Help! Confused about 8th grade LA guidelines per SCM guidelines

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  • hlmckinney7

    A newbie here needing some guidance please!  I am loving SCM and am heavily relying on the various guidelines on the website.  Last year was our first year homeschooing, and this will be our FIRST CM school year.  I see that the SCM Free Curriculum guide “Step by Step guidelines” state this for 8th grade:

    • Require oral and written narrations; throughout the year work on expository and descriptive styles; include story, poetry, letter, and script forms

    I don’t know exactly where these items get covered/if I have them covered in what I am planning so far.  I have no idea if I have the right idea, but was thinking of doing this for him for LA this year:

    1) Analytical Grammar — Seasons 1 and 2 (so up through lesson 17) with Reinforcement lessons in between the seasons.

    2) Spelling Wisdom — still somewhat confused by what all this covers/how often to do it. Should I start with Book 3 as recommended or an easier version?

    3) Start a book of Mottoes — I do not at all foresee him enjoying this. He has always liked to write as little as at all possible…nevertheless I have to make him do some things.

    4) I think I will start the year with a remedial copybook of some sort (Print to Cursive Proverbs?) — he hates to write and doesn’t have nice cursive (or manuscript for that matter).

    FYI, he believes he hates composition and so I am kinda excited to skip that for now — felt validated by something I read that CM said to wait until age 14 at the earliest to teach composition.  I think I should begin the year with oral narrations and gradually ask for written narrations.

    Am I on the right track? Am I covering what needs to be covered? Any suggestions? He is a very bright boy, and did well at school (learned how to make good grades for tests), but I’m afraid he needs to learn back the love of learning…that was squelched in school, and although he enjoys reading fairly well, he is not a fan of “work” especially writing (you probably have gathered that by now :).

    Thank you!!


    Me again — I forgot to mention Literature.  We will do Module 1 as a family, so he’ll be reading his grade-level books for that, and since he was not a fan of Apologia Science last year, I though I’d have him just read/narrate the 6-7 books listed on the SCM Free Curriculum Guide as Living books for Physical Science.  And, I suppose that still leaves “Literature” which is supposed to be read aloud as a family? There are groupings of recommended books on the SCM guide as well.  My kids are 8th, 5th and 3rd (and a 2 year old in the mix). I haven’t chosen which grouping of selections yet — aim for somewhere in the middle of my kids’ age ranges? Does this all sound right for Literature?

    Thank you!

    Sonya Shafer

    Heather, it sounds like you’re an “old pro”! You’re exactly right that you want to give him plenty of practice in oral narration before you require him to write them as compositions. Let him get fluent in the mental process and not bog him down in the delivery by writing. You can make that transition later.

    For Spelling Wisdom, you would do two exercises per week. Watch the video on the Spelling Wisdom page to see how it’s done. I wouldn’t have him do copywork and Spelling Wisdom on the same day, so you might alternate: for example, M, W, TH are copywork and T, F are Spelling Wisdom. 

    If the Book of Mottoes would leave him sour at this point, don’t worry about it. It is meant to be a delight, not a trial. 

    I would probably recommend the Middle Group for Literature with your ages of kids.

    If you’re doing mainly oral narrations, as suggested, at this point, don’t worry about the story, poetry, letter styles listed. Focus mainly on giving him experience with narrative, expository, and descriptive oral narrations. A narrative would be telling the story (“Tell me the story of _____.”). Expository would be explaining something he read about and how it works; this one might work well for the science books, where it might not be so much of a story as an explanation for him to retell. Descriptive would be describing what something would look like. So feel free to use all three types as they fit best with the material he is reading. You’ll probably do it naturally anyway. If he’s reading about how a magnet works, for example, you wouldn’t ask him to tell you “the story of” a magnet, you would ask him to “explain how” a magnet works. It’s pretty much common sense. You’ll do fine!


    Thank you for this detailed advice, Sonya.  Your website and this forum have helped me so much, and I just keep telling my husband how excited I am for this upcoming school year.  I often feel like doing cartwheels as I discover how rich and fun learning can be. It feels like an old friend that I had forgotten all about, myself. Thank you for making CM so simple!  


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