Today we are finishing up our high school homeschooling guest post with the help of Samantha from Le Chaim (on the right). Let’s walk.
According to Samantha
Homeschooling has many perks. However, homeschooling high school is a different story. Education becomes a bigger issue, as the alphabet begins to mix with once simple addition. Science becomes complex. English is, well, English.
When I began homeschooling in fourth grade, we didn’t know it at the time, but we started out with one of the most advanced curriculums possible – A Beka.
A Beka is extremely rigorous, and known for plentiful tears, but, it is a high quality curriculum. After a less-than-perfect 7/8 grade year with a unit study (Unit studies are not for me), I went back to A Beka for my freshman year, ninth grade. A Beka started my homeschool journey and I was just tired of messing around with everything.
I hadn’t realized how much I had grown in the past year. I didn’t necessarily agree with A Beka’s World Geography, and as a historian, I have grown to hate history textbooks. I got tired of A Beka’s grammar, BUT I would highly recommend every student take at least one year of A Beka’s language/grammar series.
If you read often and really study and absorb the material, you will have perfect syntax. A Beka’s high school math curriculum is a reprint of a textbook from the early 1900s. (So THAT is why it was so hard!)
So…I threw a fit and decided to quit the only curriculum I knew and was comfortable with – but the problem is I had to research new curriculum for every subject.
I used Saxon’s edition 3 Algebra 2 with Geometry and enjoyed it. It was definitely tough, but it explained things a bit better than A Beka did, and whenever I have questions, it comes with free assistance, which has been a huge help. My Vocabulary, with the visual SAT-prep Marie’s Words flashcards were my favorite curriculum choice. Such a fun and easy way to learn vocabulary – and keep it long term.
I chose Stobaugh’s American Literature and American History. What made me go with it? It’s analytical, AP-level claims. And, Stobaugh had one of my all-time favorite novels on the required reading list, The Chosen by Chaim Potok. The American Literature required me to read 20 major classical works, ranging from 100 pages to 300 pages – plus many short stories, poems, and short essays. Unfortunately, the middle of the book list was out of order, so about four months into the school year, I had to rearrange the curriculum quite a bit.
For history, I think the curriculum has so much potential, but I wished it would have had more information in it. Instead, it requires the student to do a lot of extra in-depth research, but it does not tell you what to research for the tests. Therefore, you end up flunking every test. Although both are good analytical curriculums, they both could use improvement – they both need more depth/analysis. As an analytical person, I admired a lot of what Stobaugh had to say and wish the curriculum was bigger. I didn’t pass the AP test, but spoke with a retired AP English teacher explained the test is pretty arbitrary.
I plan on using a modified (creationist) CK-12 biology textbook and some books for Biology next year. For Chemistry, I plan on using the 101 Series’ Chemistry 101, a visual science curriculum which I am anxious to try. I’m doing Saxon again for Geometry/Pre-Calculus. I’m doing Blogging, Hebrew (Mango, see here,) and I will be learning HTML coding through Code Academy.com. And then, technically, I’m done with high school and will be doing college testing for the next few years, and hopefully have an Associates degree by the time I’m 18. Sweet!
Technology has played an essential role in our homeschool. The Internet has a wealth of information and knowledge right at our finger tips. The Apple App Store has a lot of fun and educational games, and not just for kids. One of our favorite apps is Geography Quiz Game. Being competitive, I can play with my sister and although questions are ridiculously hard, they do repeat so you begin to slowly memorize them.
Maple Leaf Soft. have nice history apps, with each app focusing on a specific time period. There are many free graphing calculator and trig apps that help. Here is a list of apps I used.
There honestly is no full list a student should read before high school. Here are a few classics to get you started
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(Was pretty good)
- The Chosen – Chaim Potok
(Favorite classic ever!)
- A Farewell to Arms
(Was pretty good)
- One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
- To Kill A Mockingbird
- Old Man and the Sea
- Cry, the Beloved Country
- Animal Farm
(This was SO GOOD! A MUST READ!.)
- War and Peace
(Book sounds boring)
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin
- Catcher in the Rye
(My sister says this book is wicked boring)
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Count of Monte Cristo
(Highly recommend the abridged version)
- The Three Musketeers
- Les Miserables
(My sister’s favorite book)
- A Tale of Two Cities (and any other Charles Dickens)
- Scarlet Letter
(Was pretty good)
- Pictures of Dorian Gray
- Treasure Island
- The Great Gatsby
- The Crucible
- The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Some sites recommend reading “modern” classics, like The Help or The Book Thief. I would also HIGHLY recommend Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, a thrilling biography about a revel who becomes an Olympian, surveys 47 days in an inflated raft without food or water, survives two years in a Japanese POW camp and later goes back to forgive his captors. It is a great, inspiring story of faith and courage! And of course, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. My book list is about 200 books long, and has mostly a bunch of obscure WWII books. 🙂
1) Lee Binz,the HomeScholar, has many short how-to high school books that are short and quick, but packed with valuable information.
2) HSLDA.org has fantastic legal references for homeschoolers, plus high school requirements.
3) My Pinterest High School board has a lot of useful information, as does this post I wrote primarily for those starting high school. It is a very comprehensive article on everything you need to know from transcripts to grades.
For high school, learn your state’s graduation requirements, and then create a 4 year high school plan. For choosing curriculum, I recommend reading reviews by people who have used it, and finding out which ones fit your needs and learning style.
Samantha S. is a teenage homeschooler from Indiana, USA. Samantha is interested in WWII history, Israel, and politics. Her specialties are words, frugality, homeschooling, and procrastination. When not blogging, Samantha spends her time reading, trying to speak Hebrew, and wasting time on Pinterest.