8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review

8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Review

The homeschool curriculum choices blog posts are great, but what I really want to know is what families thought AFTER they used the curriculum they chose!  I will be sharing a series of posts with you; evaluating our choices in each grade level from this homeschool year.

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}

First up, 8th grade!  Here’s a reminder of the original 8th Grade Curriculum Choices post.

8th Grade Subjects

    Overall it was a very successful year for my son!  Thankfully it was a fairly uneventful year especially compared to last year. He was VERY independent and overall our choices for him worked.

Below I will give a small review of each subject, if you have more specific questions about anything, just leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer!


Science ~ Apologia Physical Science

He did this subject with guidance and leadership from his Dad, praise GOD!  Seriously I am so so thankful my husband handled this subject. They both felt this was a solid science program and have chose to stick with Apologia for Biology next year for 9th grade.

The experiments were his favorite part…

8th Grade -9277 8th grade -27178th Grade -9056 8th grade -9909


Math ~ Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1

This was a big success for our son.  I can’t say he loves it, because it is a lot of work, but he likes it better than other math curriculums he has used.  We will be continuing on with Teaching Textbooks Geometry for 9th grade. Many do Algebra 2 next but my husband manages math and wants him to do geometry and then Algebra 2 right before Pre-Cal.

8th grade -2456


Reading Sonlight’s American Historical Literature 130

This was a great fit and he read almost ALL of the books {click to see them all}! 

We didn’t stick with the guide intensely throughout the year, but we discussed the books. I had one goal this year and it was for him to truly love reading.  I prayed that by making him read SO many books, he would fall in love and I am THRILLED to say, it worked!  Since he completed this book list he has went on to read more including: Out of Water, A Long Walk to Water, Wonder, Paperboy and more! He giggles as he tells me I was right all along, reading is awesome.

Sonlight Core 130 American Historical Literature


Grammar ~ Growing with Grammar 8

This is a good fit for both of us. He doesn’t love grammar, but said he prefers this program if he HAS to do grammar. This is the last in the GWG series so he is done with this.

GWG 8


Writing ~ Write Shop 1

This has been such a tough subject for us. We made it through over half of the lessons, even bought the video course to go along and help. In the end we have decided to move away from Write Shop and on to something new for next year. It’s NOT because WS is not a great program, it really is. The organization of the manual and lessons just doesn’t fit with my brain and after two years of trying to make it fit, we are letting it go. I truly believe it is an incredible program and I just cannot figure out why my brain couldn’t jive with the layout. I am kind of sad to be moving away from WS, but hopeful that a different structure might help me teach better.

Please don’t let my moving away from this program shed a negative light on the curriculum itself.  I honestly think it is me, not the program. WS will be a GREAT fit for many of you!

WriteShop 1 Set

We have chosen IEW for next year and he will begin with Student Intensive C. I bought the combo package including the Teaching Writing: Structure & Style in hopes of better training myself to teach writing.


Vocabulary ~ SAT Vocabulary App

This was a GREAT decision! On a whim I got this app for him and it turned out to be a perfect solution.  My goal with vocabulary at this point is to prepare him for SAT and ACT testing. The app is free to try and then $4.99 to get all of the lessons, which is what we did.

SAT Vocabulary App


Spelling ~ Sonlight’s Word List from American Historical Lit. 130

This worked perfectly for him! The words were more practical. I created my own set of spelling sheets to reinforce the words. You can download those here if you want to use them!

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3


Group Subjects ~ History & World Geography

Pac joined us for The Mystery of History this year, which will be his last year with us.  We will continue on with MOH with our younger children, but he will be moving on to Notgrass History for next year.

He will also move on to his own geography after years of doing it as a family – bittersweet!  He will be using North Star Geography next year.


Stay tuned, I will be sharing our year-end review for 1st Grade soon. I will also be sharing our curriculum choices for 9th grade, 5th grade, and 2nd Grade.

See our 4th Grade Year-End Review here!

4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Review

 

See last year’s Year-End Review posts by clicking on each grade level below!

3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review



Lessontrek ~ A Great Choice for Your Homeschool Planning Needs

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner

{disclaimer ~ Lessontrek is a blog sponsor}

We have been using Lessontrek for 2 years and I can’t imagine my homeschool planning without it! Recently I have taught my oldest son {currently in 8th grade} how to use Lessontrek to create his own lesson plans!

Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) skills are becoming an essential part of education due to the high demand for these skills in the near and distant future. When our children go into the workforce in 2025, for example, they’ll be well equipped to perform at higher levels than other kids because the home school community can do a better job fostering the STEM education in the home. Lessontrek built a productivity application that nurtures STEM related curriculum. It not only equips the parent but the child as well to learn how to use modern and updated software applications to assist them with their daily tasks, and to prepare them for the types of software applications they’ll use in 2025.

Lessontrek -4149

 

As you can see in the video below, he is fully capable of using the Lessontrek software to build his lesson plans. This not only encourages the development STEM skills but also encourages independence and teaches him to organize and manage his time. I want to do all I can to prepare him for college and beyond, both academically and in the area of time management!

He has a lovely sense of humor and he isn’t all too thrilled about me not doing his lesson plans any longer! Growing up and becoming more independent isn’t easy, but it’s good for him!

We have other reviews of Lessontrek, you can read my initial impressions here in our first review, and another post I wrote here. A video overview of the lesson planning feature is here and a peek inside the gradebook feature is here.

Lessontrek-Online-Homeschool-Planner[1]  Homeschool-Lesson-Planning-with-Less[1]  Lessontrek Gradebook Feature Review


Want to try Lessontrek? They offer a free 2 week trial and are offering my readers a special offer, which you can see on my sidebar! If you are a newsletter subscriber, look for an email tomorrow with an EVEN BETTER offer!

Enter to win…

Use Rafflecopter beow to enter to win a LIFETIME Membership to Lessontrek!  All emails will be shared with Lessontrek, giveaway is open worldwide, and ends April 27, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Youth Digital ~ MOD Design 1 Review

Youth Digital MOD Design 1 Review

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided MOD Design 1 for review}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres[12]

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

We noticed Youth Digital a couple of years ago at a homeschool convention and my Minecraft loving children, especially my oldest, were instantly interested. I was immediately impressed with the whole concept, we just couldn’t work it into the budget at the time.  When we were offered the chance to review MOD Design 1 thanks to Educents I was obviously thrilled.

I wish you could have been sitting next to me and seen my 13 year old’s reaction when he found out we were getting this!  The excitement has only continued, he fell in love instantly and has continued to LOVE the lessons.md1

So, what is Youth Digital?

"The future will be made by creators, not consumers."

Youth Digital offers an innovative online learning solution that kids can access from any computer with an internet connection. Their learning platform provides kids a comprehensive educational experience that is amazingly fun, highly interactive, and rewarding. Through Youth Digital courses, kids will master critical technology skills and learn to use professional-level software that will help them be successful in today’s digital world.

 

What is MOD Design 1?

Mod Design 1 by Youth Digital is an engaging way for kids ages 8-14, to learn key technical skills while programming their own mods for Minecraft. The interactive lessons are fun to watch and easy to follow. Kids are able to learn at their own pace and use their imaginations to create their own Minecraft mods! Kids will code their own Minecraft mod from start to finish and watch as the end result becomes a unique, shareable Minecraft mod that they built from scratch.

Kids will learn the basics of one of the most popular coding languages in the world as they modify real Java code to build their own Minecraft mods. Students will master introductory computer programming concepts including object-oriented programming, methods and parameters, instantiation of new objects, and more. Kids will also learn to use a pro-level Java development tool, Eclipse.

What’s included?

  • Over 30 hours of self-paced, engaging online lessons
  • 1 year access to our dedicated team of online teachers to help your student along the way
  • Professional software

 

Here are some screenshots showing what things look like inside.  The first shows the student dashboard with the lessons…

YD Homescreen

 

Within each lesson there are videos and an outline of what will be covered.  Here are 2 outlines…

YD 1 YD 2

The informative and entertaining videos also include screencasts, showing the child exactly what to do and how to do it.  Here’s a peek at the sword lesson…

YD 3

Below you can see a screenshot of the coding section, your child is taught how and where to insert code!

YD 4

 

This was one of those reviews that I knew would be a team effort and I told my 13 year old son that from the beginning.  He agreed to work with me and this has been a fun process.  He has been into Minecraft for years now and I am very supportive of his interest.  Once I learned about Minecraft I quickly realized what an incredibly educational game this was for my kids. Extending the love of Minecraft into learning in this way through Youth Digital has been awesome!

Here’s what my son had to say about his experience with MOD Design 1…

Youth Digital Review -3627

OK so when I was told that I was going to do the MOD Design 1 course I was extremely excited because I already loved to play Minecraft and I enjoyed programming. The people that created the course are geniuses because you can definitely learn a lot from the course.

It does get hard at times but it is really nice because you can get help with what you are stuck on just as simple at clicking the HELP! button and tell them and show them what’s wrong! I had to use this a few times and they are super helpful and respond quickly.

The program is awesome because as you go through the course you do interactive quizzes and and solve problems and you can earn points! You can use the points to learn even more stuff to put into your mod! What’s also cool about it is ALL the software to run the program comes with the course and even if your course expires you can still keep the software to keep working on your projects!

The age recommendation is from 8-14 years of age, I think that younger ones (8 and 9) can definitely do this course. It may get hard but with the HELP! button makes it ease to get unstuck from your problem. I’m turning 14 here soon and I love the course so I also think that 13, 14 and 15 year olds will learn and enjoy the course as well.

Going into the course you don’t have to know anything about programming to enjoy the course! They do a through job of explaining how to do it and what it means. So for all the Minecraft lovers out there this course is a great learning experience and fun way to play Minecraft!

 

Even better, here’s a video interview I did with him.  Ever wanted a peek at his personality?  watch this.  He’s a goof…I love him so.  The video is almost 7 minutes long, he had a lot to say!

 

Final Thoughts…

I definitely recommend MOD Design 1 and Youth Digital in general for a few reasons. Expanding on an interest and providing real life learning skills in our computer driven world is so valuable.  He has already begged for another course and we will be seeing if we can fit this into our homeschool budget.  Watching my children be comfortable with computers means a lot to us.  No matter what they decide to do with their lives, it is almost certain a computer will be involved somehow.  Pac actually has dreams of possibly working with software design so this was a fabulous experience for him. 

Want to Purchase MOD Design 1?

Educents is offering an EXTRA 10% off when using code: 1P10

Buy Here!



Homeschool Wrap Up January & February 2016

Homeschool Wrap Up Jan and Feb 2016

You can see our detailed curriculum posts by clicking on the graphics below.

1st-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] 4th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] 8th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}


All Together Learning

 

Homeschool--89183

 

Our most important subject of the day isn’t really a subject, it’s the heart of our family.  Our morning Bible reading and prayer time continues on, although much more peaceful than when I first shared about it here! Currently, all three children takes turns reading aloud each morning and we discuss what we have read. Daddy leads this time and it’s a routine I treasure.

Homeschool -2544

 

We do 3 subjects all together and really enjoy our time with our kids all together {most of the time}.

Daddy teaches Mystery of History which is awesome. We are well into book 2.

We still love our Heroes of History books, although we are reading much slower right now – we have had a lot going on.  We are almost done with George Washington. We are still enjoying Liberty’s Kids DVDs, to help deepen our American Revolution knowledge.

You can see our entire World Geography plan here.  Daddy now teaches this too.   


1st & 4th Together Learning

Ladybug and Krash do two subjects together and it is working well!  We do Picture Smart Bible {K-3 Old Testament} and US Geography twice a week.

No Geography pictures this month!

We continue to enjoy Picture Smart Bible together, you can see the pages they have completed recently.  And my daughter’s lovely un-brushed hair.

Bible -2640

Bible -2679

 


8th Grade

Homeschool -8893  8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[3]

#8thGradeWithPacMan[3]

Pac is by far my least photographed child because a majority of his schooling is done independently or with his Dad.

Here’s a peek of him hard at work on math, Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1.

8th grade -2456

 

Science continues to be a family favorite, especially when he has an experiment!

8th grade -2717

 

He is a pretty easy student and we are thankful.  Sure, we have issues, but overall he does what he is supposed to do. His dad oversees his math, spelling and science completely.  I oversee everything else.  Writing is the only subject I am still teaching directly.

One of my favorite portions of his homeschooling is his reading.  His favorites are in bold.

Here’s his completed list…

All of his other subjects are going well, we are pleased with our choices for him this year.


4th Grade

Homeschool -8866  4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[4]

#4thGradewithKrash[3]

In order to stay committed to his gymnastics he doubles up on his schoolwork 2 days a week so he can be free to practice the other 3 days. He really works hard on his two intense school days. We are usually working too hard to even remember to take any photos!  Here’s what he has spent most of January and February doing…

Gymnastics Gasparilla -3370 Gymnastics Gasparilla -3518

He had 2 meets in January and 2 in February. We are now preparing for States and Regionals {March/April}. You can see more of his gymnastics here on Instagram.

We are almost finished reading  The Island of the Blue Dolphins together, which he LOVES.

He also reads books on his own at night and currently reading I Survived The Joplin Tornado 2011.

His reading list so far this year…

1st Grade

Homeschool -8872 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[6]

#1stGradewithLadybug[3]

She now does the following subjects with her Daddy: science, Growing with Grammar, & Life of Fred Math. I teach her the rest of her subjects. Below you will see a few highlights from Jan. and Feb.!


Math

We do a few different things for math and our combination is working beautifully for her.  She continues to LOVE Life of Fred.

Spielgaben is a great fit for her and we do about 2-3 lessons per week. See our recent posts here…

Create a Clock with Spielgaben   Multiplication with Spielgaben


Science

She continues to love our EvanMoor 1st Grade science book, and her teacher, Daddy, agrees.

1st grade -2340

1st grade -2472


Grammar

Growing with Grammar and First Language Lessons are both wonderful and she enjoys both.  We use both because they are different, yet similar. She now does Growing with Grammar with her Dad so I don’t have any action shots!

Here she is working on her poems from First Language Lessons {she’s using our Poem PowerPoint}.

1st Grade -2828


Spelling

We are almost done with All About Spelling Level 1, I slowed her down since I didn’t really want to move on to level 2 yet.  She is doing really well with her spelling.  Below you can see her notebook, she likes to use my colored pens.

1st Grade -2820


Handwriting

We are using Logic of English Cursive, and have finished all of the lower case letters!

1st grade -2691

1st Grade -2810

 

Her filled up pocket chart with her drawings for each letter!

1st Grade -3006


Reading

All About Reading 2 is almost complete!. She loves the games in the lessons. She is now reading beyond the lessons we are doing, she has really taken off with her fluency and ability to just read anything.

1st grade -2547 1st grade -2550

 

Ways we supplement reading development…

We go to the library at least twice a month, sometimes more! Her library books are read daily both independently and aloud! 

1st grade -2737

1st Grade -2702

 

Before we take books back I ask her to set out her very favorites and I snap a photo and share on Instagram.  These are some recent favorite stacks…

1st grade -2439 1st Grade -2708

 

Here’s our other posts from this year…

Homeschool Wrap-Up The First 6 Weeks with 1st, 4th and 8th Grade[3]  Homeschool Monthly Wrap Up October 2015  Homeschool-Wrap-Up-1st-grade-4th-gra[1]

 

You can also see much of our everyday homeschool life on Instagram!

1plus1plus1-on-Instagram5

Linking up with Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up



Homeschool Wrap-Up November & December 2015 ~ 1st, 4th, 8th

Homeschool Wrap Up 1st grade, 4th grade, 8th grade Nov and Dec 2015

 

You can see our detailed curriculum posts by clicking on the graphics below.

1st-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] 4th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] 8th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}


All Together Learning

 

Homeschool--89183

 

We do 3 subjects all together and really enjoy our time with our kids all together {most of the time}.

Daddy teaches Mystery of History which is awesome.  We fnally finished the 1st book and have moved on to book 2. We decided to save ink and use spiral notebooks with the kids and this was a great change!  The love their notebooks and their notes are even better!  Plus – no more printing for me! 

History -1063

 

Below you can see a glimpse of my prep time for book 2.  We use the Timeline Figures from Homeschool in the Woods.  I was printing, cutting and sorting {in baseball card sleeves} for our timeline notebook.

Homeschool -1696

 

We still love our Heroes of History books.  We are almost done with George Washington. We are still enjoying Liberty’s Kids DVDs, to help deepen our American Revolution knowledge.

 

You can see our entire World Geography plan here.  Daddy now teaches this too.  They finished all of South America and are well into North America now.  Everyone continues to enjoy this plan. Below is a peek at Daddy writing the notes on our board and that’s a picture of Ladybug’s USA page!

Geography -1892  Geography -1893


1st & 4th Together Learning

Ladybug and Krash do two subjects together and it is working well!  We do Picture Smart Bible {K-3 Old Testament} and US Geography twice a week.

They absolutely love US Geography and I think it’s because they both really love coloring and they love birds.  Seeing the bird for each state is very exciting for them!

USA Geography -1741

We review all the states we have learned each day we do a new one, we use our USA Geography PowerPoint for this.  The PowerPoint show is a favorite and is really great for review.

We have added in a couple more resources to expand our US Geography learning.   The kids absolutely LOVE the awesome USA States song/video by Readeez.

We played Scrambled States for the first time and they really enjoyed it!

USA -0943

    We also enjoy playing Sequence States and Capitals together!  If you don’t own this game and are working on states and capitals, I highly recommend it!

    USA Geography -2055

     

      We are enjoying Picture Smart Bible together and have completed Deuteronomy/Joshua.

      Picture Smart Bible -2053

       


      8th Grade

      Homeschool -8893  8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[3]

      #8thGradeWithPacMan[3]

      Pac is by far my least photographed child because a majority of his schooling is done independently or with his Dad. I managed to get NO photos of him doing school at all!

      He does spend a lot of time doing this, so this picture of him is totally accurate. He’d spend way more hours per day playing the guitar {or his ukelele} if he could!

      8th Grade -2570

       

      He is a pretty easy student and we are thankful.  Sure, we have issues, but overall he does what he is supposed to do. His dad oversees his math, spelling and science completely.  I oversee everything else.  Writing is the only subject I am still teaching directly.

      One of my favorite portions of his homeschooling is his reading.  He is currently Reading To Kill a Mockingbird.  His favorites are in bold.

      Here’s his completed list…

      All of his other subjects are going well, we are pleased with our choices for him this year.


      4th Grade

      Homeschool -8866  4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[4]

      #4thGradewithKrash[3]

      In order to stay committed to his gymnastics he doubles up on his schoolwork 2 days a week so he can be free to practice the other 3 days. He really works hard on his two intense school days. Below he is working on one of his poems from First Language Lessons.

      4th grade -2062

       

      Science with Dad continues to be a favorite.  He really enjoyed making a volcano, of course!

      4th Grade -1886 4th Grade -1892

      4th Grade -1891

       

      I think they were exploring waves below..

      4th grade -2064

       

      He continues to do Life of Fred Math with Daddy, at a lower level than his Teaching Textbooks Math {he uses level 5}. We do LOF math to help him work on auditory processing skills.

      4th Grade -1952

      We are almost finished reading Mighty Men together, which is a collection of short stories.

      He also reads books on his own at night and currently reading The Indian in the Cupboard.

      His reading list so far this year…

      1st Grade

      Homeschool -8872 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices[6]

      #1stGradewithLadybug[3]

      She now does the following subjects with her Daddy: science, Growing with Gramar, & Life of Fred Math. I teach her the rest of her subejcts. Below you will see a few highlights from November and December!


      Math

      We do a few different things for math and our combination is working beautifully for her.  She continues to LOVE Life of Fred and is finished with book 2 and is enjoying book 3.

      Spielgaben is a great fit for her and we do about 2-3 lessons per week, mostly using the worksheets.  See our recent posts here…

      Hands on 1st Grade Math with Spielgaben Playful Math with Spielgaben December 2015


      Grammar

      Growing with Grammar and First Language Lessons are both wonderful and she enjoys both.  We use both because they are different, yet similar. She now does Growing with Grammar with her Dad so I don’t have any action shots!

      Here she is working on her poems from First Language Lessons{she’s using our Poem PowerPoint}.

      1st Grade -0913


      Reading

      All About Reading 2 is moving along. She loves the games in the lessons. It is a GREAT fit for her!

      1st Grade -1723

      1st Grade -0922

       

      Ways we supplement reading development…

      We go to the library at least twice a month, sometimes more! Her library books are read daily both independently and aloud! 

      Before we take books back I ask her to set out her very favorites and I snap a photo and share on Instagram.  These are some recent favorite stacks…

      1st Grade Library -2012

      1st Grade -0950

       

      We finished The Dragons of Blueland, the final book in the series.  She LOVED these books!  We continue to read Little House on the Prairie.


      Writing

      She has become quite the independent writer lately.  She loves her word wall folder and her try-it sheets. She uses both daily.

      1st Grade -0930


      Whew!  I think that’s it! It takes me forever to write these posts but they are my favorite to look back on!

      Here’s our other posts from this year…

      Homeschool Wrap-Up The First 6 Weeks with 1st, 4th and 8th Grade[3]  Homeschool Monthly Wrap Up October 2015

       

      You can also see much of our everyday homeschool life on Instagram!

      1plus1plus1-on-Instagram5

      Linking up with Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up