Eighth Grade Curriculum - Kolbe Academy

Eighth Grade Curriculum


Course Texts:

  • Religion 8 Course Plan & Tests
  • Our Life in the Church, Textbook
  • Our Life in the Church, Activity Book (Optional)
  • Our Life in the Church, Teacher Manual (Optional)
  • St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism #2
  • St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism #2 (Optional)

Course Description:

Eighth Grade Religion introduces the student to ecclesiology, the study of the Church, covering the origin and nature, and teaching and governing authority of the Church.  It looks at the sacraments, Mary, the saints, and our separated brethren.  The course addresses the work of the Christian in the world, through virtue, the works of mercy, vocations (single, religious, and married), and the law, conscience, and social order.  It also looks at the four last things, of death, judgment, heaven, and hell.  The course is written to help the student to desire to imitate the saints of the Church.

Bible History

Course Texts:

  • Bible History 8 Course Plan & Tests
  • Bible History: A Textbook of the Old & New Testaments, Textbook
  • Bible History, Answer Key (Optional)
  • Bible History: A Textbook of the Old & New Testaments, Workbook w/answer key (Optional)

Course Description:

Grade Eight Bible History covers the last part of the Old Testament about how God’s chosen people were led into captivity and their kingdom was destroyed.  It leads into the New Testament and the fulfillment of God’s promise to His chosen people.

The text presents an important aspect for one who is going to be educated with a classical curriculum because it shows how God used all cultures and peoples to bring about the Redemption of mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is a TWO year course.  The first half of the book is presented in seventh grade and the second half in eighth grade.  It can be used in conjunction with the Religion course and done easily in one or two days a week.  If the student has not read the first part of the book in seventh grade, it is recommended that it be read before following the course plan for the eighth grade.  It would not be necessary to do the written work attached, but it would be beneficial to have the background for what will be covered this year.

English Grammar

Course Texts:

  • English 8 Course Plan & Tests
  • Lepanto Grammar 8, Textbook
  • Lepanto Grammar 8, Teacher Manual (Optional)
  • Diagramming Work Text, Workbook (Optional)

Course Description:

Grade Eight English is designed to teach students to speak and write correctly and effectively in the English language.  Students should progress, at this level, to an understanding of English grammar that should suffice for a lifetime of general usage with some amount of study of more complex construction.  The class will also emphasize, secondarily, training in the social graces, which are necessary for successful communication.

The lesson plan concentrates on Part Two of the book, which is Grammar.  Everything learned in English should be applied and reinforced in the student’s reading, composition, spelling, and vocabulary.  A dictionary is recommended for use in English.  The daily work should include memorization of fundamental rules of grammar.  The student should diagram sentences in exercises as he proceeds through the work.  There are many exercises in the back of the book following the Index that can be used if time permits.  The best way to teach English is by example and reinforcement of correct usage in the spoken and written word.

Note that Part One of Lepanto Grammar 8, which is Composition, is not used in this course.  Composition is studied in Kolbe Academy ‘s Vocabulary and Composition course using Sadlier-Oxford Composition Workshop series.

Vocabulary & Composition

Course Texts:

  • Vocabulary & Composition 8 Course Plan & Tests
  • Vocabulary Workshop Level C, Workbook
  • Vocabulary Workshop Level C, Teacher Edition
  • Writing Workshop Level C, Workbook
  • Writing Workshop Level C, Teacher Manual

Course Description:

Eighth Grade Composition uses Sadlier Writing Workshop, Level C to aid the student in developing composition skills, which are so necessary for further education.  These skills include developing thoughts in a logical manner, both for speaking and writing; writing narrative, informative, descriptive, and persuasive paragraphs and essays; test taking; and writing for different purposes, such as a newspaper, letters, a research report, and about literature.  Grade Eight Vocabulary uses Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop to encourage the student to use the new vocabulary words in speech and written work.  It also develops the student’s ability to work with synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, homographs, prefixes, suffixes, roots, denotation, connotation, literal usage, figurative usage, and analogies.  The best way to teach Vocabulary and Composition is by example and reinforcement of correct usage in the spoken and written word.

Classical Composition 5: Common Topic Stage

Note: As the fifth course in the Classical Composition sequence, it should be undertaken after completing the Fable Stage, the Narrative Stage, the Chreia/Maxim Stages, and the Refutation/Confirmation Stages.

Course Texts:

  • Classical Composition 5: Common Topic Stage Course Plan & Tests
  • Classical Composition Vol. V Student Book: Common Topic Stage
  • Classical Composition Vol. V Teacher Guide: Common Topic Stage

Course Description:

This set of exercises, Common Topic, is more difficult to categorize by modern composition theory, but would likely fall under the descriptive essay.  The students are learning how to amplify evil attributes.  They will use all of the previous skills learned in the exercises – narrative, expository, and argumentative – but must now apply those skills in a more creative and natural way than the previous stages.  The Common Topic exercises look more like an “essay.”

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Equip the apprentice writer to become an analytical reader and writer
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ for any given writing task
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in Invention (generating ideas), Arrangement (organizing ideas),and Decoration (stating the ideas in their most effective form) (Discovery, Organization, and Elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice between the teacher and student


History (Option 1: Guardian of Freedom)

Course Texts:

  • Guardian of Freedom Course Plan & Tests
  • Guardian of Freedom, Land of Our Lady Series Vol. V, Textbook
  • Guardian of Freedom, Answer Key (Optional)

Course Description:

Eighth Grade History looks at the United States and its place among other nations.  It begins with a look at American business, labor, and farming.  It then leads the student through World War I and World War II, ending with the preservation of American heritage and democracy.  Before going through the text of a chapter, check out the activities, etc. at the end of the chapter and the end of the unit.

History (Option 2: Light to the Nations Part 2)

Course Texts:

  • Light to the Nations 2 Course Plan & Tests
  • Light to the Nations: Part 2, Textbook
  • Light to the Nations: Part 2, Teacher Manual
  • Light to the Nations: Part 2, Workbook CD w/answer key for workbook, chapter quizzes, & tests (Optional but strongly recommended)

Course Description:

This volume presents the history of the modern era in story form, giving proper emphasis to dates, central characters, and key concepts in each era.  End of chapter reviews and other material highlight dates and events, characters in history, and definitions of key terms.  The central consideration of this volume is how modern ideas, institutions, and culture have developed from the high centuries of Christian culture.  Drawing on the guidance of Catholic thinkers and the popes (particularly Leo XIII, Pius XI, Pius XII, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI), this history presents the hope that Christian thought and work hold for the future.


Mathematics (Option 1: Saxon Pre-Algebra)

Course Texts:

  • Saxon Pre-Algebra Course Plan & Tests
  • Saxon Algebra 1/2, Homestudy Kit, Text & Workbook
  • Saxon Algebra 1/2, Solutions Manual

Course Description:

This Eighth Grade Mathematics course is a pre-Algebra course, providing a transition “from the concrete concepts of arithmetic to the abstract concepts of algebra.”  Students who may have struggled with Saxon Mathematics 8/7 are encouraged to use Saxon Algebra 1/2 prior to moving onto a course in Algebra I.  Topics covered include points, lines, and rays, roots, surface area, ratio and proportion, absolute value, parentheses, properties of algebra, exponents and signed numbers, classifying triangles, Roman numerals, probability, the Pythagorean theorem, permutations, and real numbers.

Mathematics (Option 2: Foundations of Algebra, Pre-Algebra)

Course Texts:

  • Foundations of Algebra Course Plan & Tests
  • Foundations of Algebra, Text & Workbook
  • Foundations of Algebra, Teacher Manual*

*Available for rent to currently enrolled families

The goal of Foundations of Algebra is to develop student’s mathematical problem-solving skills both in practical and abstract concepts to prepare the student for Algebra 1 study.  The series presents mathematical concepts in a linear manner, as an alternative to the review method presented in other programs.  This provides an alternative for a family that prefers to teach mathematics without constant review.  In addition, the series provides opportunities for strong math students to approach concepts that may be skipped in other series.  Upon completion of the course, students will be ready to move into Algebra 1.  The textbook is arranged into 14 chapters with lessons arranged to review concepts introduced in previous math programs while advancing students toward readiness for algebra.

In addition to computational skills, the program focuses on problem-solving strategies, making unpacking problems explicit so that students can be ready for future mathematics programs and standardized tests they may have to take for state requirements and/or college or high school entrances.  Through this series, we hope that students will develop important logic and reasoning skills that will be invaluable in future mathematics courses and throughout life.

Mathematics (Option 3: Saxon Algebra 1)

Course Texts:

  • Saxon Algebra I, Homestudy Kit, Student Text & Workbook
  • Saxon Algebra I, Solution Manual (Optional)

Course Description:

Students may begin this course after completing any pre-Algebra course, including the Saxon Math 8/7 (with pre-Algebra) course.  Students who struggled with Saxon 8/7 are advised to use Saxon Algebra 1/2 prior to beginning an Algebra I course.  Upon completion of Saxon’s Algebra I, students may either continue with the Saxon program by using Saxon’s Algebra 2 book, or may switch into a standard Geometry course using Jacob’s Geometry.  Please be advised that Saxon does not have a separate Geometry course.  The author instead integrates all Geometry concepts throughout the Algebra I, Algebra II, and Advanced Math programs.  It is advisable that all college bound students exclusively using the Saxon program complete through Advanced Math in order to cover all the Geometry and Trigonometry concepts that might appear on the PSAT, ACT, and SAT standardized tests.

This course covers the following topics:

  • Division by zero
  • Reciprocal & multiplicative inverse
  • Exponents
  • Algebraic phrases
  • Word problems
  • Canceling
  • Ratio
  • Conjunctions
  • Dividing fractions
  • Domain
  • Elimination
  • Closure
  • Probability
  • Algebraic proofs
  • Rational equations functions

Mathematics (Option 4: Foerster’s Algebra 1)

Course Texts:

  • Foerster’s Algebra I Course Plan & Tests
  • Foerster’s Algebra I, Textbook
  • Foerster’s Algebra I Home Study Companion, Tutorial flash-drive
  • Foerster’s Algebra I, Solution Manual (Optional)

Course Description:

The beginning Algebra I (K) course moves at a very quick pace as much of the material in the first 2 chapters is review of Pre-Algebra.  A review of decimals, fractions, and percentages is not included so parents should be sure the student is comfortable with those topics before beginning the course.  Students who do well in the Algebra I (K) course will find themselves ready for the study of Algebra II (K) or Algebra II/Trig (H) during the following year.

This text can be used after Saxon 8/7 with pre-Algebra if a student has done well in that course.  This text will cover:

  • Expression & Equations
  • Operations with Negative Numbers
  • Distributing Axioms & Other Properties
  • Harder Equations
  • Some Operations with Polynomials
  • Rational & Radical Algebraic Expressions
  • Inequalities & Functions


Science (Option 1: Physical Science)

Course Texts:

  • Physical Science Course Plan & Tests
  • Physical Science: Concepts in Action, Textbook
  • Physical Science, Answer Key (Optional)
  • Lab Report Writing Guide (Optional)

Course Description:

Physical Science studies the fundamental principles of physical science which are so important for the in depth approach to the high school sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.  The main emphasis in this course is on Chemistry and Physics, but the same scientific though processes are applied and used in the high school Biology course as well.  This course covers a breadth of material recommended both for eighth grade students interested in honors science coursework in high school.

Chemistry Topics:

  • Properties & states of matter
  • Atomic structure
  • Periodic table
  • Chemical bonds & reactions
  • Solutions, acids, & bases

Physics Topics:

  • Forces & motion
  • Work, power, & machines
  • Energy, mechanical waves, & sound
  • Electromagnetic spectrum & light
  • Optics, electricity, & magnetism

Ideally, this course should be taken concurrently with Algebra I.  However, strong math students will find that a Pre-Algebra course provides most of the necessary math skills needed to complete this course successfully.

Science (Option 2: Earth)

Course Texts:

  • Earth Science Course Plan & Tests
  • Pearson Earth Science, Textbook
  • Earth Science, Answer Key (Optional)

Course Description:

Earth Science covers topics in geology, hydrology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy.  There are several website resources that correspond with the Pearson Earth Science program including the “Active Art” and “Map It” activities included in the course plan.  These are optional, extra activities for students who are interested in the subjects being covered in that section.  The National Science Teachers Association has also provided a centralized place for added information on topics that appear in the textbook.  Students may search for topics at http://www.phschool.com.

The topics in the field of Earth Science sometimes present students and parents with controversial issues, including the origin of life on earth, formation of the universe (cosmology), and other issues.  It is up to the parents as first teachers of their children to discuss these issues with their students and instruct the students in Church teaching.  We have done our best to point out these controversial issues and to provide guidance on how to address them.  For example, the topic of the Big Bang is studied in Quarter 4, Week 4, but Church teaching on this issue is addressed within the course plan.

The Pearson Earth Science textbook is intended for a high school audience.  The material presented in some chapters may be beyond the abilities of a younger student.  Parents should not hesitate to modify the course plan to fit the aptitude of their student even if that means omitting some topics.  Parents may also make the course less rigorous by allowing younger students to use their books and notes on exams.

How to Choose a Middle School Science

Science (Option 3: Life)

Course Texts:

  • Life Science Course Plan & Tests
  • Microorganisms, Fungi, & Plants (Short Course A), Textbook
  • Animals (Short Course B), Textbook
  • Cells, Heredity, & Classification (Short Course C), Textbook
  • Environmental Science (Short Course E), Textbook
  • Life Science, Answer Key (Optional)

Course Description:

Life Science covers topics in life science at a middle school level, including: cells and living organisms, animals and plants, heredity and classification, and the environment.  Microorganisms, Fungi, and Plants & (Short Course A) is covered in first quarter, Animals (Short Course B) is covered in second quarter, Cells, Heredity and Classification (Short Course C) is covered in third quarter, and Environmental Science (Short Course E) is covered in fourth quarter.  There are several website resources that correspond with the Holt Science and Technology series.

The science of life may occasionally present the student with some of the bioethical issues that exist in today’s world.  It is the role of the parent to discuss these issues with the student and instruct the student in Church Teaching.  We have done our best to point out these controversial issues and to provide guidance on how to address them.  For example, the topic of evolution is discussed in 3rd quarter and notes on Church teaching has been included in the course plan where appropriate.  These notes should be used as points of discussion between the student and parent and to bring in the Church’s important teaching on moral and bioethical issues.

In general, this course is meant to be a survey of several topics in a Life Science course.  As such, it does not have the necessary depth for a high school level Life Science course.  High school credit, therefore, is not available for this middle school Life Science course.  This course prepares students well for high school biology.  In general, this course should be completed at some point during the middle school years whether that be in 6th, 7th, or even 8th grade.  No particular math skills are needed for successfully completion of this course.


Course Texts:

  • Fourth Form Latin Course Plan & Tests
  • Fourth Form Latin, Set
  • Henle Latin I, Textbook
  • Henle Latin I, Answer Key
  • Henle Latin Grammar
  • Latin Grammar Card (Optional)

Course Description:

Fourth Form Latin completes the journey of Latin grammar by reviewing all material in FirstSecond, and Third Form, completing all verb forms for all four conjugations by studying participles, infinitives, gerunds, and much more.  Fourth Form continues to employ the identical format of First Form-an attractive, concise Student Text, systematic presentation in five units, extensive Workbook exercises, and a Teacher Manual with everything you need to successfully teach this course.  The First Year Henle text is required for some translation practice.

Greek (Year 2)

Course Texts:

  • Greek 2 Course Plan & Tests
  • Basic Greek in 30 Minutes a Day, Workbook

Course Description:

Eighth Grade Greek uses the second half of a book ideally suited for grade school age students.  Greek is the language of the New Testament and of translations of the Old Testament that were used by the writers of the New Testament; as such it is an integral part of every Catholic’s heritage.  Students continue to work to master the Greek alphabet, vocabulary, noun genders, noun cases, and prepositions and cases.  The student will also learn key Greek words for Biblical study, and further their knowledge of the English language by seeing how Greek roots and grammar are used in English.