Part 2: Choosing High School Homeschool Curriculum Like a Boss

Welcome to the second post in my Homeschool High School Series!

 

Let’s talk high school homeschool curriculum!

 

In the homeschool world of curriculum, there is no shortage! You will find anything you need for any style of learning, personality, time or any other variable.

 

There are so many choices!

 

One question I see a lot is, “Which high school homeschool curriculum is a good one?”

 

I am here to say, they are all good!

 

99% of the curricula out there is very good, well written, easy to implement, and tons of learning can happen with any of them.

 

So let’s ask a better question: is it good FOR US?

Asking the right questions

One important aspect of choosing curriculum, is your child’s bent.

 

What do they like?

 

What motivates them?

 

What are they good at, bad at?

 

Have they been successful in public school?

 

Or not?

 

If they could spend all day doing something (besides video games—I know teenagers!), what would they choose?

 

If you don’t know, ask them.

 

These answers will guide you to a better understanding of your child. And more than likely, you won’t get it right the first time. You may change every year for their entire high school experience and that’s OK.

 

Once you are armed with these answers and some more clarity, THEN you can go into the homeschool groups and ask about curriculum and will probably get more actual help.

 

For example, asking “My child is bad at math, what’s a good curriculum?” Or, “She loves to read, what’s a good curriculum for her?”

 

Those are different questions than “What’s a good curriculum?”

 

Even if you don’t ask others for help, when you’re looking at curricula, you can have these answers in the back of your mind, whispering to you while you research.

 

If you see a literature-based program, or start learning about Charlotte Mason, and your child hates to read, you’ll quickly abandon this idea. So much time and heartache will be saved because you knew about your child’s lack of love for reading, so avoided that style of curriculum.

For even more in-depth assistance, please go read my post about how to choose the best homeschool curriculum. It won’t take long and it’s mostly a list of questions—40 to be exact. It will help clarify a lot of things for you and see curriculum-choosing in a different light.

 

Next, please go read about deschooling. It is a very important first step to take if you’re pulling your kids from school.

 

Spending some time on this prep work, answering these questions, will help you immensely and may keep you from curriculum hopping.

 

You won’t regret the time.

Curriculum Hopping VS Curriculum Switching

Let me clarify curriculum hopping vs switching.

 

Curriculum hopping happens when you have FOMO. Everyone else is using the “B” curriculum, but you are using the “A” curriculum. They are saying how much they love it, how happy their kids are and how much they are all learning. You are happy with your curriculum, too, but wonder if the grass is greener and if things can be even better if you switch.

 

The answer to that is no.

 

If things are going well, it’s good practice to put the proverbial blinders on and stay where you’re at. No matter how much people say they love the other curriculum.

 

Curriculum hopping also leads to confusion and wasted time and money.

 

Switching a curriculum because it isn’t working is a different story.

 

It is not rooted in fear, as in the other scenario. It is taken carefully into consideration and you make the switch based on many factors and none of them are because of FOMO.

 

Switching curriculum can be the best thing you can do for you and your child.

So which high school homeschool curriculum is best?

There is no best. Like I said, most of the curricula out there is very good.

 

But the choices are so immense, it’s overwhelming and hard to know where to start, even if you’ve dealt with all of the above questions.

 

I know.

 

So, I’m going to give you a short list of the curricula we’ve used for our highschoolers. This will give you a starting place and you can start looking into these programs to see if they might work for you.

 

Each one has a different strength and can help you in different ways based on your goals, your style and your child’s preferences.

 

Math

CLP

Math U See

Teaching Textbooks

Dave Ramsey –finances, budgeting, money

 

Foreign Language

Memoria Press

Rosetta Stone (some colleges won’t accept this)

 

Language Arts/Writing

Memoria Press

Well Trained Mind

IEW

Charlotte Mason Method

 

History

Pandia Press

Memoria Press

Well Trained Mind

 

Science
Apologia

 

Boxed Curriculum

Memoria Press

Sonlight

Abeka

CLP

 

Online Programs

Time4Learning

Easy Peasy (free)

Ambleside Online (free)

Simply Charlotte Mason (semi-free)

Schedules and routines

Scheduling is another area to think about and it goes hand in hand with curriculum.

 

You might be tempted to just give them some books and set them free. If your child has always been homeschooled, that might work, although teenagers still need some structure.

 

Whether you are pulling them from public school or not, you’ll need to implement some routines and schedules. 

 

Even if they were really good in school, did their homework on their own and were motivated, they will still need a little bit of guidance from you. Remember, they are in the same place you are with this homeschool thing: they don’t know what they’re supposed to do, what it’s supposed to look like, either.

 

So guide them with a structure and help them be successful.

 

Depending on your personality and what you prefer, you can have a full, timed schedule, or you can have something more relaxed.

Relaxed Schedule vs Strict Schedule Examples

8am: Wake Up, Get ready and Start school

12pm: Eat lunch

1pm: Start school again

3pm: Done with school

8am-9am: Wake up, Eat breakfast, Do chores

9am: Math

9:30am: Writing

10am: Science

11am: Lunch

12pm: Reading

1pm: History

Whatever you need, you can implement, but I suggest you provide some type of structure. You can always get more relaxed or pull back, but it’s harder to be more strict or create more structure later. While teenagers are awesome and can do so much, they still need guidance from you on how to spend their schooling time.

 

Another piece of advice I have is to keep their morning routine intact. If they were in public school, I’m sure there was a morning routine: they got up, brushed teeth, ate breakfast, got dressed, etc.

 

Keep that going.

 

It is so important to have a routine established. These routines will carry you throughout the day, as they are habits that just happen with no thinking.

 

You’ll need this.

 

Even if you let them sleep in and wear their pj’s all day, they still need a routine, especially a morning one.

 

We all thrive with predictability and your teenager is no different. It helps get them in the mindset that this is not summer vacation, this is still school and we’re still taking it seriously.

Owning their education

All of this will help your child move towards independence and taking ownership of their education.

 

If you’ve been homeschooling this whole time, this will occur more naturally. If you’re pulling your child from school, you may need to help them with this more.

 

Starting in about 5th grade, I start moving my children towards independence. I may have them do a few math problems on their own or read a book on their own. By middle school, I assign them “homework” or things they can do without me, like answering workbook questions or doing their entire math assignment.

 

By the time highschool rolls around, they are used to doing more school on their own. I have always had littles as well, so getting my highschoolers independent has been a necessary goal for me.

 

If you are all new to homeschooling, you could start by doing all of their school with them, making sure they are doing it, keeping tabs on how they’re doing, what they’re doing.  As you find your rhythm and your child starts to see what this is all about, you can quickly move through the stages to get them more independent.

 

So instead of taking years, you could take months. My opinion is that this independence is important. They need to be able to have ownership over their education.

 

As adults, that’s what we have to do. Even just the research you’re doing for homeschooling, is taking ownership over educating yourself on a new topic.

 

Your child needs to be able to do that in their adulthood, as well. You can teach them this skill now, in your home.

 

Whether they go to college or not, you will have served them well by teaching them to take some responsibility for their own learning.

I hope this helps you scratch the surface on high school homeschool curriculum. I know there is so much going on out there, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

 

You can do this!

 

Choosing a high school homeschool curriculum is very doable and you cannot mess this up!

 

There is grace here and you will not harm your child. In fact, you are giving your child a leg up, no matter which curriculum you choose or no matter how many times you need to switch gears.

 

I hope this has helped you move into a place of confidence when it comes to choosing high school homeschool curriculum.

 

Please let me know if there are any other questions you have!

The rest of the series...

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We have more in depth discussions here and I go live once per week to answer your questions!

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