Homeschooling High School: When It’s Time For More
My oldest son turns 15 next week.
I can hardly believe it, and yet, I see the reality right in front of me every single day.
My boy is quickly turning into a man. He has shown so much growth over the course of the last year, socially, emotionally and academically.
I am so grateful for him and this progress, I can hardly breathe sometimes.
Please know, although I was compensated for my time in writing this post, I only share and promote my favorites. This worked well for my family and I hope it does for yours as well!
Just last summer, he and his brother were completing the same Language Arts curriculum with a few modifications based on their different ages. It went well, but did not last long.
Although language arts has historically been a challenging subject for my son, it soon became clear that he was ready for bigger ideas. It was clear to me, but even more importantly, it was clear to him.
“I don’t want to read anymore baby books. I want to read some Edgar Allen Poe,” he said when I asked him if he felt like he was ready to move on to his own curriculum.
Apparently, he was clearly ready (although I have no idea where Edgar Allen Poe came from!).
Homeschooling High School: When It’s Time For More
Because he did so well with Apologia’s Readers In Residence, I wanted to move him into Apologia’s more robust language arts program for high school – American Literature.
After taking a peek at the course, I was pleased to see that much of what impressed me before, is also included in Apologia’s American Literature.
It’s literature based.
It encourages deep thinking and conversational learning with artful questioning.
It’s flexible and easily accommodates learning differences.
(I was also pleased to see that Edgar Allen Poe was a part of the study!)
High School Language Arts with Apologia’s American Literature
My son started Apologia’s American Literature program a few weeks ago and I am pleased to say he has transitioned well to this higher level learning.
First, a little about the program itself.
Apologia’s American Literature Overview
This literature study includes some of America’s greatest literary works, including works by Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville and Hemingway. In addition to the works found in the student text, the learner also reads four American classics –
Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
The course uses the Socratic method of asking probing questions about each work, leading students to a deeper understanding of what the author is saying and how he or she is saying it.
The student notebook is an essential component this course. Every study question from the textbook is included and the notebook is where chapter tests, semester exams, and detailed, step-by-step instructions for writing literary analysis papers are found.
The American Literature Student Notebook is more like preparation for future college coursework. In fact, it reminds of me of the type of work I was expected to complete in college. Simply put, student notebook helps to structure the learning in a way that helps the student make the transition to higher level learning.
In addition to the textbook and student notebook, there is an answer key, along with a daily lesson plan outline available for free on the Apologia Book Extras site.
How We Are Using Apologia’s American Literature Course
Truth be told, this course will be my son’s language arts program for at least two years. The author of the textbook encourages parents to take their time and allow for the student’s emotional maturity and reading skills. I intend to do just that!
(The author of the textbook, Dr. Whit Jones, is the 2017 Recipient of the Educator of the Year Award from Bryan College – and he is also a homeschooling father. It shows in the thoughtful flexibility and careful supports provided throughout the course.)
Because the literary selections themselves are so rich and require so much more of my son in terms of literary analysis, we have worked through the first few sections side by side.
My son reads the passage for the day and then he and I answer the questions together, discussing any themes or character elements that might be challenging for him.
In the future, we will transition to more and more independence, something that will be essential for him as he heads towards graduation and possibly college.
For now, we work together. Incidentally, I LOVE it. (One of the benefits of having a son growing and maturing academically is how much more interesting his coursework is for me!)
Apologia’s American Literature and Learning Differences
Although my son was excited to move on to higher level language arts, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at all concerned about how he would respond to more in depth learning.
The truth is, because of my son’s learning differences, I needed a program that would challenge him, but also allow for plenty of accommodation and flexibility.
I find that the American Literature Course covers both.
Because we can literally take all the time in the world, and still feel like he is making significant progress in his ability to really understand and apply what he is learning, this study has actually been a perfect fit for his needs. An added benefit is that it has been easy to modify without any extra time or extraordinary effort on my part.
We have had success now with every course from Apologia we’ve tried. I cannot recommend Apologia’s offering enough – the quality and care put into their products is exceptional!
Find out more on Apologia’s Homeschool 101 website! Sign up and receive two free ebooks, a free monthly printable, and Apologia coupons.
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.