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It feels hard to believe that my baby girl is already in her last year of middle school, but here we are, preparing her 8th grade homeschool curriculum. One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is the ability to tailor my children’s education to their individual needs, learning styles, and interests. This lets me meet my children where they are – whether that is above or below the ‘normal’.
Like most homeschool students, Hannah works at a variety of grade levels. I designed her 8th grade homeschool curriculum taking all of her stregnths and weaknesses into consideration.
The biggest change we are seeing this year is the inclusion of some high school level coursework. I knew last year that Hannah would be ready for a high school reading list by 8th grade, but we decided to add one more high school class. My husband and I decided to add a high school science course after discovering that we had already taught everything that would have been covered in our local 8th grade science class. Not that we generally care what is going on in public school, but if she is going to be working on a high school level, we might as well document it and count the credit.
Rigorous 8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum
This year Hannah will be using both Math Mammoth Pre-Algebra and Interactive Math Notebook grade 8. Last year was a weird year due to our cross country move. Hannah had to drop her math co-op class so we added in the Interactive Math Notebook grade 7 to fill in the remainder of the school year. This hands-on format really resonates with Hannah so we decided to continue on when creating her 8th grade homeschool curriculum. It is not a full curriculum by itself though, so our math curriculum spine will be Math Mammoth Pre-Algebra. I will add in the interactive math notebook pages as they correlate with the pre-algebra lessons.
Our 8th grade homeschool curriculum contains 4 language arts components – grammar, writing, reading, and spelling.
We first learned about the Hake Saxon Grammar program a few months ago when my son and I were working on a review. I thought that Hake Grammar was absolutely fantastic and everything that I wanted in a grammar curriculum. It is spiral, circling back to previously taught concepts so they are not forgotten, which works well for Hannah. We will work through the worktext and the tests, but will skip the writing portion in favor of our current writing curriculum.
This year Hannah will complete the last few lessons in WriteShop I and then she will move on to WriteShop II. She made great progress with her writing over the last year. One thing I really liked about WriteShop was that Hannah was able to narrow the broad topics down to something that was intrinsically interesting to her. She wrote a research paper about hedgehogs, a biography on her great-grandmother, and a pretend journalism piece about escaped zoo animals.
Hannah has always read above her ‘grade’ level, so I made the executive decision to move her up to 9th grade for this subject. Narrowing down book selections for our required reading lists is always hard for me. There are just so many great books! My husband and I decided that focusing on books with a historical element would be good because we are doing ‘fun history’ this year. She will read the books on this list, do a little research, and write a few papers.
Hannah is not naturally a strong speller, despite spending hours a day reading. All About Spelling has helped her tremendously over the last two years. She will complete levels 5 and 6 this year. I know that most middle school students are not working on spelling anymore, but I don’t see any reason to stop before Hannah has finished the program in it’s entirety.
My husband and I decided to not move on to high school history this year, even though Hannah could certainly handle it, because the colleges in our area only require 2-3 high school history credits. We wanted to take one year to study history topics that are important to our children. We let each child pick one topic for our eclectic history portion of our 8th grade homeschool curriculum. Each topic will be studied for one year.
My daughter’s suggestion made this chocolate loving mama very happy. We will study the history of chocolate beginning with the Mayans and ending with the industrialization of the industry. I am still working on the specifics, but we will read books, watch videos, and even attend a few field trips.
History of Video Games
This was my son’s suggestion. Honestly, I know very little about video games. Thankfully my husband is a computer guy and could probably teach his class in his sleep. This is our second semester history, so we have a little time, but we will work together to teach the timeline of video games.
I knew as soon as I began researching high school science classes that I wanted our initial class to be marine biology. The problem was that I couldn’t find a complete secular marine biology curriculum. I prefer secular curricula because it is easy for me to add religion, but harder to take away anything that doesn’t align with our theological beliefs. So, I decided to create my own!
I’m still ironing out the syllabus and lesson plans, but we will use Marine Biology: An Introduction to Ocean Ecosystems by Amy Sauter Hill as our spine. The student book is less than 130 pages so it isn’t long enough to be a full curriculum. I will be adding in additional reading, videos, science experiments, and even a few field trips. We are only about 2 hours away from the beach, so I imagine there will be lots of field trips!
UPDATE – You can find our entire marine biology course plan here.
Every year we do a little geography work. Nothing too high stress. It is just a way to expose my children to the world around them. We were discussing what to include in this years geography program over dinner one night when my son suggested we study countries in Asia. I think it is more than a coincidence that we were eating Thai vegetable soup at that moment. We haven’t really studied much of Asia before, so this sounded like a great idea.
We will study 10 countries in Asia – one for each month of school. Our lessons will include lots of stories, videos, and of course – food.
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