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Eighth Grade Language Arts

New eighth grade language arts publication coming June or July 2021.

Christopherus middle grades language arts focuses on writing—on creating ‘templates’ for the student’s own composition through dictation, copying well written work and ‘collaborative writing’ with their teacher (homeschooling parent). Creative writing and the writing of reports by the student is an important part of this work. This will be taken to a deeper level than in seventh grade.

In creative writing the child learns to use the best words and descriptions to really express what she wants to say. She learns about voice and about the flow of a piece of writing. When writing reports a main goal is to help the student learn how to gather and use information from books—to learn to discern what he needs and does not need for his report. This lays strong foundations for the use of the internet for reports in high school.

As throughout the rest of the Christopherus curriculum, punctuation, grammar, spelling and vocabulary arise, for the most part, as active lessons within the context of the writing that is being done: these lessons therefore are not abstract, but flow from the student’s own writing. As in seventh grade, there are specific assignments, tests, and exercises devoted to the nuts and bolts of grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary.

The Student Workbook is written directly to the student and leads her through writing assignments, various writing exercises and writing instruction. There are also sections, as said above, on grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.

In eighth grade students continue to develop their skills in discussing and writing about literature. Full guidance is included in these materials for the novels we study this year: When My Name Was Keoko (Park); The Story of my Life–Helen Keller; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Smith); Fahrenheit 251 (Bradbury). We will also read Bowman’s Store (Bruchac);Be Free or Die (Lineberry) and Beautiful Swimmers (Warner).

Spoken work such as story-telling and giving oral reports and reciting poetry also feature.

Although some of the work the student will do in her Student Workbook will be independent, this is not ‘open and go’–the parent-teacher will need to be involved in the child’s work, discussing subjects, reading novels together and correcting work. The Teacher’s Guide gives full instructions on how to proceed and includes examples of real student writing so a parent can gauge how to evaluate his own child’s work.

As Christopherus is a completely holistic curriculum, language arts appears in (and is the foundation of) most main lessons, including science lessons. Further specific language arts guidance will be found in those curriculum materials, but the main thrust of eighth grade language arts (its goals, how to teach and evaluate and so on) appear in these materials which represent a full year of language arts studies.

Specific details of the Student Workbook and Teacher’s Guide (including specifics of lessons, sample pages, and much more) to follow.

Please note that our videos on preparing for ninth grade will help parents create the most appropriate course of study for their eighth grader, talking the parent through considerations regarding whether the student will be going to Waldorf or public high school or continuing to homeschool. The second of these videos is devoted to language arts and, using real examples of student work, helps a parent understand how to evaluate her child’s written work.

Please note: Those of you outside the USA may need to consider whether these materials will work for you. While the sections on writing and literature will be of value to anyone, as English usage in countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia differs significantly from US English, the sections on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of language could require significant ‘translating’ to be of use.

© 2021 Donna Simmons

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