Some days I find it hard to believe that I already have an eighth grader! I started homeschooling him in first grade and it seems like it cannot have possibly been that long ago. We started with a class schedule that was slightly shorter, but much like the one I had as a classroom teacher. It didn’t take more than a few weeks for me to realize that I didn’t want to create school at home but I wanted to create a learning environment where we could thrive. We have had our ups and downs, good days and bad days but I think we have learned a lot and each year gets better.
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He will be taking Algebra 1 as an eighth grader which means I have to start his transcript this year. We looked at several programs but settled on No-nonsense Algebra. It came highly recommended by some fellow homeschool moms and we gave it a trial run this summer. The simple and straightforward approach seemed to work well with my son, especially after we worked through a couple of lessons together and I ensured he was working out the problems as required. This program combines short online video lessons with well written and worked out example problems, followed by a short practice session (usually about 15-20 problems). Each lesson also includes about four review questions at the end to help with retention.
For language arts he will be using several programs. First, we are continuing to use All About Spelling. It is one of my favorite programs ever because it was such a game changer for our family. This program helped both of my older children to finally understand spelling and translate what they were learning in spelling to their everyday writing. My son could read years above grade level and make hundreds on traditional spelling tests but could not translate those words into his every day writing. We had tried multiple other spelling programs before we finally purchased All About Spelling. With-in just a few weeks I was able to begin to see improvement. Last spring, my daughter had the opportunity to try out Fix It! Grammar from IEW and we felt like it was a really good fit. The short lessons were effective without being overwhelming. I thought this would also work well for my son so I purchased another copy of the student book for my son to begin this fall.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review Lightning Lit & Comp: Hewitt Homeschooling Resources with my son. We did the first two chapters and I felt like it was a good match for his personality. We are planning to finish that program for his eighth-grade literature, although I will be mostly using the literature components and not the composition because we will be using a different composition program. He started working his way through Sharon Watson’s writing program Jump In and we plan to finish that program this year to give him the skills he needs for high school level composition next year.
We will be studying North Carolina History as a family. We love history and have spent a good deal of time volunteering at our local historic site. My son turned 13 in May and was very excited to be able to join his father in volunteering with their NC Continental Line group. History is the subject he is most excited about and I look forward to helping him learn and grow in this area. I will be using a variety of books, our North Carolina Junior Historians program, the North Carolina Historic Sites, and a variety of other resources to take them through North Carolina’s history. We will also use State History from a Christian Perspective to get us started and get a good overview of North Carolina.
For science he will be using Apologia General Science . This was another product that I had the privilege of reviewing this summer. I had been looking for a science that would help him become more independent and give him a good review of a variety of concepts in preparation for high school next year. This program did an excellent job of that and is very well laid out. I loved how easy it was for him to know exactly what he needed to accomplish because of the checklists and reminders that are included in the student journal.
To further his goals of running and growing his own business we started working through The Kingdom Code . He is loving the program, enjoying having his own grass cutting business, and looking forward to continuing in that program. It is a great program that teaches entrepreneurship and economics from a Biblical perspective. I will be sharing a weekly journal on the blog about his progress through this program, so make sure to follow along.
In addition to these programs, he will be doing Bible study each day and our morning time which will include read alouds, music appreciation, missionary studies, and more. Of course, there will also be lots of free play, field trips, and hands on adventures to keep the real-life learning going. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing more about what we are using for our morning time. If you have younger children you may want to check out Our Kindergarten Curriculum.
What are your favorite middle grades resources?
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Deals and Freebies
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.
Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.
Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)
Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!
Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!