8th Grade College-bound Homeschooler

2016 we moved to Carlisle when the kids revolt to leave the mountain overtook us parents! We found a beautiful home on 12 acres and set up our homeschool in the basement.

Krystal was still enjoying ballet and now that the drive there was super speedy, I was too!

For school Krystal began Challenge B with the Carlisle Classical Conversations. (That’s Krystal with her class and their families below!) Challenge is the middle and high school part of the CC program. Challenge B is like grade 8 and the content is amazing for this year. This was her second campus since joining CC and we were blessed to grow our homeschool community of friends while keeping our original friends from CC New Oxford.

I’ll elaborate a little on each subject. Italics is from the CC website.

LATIN: Krystal had studied Latina Christiana in 5th grade, First Form Latin in 6th grade, and began studying Henle Latin in 7th grade. So, this would be her fourth year studying Latin. Building on the foundation laid in Essentials and Challenge A, homeschool students continue honing the skill of learning a foreign language, with an emphasis on memorizing vocabulary, declensions, and conjugations. With time, practice, and self-discipline, Latin students develop solid study skills that transfer to other studies.

EXPOSITION: The brightest minds are both investigative and inventive. This is a continuation of the literature seminar begun in Challenge A, and alternates between at-home and in-community study. In the first semester, focused on Newbery Literature, students review and build on the skills of the persuasive essay writing through practice in composition and through observation by reading from the Newbery children’s literature collection. Through invention, arrangement, and elocution, students practice the first three canons of rhetoric.

In the second semester, students transition to the adult reading level recommended in the higher Challenges by studying short stories from various famous writers they will encounter in Challenges I–IV. At home, students take the entire semester to write a short story of their own.

REASONING: All good arguments require careful critical reasoning. The first semester is an introduction to the vocabulary and concepts of informal logic. Purposefully simple in scope, this semester allows students to review the vocabulary and lessons repeatedly. The second semester introduces concepts of formal and propositional logic. Students walk step-by-step through the process of learning truth tables and formal proofs.

RESEARCH: There’s so much to explore through scientific inquiry. Students have a unique opportunity to spend the year studying science using purely classical methods. This interdisciplinary, community-based approach helps students integrate hard presentation skills with the subjects of history, science, writing, math and Latin.Students move through the classical model, from grammar, to dialectic, to rhetoric, as they study the history of astronomy.

The depth and breadth of study is driven by each individual’s spirit of inquiry and willingness to seek answers to their questions. In the first semester, these young adults spend fifteen weeks researching scientists who have left a mark on modern science.

In the second semester, students spend ten weeks reading and discussing the creation/evolution debate. The last five weeks are devoted to a simple section on chemistry, in which students study how to use the periodic table and build models of atoms.

LOGIC: Krystal struggled for years with math, but never gave up. She decided to change curriculum in Challenge A to Saxon Math 8/7, which was pre-algebra. For Challenge B she completed Saxon Algebra 1 with the help of a secondary co-op where a nice man was teaching. She ended up getting practically private lessons, but by the end of the year decided Saxon had to go. It seemed we’d never get math right for her.

Make sense of the world through the universal building blocks of math. Each week, students further their understanding in math as the conversation centers around the ideas of numbers, shapes, laws, relationships, operations, equality, and inequality. Students’ work centers around the universal math building blocks of pre-algebra.

DEBATE: Engaging with present issues requires an in-depth understanding of the past. During the first semester, students explore the history of the United States by reading about important figures from American history in American Experience, discussing these figures and corresponding events with their peers in community each week. These positive stories inspire and encourage perseverance, as students read about people who attempted great things. Stories about prominent American figures make for great reading and discussion at home.

In the second semester, Mock Trial is the focus. The Director and students spend the second semester preparing a case to be heard in a county courthouse at the end of the semester. Students play roles as attorneys and witnesses for the prosecution and the defense. Students decide on the most effective way to present their case and perform it for their parents, friends, jury, and a judge. The skills gained in critical thinking, public speaking, and persuasive presentation help students prepare for the Challenge I debate seminar. This is a highlight of the Challenge B homeschool experience.

We did a lot of CC and ballet this year, but we also did some field trips and volunteer work. The girls and I volunteered for the Audubon Society again, for a few hours in the Spring for their Stream Team where they teach school children about the environmental effects on the local streams when they’re polluted. One big field trip we did was to the waste water treatment plant in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. What an experience as you stand on a grated metal floor looking below at the flowing dirty water as it comes in from all over the city.

We were having so much fun and making progress as well.

This had been a very good year!

Go back and read our 5th Grade Adventure!

6th Grade Adventure!

7th Grade Adventure!

Leave a Reply