BJ's Curriculum Choices for High School



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At BJ's Homeschool, we started homeschooling when my daughter was 4, and went all the way to high school. She is now a rising junior in college.  Homeschooling high school prepared  her well for college, and she is thriving there.  So if you are thinking about college for your teen, be encouraged.  




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 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?  and Foreign Language?

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

Many families do two or three years of science.  Most college just require two, Biology and Chemistry with labs, unless your student is heading to a science oriented major in college.  Then they would likely look for another as well.

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 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


Teens going into a computer, economics or math related field will need pre-cal in senior year, but I encourage you to check with the colleges, just in case there is another course required.

Others that we considered: 
We check out The Curriculum Choice for a review of ALEKS, and No-Nonsense Algebra, Saxon, VideoText for Prealgebra, and more, all very strong. 


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.  Some colleges look for specifics in this, but our college let us choose from a variety of subjects.
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.  

FOREIGN LANGUAGE 

Most colleges require two years of the same foreign language for their incoming freshmen. We chose a Spanish 1 class from a regional school program in our area, Highline Choice Academy, which offered it twice a week, and gave our daughter in person practice.  For Spanish 2, we went with the homeschool version of Rosetta Stone (RS) @ http://www.rosettastone.com. I liked the homeschool version best because it included grammar, while the regular RS version did not.  Also, our college choices preferred the homeschool version. 


Other Options We Considered:

We also looked at SOS and Monarch from Alpha Omega, and, but wanted something that focused more on conversational Spanish, which we found in Rosetta Stone.  There are so many options for foreign language.  Cathy Duffy has a number of reviews of foreign language curricula.

ELECTIVES


Electives were the most fun of all!  They were all chosen by my daughter.  Her favorite was based on a high school activity called Youth and Government.  

We just counted all of the meetings and activities that she attended and made it into a credit in State Government.  That is what she was learning through their fun youth mock legislature activities.

My teen also did a homemade video-making course, and homemade courses in creative writing, photography, drawing, and PE.  

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.

Homeschoolers are being widely accepted by colleges, especially when they have good course descriptions and quality reference letters coming along for the ride.  Have you seen my new book yet, called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind?  This post is from one of the chapters in this book.




It's a simple guide to college prep, with tips for making the admissions process easier.  
This book is also available in print.


Have you seen my facebook group called Homeschooling Through High School

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We'd love to have you!



Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy


Betsy is mom to her now college junior, whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting




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Note - This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. Please see my disclosure policy.




This post is a part of the 8th Annual Back to Homeschool Blog Hop-Curriculum Week.  Check out all the other great posts from iHN veteran homeschoolers.








4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on so many beautiful years of homeschooling! You've made some wonderful choices. Hopping over from the "Back-to-School" Blog Hop.

    Happy Homeschooling!

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    1. Thanks, Beauty full Slow, and that is very kind of you to say! Don't you love the Back to School Blog Hop, I do! Have a good year....are you homeschooling high school now?

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  2. My oldest is only 8, but I am constantly thinking about the future. I am hoping to have her use our dual enrollment program with the local college when she turns 16, I'm not entirely sure which path my 6 year old will be on as yet. Great information!

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    1. Thanks, Heather! When mine was young, we thought she would go to community college, then looked at a 4 year, when she was older. That turned out to be a better fit for her. Lots of my friends' kiddos went the dual credit route starting at 16 years of age. I like that there are a number choices for our homeschooled teens when the time comes. Enjoy the journey! We sure did!

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