Saturday, April 16, 2016

Honor - 8th Grade

    Honor has grown exponentially this year. Maturity, height, shoe size, you name it. Every time I turn sideways he's taller. Or eating again. His feet are bigger than mine. His hands are. He goes without glasses now. I can't keep up with it. He's still the class clown of this homeschool, super helpful, and a fun guy all around. His grandmother swears he reminded her daily of his grandfather. Always ready for a game or a joke, but reliable and not afraid of work. He's further through his 2015-2016 syllabi/plans than any of the other kids are. If he'll finish his grammar and spelling he'll be down to our family's summer schedule (religion, math, Spanish, and literature), Art of Argument, and some composition. Not bad for mid-April.

     Honor was completely sure of what he wanted to study for 8th grade back in December of 7th grade, and even after looking at samples and catalogs together he's remained steadfast. This is a STEM kid through and through! He's a strong reader and rarely balks at anything I assign him to read, and is great at literature analysis. The rest of English on the other hand? That needs some gentle scaffolding and hand holding. Here's the plan.


  • daily Bible reading, 4-6 chapters a day
  • Theology in 15 Minutes a Day, followed by Rebels Rescued


  • Lost Tools of Writing level 1 - He already has the basic essay form pretty well covered. His paragraphs are coherent, cohesive, and have good transitions. My goal this year is to get him to flesh them out more. He is a master of conciseness. Why use a paragraph when three syllables will do? (That's an exaggeration, but still..)  He said he doesn't really mind what I put him in, as long as we can customize topics. Boy Translation: You can just pick something as long as I can write about airplanes and science.


  • Analytical Grammar - He knows if he doesn't finish it this year it will go into high school, and both of us would prefer to avoid that.  When it's done, grammar is done. 
  • I'd forgotten about the Stewart English books his older siblings used. The exercise sentences are from good literature, and it applies the grammar to writing. We'll do book one and two instead of AG.

History, literature, some science, art, poetry, living math

  • Build Your Library grade 8, History of Science - This is what he's mostly excited about. He'll most likely read the "literature" and "readers" himself, though the guide says the literature is for reading aloud to him. We'll skip the timeline, narration, and dictation assignments entirely, and maybe cut the poetry memorization in half. I'll see how he takes to it first. From what I can tell the writing would be old hat for Honor, and it won't further my composition goals.


  • Algebra 1. Yeah! Prealgebra has lasted for two years. It wasn't the math he struggled with in the slightest. It was the maturity. With hindsight he says he has no idea why he was so sluggy with it. If we had've rushed he probably would have just spent two years on algebra instead. He's definitely ready now though. His love/hate on again/off again relationship with Art of Problem Solving has disappeared. Now he's working through it as steadily as he worked through his old Horizons workbooks. My shelves already have algebra 1 from Art of Problem Solving, Lial, Foerster, Larson, and Jacobs. Maybe more. Honor will start with Art of Problem Solving, and if the love/hate thing comes back, we have options.  


  • Biology - We know we want a book by Campbell. Honor didn't like the tone of the Miller Levine text his older brother used, and the school he dreams of going to uses Campbell. That leaves us deciding on which specific text. Campbell only wrote about 5 or 6 different texts. We own Biology: Exploring Life ("regular" high school level), Biology: Concepts and Connections ("honors" high school level), and Biology (AP/college level). None of us are ready for that huge Biology one, but for $2 on a clearance rack, it will make a nice reference book for going deeper on particular topics.  Honor thinks he may as well shoot for honors if he's doing to do high school level early. We'll look at the regular and honors more closely and make a decision, and add a full lab component with dissections.


  • Duolingo, daily practice
  • Spanish for Children B, about one page a day
  • reading from Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish together, once or twice a week


  • Argument Builder by Classical Academic Press (after Lost Tools is completed)


  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Cyber Patriot (with his CAP squadron, and just means we go to CAP earlier)
  • Math Olympiad
  • Boy Scouts, so long as he's able to keep up with this and CAP well, he would like to stay with it until he earns his Eagle, but CAP would win if he had to cut down
       Literature list - An asterisk means he's already read or listened to that title. We'll decide as we go if we'll skip them this round or not.
The Golden Goblet*
The Sand-Reckoner
Fahrenheit 451*
A Midsummer Night's Dream*
A Parcel of Patterns
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius
The True Adventures of Charley Darwin
To Kill a Mockingbird
Nation (Pratchet)
The House of the Scorpion
The Magic of Reality
Archimedes and the Door of Science*
The High Crusade
The Canterbury Tales (a retelling! definitely not the original)*
The Second Mrs. Gioconda
Along Came Galileo
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch*
The Disappearing Spoon
Animal Farm
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie (he read a different title about Curie for chemistry in 7th)
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines
A Brief History of Time (Hawking)
Relativity (Bishara)

We may have Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything as a family read aloud. It's listed as an optional resource in Build Your Library.

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