Ninth Grade Homeschool Curriculum

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!

Ninth Grade #Homeschool Curriculum Plans

The Method

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.

Foreign Language(s)


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.

(See all of the books in a list here.)

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.


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!

Are you homeschooling high school?

Leave me a comment below and let me know!

What We've Been Up To Lately: Community or Curriculum?

Community has always been an essential ingredient of our homeschool.

When the kids were younger I would definitely tell you community was more important than curriculum. By that I mean we were in an “extracurricular” co-op once a week for the benefit of community. Sure, the classes were engaging and beneficial, but they weren’t essential to our learning and were outside of our curriculum.

As my children reached middle school age, however, community and curriculum became intertwined. We began Classical Conversations and that was a good solution for both needs.

Until it wasn’t.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

For my oldest, we needed to follow her heart and desires. We took her out of a CC community and enrolled her in online classes and a few classes at a local classical school.

We had to seriously evaluate the curriculum and the community, too. In her case, we needed a change in BOTH.

She will be graduating in May and I now look back and thank GOD for leading us in the right direction!

She is finishing high school with a beautiful of mix of her interests and also the “required” curriculum.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

This week my husband and I have had some long, thoughtful discussions about the community we want for our son going forward.

We also received the latest Classical Conversations catalog and have been discussing whether the curriculum for next year fits our son’s needs.

As I stood talking with another mom this morning she articulated what I have been feeling: Which is more important to us moving forward? Community or Curriculum?

The Importance of Homeschool Community

Three years ago we started a new CC community. A prayerful group of moms (most of us with boys) came together to form a place where we could be together and educate our children together through high school.

I cannot accurately describe what a BLESSING this group has been. Our community is STRONG. The children are thoughtful and diligent, hard working and kind. The parents are friends and we are walking the road of Christian parenthood together.

We all remark how RARE this kind of community is and do not take it for granted.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

That first year of our group was small. We had a group of 6 moms that met to pray about our community. We prayed for tutors, facilities, and so much more.

Now that community has changed locations. We have dozens more families, and have expanded to Challenge A, B, and I. Our Challenge I class next year will have 11 children - most of them have been together since their elementary years.

When Community Trumps Curriculum

Many of you who have followed me know that I am a bit leery of all of the reading that is done in Challenge I and II. I don’t want to see my son lose his love of reading.

I believe there should be more formalized history in the high school years.

I don’t think the sciences are accelerated enough in the Challenge years.

Those are things I am willing to adjust and work with so that we can have the benefit of THIS COMMUNITY.

We will most likely add an online Spanish class next year. I will probably omit some of the reading. This summer we may work on Physical Science so that we can move ahead to Biology in Challenge I.

The bottom line is this: There will never be a perfect school situation. We need to work on a child by child basis to determine what is most important for them at a given point in time.

Additionally, I think it is important to never commit yourself so wholeheartedly to one method or program that you cannot make a change if that is what is best for your child. When the method becomes more important than the child you have a serious problem!

That’s what weve been up to this week (well that AND lots of basketball!) - making big decisions for next year and evaluating decisions from previous years.

Homeschooling these upper grades is so GOOD - there is no need to be afraid. Just jump in and GO - with prayer and careful research you can avail yourselves of all of the wonderful opportunities out there!

What have you been up this week?

Making any big decisions for next year? Let me know in the comments below!

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