When your kids reach the high school years, suddenly it hits you that you need a structured and organized plan, even if you were more flexible in the early years. You probably still covered literature, grammar, spelling, and writing, but now it needs to be formalized on a transcript. Here’s a step-by-step guide for pulling together a customized homeschooling high school English curriculum.
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Homeschooling High School English Curriculum
When designing your teen’s high school years, you have the flexibility to create a homeschooling high school English curriculum that suits your student’s interests and learning goals. You can pull resources from various places to fill a year of studies, or you can outsource the teaching.
Of course, there are many sub-categories to the subject of English. Those include literature, writing, grammar, vocabulary, and speech. And you can choose to cover these in the way that makes the most sense for your student. Most states don’t have strict requirements for what you need to cover each year in high school English.
In short, here’s what I would recommend you look for in a high school homeschool English resource:
- open & go (user-friendly)
- independent (your high schooler can work on this mostly on their own)
- high level skills (your students should be doing work that is getting them ready for college-level work, if that’s in the future)
- 120-150 hours of work (this is the common wisdom about what constitutes a credit on the high school transcript)
Ideas for Homeschooling High School English curriculum – Episode 214
On episode 214 of the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast, we talk through all these homeschooling high school English curriculum options and resources that will help you implement them. Listen below and don’t forget to subscribe!
High School English Planning Worksheet
Want to have all these ideas in one place PLUS some worksheets to help you map out a high school English plan for your teen? Download for free below to help with choosing the best homeschooling high school English curriculum for your student.
Customizing high school English for homeschooling
Here are some ideas for a comprehensive and engaging homeschool high school English credit. We’ll cover each one in more detail below.
- Literature Study
- Writing and Composition
- Creative Writing
- Grammar and Language Skills
- Public Speaking and Oral Communication
- Independent Reading
- Vocabulary Development
- Literary Adaptations and Film Study
- Language Arts Projects
Again, you have complete freedom to cover high school English in the way that works best for your teen. Knowing that, here are some ideas to consider to show you the various ways you could customize high school English.
- Block “classes” – one semester of literature, one semester of grammar & vocabulary
- Looped Unit studies – literature for 4 weeks, writing for 4 weeks, grammar & vocabulary for 4 weeks, then back again to literature
- Intensive each year – English 9 focuses on grammar & vocabulary, English 10 on American literature, English 11 on writing & research papers, English 12 on speech and public speaking.
- Grammar review each year (10 minutes daily) with another main focus (lit, writing, or speaking)
I’ve personally noticed that curriculum created by well-known large publishers labeled something like “English 10” do not always do a good job covering all the aspects of English. They may do well covering the grammar but not the writing or literature, for example. Most curriculum choices do well with one focus, not many. That’s why we’ve chosen from different curriculum providers to find resources that tend to deep dive or focus on one aspect of English studies really well.
So, based on what you know about the strengths, weaknesses, and future goals of your high schooler, take these ideas for homeschooling high school English curriculum and customize them to fit your needs.
Literary Analysis and Research
You could spend one whole semester or one entire year in high school with Literature Study. Just select a variety of classic and contemporary literature works for your student to read and analyze. Discuss literary elements such as plot, character development, themes, and symbolism.
Encourage critical thinking through in-depth depth discussions, written reflections, and analysis essays.
- Hillsdale College offers FREE online literature courses
- Classical curriculum providers such as Progeny Press and Memoria Press offer study guides for literature
- The Classical Reader is a a parent-approved, classically vetted list of books that you can search by reading level, grade, genre, and more to create your own custom literature list.
Writing and Composition
Focus on different types of essays, including persuasive, expository, and argumentative essays as you teach effective research and citation skills to your student. You can assign writing prompts and guide your student through the writing process, including prewriting, drafting, editing, and revising.
Even if your student is not going to college after graduation, every successful adult should be able to communicate well through writing.
Our high schoolers have taken college freshman English classes as dual enrollment classes during their junior or senior years of high school. This way, they have some basic English classes out of the way when they get to college, it saves money, and I can outsource the teaching.
- Consider dual enrollment college English, which typically teaches how to write a research paper.
- Clear Water Press offers courses for middle and high schoolers which teach writing and composition through hands-on projects. Check out our experience with Cover Story, which focuses on writing a magazine. Byline is their history-based writing course which gives your students the job of a journalist. They also have a One Year Adventure Novel course and Other Worlds, which is a sci-fi and fantasy writing class. You can hear instructor Daniel Schwabauer on episode 209 of the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast, discussing the role of story in helping our kids learn to write and love learning.
- We haven’t personally used these next two resources, but they would definitely have solid high school classes on writing and composition. Schoolhouse Teachers and Study.com – and new members at Study.com will receive a discount if you use the code AbbyBanks
Encourage creativity by exploring various forms of creative writing, such as short stories, poetry, and playwriting. You can provide writing prompts or encourage students to develop their own ideas.
If you cover creative writing with an online class or in-person group of friends, you will foster a supportive environment for sharing and providing feedback on each other’s creative work.
- Check out Clear Water Press and their One Year Adventure Novel in addition to Other Worlds (sci-fi and fantasy writing). Again, check out episode 209 of the HWM Podcast with instructor Daniel Schwabauer.
Grammar and Language Skills
Your high schooler may just need a grammar review or refresher each year, or they may need a complete grammar deep dive! Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your student, their future goals, and their past grammar education to figure out if you should focus on grammar for a complete year or just do a simple 10 minute grammar exercise each day.
They’ll need to be competent with topics like sentence structure, punctuation, verb tenses, and parts of speech.
- Fix It! Grammar from IEW is our newest go-to recommendation for grammar for all ages. Their levels 5-6 is made for high school students. It only takes 10 minutes per day, so you could use Fix It! Grammar along with another English resource to round out the credit.
- Daily Grams and Easy Grammar Systems also provide short daily grammar practice.
- Analytical Grammar is a more intensive deep-dive into grammar which will take an entire year to complete.
Public Speaking and Oral Communication
Public speaking is a great life skill with so many benefits, including increased self-esteem and confidence, leadership skills, personal growth, and of course communication skills.
Have students deliver speeches or presentations on various topics, allowing them to practice researching, organizing, and delivering information effectively.
Public speaking can be a hard subject to cover as a homeschool family! So these two recommendations below are ideal for a public speaking or speech class.
- Introduction to Public Speaking (IEW)
- Podcast Launch for Teens – learn speech skills while launching a podcast! Save 20% with the coupon code MOXIE20
Your students don’t necessarily have to use a literature curriculum in high school. Instead, you could encourage your student to read a range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. Assign reading assignments and comprehension questions to assess their understanding. Then, encourage critical analysis and interpretation of the text through discussions and written responses.
You can allow your student to choose books of their interest to read independently. A fun idea for a semester of independent reading is to have your student write online book reviews. Or, they could mesh another aspect of English (like speech or podcasting) and give oral presentations to share their insights and recommendations.
Use narration techniques to assess your teen’s understanding of their reading. These oral narrations can easily be turned into written narrations and essays if you’d like.
Teens that will take the SAT or ACT will benefit from regular vocabulary exercises and activities. You can provide list of challenging words from the literature readings and have students learn their meanings, usage, and synonyms.
Vocabulary Virtuoso from the Critical Thinking Co.
Literary Adaptations and Film Study
Here’s a fun way to study literature – literary adaptations and film study!
Your teen can explore the connection between literature and film by studying adaptations of literary works. Compare and contrast the storytelling techniques and discuss the effectiveness of adaptations.
Language Arts Projects
Some high schoolers are motivated by hands-on projects that they are invested in. So, consider how you can cover language arts skills and topics into projects.
- Incorporate hands-on projects, such as creating a literary magazine, organizing a book club, or participating in a writing contest.
- Encourage interdisciplinary connections by integrating art, music, or history into the projects.
Cover Story by Clear Water Press plus all the CWP programs includes a hands-on project as the main focus of the course. From producing a magazine to writing a novel to journalistic writing and more!
Final Thoughts on Homeschooling High School English Curriculum
So when you’re considering what to use for homeschooling high school English curriculum, remember to tailor the curriculum to your student’s interests and goals while ensuring it meets the requirements for a comprehensive high school English credit. Additionally, consider including opportunities for assessment, grading, and feedback to track your student’s progress throughout the course.
Take advantage of our explanation of creating transcripts and access a transcript template along with a student grade sheet.
Be sure to request access to our members-only resource library filled with high school resources for your homeschool.
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