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@heyloura: ~ Eighth Grade For 2023-2024

My son Milo (not his real name) is ready for eighth grade. How is that possible???

Note: These are my tentative plans and have been updated as of 4/25/2023. They may change before the 23-24 school year starts.

Course of Study

History, Writing, and Literature

Big History

Our main history this year will be to cover the Big History Project by OER. I’ve signed up as a teacher so I get access to wonderful supporting activities and writing assignments. This project takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying history, combining everything from astronomy to biology to anthropology. Milo will learn about the evolution of the universe, the formation of our planet, the rise of civilizations, and even modern day issues like climate change. There is a lot of writing, informal and formal, in this course and it will be our main writing curriculum.

Here is a wonderful TED Talk that explains beautifully what the course covers:

Torchlight Constellations

Our literature this year will also help round out our writing curriculum. It’s from Torchlight, a secular and Socratic homeschooling curriculum that I’ve used for inspiration before. It never quite worked out to use their full curriculum, since I tend to pull from many different sources, but they recently released their Constellation Studies which are standalone literature guides. We’ll be using these three days a week and I hope to cover between five to seven of them if they are released in time. What I love is that it includes wonderful questions to discuss about the books, a bit of poetry, paragraph and essay writing with a focus on literature analysis, vocabulary, and other supporting activities. For instance the one on “The Wee Free Men” includes an art project, various research opportunities into limestone, triathlons, and fairy tales, and other extension activities and book recommendations.

"The Wee Free Men" by Terry Pratchett

"The Last Cuentista" by Donna Barba Higuera

"The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman

"The Ogress and the Orphans" by Kelly Barnhill

"Amber and Clay" by Laura Amy Schlitz

"Wildoak" by C.C. Harrington

Free Reads

I keep a well stocked bookcase of books that Milo is free to pick from. I pulled out these books at eye level based on his current interests. He will have some time available in his schedule for free reading each week. He’s welcome to choose whatever he’s interested in or check out books from the library.

Science and Mathematics

Milo was begging to do two science classes this upcoming year.

Honors Earth Science with a Lab

Okay, Milo decided that if he had to only choose one science, this upcoming year it would be Honors Earth Science with Lab . He likes the teacher and really wants to stretch himself with science. It’s his passion and “there is no such thing as too much science.”

So this course covers the main fields of geology and an introduction to astronomy. It also has a lab component. The teacher sends a box of lab supplies as part of the course which helps out so much. The course is going to be a flipped classroom style this year - which is new. So Milo will watch the lecture on Monday and take a quick quiz on the material, attend class on Wednesday, and then wrap up the lab/homework assignment on Friday.

Physics (optional)

My son’s love of science really blossomed with Science Mom chemistry course that we did three years ago. Since then, whenever they offer a new course he is all on board. Plus, I want him to have fun with science. This year they are doing physics! The first course will be Physics 1: Mechanics and the second course will be on Electromagnetism. Since he’s doing another full science course this will be a fun extra that he can do as much or as little as he wants.

Honors Algebra 1

It’s math time. Algebra style. He’ll be using the self-paced online course Derek Owens Honors Algebra 1. I went back on forth on a few different options. Art of Problem Solving was a contender as well as the Thinkwell online course but I decided on Derek Owens because I think the format would work best with Milo. Videos that teach and have you fill in notes as you go along. Homework that is done on paper and then emailed out to be graded. I’m a big believer in handwriting out math and that’s ultimately what swayed me to Derek Owen over Thinkwell.

Interdisciplinary Studies

One of the best homeschooling finds I found last year was Falcons. Milo joined the online class last year and it was very apparent that this year we needed to keep Falcon’s as a cornerstone to our homeschooling again. The teacher, Anna, is fantastic. She weaves such wonderful topics together for the kids. Really, they covered too many things to enumerate here. A small sample would be world religions, geography and how it influences cultures, indigenous cultures, modes of education, plate tectonics, sea-bed core drilling, writing and putting together a play over zoom, zen gardens, and so much more. So who knows what they cover this upcoming year, but whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic.

Art and Music


Milo will continue practicing his clarinet and take weekly private lessons.


Milo will be working through the free art curriculum offered by Julianna Kunstler and her Art 1. Course. This covers the elements of art and the principles of design. I will have him work through 24 of the lessons making sure to cover each topic at least once. Each topic has a note page to fill out and either a presentation or some videos to watch.

Health and Financial Literacy

I haven’t quite figured out Health yet, but I want to do a whirlwind review of the major topics covered in middle school. I will most likely end up with a resource from Teachers Pay Teachers. Financial Literacy will either be a series of classes from OutSchool or I will pick up Torchlight’s: The Art of Navigating Finance.

Physical Education

Milo will continue on with our local swim team. He’s also expressed an interest in starting running with his father and he would like to continue attending the local Kung Fu classes when he is able.


This is a tentative weekly schedule of five days a week. Each block is around 45-60min.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Big History Falcons Big History Falcons Big History
Torchlight Constellation Torchlight Constellation Torchlight Constellation
Science Science Science
Health or Financial Literacy Art
Clarinet + Portuguese Clarinet + Portuguese Clarinet + Portuguese
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I'm a senior web developer doing non-profit work in juvenile justice, a tai chi teacher in-training, and a homeschool mom to a couple of wonderful children.

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