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8th grade workbook recs--no judgement pls


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i am looking for workbooks for my rising 8th grader. We had thought he would be attending our local 8th grade this year, but for various reasons he will not. I have always homeschooled my older, but I am in the process of separating from my husband and will be working more this year, so mom-intensive courses are not an option. Luckily my 8th grader is very diligent and works well independently (not like my older!)

We have history covered as he will be doing mom-led history with his older brother. Foreign Language will be FluentU. So I need math and science, and perhaps writing recomendations (I do have WWS so i may use that, but English workbook recs would be appreciated). He did pre-algebra last year in private school and was bored out of his mind. he WILL be attending public in 9th, so I want him to be prepared math-wise. I am considering a semester of Geometry as he has done very little of it, and a semester of Algebra. We have done Singapore in the past, but i want to minimize expense and foudn the workbook and text expensive, so something cheaper would be great. 

Thank you for recommendations. Oh, and he reads voraciously, so that's not a problem



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The Critical Thinking Company has a lot of workbooks, so they might have something that works for you.  We've used their History Detective for middle school and also their science in elementary (and I think that the science series has books for middle school grades).  They have several grammar and editing books that might be part of your language arts.  I'm not sure if they have complete math courses, but they have a lot of math puzzle books that my kids love.

Going in a different direction, my middle schooler has used books in the 'Self Teaching' series (ordered on Amazon) to learn subjects that are needed for Science Olympiad.  It's written for adults and is dry, but seems to give a good overview.  We used Geology and Astronomy last year.  

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Not a workbook, but College of the Redwoods has a solid algebra textbook downloadable for free; I believe answers to odd problems (or evens) is included. 

Also: I'd strongly suggest ringing Rainbow Resource folks for workbook-based/independent work recommendations.  Or use their online chat.  You can explain as little (or as much) as you wish: they are just great, can help you find stuff that will work and be a good use of the money available, and they never judge a person. 

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So sorry your family is in a tough spot and that you are having to scramble to make new plans this year. : (

Spectrum has workbooks for all subjects for grades 1-8. Here are the ones for Math, Science, Writing, and Math. However, my guess is that those will be too lite and well below your student's level. Here are more ideas (secular) for independent working:

Math -- a lot of times you can find these used for much cheaper
- Glencoe McGraw Hill has an Algebra 1 with text and workbook for practice
- Teaching Textbooks (video lessons, mostly independent)
- Chalkdust (video lessons, mostly independent)
- ALEKS (online, self-paced, mostly independent)
- Thinkwell (computer CD tutorials, self-paced, mostly independent)

ETA: Keys to Algebra and/or Keys to Geometry might also be options (set of workbooks) -- more often used as an intro to these topics, so this may be lighter than what your DS needs, but written by the son of the woman who created Miquon, so a bit more like the Asian/discovery method of Singapore than traditional Western programs...

- Supercharged Science -- Cathy Duffy review
- Prentice Hall Physical Science (textbook + online access code for worksheets, labs, assessments, videos, etc.)
- Holt McDougal Biology (textbook + online access code for worksheets, labs, assessments, videos, etc.)

English: Writing
- Cover Story (independent; grade 6-8 one-year program -- writing, creative writing, and optional grammar)
- Essentials in Writing (video lessons, mostly  independent) -- consider also purchasing the optional scoring service for just $97 to make this almost entirely independent
- Winning With Writing (workbook, independent)
- The Power in Your Hands (a grade 9-12 full year writing program, but a solid 8th grade writer could handle this well and it covers most types of writing; mostly independent)

English: Grammar
- Growing with Grammar level 8

English: Literature
I'd go with individual guides to match with some of the books on his reading list and use those for discussion, literary analysis with literary devices, and for learning about literature topics and about the background of the author/times. Ideas for FREE online guides:
- Glencoe Literature Library
- Penguin Teacher Guides
- Bibliomania study guides (looks like you now have to register (for free) with the host site to access)

- Discovering the World of Geography (gr. 7-8) -- includes critical thinking, working with maps & charts, etc.; Eastern Hemisphere focus

Edited by Lori D.
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Seconding the "Winning with Writing" and "Growing with Grammar" workbooks above.  They are straightforward, designed for homeschools, come already-scheduled, and while they don't look like fancy assignments, I've found that the skills stick when we move on.  Great preparation for a public school entry.

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Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum. Most things are listed for high school, but I think an 8th grader could do just fine with them. To save expense, you could either print everything, or buy the digital versions of the teaching materials and texts, and just order printed copies of the activity books. 

There's always CLE for math. I think they have the Sunrise version of algebra, and you could get Patty Paper Geometry pretty cheaply to go alongside. 

It's not really a workbook, but Galore Park's English (either the new English for Common Entrance 1 or 2, or the old So You Really Want to Learn English 2 or 3) is a slim textbook that covers pretty much all aspects of English except how to write. (EFCE 1 is the same as SYRWTL 2, and EFCE 2 is the same as SYRWTL 3) I bought the old versions because they were cheaper. It includes recommended reading, but has passages for analysis, so you aren't locked into a specific book list.

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For math at any level, try Thinkwell.  It has been the primary provider for my new 8th grader.  With the Homeschoolbuyer discount, online classes with homework, quizzes and tests, with auto grading are only around $65/12 months.  Although we did not do alg and geom concurrently, I know many who have. 

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Not a workbook, but did you look into The Big History Project?  It's free, online and can be pretty independent.  He would need to skip some things due to it being geared towards classrooms but my middle schooler really loved it!


I'm sorry you are going through a rough spot, hang in there! 

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Writing Skills from Educational Publishing Services by Diana Hanbury King.  Book 2 is for grades 7 - 9.  https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/002920

Also, Thinking in Threes https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/040535

He could easily do both of these.  The instruction in Thinking in Threes is more interesting, but there's not as much in the way of assignments.  Writing Skills has plenty of assignments and decent instruction, but not as interesting.

For math, it's not a workbook, but what about Kahn Academy?  Especially if you want time in both algebra and geometry, Kahn Academy might be the cheapest, more convenient way to do both.  Otherwise, I would consider Key to Algebra and Key to Geometry.  It might not be exciting, but he could be efficient with them for sure.  

For science - that one is tougher.  We've used an older version of this life science/biology workbook from Carson Dellosa and thought it was decent:  https://www.amazon.com/Biology-100-SeriesTM-Carson-Dellosa-Publishing/dp/1483816915/ref=dp_ob_title_bk  There are other sciences available in the series as well.  A pricier option, but completely independent and includes the lab kit, would be Exploration Education - it's a year of physical and chemical - it includes a dvd (or streaming), workbook and lab kit.  https://www.explorationeducation.com/  The video component is usually short.  It replaces a textbook, as well as shows someone following the lab instructions (i.e. building the race car, or whatever) making the labs really doable even without previous experience.  

Hugs to you during this difficult time!

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