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zarabellesmom

Planning 8th Grade and Feeling Uninspired

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Title pretty much says it all. My daughter is 13 and will be in 8th grade this year. I've looked over curriculum until my eyes were crossed. Then I thought of going it alone on subjects and can't even begin to start putting something together. I had planned an online sociology class and now it looks like it will be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment (someone help me by signing up for this so it can still happen ?). She's taken a pretty broad range of science over the last three years with GHF's Story of Science classes with related hands on work and now has a very good backround in physical science, chemistry and biology. I don't really want to repeat that stuff only to cover it again at a high school level so soon. I'm at a complete loss. Same goes for History. Since the next couple of years are going to hit World History and American History pretty in depth, I don't want to do those either. So far I have:

AoPS Algebra 1 (We've already started this and it's going well)

CAP Writing and Rhetoric (I've tried every writing program there is and this one is the most tolerated so on we go.) She's just started doing some creative writing because she WANTS to. It's amazing for her because she has protested writing so much in the past.

Fix-It (And I'm questioning this because something seems to have clicked over the last year and grammar and spelling are working just fine for my little dysgraphic girl.)

WTMA French 1

She already devours books. I like to let her choose her own reading, though I sometimes make suggestions. She's pretty open to this so I hate to change up something that's working right now.

I've thought about Geography for the coming year. I even bought BYL7 and quite a few of the books but when I look at it, I see a lot of busy work or things that I'm not going to use because I prefer to cover those skills a different way (writing for instance). I've looked at the 8th grade planning thread over and over.

I'm not sure if this is a whine or an invitation for ideas (which are definitely welcome--secular only please). I'm feeling so blah. And then I wonder if I want curriculum at all. Maybe I'm just feeling a bit unschooly at this point (which is so NOT me usually). But next year is high school and it feels like this is our last chance to be relaxed. GAHHH!

The other situation is that I have a soon to be 10 yo who is dyslexic. With tutoring and other skill work, her day is pretty full. If she looks over and sees her sister playing Minecraft or something else fun during what she perceives as school hours, she's going to be pretty upset.

Anyone else? Or any ideas?

Teresa

Edited by zarabellesmom

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I also have a 13 year old entering 8th grade. He's done the general science topics as well. So this year, the *plan* is to just read great books - at least for science. So, he is going to be assigned Napoleon's Buttons, a favorite of mine, some John Hudson Tiner books such as Johannes Kepler bio and 100 Scientists who changed the world, as well as a couple of math/science history books by the same author. I'm not sure how that's going to work out but that's the plan for science. 

Other than science, IEW to help him learn to write, Fix It for grammar, a variety of Pre-algebra including Math Mammoth and Life of Fred, a second year of Spanish, an art class he enjoys and music appreciation when we can get to it. Oh, and I'm trying to plan a course on Excel/Powerpoint/ etc just to make sure we get it out of the way. It can be a high school credit possibly.  Geography is just something I've made up as we go along. We've had good luck with You Tube videos such as Rick Steves travel paired with making our own travel brochures for each country we study. Our geography binder is getting quite thick.  We will continue this project. 

Anyway, that's the plan. I'm sure it will change drastically as is usual for us. Good luck! 

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What is GHF’s Story of Science?  

Is it Joy Hakim’s The Story of Science?  If it isn’t, then you might want to look at Hakim’s Story of Science series.  There are three books and they study science starting with Aristotle.  It feels like a combination of a history book/science book.  The writer goes through the discoveries in science as they happened, studying the lives of the scientists/time in history along the way.  

We only read the first one and enjoyed it, and I got a teacher’s guide and workbook as well.  The guide and workbook slowed us down or we’d have read all of them in a year.

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13 minutes ago, Garga said:

What is GHF’s Story of Science?  

Is it Joy Hakim’s The Story of Science?  If it isn’t, then you might want to look at Hakim’s Story of Science series.  There are three books and they study science starting with Aristotle.  It feels like a combination of a history book/science book.  The writer goes through the discoveries in science as they happened, studying the lives of the scientists/time in history along the way.  

We only read the first one and enjoyed it, and I got a teacher’s guide and workbook as well.  The guide and workbook slowed us down or we’d have read all of them in a year.

Yes, It's Hakim's Story of Science series. The teacher did a great job of incorporating other resources and made it really hands on. She's not teaching it anymore though. I'm sad because I was planning it for my youngest as well. I loved the series. If anyone else is looking for middle school science, I agree Garga, they really should consider it.

Thanks.

 

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20 minutes ago, 5ofus said:

I also have a 13 year old entering 8th grade. He's done the general science topics as well. So this year, the *plan* is to just read great books - at least for science. So, he is going to be assigned Napoleon's Buttons, a favorite of mine, some John Hudson Tiner books such as Johannes Kepler bio and 100 Scientists who changed the world, as well as a couple of math/science history books by the same author. I'm not sure how that's going to work out but that's the plan for science. 

Other than science, IEW to help him learn to write, Fix It for grammar, a variety of Pre-algebra including Math Mammoth and Life of Fred, a second year of Spanish, an art class he enjoys and music appreciation when we can get to it. Oh, and I'm trying to plan a course on Excel/Powerpoint/ etc just to make sure we get it out of the way. It can be a high school credit possibly.  Geography is just something I've made up as we go along. We've had good luck with You Tube videos such as Rick Steves travel paired with making our own travel brochures for each country we study. Our geography binder is getting quite thick.  We will continue this project. 

Anyway, that's the plan. I'm sure it will change drastically as is usual for us. Good luck! 

Wow, there's some great stuff here! I'm going to go check out these books. Can you tell me a little more about your geography binder? I've considered the travel brochure idea too because it looks like fun and seems like something she would enjoy. Do you include other things in it? Going to check out Rick Steves on youTube as well.

Thanks.

 

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I used this as a supplement to science one year (except I had the older version).  https://smile.amazon.com/Teaching-Science-Process-Specialty-Publishing/dp/0768231868/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1532541624&sr=8-5&keywords=Science+process+skills

It doesn’t teach science, exactly, but it teaches how to go about “doing” science.  About inferring, about how to make a hypothesis, about using the metric system.  

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Hmmm, what about art history, combining art appreciation and history? A good book combined with the lectures at Khan Academy might work. 

 

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"Can you tell me a little more about your geography binder? I've considered the travel brochure idea too because it looks like fun and seems like something she would enjoy. Do you include other things in it? "

Sorry I'm having trouble quoting directly, but our geography is very open ended. We watch a video on our chosen country, and then we have a list of possible items to include in our travel guide: people facts, places, geographical oddities or famous places, animals, languages, random statistics.  I do require a map of the country together with something showing knowledge of bordering countries and continent on which located.  My son likes to include lots of visuals - so maps, photos of previously mentioned people, places etc....  Honestly, it is one of our favorite subjects! We have learned so much and it IS fun!  That's why we haven't stopped.  He also loves Top Gear BBC (please don't judge - he loves all things Cars) so if they have a country special - that may be our geography video (usually only if I cannot find anything more suitable). 

Anyway, hope this helps! 

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For science, if you want more living book ideas look at Guest Hollow's book lists.  Another idea might be to do Exploration Education's physical science.  It can be fairly independent.  It has an "advanced" option that can count for highschool credit.  So, if she ended up not doing physics later, you *could* bring the physical science credit up from 8th.  (Yes, I know some people will clutch their pearls - insert disclaimer about stem majors and competitive colleges, etc, etc.)  Or spend one semester on the living books and 2nd semester getting a jump start on her 9th grade biology credit.  Last idea, what about an intro computer science class?  Last, last idea - choose one or more youth scientific periodicals of your liking and have her read and write summaries - if that doesn't provide enough material, add it to the living books.

For history, if I were planning for my own dc, I would let him/her choose one or two areas of US history and let him/her go deep.  There may not be time to do that again when it's time to do a survey course.  When my dd was 8th grade, she read some Albert Marrin biographies, a pretty hefty Lincoln book and loved every bit of it.  If we had had more time, I had Arguing About Slavery on the shelf (from Ambleside Online year 10).  

If you still want something more, what about logic?  It might be easier to do something light for logic now than to try to squeeze it in in highschool, kwim?  

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Have you looked at Master Books? If she is strong in science, it might be fun to take a year and do something like Applied Engineering or something else that really interests her.  It seems that Master Books science can be a bit more independent that some other 8th grade science.

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I think the alternative year before high school sounds great!

My 13 year old will be in 8th starting in January. I'm planning a business/entrepreneur focus for the year.

For science, guest hollow does that kitchen chemistry course. We also like the book 'what Einstein told his cook' 

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Here's what I see you listing:

Math = AoPS
English
   Lit = reading lots of books
   Writing = CAP
   Grammar = Fix It
Science = ?
Social Studies = ?
Foreign Language = WTMA French 1
Elective(s) = ?

My thought is that middle school, esp. 8th grade, is often your last window of opportunity to explore bunny trails of interest. I don't see any electives or extracurriculars in there to explore DD#1's interests, or expose her to new interests. Perhaps this is the year to do that? Another suggestion is that this might be the year to combine your 2 DDs with a few things.

For example, if you go with Geography/World Cultures this year for Social Studies, together each week for each new country studied you can make a food, listen to music, play a game, watch a feature film set there or a documentary/travelogue, do a read-aloud, practice online Geography games for countries/capitals/locations, etc., and then have each student reading books , with activities done together as a family.

You might also all enjoy dropping to a 4-day/week schedule and day 5 can be the day for educational and logic games, lengthy art/history projects and big science experiences or science fair project, watch educational/supplemental movies and documentaries, and schedule time for exploring a new interest -- soldering electronics, robotics, cake decorating, jewelry making, wood working -- whatever each DD would enjoy trying out.

Finally, add a spark of enjoyment and something to look forward this year by planning regular field trips, tours of local places, nature walks/hikes, etc. Maybe join a homeschool support group for outside the home activities, or get involved in a community activity such as youth theater, or model railroading, or history recreation group. Or volunteer together once a month.

BEST of luck in planning for interest and joy in this new school year!

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5 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Here's what I see you listing:

Math = AoPS
English
   Lit = reading lots of books
   Writing = CAP
   Grammar = Fix It
Science = ?
Social Studies = ?
Foreign Language = WTMA French 1
Elective(s) = ?

My thought is that middle school, esp. 8th grade, is often your last window of opportunity to explore bunny trails of interest. I don't see any electives or extracurriculars in there to explore DD#1's interests, or expose her to new interests. Perhaps this is the year to do that? Another suggestion is that this might be the year to combine your 2 DDs with a few things.

For example, if you go with Geography/World Cultures this year for Social Studies, together each week for each new country studied you can make a food, listen to music, play a game, watch a feature film set there or a documentary/travelogue, do a read-aloud, practice online Geography games for countries/capitals/locations, etc., and then have each student reading books , with activities done together as a family.

You might also all enjoy dropping to a 4-day/week schedule and day 5 can be the day for educational and logic games, lengthy art/history projects and big science experiences or science fair project, watch educational/supplemental movies and documentaries, and schedule time for exploring a new interest -- soldering electronics, robotics, cake decorating, jewelry making, wood working -- whatever each DD would enjoy trying out.

Finally, add a spark of enjoyment and something to look forward this year by planning regular field trips, tours of local places, nature walks/hikes, etc. Maybe join a homeschool support group for outside the home activities, or get involved in a community activity such as youth theater, or model railroading, or history recreation group. Or volunteer together once a month.

BEST of luck in planning for interest and joy in this new school year!

 

When I was listing things, I probably wasn't as thorough as I could have been. She dances 12 hours a week, so electives are covered. We've joined a homeschool group. It's going to use our Mondays. I have no idea how academic it will be, but I haven't really considered it as covering any of our academic stuff even though they will do science and history and hands on projects. She was placed a year back because the 8th grade class was full. She's an advanced student in a lot of ways so I'm just not sure how much she'll get out of it, outside of the group aspect (which she had asked for). They also plan a lot of field trips, so we will probably get out and about more this year and I think we are all looking forward to that.

After driving myself crazy and taking in everyone's suggestions, I think you are right, a year of geography is probably a good choice for where we are right now. Also, it's something she's expressed interest in, so yay! Science wise, I've decided to be kind of traditional and do physical science. Hopefully it will review some of the things she's already covered and fill in anything she missed, giving her a good foundation for next year's science.

And if her online sociology class pans out, then I'll shift things around...again. ? 

Thanks everyone for taking the time to offer ideas. I'm starting to feel like I'll be ready next Monday. Maybe, just maybe.

Teresa

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On 7/25/2018 at 11:06 AM, zarabellesmom said:

secular only please)

 

On 7/29/2018 at 1:05 AM, BetterthanIdeserve said:

Have you looked at Master Books? If she is strong in science, it might be fun to take a year and do something like Applied Engineering or something else that really interests her.  It seems that Master Books science can be a bit more independent that some other 8th grade science.

 

Not secular.

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What is the online sociology class that might work out? I may be interested in joining.

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