2014-2015 will be my 12th official year of homeschooling. I didn’t think that was a big deal, until this summer when sitting with other mothers from our Classical Conversations group. They are a younger group for the most part, and there were some ooohs and aaahs during introductions when I said how long we had been homeschooling. I guess I can consider myself a veteran now!
It does sometimes feel like I’ve been through a war.
So this year my oldest is in 11th grade. She has been homeschooled from the beginning, with a few months in a Montessori preschool. She is bright and dyslexic, and I have spent these last 12 years figuring out what works for her, what I can “get away with” as far as accommodations (running that fine line between accommodation and crutch), and where her talents lie.
At this point, neither of us is interested in unschooling her for high school, although I’m not against it in general. I’d say we are relaxed, but in an academic way. For example, I’ve presented these lesson plans to her, and she is free to deviate from them, if she makes them better – deeper and richer. She wants to spend a month researching who really discovered America, and by doing that won’t have time for the chapters I’ve assigned her in a history textbook? Great! You want to not study history because Mom, it’s boring? Not so much.
This year she is taking 6 credits, all at home. We had thought about adding a community college class, which is very common in our area with 11th and 12th graders, but decided to wait until summer for a first try at college level, due to the dyslexia. Let me rephrase that about the community college – it is common in our greater regional area, in the areas within about a 30-45 minute drive there are actually few home schooling high schoolers. Most decide to go to public or private school at that point. Not pointing fingers here, we are one of them! 🙂 We have one high schooler at home and one in school. We take each child and each year on it’s own, and never say never.
Before I get into the nitty gritty, I want to say: these curriculum choices were designed for my child, the bright, sensitive, dyslexic with strong narrative and interconnectedness strengths (scroll about halfway down for a description). They are not my recommendations for any other child, even another child of mine. So don’t take these as suggestions of What Should Be Done In High School.
On to the books…
U.S. History: Our state requires a U.S. History year, and since we haven’t done that yet in high school, 11th grade it is! We are combining The Great Courses’ Early American History: Native Americans through the Forty-Niners with Our Pioneers and Patriots by Fr. Furlong. Both have questions at the end that we will use for discussion, essay writing, and testing. Elizabeth
loves hearing herself talk learns best with discussion so we try to make it a part of every lesson. She is very interested in finding out what *really* happened in history, as opposed to the differing accounts she finds in various texts or videos, so I see a few rabbit trails in our future.
For Math, she is using Teaching Textbooks Algebra II. We have tried other programs and this is the perfect fit for her. Saxon Geometry almost killed her last year, LOL, so we are happy to be back with something on the easier side.
She’s using Conceptual Physics for science. We have the textbook, a teachers guide, a lab workbook, and a problem solving workbook. This is her second lab science (her first was biology), so the labs will figure heavily, but I know we won’t be doing every.little.thing in the book. BTW, we got it for much less then they are asking on Amazon, although I don’t remember where. Probably a local book sale or the Well Trained Mind message boards, back when they had more “for sale” posts. We will also watch Physics in Your Life and Great Ideas of Classical Physics “for fun.” While not being a math-y or science-y kid, she does have a fascination with how things work, so I think she will enjoy the DVDs, especially if I don’t require anything from her but a little chit-chat about their contents.
English 11 will be an American Literature year to go along with her American History studies. We are using this Grammar Workbook for the SAT, ACT and More, and literature. I don’t have a definitive list…I’m thinking of requiring a few particular books, but possibly throwing this list at her from Goodreads and just saying “have at it.” Thanks to some lovely people on Facebook I have a ton of suggestions to start from (I can share if anyone is interested). I work on E’s writing skills on the fly, and will require a few short papers from her, depending on the books we choose.
Sign Language- we are using ASL University.
And last but certainly not least, Religion. Elizabeth loves Biblical history/geography/culture. She did a sort of “Old Testament Year” in 9th grade, so now we are moving on to the New Testament and History of the Church. Holman Bible Atlas (much more than just maps) and Didache’s History of the Church will be spines, and I’ll let her go in whatever direction this takes her!
Thanks for reading this far, and many blessings on your week!