By request: How to Homeschool High School: How to Choose High School Curriculum.
How to Homeschool High School: How to Choose High School Curriculum
There are so many different curriculum and course choices out there for homeschooling high school. This is a blessing and a curse! The blessing is that there are choices so we are more likely to find a good-fit curriculum for our teens. The curse is: how do you decide which texts or courses to buy?
Could I give you two bits of advice?
There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school.
- So, if you feel pressure from someone who says they have THE right way for everyone, you do not have to pay them any mind. You might end up liking their curriculum, but do not be guilted into thinking their right way has to be your right way.
There’s not a mistake when you buy curriculum and it is not the best fit.
- Even curriculum that doesn’t work for your family isn’t a loss, it’s a learning! It can be a learning on:
- How to develop self-discipline and work through a text even if you do not like it.
- How to file texts away for the next teen (who has a different personality).
- How to give grace to yourself and role model resiliency.
That said, let’s concentrate on choosing curriculum so hopefully you get it nailed with the first try.
How to Choose High School Curriculum
Get your teens’ buy-in and ideas
One of the most valuable things you can do, is get your teens’ buy-in on the whole process. A teen who feels like part of the process with usually be more engaged throughout the year.
- Ask your teens about their goals
- Ask what they have liked and disliked in their educational experiences in the past
Determine the goals for high school (college-bound, career-bound, military-bound)
That brings up the point that during high school, we want to help our teens explore their goals for after high school graduation. It is good to listen to them and meet them where they are at.
- Either goal will help you and your teen in choosing curriculum.
- If a teen is not interested in (or not a good fit for) college, you can help them plan for career readiness during high school.
- In this case, you can aim for simpler (“average” level of rigor) texts for core courses (English/Language Arts, Maths, Sciences, Social Studies)
- If a teen is college-bound, you can help then develop a college-attractive transcript.
- In this case, you want to aim for at least college-prep level texts on core courses such as English/Language Arts, Maths, Sciences, Social Studies. They may need to level up the rigor for these courses according to their major and colleges of interest so that your teens have college-attractive transcripts.
- Keep in mind, our minds may plan our ways but God will direct our paths.
- In other words, if we do not exactly agree with our teens’ current plans for the future, try not to stress and allow God to do some directing of paths.
- If your teens do not have a clue, think about checking out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode and include Career Exploration in this year’s curriculum.
Clarify this year’s goals
Sometimes this year’s goals might be influenced by unusual events such as:
- A move to a new state mid-year
- A change in jobs for either parent
- Grandma coming to live with you
- New baby born or new adoptee
- Homeschoolers in multiple grades
In years like that, you might want to discuss with your teens that they will need to do more independent learning and choose online courses or texts that are understandable to most teens but give the opportunities to level up rigor if desired (oh yeah, like 7Sisters’ texts and study guides).
Use this year to develop your teen’s interests and strengths
Every year is a good year to help your teens recognize and appreciate their God-given strengths and their current interests.
- Sometimes teens do not yet recognize either strengths or interests. Here are some ideas to help:
- You can use these interests and strengths to develop some elective credits. Here’s one of our Authoritative Guide series of posts on how to do this.
- Or you can help them develop an internship
Know your budget
If both you and your teens know the budget for curriculum, it can guide in choosing curriculum. It’s a great introduction to Financial Literacy, too.
Explore formats and settings
- Digital curriculum tends to be less expensive and helps college-bound teens get used to the format that many of their college texts will use.
- All of 7Sisters curriculum is digital format and can be shared within the family.
- Traditional textbooks
- Many texts available to homeschool high schoolers are College-Prep (Level 3). Our friend, Samantha Shank at Learn in Color has a comprehensive list of homeschool publishers broken into categories along with a PDF to download. Don’t miss it!
- For those who need or want Average Texts or courses check Pearson Education’s Pacemaker series, and Westfield Studios 101 Science series. Also, 7Sisters Psychology, Human Development and Early Childhood Education courses are written at Level 2 (and include meaningful exercises for college-prep and honors-level students).
- Online courses (live and self-paced)
- Here are a few of our friends who offer courses (we are not affiliates, we just appreciate their work):
- Funda Funda Academy
- Dreaming Spires Homelearning
- Music In Our Homeschool (check out the freebies)
- Potter’s School
- PA Homeschoolers AP Courses
- Stanford Online High School for gifted and talented teens
- Homeschool co-ops and group classes
- Dual enrollment college courses
Remember there’s not ONE right way to homeschool and you never have a wasted curriculum.
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