Curricula 2016-2017 - 8th Grade - Aedan

Thursday, July 21, 2016

 I am finally getting around to putting up our Aedan's 8th grade plans for next year. There are a lot of books this year which made for an unintended workout session hauling them up and down the stairs - not that I couldn't use a little extra exercise! Our main program we will use is Heart of Dakota Missions to Modern Marvels. This will probably look like an overwhelming amount of books, but don't worry. We won't read all of these at once. Last year we took a break from HOD, but came back around halfway through the year. It just has always been a great fit for Aedan and for me. I have loved learning alongside him so much of what I never got to learn as a kid. I never loved history until I became a homeschooler. I have loved the biographical and living book approach to learning that we have been able to enjoy over the past 5 years together as a family. I am really looking forward to seeing how Aedan responds to our choices this coming year. I have a feeling that this will be our favorite guide yet!

 This is the teacher's guide for Missions to Modern Marvels (HOD MtMM.) I shared how I set up and organized this guide HERE.

This is the Ecomomy package for MtMM which includes plans for Bible and hymn study, history, geography, economics, art and poetry, and president study. We will stick mostly to the plans as is, but I have made some adjustments. I will note the changes I made under each photo.

 These are our main spines for history for the whole year. We will study from the Irish Potato famine in 1845 all the way to the War in Iraq in December 2011. So much has happened even since then, so hopefully we can make a quick sweep of the last few years as well.

Last year in HOD Revival to Revolution we started having a new study called Worthy Words. Each week we studied either a famous speech or a source text from the period. MtMM also has the Worthy Words study where we will do the same kind of study in this modern American and world historical context. I absolutely loved this part of the study. It is so neat hearing actual voices from the time and place history happened. Hearing the emotion behind the words from real people can't truly be captured in a text book.

We will also study economics once a week with these resources.

 This is our third year in Map Trek for geography. These mapping assignments have the students mapping places and events that happened so they can see where these events took place. I enjoy this program, but I am starting to see Aedan needs a little more geography help. I may add SCM Visits one day a week to get him a little more help. We head into HOD World Geography next year as well which I think will really cement more of those places in his mind and heart. Our bible study uses the book Windows on the World and has mapping, so that will help as well.

This year art will include Nature Drawing & Journaling & Draw and Write Through History. One of the things I sorely missed about HOD (especially for Aedan) was all the included art and drawing opportunities. Aedan adores drawing, so having it built into school adds a nice mental break and time for him to develop his gift. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does with the nature journal!

The art study coincides with poetry this year. He will incorporated the works of Longfellow, Wordsworth and Whitman into his nature journaling.

The devotional study this year uses the book Who Am I?. I may drop this as we will be subbing out the scheduled bible study and doing something else. If our day is too long we will stick with our other plans. We will definitely not skip the hymn study however. We used Hymns for a Kid's Heart Vol I all the way back in Aedan's first year home for homeschool in HOD Bigger. I have such sweet memories of that year. We loved learning the stories behind the hymns, so it will be great to do that again in another volume at an older age.

I decided to skip the Romans study that was included in the plans. Instead we will be using Hewitt Homeschooling's I Dare You! Bible Study. As Aedan is getting older I wanted him to really start thinking about what he was reading, about the world and how all of this applies to his real life. This is a fantastic study! A friend and I joined forces and made some notebook pages to go along with it. I hope to have a lot of great conversations with Aedan about the topics covered.

HOD always has a storytime package of books. I have heard time and time again that the MtMM read-aloud books are wonderful! I really enjoy slowing down and sitting with the boys as we read the stories together. I for a time had Aedan read these on his own. Last year I took back the responsibility. There are only so many more years I will be able to do this. It's such a sweet time of the day.

 This is the MtMM Extension package. Aedan has always read the extensions, but the plans are fuller than any other guide we have done before. If our day is too long, we will drop these. However, they have always been Aedan's favorite part of the day. Because he isn't officially in the extension range I have just allowed him to read and enjoy the books. He loves this part of the day where he can just relax with a book without there being much expected. These books are fabulous! I haven't read all of them, but I have read many. They really do add a depth of understanding to the period. I learned so much myself!

An optional part of the plans is State History from a Christian Perspective. One day of the week we will study our home state. The plans for this study could be expanded for someone if they really wanted to dig in deep to the history of their state. We will likely keep it simple, but I do love that if we have the energy there are great suggestions.

 Another option portion of the plans is a president study. This will be done 3 days a week through reading, watching the DVD and notebooking.

Our science study will be an introduction to chemistry and a study of evolution vs. creation. I made a few changes to the plans. There is a book called Atoms in the Family that many had found difficult to read. At first I was thinking of making this study high school credit worthy, but I changed my mind. Instead of adding to it I subbed out Atoms and subbed in The Mystery of the Periodic Table and The Elements. The Elements book is fantastic! It has big, beautiful pictures of the elements and things made from them. This picture is missing the DNA kit that has been out of stock. It will come eventually when it's back. I have read all of these books. This summer I just carried books around and tried to read ahead as much as I can. I learned SO much through reading these books and biographies. It's going to be such a fun study!

 We are sticking with Math U See. This year we will be in Pre-Algebra. I think I have shared many times that it took us forever to find our footing with Aedan and math after bringing him home from public school. We are finally on track to where he will earn all HS math credits he will need. Hallelujah. He came home with math anxiety and lacked confidence, but he is doing so much better! I always thought MUS wasn't a very strong math, but a friend convinced me to give it a try. I so wish I had found it sooner. I have been able to sweep through and cover the gaps that he had. He also doesn't dread math anymore, and we for that reason still like each other after a math lesson. I'll take that any day over a math that might be considered more challenging. I have no plans to every switch Aedan from MUS. I am so thankful for it.

We will be sticking with Rod and Staff this year. Aedan shocked me when I showed him another grammar program, and he said he didn't want to switch. Really?? So, here we go with year 5 of R&S. If you don't know grammar after this then you never will. I know there are folks that forgo formal grammar. Not this geeky family. I love knowing the why behind the what and how. We also use dictation and copywork as another way to approach visualizing good grammar and spelling. My kids chuckle at the archaic sentences in R&S, but it has become an old standby. It's nice to have things that you are familiar with each year as so many things are new.

I've shared before about how I didn't immediately love IEW. It has helped both boys so much in a short time that I wanted to give at least one year to it. Aedan will be using the Following Narnia: The Lion's Song guide this year. He read the books last year, so he won't read them as assigned. This guide also includes some modern history sources which will go perfectly with what we are learning this year. I chose not to do history themed because our coursework is already heavily history based.

 Last year we did much of Lightning Literature 7. I didn't discover it until halfway through the year (boo hoo.) Aedan and I both loved it! The only book I am subbing out is The Hobbit. Aedan read that book in 6th grade. Instead I will have him read The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm working on reading through all of the books. I especially loved A Day of Pleasure. Such a fascinating book! I have a few more to read to get through them all. HOD WG covers a few of these books next year for high school. We won't be using WG's literature plans anyway, so I didn't mind skipping them later.

And as if we don't already have enough books - I originally planned to make much of MtMM high school credit worthy. Aedan is on the older age range for his grade and I wanted to give him the opportunity to graduate early if he wanted. There are some credits we will be able to count anyway, but I decided I didn't really need to make that decision now. I didn't really want my kid leaving earlier than he needed to. 

I had bought some extension options for science and economics. Both of these are absolutely fantastic programs. We may watch both DVDs just to enjoy them but not require the additional work. I watched much of the Chemistry 101 videos, and they are very well done. Economics for Everybody is also very interesting. It may be something we do on Fridays. We shall see. 

That about wraps it up! I am always a little nervous heading into each new year. I am so thankful for the opportunity I get to spend time with my boys during these slower days and also in the learning days to come. I pray you all are wrapping up your plans and enjoying the last bits of summer. You will be hearing more from us soon. For now I'll just be hanging out with my boys and making as many memories as we can until the new season comes.


  1. Look at all those great books! I hope you will share how you like All American History - it is on my wish list. I have my eye on Chemistry 101 too. You will have a great year, I'm sure!

  2. I hope we like All American History! I really like the Chemistry 101 videos a lot. They are really interesting imo :)

  3. Hi Tara!

    I am (yet again!!) so grateful for the set up notes that you share with us here on your blog. I tell everyone that I know who uses HOD about your website. Your printables and advice are so appreciated! :-)

    I was wondering what you ended up thinking about The Mystery of the Periodic Table? Are you glad that you substituted it for the Atoms in the Family book? I read the wonderful review that a mom gave on the link that you provided above, but would also love to hear your perspective too. It may be something that my son would enjoy instead of the other book as well.

    Thank you so much! <3

    1. Thank you Sarah for your sweet words :) It makes me so happy to know that the work I do for us around here helps others too. My son did really enjoy The Mystery of the Periodic Table book. I kept hearing mixed reviews on Atoms (although I do also hear it's worth reading.) For my son though I thought he would enjoy Mystery more. I don't regret subbing it out and kept it for my younger son to read. You may want to try to read through Atoms first to see if you think your kids would enjoy it.

    2. Thank you! I am going to give both the Atoms in the Family book and the Mystery book you suggested a read, and see which would be a better match for my son.

      We also have the extra Elements book that you guys used, and you are right, the photos and examples are fantastic! Another mom in the HOD Facebook group had suggested it to me because my son has interest in the elements. I can't wait to print and have him assemble the element trading cards ~ they are right up his alley too. :-) This looks like it is going to be a fun year! Thanks again for your help!


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