the public.

    Also keep in mind that there are many science topics to choose from besides biology, chemistry, and physics/physical science. You already brought up environmental science. Other possibilities include geology, oceanography, astronomy, botany, zoology, meteorology, engineering (physics with a reason!!), and paleontology. Middle school is a great time to explore any of these.

    One more question/suggestion: how independent is your daughter? Could she help you plan? I started involving my kids in the planning of their curriculum at middle school age. Not only is it helpful for you, but it usually causes the student to take more ownership of their education. This can include doing some of the research to find sources, which is usually what takes up most of a homeschool mom's time.

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  4. #3


    It sounds like you almost have a structure already: Choose three environmental issues, budget about 6 weeks per issue (3x6 is about a semester), have her research and document the topic (you can check her progress that shes engaged and on task), and have a report or presentation at the end of it. (Some environmental issues lend themselves better to hands on experiments than others.)

    Id also stay away from “general science” gimmicks and online “no human interaction” stuff. Theyve never worked for me.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4


    Thank you! These are great ideas. I did think of them, and was also thinking of the yearly required national test homeschoolers are required to take here. I'm wondering if science is on 8th grade national tests? This is our first year homeschooling. I love the unschooling concept and interest led science and want to make sure my daughter can still do the test.

  6. #5


    Where are you located, if you feel ok to share that?

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  7. #6


    Does she have to pass or do well on the test for any reason? If the test is just a hoop to jump and has no real incentive to do well or consequence for not doing well, I would just do whatever my child was interested in and not worry about the test.

    If she does need to do well for some reason, find out what topics are covered in the 8th grade science test and then allow her to explore those topics in an unschooly manner. Chances are, if she loves science, she will learn far more than the test requires and be able to pass without a problem.

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Middle School, 8th grade science questions