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deerforest

current 8th graders--ready for hs?

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Just thought I'd check in with the other current 8th graders to see how the year has gone. I actually think this is one of our more successful years ever! I made some tweaks along the way, but we've really had a solid year with DD taking more ownership. We have our plans nearly done for 9th, and I'm feeling good about the choices we're making there. It's the first time I built out a weekly schedule, and that's definitely a winning approach for us. I still work with her 1:1 but it's more like 2 hours instead of 4. It's been a nice shift.

Quick summary:

- AoPS algebra -- surprising hit of the year. We had huge success with BA, none with pre-algebra, but this year has been amazing. She loves it, has stuck with it, and pretty much does it independently. She's decided she'd like to just continue finishing the book (equivalent of algebra II) next year. We're going to do some geometry intro over the summer too.

- Spanish 1 -- Still loving Español Santillana even though it's expensive and teacher intensive. We finished it, and she's going to start doing additional conversation practice with Spanish Homeschool Academy next week through the summer. Will continue with Spanish 2 next year.

- Culinary Science -- mostly a success. DH hasn't been as good about doing experiments with her as I had hoped, but she cooks a lot anyway and has been doing all the readings and stuff. Pretty much a moderated unschooling approach here, but she's learned a ton.

- US Contemporary History (1950-current)  -- huge success. I built this one, and we've covered so much in so much depth that I'm a bit surprised myself. Comparisons to current events have been very timely as well. It's been fascinating for me to look at times I've lived with this lens.

- English Lit and Writing -- We started out using Oak Meadow 8 but DD really didn't like the books so we stopped after the 3rd and I've added lit that corresponded to history periods instead. She continued doing the reading and grammar stuff in OM 8 though. We also did the 3-series revamp of the Exploring Essays classes with Bravewriter. She's in the last one now, and 2/3 were fantastic, and I've learned that the right teacher makes all the difference. It's been an incredibly positive experience, and we will continue doing BW classes for sure. 

We've done a lot of extras too, and it's just been a great year too with her activities and more opportunities with her aerial dance life. 

The big thing for us, which I've talked about in the hs board, is that she really seems set on going to circus school rather than college right away. Not sure yet how this will change our plans for hs in the long term, but I've worked out a pretty solid plan for next year at least. 

Would love to hear from everyone else!

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DS13 was doing his 4 year plan two days ago.  He wants to do psychology, sociology, marketing in 9th grade. He joke about astrology as a science credit :tongue:

Lots more food and sleep required this year compared to 7th grade. Still in growth spurt mode. 

No idea about what to do for English 9th grade yet.

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Anyone else see the trailer for the new movie Eighth Grade? I told dh it needed a trigger warning for parents of current eighth graders. May be a little too real.

We're in okay shape, I think. My boys are on the cusp in terms of age (they meet the cutoff here by 3 whole days...) so I actually offered to them if they didn't want to start high school next year, they didn't have to. That got shot down. We've been in the thick of grouchiness to an extent that... I mean, it's extreme. Oy. Still, some great moments as well, and I know we'll come through it. Sometimes I just get into venting mode.

Both kids ended up doing Jacobs's Algebra. I think we'll finish just before high school starts, so that's good. BalletBoy is in very good shape with it. He's very steady with math - always gets everything right with a pretty small number of minor mistakes, unless he doesn't understand something, in which case, he gets it all wrong. Mushroom overthinks everything, so it can be hard to tell how he's doing - he can be all over the place. The sort of kid who gets the hard problems but misses the easy ones. But I think he's in okay shape too.

Both kids in good shape with writing. They both have a pretty decent, middle school level five paragraph thesis paper down. I think it's a good foundation to build on. Both kids have done some good reading this year. I'm especially happy with BalletBoy having read through his required list. I think we had some great discussions about Fahrenheit 451 and The Hate You Give especially.

We jumped around with content a ton, but both kids have done some interesting things. They've done some Great Courses. Mushroom just finished a local class where the kids read about big current events issues and political philosophy and then form countries and run a simulation where they compete for resources and deal with surprises. That was cool. BalletBoy studied dance anatomy, which was interesting. We all did a bunch on the Civil Rights movement.

Kids are good in their activities. I hope BalletBoy advances his level next year, though I know it'll be a trial. He loves to dance so much, but he has some body limitations that make it a hard road ahead. Sigh. They got fifth place at States for Destination Imagination. I want them to continue in high school. If they go all the way through, that'll be 13 years in DI. It would make me so happy, but I guess we'll see.

Anyway, I think we're in good shape for high school. Forward march and all that.

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DD matured a lot this year emotionally. Thank goodness because for a while there I wasn't sure we were both going to make it out alive, especially since I'm now of an age where my hormones are starting to rage a little bit more too ;) We still have our bouts of angst and drama, but they are getting fewer and farther between.

She surprised me this year by wanting to do her brother's high school ancient history course (Great Courses) along with the one I had originally picked for her. Her analysis is not as sophisticated as his, obviously, but I was very encouraged that she wanted to challenge herself with it. Only doing the minimum required was something she had usually done before this year.

Her writing improved by leaps and bounds. She's always been a good story writer and even has a novel in the works, but the problem was that often bled over into her essays. It took a LOT of conversations and demonstrations and re-doing assignments for her to accept the fact that story telling and dialogue is not appropriate for most academic writing ;) Her reward for this is getting to do a creative writing elective next year in 9th grade, so we'll see if that un-do's all her progress lol

She also surprised me by saying that algebra is kind of beautiful. It's her least favorite course but I'm glad she understands the concepts behind it enough to appreciate that. I think Video Text has been a big part of that realization.

She's working on a science fair type project right now, and she's not so good at coming up with her own ideas for open ended assignments. So we'll see how that goes over the next month until we call it quits for the year.

Overall I'm very pleased with where she is and I think her high school transition should be fairly smooth.

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DS 14 had a good year and I was pleased to see him take some ownership of his education. Things like: he began the year with TT pre-algebra doing only the odd questions in the second set because it took forever otherwise. But part way through the year, on his own, he decided to do ALL the questions because he felt he needed more practice. He did Apologia Physical for science and although I only require him to write down the answers to the OYO questions in his notebook, I saw that he started copying some of the diagrams, and writing out all the vocabulary words, too.

He did really well with LLATL Gray and he turned some of his daily narrations into essays. He will be very ready for more essay instruction next year for 9th. He also got a lot out of The Thinking Toolbox that he could relate to real life. I'm very happy how he did this year and I think he'll be fine next year. Almost everything I planned for him this year worked out well.

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As ready as we are going to be! Mine takes things slowly. She will only be in preAlgebra next year, but that is ok. She moves along steadily at this level and is succesful.  She will still be able to get through Alg. 2 by graduation. She still needs a lot of work in spelling, with her dyslexia. But organizing her writing has become much better. She does well in science and history, things that require comprehension this year. She will probably start with Earth Science for next year. And her actual reading has picked up a lot. That has to do with her finally finding books she likes- young adult fiction, but I don't care. She is finally reading! It has improved her time on assigned books too. She won't be jumping into a lot of classics on her own next year, but I read aloud, and we do audio books on top of one to two assigned books a semester.  For Latin she scored a Certificate of Merit in the NLE intro this year, so I think she is ready for a solid Latin I next year. We won't be doing logic next year. If I feel she gets a handle on what I have planned (including Rod and Staff english 7 and spelling 6 for her Eng.I) then we will add logic for a semester the next year. 

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Love hearing how everyone is doing! Thanks for sharing! DD had her first Homeschool Spanish Academy class for conversation practice tonight, and she was so nervous!!

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My ds14 was in public school for a couple of years & decided to return to homeschooling for eighth and beyond.  We had a bit of a learning curve this year, but I feel good about where we are.  He’s a very independent worker, so my biggest challenge has been finding curriculum that he can do alone while holding him accountable. Next year he will be taking the majority of his classes at co-op. I will add Teaching Textbooks & that’s it. 

The biggest win this year is just seeing his joy return and the stress he was feeling dissipate. He is such a happy boy now, so I’m a happy mama!

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Every year is improvisation here. This being the last year before it really “counts”, I decided to go really nuts and go travelling for 6 months. Some subjects are getting done despite iffy wireless (and in the case of China, vpn issues!) and some subjects we are treading water in, but there’s a lot of on the road learning that’s happening though that’s of course hard to quantify. And because we are in the middle of it, it’s rather hard to have perspective.

I’m not ready for high school in that i’m waiting to hear from a local private where he’s hoping to do his math and science and maybe a sport, and DE is always last minute by design (because he can’t register until week before classes start) but the semblance of a schedule is starting to emerge!

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Mine is chomping at the bit. She was born ready for the next great adventure. I just get out of the road as she barrels through and try to keep up with her reasonably well. *shrug*

Occasionally she really, really wants to go to public, for the social experience alone. Not a thought for the academics. Her age, precociousness, and ability to be still and quiet makes her dad and I cringe at the thought. LOL For now it's off the table until sophomore year. We'll reevaluate next summer, when she's grown a bit more and we've hopefully satiated that wild social drive in other ways.

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5 hours ago, madteaparty said:

Every year is improvisation here. This being the last year before it really “counts”, I decided to go really nuts and go travelling for 6 months. Some subjects are getting done despite iffy wireless (and in the case of China, vpn issues!) and some subjects we are treading water in, but there’s a lot of on the road learning that’s happening though that’s of course hard to quantify. And because we are in the middle of it, it’s rather hard to have perspective.

I’m not ready for high school in that i’m waiting to hear from a local private where he’s hoping to do his math and science and maybe a sport, and DE is always last minute by design (because he can’t register until week before classes start) but the semblance of a schedule is starting to emerge!

OK, you're the coolest. What a fabulous opportunity! Where all have you guys gone?? China's a big one!

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22 minutes ago, deerforest said:

OK, you're the coolest. What a fabulous opportunity! Where all have you guys gone?? China's a big one!

So far, a few places in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and we’ve spent the most time in Indonesia (it’s a big country!) and just some northern China (Beijing and terra cotta soldiers in Xi’an further north). Blog is in my signature for the exhaustive, and exhausting ;) details.

eta that after being with me 24/7 for over two months, my kids most definitely don’t think I’m the coolest. 

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Well, we had a meeting for DD's IEP recently. Not sure when the follow-up meeting will be because of the walkout. Once we have that we'll be as ready as we're going to be for high school registration. Still slogging through fractions and working on editing grammar/spelling in written compositions, and practicing note-taking with her online science class in the mean time.

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16 hours ago, SilverMoon said:

Mine is chomping at the bit. She was born ready for the next great adventure. I just get out of the road as she barrels through and try to keep up with her reasonably well. *shrug*

Occasionally she really, really wants to go to public, for the social experience alone. Not a thought for the academics. Her age, precociousness, and ability to be still and quiet makes her dad and I cringe at the thought. LOL For now it's off the table until sophomore year. We'll reevaluate next summer, when she's grown a bit more and we've hopefully satiated that wild social drive in other ways.

My daughter, who sounds similar has volunteered at a school the past two years. She no longer wants to try school.

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I'm unsure about my current 8th grader. He is doing well in some areas. Others are a struggle. He has always been a slow worker, so this year has been a big success as far as increasing output speed. He is still slower than average, but he has worked hard on focusing. He is also extremely diligent. It is important for him to complete his work each day. That is worth gold, right?

He did a second year of Algebra I this year to help with speed. I think that was a good choice. I think he will do fine in geometry next year. He has a nice science and history base. He loves to read and does quite a lot of reading for school. We've worked hard on spelling for the past three - four years. His spelling is now getting to the point a more natural speller would be at without practice. :huh: Writing is...deficient. I wish he were stronger going into high school.

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My dd14 is pretty much ready to start her high school experience, except for math. It looks like she won't be taking Pre-Algebra until ninth grade, but she's determined to make up for lost time and work hard over the summers to hopefully have time to dual enroll in College Algebra her senior year. Because of her being behind in math, it means that I'm having to make changes to the traditional high school science sequence to fit her math skills.

We were on pace to have her caught up to do Algebra I in 9th grade, but thanks to Hurricane Harvey, we didn't even get to start our school year until the beginning of November. It wasn't such a big deal for my other two kids because they are so young, but all I could think was, "Seriously, this is her eighth grade year. We had some major work to do and didn't need to get such a late start!" It is what it is though, and we're adjusting.

On a bright note her writing skills are advanced, and she's definitely ready for high school work there.

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DD13 is ready, I think. We have a flow to our days that she likes. This spring she has started couple of outside activities that she enjoys, which I can see her potentially doing through high school. AOPS Algebra A at home is going well, though I am looking forward to out-sourcing the teaching for Algebra B next year. She loved Hakim for history and tolerated Human Odyssey, while in general being less enthusiastic about both the history and literature of the modern period. None of my literature picks were appreciated. I begged for help here mid-year and got some good suggestions which helped immensely. She continued to dabble in foreign languages rather than get stuck in to learning one. We have now tried French, Spanish, Latin, Modern Greek, German, Old Norse, and Ancient Greek over the course of six years. Luckily for me I love languages. Next year I get to organize Japanese, which I have to admit makes me a bit nervous. I'm think I've found an outside class we can take together. Wish me luck! She loved MCT grammar and vocab, but not the writing component - Advanced Academic Writing. She's an enthusiastic creative writer, but mulishly resistant to formal academic writing. I'm putting a lot of thought into what to do for writing next year to get solid essay skills in place. Science - well, we have tried so many things for logic stage science... She liked Galore Park SYRWTL Science 1 and 2, and is currently zooming through all the books in the Real Science 4 Kids Focus on Middle School science after rejecting the Pandia Press science I preferred. She's done RS4K Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Geology, and is starting Astronomy. She hasn't yet found an aspect of science that she wants to engage more deeply, so this is another area that will need a lot of work to bring up to high school level. 

At the PNW meet and greet, I asked the high school and college Moms (including SWB - a total fangirl moment for me) what I should look at going into high school. They didn't talk about academics - they talked about resilience, grit, and coping skills. So building resilience is on my radar too as we plan next year, looking to challenge both DD13 and myself to get out of our comfort zones and take on new things.

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On 4/25/2018 at 6:55 AM, Meriwether said:

I'm unsure about my current 8th grader. He is doing well in some areas. Others are a struggle. He has always been a slow worker, so this year has been a big success as far as increasing output speed. He is still slower than average, but he has worked hard on focusing. He is also extremely diligent. It is important for him to complete his work each day. That is worth gold, right?

He did a second year of Algebra I this year to help with speed. I think that was a good choice. I think he will do fine in geometry next year. He has a nice science and history base. He loves to read and does quite a lot of reading for school. We've worked hard on spelling for the past three - four years. His spelling is now getting to the point a more natural speller would be at without practice. :huh: Writing is...deficient. I wish he were stronger going into high school.

Solid gold!!

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I do believe my DD14 is ready for high school.  It's been decided to allow him to take up to four classes at a local academic co-op.  He really really wants to be in school and we have been butting heads his whole jr years with this topic.  In our current home (military-move alot) the school system is the worse but the neighborhood is one of the best in the city so public school is out.  Private school is still not an option either.  He will take an elective, foreign language and science at the academic co-op and possibly the literature and writing class too.  I much rather teach science at home but it will be nice not to have all those disectable animals all over the house.  I have plenty of live ones. haha  This really fits him best.  After 10th grade he will move onto duel enrollment classes and volunteer in his career interest which is both military and medical.

This is my second round with high school but feels like a first because my son is very much different from my daughter. 

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My 8th grade DS, 14, has made strides this year in writing (mostly online IEW) and is far more at grade level than last year—win! We will continue to strengthen his writing skills but I am now confident he is on grade level and ready for 9th. Part of the problems we have had in middle school is that DS was in mostly public schools from grades 4-6 and did not, imho, receive quality instruction especially in writing and reading, so it's been catch up these last two years (7th and 8th).

DS took high school history at co-op this year (9th grade World History) so he's ahead there which is good because science (also at co-op) was such. a. slog. that I have decided no science next year which is kind of freaking me out!  ( = : O) It was the reading that did him in and I realized that he doesn't have strong enough (for high school) reading comprehension skills in general. In subjects he loves, like history, he copes and overcomes, in subjects he doesn't like (science) he frets and gets lost in the weeds. Soooo, next year we will concentrate on reading/literature and not get bogged down in science. He will take a semester of health, however. Then, he probably will double up science at some point or take a course in the summer or make do with three years of high school lab science.....not sure yet.

With math, he is doing Algebra I slowly this year and if we don't finish in the summer we will still be doing that in 9th. DS took 2 years of pre-algebra (6th and 7th) so he may need 2 years of Algebra I. In other words, he may repeat Algebra I with another curriculum if I don't think his foundation is solid enough. He is not thrilled with this idea but I am not budging on him being solid in Algebra I as it is so foundational for higher math courses.

And he will be taking foreign language for the first time—Latin—and he is excited about that!

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