Grade Eight Curriculum Picks

Note: These Grade Eight Picks can be purchased from Homeschool Canada (order using the HCOS Curriculum Order Form). Some options may also be available to borrow from the Learning Commons Search Portal and/or via the OverDrive virtual eBook library.

Vendor websites are pick-and-choose and some optional or alternate suggestions may be listed, so select your items with care.

Overview Of Grade 8 Picks

English Language Arts

  • Writing Strands Intermediate 2 OR Essentials in Writing 8

  • Crispin: The Cross of Lead Novel with Literature Kit by Classroom Complete Press (or alternate)
  • Anna of Byzantium novel or alternate

Mathematics

  • Dynamic Classroom BC Grade 8 OR Crescent Beach Publishing Mathematics 8 OR Singapore Dimensions Math 7A and 7B Textbooks and Teacher's Guides

Science 

  • Exploring Creation with Physical Science Textbook, Solutions and Test Manual, and Student Notebook

Social Studies

  • Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries Essentials Pack

Bible/Christian Studies

  • What on Earth Can I Do? Textbook

Optional/Additional Resources (not detailed below)

  • Hydraulics STEM Starters by Teacher Created Resources (ADST)
  • Find Your Fit Book, and Find Your Fit Discovery Workbook 2018 Edition by Kevin Johnson (Career Education)
  • Making Smart Financial Choices by Diane Dakers (Mathematics)
  • ACSI's Total Health: Talking About Life's Changes - Student Textbook and Workbook (Health)

Detailed Information - Grade 8 Picks

English Language Arts

Select one of the following writing programs (A or B), in addition to two novel studies listed below these options.

Option A: Writing Strands Intermediate 2

Type of Resource: Home education workbook

Description: Writing Strands Intermediate 2 will help your junior high student study writing string arguments, dialogue, papers, and letters, as well as literary elements like theme, genre, point of view, and tone. This language arts curriculum is ideal for a 6-9 grade level. In this comprehensive course, students will discover how narrative voice and attitude influence the reader, the elements of an effective written argument, explore character voice and dialogue, and so much more!

This resource takes a comprehensive approach to language arts, teaching students how to construct effective paragraphs, write persuasively and explore narrative voice while also developing the student's reading, writing, and speaking skills. Students will learn how to read and evaluate literature, practise spelling, analyze worldview, and write a story.

Students will rotate writing and reading assignments each week—thus also learning to write through literature because good readers make good writers! Additionally, the Bible is used as the literature base for teaching how narrative voice and attitude can be used to form captivating pieces of literature.

Note from Curriculum Consultant: This resource refers to a different book/novel assigned by the teacher/parent each week over 18 lessons and provides a page with six steps for discussion regarding this book/novel in each lesson. This may be a bit much for many students, so this page could be skipped when desired, and the novel study suggested below can be completed as an alternative to this page many of the weeks.

Website: https://www.masterbooks.com/writing-strands-intermediate-2 

Placement Tests: https://www.masterbooks.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/910/ 

Review: https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-reviews-core-curricula/composition-and-grammar/ungraded-multi-level-resources-comprehensive/writing-strands# 

Other Optional or Supplementary Resources: Writing Strands: Teaching Companion

Table of Contents and PDF Sample Pages: https://www.masterbooks.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/872/ 

Scope and Sequence: https://www.masterbooks.com/mwdownloads/download/link/id/924/ 

Option B: Essentials in Writing 8 Student Book and Video Component (Choose Stream Online or DVD)

Type of Resource: Homes education curriculum

Description: EIW Level 8 is a homeschool writing curriculum that teaches middle school students ages 13 to 14 how to write meaningful sentences, proper grammar, and sentence mechanics as well as the writing process for narrative/descriptive/expository/ persuasive writing. Instruction on effective writing techniques and much more are included as well. The step-by-step approach allows students to focus on small, daily assignments, so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Level 8 includes a textbook/workbook and contains a video lesson component.

Lesson-by-lesson video instruction is provided via streaming or DVD. These lessons are essential to the program and must be used in conjunction with the textbook/workbook combo book. Note that additional workbooks may be purchased if there are additional students in the family taking the course.

Website: https://essentialsinwriting.com/level-8/ 

Placement Test (Level Wizard): http://essentialsinwriting.com/level-wizard/ 

Review: https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-reviews-core-curricula/composition-and-grammar/graded-language-arts-curricula/essentials-in-writing 

Other Optional or Supplementary Resources: 34-week plan

Sample Video Lesson: https://youtu.be/N_CK73DXTa8 

Table of Contents and PDF Sample: Level 8 textbook sample 

Free Trial: https://essentialsinwriting.com/trybeforeyoubuy/ 

 

Novels

Note from Curriculum Consultant: Alternate novels can be chosen. The ones below are cross-curricular historical fiction selections set in the Middle Ages (a period of study in Social Studies for grade 8 students). Some students may wish to complete 3 or more novels/novel studies. Good options can be found at Progeny Press or Classroom Complete Press.

Novel #1 Crispin: The Cross of Lead Novel (or alternate) with  Literature Kit by Classroom Complete Press

Type of Resource: novel and workbook

Description: This all-in-one resource provides everything needed for student comprehension, including vocabulary and writing prompts with each chapter. Determine whether Crispin would support the viewpoint, "cruelty is contagious in uncivilized communities". Brainstorm possible inscriptions on Crispin's cross that would cause Bear's reaction. Investigate the trade of a tinker as it would appear during the time of the novel. Consider the battle between Bear and John Aycliffe from a different perspective, then complete a chart. Aligned to your State Standards and written to Bloom's Taxonomy, additional crossword, word search, comprehension quiz and answer key are also included.

About the Novel: Crispin: The Cross of Lead is the Newbery Medal-winning story of a young boy hiding from the law. Set in 14th Century England, a young boy—only known as Crispin—finds himself on the run from Lord Furnival and his evil steward, John Aycliffe. When Crispin overhears the private conversation of Aycliffe and another man in the forest, he becomes the object of a massive hunt. Crispin then flees from the area after his only allies—his mother and Father Quinel—are dead. Crispin soon meets up with Bear—a travelling entertainer—who trains him in the arts of the mummer. However, Bear is not what he seems, and Crispin is thrown into a life full of dangerous adventures that lead to a dramatic ending, where the secret of Crispin’s heritage is revealed.

Website: https://classroomcompletepress.com/products/ccp2705 

Video Overview: https://youtu.be/MLihgymShzk 

Reviews: see this page (scroll down on left side), https://classroomcompletepress.com/products/ccp2705 

Other Optional or Supplementary Resources: https://classroomcompletepress.com/products/cc2705d 

PDF Samples: see this page (select sample page images on the left side), https://classroomcompletepress.com/products/ccp2705 

 
Novel #2 Anna of Byzantium Novel (or alternate)

Type of Resource: Novel

Description: Anna Comnena has every reason to feel entitled. She's a princess, her father's firstborn and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine Empire. So the birth of a baby brother doesn't perturb her. Nor do the "barbarians" from foreign lands, who think only a son should ascend to power. Anna is as dismissive of them as are her father and his most trusted adviser--his mother, a manipulative woman with whom Anna studies the art of diplomacy. Anna relishes her lessons, proving adept at checkmating opponents in swift moves of mental chess. But as she matures into a young woman, her arrogance and intelligence threaten her grandmother. Anna will be no one's puppet. Almost overnight, Anna sees her dreams of power wrenched from her and bestowed on her little brother. Bitter at the betrayal, Anna waits to avenge herself, and to seize what is rightfully hers.

Note from Curriculum Consultant: This novel (or a novel of your choice) can be used in conjunction with the reading assignments in Writing Strands Intermediate 2.

 

Math

Select one of the following math programs (A or B or C) below

Option A: Dynamic Classroom BC Grade 8

Type of Resource: Workbook

Description: aligned to BC's curriculum

  • Detailed explanations of every topic with step-by-step guided examples with solutions. 
  • A series of problems for the student to practice the concept they just learned. Questions start out easy and gradually increase in difficulty. Challenging questions are provided for those students that really want to push themselves.
  • Practice tests for each chapter/unit in the book. 
  • An answer key for all questions in the book. 
  • Students can get extra support through the website that provides additional worksheets and a limited selection of video lessons when you create an online account.
  • A complete set of video lessons (a paid service) where you can watch a math teacher while they explain a concept and then walk you through some examples. 

Website: https://www.math-help.ca/ 

Other Optional or Supplementary Resources

Table of Contents and PDF Sample Pages: http://resources.dynamic-classroom.ca/bookcase/qhyyw 

 

Option B: Crescent Beach Publishing Theory and Problems for Mathematics 8 - Third Edition

Description: aligned to BC's curriculum

  • Written to be used as a primary teaching resource
  • Contains a comprehensive explanation of the subject for each section
  • 364 detailed example questions
  • Hundreds of practise problems with answers and step by step solutions where necessary
  • Space is given for each practice question to complete the problem, and keep the work organized all in one place

Website: https://www.crescentbeachpublishing.ca/math-8 

Table of Contents: https://www.crescentbeachpublishing.ca/s/Math8ToC.pdf 

PDF Sample Pages: https://www.crescentbeachpublishing.ca/s/Math8Sample2.pdf 

 

Option C: Singapore Dimensions Math 7A and 7B Textbooks and Teaching Notes/Solutions

Type of Resource: Home education/classroom curriculum

Description: The program emphasizes problem-solving and empowers students to think mathematically, both inside and outside the classroom. Pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, data analysis, probability, and some advanced math topics are included in this rigorous series. The series follows the principles outlined in the Singapore mathematics framework, including the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) Approach, bar modelling, and more. In the Dimensions Math program, concepts are introduced and explained in a new format with vibrant imagery, all with the progression and scope that has defined Singapore math.

Components

  • Textbooks build on prior knowledge and develop familiar concepts in an accessible way.
  • Workbooks offer independent practise while maintaining the careful progression of exercise variation.
  • Teaching Notes and Solutions provide teaching suggestions and important information for educators to help students achieve math mastery.
  • Workbook Solutions contain fully worked solutions for problems in workbooks.

Components Samples

Note from Curriculum Consultant: This US-based resource is advanced for BC standards, and books 6 - 8A align reasonably well (although not entirely) with BC's curriculum for grades 7 - 9. There are sufficient exercises in the textbook for many students, and so the workbook may not be necessary (and may even be frustrating) for students who learn quickly. For students who require repetition and extra practice, the workbook (and workbook solutions) are recommended. Even though this resource does not completely align with BC's curriculum, it was chosen for its proven approach which has been a favourite with home educators for many years. It is a rigorous program that generally works best for students who have demonstrated an aptitude for math. Those looking towards using this program to prepare for the BC grad course, Foundations and Math and Pre-Calculus 10 should be aware that levels 6A, 6B, 7A, 7B and 8A should be sufficient preparation. That is 5 books over 3 years, and so in terms of pacing, one would be looking at completing approximately 1 and 2/3 books per year, allowing for a slightly less rigorous pace than the standard 2 books per year.

Website: https://www.singaporemath.com/programs/dimensions-6-8/ 

Review: https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-reviews-core-curricula/math/grades-7-8/dimensions-math-levels-6-8 

Scope and Sequence: https://www.singaporemath.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/SS_DM6-8.pdf

Brochure: https://www.singaporemath.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/DM_6-8_BROCHURE.pdf 

 

Science

Exploring Creation with Physical Science Textbook, Solutions and Test Manual, and Student Notebook
Type of Resource: Home education curriculum

Description: Middle school students are taught the methods they will need to succeed in high school science courses. Using a conversational tone, we present challenging science concepts and thought-provoking experiments in an easily navigated, personalized format to help students methodically learn, self-check, and master difficult concepts before moving on. We also keep science relevant. Additional online materials are available through a book extras portal so that students can see science in action. This course covers:

  • The basics of science including the scientific process, scientific theories and laws, inferences and models, and measurement and units
  • Chemistry including properties and states of matter, atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical bonds and reactions and energy
  • Physics including motion, forces, energy, waves and sound, light and electricity and magnetism
  • Earth Science including the Earth’s structure and processes and our atmosphere and beyond
  • Chemistry and Physics in the life sciences
  • Physical Science research

Note from Curriculum Consultant: This is one of my favourite resources, and although lengthy, it is very conversational in its approach and makes science concepts interesting and accessible for students. It has been recommended in favour of piecing together multiple resources from various publishers for the sake of addressing all the content areas (which really isn't necessary anyway). A secondary option to this resource would be to use all or some of the following: Biology: Cells by Classroom Complete Press; Cells ScienceWiz Kit; Chemistry: What Is Atomic Theory? by Adam Mclean; Physics: Exploring the World of Physics by John Hudson Tiner; Collisions and Trajectories ScienceWiz Kit; Earth/Space: What Is the Theory of Plate Tectonics? by Craig Saunders.

Website: https://www.apologia.com/physical-science/ 

Review: https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-reviews-core-curricula/science/creation-science-intelligent-design/exploring-creation-science-series-apologia-science-for-junior-and-senior-high-levels 

Other Optional or Supplementary Resource: MP3 Audio CD

Additional Support

 

Social Studies

Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries Essentials Pack

Type of Resource: Home education curriculum 

Key Features:

  • Quick Start Guide to help you easily navigate through the 4-Phase structure
  • Basic Lesson Plan to give you confidence for each week’s activities
  • Teacher Guide to provide helpful background information suggested resources, motivating suggestions, and much more
  • Student Manual to introduce each era, offer multiple topics for further exploration, encourage hands-on participation, and invite creative expression
  • What in the World Vol 2 CD set to bring history to life through audio instruction and stories
  • Rubrics Set to help the student know what is expected and to help parent/teacher evaluate the student’s creative work (qualitative assessment)
  • Test Kit to allow students to demonstrate what they’ve learned (quantitative assessment).

The Essentials Pack includes:  Teacher Guide, Student Manual, What in the World Volume 2 CD Set, Test Kit, Rubric Set, Quick-Start Guide and Basic Lesson Plan

Note from Curriculum Consultant: Assignments could possibly be applied for credit in English Language Arts, and Arts Education as well, depending on which activities students choose. This resource may seem daunting at first, but many of the assignments are pick and choose, and students can select activities that are appealing to them. I recommend listening to a sample of the audio lessons online here, as this makes up a large portion of the teaching.

Website: https://www.dianawaring.com/product/romans-reformers-revolutionaries-essentials-pack/ 

Review: https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-reviews-core-curricula/history-and-geography/world-history-core-curricula/history-revealed-series 

Other Optional or Supplementary Resources

PDF Samples

Additional Support: Video Introduction (highly recommended): https://youtu.be/4fGpzXMiK7A 

 

Bible/Christian Studies

What On Earth Can I Do?

Type of Resource: Home education curriculum 

Description: What On Earth Can I Do?, the fourth book in the award-winning What We Believe series, helps students understand what it means to be a “good and faithful servant” of God (Matthew 25:23) and to be stewards of all the blessings we have from God. It will help them choose to put God first in every area of their lives based on biblical truths taught in this study of stewardship. This study will help them choose to put God first in every area of their lives based on these biblical truths:

  • God owns all things because He created and sustains all things
  • He has entrusted me with certain gifts and wants me to use these gifts for His glory
  • I honour God by using my money and possessions wisely
  • I glorify Him by investing my time and talents wisely
  • My body is not my own but has been bought at a price
  • God expects me to care for His creation
  • God will reward me for my faithfulness

Note From Curriculum Consultant: This resource works really well as a family devotional where discussion and open conversation are encouraged and fostered. The content is suitable for elementary grades through middle school, however, most Grade 8 students could work through this resource independently.

Website: https://www.apologia.com/product/what-on-earth-can-i-do-textbook/ 

Review: https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-extras/worldview-curriculum/what-we-believe-series 

Other Optional or Supplementary Resources

Table of Contents and PDF Samples: https://view.publitas.com/apologia/apologia-what-on-earth-sample/ 

Additional Support: https://www.apologia.com/faqs/