Welcome to the latest entry in the monthly Homeschooling High School blog hop. Today, I am tackling How to Teach High School Language Arts Without Tears. Like other areas of learning, I want the experience to include stress free teaching, or as stress free as possible. Just as there is a wide array of possible subjects for history or science, you and your child can give due consideration to breaking free of the English 1, 2, 3, and 4 mold when planning out course for high school.
Yet again, I am going to share what we’ve done in our home as well as alternatives from the suggestions of friends.
How to Teach High School Language Arts Without Tears: Literature
Given my sons’ love of reading, this is not a super challenging area to cover. The biggest challenge is agreeing upon what books to include!
When my eldest did American History, we used Sonlight’s Core 100. He loved the literature selections, even more than some of the history living books.
His 9th grade year consisted of some reading out of Mirror & Window’s textbook for that grade level and a handful of novels. His 12th grade year had him finishing the language arts requirement for graduation by taking a semester long British Literature course. We used Lightning Literature’s British Literature Medieval Unit which included some familiar and unfamiliar texts.
This year, my second oldest is doing the full Omnibus II experience from Veritas Press’s self-paced courses which includes the literature component. We are still working on our review of the different aspects of this course and will be sharing our thoughts later in the semester. However, I can say that he is enjoying it thus far which is no great surprise as they are doing The Hobbit and all of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
When not using a particular program with comprehension questions or other guided learning, I have taken a somewhat laid back approach. We’ve had discussions about the titles rather than coming up with a bunch of busy work requiring writing.
How to Teach High School Language Arts Without Tears: Writing
I will be honest with you. If there is a section of teaching language arts to my boys that can bring on the tears and pulling of hair it is this.
As much as I adore writing and do it every single day in some shape or fashion, my boys act as if I am pulling their teeth without anesthetic at times. At times I wondered if it actually caused them physical pain to hold a writing instrument and put words onto a piece of paper.
We have tried IEW’s Student Writing Intensive with limited success, mostly if in a cooperative learning environment where there is peer pressure to do the assignments so you don’t look like a total slacker. A big plus for this program is that things are laid out beautifully for the teacher / facilitator including a rubric for grading. Having guidelines to grade the writing is a big thing as writing can be quite subjective and I don’t want my kids thinking they get a bad grade because mom didn’t like something particular about their style or voice.
What ended up working, to a degree, for us is outsourcing this component of their learning. Each of my older boys has spent 2 years using Write at Home which provides a structure, deadlines for work, and a writing coach who corresponds with your child through the communication system they have in place. (The mentor never has all your private contact information and emails have to go through the system.)
How ‘rigorous’ and beneficial the program is for a given child is largely dependent upon the assigned writing coach. My eldest son found it to be super easy his first year as he had a coach who was heavy on the encouraging and gave higher marks on the rubric than I would have done. But, the next year he had a different coach who did prod him to stretch and thereby improve. I can also say that both of my boys have written more thoroughly for their coaches than they ever did for me.
Have you homeschooled a child in high school or are you looking to begin that part of your journey soon?
What language arts courses do you remember taking in high school?
How do you help your child select their courses?
Home School High School Hosts Share this Month:
Carol from Home Sweet life shares Homeschooling High School- Language Arts (&History!)
Leah from As We Walk Along the Road shares Teaching Language Arts in High School: Curriculum and Activity Choices
Tess from Circling Through This Life shares Teaching High School Language Arts: Resources
Michele from Family, Faith and Fridays shares Language Arts
Wendy from Life at Rossmont shares Highschool Language Arts
Erica from Be the One shares Language Arts Resources
Kym s from Homeschool Coffee Break shares History in the Form of Stories
Debbie from Debbie’s Homeschool Corner shares Teaching High School English
Gena from I Choose Joy shares Homeschool High School: Using Socratic Discussion for Literature Studies