I'll say it over again and again... I'm so thankful we abandoned traditional school to homeschool our children. We have created an abundance of memories and children who love to learn and love being with their family.
Through homeschooling, we can address our children's particular talents and desires. I'm seeing my son is a math and science kid, and he also has a humorous, compassionate side, too. I can't wait to see where God leads him!
Eighth grade is full of many of good things.
A Word About Eighth Grade
Because I've been down this road before, I know the importance of looking ahead to high school (and yes -- maybe even college) in the eighth grade.
A few things we are doing in that regard:
- Math - Think about where your child needs to end up in math - for math minded, college bound kids this is generally Calculus. If this is your child's goal, then they should be taking Algebra I in the 8th grade. Some children may just need Algebra I, II, Geometry and Pre-Calculus.
- Science - Science minded kids they will probably want to take Physics in their senior year. If this is the case, then Physical Science is probably a good idea for 8th grade. Some children will not take Physics and that is OK!
- Will your child want to dual enroll? Maybe they can get some high school credits out of the way in 8th grade. Perhaps they can take a foreign language for credit or an elective of high school quality.
Every child is different, and our goal as homeschoolers is to MASTER the subject matter, not to be slaves to a curriculum.
Also, please remember to STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE. Your child is your child and you cannot compare the education you are giving them to anyone else's. (end of lecture)
How We Begin Our Days
We have a "Morning Time" of sorts each day.
Spending nearly an hour each morning eating breakfast, having devotions, and reading aloud, helps our days get started on the right foot. It lets us ease into the day, and it also connects us to each other first thing.
I love that.
Grant's Challenge group is studying Proverbs this year, so we read a chapter of Proverbs each week and discuss. We will also be doing memorization for his confirmation studies at our church.
Then, there is our read-aloud time - a favorite for both of us! I shared our picks in Favorite Read-Alouds for Teen Boys.
Classical Conversations Challenge B
My son has participated in Classical Conversations since the third grade. He is now in Challenge B with a wonderful group of young people.
He attends "school" one day each week and is led through six separate subjects (strands) by a parent/tutor. We have a guide for his work and complete the rest at home. This format has worked well for him so far.
We take homeschooling one year at a time, so I can't say if he will move along to Challenge I next year or not - we'll cross that bridge when we get there!
We are following the entire Challenge B curriculum (which I am listing below) with the exception of math. We also add in an elective (music appreciation this year) and some physical education.
We made a switch this year to Shormann Math Algebra I.
We had always been loyal to Saxon with my son, but the spiraling and repetitiveness was driving him a bit nuts. After a lot of research, I learned the Saxon homeschool edition is a bit lacking in some concepts and standardized test preparation.
Shormann has courses through Calculus, which was a requirement. It also keeps grades for you, and the parent can be almost 100% hands-off, which is what I need for math at this stage of the game.
So far it is going VERY WELL. It is video-based, with math terms presented at the beginning of each lesson, lecture (with note-taking encouraged), practice problems, and then video solutions. It is also God-centered and fits the Classical model quite well.
(Try it for free and see if you like it - we did, so we purchased it.)
Grant is continuing with Henle Latin this year. There is something about the puzzle pieces of Latin he enjoys, so this subject is fun for him!
Continuing from last year with The Lost Tools of Writing to hone writing skills, the kids dive into a few pieces of literature this year - and then into short stories and eventually writing their own short stories.
Current Events and Mock Trial
In my opinion, this is one of the greatest benefits of Challenge B - confronting hard topics, learning how to argue both sides of an issue, and honing mock trial skills.
In the first semester, we're researching difficult topics (we started with Euthanasia) and are learning to think and reason through them well. The second semester brings a mock trial case, which culminates in "competing" against another Challenge B class in a real courtroom with a real judge presiding.
History of Astronomy & Origins
One of the advantages of the Challenge program is learning how to RESEARCH and WRITE.
Children who have been in CC since Foundations have a firm grasp on the timeline of the world, so the science strand allows them to write their own history of science and see how that coincides with other events in history.
If we know anything it is this: Subjects are NEVER isolated in history. Everything is interconnected, and God is in the middle of it all!
Informal & Formal Logic
This is a challenging logic curriculum.
My son reads the text, watches the video lesson, reads the text AGAIN, and then completes the exercises.
It's beautiful to watch how the art of logic ties into debate, science, and all of the other strands.
There are still some things that we want to add to our son's education. If learned anything going through Challenge with my daughter, it is that we can't rely on one curriculum or program to be our everything.
We homeschool for a reason - and for us, that is to individually tailor our child's education to their strengths and desires. As my daughter progressed through her high school career her education changed, and I fully expect the same to happen with my son.
Music Appreciation & Piano
We're using SQUILT LIVE! this year for music appreciation (it helps when your mom is the teacher!).
Grant uses the daily listening calendar to learn about all different types of music from all eras. He also attends the live lessons each month to dive deeper into specific pieces.
He has also been taking piano lessons for several years and will continue that this year.
It's one of those non-negotiables in our homeschool - and I happen to think he really enjoys it, too!
I don't think you can school a teenage boy without a physical outlet!
Grant works out at the YMCA, but he will also be playing basketball with a local Christian school this year. He's been attending basketball camps and drills on Saturdays to keep his skills up to par until the season begins.
He played flag football last year in a local league and may do so again this year.
(I have some thoughts about organized sports at this age - good and bad - but I'll have to save that for another post!)