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Sonlight, Bookshark, The Good and the Beautiful-8th grade


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Hi, I pulled my daughter out of public school in January. (middle of her 7th grade year). We are focusing on the 3R's and supplementing with science and social studies type things to finish out this year, but I'm searching for something that has everything pieced together for me for her 8th grade year. 

Sonlight and Bookshark appeal to both of us for their interesting looking books, but I wonder about being overwhelmed with reading. She is a hands on kind of kid, so while reading good literature appeals to both of us, I know she is going to want time to craft and do projects as well. 

The Good and the Beautiful has been recommended to me by my sister in law, and I like how it's laid out for me and not super expensive.

I'd love to hear thoughts/experiences you've had with these programs, or others that pop into your mind with the preferences I've mentioned above.

Thank you!

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Hello!

I don't have an 8th grader yet, but here are my thoughts.

We are currently using tgtb la level 4. The only activity is for spelling. I've looked into tgtb 8th grade lit, and I don't think it's a hands on approach. I saw a review on YouTube as well. 

Tgtb also doesn't have math for that level.

Math u see is hands on. At least it is for the lower levels. 

When I think of Sonlight and bookshark, kinesthetic approach is not what pops out to me.

Perhaps something like Moving Beyond the Page would be what you are looking for? When I looked into it, it looked like a literature based program with a kinesthetic approach. I haven't used it. Although I could be wrong. 

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I personally love Sonlight. If you do Core F or its Bookshark equivalent, there are lots of hands-on options: a China kit that includes calligraphy, an origami book, and regular choose-your-own adventure activities like cooking ethnic foods. She’s at the right age for that program, too. Go with the 4-Day version. It’s much less overwhelming in terms of reading. 

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TBH, you may want to take a look at Moving Beyond The Page as well.  It sounds like it's right up your alley: good books, hands on projects/crafts, and you can determine pacing or how many books to use.  You don't have to use a whole year package - you can pick just the language arts or just the social studies or just science..

One of the nice things about the programs you mentioned is that they're all pulled together, but one of the drawbacks is that they're not well known for having cohesive, continuous language arts.  Sonlight likes to switch things up often and their high school programs seem to be lacking.  I had serious considerations when I looked at TGTB a few years back due to a lack of adherence to fact, in everything from geography to book reviews (it was evident that the reviewer had never even read some before declaring them bad books).

You can do a search for 'unit study approach' or 'unit studies' and see if you can find others that will work for you as well.

 

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I love Sonlight and think it would be great for junior high age. They have hands on history kits. You could get a core of your choosing (history, bible, literature—GREAT books!), get Math U See or another hands on math curriculum, and then use something else for language arts. (I don’t think their LA program is spectacular.) Maybe try TGATB for LA since that’s what they’re kind of “known for”, and it’s comprehensive. We use Sonlight for science and are pretty happy with it, but it depends on what you’re looking for. You could also look at TGATB or maybe something like Guesthollow for science. And you’d be done! 

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I’m loving these suggestions. Keep the ideas coming! Moving Beyond the Page sounds really appealing in that it seems rigorous and thorough, but the grade levels cover about half the stuff she’s already learned, and piecing it together looks crazy expensive. 

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16 minutes ago, Masers said:

You might want to look at Timberdoodle. It’s a bit workbook heavy, but the curriculum has lots of hands on stuff, too. Lots of art, STEM, games, etc. 

Yes, their catalog just arrived and we are literally drooling over it right this second. As in, my children are next to me at the table at this moment calling out all the stuff they want. Lol. I love so much of it. The only thing that keeps me from going all in is that their core areas use programs I don't feel like using (Math U See, Spelling You See, Mosdos lit, etc.) but I am just loving all these science, logic, history, and art bits. Definitely hands on.

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I have not looked at Moving Beyond the Page so I will go look at that next. But for my hands on learner, TBTG has been great. The lessons are short. It has art projects. And it leaves plenty of time for us to do other things. I use a lot of hands on and moving around when I can for subjects.

 

When I think of hands on learning though, I think of Konos. That was so hands on that no way could I keep up. Other people love it.

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7 minutes ago, Emily ZL said:

Yes, their catalog just arrived and we are literally drooling over it right this second. As in, my children are next to me at the table at this moment calling out all the stuff they want. Lol. I love so much of it. The only thing that keeps me from going all in is that their core areas use programs I don't feel like using (Math U See, Spelling You See, Mosdos lit, etc.) but I am just loving all these science, logic, history, and art bits. Definitely hands on.

I did not like Timberdoodle because it was largely a stack of workbooks with some science and art kits and such thrown in. For that, I could buy a curriculum and add in science and art where I want.

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1 hour ago, Janeway said:

I did not like Timberdoodle because it was largely a stack of workbooks with some science and art kits and such thrown in. For that, I could buy a curriculum and add in science and art where I want.

Yes that is basically where I land on it too, especially since we already have a curriculum we like. BUT, I will say in their defense, that having it all there and in the schedule could really make for a fun year. We all *could* buy high quality stem and art and do it throughout the year, but I find that it doesn't often get done. It would perhaps make for a fun first year homeschooling.

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3 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

Yes that is basically where I land on it too, especially since we already have a curriculum we like. BUT, I will say in their defense, that having it all there and in the schedule could really make for a fun year. We all *could* buy high quality stem and art and do it throughout the year, but I find that it doesn't often get done. It would perhaps make for a fun first year homeschooling.

Yes, exactly. I did Timberdoodle with my oldest for two years and I did find it to be workbook heavy and he didn’t love much of it. However, he DID love the odds and ends...the art, the stem, the games, etc., and it was all academically beneficial, too. What I do now is basically pick and choose and combine Sonlight, Masterbooks, and Timberdoodle, haha. And next year i’m going to add TGATB with it, too!

I feel like they’re getting “the best of” what each of those companies do well. Hopefully, anyway.

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