Choosing a high school curriculum can be a daunting task. For me, high school language arts and social studies were easy choices, but choosing the science and math curriculum was another case. So let me guide you through my high school curriculum picks. I hope these selections might help guide you!
High School Curriculum
Now the beauty of high school is that you are not constrained to any one curriculum or any particular course catalog to select your classes. The sky is the limit!
I have done months of research to select my recommendations for our high school students as they choose their high school classes for the 2021-2022 school year.
(Have you heard that A One-Room Schoolhouse now serves high school students? Check out our high school page here.)
The first category was easy. Language arts will be selected from the offerings of The Good and the Beautiful. The Good and the Beautiful has an excellent language arts curriculum going through the high school years. This curriculum fosters excellent writers, in-depth readers, profound grammarians and amazing artists.
One of the benefits of The Good and the Beautiful high school coursework is that students will receive one credit of language arts, with the option to complete honors credit, AND they also receive half a credit of geography and half a credit of art. This is a two-for-one kind of class receiving two credits for one piece of coursework!
Social studies was another easy curriculum pick. Students will continue to participate in our one-room schoolhouse-style instruction through The Good and the Beautiful social studies course. These courses are designed to be taught in a multi-age style classroom with individualized assignments according to grade level.
Our high school students will continue to receive enrichment readings and historical writing instruction through these courses. Every year students will receive half a credit of world history and half a credit of U.S. history. High school students will be encouraged to complete The Good and the Beautiful History course with the rest of the schoolhouse in both 9th and then 10th grade.
Then, beginning in 11th grade, they can have a choice between concurrent enrollment classes, AP classes or another curriculum to best suit their needs as they begin their college transition process.
Finally, students will also be encouraged to take a government and economic course traditionally done in the senior year of high school. I have yet to select this government and economic course and hope that The Good and The Beautiful will complete their course on these subjects before I am in need.
The next curriculum piece was a little bit harder than language arts and social studies: math. Since I am a former math teacher, I’m a bit of a math snob when it comes to math resources. I am excited that our elementary-age students will be able to continue using math from The Good and the Beautiful. As soon as it is available, I will review their new simple math course series. The simple series will be a great fit for our schoolhouse.
This past year our middle-grade students have been using the Keys to Workbooks. I really like this series of workbooks as it helps plug holes and transition from elementary math to high school math. It is organized, includes placement and post-test, is self-directed, and has an abundance of practical applications. They have workbook sets for Fractions, Decimals, Percents, Measurement, Algebra, and Geometry.
Coming into the high school years I wanted to offer a choice of either a basic or honors math curriculum. I have selected two different tracks of study for students to complete. For students that want a typical math curriculum: something that meets their needs where they are at without too much stress, I have selected Teaching Textbooks.
This is a tried-and-true math curriculum that many homeschoolers have enjoyed. It is computer-based and starts in the early grades. I do not like going on to computer-based learning in the younger grades, but I do think it will be a great option for our older students. Of course, I will always be available to answer questions and supplemental instruction.
Teaching Textbooks goes through a traditional progression starting with algebra one, geometry, algebra two, and then precalculus, at that point students can choose to go on to college-level math like AP Statistics, AP Calculus, or College Algebra through concurrent enrollment.
For students that want a more rigorous approach to mathematics, I have selected the Saxon integrated program. This is a three-book series specifically designed for homeschoolers that integrates geometry into algebra one, algebra two and advanced mathematics.
This three-year series provides students with a rigorous, honors set of coursework. In just three years of coursework, students will complete the required materials for algebra one, algebra two, geometry, precalculus and trigonometry. So again, this is a situation of more bang for your buck, as in three years of coursework these students will get four hones math credits. (Click on this link to see the credit breakdown.) Students who are using the Saxon course series will have video lectures available and a classroom math teacher (me!).
Finally, science! This is the curriculum choice that took months to research. I spent dozens and dozens of hours researching different high school science curriculums. The biggest question you need to ask yourself when it comes to high school science is: Do you want a secular or religious curriculum?
Secular or Religious… this is the question!?!
Besides religion, the curriculums available are diverse in many other acspets. In my search, I also wanted to consider the laboratory experiences, cost, rigor, and availability of video lessons. Furthermore, we are a Christian homeschool support organization but when it comes to the origin of life and the age of the earth we leave this matter up to families and pastors.
A One-Room Schoolhouse never wishes to debate doctrine or become your pastor. I want to offer curriculum choices that could meet all our students’ needs and, of course, support students in a rigorous scientific laboratory high school experience. With extensive research, I have come down to three different options to offer our high school students. Of course, they can always choose their own coursework if these do not fit their family’s needs, but these are going to be my recommendations for our high school students.
My Three High School Science Picks
(In no particular order)
Number One: Elemental Science
My first recommendation is going to be a secular selection from Elemental Science. This curriculum produces biology, chemistry, and physics course. They use a free textbook through CK-12 and include both videos and laboratory kits. I appreciate that they have pacing guides for a survey course, a regular course, and an honors course.
Additionally, they have a printed laboratory student guides for less than $30 and the laboratory kit is pre-assembled. Although these kits do cost a bit of money (about $300) it is already pre-selected and organized which I really appreciate. As I said, this is a secular selection, but I think for some of our students this will meet their needs even with a Christian upbringing. Learning about current scientific theories in a Christian environment will allow them to be able to understand how to respond to these theories.
The next curriculum selection is from Friendly Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy. This curriculum has both Christian and secular textbook options. I would lean towards the Christian selection in these textbooks. Neither covers creationism or evolution as that is left as a separate study, but the Christian textbook does give credit to God.
This is a 28-chapter paper textbook and workbook combination with video lectures by the author. There is no pre-assembled lab kit for this course as this is a more homestyle laboratory experience, with the laboratory materials being common household items. I really enjoy that they video model the dissections by the author. The authors of the Friendly series both about have a background in veterinary medicine so the dissections videos are done by a professional. This is an affordable science curriculum, keeping the yearly high school science bill just under $200, and it well prepares students to go on to either an AP course or a concurrent enrollment selection.
My final selection is through Science Shepherd biology and life science. This is a rigorous course that prepares students to take the CLEP exam at the end of the course. It has 180 videos to support student learning as well as a text, answer key, tests and quizzes.
It also has a pre-selected lab set available as well as a microscope and dissection specimens. This course is going to cost a bit of money with all the nice lab materials and extensive videos. You should budget around $400 for the lab materials and another $250 for the course. This is a Christian-based science curriculum, but they do present both creationism and evolution and point out the strengths and weaknesses in both points of view but leaning heavily towards creationism.
With these three options, I believe we present to our students the ability to select the science curriculum that best meets their family’s needs. Science Shepherd offers them a Christian science curriculum but still discusses evolution and equips them with the knowledge to respond to these different theories. Friendly biology, chemistry, and anatomy offer students a truly home-like science experience with accessibility and affordability to prepare them for further scientific study. I also like that the Friendly courses can be selected from both a Christian and a secular point of view. Lastly, students that want a secular curriculum with exposure to all the scientific theories available to them can choose Elemental Science. I think Elemental Science has an excellent selection of laboratory, scientific courses to prepare students that want either a regular or honors course selection.
So what do you think?
Comment below and let me know what you think of these selections. If you like these options, head over to our 2021-2022 application and send it in today. We still have a few secondary slots open!
A final note… what about electives? Well, the sky is the limit! What do you want to learn about? Let me know and we will design a course for you!