High School Homeschool Curriculum

This is our 4th week of Professor's first year of high school work and he's enjoying it so far. It will be getting progressively more difficult (the first week was a bunch of "Intro" stuff in his courses) but I think his primary challenge will be with discipline, time management, and endurance rather than comprehension. I think the work itself is often like play to him.

I have been getting used to the OLLY planner and growing more and more fond of it. Professor loves that he can see at a glance what he is expected to do and can check off what he has completed. He is also using CHC's Battle Planner which he keeps at his work table. It is a very straightforward planner that is designed to compliment the High School of Your Dreams approach.

I've listed below, more or less, what's on the agenda this year for Professor. Not all of it is this semester. Not all of it will even be completed in one year. We will be continuing to use a flexible and eclectic approach and using books and schedules as guides, not dictators. This approach is very much supported by CHC's High School of Your Dreams. It really has been a perfect fit for us and took a lot of the mama fear out of this new adventure. Professor has even begun to toy with the idea of graduating a year early!

Algebra 1
We've been using this program since the first day we started formally homeschooling and we still love it. Math was not a strength of mine in school and yet all of my children seem to be doing well enough. If we need a tutor, we'll get one, but so far we've been fine. Kahn Academy has also been a great free resource. 

I chose this program because it has labs on DVD with the option of ordering real things to dissect. Some of my kids will want to dissect, some won't. I don't care either way. This gives us some flexibility while also offering a complete program. The text was pricey but I managed to find the it used on ebay. I ordered the rest of the materials through CBD since I had a free shipping code.

Professor decided that he wants a very strong Latin foundation and that means four full years. The Henle program has a pretty good rep and Memoria Press publishes some very nice study guides to compliment. I found the best prices on Amazon.

Constitution 101
This is an online video course offered by Hillsdale College. We purchased the complimentary Constitution: A Reader and he is happily making his way through the course. I strongly recommend this free course to anyone interested in understanding the past, present, and future of America. Even if you do not use the course, the book is an excellent resource for students and families.

Constitution 201
At some point after Constitution 101.

We are also covering Ancient Greece alongside his Great Books study (below) but this is more interest-led study.

Great Books 
First Year - The Ancient Greeks
Our syllabus in a nutshell can be found here. This program intimidates me but Professor finds it exhilarating. He is beside himself with frustration that I do not have the time to study all of his subjects. "You should learn all of this... it's not for kids, it's for everyone." He's right.

I think this will definitely be the most challenging of his courses. It is History, Philosophy, English, and Theology all wrapped up into one. This is the kind of high school study I am hoping to prepare my younger ones for. We are not enrolled with Angelicum Academy but have purchased their study guides. Pricey but worth it. We use the Great Books of the Western World set compiled by Mortimer Adler which the Chief purchased many years ago at a terrific price.

He's using everything from the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas to Beginning Apologetics. We have a very large library and he is definitely using it. He has been enjoying involvement in a Catholic boys' club that meets twice a month for sport and faith study. They set up debates and listen to talks. Professor has been working on his notes for tonight for many days... he is on the atheist side of the debate and wants to put some Catholic feet to the fire. :)

Essay Writing
Elegant Essay by IEW. I am smitten with IEW stuff and I think that this will be an effective program. I was disappointed to see that it was formatted primarily for classroom or homeschool co-op situations. It's not terrible but does make planning more challenging for our homeschool since I have to sift through all the group activities. But the meat is there and I think it's going to go well. I found the best price on ebay through an IEW associate through whom I've purchased before. Same price as the IEW website but free shipping.

Student Writing Intensive Level C-Continuation Course (IEW)
Professor completed Level C last year and loved it so we went ahead with this. It will follow after Elegant Essay. I found this set for under $100 on the Cathswap forums.

Guitar - He already knows a good bit but we're formalizing a little by using Gibson's Learn and Master Guitar DVD set. He wanted lessons but this is far more affordable! Far cheaper on Amazon and I found it cheaper still on eBay.

Piano - We are also using the Learn and Master set for Piano. Again, far less expensive than private lessons and he can learn as time permits. Found this set for $100 on ebay. Incidentally, Professor received the guitar and piano sets as birthday and Christmas gifts last year so these were not included in our school budget. :)

Professor and Cookie will be performing with a Schola Cantorum in the area this year. The choir is a mix of adults and students and performs sacred music almost exclusively in a liturgical setting in some of the most beautiful churches around (see exhibit A below). The group is free with a nominal ($25) fee per family for their music binders. As an added bonus, Professor will be learning a bit about piano tuning and construction from the director's husband.

It is not going to take long to fulfill this requirement at all. I'm not even worried about it for a second. Volleyball, weightlifting, crossfit... covered.

There's more but this is what I would consider the core plus a little. Additional "courses" so far include:
computer programming and design
leadership training
Career and test prep
Various extra-curriculars, volunteer, and parish work

As I look all of this over, I am struck by how busy it looks. But most of this work happens fluidly in an interest-led fashion. He has his core work and then gravitates toward one interest or another. The beauty of home education is that "class" does not have to be an hour long... or an hour short. And often, the student doesn't even feel that he is "doing school" because he sees the connection between his formal studies and life goals.

My first month homeschooling a high school student has been edifying. Now I know that we can do this. I always did know it but now I can start proving it. Thanks be to God!

Posted on September 19, 2012 .