Homeschooling high school is quite exciting.
(Really, it is.)
We just finished the homeschool journey to college with my oldest. I am happy to report she is on her way to college in a couple of weeks and will be pursuing her dream of working in the field of special education.
Through a God-centered high school experience - where we emphasized a Classical education, coupled with incorporating our daughter’s interests - I feel that she had a beautiful homeschool high school education.
As we begin 9th grade with my son the goal is the same.
Truth. Beauty. Goodness.
Honor God. Honor People. Honor Personal Interests.
This is going to be an exciting four years!
So many people get hung up on “the method” for homeschooling our older children.
While we take part in a Classical Conversations Challenge I program each week, I never want to classify myself as a “CC family”.
We are a homeschooling family.
I never want to align our homeschool with one program or method. Every child (and every year!) is different. We are fallible and so are man-made programs and methods.
We love Classical Conversations for the community of AMAZING peers my son has had since the second grade. I am very careful to emphasize I value community over curriculum and I want to retain control of my child’s curriculum.
We will follow most of the Challenge I curriculum. (We did the same thing four years ago with my daughter.) We will also add and subtract as fits my son’s needs.
Essentially, my 9th grader will meet with his Challenge I peers once each week. They are guided by a tutor. During their day together they will go over their assignments for the week and wrestle with big issues and problems.
The theme for the year is DISCIPLINE BRINGS FREEDOM.
Ultimately, the parent retains control of grading and curriculum choices. We are unaccredited and don’t answer to an authority about what our children should be learning. I like this.
On to our choices for this year…
(If you’re looking at the Challenge 1 description, I categorize things a bit differently in this post.)
I recommend looking at where you want your child to be at the end of high school when you think about math. (more on that below…)
We will be using Shormann Math (Algebra 2 with Integrated Geometry) this year. This will be my son’s second year using Shormann.
We made the switch last year from Saxon to Shormann. Why did we change?
Shormann is a recorded lecture format that encourages note taking. My son likes watching someone explain the concepts.
Shormann keeps lesson and quiz grades for me.
God is the focus of Shormann Math - there is scripture presented and God is spoken about often.
Practially speaking - it’s economical.
Shormann has much less spiraling than Saxon.
There are so many choices for math, and I am a firm believer that every child needs something different.
My daughter used Mr. D Math and LOVED it. I recommend Mr. D Math for kids who aren’t extremely math inclined and who need some self confidence in math. My son is a math kid and I feel like Shormann is a bit more rigorous for him. My daughter probably won’t be using higher math in college, so I just wanted to get her through Pre-Calculus and be done.
Saxon Math is a great program, too. We just needed some accountability as far as grading and teaching were concerned.
This year my son will be doing Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Physical Science.
I have always loved the structure and predictability of Apologia’s high school texts, as well as the Christian focus.
In looking ahead to subjects like Chemistry, it is comforting to see that Apologia offers online courses as well as recorded lessons for their textbooks. We will definitely be using this resource as we go through high school!
In the second semester Grant will write quite a large research paper on a science topic of his choice. Remember in high school when you learned to use note cards and all that good stuff? Yep - that’s what he’ll be doing.
Grant will be continuing through Henle Latin this year.
Latin has been his strength, and I hope that continues to be the case. Because the first part of the year is a bit of a review, I’m thinking it might be a bit easier than last year.
This “dead” language has been one of the most beneficial subjects in our homeschool.
Because Latin and Spanish are so closely connected, I wanted to give Grant the opportunity to learn Spanish. He’s going to try it for a year and see if he wants to continue after that.
He is attending online sessions with Homeschool Spanish Academy. So far, so good - but I’ll keep you posted as the year goes on.
I love the one-on-one sessions and Grant seems to have a great rapport with his teacher (who is located in Guatemala - how cool is that?)
In the first semester we will be using Traditional Logic (an introduction to formal logic) from Memoria Press.
The logic studies last year paid off in spades (I can’t tell you the number of times my son has used his crazy logic skills on me - ha!), so I’m excited to have Grant continue logic this year.
I’m going to copy directly from Classical Conversation’s site:
Using The Taming of the Shrew, students learn to read and enjoy the plays of Shakespeare; they also complete a special project related to this play.
The theme of this play centers around courtship, so seminar discussion embraces that theme and compares different cultural perspectives on courtship.
Students listen to Ravi Zacharias’s audio presentation “I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah,” which examines marriage from a Christian perspective.
This will be a wonderful chance to learn a little about Shakespeare (more later in high school) and have some good conversations with our son about dating and marriage.
My hackles go up a bit when you use the word “courtship”, because aren’t as conservative as some on this issue. Our hope is to discuss our views of friendship and dating, and treating a young lady you like with respect and dignity.
The last thing I want to do is fall into legalism, so we’re going to tread lightly here. At the same time, I am thankful we can have honest discussions about this topic with our son.
This year, through living books and an analysis of ORIGINAL American documents, Grant will be getting a great survey of American history and government.
He will be using Words Aptly Spoken - American Documents for the text of American documents. Each week there will be a different original document to annotate and put in his own words. This was WONDERFUL when my oldest went through Challenge I, and I’m looking forward to seeing Grant do this, as well.
We took a trip to Washington, DC when my daughter was going through this, so perhaps that will be in the plan this year, too!
I am also a firm believer in learning history through EXPERIENCE and LIVING LITERATURE. We have made it a point to do a lot of traveling through our great nation. This summer we did a 10 day tour of the Colorado Plateau, which gave us all a greater understanding of the settling of the American West.
I love how history, literature, and exposition and composition are all woven together in our Challenge I curriculum. Let’s talk about the books Grant will be reading this year…
The pace of reading this year is FAST. The students will be reading the books and writing comparison essays using The Lost Tools of Writing curriculum.
This is GOOD stuff.
I watched my daughter’s writing SOAR during 9th grade - and even though the reading felt like A LOT at times, it was a good kind of demanding. We’ve already been listening to some of them on audio. I’m also trying to read along so that we can discuss the books together.
Economics & Personal Finance
We have been doing a lot of teaching this summer regarding personal finance. With one child entering college we have been talking about budgeting quite a bit!
My husband will be leading a modified version of Dave Ramsey’s homeschool curriculum with my son’s class in the second semester. In preparing for this, he has been going over the family budget with the kids and imparting many lessons from his years as a financial and credit counselor.
In Challenge I there is a personal finance project which requires the students to choose a career and then research the average pay - after they do this they create a budget for themselves based on rent, automobile, insurance, and all of the other expenses of life. Then, they present this to the class.
Again — GOOD STUFF!
In the first semester the students get a good overview of economics using:
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
A Bluestocking Guide to Economics
The Money Mystery
I think the classification of certain high school subjects as “electives” is interesting. My daughter’s electives were some of the classes that meant the very most to her and influenced what she wanted to study in college.
It is what is, right?
Piano lessons have been a requirement in our house since the second grade. My son will be continuing his lessons this year. I’m excited to watch him progress!
Grant played on a local Christian school’s basketball team last year and will continue to do so this year.
He and his dad also make regular visits to our YMCA to stay physically fit.
One of the very best things about homeschooling has been the investment we’ve been able to make in activities for our kids that I’m pretty sure they couldn’t have done if they were in traditional school.
A man at our church runs a beautiful forging ministry, and Grant loves to spend time there forging crosses and other projects with the men of our church. Additionally, I’m coordinating some service activities for Grant’s class this year.
That’s what 9th grade is looking like in our homeschool. It’s going to be an interesting year - the first time I’ve ever had just one child at home to educate.
Homeschool high school is actually a favorite time for me - I never thought it would be, but homeschooling has surprised me in so many ways, and I really shouldn’t be shocked!