Every year I spend endless hours researching curriculum in hopes of making the best choices for our family for that particular school year. It's a battle trying to balance my own likes and desires and that of my high school student. I spend time in prayer asking for wisdom and even write out all my academic goals for the year. And yet, I have still made curriculum choices that I have not been the right "fit" for our family.
Homeschooling during the high school years can be daunting. My hope is that this blog will serve to encourage you to continue your journey and end strong. I hope this gives you food for thought as you tackle the task of choosing your homeschool high school curriculum.
I am NOT a math person. The very thought of teaching high school level math is nauseating.
We have loved two curriculums:
CTC Math-How it Works:
Each of the 1,400+ CTCMath tutorials last around 4-9 minutes and presents the concepts of the math lesson step-by-step. Using synchronized audio and animation which harnesses both audio and visual learning styles simultaneously. CTCMath lessons can be studied at home or at school and even on some modern mobile phones. Lessons are interesting and stimulating in themselves, and which will encourage the student, once started, to continue studying.
What do I love about this curriculum? It's self paced, self checking, and you may pick and choose from various lessons. You can purchase one package for the entire family and at a great price. They offer a free trial!
Read my complete review:
Math-U-See-This is a video based curriculum that also uses manipulatives. Great for the visual and kinesthetic learner.
7 Sisters Homeschool-Cinema Studies
If you have a reluctant reader, yet still want your high school student to understand literature concepts, than this is your answer!
This curriculum can be purchased as a package or as an a-la- cart by choosing your own movies as literature.
How it Works: Our family chose the a-la-cart method. We picked one movie per month. I purchased the literature package, printed out the needed copies, and watched the movie.
Afterward, they worked on the literature/movie packet assignments.
How to have fun: This curriculum works great with a group of students. This school year I opened my home to 12 students. Each month we gathered, with yummy snacks, and watched the movie together. Then each student went home and worked on their packet. The next month, prior to beginning our new movie, we discussed our packets together, reading essays and reviewing all discussion questions.
7 Sisters Homeschool offers various classes for your high school student.
Lightning Literature: We have used the American Literature series for the upper grades and loved it! I thought it was very easy to teach and it also works well in a group or co-op setting.
Take a peek: Hewitt Learning
How it Works: It is written directly to the student, well-organized, user-friendly (no teacher prep), and both traditional and diverse in the reading selections, these courses offer quality literary analysis coupled with step-by-step writing instruction. Assignments are thought-provoking and challenging.
The Student Book includes instructional text, shorter works (i.e. poetry, excerpts), author background, discussion questions (comprehension, thought, literary), and writing exercises. The Teacher Guide provides answers, schedules, teaching/grading tips, rubrics, project suggestions/checklists, and grade-tracking records.
Literature Packages for each course that include the Student Book, the Teacher Guide, and the necessary literature books.
All students should have a basic understanding of how to express their thoughts and opinions using the written word. For those who plan attend college they will need to focus on writing all sorts of essays and research papers at a higher level and should learn to do them well.
I find that my kids do better with an online writing program. This gives them accountability and gets them used to using a computer and a syllabus. But my favorite part of these writing programs is that I don't have to read or grade any of the work! I like that they are getting feed back about their writing from someone other than me. We begin taking the online writing programs during the middle school years.
Essentials in Writing: We have enjoyed using this program this school year. We chose to pay the extra for the online grading option. What I like is that there is a short video lesson about the writing process. The student works on the topic and send to the online teachers. It is returned for improvements and submitted for final grade. We have used various programs and found this one to be at a more relaxed pace, which fits our lifestyle.
Another plus with this program is that you can have two students take the same course.
They offer this writing program from elementary thru high school level. I plan to use this again next school year with adding our younger child to the program.
We also enjoyed Essentials in Literature! Take a peek:
Other online writing programs with grading option (it's the only way to go!) that we have used and recommend:
Write at Home: You can buy the entire year of English or choose the 6-8 week writing courses that fits your student's needs or writing interest:
Time 4 Writing: Again, you can purchase the entire program or simply pay for the writing course that fits your student's needs.
United States Government
This year, with the election, we chose to study American Government. Over the years we have used various curriculums for our high school student. But this year I wanted us to all learn together. I found the perfect fit for our family...Gather Round Homeschool.
How it works: I purchased the digital package that included all grade levels. This allowed me to print off the levels that I needed...elementary, middle and high school.
We read the lessons aloud and then each student had their own work to complete at their level. We watched youtube videos, read books, and watched movies that the author suggested. I found the lessons to be a good length for our little ones, but had enough depth for our older children. This was a semester course. It has been the best government study we have done.
Gather Round uses a unit study approach that appeals to many large families.
Health and Nutrition
As a nurse I have taught many homeschool co-op health classes. But this year my daughter wanted to focus on natural homeopathic medicine and anatomy. We have loved:
Every Herb Bearing Seed by Sandi Queen Homeschool
How it works: This is not a textbook. Rather, it's a story that the student reads and then completes their own research.
Idea: We gathered with other moms and daughters every other week. Prior to class we do all the reading and research...even the moms. We gathered, in the casual atmosphere of my living room, with healthy snacks and discussed our research findings. I have learned so much!
You can learn so much science & nutrition just by cooking! Check out by blog on the benefits of teaching your children to cook: Learn While Cooking (raisingourtribe.org)
There are tons of science curriculums that are wonderful. We have used so many. In this blog I will share the most recent upper level sciences that we have enjoyed.
Physical Science: My son says the best physical science is Exploration Education.
We plan to use the curriculum again next year with our other two children.
How it works: The student watches a short video, completes the workbook assignment and builds a hands on project (that comes with the program).
Biology: Apologia biology is a great program. I have taught this course in a co-op setting. If you have a child that is a visual learner, I advise purchasing the videos. It has a strong lab component. I recommend buying the entire kit.
Science 101 Series: This is a video based program. They offer General Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Labs are optionally. I have always said that if I had these videos during my high school years I would have done so much better in my classes! I have used these in two ways: as a core curriculum and as a supplement.
Exploring Agriscience: If you have a student interested in agriculture, horticulture and farming than this is the book for them. It is very self directed. The student reads the material and completes the Light Units. It does not include a labs that most high school sciences require. We chose to add our own...learning the pH of our soil, testing our water, and so much more.
Hands on science is the best way to retain what they learn!
Dave Ramsey Personal Finance is a high school graduation requirement for our children.
Caleb enjoyed the online class this school year, as well as Foundation in Entrepreneurship.
I love the fact that these were both online with videos and exams. He never complained about either class!
A great way to teach your teen about finances is to allow them to get a job!
I love history! It's one of those subjects that we can do together, even if we only enjoy a read aloud, watch a historical movie, or have discussions. Here are a few that we recommend:
Notrass Company: This biblically based history/geography/literature curriculum can be used from elementary school thru high school. We love that all the kids could study the same time period in American History, yet read their own level textbook. We would gather together for movies and read alouds. The literature component is optional.
Mystery of History: We love this curriculum! As a family we have gathered in the living room while I read aloud from our lesson. They syllabus is well written with suggesting three days per week. There are tons of activities, movie suggestions, mapping projects, recipes and reading suggestions. This curriculum has a strong biblical foundation. We have used all four volumes.
When planning your high school homeschool remember that you have the freedom to make your own choices. We want our children to have a strong foundation in the bible, as well as educational "basics." We try to gear our classes towards their goals and well as giving a solid foundation in reading, writing and math. We encourage them to work a part time job while starting a savings account to purchase their own vehicles. We offer them opportunities to explore their interests and allow them to make their own schedules.
Enjoy each milestone: Why Your Homeschool Senior Needs a Graduation Ceremony | Raising Our Tribe
As a mom who has graduated seven of our children from homeschool I can give this one piece of advise....PRAY. God will speak clearly to you and give you wisdom.
Remember, God has a plan for your child!
One of the greatest experiences to give your high school student is a mission trip or the chance to travel! Cultural Education | Raising Our Tribe
Sometimes giving our children wings is not easy!
Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to share this with your friends. Leave me some comments of your favorite high school curriculum choices. Have a blessed day!