When I started this blog, I thought I was going to give lots of reviews of each specific curriculum I’m using. Now that I’ve completed the first quarter of our homeschool year, I’m realizing how much I’m pulling different resources from different places. Instead of making separate posts about each curriculum choice, I’m going to list everything I’m using for my 8th grader here. Next week, I’ll share what I’m using for my 6th grader.
Language Arts: This is my eighth graders strongest subject. He has always loved to read, and is doing a lot of independent reading. So far, I’ve let him choose for himself everything he’s read. I have him give me an oral narration of what he reads each day, and he does a writing assignment about each book he completes (typically once every other week). He is also using WriteShop I for writing and Wordly Wise for vocabulary. On top of this, we have been reading/writing poetry and also doing some seasonally inspired creative writing projects.
Math: While Language Arts is my son’s best subject, math is his worst. Despite being in eighth grade, he is at about a sixth grade level in math. We used Life of Fred Fractions last spring, and started going through Life of Fred Decimals and Percent’s this fall. When he became frustrated with Fred, we paused to do some extra practice in Kumon’s Pre-Algebra workbook. Using this workbook is currently going better than Fred, so we’re going to stick with this for a while, but we may pick back up Life of Fred later in the year.
History: We are focusing on US History, but aren’t using a set curriculum. Instead, I’m pulling together lots of different books and online resources to make my own curriculum. We started the year by using both Before Columbus by Charles C Mann and Turtle Island by Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger as texts to learn about Pre-Columbian history. We are now using A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, A Different Mirror by Rebecca Stefoff, and An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz as our main texts. We’re also watching Crash Course US History videos on YouTube, doing various projects I find on Teachers Pay Teachers, reading Historical Fiction connected to the various times in history we are studying, and my son is doing writing assignments related to his various readings.
Science: My son is using BookShark Science Level H for science this year. This is a literature based science program that focuses on Conservation, Robotics, and Technology. My son is doing coding once a week while at his dad’s house (using Scratch, Java, and One Great Hour of Code). He’s also doing some Robotics work at his dad’s, so I gave his dad the Robotics text that came with this program. For the remaining seven books in the curriculum, I’ve been allowing my son to choose the order of what he wants to study. He is then using the BookShark student pages to answer questions about his reading, he’s just not going through the pages in the standard order.
Social Studies: My parents come over and help teach homeschool once a week. For the past few months, they have been doing civics/government lessons with both of my sons on these days. They have been using Painless American Government as a text, and also using resources they’ve found on Teachers Pay Teachers. In addition to this, they have watch local and national news programs related to the upcoming election, and have been doing projects using the voters pamphlet. After the election, they are planning to shift to a new Social Studies unit on Economics.
Health: Both of my sons are having lots of opportunities to cook as a part of our homeschool. We are also reading through Food and Nutrition for Every Kid as we learn about healthy food choices. My son also has a medical condition that effects his daily life. For the sake of his privacy, I’m not going to give any information about what condition this is. I did, however, find a wonderful medical resource that my son has been using to learn more about his condition and the various treatment options available to him as he gets older. Being able to tailor his health education so it directly relates to his own personal health has been very beneficial. I view this as one of the biggest perks of homeschooling.
PE: This is the subject we are currently doing the worst with. Walks and/or bike rides around the neighborhood is currently the only thing we are doing for PE. As weather get’s rainier, we will need to find some indoor exercise options we can do at home. I’d love to add yoga into our homeschool day, but it isn’t a part of our routine yet.
If you have any questions about any of the resources I listed above, I’d be happy to provide you with more information. Also, if you have any ideas for resources I should be using to further improve our homeschool curriculum let me know that too.