Eigth Grade History… Ponderings

It’s the season for reflection…to consider the year behind and the year ahead…to spend time reflecting on our mission as homeschool parents…and to sweat the year ahead! LOL!!

This morning I am sitting in the quiet (and annoyingly freezing cold, LOL!!) local Starbucks. I’m blogging. Catching up. And shopping a little for the year ahead (we start up July 1, so I need to be a little prepared).

One of the things I am prayerfully contemplating is Little’s history for the upcoming year. Big wants to do her own thing, and I can respect that, so for the first time they’ll be splitting up.

Honestly, it’s a little weird. 🙂

For the past few years we’ve done, and loved, Sonlight. We’ve been through:

Grade 7 – Core W – One Year World History

Grade 6 – Core F – Eastern Hemisphere

Grade 5 – Veritas Press Self Paced – 1815 to Present

Grade 4 – Veritas Press Self Paced – Explorers to 1815

In thinking my options over for him I am thinking we could do:

Sonlight Core 100





Sonlight has it’s pros and cons. We’ve used it, love it, and know the system. A year of American history would be good for him. He’s a great reader and the curriculum is solid. But, it’s expensive, and Little has read the vast majority (80%+) of all the books that aren’t directly related to the history portion. I might want some more flexibility this year before we have to face the high school giant, but after paying for Sonlight I always feel like I should (mostly) stick to the schedule. I also think he needs to spend more time writing this year, and Sonlight can be reading heavy / writing light.


MAKE YOUR OWN. This also has pros and cons. Pro – I can tailor. I can focus on trips, travel, and scout merit badges as add ons. It can be fun and challenging. I’ve been looking at geography for next year, but nothing is totally warming my heart, so this could be a great way to do that. I was thinking of this method:

YWAM missionary biography a week (or some other solid biography)… have him draw a detailed map the country of the missionary… notebook about the country… present a written book report on the missionary… and use Visualize World Geography and Sheppard Software  and possibly The Trail Guide to World Geography to round it all out. In the spring I could also switch things up and do a semester on US, or government…

Cons – I’m not as good about sticking with things I plan. Will it work? It’s hard to judge what’s enough and when to stop.

SOMETHING ELSE. Honestly, nothing is really jumping out at me right now. I’m trying to avoid ancients, since he’ll likely do that Freshman year with My Father’s World. The Veritas Press Self Paced Omnibus looks like too much for what I want for him this year. I’m not a huge fan of conversational history texts for this age, so Mystery of History and Story of the World are out. Textbooks like really dry and not a great fit for this kid (he’ll read them, get a 90%+ on the tests, and remember nothing… just like me!!). I’m also trying to avoid too much video teaching, but so far I’m not really seeing anything that wows me there, either.

For today, I am leaning toward MAKE YOUR OWN. Its hysterical to me – the longer I am on this homeschool journey the more crunchy and free I get with my plans! Classical Schmassical! LOL! Who knows, I might even make good notes and offer the plan here. You never know!

What about you?

Are you grappling with Middle School history decisions?


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