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Last month, I shared a bit about our process for the selection of electives. Those are a combination of information and fun courses. However, there are always requirements for completing high school that have a little wiggle room for what to study. You and your child can consider the options when planning out course for high school. What I want most when it comes to the subject areas of history and science for high school is to have stress free teaching, or as stress free as possible.
For this particular post, I wanted to share what we’ve done in our home as well as alternatives from the suggestions of friends. Note ~ many links go to previous posts about the materials we’ve used and some are affiliate links for specific books.
History for High School
There are so many options for how to approach this. My boys have each had a year where their time spent on Academic Decathlon gave them credit towards a history course. This year’s theme is India, so my 10th grader will get a half credit for Eastern Civilization. He might also be continuing with Veritas Press’ Omnibus II which walks through the middle ages to the reformation. He completed Omnibus I last year and I liked his exposure to some lecture without a set class time. The self-paced class covered much of the material a student would need to gather on their own if using just the print version of the material.
When my eldest was in 10th grade, we had American History on the docket for everyone. He worked through Sonlight’s Core 100 with the mid-year swap of All-American History from Bright Ideas Press instead of A History of US which was part of the core. The literature selections from Sonlight were outstanding and I’d highly recommend including as many of them in any American History study.
When it came to a year long World History course, my eldest son used Human Legacy for his base. It was okay, but definitely a textbook approach to learning just like many high schools use. I did like the timed essay assignments in the teacher materials, though, which had them answering a particular question based on what they’d learned in a style consistent to the SAT test. With my current high school student, I have already set aside a copy of the newer edition of Notgrass’ Exploring World History program as he did well with their middle school programs.
Other courses we’ve had in our home under the social sciences area include American Government and Economics. We used the textbooks for reading and as I had some of the teacher resources, my son completed quizzes or tests as if they were a worksheet with only unit tests being closed book. We did have some good dinner table discussions on topics covered which was my ultimate goal.
Science for High School
When I attended school, the college prep course of study had physical science in 9th grade, biology in 10th grade, chemistry in 11th and physics in 12th. A less strong science student might take earth science. But, otherwise those were the choices. Homeschooling can open it up to SO many more options, especially if you have a student able to do physical science in 8th grade. They could study environmental science (if math isn’t their thing), marine biology (if they love the ocean creatures), Anatomy & Physiology (if health fields are of interest) and even more advanced levels of biology, chemistry and physics.
Right up there with math, I find that many home school parents are a bit terrified over how to teach science at the high school level. Some jump on board one of the main curriculum bandwagons and use Apologia science books for these years. The advantage for them is that each text is written TO the high school student and does not assume a parent will be presenting information to them. I noticed that you can even get a complete package now that includes a DVD with presentation of material and the experiments demonstrated. This is often a good path for Christian homeschoolers. However, my husband asked me to not use them because the elementary books and General Science which we reviewed years ago had a heavy young earth stance. So, if you are not a strong Christian or have issue with that particular slant of creationist theory, then you may need to look elsewhere for your materials.
Before my eldest was even in high school and it was barely on my radar, another Catholic homeschooling friend told me she loved using Kolbe Academy’s lesson plans for high school biology alongside the secular text book from Prentice Hall by Miller and Levine. This is what I did for 10th grade with my eldest and what my current 10th grader is using. The lesson plans break everything down by week and included quizzes and tests spaced throughout the course as well as the option to do a core biology class or one on the honors level. Rather than breaking each week down into daily tasks, I am going to be teaching my son a bit of time management by having HIM decide how much to do on a given day with a set deadline for work to be turned into me. I hope it goes well as it appears this is the same approach my eldest son is seeing for college courses this year.
Physical Science, Chemistry and Physics have all been learned from Prentice Hall books. With my eldest, I tried to ‘wing it’ for physical science and became completely overwhelmed creating lesson plans for the course on top of homeschooling 2 younger siblings and keeping a toddler as quiet as possible. I’d even procured teacher resources, but realized that I still had to determine which chapters and portions of chapters were most important. When my now 10th grader was ready to start that class last fall, I ordered lesson plans from Kolbe again. I also was able to do the same for chemistry. However, I was on my own for physics. I could have changed gears and ordered the text Kolbe uses, but after looking through the beginning of Conceptual Physics I was certain that was the text for us as he goes for understanding concepts before diving into the math.
Just recently, I discovered that Homeschool Connections, a Catholic based distance learning option) had instructors teaching from the Prentice Hall books with the option to be in a live class. Sadly, the biology one for this term was full before I looked. However, they offer a subscription package to access all of the previous courses taught including last year’s Biology and physics which uses the textbook I own and love. A local friend had her son in that physics course last year and said it was a great fit for everyone.
If you have a child that likes the quirky videos put out by Standard Deviants, then you might like their online learning option which we reviewed last year. My boys focused on nutrition as part of their health course. However, they have biology, earth science, and chemistry available as well. Another program I reviewed last year, but the boys were not as gung ho over is Fascinating Education. I reviewed the chemistry, but he also offers biology and physics. We considered their biology for my son this year. However, I was concerned that our charter school would not consider the time spent completing the course to be substantial enough.
Have you homeschooled a child in high school or are you looking to begin that part of your journey soon?
What science and history 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:
- Chareen from Every Bed of Roses – Math, Science, Biology and History in the High School Years
- Jennifer from A Glimpse of Our Life – High School Language Arts
- Lisa from Golden Grasses – Math, Science, History- Homeschooling High School
- Dawn from Double O Farms – Math, Science, and History During the High School Years
- Kym from Homeschool Coffee Break – Homeschooling High School – Math, Science, and History Round-Up
- Michele from Family, Faith and Fridays – Numbers and Atoms
- Wendy from Life at Rossmont – Homeschooling High School: Maths, Sciences, and History
- Debbie from Debbie’s Homeschool Corner – Afraid of High School Science?
- Carol from Home Sweet Life – Math and Science in High School ~ What’s a Mom To Do?
- Tess from Circling Through This Life – Teaching High School Math and Science: Resources
- Meg from Adventures with Jude – High School Math and Science
- Gena from I Choose Joy! – Why We Changed Our History Curriculum for Homeschool High School
- Cristi from Through the Calm and Through the Storm – Two Plus Two Equals Calculus
- Leah from As We Walk Along the Road –
- Debra from Footprints in the Butter –
- April from ElCloud Homeschool –
- Erica from Be The One –