Thursday, May 21, 2009

High School Curriculum

One of our dear friends has been helping us weed through ideas for Lexi 10th grade curriculum. Her comments are in italics.

Lexi is currently attending a local Charter School over the internet. She truly dislikes not having any human teaching - even with the live chats and classrooms they offer - for her it is not enough.
We are waiting to hear if she is going to get accepted into a local homeschool program that meets twice a week for High School. However, we will still have to fill in many subjects for her and if she does not get in we are looking at the following for next year.

Grammar/Language Arts: We are using Rod and Staff for all of our children. It is very advanced and they will be ahead for years to come.

In the early years we used what many homeschoolers also use (Teach a Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Explode the Code, Bob’s Books, Wordly Wise, Writer’s Inc., etc.) I found though that Rod & Staff English was excellent for basic grammar skills. Their 8th grade English book is high school level so I did not push them through the upper level books but spread it out over a two year span while supplementing with vocabulary like Wordly Wise, etc.

Reading: we give her a reading list and then she selects which books that she would either like us to 
get from the library or buy. We do agree Sonlight and T.O.G. have wonderful reading lists too that we will pull from!

Sonlight met our reading needs over the years, hands down. It was not unusual for the evaluator’s eyes to pop out when she noticed that nearly two hundred books had been consumed by my older students. Their appetite for books increased with Sonlight readers and it wasn’t unusual to hear..”What is there to read?”…as they had read them all. In T.O.G. there is a Literature section as well that looks fantastic and is more ‘academia’ based, although Sonlight did offer those types of books, too. *if not using Sonlight but looking for readers for a given age or level of reading, go to Sonlight’s site and look through the hundreds of books and you’ll find plenty to please any of your students.

Math: We have used Abeka and Kumon workbooks and our friend has used Saxon the most over the years before switching over to Teaching Textbooks the past 3 years - Teaching Textbooks explains every problem when stuck on any given lesson. It is not full proof and often a tutor enhances what the student can’t get past no matter what curriculum used or that every problem is explained, but on the whole we have been very pleased with T.T.
Science: Apologia - From General Science to Physics this program has met our family’s needs. Tutoring or a small class in the upper grades totally made this curriculum come alive in a way I could have never succeeded at! Yeah to the talented/gifted parents who have blessed my children with their gifts and zeal for a given subject.
We have used apologia as well and really like it!

History: There are two programs which we have used knowing that there are many wonderful history curriculum's offered. A.) Sonlight - B.) Tapestry of Grace - Both curriculums have blessed our family, the most recent and newest being T.O.G. Sonlight was my first find for teaching history to my children that added the love of book reading and read alouds. We didn’t follow the program to the ‘T’ but it was just perfect for a family of avid readers. The latest find, Tapestry of Grace reminds me of Sonlight but taken to another level and in a small class weekly discussion time, this program has been extremely challenging and has me waving bye-bye to Sonlight. Each student is different and for our final student, T.O.G. offers the added discipline that was Sonlight wasn’t aiding her on. Again, having a small class and teacher to keep her focused has only kept the fire lit under her so I must credit the teachers I have been blessed to find to make these curriculum's come alive to my student(s). *a full year of T.O.G. can earn the student AP level status for History & Church History also T.O.G. does challenge the student to use the internet for more research of the material being covered in a given lesson for the upper grade levels. I like it for that, too. The more independent they are the better they’ll adjust when sitting in front of a college professor looking over their newest assignment.
We will be looking into T.O.G. for Lexi this year as well.
  • We have enjoyed Mystery of History too.
We also enjoy and will be using again -
  • the Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer,
  • The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon,
  • and for our younger ones I will be reading History Stories for Children by Dr. John Wayland.
Bible: Sonlight offers different books and devotionals to be read each day by the student which can be purchased separately from the curriculum it is offered in for any age. I always appreciated that about Sonlight and still do! A great site to see books galore that can be bought, even if just one. In the Tapestry of Grace curriculum there is a section on Church History which depending on age is quite intense and involves lots of Bible reading as does some of the main history curriculum for T.O.G. *Although over these past 15yrs of homeschooling, I have never depended on a set Bible Curriculum. My children have done varied devotionals down to Kay Arthur Bible Teaching Series which I just loved: So much of ‘Bible’ was me finding ways like Kay Arthur to just sharing scripture with them our ‘Bible Time’.

Our family does morning and night devotionals straight from the bible. This year I began buying Lexi devotional journals for her to do alone. Here are her favorites:
  • Before you meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally
  • Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Experiencing God Youth Edition by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King
  • Experiencing the Heart of Jesus student edition by Max Lucado
  • Experiencing the Words of Jesus - Hearing His Voice and Trusting His Words by Max Lucado
  • Do the Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris


  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and experiences. And Sonlight does have a lot of incredible books [smile]. May you continue to find the materials that work for you and your family.


  2. Sounds like we like the same things for homeschooling. I started the girls on their teaching textbooks for next year. They are loving it so far, much better than Math U See for my girls. We bought TOG, never used it, but still love the idea of it. I can't wait to get started on our Sonlight curriculum. How does the homeschooling group go that you want Lexi to get into?

  3. I had my children look over some of the curriculum ideas and they love almost all of them. They want to stop what we are doing now and start with some of these....Now, just hold on a minute, let's finish what we started.

    Thanks for everything Jill, next year will be a great year.

    In His Love,


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