Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Calvert School 8th Grade Review

My little Ryan starts High School tomorrow! *sob*

Don't tell me a 14 year old who's 6'3" isn't little. You'll make me cry. *sob*

Ryan finished eighth grade with Algebra I in June. There's no doubt that Algebra was the hardest thing to teach, made even harder by the fact that he really doesn't like math. Nonetheless, the parent can teach the child either by presenting him with the manual or reading the material from the manual to him and going through the steps to demonstrate the skill being taught. No prior Algebra experience is required. Calvert supplied the textbook, lesson manual and an answer key that shows the steps used for solving the problem, not just the answer, so you can figure out where the child made his error.

I bought the 2008-2009 8th grade curriculum, because I wanted the old reading books, including Johnny Tremain, Hounds of the Baskervilles, rThe Prince and The Pauper, and David Copperfield. Ryan enjoyed all of these EXCEPT Copperfield. He's learned that while Dickens may tell a good story, and it may make a good movie, paying authors by the word makes for dull reading. I believe all of these books have been replaced by more contemporary works, and I don't necessarily agree with that decision, but Calvert didn't consult me before doing it. Calvert also supplied a very big book of poetry, many of which were epic poems, to which Ryan had mixed reactions. Spelling is still the original Calvert course, about 20 words per day for the first 3 days of the week, with the last two days devoted to working on misspelled words. They also use a very interesting vocabulary book, with exercises that are interesting, and even your eighth grader would admit "might be" fun. Grammar and Composition are taught from the same book, Elements of Language, and sentence diagramming reinforces the structure of grammar. There are not too many compositions assigned, usually one every week or 2, but a great deal of time is spent developing each composition. There were also some fun exercises included; Ryan made travel brochures for "Once In a Lifetime" trips to Venus (bring coloring books and crayons to keep small children amused for the long ride) and the Jurassic period (stay with your tour group; we cannot be responsible for people carried off by dinosaurs).
The US History course was very detailed, and Geography was neatly intertwined with History. Science was taught through a series of 5 books, including Geology, Space, Electricity, and Environment. There were Calvert-created workbooks to help with the study of both of these subjects. Ryan's greatest regret was that Virgil Hillyer didn't have a fourth History of Art course for eighth grade.

I'm proud of how much my boy learned in Calvert School. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to cry because he's that much closer to flying the coop. *sob*


Debbie Cook said...

High School, as in not homeschooling anymore? Seems like everyone is flying the coop this month. Sobbing right with you!

altadenahiker said...

Aw, I'm sorry. But also curious. Many kids are homeschooled in my neck of the woods, and I know you've been through this before with your older children -- is the adjustment difficult when they hit high school? How do you ease the transition -- or is that less of an issue than it seems to be?

TavoLini said...

Awww--you have prepared him so well he will definitely enjoy and embrace high school!

Have to admit, I'm curious as to what the new lit is. As a librarian and the daughter of an English teacher ;) I did love Johnny Tremain, and have to admit that a lot of the new YA fiction is really, really good.

Mickle in NZ said...

You given Ryan an excellent, very well rounded education so I'm sure he'll be fine. 6'3" already - I wonder who will approach him first? The football or the baskestball coach?

Channon said...

You know that I called Mugsy my baby-man right up until his very last breath. He was at least 98 in people years, so you just go right ahead and call any and all of your babies little or whatever else makes you happy! ;)

Pam said...

I am sad for you but happy for your little BIG guy. High school can be pretty exciting!

I dropped my son off at kindergarten this morning. He's so excited. I cried the whole way home. Luckily he's only there for 2 1/2 hours so I'll still have him with me most of the day.

To answer your question... yes, he missed his sister yesterday!

HermitJim said...

Pretty good size or a young man! Must have been all that good, home baked bread and stuff!

They do grow up fast, don't they?

TavoLini said...

Thanks for getting back to me! Well, definitely have them read the classics--I mean, you're never going to win on Jeopardy otherwise ;)

Joking aside--classics are necessary to understand the contexts of later texts. That said, The Chosen is really a great book. I loved Charlotte Doyle, too, but don't think it is a very realistic portrayal. The Pearl is...well, kind of dark.

Keep me updated with the books that your children prefer--I'm really fascinated and impressed with your curriculum. Thank you for sharing!