Jump to content

Menu

8th Grade Goals: What skills do your kids need to practice before high school?


Recommended Posts

I've been reflecting on great past posts by Nan and Lori D and others, and thinking about what my particular child needs to work on in 8th grade to be ready for high school.  I thought it would be fun to discuss - I bet I'll come up with lots of new ones, reading others' lists!

 

These goals are things that I hope my dd will be able to do by the end of 8th grade - so 12 months from now! 

 

1) She needs to practice taking notes from a text.  In 7th, I made study guides for some of the texts she worked through. Next year I'd like her to experiment with different strategies to come up with a way to take "unassisted" notes from a text.

 

2) She needs to practice taking notes from a lecture. She's never done this. We have a number of TC lectures lined up, I'm hoping one or more of them will be appropriate to learn note-taking from lectures.

 

3) She needs to practice taking tests. We've not done tests in anything but math. I feel like she needs to experience taking a test, under timed conditions.  We do plan to do the NME next year, and continue doing math tests. Maybe I need to add in science tests this year?

 

4) Related, she needs to learn to answer short essay questions under time-limited conditions.  I will have her do this once a week, rotating through our subjects.

 

5) She needs to pick up the pace a little bit with essay writing, and learn to juggle more than one writing assignment at a time.  In 7th, I've had her working on one essay at a time - either in lit, or in history, and though I've generally shot for one paper a week, I've given an extra week if she needed it.  I'd like to gently and gradually increase this so that by the beginning of 9th, she'd be able to handle a short paper per week in more than one subject.

 

6) Outside accountability?  I'm not sure what this would look like, but if we're going to start DE in 9th, I feel like it's something we should practice somehow?

 

 

What goals do you have for your student for 8th grade?

  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stellar list! Coming up with short essay questions for a student to answer is a challenge. How do you do this?

 

Something to consider: For the past four months I've used Article of the Week with my 6th grade DD. I've selected articles that she can handle as a 6th grader. These are topical news stories that require close reading with annotation and a one page response. These are quick assignments which open the door to open ended discussions, improving reading skills and writing skills.

 

Add to the list: Oral presentations, video presentations, slideshares/powerpoint, deadlines, and the housekeeping of school. The housekeeping of school are the basic skills of organizing work and following assignment tasks. Talking to kids in school, they say their grades depend not only the content of their assignments but also on the execution of the assignment based on a rubric. For example, how the paper or project is presented as bound, stapled, video, lab report, etc. Formatting counts. 

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought of another one:

 

7) Independently read more challenging books.  She's an avid reader, but she really hasn't ventured much into reading classics on her own.  She read The Hobbit this year, and the first LOTR book, but didn't really enjoy it - honestly, I think she found it rather difficult.  We did some audio books - Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde, some Shakespeare - Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing - buddy reading, and she read several books that went with our Movies as Lit - Shane, Arsenic & Old Lace, and The Friendly Persuasion - that were a departure from her normal fantasy fare.  But I feel like I need to encourage her to tackle some more advanced/demanding reading.  Next year we're doing Ancients, and I had planned to use audio versions of things like The Iliad and the Odyssey, and to read the plays together.  Any ideas for stretching an 8th grader with books that fit with the Ancient era?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stellar list! Coming up with short essay questions for a student to answer is a challenge. How do you do this?

 

Something to consider: For the past four months I've used Article of the Week with my 6th grade DD. I've selected articles that she can handle as a 6th grader. These are topical news stories that require close reading with annotation and a one page response. These are quick assignments which open the door to open ended discussions, improving reading skills and writing skills.

 

Add to the list: Oral presentations, video presentations, slideshares/powerpoint, deadlines, and the housekeeping of school. The housekeeping of school are the basic skills of organizing work and following assignment tasks. Talking to kids in school, they say their grades depend not only the content of their assignments but also on the execution of the assignment based on a rubric. For example, how the paper or project is presented as bound, stapled, video, lab report, etc. Formatting counts. 

 

Great points. My dd does theater, so she is very comfortable memorizing material and speaking in public, but I haven't had her do oral presentations yet. I will definitely add that to the list! And yes to your housekeeping of school - that is another topic under the general "outside accountability" heading.  I think it's good to practice meeting the demands of someone other than mom . . . 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My oldest started public high school this year. The two major hiccups were tests - especially timed and the generic chapter tests. In other words, learning to manage his time on tests has been a struggle as well as learning how to study for tests whose content isn't thoroughly outlined. For example, if a teacher said they were having a chapter 19 test in history he needed to learn how to:

A. Ask for clarification from the teacher on content.

B. Use different methods to retain the information (flash cards, reading notes out loud, outlining, etc.

C. Manage multiple tests in the same week or on the same day.

 

Those were the big ones. HTH!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been reflecting on great past posts by Nan and Lori D and others, and thinking about what my particular child needs to work on in 8th grade to be ready for high school. I thought it would be fun to discuss - I bet I'll come up with lots of new ones, reading others' lists!

 

These goals are things that I hope my dd will be able to do by the end of 8th grade - so 12 months from now!

 

1) She needs to practice taking notes from a text. In 7th, I made study guides for some of the texts she worked through. Next year I'd like her to experiment with different strategies to come up with a way to take "unassisted" notes from a text.

 

2) She needs to practice taking notes from a lecture. She's never done this. We have a number of TC lectures lined up, I'm hoping one or more of them will be appropriate to learn note-taking from lectures.

 

3) She needs to practice taking tests. We've not done tests in anything but math. I feel like she needs to experience taking a test, under timed conditions. We do plan to do the NME next year, and continue doing math tests. Maybe I need to add in science tests this year?

 

4) Related, she needs to learn to answer short essay questions under time-limited conditions. I will have her do this once a week, rotating through our subjects.

 

5) She needs to pick up the pace a little bit with essay writing, and learn to juggle more than one writing assignment at a time. In 7th, I've had her working on one essay - either in lit, or in history. I'd like to gently and gradually increase this so that by the beginning of 9th, she'd be able to handle a short paper per week in more than one subject.

 

6) Outside accountability? I'm not sure what this would look like, but if we're going to start DE in 9th, I feel like it's something we should practice somehow?

 

 

What goals do you have for your student for 8th grade?

I'm curious how you are getting dual enrollment in 9th. Around here they won't let anyone start until 11th.

 

- Taking notes from text, lecture

- Studying from notes

- Timed writing

- Choosing an opinion/debatable topic (this is the hardest part of persuasive writing for her, she's so mild and accommodating)

- Habits of studying/problem solving - things like 'if you've worked at this for 20 minutes and you have got nowhere then set it aside and come back to it' and 'try explaining the problem/issue/question aloud to another person to clarify it in your own mind.'

- Managing workloads from multiple sources (3 or 4 teachers).

- test taking strategies

- resource management (always losing and leaving things, forgetting things, etc)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shannon, we're in CA, so we can do DE at the local CC starting at age 14.  My Shannon will turn 14 during the fall semester of 9th grade, so we're figuring her first DE class could be in the spring semester of 9th.  We may do it then, and may hold off till 10th, but that's one of the things I'm looking to prepare her for - skills she'll need to succeed both in the CC classes, but also in juggling classes between CC, home, online, etc.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a list for this as my oldest is at the end of her 8th grade year and I don't want to freak myself out thinking that it is too late to work on these things.  :lol:  I go off one of those old threads about how I still have all of high school to work on getting ready for college.  :coolgleamA: 

 

We tried to cover many of these topics this year in a 'study skills' class. I taught it, I modeled it, I tried to get her to use them as part of her other classes. DD#1 said & wrote the right things at the time but nothing has stuck from the study skills class, IMO. I think I'll just stick to having one goal area to work on with each kid each year. It seems to work better than throwing a bunch of stuff at a kid at once, at least with my first one.

 

Something that did make a difference was her two outside classes. She had one she LOVED & one that was just ok. In one class, she missed an assignment because she didn't recheck her assignment notebook & just forgot about it. She had a ZERO in the online gradebook for over a month even though she finished the assignment & turned it in the day after it was due. Her teacher did accept it & put in the grade later, but it was a very important lesson for her. All teachers won't be as 'forgiving' as her mom in terms of late assignments, even if it was a one-time accidental mistake. She's learned that she loves the interaction with other kids online & through email & that the teacher & class format make a big difference to her.

 

Anyway, here are a couple threads on some of the topics you guys have already listed:

Developing advanced reading skills (taking notes through a textbook?)

How to work through progressively more difficult works (getting a kid ready for the great books)

Science textbooks & learning to take notes  (Lewelma again, another take on taking notes through a textbook)

Lecturing science rather than having child read the text 

The hierarchy of learning and teacher interaction (Something to keep in mind as we all wrestle with time management, trying to get our kids to be more independent, and as they get older -- discussing & wrestling with the ideas together is SO important still)

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have one who transitioned to public school 9th grade this year and a rising 7th grader. I can say that a lot of the skills mentioned here are specifically taught in dd's high school. Her first lesson in math for instance was how to take Cornell notes from the textbook, and they've been doing that the whole year now. The honors English class explicitly works on skills like how to have a class discussion, etc. My 9th grader only took my pretty difficult math tests and easy required state testing before high school. She has done fine with high school tests. I was just asking her yesterday how she's doing so well in science this semester--almost acing all of the tests--and she said she's figured out how to study for this teacher's style of tests. So it's not a skill that has to be mastered in advance of high school. I would say that most of the skills mentioned are goals that high schools work on also--fear not if you haven't explicitly covered it all!

 

That said, here's what's up for my 7th grader over the next two years:

-she has to work on reading habits to be able to finish assigned reading in the allotted time. Never a problem for her sister who gets her assigned high school books done in a few days when they have a couple of weeks. But for my 7th grader, I can't in good conscience put her in an honors English course if she can't get reading done consistently. Top goal for next year.

 

-math gets a lot more rigorous here in 7th grade. She will have to adjust to about 45 minutes of teacher time with me (going over problems and learning new concepts) plus another 45 minutes of homework on her own. This is good prep for high school--matches what is expected there.

 

-she's on track but will need to continue to progress in essay writing. More academic content next year.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of the points previously listed are goals that I have for high school, not 8th grade. To me, 8th grade is our last chance to take it a bit easier before things get "serious". We have four years of high school to learn all of those things. If you can't check off all of those boxes in 8th grade, I don't think that is a problem at all. I wouldn't stress about it.

 

If you are sending your child to a public high school, then I think the expectations are a bit different and I would work on more of those things in 8th. But if we homeschool high school, I think there is plenty of time and no reason to push.

 

Just two cents. :)

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good point, Erin.  It's probably most accurate to call these goals to work on in 8th grade/things to have worked on before sending her off to start on DE. . . Even though we plan on homeschooling till the end, we do have plans to do DE, and I'm just starting to think about preparing her to learn in the wider world - outside of the kinder, gentler world of Mama as teacher!  Well, usually kinder and gentler . . .  ;)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of Nan's Words of Wisdom:

For those of you with 8th graders considering homeschooling high school...

To all you people with 8th graders (or there abouts)...

I've concluded that it is perfectly normal to spend the entire 8th grade year struggling to begin to learn how to:

 

-Write a short well-organized expository paper
-Produce work that has a heading and date, is legible, has full sentences that actually answer the questions, and isn't half question marks
-Use an assignment book to keep track of one's assignments
-Make and use some sort of study guides
-Show one's work in math (math becomes complicated enough that one needs to show the work now)
-Type

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a great thread..even though my oldest will only be 6th grade next year, my DH is very firm at this point that we should send the kids to public or private school for high school...and I am already beginning to think about what skills she will need to develop during the middle school years to be ready for that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like to start outsourcing in middle school to get my kids used to other teacher's deadlines, grades, expectations, tests, etc. For us this happens via co-op classes. Often these classes include skills like note taking, keeping track of assignments, and projects/presentations.

 

My oldest did a two-day/week tutoring program for high school alongside DE classes in 11th and 12, and was well prepared for both by the outside classes she had had in middle school. Both the tutoring program and DE had her well prepared for full-time college.

 

My sons are in middle school now and have both done classes through our co-op with increasing academic rigor and expectations as have gotten older.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/14/2015 at 9:08 AM, RootAnn said:

I don't have a list for this as my oldest is at the end of her 8th grade year and I don't want to freak myself out thinking that it is too late to work on these things.  :lol:

 

On 5/14/2015 at 9:27 AM, Penguin said:

RootAnn, we are also at the end of 8th grade. I was a bit afraid to open this thread and see the list of what we haven't managed to check off!

 

On 5/14/2015 at 1:56 PM, Pen said:

I think they are all good goals, and also agree that they do not need to be completed by the end of 8th grade. Some of that is high school level accomplishment, IMO.


Totally agree here! ?

Just popping in to say that these are *wonderful* goals. Just a gentle reminder that all of these are a *process* that you start gently and continue to work on into high school. And some students are ready to start some of these processes in grade 8 (or 7 or 6), and some are ready to *start* the process in grade 9 (or 10 or 11).

Where ever your student is in the developmental timetable is FINE, and to take that into consideration as you read through these great goals. ? Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel like apologizing - I certainly didn't start this thread to make anybody feel bad, or to imply that my student would master all of these things by the end of 8th!!  I just find that I get so much out of this type of goal thread, so much more than from the curriculum threads, and it's part of my constant mantra - reminding myself to stay focused on my goals and teaching the student, not the curriculum.

 

Root Ann, you are a rock star to have linked all those great past threads here!  And I'm so grateful to all the people who are "looking backward" at 8th grade who take the trouble to post about it! The rest of us benefit so much from those posts!

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel like apologizing - I certainly didn't start this thread to make anybody feel bad, or to imply that my student would master all of these things by the end of 8th!!  

 

Hugs! And I totally didn't mean to make you feel bad. This is a *great* thread idea! And I DO want to contribute some links to resources that may be useful to somebody towards these goals, but am just now running out the door. I'll get back to you later! :)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question about learning note-taking from lectures ideas.   I am wondering if using Great Courses is a good idea for this because they can be played over and over, (or a bad idea because they can be played over and over unlike a regular lecture so it gives an unrealistic experience), or is trying to find something to use that is at a level that is more similar to what a 9th grader would be likely to encounter in a brick and mortar school make more sense. Or?

 

And these days would practice be with paper and pencil? Or realistically should it be with a computer or tablet or iPod type device?

 

In my son's case, he has dysgraphia and I am not even sure that this is realistic at all, even typing notes.  Do students record lectures these days by any chance?

 

As well, how does taking "notes from texts" fit in with 21st century electronic gizmos?

 

We've been minimally working with pre-made paper notes organizers, and I wonder if similar things exist ready to go for computer or tablet use. We do not have a tablet in our lives, but it appears that those are common now for what I see brick and mortar high school students using.  Less noisy in a class than keyboard, for one thing, I imagine.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

6) Outside accountability?  I'm not sure what this would look like, but if we're going to start DE in 9th, I feel like it's something we should practice somehow?

 

 

 

This is something I wrote up when we started to heavily outsource with online classes. It describes the questioning process we adopted before deciding on classes that he would be responsible for quite independent of me (but not completely alone as he could always ask me for help). It gave us a framework to decide how to research, register for and handle the outside accountability by being well-prepared from the start. I even listed things like cost...although I didn't expect DS to be fully aware of things like that, I did want to start a habit of being aware because handling finances well is a life long skill.

 

Please feel free to PM me if you'd like to see the other articles I have about how we transitioned to goal setting and independence.

 

Goal Setting 

  1. What exactly is it you want to learn? What exactly do you hope to achieve?
  2. How do you want to learn it? (I am assuming that we will choose an online provider or an online syllabus source to create our own curriculum if we decide not to use an online provider)

Choosing A Course

  1. Read the course provider’s course description.
  2. Is this course going to fulfill your learning goals?
  3. Is it too expensive? How will we pay, and in one sum or in installments?
  4. Is it live or recorded?
  5. Is it at your own pace?
  6. Do we have all the information we need in order to sign up, or should we email the teacher to ask more? (I usually lean towards emailing the teacher because I think it’s safer to ask as many questions as possible)
  7. Is there a money-back policy if you decide to drop the course?
  8. Let’s talk/ think about it for a while (if we have time before sign ups are due).

Course Materials

  1. Is it 100% online?
  2. Is there a part-time option?
  3. Are there live meetings? Are there recorded lectures? How does all this work? For example, do you need to set up a Skype account? What other computer requirements are necessary?
  4. Is there a textbook and should we buy it new or can we find it cheaper somewhere else?
  5. Are materials downloaded?
  6. How do you print/ store downloaded materials? For e.g. do we have enough binders?
  7. Do you need a separate notebook for this or will notes be kept online/ in a word processing document?
  8. Do you need other tools like a pen tablet, a calculator, lab kits?
  9. How do you hand in homework? Is it uploaded onto the website? Is it emailed in? Does it need to be scanned and emailed?

Course Registration and Syllabus

  1. Read the course syllabus carefully (usually available on the course provider’s website but sometimes sent to student and/ or parent by email).
  2. What days are live classes (if any) held? What time? What time zone is your instructor in?
  3. Look at how many hours a week you will be spending covering this syllabus.
  4. How much time do you want to spend?
  5. Do you want to do this full-time or part-time? Can we/you afford not to do it full-time?
  6. Will you be able to go your own way with project ideas for a while then come back to continue the course?
  7. Will you be able to take a few months off to do something else (like you did with your first online physics course)?

Starting the Course

  1. Be prepared to ask lots of questions and make mistakes the first few weeks.
  2. Is homework taking longer/ shorter than anticipated? Do we need to re-discuss the time commitments for this course?
  3. How can we make more time for the course’s requirements (if necessary?)

    Sometimes, we’ve had to be brutal about dropping other things. I try to get kiddo’s buy-in on this as much as possible.

  4. Have you made a folder in your computer for this course? What naming protocol are you using?
  5. How will you name each file so your instructor knows instantly that it is from you and for which homework assignment?

 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question about learning note-taking from lectures ideas.   I am wondering if using Great Courses is a good idea for this because they can be played over and over, (or a bad idea because they can be played over and over unlike a regular lecture so it gives an unrealistic experience), or is trying to find something to use that is at a level that is more similar to what a 9th grader would be likely to encounter in a brick and mortar school make more sense. Or?

 

And these days would practice be with paper and pencil? Or realistically should it be with a computer or tablet or iPod type device?

 

In my son's case, he has dysgraphia and I am not even sure that this is realistic at all, even typing notes.  Do students record lectures these days by any chance?

 

As well, how does taking "notes from texts" fit in with 21st century electronic gizmos?

 

We've been minimally working with pre-made paper notes organizers, and I wonder if similar things exist ready to go for computer or tablet use. We do not have a tablet in our lives, but it appears that those are common now for what I see brick and mortar high school students using.  Less noisy in a class than keyboard, for one thing, I imagine.

 

Just sharing what we have experienced.

 

I think Great Courses are a great idea! There is nothing wrong in starting gently and with repetition in my humble opinion as speed and so on tend to pick up with practice.

 

So far, in one college setting, we see students using both paper and pen and an electronic device but are aware that different instructors might have different policies with regards to the use of electronics in the classroom without first declaring disability with the college's disability services department. So far, almost every community college I have researched in my area has a disability services department that processes requests for accommodations. I am not sure what happens in b&m high schools.

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question about learning note-taking from lectures ideas.   I am wondering if using Great Courses is a good idea for this because they can be played over and over, (or a bad idea because they can be played over and over unlike a regular lecture so it gives an unrealistic experience), or is trying to find something to use that is at a level that is more similar to what a 9th grader would be likely to encounter in a brick and mortar school make more sense. Or?

 

And these days would practice be with paper and pencil? Or realistically should it be with a computer or tablet or iPod type device?

 

In my son's case, he has dysgraphia and I am not even sure that this is realistic at all, even typing notes.  Do students record lectures these days by any chance?

 

As well, how does taking "notes from texts" fit in with 21st century electronic gizmos?

 

We've been minimally working with pre-made paper notes organizers, and I wonder if similar things exist ready to go for computer or tablet use. We do not have a tablet in our lives, but it appears that those are common now for what I see brick and mortar high school students using.  Less noisy in a class than keyboard, for one thing, I imagine.

 

Since we are talking about skills middle school students should be familiar with, but yet mastered, then I think Great Courses is a good option. Because Great Course lectures can be replayed, a student can review the lecture and notes taken to see if the notes taken accurately reflect the lecture. I think knowing how to take notes with pencil and paper is just as important as taking notes on an iPad. I take paper notes all the time when talking on the phone. It is a good skill to know. Look up the Cornell Note Taking format online. There are many pre-made PDFs available.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

great thread!

 

My son will be in 8th next year, and we will be outsourcing 3 classes (all online, live webinar, weekly requirements, etc): G3 Fiction Writing, Clover Creek Physics and Algebra 2 at Wilson Hill. He will also be doing AMerican History with me (using Great Courses), Wheelock's and Lightning Lit 8, along with 3 days at a project-based school.

 

Our goals:

1) to become better about tracking deadlines, assignments and tests.

2) to become more comfortable moving quickly when needed, esp during timed tests.

3) to become better about asking questions when unsure and not wait until the last minute.

4) note-taking skills! Derek Owens Physical Science has actually been a great intro to this; he provides a workbook that the student must fill out as he/she listens to the lectures. Also, he has learned to be organized about his notes via Latin over the years: how to keep a folder with tabs organized, etc. and how to study for a test.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's definitely on my mind - the idea of outsourcing something in 8th grade for practice, before it "counts." We don't have a co op so it would have to be online. I can't quite figure out what to pick, though.

We started with English, the subject that stressed me out the most, in eighth grade.

 

We added foreign language, the subject that stressed me out second most, this year in ninth grade.

 

Sense a theme? ;)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's definitely on my mind - the idea of outsourcing something in 8th grade for practice, before it "counts."  We don't have a co op so it would have to be online. I can't quite figure out what to pick, though.

 

I have had my 7th grader in the Digital Learning class at Impact Virtual Learning this spring, and it has been an awesome introduction to online learning. She has had to learn to work according to weekly deadlines, ask for help from the instructor and other students when she gets stuck, budget her time daily so she doesn't spend too little time on her other subjects, and of course she learned all sorts of computer skills that she would never have learned from me! As a bonus, it is free :hurray:

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We started with English, the subject that stressed me out the most, in eighth grade.

 

We added foreign language, the subject that stressed me out second most, this year in ninth grade.

 

Sense a theme? ;)

 

 

Hm, the only thing that really stresses me out is math . . . I think we're good for one more year and will need to start outsourcing in 9th.  

 

It's funny, because for 8th, I don't really feel a *need* to outsource anything, I just have the sense that it might be good for dd to learn to work to deadlines, and for someone other than me.  Maybe we'll do one or two of the shorter Bravewriter classes.  I have eyeballed the WTMA Study Skills or Socratic Discussion classes, too - kind of knocking out two birds with one stone, working on study skills plus outside accountability all in one.  Maybe in the spring . . . 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Goals for my 8th grader:

 

- Learn how to stay on task...one isn't really spending an hour on math if 45 minutes of that is spent adding things to one's Amazon wishlist, or trailing a piece of string so the cat chases it.

- Improve her essay-writing skills. She is still learning that the reader is not inside her head, so she needs to include all of her thoughts and not assume the reader is filling in the blanks with what she is thinking.

- Learn basic budgeting skills with money earned from babysitting (she is taking a Red Cross babysitting course this summer, then we will allow her to babysit for other families).

- Read something besides Percy Jackson. Gah. Though the obsession actually made the Iliad and the Odyssey easier for her to understand and follow, lol.

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are some of the goals I have for my 8th grader this coming year (forgot to actually add them earlier):

 

- do longer outlines and rewrites

- I want to play with essays this year a bit, using the outlining and rewriting skills he has. Maybe do a quick intro to introductions and conclusions and then see what he can come up with

- get used to doing science independently using Apologia's materials so that he's prepared for their bio in 9th (or if that crashes and burns, figure out what to do instead!)

- do a final polish/brush-up on his punctuation and English skills so that we can drop it in favour of literature and composition in 9th

- figure out how to help him write a decent lit. essay. I'm using SWB's suggestions for middle grades and while I like them, he is never happy with what he writes. I think it's because he doesn't know how to "shovel" or expand on his answers to the questions. If I ask him, "Who is the book about?" he writes, "Anne of Green Gables is about a girl named Anne who lives at Green Gables" instead of writing a paragraph about her background, where she came from and who she is. It's like he is too straight-forward and down-to-earth for literary analysis!

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question about learning note-taking from lectures ideas.   I am wondering if using Great Courses is a good idea for this because they can be played over and over, (or a bad idea because they can be played over and over unlike a regular lecture so it gives an unrealistic experience), or is trying to find something to use that is at a level that is more similar to what a 9th grader would be likely to encounter in a brick and mortar school make more sense. Or?

 

And these days would practice be with paper and pencil? Or realistically should it be with a computer or tablet or iPod type device?

 

In my son's case, he has dysgraphia and I am not even sure that this is realistic at all, even typing notes.  Do students record lectures these days by any chance?

 

As well, how does taking "notes from texts" fit in with 21st century electronic gizmos?

 

We've been minimally working with pre-made paper notes organizers, and I wonder if similar things exist ready to go for computer or tablet use. We do not have a tablet in our lives, but it appears that those are common now for what I see brick and mortar high school students using.  Less noisy in a class than keyboard, for one thing, I imagine.

 

I'm wondering how well this will work, too - glad to hear others have had success with it.  I've read posts in the past that said the GCs actually went too quickly for good note taking, compared to an actual lecturer.  We'll see how it goes.

 

I think dysgraphia is a unique challenge, and you gotta do what you gotta do. But I have read several reports lately about how taking notes by hand seems to support memory better than typing notes, and that taking notes from texts, rather than highlighting, is also more effective for retention.  I don't know quite how to integrate what I know about learning with the ubiquity of screens and electronics - I'm not convinced that all the "aids" actually lead to more effective learning.  It's something I think about a lot, but my internal jury is still out.

 

I know that the way I learned was to do the reading before the lecture - I never really highlighted - then attend the lecture and take notes.  I didn't even always review the notes much, but the very act of taking notes kept me focused on the lecture and learning more from it than if I hadn't.  I think that squares with learning research, too - the act of taking notes focuses your attention on taking in and organizing the information in real time.  I know my kid can tend to drift off during any kind of lecture or even reading aloud situation, if it's not an engaging story.  I'm hoping note-taking will help her stay focused.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rose, no need to apologize! My comment was merely my insecurities showing :) I think it is good to work on the skills that you need for the next step. That is why I asked about Pre-AP History skills on the high school board. Not that they will be listed as such on the transcript, but I see our next year (9th) as the Pre-AP year. I absolutely have my eye on the next series of skills.

 

Wow, I like that article of the week idea. I might try to incorporate something similar, rotating through subjects.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought of another one:

 

7) Independently read more challenging books.  She's an avid reader, but she really hasn't ventured much into reading classics on her own.  She read The Hobbit this year, and the first LOTR book, but didn't really enjoy it - honestly, I think she found it rather difficult.  We did some audio books - Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde, some Shakespeare - Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing - buddy reading, and she read several books that went with our Movies as Lit - Shane, Arsenic & Old Lace, and The Friendly Persuasion - that were a departure from her normal fantasy fare.  But I feel like I need to encourage her to tackle some more advanced/demanding reading.  Next year we're doing Ancients, and I had planned to use audio versions of things like The Iliad and the Odyssey, and to read the plays together.  Any ideas for stretching an 8th grader with books that fit with the Ancient era?

 

Is your daughter at all competitive?  Exodus books sponsors a summer reading program in which students must read from a designated list-all classics and quality material.  There are prizes for reading a minimum number of pages and for reading the most numbers of pages. For us, it exposed DD to more than Dragons, Dwarves, and Pirates ( :001_rolleyes: ), and she discovered that there have been a few interesting reads produced in the past 1000 years or so that include none of those critters ( :001_rolleyes: :001_rolleyes: :001_rolleyes: .)

 

(Exodus is a Christian business, though, so that might not work for you.  Also, there is a $5 fee to participate-helps fund the prizes, I think.)

 

 

ETA:  Another great thread, BTW!

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Totally agree here! :)

 

Just popping in to say that these are *wonderful* goals. Just a gentle reminder that all of these are a *process* that you start gently and continue to work on into high school. And some students are ready to start some of these processes in grade 8 (or 7 or 6), and some are ready to *start* the process in grade 9 (or 10 or 11).

 

Where ever your student is in the developmental timetable is FINE, and to take that into consideration as you read through these great goals. :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Lori D., I just want to say THANK YOU! You probably don't hear that often enough. I believe many of us benefit from and love reading all your posts. I really appreciate the positive and approachable way in which you share with all of us. Your voice of experience is one I hope to continue learning from for a long time here on the boards!  :001_wub:

 

Rose, thank YOU for another great thread topic!  :bigear:

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Totally agree here! :)

 

Just popping in to say that these are *wonderful* goals. Just a gentle reminder that all of these are a *process* that you start gently and continue to work on into high school. And some students are ready to start some of these processes in grade 8 (or 7 or 6), and some are ready to *start* the process in grade 9 (or 10 or 11).

 

Where ever your student is in the developmental timetable is FINE, and to take that into consideration as you read through these great goals. :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Preach it, Lori! The process of learning these skills continues into college even. Shoot, I'm still honing some of these skills and I'm in my 50s!  Trust that some of the issues that make you crazy now will get sorted out as your teens mature.  

 

The only suggestion I want to add is specifically for you parents.  Make sure you stop and enjoy your teens. Read aloud, even if they balk and roll their eyes.  Drop everything once in a while and go to lunch or a movie or the zoo. They will start spending more and more time away from home as the high school years progress, then will head out into college and develop lives of their own. This time is precious and fleeting!  Make time to listen when they are ready to talk, which most likely will be when you are stuck in rush hour traffic or making dinner or doing something for yourself.  They won't talk when you initiate it, but will start sharing at the most unexpected times.  

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/16/2015 at 6:36 PM, JennW in SoCal said:

Preach it, Lori! The process of learning these skills continues into college even. Shoot, I'm still honing some of these skills and I'm in my 50s!  


LOL!  :laugh:

On 5/16/2015 at 6:36 PM, JennW in SoCal said:

The only suggestion I want to add is specifically for you parents.  Make sure you stop and enjoy your teens. Read aloud, even if they balk and roll their eyes.  Drop everything once in a while and go to lunch or a movie or the zoo. They will start spending more and more time away from home as the high school years progress, then will head out into college and develop lives of their own. This time is precious and fleeting!  Make time to listen when they are ready to talk, which most likely will be when you are stuck in rush hour traffic or making dinner or doing something for yourself.  They won't talk when you initiate it, but will start sharing at the most unexpected times.  


And you preach it too, Sister! ? SO true how fast the time flies. I just now got back from our homeschool group's graduation ceremony -- and realized my own DSs' graduation ceremonies were 3 and 4 years ago!!  :eek:  :eek:

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/16/2015 at 11:02 AM, TarynB said:

Lori D., I just want to say THANK YOU! You probably don't hear that often enough. I believe many of us benefit from and love reading all your posts. I really appreciate the positive and approachable way in which you share with all of us. Your voice of experience is one I hope to continue learning from for a long time here on the boards!  :001_wub:


Awww, Thanks!  :blushing: You made my evening, Taryn! Wish we could all meet up somewhere once a month, put up our feet, and just all chat.

On 5/16/2015 at 11:02 AM, TarynB said:

Rose, thank YOU for another great thread topic!   :bigear:


:hurray: Totally agree!  :hurray:

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

- figure out how to help him write a decent lit. essay. I'm using SWB's suggestions for middle grades and while I like them, he is never happy with what he writes. I think it's because he doesn't know how to "shovel" or expand on his answers to the questions. If I ask him, "Who is the book about?" he writes, "Anne of Green Gables is about a girl named Anne who lives at Green Gables" instead of writing a paragraph about her background, where she came from and who she is. It's like he is too straight-forward and down-to-earth for literary analysis!

Does my son live with you??

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A totally other thought I am having is that it is a last year when there is not so much pressure for many of us to fulfill requirements for state or a-g requirements or whatever all we are trying to meet. So I am thinking another 8th grade goal might be a last year of, not sure how to put it, but something like relaxed being a kid time, maybe some more art or unusual study rabbit trails time, before the goals and grades counting and all starts.  I've been thinking about that with regard to my ds wanting to study "technology" and that it is a good time for it, when it can be whatever it turns into without having to be a course that fits high school in some way.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a fantastic thread! I already have a list going for my current 6th grader. Her sister entered a college prep private high school this year after 9 years of home schooling. It's been an amazing year for her and we've talked often about what really helped prepare her for this next step in her education. My youngest of course benefits from lessons learned.  I agree with the statements to savor this last year or two homeschooling and spending the T.i.M.E with your child. Now that she is in HS, I and talk to her the most during our drive to and from school and at the dinner table. We've both mentioned many times that this works becasue we have so much time together "in the bank."

 

What really worked.... we agreed on these.

 

Keeping her room really tidy daily. This started the summer before her freshman year. We've always been "sorta tidy" but her room would get out of control once in awhile. We wanted her room to be a sanctuary after a long day of school and swim practices. At first, I was in there everyday helping but now she craves that order and it allows her to get right-down-to-business after school to do her many hours of homework.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT- This has to be one of the biggest! My dd is a competitive swimmer and is used to being efficient with her time but now with all day in HS, up to 4 hours a day of swim practice and on top of that homework. If she didn't have time management down, she would have drowned (punn intended) She used her own planner the year before with moderate success but them she still had lots of leeway in her schedule. That is generally how we roll. But this year, I promised to be her organizational partner. Each week, especially in the beginning, we looked at what was due when and set out a plan. It works best for my daughter to do each assignment as it is assignned even if she has two weeks to do it.  She squeezes in study time and homework in those dead moments in class. She figures she gets at least 25% of her homework done this way. We talked about this as a strategy from the beginning.

 

Outsourcing Writing (literary analysis specifically) and Public Speaking in 8th grade. Both of these were HUGE. Her writing instructor was IEW certified and a very TOUGH grader. She struggled alot during this course, but her skills and confidence grew leaps and bounds when overcoming those struggles. Public Speaking was fun and weekly got her out of her comfort zone. This class helped prepare her for presentations, speeches and to contribute more meaningfully and appropriately in discussions.

 

Personally, I  focused on helping her be thoughtful and purposeful in her statements when discussing topics. We've always done this but I for sure focused more on it in 8th grade. We talked alot about what contributes meaningfully to a good class discussion and how to be a good listener. No one enjoys listening to the kid that likes to hear themselves talk.

 

I never assigned a book report, and sporatically did spelling. Neither one of us regret it. All those hours and hours and hours spent reading paid off. She has a big vocabulary and all that reading, I believe, contributes to her solid writing abilities.

 

Typing- her self set goal was 50 WPM. Time and time again, she mentions how big this was.  She primarily focused on this the 2nd half of 8th in earnest and the summer before 9th. My daughter takes handwritten notes in class and types them later. It's part of her studying process. The typing proficency has taken that out of the homework, assessment, writing composition equation.

 

Writing.. prior to 8th grade outsourcing. Starting in middle school, we did an IEW course each year. I wasn't an amazing instructor but so far so good. I think half the batttle is writing consistenty.

 

Surrounding yourself with like minded people. Most of her social network up until high school was swim team friends who tend to be too busy and tired to get into much trouble. I made it clear that who she chooses as friends significantly impacts her high school experience academically and socially.

 

Electronics- none during the school week. We were consistent in this starting in 8th grade. My younger benefits as well. My daughter mentions that many of her friends struggle with homework, time management and studying because they are watiching netflix or texting their friends while doing homeork.

 

What didn't matter so much...

 

Tests- we did two standardized timed tests a year (one for the state and the other as a benchmark for us) Each year, we did review and practice common test taking strategies. This was fine.  Other than that, I never saw the need. We both knew if she understood the information or not. The big thing this year, is to ask for the test back and find out what you missed and why. I firmly feel like this falls in place. She has found out that each of her teachers teaches and tests differently, it's more important to figure that out in my book that waste time in middle school taking unnecessary tests. I would rather watch and discuss an interesting documentary or go on an excursion.

 

outsourcing to on-line sources. My particular dd really disliked this. in 7th, we tried outsourcing a fair amount. My daughter felt isolated at home (computer was downstairs away from her sister and me). I will use on-line for art and music appreciation because the benefits of digital resources but I won't outsource anything else on-line.

 

What I have changed for my next child...

 

Coding... this is now a required subject for my middle schooler. I let this slide time and time again and the HS offers nothing. My oldest struggles to fit it in around her existing homework load.

 

Math- our goal is complete Algebra prior to 8th grade. It makes the sciences easier and more managable going into high school.

 

on-line classes- see above. Only outsource music and art appreciaton on-line.

 

More time practicing instruments. Once high school starts with home work loads, less and less time is avialable to practice. Morning works best for practicing at our house.

 

Art- more of it!

 

That's all folks. I hope our experience helps others.

 

Lastly, lots of people have asked me about transition to HS and how it went. This year was fine, we struggled last year when the choice was made. Although, I know it was best for my girl, it still stung (being honest here) and she was super nervous. She argued a fair amount late last year. Part of me thinks it helped make the transition easier. I'll know to expect some struggling with my youngest when the time comes and just know to recognize it and move through it.

 

 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lori D., I just want to say THANK YOU! You probably don't hear that often enough. I believe many of us benefit from and love reading all your posts. I really appreciate the positive and approachable way in which you share with all of us. Your voice of experience is one I hope to continue learning from for a long time here on the boards!  :001_wub:

 

Rose, thank YOU for another great thread topic!  :bigear:

 

I know! How much do I love this woman? (Whom I've never met, btw.)

 

We love you, Lori D.!  :grouphug:  <---- fan girls group hug of love and gratitide, not of sympathy

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My goals for my 8th grade dd would be a few things.

 

First, I want her to become proficient in her music lessons. She is doing really well,and I want her to get over the hump and really enjoy playing harder songs, hymns, and classical style.

Secondly, I want her to start memorizing. She already memorizes some scripture, but I want to add in poems as well.

Thirdly, I will start having her take tests that are not open book, open note, or what have you.

Fourthly, she will continue note taking, and continue to excel in her writing. She loves to write, so this one is easy. :)

Lastly, I want her completely ready to begin Algebra 1 and Spanish by 9th grade.

 

Other things I want her to be ready for is basic knowledge. I also want her to be well rounded emotionally and spiritually.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...