How to Homeschool High School: How to Write Course Descriptions

By request: How to Homeschool High School: How to Write Course Descriptions.

How to Homeschool High School: How to Write Course Descriptions

How to Homeschool High School: How to Write Course Descriptions

One of the irritating parts of being a parent of a homeschool high schooler, is that we have WAY more paperwork to do than when our kids were younger. High schoolers, whether they are college or career bound, need to have records of what they have done each year. Comparatively like when I’m at my job as a license professional counselor, if I don’t do my paperwork, it’s as if the counseling session didn’t happen.

Even if you’ve just started homeschooling high school, you probably already know about:

We have had some requests lately for examples of various course descriptions. I will share a sample course description for our popular course Philosophy in Four Questions. But first, the basics on how to write course descriptions.

Who needs to include course descriptions in their teens’ records?

Not everyone will need course descriptions. However, you might need to produce course descriptions if:

  • If your teen will be joining the military
  • If your teen is playing NCAA sports in high school and/or aiming for NCAA sports in college
  • If your teen is going to a highly competitive college or one that is not familiar with homeschooling
  • If your teen is planning on transferring to a traditional high school at some point
  • If your supervising organization, umbrella school or charter school asks for them

Military recruiters, NCAA officials, college admissions officers or traditional school guidance staff often ask for these three types of records:

  • Transcript
  • Course descriptions for each core course
  • Syllabus for each core course

BTW- They might also ask for:

  • Tests and work samples
  • Diploma if teen has already graduated

What is a course description?

Course descriptions are brief but detailed descriptions of your homeschool high schoolers’ courses. Often, these descriptions are created for:
  • Core courses (English/Language Arts, Maths, Sciences, Social Studies, important electives, World Languages)

Course descriptions are often included at the beginning of a syllabus for each course. (You can find suggested syllabi for many of 7Sisters’ courses in our estore.)

Here is what to include in your homeschool high schoolers’ course descriptions:

  • Text used for course
  • Topics covered by the student in the course
  • Methods used for instruction (text, real books, inquiry-based activities, etc)
  • How the course will be graded
  • Amount of credit earned and at what level of rigor
  • Include the syllabus for the courses that you will be using a syllabus
  • If your homeschool high schooler is aiming for NCAA college sports, you will also need to include (at the very beginning of the course description):
    • Course Goals
      • This is a short description of what your student should be able to do at the end of the course. An example might be:
        • At the completion of this course, the student will be able to demonstrate an introductory knowledge of Human Development and apply basic principals and theory of Human Development to his daily life
    • Course Objectives
      • These are a list of actual tasks that the student will complete.
        • Use the chapters of the text to help you describe the objectives or simply describe some basic goals for the course.
        • You can often use the description in the publisher’s estore or catalogue to develop the objectives

Create course descriptions for_ college-bound athletes military-bound teens students who will transfer

Sample Course Description:

(BTW- for another course’s description, you can find a sample course description for History and Philosophy of the Western World in this post.)

Philosophy in Four Questions

Course Goals

At the completion of this course, the student will be able to demonstrate an introductory knowledge and application of philosophy through the four philosopher’s questions:

  1. What is there?
  2. How do we know?
  3. What do we do about it?
  4. Why?

Course Objectives

The objectives of this philosophy course are to help young people with life preparation through learning philosophy because:

  1. Philosophers run the world young people need to become aware of the ideas running the world
  2. Young people who recognize philosophical thoughts and trends can become culture creators themselves.
  3. For religious young people they learn that God is a philosopher. Philosophy is the love of wisdom. God said to “get wisdom”. God is the creator of wisdom, thus it is wise to learn about wisdom and philosophy.


Philosophy in Four Questions by Dr. Micah Tillman,, 2015

Topics covered in Philosophy in Four Questions:

  • Chapter 1: What Is Philosophy?
  • Chapter 2: Why Should Christians Care?
  • Chapter 3: An Introduction to Philosophy’s First Question: What Is There? (Ontology)
  • Chapter 4: Do You Exist (and If So, What Are You)?
  • Chapter 5: Does the World Exist (or Is It All an Illusion)? Augustine, Descartes
  • Chapter 6: Do Groups (like Companies, Countries, or Families) Exist? Narrative
  • Chapter 7: Is Everything Just Physical? Two Kinds of Things: Particulars and Universals
  • Chapter 8: Does God Exist (and What about Evil)? The Cosmological Argument, The Ontological Argument, The Teleological Argument, The Problem of Evil and Some Answers
  • Chapter 9: Does Free Will Exist (and Do We Have It)?
  • Chapter 10: Application: How to Deal with Disagreements
  • Chapter 11: An Introduction to Philosophy’s Second Question: How Do We Know? (Epistemology)
  • Chapter 12: What Is Truth?
  • Chapter 13: Can We Learn the Truth from Others? Language and Witnesses
  • Chapter 14: Do We Know through Living or Thinking? Empiricism and Rationalism
  • Chapter 15: Giving Up, or Going with What Works: Skepticism and Pragmatism
  • Chapter 16: Can We Just Get Back to Our Actual Experience? Phenomenology
  • Chapter 17: Application: Authorities, Science, Faith, and Reason
  • Chapter 18: An Introduction to Philosophy’s Third Question (Ethics)
  • Chapter 19: Is It Good to Do What Is Excellent? Virtue Theory
  • Chapter 20: Is It Good to Do What Creates the Most Pleasure? Utilitarianism, Epicureanism, or Hedonism, or Whatever
  • Chapter 21: Is It Only Good to Do Your Duty? Deontology
  • Chapter 22: Is It Only Good to Do What God Says? Divine Command
  • Chapter 23: Application: Evaluating Abortion, Racism, and Sexism
  • Chapter 24: An Introduction to Philosophy’s Fourth Question: The One Answer to, “Why?”
  • Chapter 25: Are There Different Sources of Value?
  • Chapter 26: Is There a Single Source of Value? The Value Theory behind Humanism, The Value Theory behind Environmentalism, The Value Theory behind Theism
  • Chapter 27: What If There Is No Source of Value?  Nihilism
  • Chapter 28: Is the Source of Value the Highest Thing? The Good and God
  • Chapter 29: Application: What to Do When You Get Confused
  • Chapter 30: Go Forth!

Methods used for instruction:

  • Text
  • Writing Assignments
  • Discussion

How the course will be graded:

  • Homework completion: 30% of grade
  • Writing assignment: 30% of grade
  • Discussion: 30% of grade
  • (Note: adjust at your discretion. More on grading in this post.)

Amount of credit earned and at what level of rigor:

This is a one-credit course. When completed with text, writing assignments and discussion, this course is a Level 4/Advanced Course.


Here is a freebie download of the syllabus for this course.


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How to Homeschool High School: How to Write Course Descriptions

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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