Homeschooling High School: Our Interest-Led Curriculum
My oldest son is now 15 and headed into the 10th grade. A sophomore in high school – what in world has happened, y’all?
It’s amazing to me how much he has grown, not just in age and physicality, but emotionally, socially and academically.
As I began to create his learning plan for this year, the truth is that there was a lot less for me to do than I had for his little brother. He is much more involved and ahem, opinionated about what he will study and how he will do it. He is beginning to formulate ideas for what happens after he graduates from high school.
In short, he is a high schooler. All of this is good, appropriate and exactly why we have worked so hard for all of these years. Yes, he still has his learning differences, but he is aware of them and is often able to advocate for himself in situations when they get in the way.
Most important to me is that he still loves to learn. He still voraciously seeks information and knowledge. He is comfortable and confident in his intellect and desire for more learning.
This year, my son’s learning plan involves a ton of interest-led learning projects, and a subject or two that are not his favorite. It’s a good mix. He will push himself in the areas he needs to, and enjoy the learning in every other way.
With this in mind, I have mapped out our curriculum choices and plans much the same way I did in his younger brother’s post, but with one caveat. For my sixth grader, I thought about his plan in three areas – The Basics, The Layers, and The Life Skills. For my oldest, the three areas are:
Today, I will share our choices, with links to more info, within the context of these three buckets.
Homeschooling High School: Our Interest-Led Curriculum
Language Arts – including support and accommodation for dysgraphia
Notes: My son is taking classes this year at a local private school that specializes in helping kiddos with learning and social differences. He goes four days a week for the afternoon only. He started this two years ago and we have slowly transitioned to a complete half-time schedule. He loves it there and honestly, so do I. Plus, it gives me time one on one with my younger son, who frankly, requires more care and support.
Math – Teaching Textbooks 3.0 Level 7
Notes: Math is my son’s least favorite subject, by far. With a dyscalulia diagnosis, he finds it infuriating and honestly, a waste of time. He does, however, see the benefit of having math credits towards a high school diploma. He completes math with accommodations including a calculator and very little actual writing. Teaching Textbooks has been an excellent fit for these needs.
Modern World History – Beautiful Feet
Computer Science – Two Full Builds
Art – Sparketh and Picture Studies
Notes: These are his interest-led areas of learning that require very little help from me, other than a little bit of planning and whole lot of money. He is fascinated by WWII and the rise of communism, and is working through Beautiful Feet’s curriculum along with several YouTube channels and online research. He loves to build computers and is really good it at. He has two builds planned for this year – one for a family member and a new build in the spring for himself. These builds require him to budget and plan ahead of time, accommodate another person’s wishes and needs for the build, in addition to the actual time and process of building the computers themselves. He is also teaching himself to play the guitar using online tutorials.
Student Planner consistently in use
MS Office Suite (Excel, PowerPoint and Word)
Fish tank Maintenance and Updates
Possibly Driver’s Ed (book level only in Spring)
Notes: He has off and on been into aquariums and fish for as long as I can remember. This interest is back again with a vengeance, and I classify it as a great hobby at this point. I am including it here because this year, he is exclusively in charge of all the maintenance planning (something that my husband and I have had to help him with in the past). This means he has alarms set on his phone for dosing, and has created a budget for ongoing care and adding fish to the tank. Driver’s Ed in our state requires a semester of book work before getting behind the wheel for actual training. He may start this in the spring, but is in no rush (and goodness knows, neither am I!).
I know many of you are also navigating the beginning of your homeschool year. Maybe you are in a good place, like we are. Maybe you are struggling as we have in the past. No matter what your current circumstances, I’m glad you are here.
An interest-led approach to high school, with accommodations in place for learning differences, is going to look different than many of the other high school posts we see this time of year. Please, let me encourage you, if it is working for your child, then it is working. Different does not mean less than!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful school year.
Looking for little brother’s sixth grade plan for the year? Here you go!
I’m happy to be a part of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop with the iHomeschool Network.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.
My oldest is in 9th this year and while he wasn’t very outspoken about much I do find that he is more interested in what we’ll be doing this year. I got a lot of comprehensive books for science, history and geography hoping that I will see some sparks to guide us through his next few years at home.
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