So, your student has crossed over from elementary, through middle school, and now into high school. A whole new journey awaits you! This article doesn’t cover the various options for high school gradation, but you do need to have your route planned in order to pick the right curriculum.
Selecting the right curriculum in high school is a bit more simple, there aren’t quite as many options as there are for elementary, but still enough to choose from and ways to get creative. Just as you would for any age, begin with setting goals. The most important step is to determine the direction you are headed. If you’re following state credit requirements, your subjects are pretty well decided for you. But you can still, within those parameters, find something that interests your student.
No matter the age, we want to account for the student’s learning style when planning the courses. Much of high school content is covered through reading, but there are still ways to incorporate different learning modalities. Much of the freedom in high school comes not as much through the dissemination of information, but the ways in which the student can demonstrate their learning. This is the shortfall I find in a lot of curriculum – they don’t use a lot of creativity in their assessment options. By high school, students usually have an aptitude one area or another that they would eagerly apply to school if given the option (creative writing, theater, technology, art, etc).
High school is the time when content gets deeper and more complex. You want to look for age appropriate content and skill level. Most publishers will tell you what grade level the curriculum is designed for. Sometimes this is for maturity levels, sometimes it’s because they expect the student to have foundational concepts before covering this material. It’s important to pay attention to the description of the material’s level.
You want to look for content and material that builds on your student’s prior learning, particularly in the areas of math and science. Once you find a math curriculum that suits your student’s level and learning style, I recommend sticking with it so that they don’t get lost in learning different methods, or skipping content. For science, it’s not quite as important to stick with the same publisher every time, but it is important to note the skills and knowledge they are expected to have before starting it.
Subjects such as grammar, spelling, and language are not primary subjects in high school, as they are expected to have a working mastery in those areas. There are books you can find for students that still need improvement in those areas. English is the study of literature and the art of writing. Reading a rich variety of literature, and writing in a variety of genres and for various purposes is important in high school. Writing must be integrated into other subjects for research papers, or other forms of assessment. Reading skills should continue to develop as students learn to read for a variety purposes, and more challenging content.
Occupational education and practical life skills should have highly practical applications. Once again, these don’t have to be learned through books, but can be learned through hands-on, real-life experience. This is the age in which students should be earning some sort of income, and be gaining some practical life skills through work, and home responsibilities. Cooking, managing money, car maintenance, etc. are all great areas in which high school students should become proficient.
PE and health are both a combination of book studying, research projects, and physical activities. There are curricula designed for high schoolers; sports teams, and gyms with PE classes for homeschoolers. These are all great ways to get your student involved in these subjects.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with your high schooler. This is a great time when their capabilities and interests are more likely to match your own. Do this together. Involve them in the planning and listen to their ideas. This is their education after-all! Not all learning comes from books, so don’t be afraid to shake it up and think outside the box.