Last week, I gave a review of the history curriculum I’m using for my sixth grader. I don’t have a textbook/workbook combo pack to review for my eighth graders history, because I created my own curriculum for him.
My eighth grade son loves to read, so the majority of his homeschool experience is reading. I actually did a quick scan of our bookshelves, the list of everything he’s read so far this year, and everything I have planned for him to read in the remainder of the year… it’s a lot of books! I’m expecting my eighth grader to read more than 50 books this school year. I know that sounds like a lot. But the kid loves to read, and most of these 50+ books are really good books.
As far as history goes, he’s learning US History this year. The overarching spine that we are using to drive the pacing and information covered is the Crash Course in US History series on Youtube. If you aren’t familiar with Crash Course, they are very informative video series that present high school level material in a fun and easy to understand manner. There are series for several different subjects all with different hosts. The host of the US History series is the author John Green. Both of my kids watch these videos each week and they both really enjoy them.
I also have several US History books that span large stretches of time and are being used as spines throughout the year. Of all the books, the one that my son seems to be enjoying the most is The Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. If you only want one spine, not five, I’d recommend this book. My son is also reading lots of historical fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels associated with the various times in history that he’s studying. He is doing lots of writing assignments related to the things that he’s reading.
At the beginning of the year, I ordered quite a few project/assignments from Teachers Pay Teachers to help round out my self-made curriculum. If you want some ready made activities related to a particular topic but don’t want to buy an entire curriculum, Teachers Pay Teachers can be a great site to use. While there are some free resources on the site, most of the assignments that I pulled cost somewhere between $3-$10 for a project that could be completed in a week or less.
This style of learning doesn’t work for every student. My sixth grader is far less excited about reading and does much better with more traditional curriculums. But, if you have a kid who learns by reading, I recommend the library card education.