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Choosing High School Homeschool Curriculum

Choosing High School Homeschool Curriculum

If there is ever a place that a homeschool parent feels uneasy it’s heading into high school. I know I have been at that place. Nervous and excited all at the same time. But I am here to encourage you that it is an amazing blessing to be pouring into the lives of your young adults. The high school years are such an important time for our children!

But just how do you do it and with what resources? We are here to help!

Can You Homeschool High School? Yes, You Can!

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Gregg Harris in a Homeschool Legal Defense Association Court Report article, entitled Outgrowing the Greenhouse to spur you on in your homeschooling high school and parenting calling.

Plus, our authors here at the Curriculum Choice have many, many years of experience teaching high school between them.  We’ve joined together to help you feel confident teaching high school, too! Our author, Betsy, even offers advice and resources for planning a high school track for the college bound.

TCC-community-250Our High School Reviews

Below are some of the many high school reviews our Curriculum Choice authors have written.  You’ll be amazed at all the resources available to you and your high schoolers!

More Encouragement from Our Authors

Most of the Curriculum Choice authors have active blogs where they share all kinds of homeschooling advice and experiences.  Below, you’ll find links to helpful homeschooling high school posts from a few of our veteran homeschooling authors.

Teaching High School Resources from @Cindy West (Our Journey Westward)

Cindy West from Our Journey Westward admits that she both loves and loathes high school.  She loves that high school kids are ready for the real meat of academic subjects and can do much of their work independently.  She loathes that high school tends to get a little more “bookish” and the learning naturally falls away from the family time it used to be.  Cindy’s high school curriculum is still full of fun and life, though!  She has chosen to share some of her plans off the beaten path.

Economics in the Homeschool

Teaching the Value of Purity

Homeschool Service Projects

In-Depth Nature Study for a High School Student

Co-op Class Ideas for Older Students

Homeschooling High School Science

Homeschooling Towards College

Betsy, Curriculum Choice author:

There are many different ways to homeschool high school. Some teens aim to complete their high school years at home, then go directly into the world of work. Others go to community college and earn dual credit or work towards an AA. Other teens are homeschooling high school and planning to apply to a four year college. My 17-year-old daughter is one of them. This has been a major factor in our curriculum choices in her high school years. Right now, we are in the midst of choosing courses for my daughter’s senior year. Below you will find a few tips for choosing curriculum when your teen is homeschooling towards college.


Our first step in planning was to look at the admission requirements for the colleges that my daughter was interested in. This information was easy to find, just by looking at college websites, under entrance requirements. They typically would have a list of required courses, such as:

4 credits of Language Arts
3 credits of Math
2 credits of Social Studies, etc,

….or something like that. Each college is a little different. Once you have your list in hand, the next step is to find the textbooks, living books, and/or online courses, etc. that would fit with your college’s entrance requirements. One thing that made it easier was that most of the requirements were quite similar from college to college!

Next, I looked at my student’s learning style and tried to match my curriculum choices to her needs. I asked myself, did she do best with textbook, online, or a literature based approach, such as Charlotte Mason, or Classical, etc, then chose your courses accordingly. My teen was a big part of this process!


Most of our colleges required two lab sciences. We found many choices for science including Apologia, Abeka, Switch-On-Schoolhouse (SOS), etc. We made sure that our choice included a science lab component. We decided to look for a structured course that included regular test-taking. Getting used to test-taking would help my daughter to prepared for later test-taking in college!

Check out www.thecurriculumchoice.com for high school science reviews, such as Daniele’s Science Roots Vocabulary for High School Biology review, below.


Most of our college choices required Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 for their applicants. (Or the series that Saxon offers, which is equivalent). There are many other great math options as well, such as LifePacs, Switch-On-Schoolhouse, Math-You-See, Aleks, Abeka, etc. Some families choose Teaching Textbooks and love it as well! ALEKS is reviewed by Annie Kate. Look for the one that fits your student. We found that having a structured math course helped my daughter to also prepare for the SAT!


When looking for a high school English program, most colleges want something that is strong in literature and composition. There are many options out there for your family. We chose a publisher called Oak Meadow, which offered Literature and Composition, American Lit, and English Lit. Please see my review of Oak Meadow Literature and Composition II. Its focus was on reading good literature, literary analysis and essay writing. We wanted to be sure that my daughter got lots of essay writing practice! This would help her later when she was writing her college essay! Oak Meadow works well with teens who are already comfortable with, and enjoy writing.

Many families love the Institute of Excellence in Writing, IEW, which has a more step by step, structured approach. Please also see the One Year Adventure Novel review on our site, great for a creative writing course. There are many other options as well, such as Robinson, Lifepacs, and SOS, and other reviews on our site.

Short Lessons in US HistorySOCIAL STUDIES (SS):

Our college choices wanted three credits of SS, but did not specify which courses, so could choose from a wide variety of subjects, such as World History, US History, Geography, Economics, etc. As each college is different, I recommend checking with your college specifically. We decided to focus on History and Geography, and used resources from Oak Meadow, Rainbow Resources, etc. Please check out my review of Short Lessons in US History, and Economics (a great section on Cindy West’s Our Journey Westward site).

If you teen is aiming towards a four year college, my best advice would be to do the research first, and exploring the college websites of your choice. Each will show their admission requirements with just a click of the button. Be sure to also check for their homeschool admission policy. Most colleges will have that right on their website. Many homeschoolers decide to take some of their high school courses at community college to add to their homeschool transcript. There are many homeschool friendly colleges out there.

Whichever way homeschool high school, it has been shown that a homeschool education is a great way to prepare for a successful college career. And there are many families out there, homeschooling high school with you. There is, in fact, a yahoo group called Homeschool2College, which deals with this subject, supporting 1,000’s of homeschool families on their journeys.

For more information, or to ask a homeschooling high school question, please go to Jane Sproger on Facebook and send your questions in a private mesage. ~ Betsy Sproger, Curriculum Choice author and Homeschool Consultant

Homeschooling High School at Hodgepodgeusing Apologia Biology in our high school

Tricia at Hodgepodge:

Tapestry of GraceTapestry of Grace is a classical approach, Biblically-based, unit study curriculum for the whole family. Tapestry covers eight subjects. Everyone learning together – each child on their own learning and skill level.

Homeschooling High School at HodgepodgeAnd since these two children are young adults, they choose where they work best. At the chalkboard desk, sitting in the big chair in the school room, stretched out on the family room couch, sitting and pondering on the backyard swing, gathered around the kitchen table or relishing the quiet of a bedroom.

Homeschooling High School Update – I have been nervous and excited about this high school adventure. And now, here we are half way through the year. How has it gone? What has it been like? Honestly, I haven’t noticed a huge difference except maybe in work load. Hers and mine. A widening of course work, experiments, writing assignments and a whole lot of books. Then there is the record keeping on my part.

Triple1070 CurriculumTriple 1070 Biblical Finance Curriculum – Practical, life skills are so very needed in a high school education. But just how can you teach your young adults about finances without it being BORING? Triple 1070 offers a media rich adventure to Biblical Financial Empowerment. With this DVD-based curriculum, follow four young adults – of various ages, backgrounds and ideas about finance – on a practical learning experience. These young people travel across the country talking with financial experts, visiting banks, learning about job planning, taxes, avoiding debt, government, investments and much more.

Harmony Fine Arts Plans for Art and Music Appreciation – this type of enrichment is pure delight. It might just be what your homeschool needs too.

Visual Latin review at Curriculum ChoiceVisual LatinWarning. The free lessons you may download and watch will have you hooked. Watch them with your children only if you want to hear…Laughter. Soon followed by, “Can we watch another?” Then after the second introductory lesson, “Can we watch just one more?” “…better to make students laugh than yawn.” ~ visuallatin.com

How Nature Study Mixes with High School Biology – Many thanks to prompts and encouragement from Handbook of Nature Study! And to Apologia for high school Biology studies.

IMG_0859Steve at Hodgepodge:

Apologia Biology Flashcard AppThere is a section for each chapter in the Biology text. There are four drill modes included. Your student can choose from four different review types:

  • Word – When given a word, select the proper definition;
  • Definition – When given a definition, select the proper word;
  • Spell – When given the definition, spell the word;
  • Random – A randomized selection of the drill modes.

Lynda.com Online Training LibraryLynda.com is a subscription online training library. For $25.00 monthly, over one thousand courses can be viewed online.

Long term plans homeschool high school

Barb at Harmony Fine Arts:

Setting Goals for Homeschool High School – Shooting arrows when you can’t see the target is pointless. It is so much better to clearly see the bulls-eye before taking aim. Pointing your academic and spiritual arrows with skill takes effort and practice but it can be done.

Deciding on Resources for High School – Does it meet one of our yearly goals? This first question is one that I have learned to lean on more heavily as the years pass by.

Reflecting on Books and Curriculum for High School -It is not about books or curriculum. There is a place for books and curriculum within our family’s goals for high school but they are not really the focus any more.

Human Anatomy Models and Study Aids – With the models we could touch, see, and imagine how each part fits together after taking the models apart and then putting them back together again. The models sat on the desk near the computer so they were accessible during breaks in other work. The skeleton was always there, smiling at us as we typed on the computer keyboard.

Sonlight Ultra Microscope: Investing in High School Science – Most homeschoolers are very frugal and must make their homeschool budget stretch as far as possible. My family is no exception and I think long and hard about investing in curriculum and tools for our learning experiences. My two youngest boys are very science oriented and are naturally inquisitive about the world around them so purchasing a quality microscope made sense as we entered the middle school science years. Our family aims to get the most value for the dollar. So which microscope would we buy?


Annie Kate at Annie Kate’s Homeschool Reviews:

For the third time in this week’s Choosing Curriculum series, I want to mention the most important resource, Cathy Duffy’s guide, 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, which helps you determine what curriculum suits your family.  I recommend it to all new homeschooling families and use it regularly myself even after 17 years of homeschooling and 4 years of reviewing curriculum.  The older version, 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, is still useful, but does not mention some of the great new curricula available.

For academically minded students, I have not found a science program to beat Apologia even though this year we really needed to tweak it.

As a math supplement Math on DVD delivers the most value for your money.

We really enjoyed Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance Curriculum for high school.  It’s full of information, funny, and memorable.

comp-record-soltnWhile it is not a curriculum, homeschooling parent of teens are advised to look at The Comprehensive Record Program to help them present their teen’s work in a way that university admissions officers will understand.

How to Raise Your High School Grades by Half a Point in One Semester – Teens need to think about thinking, studying, time management, and the future. There are all sorts of serious, sober, and expensive approaches to these topics. However, if your family has a sense of humor and likes outside-the-box ideas, Gary North’s free study course might work for you.

100_3801Apologia High School Science – These excellent, Creation-based courses are clear enough to be essentially self-teaching, even though they cover difficult material.  In fact, as a scientist, I am impressed by the breadth and depth of these texts as well as their clarity.

4yrplanner-500x411Daniele at Domestic Serenity:

High School Four Year Planner by Well Planned Day – Setting out to homeschool high school for the first time, we found ourselves looking at lots of curriculum – from biology to language and vocabulary – everything was new to us. Along with academics came a need to organize daily assignments.  High school is a necessary time to learn skills of keeping up with one’s work load a little more independently than before.

Civics Education: Pocket Law Firm App – Created by iCivics, Pocket Law Firm app turns the user into the owner of a law firm determined to defend the US Constitution.  As the one in charge, you handle clients, helping to match their cases to just the right lawyer.  Not so fast though – first, you need to have set up your firm correctly or to do so along the way.

Science Roots – Vocabulary for High School Biology – Science Roots was designed to be keyed with vocabulary encountered in Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology course.  While it could be used with any biology study, the words are introduced in the same sequence as they are studied in chapters of Apologia’s book.  A great plus since we’re using this program!

Even More High School Resources!

HopscotchwithiHNSummer2We are joining up with our iHomeschool Network friends in a summer hopscotch! Be sure to stop by the rest of the week for more on Choosing Curriculum. Tomorrow we will feature homeschool curriculum for multiple ages and we have a fabulous giveaway in store! Pin each post for future reference! (Each link below will be live on that day).

Five Days of Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Curriculum~Subscribe to Curriculum Choice via email (enter your email address in the top, right-hand corner) and receive our Ultimate Guide to Choosing Curriculum in your first email~

What wonderful homeschool resource have you found for high school? What questions do you have?

~Hosted by Tricia~ Homeschooling for over a dozen years now, Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos with five children from preschool to high school. She shares a mixture of art lessons, recipes and helpful homeschool habits at Hodgepodge. She and her husband, Steve (who writes app and technology reviews), are co-owners of Curriculum Choice.

Tricia (130 Posts)

Now in her 15th year of homeschooling, Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos with five children. She is author of art curriculum for all ages, a cookbook series and helpful homeschool habits at Hodgepodge. She and her husband, Steve, are owners of The Curriculum Choice.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Heather June 13, 2013, 6:43 am

    This was a great post. The more I read on homeschooling High School the more confident I feel. What a wonderful list of resources, thank you!

    • Tricia June 13, 2013, 7:00 am

      I agree Heather – you have hit on the key – keep on learning yourself! Thankful you found this gathering of resources helpful and encouraging.

  • Dawn @ Guiding Light June 13, 2013, 8:56 am

    What an amazing list of things…I haven’t read it all yet but so appreciate the list of things. Thank you!

    • Tricia June 13, 2013, 1:37 pm

      Dawn – thanks so much! These ladies sure have put together so many great reviews and resources.

  • Marianne June 14, 2013, 11:24 am

    Epic list Tricia! Thanks for all you do to help other homeschoolers find their way. And thanks for sharing my series on Homeschooling in High School.

    • Tricia June 14, 2013, 1:30 pm

      oh absolutely! Your series has encouraged me so on our high school journey. Thank YOU!

  • Samantha June 28, 2013, 11:52 am

    Thanks for this list! I’m going into my Sophomore year of HS. My main struggle is Algebra. I have done A Beka since 4th grade and haven’t had a problem, however during Algebra 1, I struggled. A Beka is known to be about a year advanced, and since it is meant for public schools, it is definitely a struggle.
    A friend of a friend used Teaching Textbooks, and her daughter struggled on the math portion of the SAT.
    I am thinking about using Saxon next year…
    Samantha´s last blog post ..Books Made Into Movies

  • Susan W March 8, 2014, 10:13 am

    Bookmarking this one! We start high school in the fall :-)

    Thanks for sharing at the Finishing Strong Link-up!

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