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7th/8th grade - what's working well for you?


Night Elf
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I'm evaluating dd12's school year. The K12 American History didn't work out as well for her as it did for her brother. I remember the 'What curriculum are you using for Xth grade' type threads at the beginning of the school year, but since it's been a few months, I'm hoping to gain some of your wisdom. What's been working well for your 7th/8th grader this school year? I need some curriculum ideas. She currently has no history program and not as much LA as I think she should have. We are secular homeschoolers.

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My 13 y/o 8th grader is doing Great Books, Ancients. We use Short History of Western Civilization as a textbook. So far this school year, she read the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Herodotus' histories. Next are Thucydides and Greek plays. She does writing assignments about the books, plus a lot of creative writing.

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We're following an adapted Ambleside Online Year 8. We substituted the history text (Churchill's volume 2) for Renaissance and Reformation Times by Dorothy Mills. We also added The Portable Renaissance Reader as well as a couple of others. Overall, we have been very happy with this plan.

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If you have a nice "primer" (like a R&S 6 student book), then Daily Grams is a nice compliment to WriteShop. It keeps them in tune and if there are areas where some practice is needed, you pull out R&S and assign a day or two of work. It got us through last year quite well.

 

Editor in Chief or Student Editor are also programs that are easy to follow and fine tune grammar skills.

 

No advice on History, though. Would WTM methods work for her?

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Have you checked out Oak Meadow?

 

Not in a long time. I'll take a look.

 

My 13 y/o 8th grader is doing Great Books, Ancients. We use Short History of Western Civilization as a textbook.

 

Can you tell me more about this? Is this a book for a particular age group, like students, or just a regular book?

 

Editor in Chief or Student Editor are also programs that are easy to follow and fine tune grammar skills.

 

No advice on History, though. Would WTM methods work for her?

 

She might like something like Editor in Chief.

 

I don't usually do well without a program laid out. In fact, I have a very poor track record when trying to create my own schedule out of thin air. I tried History Odyssey with her that's supposed to be sort of laid out like WTM and it was so dry and she hated it. But I think maybe I should take a look at the WTM book again. I really don't have much money to spend right now and the less I buy, the happier my DH will be.

 

Oh goodness, my sentences are awful, but it's late, I'm tired but I can't sleep. Hopefully the grammar police will give me a bye. :)

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I loved Sonlight for my two older girls even though cutting out all the religious stuff was sometimes a pain. It didn't work out as well for my youngest who hates historical fiction with a passion.

 

For my current 7th grader, I am using Oak Meadow 6 (ancient and medieval history) for history and English. I'm using MUS Prealgebra. I'm not happy with what we're doing for science. It isn't at all laid out and so it isn't getting done like it really ought to be, but I'm just dealing with it for now. I wanted her to have a fun year for science this year, but Art of Construction and Engineering the City just aren't laid out nicely for planning, so it's being done pretty haphazardly. We're going back to Prentice Hall Science Explorer next year.

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We're on the modern period this year in history, all kids are doing SOTW vol 4 together and I have extra reading for my 12 yr old. I expect more from his narrations/essays, like including information from the extra readings and/or documentaries he watches. He's also outlining the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.

 

For Language Arts, ds started Analytical Grammar this year; it is dry, but I can see it is tightening his skills in that area. He's finishing up the Spelling Workout series (level H this year), I also have Vocab from Classical Roots ready but I'm not sure if I'm going to try and merge it in this year or wait until next year. For writing he's on Classical Writing Homer.

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Can you tell me more about this? Is this a book for a particular age group, like students, or just a regular book?

 

Short History of Western Civilization bu John Harrison is an older highschool/college level textbook from the 60s. There are newer editions (Harrison and Sullivan), but we use an old one which is wonderful: because it is from the time before textbooks were brimming with colored boxes, side bars, seven different fonts, it just has- text. Consecutive, immensely readable text (with some maps and a few pictures)

It is the history text SWB recommends in WTM.

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For history, we're basically following WTM suggestions, and that's going well. 3 times a week ds reads (either from the DK Definitive Visual History, the NG Almanac of World History, or Hakim) and adds to his timeline as he goes. Then he writes an outline or does a summary based on some portion of the reading. Some outlines are of the material on the page (meaning, his outline should match the organization of the material he has read perfectly), and sometimes I ask him to take a larger section and distill it down to a briefer outline organizing the material in his own way. Occasionally outlining and summarizing are replaced by detailed map work or a biography or an opinion piece. We used History Odyssey level 2 last year and that worked well for us, but we were both tired of Kingfisher and ready for something a little meatier. This is going well.

 

For language arts, we're using Lightning Lit Early-to-Mid-19th Century British. I'm not thrilled. We really *did* like LL7 and 8 -- the book choices were interesting and varied, the discussions were good, the work sheets mostly really did support the concepts being covered. It was *very* light in terms of amount of reading and the type of writing assignments, but that worked well for us given what else we were doing. I'm *not* happy with the high school courses though. The discussions are no deeper or more complete than the middle school level ones, the writing assignments are Very light, but the reading is a significant step up (without the accompanying increase in discussion and writing that I would hope for). We'll make the two LL units we were planning for this year work, but I won't be using it next year.

 

I *am* liking Stewart English for a quick yet very thorough grammar review. It's the series that was recommended for middle school in my first edition WTM, and I like it a lot. Easy to use, inexpensive, lots of quotes from good literature, and challenging material.

 

Ds is enjoying Critical Thinking in US History. It has some good overlap with his logic materials (Argument Builder and what he did in Critical Thinking Book 1 and Art of Argument last year).

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I'm using Kingfisher, Usborne, Story of the World, and other encyclopedic resources along with living books to cover history and tying in literature to the same time frames/places we're studying each week in history. SOTW III covers primarily American history, but in the larger context of what's going on in the world. We'll finish American history with SOTW IV (and other resources) next year.

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for my ds 12/7th....History Odyssey Ancients level 2, Apologia General Science, MCT WWW 1 and magic Lens 1, IEW Ancient writing lessons (we are pusing through quickly just as review and then will pick up MCT Essay Voyage), CD Pre-algebra. I am adding literature and history reading as the list with HO is quite lite for ds.

 

It is all working quite well. He loves that this year he is more independent with me checking behind him. I am impressed that he actually does his work and takes pride in doing it well. You know, going from elementary to middle school and be a jump:001_smile:

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I'm evaluating dd12's school year. The K12 American History didn't work out as well for her as it did for her brother. I remember the 'What curriculum are you using for Xth grade' type threads at the beginning of the school year, but since it's been a few months, I'm hoping to gain some of your wisdom. What's been working well for your 7th/8th grader this school year? I need some curriculum ideas. She currently has no history program and not as much LA as I think she should have. We are secular homeschoolers.

 

Last year (8th grade), my son read A Short History of the World by J. M. Roberts. I supplemented with primary sources. Since he was focusing on American literature, the Great Issues in American History series was especially helpful. We also used The American Reader: Words that Moved a Nation.

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My 7th is doing History Odyssey 2 - Middle Ages right now. We aren't using all of the historical literature so are substituting The Story of the Middle Ages, by Christine Miller, which is corresponding nicely. My dd likes this curr. because she can do it pretty much on her own and there are no projects, crafts, lapbooking, etc. I like it for those reasons and also because it requires outlining, and summaries WTM fashion but also requires some longer assignments. Dd just wrote a biography paper a few weeks ago and was quite amazed that she could accomplish such a thing.:D

 

For Language Arts we have been using different programs.

 

Grammar - Rod and Staff (includes some writing instruction also). Very thorough and open and go. The tm is scripted however adapts well to being used to fit your style of teaching. Right now I spend about 10 min. going over oral review and introducing the lesson and then they read more about the concept in their own books and then move on to complete the lessons on their own. Their is a lot of copying of sentences but you can adapt that to suit your dc.

 

Writing - I have been using the methods prescribed by SWB in her writing lectures and have been very happy with the results. My dd adapted well to them and has already shown great improvement. I would continue using these methods regardless of whether I incorporated another writing curriculum or not.

 

Spelling - My oldest does not need spelling. She is a natural speller, however, I do review spelling rules with her every 6 weeks and we make note of any words that she consistently misspells.

 

Vocabulary - I am not using anything at the moment other than derivative study through Latin, but I am about to purchase Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary so we can cover root based and non-root based words thoroughly.

 

Literature - Up until now we have just been using books from the Ambleside Online book lists. I usually ask her questions based on suggestions in SWB's Literary Analysis lecture. After Christmas we plan on starting Lightning Lit for 7th.

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