Here’s a question we have received: What counts as books for homeschool high school reading lists?
What Counts as Books for Homeschool High School Reading Lists?
7Sisters have had many different kinds of homeschool high schoolers over the years! We have also advised many different kinds of teens through their homeschooling high school years. We have learned that, although all teens need some kind of reading list, there is not ONE right way to handle it!
There are so many ways to handle the high school reading list, according to the needs, interests, ages and abilities of each teen. For instance:
- Students who have special needs/reading issues need:
- Reading material that is short and builds skills, faith and/or interests
- Here’s a post that shares more reading ideas for reluctant or special needs readers
- Homeschool high schoolers who are career bound need: Reading material that helps prepare them for life, faith, career, relationships, interests and character-development
- High schoolers who are planning on becoming STEM majors in college need:
- Reading material that inspires them in their interests. They also need literature builds life and career skills, faith, character, critical thinking and extends their experience with the world by reading different genres of literature.
- Homeschool high schoolers who are planning on becoming Literature or Humanities majors in college need:
- Reading material that inspires them in their interests. They also need literature builds life and career skills, faith, character, critical thinking and extends their experience with the world. They should especially focus on different kinds of literature.
The cool thing is that not all reading material needs to be a book in the traditional sense.
There are lots of things that could count as books beyond the object with hardbound covers and lots of paper pages inside. (One caveat we have here: For homeschooling families that work with a supervising organization or umbrella or charter school, check that organization’s requirements. We have heard that some of them are sticklers for traditional books!)
First off, let’s talk about different kinds of book formats for homeschool high school reading lists.
The most obvious book format is traditional book, of course.
- Every teen should read an appropriate number of traditional books each year. The number will vary according to age, ability and interest.
- A ninth grader with dyslexia will read far fewer books than an English-major college-bound teen.
- The number of books will also vary according to difficulty level that is appropriate for teens.
- I never had an issue with a few books being beneath my teens’ ability level, if it was something of interest to them. However, we should train them to keep it honest. Years ago, one of local homeschool high schoolers that I advised tried to sneak an early-reader book onto his booklist (twice). Since he was college-prep in his abilities, I did not accept the book as appropriate for his list.
Another book format that counts for the high school reading list is digital formats.
- Some teens would much rather read a digital version of a book. Some examples are:
- Kindle or Nook
- Christian Classics Ethereal Library (This is a marvelous site where you can find digital formats of classic Christian books. The site will even read the books to your teens! This has been a favorite site for one of my teens, who loves classic literature.)
We polled our 7th Sisters about what they have counted for their teens’ high school reading list. (BTW: Who are the 7th Sisters? YOU are!) Here’s what they shared:
- These are favorites of many teens. They love the format and the content.
- Our friend, Ticia Messing, of Adventures in Mommydom, says, “There are graphic novelizations of several classic novels, but just the graphic novels of traditional comics like DC or Marvel can be a great way to study story structure or characters, or many different ideas like that.”
- Our friend, Marcy, of Ben and Me, recommends audiobooks and we do, too! One of the greatest pleasures in life is listening to an excellent reader read an excellent book.
- One of my personal favorite audiobooks is Jonathan Cecil reading P.G. Wodehouse’s Right Ho, Jeeves (we’re Amazon affiliates, btw).
- If you are not familiar with the Jeeves and Wooster series, you and your teens are missing out on the fun! It is a series of delightful books about an English gentleman (Wooster) and his valet (Jeeves) back in the 1920s. Lots of fun with lots of allusion to poetry, Shakespeare and the Bible if you pay attention!
- That’s why we created a Literature Study Guide to Right Ho, Jeeves. It helps homeschool high schoolers understand all the silliness and richness embedded in the story. Download this for a marvelous literature experience!