A Flexible Fourth Semester of Eighth Grade

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Homeschooling provides us with the freedom to tailor our children’s education. Although my older daughter started high school at thirteen, we decided to extend middle school an extra year for my fourteen-year-old twin daughters. In their third semester of eighth grade, we completed the Sonlight Eastern Hemisphere Core. Taking an extended holiday break, we traveled to Taiwan for six weeks. Finally, by the third week of January, we were home, had overcome jetlag, and were excited to get back to homeschool. Would you like to see what the twins are studying in their fourth semester of eighth grade?


Sonlight is again taking center stage, but this time around, we’re learning about World History. Since we covered Ancient and Medieval History a couple of years ago, we jumped right into the second half of world history.

We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our next crew review item. When our biography of Captain John Smith arrives from YWAM Publishing next week, we will use it to supplement our history studies. Look for our full review in March!


Alongside Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World series, the girls and I are reading historical fiction novels that are scheduled in the Sonlight Instructor Guide.

Presently, we are captivated by A Murder for Her Majesty. This novel, set in England, depicts a musically gifted girl who hides in a boys’ choir after her father’s murder. Unfortunately, those who killed her father are searching for her too! What will happen when she is discovered?

Grammar & Writing

Since the twins enjoyed Fix It! Grammar, Level 2, last year, moving forward to Level 3 was a no-brainer.

While reading selections from an ongoing story, the girls learn and practice a new grammar concept each week. For each day’s lesson, they identify parts of speech and correct a short passage on their worksheet. Afterward, they copy that day’s selection into a spiral notebook. When they finish Level 3, they will have written the entire story correctly.

Fix-It! Grammar dovetails nicely with the Student Intensive Writing course from the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

In the fall, we completed the first half of the program. Picking up where they left off, the girls are continuing to improve their writing this semester. Approximately every two weeks, they each hand in another writing assignment.


Although we missed a few weeks of our Community Bible Study (CBS) class while we were overseas, the girls have been excited to get back to it.

We arrived just in time to start a new book entitled Christian Living, which guides us through Philemon, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and Jude.

This semester’s Sonlight Bible assignments are fabulous. The BBC Manual: Turning Your Bedroom Into a Bible College is enriching the girls’ understanding of the Bible.

I almost postponed it until after our CBS class is finished in April. I’m glad I didn’t. So far, the girls have learned what makes the Bible unique and have explored the types of literature contained in it. Later, the book will cover several Bible study methods.

Each week, our Sonlight Instructor Guide schedules a couple of chapters from books like Live Like a Jesus Freak and How to Stay Christian in High School. Currently, we are working our way through But Don’t All Religions Lead to God?

This book shatters the common cultural misconception that Jesus is no better than the founders of other religions. I love the way the author presents this challenging topic on a level that even young teens can comprehend.


Because missions was such a substantial part of our studies last year, the girls and I signed up to review Venturing With God in Congo for the Homeschool Review Crew.

It’s exciting to read about the adventures of a 20th Century missionary family who followed God’s call to Africa. We will post our full review on the blog next month.


We stepped back into Saxon Algebra 2 right where we had left off in November.

Although a few concepts were tough to remember at first, everything quickly became familiar once again. The twins had already completed a third of the book in the fall. Before summer, they plan to finish another third. After completing Algebra 2 (which also includes some geometry and trigonometry) next fall, the girls will be ready for Advanced Math in January 2021.


I had planned for the twins to start studying middle school physics this semester. However, when I saw how excited they were about planning a garden with Dad, I changed my mind.

They were excited about plants. Exploring all that is included in my SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership (affiliate link), I discovered a high school level Botany course (affiliate link) that would help the girls learn the science behind gardening.

So far, both twins been delighted with the class, which includes plenty of hands-on activities.

Current Events & the World Around Us

Last semester, we all missed reading from our favorite news source. While prayerfully considering what we should include this spring, I realized I needed to renew our subscription to WorldTeen.

Eagerly, the twins gather around the computer with me each morning to read the trending news from a godly perspective. Additional feature stories expand their understanding of a variety of topics related to geography, science and technology, popular culture, law, and finance.

Flexible Scheduling

What a full schedule! Because the girls are studying so many topics, I’m working hard to remain adaptable. Rather than assigning due dates for every item on our lesson plan, we are working our way through a simple assignment list.

On some days, we don’t get to every subject. When late afternoon approaches, I end the homeschool day for my hard-working twins. Why should we race to finish assignments? The girls need time to be kids too. Often, I send them outside to play.

When the girls had an opportunity to volunteer at church today, I took advantage of our flexible schedule. Instead of attempting to squeeze in all of our Friday assignments, we saved them for Monday. Coincidentally, my executive decision gave us all time to straighten up the house a bit.

Homeschooling our children provides so much freedom. We can offer highly motivated kids the chance to move forward more quickly and possibly graduate early. For teens who would benefit from an extra year at home, we can extend their homeschool education. Following our own schedule, we can travel overseas to gain a new perspective on the world. And when we are flexible with our homeschool lesson plans, we can offer an enormous variety of topics for study. Is your homeschool flexible?

How do you remain flexible while homeschooling? Share your ideas in the comments below.