How to choose Homeschool Subjects in High School

How to Choose High School Subjects

The commitment of deciding to homeschool high school is a big deal for parents whether they are new to homeschooling or have been doing it for years. It may seem like a huge undertaking but in reality, it is a really great idea! Most teens are more mature, have better study habits, and are now capable of learning more independently than when they were younger. The first step after making the decision to homeschool is to find out what subjects are needed. 

After determining what subjects your student needs comes the fun part, picking out the classes to fulfill the credits in each subject. If your student is going to be a freshman or even a sophomore they may not have completely decided on plans beyond high school graduation. If your teen is undecided they may want to try our Career Explorations unit study, a four-week unit study specifically for homeschoolers. This unit study will guide your student through the steps of researching and seeking out a career path that is right for them. If your teen’s aspirations include college education, military service, or technical schools you can use that information to determine which possible classes in each subject would benefit them. It also will go a long way in compliance and cooperation if you let your high school students have input into what they would like to learn about and what curriculum they can accomplish it with. 

Homeschool English Options

The four main fundamental points of a strong high school English course are: reading and analyzing good literature, using proper grammar, developing writing skills, and building the student’s vocabulary skills. During the high school years, students will gain the skills they need after graduating whether that means college, apprentice programs, trade school, or even entering the military.

Homeschooler’s Guide To Teaching High School English

From Shakespeare to transitive verbs, making facts live in the study of English is crucial. Yet, since the study of English or Language Arts as most educators refer to it – is the foundational subject for all other studies it is vital that these facts “live.” Could we study mathematics without an understanding of language? Of course not! Language Arts is the key to all other learning and should be treated with corresponding importance.

  1. English I- What is typically included in 9th grade English? Grammar, vocabulary, literature (also literature analysis), and composition.
  2. English IIA 10th grade English course will have the same general components that were in 9th grade. It may also include a course on world, modern and American literature.
  3. English III- Grammar, vocabulary, and composition skills continue to be reinforced and built on in 11th grade. They also will be beginning to learn the mechanics of a research paper. Literature studied is often American and British literature.
  4. English IV- Grammar, mechanics, vocabulary, literature, and composition skills are built on from the previous three years. Students in 12 grade will also perfect their writing skills for research papers and will be most likely be reading British Lit.

View our full directory of English curriculum Here.


Homeschool Math Options

For the average homeschooling parent teaching, high school can be a bit intimidating. Mention homeschooling the high school maths like Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry and you see their eyes begin to glaze over. Sure, not everyone enjoys math, but homeschoolers take heart… even math haters can homeschool their children successfully. Homeschooling math has been made so much easier over the past decade by the numerous high-quality resources that are designed specifically for homeschoolers with little or no math background. With that in mind, let’s look at how to homeschool high school math.

Homeschooler’s Guide To Teaching High School Math

  1. Math I– Students typically take pre-algebra or algebra when they are freshmen. 
  2. Math II– Algebra II or geometry are common math classes for 10th grade. The order they are taught may depend on the curriculum you’re using. 
  3. Math III– Algebra II or geometry are typically covered in 11th grade – whichever the student didn’t study in 10th grade.
  4. Math IV– Senior math may include options such as pre-calculus, calculus, trigonometry, or statistics. Students may also be taking dual-enrollment courses.

View our full directory of Math curriculum Here.


Homeschool Science Options

For years, we’ve been doing science, taking walks, examining leaves, dissecting flowers, raising butterflies… all of it intensely fun. Yet now, (or in the near future) those “fun” science lessons are morphing into some SERIOUS high school science, for which we assume all “fun” is over. Let me tell you from experience, this doesn’t have to be the case, and you don’t have to fear the rigors of a high school science course!

Homeschooler’s Guide To Teaching High School Science

  1. Common courses for 9th-grade science include physical science, general science, or biology.
  2. Biology is commonly taught in 10th grade unless it was covered in 9th grade. Alternatives include the same as those listed for 9th grade.
  3. High school juniors generally take chemistry or physics in 11th grade since the necessary math pre-requisites have been met.
  4. Many high school seniors will have completed all the required courses for science. Some may choose to take courses such as physics, advanced biology, or advanced chemistry.

View our full directory of Science curriculum Here.


Homeschool History Options

The study of high school history is one of those subjects in which many view the facts as treasures waiting to be picked up and memorized. While passionate history-loving teachers assert that history is best learned by being “caught” instead of “taught”, a passion for history and the knowledge that one can gain from historical events, historical reasoning, and even historical mistakes can be applied to analytical thinking, reasoning, debate, and even evaluation of current events.

Homeschooler’s Guide To Teaching High School History

  1. It is common to cover United States history in 9th grade. Families following a classical style of home education will likely cover ancient history as part of the four-year history cycle for high school.
  2. World history is typical for 10th grade. Classical homeschooling families will likely cover the Middle Ages. Some students prefer topical studies such as World War I and II.
  3. History for 11th grade may include modern or European history. It might also include civics, U.S. Government, or economics. For classical homeschoolers, high school juniors will typically cover the Renaissance and Reformation.
  4. Many high school seniors will have completed all the required courses for social studies. Additional courses may be taken as electives. Classical homeschoolers will likely finish their high school years with modern history.

View our full directory of History curriculum Here.


Homeschool Health/Physical Education Options

What about P.E.? Another wonderful aspect of homeschooling is the fact that Health and Physical Education can be thoroughly maximized and enjoyed by the homeschool student. In fact, fulfilling a Health and PE requirement in high school has endless possibilities. However, the first step in determining your Health and PE course of study is to check with your state. Each has their own state-specific guidelines as to how many Health and PE credit hours are required for graduation.

Homeschooler’s Guide To Teaching Health And PE

  1. Health Education Class
  2. Physical Education class


How to Choose Electives in Your Homeschool High School

What exactly is an elective? An elective is any class or coursework that is done outside of the core curriculum for high school. Electives are a fun way for teens to explore their interests and explore possible career paths. They could include classes such as Journalism, Public Speaking, Marketing, Instrumental Music, Art, the possibilities are endless. Choosing an elective that aligns with your future goals is also very important. These can include internships at a local lawyers office, or time spent as an assistant at your local farmer’s market. Electives don’t have to be pre-made courses or curriculum. And, well-chosen electives can make a big difference on your transcript. 

For more information read our article on Choosing Homeschool High School Courses here.