Here we go: Homeschool High School, year 2!
First, let me say: If you have a seventh grader (i.e. a 12-year-old) and you’re despairing that he (usually he) will ever be independent or motivated or trustworthy, let me tell you: hang in there, stick it out, hold the line – it will happen. Don’t give up. It will pay off.
Usually I post these plans for the year before we begin, but this year that didn’t happen. Instead, we’re in week 5 of our (less than stellar, but still happening) summer term.
So I actually have better descriptions of what we’re doing because we’ve had a few weeks to clarify and refine. I’ve seen how his independent work will flow and, honestly, it’s pretty awesome.
I’m loving high school at home.
However, this is – Lord willing – his last year in our homeschool. This spring he’ll take the test for our community college’s dual enrollment program and, assuming he passes (and I have no reason to doubt he will), he’ll do most if not all his work there at the community college. But then it will be time to homeschool high school with my second, so we’ll just keep going.
So here’s what we have planned this last year I’m in charge of his scope and sequence and what I’ve prioritized to make sure he’s a well-rounded and well-prepared student to be sent out into the world.
Homeschool High School: Math
Math-U-See is still working for us, even in these upper years. Hans is halfway through Algebra 2 and I have Precalculus waiting for him on the shelf.
Counting partly as math and partly as Economics, Hans is also doing the Math-U-See Stewardship program. He’s not enjoying that so much, but it’s teaching him about such real life things as not getting all your paycheck, working for commission v. hourly v. salary, and other such real-life practical issues – with the math to figure it all out.
Homeschool High School: Bible & History
For Bible I’ve been assigning the readings from the Christ Church Bible Reading Challenge. In September their school-year plan begins, but I just hopped them into the summer reading program when we started in July, reading Acts.
Other than that, Bible/Doctrine/Theology is integrated into all the humanities he’s studying this year.
For history, he’s studying Church History with an emphasis in the medieval & reformation period. Our spine is 2000 Years of Christ’s Power by Nick Needham. Hans and my friend’s oldest will have synced readings and twice per term we’ll get together for a discussion over lunch. My husband will join us so Hans isn’t the only male in the group.
The series includes a well-written summary of the issues pertinent to different phases of the period and brief biographies of the major players. The emphasis is on how orthodox formulations were created over time, and the circumstances that forced the need for such formulations.
Then the end of each chapter includes primary source excerpts and a quick bullet-point timeline.
So it’s history and theology woven together: something that’s probably only possible if you homeschool high school. ?
We’ll be starting that at the end of August, so for the summer Hans has been preparing by reading Francis Schaeffer’s How Shall We Then Live, which provides a very brief overview of how we got to post-WWII America from the Greeks and Romans with an emphasis on appreciating culture and participating in it wisely in our own time.
I considered adding Art Appreciation, but ended up instead choosing Wes Callihan’s Christendom video series. These lectures weave together history, art, literature, and theology. Hans is not doing the readings, papers, or tests; he’s only watching the 20-40 minute lectures and taking notes. Part of the decision to go this route was to prepare him for lecture format at the community college and the other part was simply to give him another male voice and perspective. Art isn’t for girls – it’s for humans.
Homeschool High School Class: Literature
Speaking of art and literature, he’ll continue to have the voice of his mother in this area.
I’ll be teaching a class with 13-15 year olds, leading them through The Aeneid, The Inferno, and Beowulf.
Plus, in this class we’ll also read Shakespeare (Much Ado about Nothing, Richard III, and King Lear) and Plutarch (Demosthenes and Cicero, with Anne White’s guide, of course).
Hans and the classmates his age have written enough essays now that they need practice, not instruction. So they’ll have assignments and I will give feedback to help them revise, but we won’t use class time for writing instruction. When writing instruction for the younger half of class begins, the high school students will be dismissed.
Even – or perhaps particularly – homeschooled high school students need a learning community, and I am excited to be the facilitator for it again this year.
Homeschool High School: Science
Hans is doing Physics this year, and so far he is really enjoying it.
His primary text is Introductory Physics by Novare Math & Science; it’s written for high school freshmen or sophomores and is less math-intense than typical Physics.
We might do one or two of the experiments at the end of the year, but experiments are not top of my agenda. I want him to understand how things work, and I don’t actually think the experiments are necessary for that. Fun, maybe, but optional. He’ll have lab sciences at the community college, so I don’t feel any responsibility to meet that requirement myself.
Instead, I’ve added some supplemental reading. The text is certainly sufficient in itself, but I think coming at a subject from multiple angles is valuable (perhaps more valuable than experiments). So he’s also using Drawing Physics and 6 Easy Pieces.
He reads a few pages in the Novare textbook twice a week and makes a “science journal” entry each time. The entry doesn’t have to be a full-blown paragraph, but rather a page of notes with diagrams or illustrations as desired.
Basically, I homeschool high school so we can focus in on awesome books and not waste time with learning “activities,” most of which I’m certain are created in order to fill time. I’m not opinionated or anything, though. ;)
Homeschool High School: Economics
Probably if I was keeping track, this would be a “half credit” class, but on our schedule it just is what it is. I have the plans and I’ll put it on a transcript, if I need to make when, the way I need to in order to communicate to whoever the transcript is for.
For Economics, we using the Economics for Everyone video series from Compass Classroom done with R.C. Sproul Jr. A lesson every other week from this gets us through the course in a year.
Hans is also reading Whatever Happened to Penny Candy. In fact, he misunderstood his first assignment because the book really doesn’t have chapters or clear stop points and it is small, so he read the whole thing.
Another book on his homeschool high school list is Economics in One Easy Lesson, which I have not kept up with myself so far, but it is one I want to read, too. The one easy lesson? TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
Besides watching and reading, he makes a “learning journal” entry with notes or an illustration. This is his narration, and I’ve pretty much turned it over to him on how he wants to keep it, after showing him some examples. I’m not requiring full paragraphs or his best composition here – it’s for retention, so it’s his self-activity, not a writing assignment.
Homeschool High School: Foreign Language
Last year I let him be done with Latin and choose a language to study. He chose German and is continuing to stick with it. I found some online courses he’s using this year through Udemy.
He’s still in piano lessons and practices daily. He sometimes accompanies at church and will also prepares for adjudications and other events.
He will do Speech and Debate – or at least Speech. We still haven’t heard for sure the schedule for our local club (!), but if it conflicts with fencing, he will do only speech so he can continue in fencing.
So, yes, fencing is another thing. I can tell how it’s helped his coordination and helped soothe over some of the inevitable gangly teen awkwardness. He knows how to hold and move his body with ease and grace, purposefully – it’s “gymnastic” in the classical terminology.
Moreover, he’ll be doing driver’s ed this fall! Crazy.
Time flies when you’re having fun. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were practicing phonics and memorizing Psalm 1, and now here we are 10 years later wrapping up our time together. I have to admit, homeschooling high school has felt like pay off for those phonics lessons.