Homeschool 10th Grade - Curriculum Plans

Homeschooling high school doesn't have to be scary.

Yes, it is higher stakes than homeschooling elementary school. Yes, it requires more planning, record keeping, and grading. 

And yes, it can sometimes feel like an enormous responsibility (because it IS). 

Homeschooling "big kids", however, is a great joy and honor. It is where we are able to witness the fruits of our labor.

There are so many wonderful CONVERSATIONS to be had when you homeschool high school. There are DEEP subjects to be tackled. There are so many social aspects (too numerous to count) to be avoided when you homeschool high school. 

There are abundant opportunities to grow and learn alongside your teen, and for this I am thankful. 

Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans

Homeschool High School - The BIG Plan

We have made the commitment to homeschool high school using the Classical Conversations Challenge program as our SPINE. My daughter is part of a class of 7 young people who come together once a week to discuss their work and receive guidance from their tutor. 

( It really is a BEAUTIFUL model for learning, and I'm very thankful we have a thriving Challenge community in our area. )

This year Anna will be participating in Challenge II:

Challenge II is a rich study of ideas that challenges students to work hard, write well, and think deeply. Students are given thought-provoking British literature that ranges from Paradise Lost to Out of the Silent Planet. Tutors lead lively class discussions and debates, and students are challenged with writing assignments they complete at home. Students participate in biology labs and read dramas aloud in radio theatre style. In the method of earlier research-based science seminars, students are asked to write their own history of art and music. In conjunction with their art studies, students design an art installation, write a hypothetical art grant, and vote on allocating funds to the various proposals. Students also enjoy challenging each other in formal team policy debates on related topics.
— Classical Conversations


Notice I say SPINE... not everything in the Challenge curriculum has worked for my daughter, nor do I believe one size EVER fits all for homeschool.  One of the largest reasons we began homeschooling eight years ago was to  tailor our children's educations to their needs and interests. 

To that end, we are adding and subtracting from the Challenge program - while still maintaining the overall integrity of a Classical education.


For the past two years we have been using Mr. D Math. Really, I could go on forever about why we love this math program. 

For 10th grade Anna is enrolled in Geometry. She attends a once a week online class meeting, and then completes the rest of the coursework during the week. 

So many people ask why we abandoned Saxon Math (it is after all the gold standard, right?).  It's very simple:  the spiraling got to be TOO MUCH for my student.  (We still use Saxon for my youngest - it works for him but it may not when he gets to be older - who knows?)

My daughter was checking out during lessons and getting extremely frustrated by the amount of repetition - and not enough time spent on individual concepts. Math was a source of tension and anxiety - for BOTH OF US! 

Mr. D puts math into a language she understands. He goes concept by concept -- AND (my favorite thing) he integrates SAT test taking strategies in his math courses.  Best of all, my daughter genuinely enjoys Mr. D and he instills confidence in her. 

    Mr D. and Anna at the SE Homeschool Expo this summer! 

    Mr D. and Anna at the SE Homeschool Expo this summer! 

British Literature

This will be a challenging year of British literature. The theme of the year is learning about making wise choices through an analysis of the characters in the books they read. 

We follow the schedule of readings in our Challenge guide and will read (and write a persuasive essay on and discuss) the following novels this year: 

Homeschool High School with Challenge II Classical Conversations as the Spine


SO MANY PEOPLE wonder how homeschooled children will complete science labs at the high school level. 

Anna reads the text this year and completes lab reports and tests at home, while doing work with the microscope and dissections in her Challenge II class.  She is my science kid and really looks forward to this seminar each week! 

This year's text is Exploring Creation with Biology.


This is another area where we diverge from the Challenge II curriculum. 

Yes, we are still using Henle Latin - but we are moving at a slower (and I believe more thorough) pace. 

If there is one struggle I constantly hear from Challenge parents it is that the Latin is TOO difficult. We aren't ones to shy away from difficult - but the difficulties we were having with Latin (especially since Anna jumped into Challenge with no prior CC experience) were huge stumbling blocks to learning. 

Last year we gave ourselves permission to START OVER in Latin. We enrolled in Memoria Press Online Academy and completed the year long Henle I course (covering Units 1-5). This was the BEST decision we could have made! 

Anna attended a once a week 90 minute class meeting and was led BY AN EXPERT LATIN TEACHER through the Henle book. It was such a huge sense of relief - after feeling that Latin just wasn't sticking or making much sense during Challenges A & B.  

This year she is enrolled in Henle I Units 6-14.

Benefits of outsourcing Latin?

  • Learning from an EXPERT in Latin eliminates confusion.
  • A strict, graded online class environment is good to experience. 
  • Having this variety in her high school experience makes her more well rounded.
  • Mom can be 100% hands off! 

Western Cultural History

This is probably MY favorite part of Challenge II -- because it is just so rich and beautiful:

The significance of choices is clearly demonstrated through the lens of western art and music history. Students research and write about significant artists and composers in their own histories of art and music. Class discussions focus on Francis Schaeffer’s ideas in How Should We Then Live? Using this insightful book, students learn to define and compare artwork and appreciate its cultural relevance and, as always, hold each idea up to the truth. Students design an original art installation and write an art grant application, then present their ideas to the class. The students vote on allocating funds for the projects.
— Classical Conversations

As a special gift to our family, I've subscribed to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. We will be going to see five concerts this school year - to get a closer look at music history.  

(We will also continue to use SQUILT during our Morning Time because it perfectly prepares Anna for a deeper study of music appreciation this year. )


Our Logic studies come from Memoria Press - Traditional Logic. 

Logic was very difficult in Challenge B, but I have heard that this year's Logic is a bit easier.  I'm hoping so! 

Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans

Extra Curriculars

As I look at this 10th grade schedule it IS demanding. 

What I love, however, is that Anna has learned to budget her time. After three years in the Challenge program she has disciplined herself to create a weekly schedule and stick to it. 

Our favorite saying lately is:

"You can always do more than you think you can do!" 

School work is our priority - most days Anna will be working from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., and it is amazing what can be accomplished in that time. 

She is also taking piano and guitar lessons, and tennis drills twice a week at our local YMCA. Add to this youth group and babysitting jobs, and she's a busy girl - which is a GOOD THING! 


I keep asking myself how we got this point, and how I could possibly have a 10th grader I am homeschooling?

How could we have gone from pulling this avid third grade reader out of public school to registering for the PSAT?  

I marvel at how God has paved the way for this homeschool experience, and how He will continue to pave the way through graduation. 

Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans

Honestly, I never thought I would be able to homeschool high school, but God truly has equipped me to guide Anna through these years, and to be the "learner in charge" - NOT the expert in all areas. 

Are you homeschooling a high schooler this year?  I would love to hear about it!  Leave me a comment below!


Homeschool High School - 10th Grade Plans









Homeschool Requires Consistency

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Our Simple Morning Basket

The start of our homeschool day matters.  

Beginning each homeschool day with planned time together matters.

And, most importantly, beginning each homeschool day with BEAUTY matters. 

As my children have gotten older this time is even more important.

Even though our studies and interests vary, we still come together to begin our day in a positive, productive way.  When moods change and emotions are all over the map during the middle and high school years, it's even MORE important to keep this time at the beginning of our days a PRIORITY.  

Morning time isn't just a ritual for families with young children. It needs to be done in a homeschool with older children, too! 

Our morning basket reflects the ideals of TRUTH, BEAUTY and GOODNESS in our homeschool. 

And - hopefully it reflects a little bit of silliness and fun, too! 


Our Simple Morning Basket

What is Morning Time?

If you've heard all the buzz about morning time, but aren't sure what it is, I encourage you to read what my friend Pam Barnhill has to say on the subject. Pam has created resources for the homeschool community that equip us to have successful morning times - no matter our children's ages. 

Your Morning Basket Guide

In our homeschool, morning time usually happens between 8:00-8:45. We come together at the breakfast table to review memory work, take in fine arts, play math games, and have devotions.

Because I have a 10th grader and a 6th grader, the activities go a bit deeper and can last slightly longer than if I had little ones. But, the beauty of our morning basket is that it could be scaled back to work PERFECTLY for little ones, too!  

I love that morning time is a great way for families with multiple ages of children to begin the day together - and to begin it WELL. 

Contents of Our Morning Basket

This year I really wanted to make our morning basket FUN!  

My daughter's Challenge II year is intense, and my son's year is more intense than last year, so I want to keep some of the fun and wonder alive. The morning basket is a perfect way to do just that! 

I envision each morning time going like this:

  • Devotions
  • Memory Work Review
  • SHORT Latin Lesson
  • Math Games
  • Music or Art Appreciation (Listening, playing, observing, creating)
  • CNN Student News

Obviously we won't be able to get to each of these things each morning, but I could see a core of devotions, memory work, Latin, and student news - with music, art, and math games done on alternating days (or as it strikes my kids' fancies, know what I mean?).

Contents of Our Morning Basket


This year we will be using Best-Loved Passages of the Bible.  I am looking forward to this because it will be good for all of us - including mom and dad.

Memory Work Review:

Using a Cycle 2 memory work review flip chart (I print mine from CC Connected), we will use the memory work review system from My Homeschool Story.

Last year we used this same system, and by the end of the year I had a Memory Master on my hands! I love the simple, methodical review this provides.

And yes, my Challenge student benefits from reviewing the memory work with us. 


The goal this year is to prepare my son for his full blown Latin curriculum next year.  My daughter is in her second year of Henle Latin and will be able to teach these simple Latin lessons from Getting Started With Latin each day. 

(I can't wait to get started with this book. It is such a gentle introduction to Latin!)

Math Games:

Confidence with math facts and the ability to play with numbers is the goal for this year. Hopefully we can spend 5-10 minutes playing 24 (this will get adult brains thinking, too!) and also playing with Math Dice

Music Appreciation:

Of course we are including this!  SQUILT Volumes 2 and 3 are on the schedule for this year. In both Foundations AND Challenge II my children will have exposure to great orchestral works. 

Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time is PERFECT for a morning basket because it involves short, scripted music appreciation lessons that set the stage for a peaceful day - and for older children it involves some intricate learning about music.

(Don't worry if you aren't musically inclined, I wrote SQUILT for parents with little to no musical ability - it is 100% scripted and EASY!) 

I cannot imagine starting our days without music! 

We will learn about works by Mozart, Haydn, Brahms, Beethoven, and more! 

(Learn about how to incorporate music into your morning time.)

My children both play the piano, and I will encourage them to each play something to get our days started, as well.

Art Appreciation

On days when we are not doing music appreciation, we will do art appreciation - I'm not exactly sure what this will look like. 

My daughter is doing quite a bit of art appreciation this year in Challenge II, so I want to incorporate works she is studying. 

We have also had a lot of success with the 13 Artists Children Should Know series - and will be working our way through this book. 

Something FUN for Art!

This year I wanted to try something new!  

When my kids were little they loved Ed Emberley's drawing books

Well.... this is so much fun! I've pulled out my old Ed Emberley book and we'll be having fun drawing animals with Sharpies every now and again during morning time!  I think this will keep my kids "little" and allows all of us to have some fun!  

I think these drawings will also go along quite well with the drawing we do in the first semester of Foundations, too!  

Current Events

My kids insist  CNN Student News be a part of our morning time. 

This is a 10 minute program geared towards middle and high school students.  I love the non partisan current events reporting and my kids love the host, Carl Azuz. 

Good stuff. 

I'll keep you posted as we make our way through the year how our Morning Time is coming along.  Obviously all of this in one morning time is ambitious to say the least - so we'll be picking and choosing and hopefully coming up with a good rotation of subjects. 

This 30-45 time chunk at the beginning of our day is the BEST INVESTMENT I could ever make! 


I'd love to know if you have a morning time/morning basket in your homeschool and what that looks like!  Leave me a comment below and let me know! 

Our Simple Morning Basket