Homeschooling 9th Grade: Our Plan for a Fantastic Year
Homeschooling High School can feel overwhelming but it is definitely possible for a parent to continue to homeschool even through the high school years.
Our daughter created a schedule that included her core subjects and left room for a few elective courses. While it felt overwhelming at times, we focused on making a plan for one subject at a time until her year was designed.
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Homeschooling 9th Grade
As a homeschooler, my daughter is not trying to earn a public high school diploma. She is trying to earn a diploma from The Wilson Academy. Therefore, I am in charge of her graduation requirements. I looked at the typical coursework for the local high school and a few private schools to consider their ideas, but in North Carolina, I don’t have to follow their plans.
My daughter has expressed a desire to attend college, so we did print the UNC minimum college requirements. These will serve as our minimum guidelines as we move forward. We will add her own areas of interest and strengths to the minimum requirements.
Finally, one high school credit doesn’t have to be completed in one year. We can work on a topic over the course of 2, 3, or even 4 years and then assign her a credit.
I want her transcript to reflect her uniqueness. I don’t want it to be a duplicate of everyone else’s checklist. For our family, that is the beauty of homeschooling.
My goal is to help my daughter find a healthy balance between her school work and her extracurriculars. We have a lovely mix of textbooks and self-designed curriculum as well as outside, online, and “in the living room” classes.
Homeschooling 9th Grade: Math
My daughter decided to continue with Teaching Textbooks this year. It isn’t our favorite but we haven’t found any good options that we like. She isn’t a “mathy” kid so we just need something that will get the job done.
UPDATE: While Teaching Textbooks did get the job done during her 9th grade year, the next year we discovered Mr. D Math. We absolutely love his program and now that is the ONLY math program that my kids use as soon as they start pre-algebra. If you want some more information about our experience with Mr. D:
How Mr. D Math Restored my Homeschool Sanity
Five Reasons we are Sticking with Mr. D Math
Boost Your SAT Math Scores with Mr. D Math
Homeschooling 9th Grade: History
History is not my daughter’s favorite subject so she just wants to “check the box”. We bought a textbook that a friend recommended and she is going to read it. The friend that recommended it is a former high school History teacher and this particular textbook was her favorite.
She and her father (most likely) will discuss the information. Each section has questions and assessments that she can answer in a notebook. I’ll probably select a few questions for her to answer in each section.
We’ll also watch the Crash Course World History videos as we progress through the year.
Homeschooling 9th Grade: Science
She will complete Marine Biology in a class outside of our home. Her labs, coursework, and tests will be assigned by the instructor.
It’s important to me that my kids find classes outside of our home where they can practice skills such as time management and test-taking in addition to learning the class material.
Homeschooling 9th Grade: English
For literature, we will use a combination of short stories, essays, and Brave Writer Boomerang guides. In addition, she participates in monthly book club using ideas similar to what you can find in the Celebrate a Book Guides.
I am creating some of my own English assignments by using the following books:
- Less is More: Teaching Literature with Short Texts by Kimberly Hill Campbell. I love this book. This is my current favorite resource and is extremely practical and insightful.
- Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Prost. I am reading this more for my younger kids, but it is helpful even for high school.
- Little Norton Reader: Fifty Essays from the First Fifty Years edited by Melissa Goldthwaite
For composition, we will use a combination of Brave Writer online classes and my own assignments (created using some of the above resources).
My daughter is also publishing her own fan fiction about James and Lily Potter on WattPad. She might take a Brave Writer Fan Fiction online class in the spring. As a result, she could earn a half credit for Creative Writing: Fan Fiction. We will see how the year plays out.
UPDATED: This year my youngest child used WriteShop for their writing curriculum and it was an excellent fit. I highly recommend WriteShop I and II for late middle or early high school writing.
Homeschooling 9th Grade: Sign Language
My mother and uncle were both sign language interpreters. As a result, I know basic (very basic) sign language and my kids are interested in learning more.
We decided to set this course up as an independent study. She is using LifePrint, which was created by a deaf man. LifePrint offers a syllabus for a homeschool course, including quizzes, tests, and a checklist for a research paper.
UPDATE 2021: One of our favorite sites for online courses now offers ASL 1 as a self-paced video course. All three of my younger kids (10th, 8th, and 6th this year) completed ASL 1 with Mr. D. I highly recommend this course and we will continue next year with ASL 2.
Homeschooling 9th Grade: Fine Arts
We are working through Alicia Gratehouse’s Fall Mixed Media Workshop. There are so many wonderful ideas in this course. We already created our Mixed Media Owls.
I have a feeling we will get through about one-third of them before we are ready for the Winter Wonderland Mixed Media course.
Our plan is to use all of the Mixed Media courses over the next two to three years. My goal is for her to complete enough projects over 2-3 years to complete 0.5-1.0 credits in Mixed Media Fine Arts. We’ll add museum visits and art study so she can earn an additional 0.5-1.0 credits in Art Appreciation as well.
Homeschooling 9th Grade: Theology/Worldview
(Not sure what we will call this in the end)
I plan to assign her a few books each year in the area of Christian Theology and Worldview. We will both read these and have some good conversations. By the end of four years, she will accumulate a full credit.
On the table for consideration this year:
Homeschooling 9th Grade: Work and Mentorship
My daughter coaches gymnastics for three hours a week. As part of her training, she completed an online training course and a mentorship program.
She also works and volunteers at a local camp during the year. During the school year, she assists with administrative duties and classroom teaching for six hours a week for 20 weeks. I plan to create 2 credits from her time invested in these opportunities.
NOTE: These ideas came from my own experiences in high school. I assisted in a classroom for 6 hours a week and received credit for a mentorship. In addition, I took a course called Leadership during my senior year that focused on communication and leadership skills.
In addition to her volunteer and staff training, I plan to have her read, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey. This book will contribute to her credit in Leadership.
Woot. That’s it. Freshman Year in a Nutshell.
That sums up our plan of attack for this year. Admittedly, I was concerned that she wasn’t taking her foreign language yet, but I am over it. There is plenty of time. After all, she only has to take two years of foreign language for college entrance.
On a side note, I look forward to our last four years together.
There was a time that homeschooling high school scared me. Afterall, so many homeschooling families send their children to high school.
And I get why they do it.
But I know we got this. And I am really glad that it is still very much WE.
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Have you checked to see if Sign Language can count for college entry requirement in a foreign language?
Looks like a great plan – because it is a plan for her, not a plan for some generic freshman. We’ve often spread credits over more than one year and in some cases have ‘reorganised’ credits after I thought they were finished. For example one year’s English included some Shakespeare. A year later we did a Shakespeare MOOC (just for fun initially – I hadn’t planned on counting ir for anything) and then saw another that looked good so we took it too. Then I thought “What about a credit for Shakespeare”. So I borrowed the Shakespeare already included in a general English credit (found something to replace it with later) , remembered some Shakespeare stuff like attneding plays that we’d done just for fun,added a couple of bits and pieces I thought we were missing and – vìola – a Shakespeare credit we hadn’t planned on having.
Sandra, I LOVE this approach. Just another reason to be thankful (excited) for the flexibility of homeschooling!
Brilliant! Thanks for sharing that. I love knowing how it worked for others.
I can’t believe she’s already a freshman . I love what all you are covering . I am in agreement with Kayleigh about History YUCK LoL
In high school, the class TAs earned a credit as Independent Study. It was treated as a vo-tech credit, some people worked afterschool jobs (retail or fastfood), some read/worked in elementary schools. The final requirement was a paper about what they learned and how it will useful post-high school, and a portfolio of recommendations or evaluations by their mentor/supervisor. Just a thought for her gymnastics teaching, especially because she had to have documented training.
Thanks Kelli! I love hearing ideas, especially based on how things are working in similar situations. I am going to grab the idea for her to write a final paper. Thanks!
You’re amazing & inspiring – thanks for sharing! This is useful & straightforward info. I hadn’t plannned on homeschooling high school, and suddenly I had a freshman on my hands a day before he was scheduled to start PS. I’m coming up with a plan on the fly and it helps to “spy” on others like you who share their plans ?
WOW. Homeschooling high school “on the fly” is a brave move. Go, Momma! You are welcome to spy anytime. I love to do the same.