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New to HS - 8th grade - SO many questions!


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I've decided to hs my eldest daughter (currently 12, in 7th grade) after this school year. I've been a researching fool to try to figure out what the best curriculum would be, and I'm just not sure I'm covering everything, or if I'm covering too much. Your responses to any or the following would be GREATLY appreaciated. I should say that I prefer a secular curriculum.


I'm leaning toward TRISMS curriculum because I prefer a literature-based approach (dd is a voracious reader). Questions:


1. How does science work with this type of curriculum? I know they learn about it somehow, but I'm not sure how it works and I'm assuming I'll need to supplement with some sort of lab work. Any comments or suggestions?


2. I know that trisms incorporates IEW for LA, but it seems to me to be almost a separate course entirely. Can anyone offer any insight into how it works? And what about grammar? Would you recommend a separate grammar program?


3. Leaning toward Saxon math, only because it seems to be the most popular. I know that's a poor way to choose a curriculum, but I'm not sure what else to do. I also know dd would love to incorporate some online learning, but all of the online math programs I've seen are for younger grades. Any suggestions for another program to explore that might be as thorough as Saxon while incorporating an online or computer-based teaching method?


4. DD wants to take Latin and Spanish. I've told her that Latin should come first, for sure, and she can't do too much at once anyway. I've seen positive reviews for Lively Latin, but is that geared toward younger learners?


5. Anything else? We're a bit overwhelmed by NOT being limited by the ps curriculum, but I certainly don't want to try to pack too much into her day and have her be discouraged. She keeps seeing other courses she is interested in....art, music, etc., but where do you stop?


Thank you so much in advance for your help!



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Welcome to homeschooling!!! It's a big decision and it sounds like your dd is fully on board and enthusiastic about it. My dd will be in 8th grade next year as well. It will be our 5th year homeschooling.


Here's a look at our scheduled subjects at the moment. It's always subject to change:D


Math-Life of Fred Algebra and Calculus without Tears. Life of Fred is a literature based math curriculum that's very non-traditional. http://www.stanleyschmidt.com/FredGauss/index2.html and http://www.berkeleyscience.com/


Science-Apologia Gen. Science http://www.highschoolscience.com/store/


Spanish-With a local teacher that now tutors-We're doing this as a sort of co-op. We haven't done Latin, not sure we will.


LA-Put That in Writing Level 1-Barrett's Bookshelf http://www.barrettsbookshelf.com/

Sonlight Language Arts as it ties in to history. Not all of it, as we plan to focus more on writing next year.


History-Sonlight Core 7-World History Part 2. This is a very lit heavy history curriculum. http://www.sonlight.com/ This curriculum really helped in my first year of homeschooling.


Performing Arts-Concert Band, Marching Band and Chorus. She seems to really enjoy these and has been playing trumpet for 3 1/2 years.


P.E.-Possibley speed skating or biking. Not sure yet. This one is always a struggle for me. We do count Marching Band for P.E. But it doesn't last all year. So we need something for Jan-May. She did swimming this year, but doesn't want to continue.


Are there any curriculum fairs coming up in your area? I would try to attend one to get an idea of what's available. It helps a lot to be able to put your hands on things and get a feel for how they would realistically work in your home.




Edited by Dani n Monies Mom
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Here are some math curriculi that may be of interest, though they don't all fit the criteria you mentioned: I'm going to try not to include my opinions on these, just the very basics of what they are.


Center for Innovation in Mathmatics-Free online http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mep/default.htm


Chalkdust Math-Video based http://www.chalkdust.com/index.html


Math-U-See - (MUS) Video and manipulative based, mastery approach http://www.mathusee.com/


Professor B math - Computer based http://www.profb.com/Shop.aspx


Singapore Math - Workbook based http://www.singaporemath.com/


Teaching Textbook - (TT) Computer based http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/


Thinkwell - computer based http://www.thinkwell.com/marketing/viewTitle.cfm?disciplineID=1&productID=140


Aleks math - computer based http://www.aleks.com/


Mindsprinting - Free computer based with online assessment http://www.mindsprinting.com/msfree/(jx50hdrjskf0diqfowch1b55)/tutoring.aspx


Lial's - Traditional Text with free online DVT's. http://www.math.iupui.edu/MAC/lectures/m111/ and http://www.amazon.com/College-Mathematics-MyMathLab-MyStatLab-Student/dp/032154711X/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238380706&sr=1-6 (This is a representation of the book, you can get the 7th and 8th edition of the book for $5-10 or less)


Dolciani's-Traditional text format http://math.hunter.cuny.edu/dolciani/ and http://www.bestwebbuys.com/Dolciani-mcid_2126384.html?isrc=b-authorsearch (Like Lial's, you can find these books much cheaper elsewhere.)


Jacob's- Text format http://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Algebra-Harold-R-Jacobs/dp/0716710471


Foerster's-Textbook http://www.amazon.com/Algebra-I-Expressions-Equations-Applications/dp/0201860945


Kinetic Books- computer based http://www.kineticbooks.com/


Hands-on Equations- (HOE) manipulative based http://www.borenson.com/


Life of Fred Math- (LOF) Literature based http://www.stanleyschmidt.com/FredGauss/index2.html


Calculus without tears- (CWT) workbook based http://www.berkeleyscience.com/


Saxon Math textbook with computer support (D.I.V.E. Cd's) http://saxonpublishers.harcourtachieve.com/en-US/saxonpublishers.htm


Then there are the boxed curriculums:

Abeka Math http://www.abeka.com/

Calvert Math http://www.calvertschool.org/home-school/

Christian Light Education (CLE) http://www.clp.org/

Rod and Staff (R&S) http://www.rodandstaffbooks.com/

Ace Paces http://www.schooloftomorrow.com/Default.aspx

Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS) http://www.aophomeschooling.com/switched-on-schoolhouse/overview.php


And there are many that I know I've forgotten, but these are the different math's that I've come across in my search for what works for my dd and our goals for her.




Edited by Dani n Monies Mom
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Thanks for the great information! Some of those things I hadn't even heard of. Wow! So much to consider...


I will be attending a homeschool fair at the end of April. For now...I'm a bit overwhelmed. Maybe I should just put it away for a while, but that's so not my style. Sigh.h

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You have plenty of time, and if you set it aside until a little later you'll find some great used deals as people sell their previous years in order to get ready for next year themselves. And you'll have plenty of opportunities at the fair. One of ours, here in Atl, is also at the end of April. I have a lot of fun when I go.


That being said, I was so excited and anxious about our first year that I know I overwhelmed myself with all the choices.:D


God Bless and keep posting. You'll get plenty of insight here.


I want to add, regarding the math, that if you put each of those in the search box on this forum, you will get a wealth of information, pros and cons and everything in between.



Edited by Dani n Monies Mom
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Thanks for the encouragement, Ava.


Btw...I'm also in Atlanta, and that's the curriculum fair I'll be attending.


Also, I just looked up Life of Fred and it looks really interesting! My daughter is actually good at math, but it never hurts to approach it from a different perspective.

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Math U See and Life of Fred are my dd's favorites. She's done the first 2 LOF books already and has chosen to continue with it next year. Right now she's at the start of Beginning Algebra, about ch. 2 or so.


You may already know, but there is also a fair at the end of July at the Cobb Galleria, it's the Southeast Homeschool Conference. The one at the end of April is the GHEA conference. They are both HUGE.


What area of ATL are you in? We're in Gwinnett County near St. Mountain.



Edited by Dani n Monies Mom
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Hi Quincy,

I started hsing with a 10th grader, so I have a heart for your situation. Here are my thoughts about your ?s.


1. I don't know about Trisms & science. Usually a 7th grader would have a step up in science with some regular simple labs. Apologia General Science and Rainbow Science are popular. Or maybe Trisms has something they use.


2. IEW includes a lot of grammar. It's also a *big* program. If you're going to use it, I'd start with it alone and wait to see if you need to add more grammar 2nd semester. You should have a pretty good idea by then. Meanwhile, you could add a touch of fun grammar like playing Mad Libs, or get the Grammar Rock video or Ruth Heller books from the library.


3. You can get DIVE CD-ROMs to go with Saxon.


4. I haven't taught Latin, but I wouldn't be afraid of using something youngish for 7th grade, especially for a new homeschooler. Our local public schools offer a sort of "exposure to languages" in middle school.


5. There is some merit to holding back on the electives until you get your base going. But your base can start to drag if you don't have anything lively in your day. You might want to add at least one fun thing to split your day up.




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Welcome to homeschooling!


I haven't used TRISMS yet, but I'm planning to next year with my children, who are a couple of years behind your DD. My plan for science is to add in a few TOPS kits or something similar so that we do a science lab once or twice a month. Once I actually purchase History Makers, I'll look through the science material and hopefully be able to find kits that are somewhat relevant to what they'll be studying in TRISMS. I think that will probably be sufficient for my children at this point. However, they'll be sixth graders rather than eighth, and you might feel that your DD needs more lab science than that. If so, maybe someone with older children will have some good advice for you.


As for IEW/grammar, I do plan to add a separate grammar program for another couple of years at least, but if your DD already has a strong grammar background, you might not need to, especially if you're doing Latin. IEW teaches quite a bit of applied grammar, and I believe TRISMS offers some grammar instruction as well. I want my children to solidify their diagramming skills, however, so we'll stick with Growing With Grammar for a while yet.


We love Lively Latin, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it with an 8th grader who's had no prior Latin instruction. Frankly, it's been a great introduction to Latin for me, and it has enabled me to teach my children a subject about which I knew nothing. I'm a fan!


I can't really advise on the math, since we're just now moving into middle school math ourselves. I've settled on ChalkDust math for next year (linked in Ava's wonderful post) mostly because I'm a poor math teacher and think my children will benefit from the DVD instruction. We tried Saxon in the younger grades and didn't care for it at all, but I understand that the upper grades are quite different and I have a number of friends who are happily using Saxon with their children.


All I have time for right now, but I do wish you and your DD the best of luck next year!



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Hi...welcome to the boards. Yes...there is a ton of info here so take you time and read up on any curriculum prior to making any final decisions.


We are working in 7th grade this year and taking it pretty easy. We are making up for lost time from Public School right now.


My son uses


Sonlight Curriculum. It is also a literature based program. I purchased that as I LOVE the schedule and discussion questions. They are wonderful. We are planning on using Core 6 next year for 8th grade (as cores are not grade levels) and we are studying ancients to greeks. This year we did the second half of american history with core 4. It has been a wonderful year. We also add in Sonlight (SL) Language arts, IEW writing, Wordly wise 7 for vocab, and sequential spelling (my son is behind in spelling)


Another history program you might look at is beautiful feet books. They have wonderful guides and the books are great.


For math we use a few different things. Our main program is teaching textbooks. We also use Life of fred fractions and math mammoth for review. But TT alone is plenty.


Both SL and TT will have a very high resale value when you are finished with your books if you decide to sell them. I think close to 70-80% !!


We add in our own geography along with SL. For science we use Florida virtual school. I think next year we are moving to apologia. It seems to be the most popular.


There is a site called Hewitthomeschooling.com that has an entire schedule you can look at:


They have a nice plan for jr and high school. They also offer lightning literature that is very nice.

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For Latin, I recommend Henle and the Memoria Press study guide. I used last year when my dd was in 7th gr., and she did very well with the pace as laid out in the guide. It has lots of built-in review, which really builds retention of all of the grammar and vocabulary. My dd is now using the second MP guide with the same level of success as last year.

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