Homeschooling High School: Our Mid- Year Update

We're just about mid- way through my oldest son's first year of homeschooling high school and I thought it might be the perfect time to evaluate how our year is going.

When we started out on this homeschooling journey I never thought ahead to homeschooling middle school never mind attempting to homeschool high school, but as we began talking about what we wanted out of his high school years we soon came to realize that homeschooling offered the best options for him.

We have been able to meet him at his level in every subject and he still has at least one day a week most week that he heads off to work with various family members doing odd jobs to help out.  He's been screening dirt, clearing land, digging septic holes, and so much more.  He is loving it and is managing to keep up with his schoolwork too!

I decided I wanted to look back at what we had planned for this first year of schooling to look like and see how close (or far from) our goals we are.

I'm still working on how I am going to calculate credits and I know that I want to write up his transcript as each year comes to a close and I still to research HOW to do that but so far here is where we stand:

Math: Algebra I using No- Nonsense Algebra has been a wonderful! He's halfway through chapter 5 and while I am only grading each chapter test he's doing wonderful!  He hasn't wanted to watch any of the videos so each day I read through the chapter instructions with him and we do a few of the problems together then he does the rest of the page himself and I leave him on his own to do the chapter review.  So far he's averaging a 90 and I'm thrilled with that!  We've also been working in another review workbook each day for just a quick 5 minute refresher on geometry, squares/ square roots, etc.   I have no problem giving him a full credit when we finish up this book.

No-Nonsense Algebra (Mastering Essential Math Skillss) by [Fisher, Richard W. ]

Science: All three of my boys will be using Building Blocks of Science Book 5.  We are covering this subject with some friends of ours and to make it work for high school credit Ian's lessons include more hands on work and extra reading.  We have been doing lots of additional reading about each and every chapter and adding on many of our own science experiments too.  We are only on chapter 8 out of 22 but I'm OK with that because there are a couple of chapters we plan on skipping since they cover topics we have learned about in depth in the past.   We're slowly working our way through our 100 Days of Science experiments (we were at #29 at the end of last school year and we're at #56 currently).    Again I'll feel confident assigning 1 credit for science!

His edible plant cell model

    Sadly our extra .5 credit for participating in the Lego First Robotics League is not going to happen as we discovered our team could not compete since there were no competitions anywhere near us.

    Social Studies:  American History-- we have watched Drive Through History, How the States Got Their Shapes, and The Men Who Built America so far this school year.  I am currently on the search for other history movies as this seems to keep the kids interested better than any books or field trip!  (Do you have any suggestions?!)  We have been reading a lot of history picture books too and plan to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston in the spring.  Ian has also been covering a lot of American History using the Draw and Write through history books that are really meant for younger kids but make great mini lessons even at this age! -- 1 credit

    English:  We'll combine reading, writing and grammar together for a full credit for the year.
    • Reading- Ian has recently discovered Clive Cussler books and is slowly working his way through the entire Dirk Pitt series as well as listening to books I read aloud and books on Cd in the car --.33 credit
    • Grammar- We only have a couple of lessons left in his Introduction to Grammar and should finish this book by the end of the month! --.33 credit
    • Writing-  We are really enjoying Write Shop I but so far we are only on lesson 5 out of 16.  I had thought of using 1/2 the book for this year and 1/2 for next but in reality I know we'll cover more than 3 more lessons this year.  Either way I feel confident assigning him the full credit we had planned for writing as this has been a pretty intensive program .-- .33 credit.    

    WriteShop: Incremental Writing Program Set (Teacher Manual and Workbook 1) | Main photo (Cover)

    Career and Life Skills: This has been by far the easiest credit to cover!

    • Work Study: Ian loves working with his hands and jumps at the chance to help out at work.  In the fall he was spending just about one full day a week away from home working on various family projects. These past few weeks he's been busy helping his father and grandfather put together a new car lift and, if the weathermen are right he'll be out plowing this week. -- .5 credit
    • Physical education:  We've been hiking at least once a week and on those days the weather makes it difficult to go outside, Ian has been great about using our elliptical machine for an hour a day. He's also making more conscious food choices (most of the time).  - .25 credit
    • Home Economics:  Ian has been helping out around the house cleaning, planning meals, cooking, doing his laundry, helping with the groceries, stacking wood, changing smoke detector batteries, and whatever else we need help with. -- .25 credit

    Fine Arts:  Ian has continued to work on his models; he got lots of new models for Christmas and has a stack of them he's working through one at a time.  He got a new spray gun for Christmas and has been hard at work learning the ins and outs of spraying all the little pieces.  We set him up with his own area of the basement and he's currently building a model car as a gift for his brother. -- 1 credit 

    We added in a new subject too-- Foreign Language!  Ian wanted to learn German and has been practicing 4-5 days a week using Duolingo and is doing quite well.  --.5 credit

    All in all I think we're doing pretty well!  Our hope is to finish up our schoolwork in May and as we finish up some subjects we'll start doubling up on others.  I think we should be all set.

    It has been a lot of fun teaching high school and I just love how much of the work is able to be done independently.


    1. I am so nervous for teaching high school, but I guess more than that all the record keeping and making sure they get what they need credit wise and everything for college {if they so choose}.

      1. That's the part that makes me nervous; I want them to be prepared for college and not have problems getting in because of something I messed up. My oldest is pretty adamant that he is never going and has always been that way so I'm a teeny bit more relaxed with him but keep reminding him that a lot can change in 3 short years and he might change his mind so we should be ready.. just in case!

    2. The Collings Foundation in Stow, MA has some great stuff for World War II American History

    3. It all sounds great. I am glad I am not the only one who uses a few great picture books for high school students. Here is a list of history movies ~ and I planned to use lots of movies for history, but my kids prefer biographies and field trips when possible. Everyone is a bit different in their learning styles.
      Blessings, Dawn

      1. Thanks for those lists! I was so surprised that my boys are so into learning history through movies. I never thought they were paying attention but lately they are spouting off facts left and right from the How the States Got Their Shapes and Drive Thru History movies we watched. My only problem is finding middle ground that they can all watch. So many of the really great history movies are geared more towards high school (I think) and leave my 5th grader with not much to watch. We're trying the America: the Story of Us right now and even though we've only watched one episode it seems to be a good fit. I will definitely be checking both your list recommendations though.


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