High School, Homeschooling

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Our Plan for My Oldest

I can hardly believe my oldest child is entering the tenth grade. This means that I am homeschooling 10th grade whether I am ready or not. HA!

Independent courses. Drivers License. Working two jobs.

She is growing up so quickly and it makes me truly grateful that we have bonus time together because she decided to remain enrolled in our homeschool for high school.

Of course, as my oldest child and first high school student, she remains my guinea pig. I am thankful that we have her successful freshman year of high school behind us because it gives me even more confidence as we move forward. We are confidently proceeding forward with our plans for homeschooling 10th grade.

I've got all of the details of our plan for homeschooling high school: 10th grade.

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Planning

{This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.}

This year I have used a few planning tools to gather my thoughts. 

I started with the Minimalist Homeschool Book because it came highly recommended. I worked through each chapter and it really helped me focus on the core curriculum for each of my kids. Instead of trying to do “all of the things”, I am going to focus on the three core subjects and 2-3 additional subjects for each child.

I also planned a minimalist focus for our family and group time. This book helped me develop a new perspective on how to narrow our focus in each season this year.

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Pam Barnhill’s Plan Your Year Kit is my go-to kit for the downloadable forms that I need to organize myself and my high schooler. I use the Independent Student forms for my high schooler’s weekly schedule. It helps keep both of us on track.

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Homeschooling 10th Grade: The Academics


Homeschooling 10th Grade: Science (1 credit)

We are diving into Chemistry at home with a group of friends this year. I did a little digging and discovered Mr. Q’s Advanced Chemistry course. Mr. Q is a high school chemistry teacher and he designed a complete high school chemistry course using basic kitchen equipment and cooking recipes. 

No bunsen burner required.

And while Kayleigh might miss the classic experience of a bunsen burner, I suspect that learning Chemistry in the kitchen is going to be a lot more useful in life.

Mr. Q promises that his program covers everything you need to know in order to experience success in a college Chemistry class. I am taking him at his word.

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Math (1 credit)

After two years of feeling frustrated with our former math program for upper-level math, I was determined to find a better option. While I was a middle school math teacher, I no longer have time to teach an individual math lesson to four individual children in addition to all of their other subjects. 

I was absolutely thrilled to discover Mr. D’s Math. Mr. D offers a variety of math courses, beginning with pre-algebra. The courses are available online as self-paced or live classes and he has weekly help sessions included with both options.

After a conversation with Mr. D on the phone, I was convinced that this was his courses were the right choice for our family.

Kayleigh is registered for a self-paced Geometry course this year and it is working out beautifully. 

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Homeschooling 10th Grade: PSAT Prep (0 credits) 

NOTE: You could put together a Test Taking and Study Skills course for .5 credit and this could be part of it. I am not doing that at this time, but could use it as part of the credit hours if we change our mind.

We’ve decided to focus on PSAT Prep in September and October. This is Kayleigh’s first time taking the test and I want her to feel confident and prepared. The test is not required until your Junior year, but her scores can qualify her for free dual enrollment at the local community college.

Her fall testing experience will give us a baseline score so we will know if she is ready for that path. She has time to study and prepare a bit more if necessary to take the ACT or SAT in the spring as well.

I bought a standard Test Prep book so she can work through it.

NOTE: Reading Minimalist Homeschooling taught me that it is OK to acknowledge that PSAT Prep will be a core class for her in September and part of October. As a result, we will not begin her English class until the test is over.

I am 100% fine with this.

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Civics and American Government (1 credit)

She will take this course outside of our home with a local radio talk show personality. He will teach it in a way that I would not and he will use a text that I would not pick. In addition, his opinions don’t always reflect mine either.

That being said, he loves this topic and I do not. I have very little knowledge in this area and not enough time or interest to pursue it well and teach it at a high school level. Instead, I can walk the path with her and discuss the topic, adding my own opinions to his instruction.

The course will provide a good foundation for her, accomplish the credit, and create a few big, juicy conversations in our house.

Sometimes you have to pick what works. In this case, a class outside of our home worked well for the subject and our schedule.

She is taking it with a close friend as well, so there is that…

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Spanish (1 credit)

This is another course that she is taking outside of our home. A local homeschool mom offered to teach it at her home and I was happy to pay someone to take this topic for me.

I remember the alphabet. I remember the colors. And I can introduce myself and ask how you are.

That’s all I got. I am grateful for a local option, though there are many online.

Homeschooling 10th Grade: English (1 English credit plus .5 Creative Writing credit possibly)

Oh, let’s talk about the deep, deep beautiful ocean of English and all that it encompasses. There are just so many options, courses, book titles, and things to do. It’s hard to define an organized plan because I pull from a variety of options throughout the year.

These are a few of the teacher resources I am pulling ideas from this year:

If you are curious and want to know more about these resources, check out my Language Arts planning video.

Back to 10th Grade English. I’ll do my best to lay out the plan.

Writing

We will make writing our primary focus during the day in November. I am not sure what that will look like, but my high schooler will definitely participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I plan to have her take at least one Brave Writer Essay Course. She’ll probably take the Expository Essay class in the winter or early spring. Quite possibly she will also take a second essay course, but we will see how things are going.

I hope to design some sort of literature response journal for her as well. We typically use questions from the Boomerang Guide and other sources to write short and longer responses to literature.

The Little Norton Reader: 50 Essays from the first 50 Years has a lot of great options with invitations to respond at the end. This book was part of her Brave Writer Reading the Essay class last year and I loved how they approached each of the four essays. I learned a few skills to continue the same process this year.

Freewriting is an important part of our week. If the concept is new to you, you can read more about it on the Brave Writer page. I occasionally pick up books to inspire our freewriting adventures and this year I purchased two:

 

The Creativity Project is full of writing prompts and story starters created by award-winning authors and illustrators as well as the responses written by other at least one of the authors. I think this one will be a ton of fun for the whole family.

The Creative Writer’s Notebook focuses on the style of one particular author and invites you to imitate their style through writing prompts and exercises.

Literature 

Kayleigh will participate in the spring Brave Writer Literary Analysis Course.

My goal this year is to have her read 7-9 assigned books plus spend a month focusing on poetry. She will skip Shakespeare this year (I think) because she has read a play every year for three years.

We will dive in deep for at least three of these books. She will read and respond more briefly to the other books. We hope to find a few friends to bring together for discussion though no formal book club is planned just yet.

We will use the Brave Writer Boomerang Guides to guide our discussion for the majority of these titles.

In addition, I’d like to read 3-4 short stories and several essays throughout the year.

Another goal for high school was for her to read and discuss a memoir. We accomplished this by listening to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah while on our summer road trip.  I highly recommend the audio version so you can hear Trevor speak the various African languages.

Of course, homeschooling has taught me that it all counts, so a book we tackled on a cross country road trip counts!

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Mixed Media Art (.5 more credits to go)

We began using the Masterpiece Society’s Season Mixed Media Art Courses last year. We dabbled in several projects for each season. We will finish this up by dabbling in more projects this year so that she can complete one full Fine Arts credit in Mixed Media Art.

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Our entire family loves these courses and that makes this an enjoyable credit to complete.

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Leadership (finishing 1 credit)

Kayleigh began working on a Leadership credit last year. She has attended several hours of Leadership training for summer camp staff positions and for her gymnastics coaching. In addition to her hours at Staff training, I have a list of books for her to read in order to complete this credit. 

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Classroom Experience, Level II (1 credit)

Kayleigh will approximately 160 hours this year helping in the classroom during local homeschool classes. Working with kids is her passion and her time in the classroom is the highlight of her week and I plan to turn this into a credit for her.

When I was a senior in high school, I completed two credits in a mentorship program at a local elementary school. In my opinion, as a homeschool student, Kayleigh has the unique opportunity to complete 4 credits of Classroom Experience because that is definitely her first love.

Our goal is to find a local public school classroom where she can volunteer her time in the coming years as part of her four years of Classroom Experience courses.

Homeschooling 10th Grade: Theology/Worldview (1 credit over time)

It was my intention to begin work on this credit last year, but we failed. This course is back on the table and I plan to assign her a few books a year in the area of Christian Theology and Worldview. We will read these and have some Big, Juicy Conversations so that by the end of four years, she will have accumulated a full credit.

On the table for consideration:

Homeschooling 10th Grade: A Mom Reflects

Sometimes I get worried. And overwhemed. And freaked out.

I hear what sother kids are are doing at school (or at homeschool) and I worry that we aren’t keeping up.

I begin to doubt our homeschooling style and my choices and I begin to spiral out of control with worry.

I start to wonder if I should push harder or require more assignments or force more testing or make her write more or make her read more or…well, you get the picture.

Worrying is part of the process. I’ve learned to accept it and handle it. Sometimes I talk with Kayleigh about it and we make changes if we agree that is the best course of action. Other times I call a friend and they remind me why we chose this alternative path.

I didn’t homeschool her so she could run on the same hamster wheel of stress and activities and homework and crammed days as “everyone else” her age. I wanted an alternative path for our family.

Alternatives often feel worrisome because “everyone else” is sticking with the norm, but that doesn’t mean that the norm is the “right” way. It is just one of the many ways to accomplish the same goal of a foundation of solid education and life skills.

I try to remember this, but I’ll probably have to come read it to myself again this year.

We can remind each other. We’ve got this.

Related Posts that you might enjoy:

This post is part of the iHomeschool Network “Not Back to School” curriculum hop. For more posts about curriculum choices, check out the iHomeschool Network Curriculum Blog Hop.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Katie W August 31, 2018 at 10:05 am

    My younger son is currently using teaching textbooks. He is only in Math 6 at the moment. Do you mind telling me what you didn’t like about the higher math in the curriculum so I know what to look for when we get to an upper level.

    • Reply Mary Wilson August 31, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      We didn’t use it when my kids were younger. I was very happy with Singapore. We switched for Pre-Alg and above. We didn’t use the DVD’s as I was a math teacher so I taught the lessons, but I was never happy with how very little word problem practice was involved. There wasn’t enough higher level thinking IMO. I know that many families have children who do well beyond high school math, but I had concerns. We thought we would try something else this year. We’ll see how it goes! You have to find what works best for your kids and I will say that “if it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it”.

  • Reply Mother of 3 September 3, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Pinning this mainly so I can remember to check out that awesome sounding Chemistry course!! 🙂

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