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BYL 8 - how's it going?


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I used it two years ago, with my now 10th grader. Memories of the first week may be rusty! Let me pull up the file...

Looking at the supply list: DS read all the history and science reading independently and we discussed it later. The poetry seemed forced and unconnected; we dropped it early on. He read all the literature and readers independently and we discussed them later. The questions in the TM were basic comprehension questions and we ditched them early on. We just talk about stuff. I keep asking questions until we were both satisfied. He read and enjoyed the art book, the math book, and the "optional" books.

Looking at the week one schedule: We replaced the Dawking book with a Hawking one and he did all the reading. We skipped "language arts" (narration and dictation) entirely. We never used the narration cards. He did the mapwork. We didn't keep a timeline. In week one I likely had him look at the vocab to see if there was any he wanted to discuss. I think I might have printed that vocab sheet and just put a word on it for him a few times, but it didn't stick longterm. Scooching down to further weeks, he did all the sketching and we watched some of the movies. He did a few of the memory work pieces. I don't remember him being interested in any of the art projects; I left that to him to choose. He did do nearly all of the scientist bios using the printout for them. He didn't do the projects like travel brochures; that's just not him.

If I recall correctly I printed the schedule pages for him, looked at the notes ahead of time and wrote out the parts I wanted him to do on his schedule page or the back of it. He ran it himself with me checking in regularly.

He had a full writing, science, math, and Spanish course on the side.

Overall, both DS and I *loved* that year. He grew and enjoyed the content so much. I loved the extras, like chronological art and the math extras that I never would have tied in on my own. It really made it special. He still thinks of that year quite fondly and he declared I'd have to repurchase some specific books for siblings if I wanted to use it with them. LOL My only complaint is the description and booklist for year 9 left us underwhelmed and we designed our own for 9th grade instead.

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Great question!  Our first week/2 weeks got derailed by troubleshooting language classes, a process which is nearly resolved.  I'll try to come back at the end of next week and make a cogent, helpful report!  Also, I'm merging this with Ursa Minor's Year 7 and haven't gotten the details worked out yet. 


  • I like SilverMoon's substitution of Hawking for Dawkins (not sure what she used -- Illustrated Brief History of Time is my choice). 
  • I was taken aback by the sample student essay included, because the essay was riddled with scientific errors conceptual and factual: if a child submitted such an essay to me it would raise a flag that she didn't understand the material.  I can't figure out if the author of BYL didn't see the errors, which is sort of worrisome from the author of a science history curriculum, or if she thought they shouldn't matter, which is also worrisome in its own way.  
  • I don't like the maps, I think it is hard to understand them visually.  But since they worked so well for SilverMoon maybe I'll just try assigning the mapwork to my child and seeing how it goes. 
  • The books look wonderful.  I am a bit concerned about "Parcel of Patterns" being too dark for my child, and the library doesn't have it so I can't pre-read, but so far everything else looks very good. 


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My oldest is starting BYL8 tomorrow. He's looking forward to it, but it will be a pretty full year by the looks of it. For the first week of school we are just doing BYL8,nothing added (except math) and no Morning Time yet. Just getting a feel for what the workload will be like for BYL8 first. Next week we have a 4-day week because of a science center outing, so that will be a "just BYL" week as well, as we see how it works out trying to do it in 4 days instead of 5. 

He wants to do as much of it independently as he can, but we will work together on the writing assignments (he is not a strong writer, but working on it) and obviously the dictation will be done with me. Mostly he just wants to go through each day's checklist and work until he's finished. 

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