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Which books should I squeeze in before the end of 8tg grade?

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I'm almost at the end of my time homeschooling my DS. We made a choice to homeschool just for middle school and he'll finish 8th grade at the end of May and go off to public high school in August. I think it will be a good move for him, but I'm already starting to grieve the loss of our special time together.

To the point of this message...

Our favorite time is the 60-90 minutes we spend every day with readalouds. We always have two books going, usually one fiction and one nonfiction, but, that can vary. Right now we happen to have two historical fiction books going. Sometimes the books tie into what we're studying, but other times they expose us to something completely new.

I have all kinds of ideas of my own, but I'm interested to hear what the hive mind thinks an 8th grade boy would enjoy/benefit from hearing during his last couple months of homeschool.  Nonfiction, classic fiction, and historical fiction are all on the table. I should also note that he is totally okay with female protagonists and girl focused stories. His favorite book of all time is Rilla of Ingleside.

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Congratulations on finishing homeschool middle school in excellence! And, just as encouragement -- read-alouds do NOT have to stop at 8th grade... or in high school... or after high school. You may find you have to schedule them differently, and slow the pace, but what a fantastic family bonding experience to continue to read/discuss together at the dinner table, or 1-2 evenings a week. And over the summer. And do 1-2 of his public high school Literature selections each year that way. Enjoy doing a Shakespeare play all together as "readers theater" style! Just some random thoughts there.

As far as ideas for finishing 8th grade before heading to public high school... My choice would be to fill my child up with books that will give him hope, strength, a sense of humor, and a vision to carry him through potentially rough times ahead. (Social media, bullying, drug use, despair, and suicide are so prevalent and overwhelming, that I would encourage you to keep up that regular family reading aloud -- or movie/discussion night, or game night, or...? -- to keep a strong "life line" back to family support always available to him. Not thinking it will be like this for your DS, but a friend just lost her 18yo DD to a tylenol/advil overdose (second attempt in 5 months), and social media absolutely played a role in that beautiful young lady feeling overwhelmed. So that's where I am coming from right now in my thoughts. NOT meant to be a burden or a downer! (:D )

A few random titles:

- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Adams)
- Life With Jeeves (or other books by PG Wodehouse)
- short stories by James Thurber ("The Catbird Seat"; "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty")
- "Farmer Giles of Ham" (Tolkien) -- humorous mock epic, longish-short story
- The Reluctant Dragon (Grahame) -- short story

- The Importance of Being Earnest (Wild) -- play
You Can't Take it With You (Kaufman & Moss)
- All Creatures Great and Small (Herriot)

perseverance / victory through hard times
- The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien)
- Spinning Silver (Novik)
- The Terrible Wave 
- To Be a Slave (Lester)
- Echo (Ryan)
- The Friendly Persuasion (West)

appreciating / understanding other points of view / struggles
- El Deafo
- Wonder
- The Hate U Give
- All American Boys
- American Born Chinese

critical thinking
- The Pig Who Wants to Be Eaten (Baggini) -- 100 one- and two-page fun and interesting philosophical discussion starters; great practice for having an opinion and supporting it, as well as for learning how to look at difficult issues from more than one point of view; this would be a great one at the dinner table all through high school

If you are a family of faith, then for some of the non-fiction you might want to include some inspiring biographies, "Christian living", worldview, and apologetics:
- Do Hard Things (Harris) -- encouragement to teens to make the most of their gifts/strengths in the period of time when they have the fewest other time demands
- Who You Are When No One's Looking: Choosing Consistency (Hybels) -- title says it all
- Soul Surfer (Hamilton) -- biography of teen surfer whose arm was bitten off by a shark, and her life afterwards
- And the Word Came With Power (Shetler) -- biography of missionary Joanna Shetler in Papua New Guinea in 1960s-70s
- The Hiding Place (ten Boom) -- Danish Christian sisters who hid Jews during WW2, were caught, and their experiences at a concentration camp
- God's Smuggler (Andrews) -- Christian missionary Brother Andrews who smuggled Bibles into 1960s Communist countries
- Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Brand) -- devotionally by a doctor, looking at the miraculously, marvelous human body as inspiration for praise
- How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig (Macauley) -- beginning Christian worldview
- The Screwtape Letters (Lewis) -- letters to a junior devil from his superior devil about how to tempt humans
- The Great Divorce (Lewis) -- fantastical view of heaven and hell, and what keeps people from choosing heaven
- Hind's Feet on High Places (Hurnard) -- allegory


Edited by Lori D.
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