Yes, you read that right. And no, we're not "really" skipping the boys ahead a year from 7th grade to 9th. What we are doing is allowing them the opportunity to earn as many high school credits in the 8th grade as our state will allow. (Or our homeschool association...I'm not entirely certain which entity is in control of that, but I'm working on finding out.)
They will be tackling the following classes officially:
Algebra I (Life of Fred)
Physical Science (Apologia)
Biology I (Apologia)
World History (MOH II and III)
English I (well, the equivalent, anyway. American Literature, IEW, and Vocabulary/Grammar)
They'll continue working on Bible, Spanish, and obtaining their ham radio licenses, as well. We haven't pushed Spanish...just exposed them to it over the past two years in preparation for formal classes.
Oh, and they may or may not be taking a Photography course, depending on if we have time for it at co-op.
Why are we attempting two sciences in one year? Well, because we want to. First of all, the Physical Science doesn't count as a "Lab Science" towards their college prep. courses for college. Second, we want them to have the same opportunities (or more) as their older siblings had. Or didn't have. Their oldest brother was able to work through BIO I & II, Chemistry I & II and Anatomy in high school because Physical Science wasn't required as a high school credit. Their sister, on the other hand, was a victim of a "Let's Change the Rules and Throw Them All Off" in her 8th grade year, so her class was made to take Physical Science as a formal high school credit. Which is no big deal, except it meant that they weren't able to take as many advanced sciences as previous classes had. The boys will participate in Physical Science at co-op, completing their assignments and doing their lab work along with their classmates. We're going to do Biology mostly at home. (Unless maybe a convenient time-slot opens up at co-op.) That way we can take longer on a chapter (or module) as we need to, or move along more quickly when we can. They'll sit in on dissection at co-op, but we'll do our own here, too. If Biology takes a full calendar year instead of 180 days, then so be it. If it doesn't, then great!
They'll be in different IEW classes this year, too. Ryan will be taking the US History based course while Zach will be in Creative Writing and Poetry. Well...they have different interests and abilities...and they excel in different areas. Which brings me to math...
They'll most likely be taking different maths. Ugh!
Once again, different abilities. Ryan is almost finished with both Pre-Algebra books, and he's definitely ready to attempt full-blown Algebra. Zach has just recently begun Pre-Algebra and is working in the first book...and he's doing great considering where he was two years ago with math. But I doubt that he's going to be prepared for Algebra I by August unless he works all summer.
And I don't think that idea would go over well.
You may be wondering why we didn't just decide to put the boys into 9th grade. Well, if they officially go to 8th grade next year, and then they end up earning all of their credits for high school early, then they have a couple of choices. They can attend the local college and start earning dual credit. They can graduate early and go ahead to college full time. They can just stay in high school and earn a few extra credits on their diploma.
If we declare that they're in the 9th grade in the fall, then they have four years to get finished with high school. That'll mean 6 or so classes a year for four years and they'll all count. If they should struggle with anything, they'll be rushing to make it up. If they want to study something in more depth, or take a more advanced class, they wouldn't have time to really go much further. So...this is the way we'll do it.
Unless someone tells me that we can't. But we'll be doing it this way anyway...so it doesn't matter. ;)
I'll post more on this and add links to our curriculum when I have a spare moment. In the meantime, you're welcome to share your thoughts...