8th grade is a very important year in the academic development of any student. At this age is the time when students are developing their personal interests and the learning habits that will carry them through their education in high school, college, and even beyond. Big River Academy strives to ensure that our students grow in a learning environment that creates opportunities for learning a variety of subjects and building a love of learning.
At Big River Academy, we have classes available for students starting at 5th grade, but the 8th-grade year is when the courses really expand. We give students the freedom to take the courses they choose so they can work towards their personal goals and topics they want to learn about. Here’s a quick look at the courses we recommend for online homeschool for 8th-grade students.
Online Homeschool For 8th Grade Recommended Courses
English/Language Arts — English IV
English IV is a continuation of English III and is the final level of comprehensive English. This course is more challenging than English III in terms of learning more vocabulary each week and writing more cohesive essays with research elements. Mrs. Bontrager will ensure that students are well-prepared to perform these essays, but students are expected to handle the larger workload. This course is easily counted as a high school English credit in any state or country but is achievable for diligent 8th-grade students as well. Grades 8-12
Writing — WriteShop I & II
WriteShop I is a course that gives middle school students the opportunity to gain confidence in their skills as young writers. Students are given a chance to practice various kinds of writing, including creative, expository, narrative, and persuasive. Grammar is related to writing in a practical way with an emphasis on editing and revising. Students will have fun in this semester-long course that is jam-packed with creativity while learning writing concepts. Grades 6-12
WriteShop II sets teens (grades 8-11) on a course for success as they learn to write concretely and concisely through creative, varied lessons. This class covers advanced description and narration and emphasizes the development of persuasive writing and essay skills. Students will work with brainstorming, pre-writing activities, outlining, drafting, and editing to develop and organize well-written compositions. Each week will focus on building specific skills to incorporate into their creations.
Social Sciences — Explore US History (any middle grade)
This class leads the student through the exciting and fascinating story of how the most powerful nation on Earth came to be. The main events of how this nation was settled will be covered, one chapter per week, from the very beginning of the original peoples of this land all the way to the present. Students will be led on this journey into American history from a Biblical perspective. This class will encourage students to discover God’s purpose through critical thinking and discussion. The ideas and principles of the founders of this country will be explored and applied to how we think about our country today.
Science — Bridge to Biology
This life science course is aimed at the middle grades (6-8) and provides students with the opportunity to learn about living things and the way that God created them to function. Course topics include the nature of science; characteristics of life; cell structure and function; genetics; creationism and how it relates to biology; microbiology, plant biology, and animal biology; and finally, the unique design of the human body. While coursework will be at a seventh to eighth-grade level, it is also appropriate for a more advanced sixth-grade student or a bridge to biology for a student who needs preparation for a more advanced biology course.
Math — Pre-Algebra
In Pre-Algebra, we will prepare students for the equivalent of a standard high school algebraic course (Algebra 1). In this class, students will be introduced to integers, fractions, decimals, square roots, basic step equations and inequalities, linear equations, graphs and functions, some geometry, and statistics. Students are also taught how to solve basic equations using variables. This is a full-year course and will meet for 1 hour 2 times a week.
What 8th Graders Should Be Learning
By the time a student is in the 8th grade — whether they are in public school or online homeschool, there are some skills that they should be learning. The following are some of the important skills eighth graders should have. And if they don’t, these are great things to work on during a summer break.
- Be able to give oral presentations to demonstrate their research and writing. They should be able to present their ideas aloud with proper vocabulary and pronunciation.
- Recognize evidence and be able to make inferences from that evidence.
- Find square roots and their opposite, exponents.
- Know how to find the volume of three-dimensional shapes like cones and cylinders.
- Type with accuracy about 40 words per minute.
- Understand the writing process — planning, revising, giving and receiving feedback respectfully, editing, rewriting, and trying a new approach if necessary.
- Analyze arguments in nonfiction texts to determine if they are logical, relevant, and supported with sufficient evidence.
- Be able to discuss plot, theme, and characters in fiction.
- Know and use academic vocabulary words and phrases.
- Know how to paraphrase and quote information and use sources to prevent plagiarism.
- Be comfortable using online platforms such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
We hope that the 8th grade is a tremendous year for your student and want you to know that Big River Academy is here to help in any way we can. Especially when it comes to online homeschool for 8th grade.
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