Our Favorites for High School Curriculum,........................ and Preschool/K, too!



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At BJ's Homeschool, we started homeschooling when my daughter was 4, and went all the way to high school. Today, I'll be sharing our favorite curriculum for high school, with tips on planning, resources for your search, and a video, too! 

Our Favorites for High School Curriculum



When we reached the high school years, we wanted to have our daughter do her solid core studies, but also have lots of time to explore her own special interests and develop her God given gifts.  


We always took our time choosing our high school curriculum.  We kept our favorites from middle school, then added in some new ones too.  And we kept our nurturing homeschooling style..all the way....

So what did we pick for Science? Math? English? and Social Studies?  


SCIENCE

Exploring our beautiful world is still so important during the high school years, too.  We spent time at the beach, in our favorite parks, taking nature photography pictures, too.  This helped to motivate my daughter, when it came to her science studies.

We found many options for science including Oak Meadow, Apologia, A Beka, Switch-On-Schoolhouse (SOS), etc.   

 We chose Switched-On-Schoolhouse (SOS), as we wanted a computer based program, and my daughter wanted  to work independently.  Plus it was all graded for me!  We used them for:


Physical Science - 9th grade 
Biology - 10th grade 
Chemistry - 11th grade
Physics - 12th grade

Many families do two or three years of science.  We did the extra year, of physics in 12th grade, as my daughter was very interested in the sciences.
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SOS also have tutoring available by the half hour. Working some of the science problems out with a teacher really helped, when complex concepts came up. We also used Home Science Tools for our high school lab kits.

Other Science Options we considered:
Oak Meadow, Apologia, A Beka, Lifepacs, Apologia Science 
  

 MATH


We looked at LifePacs, Switch-On-Schoolhouse, Math-You-See,  
A Beka, etc.  We also considered Teaching Textbooks, but found that, for us, it did not provide enough depth for good retention. 



It's all about what fits for your student. 


We found that SOS met our daughter's needs for math.  It had the structured and depth to help my daughter retain what she had learned.  We used it for:

Prealgebra - 8th grade
Algebra 1- 9th grade
Geometry - 10th grade
Algebra 2 - 11th grade


Others that we considered: 

Check out The Curriculum Choice for a review of ALEKS, and  No-Nonsense Algebra, Saxon, and more. 



LANGUAGE ARTS



One option that many families do for english, is to create their own courses, and pick out the living literature yourself.  Pairing that your own writing assignments, essays, etc can make up a complete english course for your teen.


We decided to go another way, and chose Oak Meadow, which offered a number of living literature courses, from 9th to 12th grade.  

Oak Meadow helped our daughter with her narrations!  We liked how Oak Meadow offered tons of great questions for each piece of literature, which helped my daughter to do her narrations in a complete and skillful way.



Oak Meadow was also great for teaching literary analysis, and for guiding my daughter to develop good essay writing and report writing skills. With theses courses, my daughter learned how to write a variety of essays, and also do bibliographies for her research papers, and to do literary analysis papers. too.  It prepared her well for college english studies later on. 


We loved it!  It was paired with wonderful choices of living literature, as were all of it's english courses.  Click here for my review of Oak Meadow Literature and Composition II.  





Another popular choice for English is the Institute of Excellence in Writing, IEW, which offers a structured, step by step approach to composition.  Go to here for a review of it. 

"These lessons have built from one paragraph summaries to three paragraph essays, to now a five paragraph essay with introduction, conclusion, and bibliography." Excerpt from The Curriculum Choice. 

Other options we considered :
We also looked at such programs as Hewitt Homeschooling: Lightning Literature & Composition Lifepacs, and SOS  and found them all to be very strong.


SOCIAL STUDIES



Social studies can include a wide variety of subjects, such as World History, US History, Geography, Economics, Psychology, etc.



We decided to use Oak Meadow's history courses, and also some geography  from the Rainbow Resource catalog.  

We used Oak Meadow for:
Civics - 9th grade
US History - 10th grade
World History - 11th grade

Then senior year, we did an online course in Government, from Northwestern Christian College.  It was excellent, and it my daughter a good introduction to how our government works.


 Other options we considered: We also checked out SOS and Lifepacs, for social studies, all strong programs.  


Here's a bit more on how we went about making our curriculum choices....

Our Planning Process 

We looked around, by searching the internet, our homeschool catalogs, and talking to our homeschooling friends, etc, as usual. This helped in choosing the textbooks, living books, and/or online courses that seemed to be a good fit for our teen.  We worked to meet our teen's interests along with the basics of high school learning. 

But before we bought anything, we looked again at our teen's special interests.

At a video-making contest.

What is your teen passionate about?  How do they spend their time, when they have free time?  What are their strengths or gifts?




This gives you an idea of what we chose for high school. What are 
your favorites for your teens?  Please share in the comments, as that can help out another homeschooling family. too.

Meanwhile, for those of you with little ones, here's what we did for the early years:


 Preschool/Kindergarten


All of our choices for Preschool/K, are based on playful learning, including the following resources:


Explode the Code Primers - These are so great for early phonics.
Bob Books - Early primers that are phonics based, with fun illustrations.
Big Book of Alpha Tales - This has humorous stories for each letter of the alphabet.
Evan Moor's Science Kids Series - These activity books are full of easy to do little kid's "experiments".. for all important, early science fun.
Early Math - Math play, manipulatives, making a math play kit.

Links to all these resources are here, along with tips and how to's, for how we put them into play in our homeschool. 



We, at BJ's Homeschool, are so glad that we homeschooled all the way.  We think that you will be, too.  There are so many benefits to homeschooling!


This post is a part of the ihomeschoolnetwork not back to school blog hop.



Happy Homeschooling!


Betsy 



Betsy blogs at BJ's Homeschool , where she writes about high school,  our steps to collegeand all the fun of homeschooling the early years, too.  As a veteran homeschooler, Betsy also offers free homeschool help to families  

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