My post on our 3rd grade curriculum options is already a few weeks old and it is about time I post what we are doing with the 8th grader!
When we chose to pull our boys out of school last year, I knew that we needed to stay on task and not fall behind, especially since the plan is to have him back in public HS next year. I knew I needed the support and diligence of a program that would keep us on task. Through my friend Corey, I stumbled upon Classical Conversations and their Challenge program. Challenge is a program for 7-12th graders that meets once a week for 6 seminars. At their weekly meeting, students have opportunities to discuss, present, learn, and challenge each other. All 6 seminars are facilitated by the same tutor. The seminars have fancy names like Rhetoric, Debate, and Logic, but what this means for Challenge B is that P will have Literature and Writing, Math, Formal Logic, Science, Latin, and Current Events. We have also added German to the mix.
Literature and Writing:
The spine of this seminar is “The Lost Tools of Writing.” LTW is a systematic program that teaches students how to overcome the three major struggles of writing. (I could go on and on about LTW, but that can be a separate post altogether. There is simply too much to say about this program.)
For the first semester, we will read “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom, “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls, “Little Britches” by Ralph Moody, and “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster . Students will discuss themes from these books and write persuasive essays guided by LTW. This is a continuation of Challenge A.
In the second semester they will switch gears and move on to short stories. They will read a collection of short stories compiled by Classical Conversations in a book called “Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories.” They will also write their own short story.
This entails our biggest change from last year. We have shifted gears and chosen a new curriculum. We are deviating from CC’s recommended program and have started with Singapore Math. I used SM with our younger one last year and he really liked it. I researched the upper level curriculum and felt like it would be a better fit for P. We are using New Elementary Mathematics 2 Syllabus D. The downside for me is that lessons are not clearly laid out for us, which makes Math more hands on for me this year. But since I really enjoy Math, this is a welcome challenge. This particular curriculum is relatively new and encompasses Common Core Standards, which gives me the peace of mind knowing my child can easily transition to public school next year. (This is NOT an endorsement of Common Core, but a topic I have to consider given further schooling plans.)
Introductory Logic, 5th Edition and Intermediate Logic, 5th Edition by Jim Nance.
No formal textbook here! I love how CC utilizes individual research and student presentations to learn about science. For the first semester, students will be researching different scientists, their contributions, etc and present their research weekly. There will also be a science fair project. For Spring semester, they will be reading “Defeating Darwinism” by Phillip Johnson, followed by a 5 week overview of chemistry, including the periodic table and atomic models.
For Latin we are using Henle Latin. This is no change from last year. In fact, we are starting over at the beginning to solidify knowledge and really memorize declensions and vocabulary. I have also discovered a booklet published by Memoria Press that accompanies Henle very nicely. Daily lessons, exercises, and drills are already laid out, making planning a breeze and keeping the boy on task!
Much like science, there is also no textbook. Again, individual research and weekly presentations are utilized for learning. My husband is a news junkie and very excited about this seminar!
P speaks the language beautifully and has expressed interest in learning how to read and write it. We are using a combination of different grammar books, and are also reading books together. My plan is to have him translate sections periodically, and also write letters. Again, this is pretty hands-on for me, but well worth it. My knowledge of German grammar is limited, so I’m taking this opportunity to learn it better. As I am trying to systematically break it down for the boys, I am in the process of developing worksheets and instructions. Stay tuned!!!