By request: How to choose Language Arts curriculum for homeschool high school.
How to Choose Language Arts Curriculum for Homeschool High School
There are so many Language Arts curriculum choices out there! That’s a blessing. It also makes it difficult to decide which curriculum to choose for your homeschool high schoolers.
We get lots of requests for help in choosing Language Arts curriculum, so we thought it might help to share some helpful tips.
Here are some tips on how to choose Language Arts curriculum for your homeschooling teens
Language Arts is a huge and sometimes confusing credits. Let’s see if we can clarify it for you.
First off, let’s explain the name of the Language Arts credit in high school.
You may have noticed that it varies according to the school or umbrella program your teen has been in or state you live in. The names vary but the credit is the same. The most common names are:
- Language Arts
- English/Language Arts or ELA
When you are homeschooling high school, you get to choose the name of the credit that works best for your homeschool high schooler! Our teens’ transcripts record Language Arts, but that is simply our preference.
What does a Language Arts credit include?
Again, allow me to reiterate that there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, including the fact that there’s not ONE right way to define a Language Arts credit.
However, we have found that our homeschool high schoolers are best prepared for life and college if they include five areas in each year’s Language Arts credit. College admissions officers have told us that they are looking for these areas in college-attractive and college-prepared students.
Non-college bound students, in our opinion, are best prepared for life if they include these same five areas in their Language Arts credits. However, they are free to reduce the level, amount and difficulty of the materials they use.
Language Arts is a huge credit. It encompasses way more material than any other credit in high school. It is also important as a life preparation course, because all young people need to have some skill in communication and comprehension.
We have found that homeschool high schoolers are best prepared for life and best prepared for college in their Language Arts credits include:
- Grammar and/or Editing
- Public Speaking
- Allow me to suggest that for Public Speaking, we love our curriculum that has helped our local homeschoolers feel empowered for any kind of speaking (while having fun learning).
How do you decide on the level or amount of work to do for Language Arts?
The amount of work that goes into each of those areas will vary according to teens’:
That is why many schools and homeschoolers record the level of rigor for their courses (especially the core courses: Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies).
To make it simple, for higher levels (we call them College Prep, Advanced and Honors), your homeschool high schoolers need to increase the number of books on their booklists and the number of papers they write.
- Here’s a post that gives guidelines on the number of books for each level.
- Here’s a post that gives guidelines on the number of papers for each level.
In our experience the amount and type of vocabulary, grammar/editing, and public speaking, is subjective and up to parent and teen.
So, start off by working with your teens to determine:
- The level they want for Language Arts on their transcript
How to choose Language Arts curriculum for homeschool high school
Next, you want to clarify your homeschool high schoolers’ learning styles. It helps if you know your preferences, too, if you will be helping your teens with their curriculum.
Do they prefer:
A “boxed” curriculum with general themes
This would be a curriculum that is pre-set for the student with a mixture of genres of literature along with the basic writing requirements. The student simply works through the curriculum.
- One Year of High School English/Language Arts (A good fit for 9th grade)
- Another Year of High School English/Language ARts (A good for 10th grade)
Note: 7Sisters Literature Guides include vocabulary based on the the vocabulary in real books. This vocabulary is useful, but teens who are needing to work rigorously on SAT or ACT prep, will want to add to the vocabulary with a prep list like that provided by vocabulary.com or gamified vocabulary like FreeRice.com (where teens can earn rice to be given to hungry people around the world).
A literature theme for the year, with writing to support that theme
Some homeschool high schoolers prefer to explore a specific literature theme for the year. They can then write their papers based on those themes (or choose other topics for papers).
Of course, we our homeschool high schoolers have used 7Sisters Literature Study Guides. These guides have been vetted by our
teens and are all affordable, level-able (come with instructions for various levels of rigor) and contain NO busywork. Most importantly, the guides only concentrate on one or two themes so that they NEVER kill the book!
7Sisters Literature Bundles have the basics for a year’s worth of literature on these specific topics:
- Great Christian Writers
- American Literature
- British Literature
- World Literature
- Also 7Sisters has a unique Cinema Studies for Literature Learning
- And a number of CS Lewis Literature Study Guides
- Here’s a post to help you and your teens decide the order of literature courses by school year (course of study). Also our friend, Betsy at BJ’s homeschool has some information on Language Arts course of study.
- For more on choosing Literature, check out
So now, discuss with your homeschool high schoolers:
- The level they want for Language Arts on their transcript
- The type of literature they would like to study
Next, choose a writing program for your homeschool high schoolers.
There are many different style of writing programs for homeschool high schoolers.
Many writing programs go in-depth on writing, deeply exploring the intricacies of the writing process. Teens who love technical writing or feel best with lots of details on methodology will love these. Our teens did not like these curriculums. They felt bored and hated what they felt was busywork.
7Sisters Writing Guides are quite different! They contain:
- Daily short writing lessons
- No busywork
- Clear explanations with no fluff. (They are easy to follow for independent learning.)
- Take teens from the simplest writing projects through solid, college-prep writing
- A rubric for use by teens and by parents
- Also, 7Sisters has a Real-World Writing course for seniors, with the skills they will need for the post-graduation world.
- And a Creative Chronicling writing project for seniors
We have found (by experience and advice from college admissions officers) that a balanced writing curriculum (for building thinking and communication skills, as well as college-prep skills) includes:
- Essay writing
- Short story writing
- Poetry writing
- Research paper writing
- These guides are bundled into the Literature and Composition Parts A and B mentioned above or they can be purchased individually or bundled into a full-year writing program (including Essays, Short Stories, Poetry, Research Papers)
Does 7Sisters more practical, lower-key approach to teaching writing work, especially for college-bound teens? Well, we have heard from many homeschool graduates (including our own grads) that they were the most-prepared students in their Freshman Composition classes in college!
Want more information on Language Arts? We don’t blame you. It’s such a huge subject. Check out these posts to help:
- Planning High School Literature at Adventures in Mommydom
- 9th Grade: Books Made into Movies with Adventures in Mommydom
- High School Language Arts from Ben and Me
- How to Choose Curriculum on Homeschool Highschool Podcast
Want a “quirky” language arts topic? Check out American Poetry.