Hard to believe we’ve reached the last year of middle school! Even though we’ve incorporated some high school level work last year, this year seems like a huge milestone.

We’re also starting the school year in a bit of flux. I’ve been the primary caregiver for my grandparents for the past three and a half years. Since both of them have now passed away, it’s time for me to get back in the the working world. That means restarting my small business consultancy – now in a city I’ve been living in for almost four years but where I don’t have many business contacts. We also need to find an affordable, safe place to live and move in the next few weeks. Anybody surprised that I’m a little behind on planning for the school year?

I’ve been researching open-source and online curriculum for a while. Not being tied to one curriculum works well for us and having everything online is especially helpful this year since I have no desire to move a year’s worth of books almost as soon as we get them. Fortunately, I have a student who is very much a self-starter when it comes to getting his school work done. Our homeschool planner does double-duty, outlining the “plan” for each week and recording anything extra that gets done.

My 8th plan isn’t fancy, but it should get us started and on track through the move at least. We can always add to or adjust as we go. Here’s the resources I’ve pulled together for our year so far…

English / Language Arts
GA Virtual Learning 8th Grade LA
I’m excited to be teaching this! The curriculum focuses on two novels, Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” and “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. I was probably about my son’s age when I read a ton of Christie’s novels. I’m looking forward to revisiting the story and maybe picking up a few more that we can read and compare. Both are available at the library, though I bought used copies off from Amazon for about $5 each so we don’t have to worry about renewing them, losing them or marking them up.

We’ll also be participating in a “Create Your Own Graphic Novel” program at our public library. It meets twice a month for four months and starts next week. My son has been interested in creating his own book since I’ve starting publishing planners & books on Amazon. When he’s done creating his novel we’ll publish it and give out copies to friends and family!

Science
GA Virtual Learning 8th Grade Science
The original plan for science this year was an electrical engineering class online that my son was interested in. The class was a little too advanced, referencing some advanced math we haven’t covered yet in just the second day. So we looked for something else.

I originally wasn’t sure if if the GAVL science would be interesting enough to keep my son engaged. The lessons seemed short and the quizzed and tests referenced in the material aren’t available in the shared resources. But today was the second day and the create-your-own athletic shoe activity was a great project. He was so engaged and came to get extra paper “for all his notes and research”!

Math
Khan Academy Pre-algebra
Khan was already our go-to for “I don’t understand what the book is saying and need someone to explain it to me”. The videos seem to get through to him a lot more than reading in the book or me explaining.

Social Studies
North Carolina History at NCpedia
Since we’ll be trying to stay in the Charlotte area for a while, we’re going to cover NC History this year. NCpedia seems like a great resources, with links and resources for geography and a virtual textbook for history. I plan on adding as many field trips as possible to make history a bit more interesting.

Other Classes and Resources
French – Memrise, Duolingo and the French class on the GAVL site
Games & Quizzes for multiple subjects on BrainPop
Game Design – C# Unity Developer on Udemy
Art – The ultimate drawing course on Udemy
(the 2 Udemy courses bought during one of their regular sales for $11 each)

So many lesson plans, digital text books, online classes and other resources are available now. If there’s something you want to learn or teach, adding MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) or OER (Open Educational Resources) to a search you can find almost anything. Are you teaching any subjects from open resources? Is there anything you need help finding?