Our Homeschool High School Curriculum Choices with College in Mind -

Summary: Choosing your homeschool high school curriculum for a college bound teen is just a little bit more complicated, but not hard to do.  Here's tips for finding your homeschool science, English, math, social studies and more.  Included is information on dealing with what the colleges usually require for their freshmen applicants.  This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our own homeschool.  Please see my disclosure policy.

Are you homeschooling high school or thinking about it for the future?  This post is all about chosing curriculum for your college bound teen. 

Now, as homeschoolers, we are experts at this, as we have chosen curriculum for our children all through the years... But there was one important factor that was different for us,if we are aiming towards college... We, of course, need to know about our teen's college admission requirements first. (To reach my chapter on college admission requirements, click "look inside".)

Choosing curriculum for high school was really just the same, with one important difference....now we also had college admission requirements to think about as well.  Once we had our list of requirements in hand, we began to think about curriculum,.....one year at a time, of course....We found the whole process to be about the same as earlier years.  

One thing that made it easier for us was that most of the requirements were quite similar, from college to college, but they were not the same.  

Our Planning Process

We explored around, as usual, choosing the textbooks, living books, and/or online courses that seemed to be a good fit for our teen.  We worked to meet our teen's interests and along with her college entrance requirements.  And we found that it wasn't hard to do, by making good use of electives.

My Teen's Interests

My daughter loved film making, and political science. We made sure to center her electives around these interests.  But we found out that, if she wanted to study either of these in college,  the college entrance requirements would be the same.  She needed to complete her requirements in the basic subjects (LA, social studies, math and science), for either path.

We still did not forget about her interests.  They framed her electives.  We did a course in Government for one of her social studies requirements, and did activities centering around this interest as well.  And video making became more than one of her homemade electives.  

So what did we do for Science? Math? English? and Social Studies?  

First, I'd like to share two favorite resources that we have depended on each year.

Resources for your Curriculum Search


- CURRICULUM DIRECTORY at Let's Homeschool High School

This curriculum directory for high school is the most complete one I have seen.


This wonderful site is full of curriculum reviews, written by a team of authors (I am happy to be one) who have actually used the curriculum.  It includes reviews of such curriculum as Tapestry of Grace, IEW for literature and writing, a number of Charlotte Mason options, and tons of other reviews.  This resource has a christian bent, but also includes some secular options as well.

And of course, there are also so many other resources available on the internet, with new ones coming out almost every day.


Sharing today our favorites for 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades as far as homeschool curriculum.  I hope this will encourage you in your search for resources that will fit your own teen.  These are what fit ours, plus information on others that we considered.

You know your teen best, and just because these were helpful for our daughter, doesn't mean that they are right for your teen.  

Our Favorites for High School Curriculum


We found many options for science including Oak Meadow, Apologia, A Beka, Switch-On-Schoolhouse (SOS), etc. 

We chose Switched-On-Schoolhouse (SOS), as we wanted a computer based program, and my daughter wanted  to work independently.  Plus it was all graded for me!  We used them for:

Physical Science - 9th grade
Biology - 10th grade 
Chemistry - 11th grade

Many families do two or three years of science.  Most college just require two, Biology and Chemistry with labs, unless your student is heading to a science oriented major in college.  Then they would likely look for another as well.  Amazon offers some used SOS curriculum here.

SOS also have tutoring available by the half hour. Working some of the science problems out with a teacher really helped, when complex concepts came up. We also used Home Science Tools for our high school lab kits.

Exploring our natural world was still important to us during the high school years, too.  We spent time at the beach, in our favorite parks, taking nature photography pictures, too.  This helped to motivate my daughter, when it came to her science studies.

Other Science Options we considered:

Oak MeadowApologia, A Beka, Lifepacs, Apologia Science 


We found that SOS met our daughter's needs for math.  It had the structured and depth to help my daughter retain what she had learned.  We used it for:

Prealgebra - 8th grade
Algebra 1- 9th grade
Geometry - 10th grade
Algebra 2 - 11th grade

We looked at LifePacs, Switch-On-Schoolhouse, Math-You-See,  

A Beka, etc.  We also considered Teaching Textbooks, but found that, for us, it did not provide enough depth for good retention. It's all about what fits your student.  (Also here.)

Teens going into a computer, science, economics or math related field will need pre-cal in senior year, but I encourage you to check with the colleges, just in case there is another course required.

Others that we considered:

We check out The Curriculum Choice for a review of ALEKS, and No-Nonsense Algebra, Saxon, VideoText for Prealgebra, and moreall very strong. 


One option that many families do for English, is to create their own courses, and pick out the living literature yourself.  Pairing that your own writing assignments, essays, etc can make up a complete English course for your teen.


We decided to go another way, and chose Oak Meadow, which offered a number of living literature courses, from 9th to 12th grade.  

They offer used curricula for OM high school English here, called Oak Meadow Seconds.

Oak Meadow helped our daughter with her narrations!  We liked how Oak Meadow offered tons of great questions for each piece of literature, which helped my daughter to do her narrations in a complete and skillful way.

Oak Meadow was also great for teaching literary analysis, and for guiding my daughter to develop good essay writing and report writing skills. With theses courses, my daughter learned how to write a variety of essays, and also do bibliographies for her research papers, and to do literary analysis papers. too.  It prepared her well for college English studies later on. 

We loved it!  It was paired with wonderful choices of living literature, as were all of it's English courses.  

In our senior year, we found another great source for high school English.  It was from 7 Sisters Homeschool, and it does the same thing that Oak Meadow did for our daughter.  

And it is made by homeschool moms themselves, who led a high school co-op for many years.  I liked how it was much more frugally priced!

Here is one of our favorites on American Literature.  It is a full year long course in American Literature with a no busy work approach. We liked it so much that I wrote a review of it here.

7 Sisters also offers many other high school 
English courses, including:

- Literature and Composition Courses 
- Literature guides to tons of books so that you can pick and choose and make your own course
- Essay writing courses at a variety of levels. 
- World Literature and more.

To check out any of these frugal offerings, please click here and go to Literature Guides and English and Writing.


Another popular choice for English is the Institute of Excellence in Writing, IEW, which offers a structured, step by step approach to composition.  Go to here for a review of it. 

For us, IEW was not a good fit, as we found it to be too formula based too rigid for our high schooler.  We used the 7 Sister's writing programs instead. (Click this link then go to English and Writing)

They offer a variety of levels of writing instruction, including:

Plus Literature and Composition courses, at 3 different levels.

Each of these writing courses are full one year long courses which were used successfully in a well established college prep high school co-op, lead by 7 Sisters Homeschool.
Other options we considered:
We also looked at such programs as Hewitt Homeschooling: Lightning Literature & Composition Lifepacs, and SOS  and found them all to be very strong.


Social studies for high school can include a wide variety of subjects, such as World History, US History, Geography, Economics, Psychology, etc.  Some colleges look for specifics in this, but our college let us choose from a variety of subjects.

We decided to use Oak Meadow's history courses, and also some geography  from the Rainbow Resource catalog.  

We used Oak Meadow for: Civics - 9th grade, US History - 10th grade, World History - 11th grade.

Our colleges allowed us to do Psychology as one of my teen's social studies's requirements.  In junior year we did Introduction to Psychology, a full year course from 7 Sisters. It was written by a licensed professional counselor who is also a homeschooling mama.  From a Christian perspective it covers the following topics in 15 chapters:

-The brain and how it works
-Genetics and Learning
-History of Psychology (Ancient to Modern Times
-Personality & Theory
-Abnormal psychology
-Psychological testing
and more.

It counted as one of my daughter's social studies requirements for college entrance.  (But check with your colleges, as that differs from college to college.)

Other options we considered: 
We also checked out SOS and Lifepacs, for social studies, all strong programs.  


Most colleges require two years of the same foreign language for their incoming freshmen. We chose a Spanish 1 class from a regional school program in our area, Highline Choice Academy, which offered it twice a week, and gave our daughter in person practice.  

For Spanish 2, we went with the homeschool version of Rosetta Stone (RS) @ http://www.rosettastone.com. I liked the homeschool version best because it included grammar, while the regular RS version did not.  Also, our college choices preferred the homeschool version. 

Other Options We Considered:
We also looked at SOS and Monarch from Alpha Omega, and, but wanted something that focused more on conversational Spanish, which we found in Rosetta Stone.  There are so many options for foreign language.  Cathy Duffy has a number of reviews of foreign language curricula.


Electives were the most fun of all, for both my daughter and our family.  They were all chosen by my daughter and included some of her friends from co-op in many of them.  

Career Exploration.
Are you wanting a way to teach your teen critical thinking?
How about a course in philosophy?

7 Sisters offers a philosophy course was written by a homeschool graduate who has an Masters in Philosophy, called Philosophy in 4 Questions.  It is a great course for discussing concepts and ideas to help prepare your teen for college level thinking skills.

Another great option for high school electives is their Career Exploration course.

Does your teen not yet know what they want to do in the future?  Are they struggling with deciding on a career goal, or what to study in college?

This downloadable course gives them a step by step guide to follow, helping them to discover what their next step might be!  

It also prepares them by offering lessons in:
- writing resumes
- drafting cover letters
- learning how to interview for a job  

For more ideas on electives check out this page at  7 Sisters Homeschool

They have a bunch more homeschool high school electives in such courses as:

Acting and Directing
 Fine Arts
 Human Development
 Financial Literacy and many more options.

Another homeschool high school elective that was a favorite in our house was called Youth and Government.   We just counted all of the meetings and activities that she attended for that and made it into a credit.  

My teen also did a homemade video-making course, and homemade courses in creative writing, drawing, and PE.  And they all earned high school credit!  What is your teen passionate about?

Is your teen interested in Art?  Here's a video based course in chalk art and it can be done independently by your teen.

It's called A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels Video Art Course  

Taught by a master artist, and offered by Tricia Hodges, mom of 5 who are all homeschooled.  This is a full one year course in art using chalk pastels.  

Get your fine arts requirement done with this fun option if you like.

No need for a long list of supplies. Just get some paper and some chalk art pastels and you are ready!  This gives you an idea of what we chose for our high schooler.

What are your favorite homeschool high school curriculum choices for your teen?  

Have you seen my NEW Complete Guide to college for homeschoolers yet? 

Barnes and Noble $11.99

Kindle is coming!

It lays out 10 easy steps for homeschool to college, and covers everything you need to help your teen get into the college of their choice, with 7 NEW chapters. Recommended by Lessa Scherrer, a certified college counselor and a homeschooling mama of 3.

Create your own unique and nurturing high school program for your teen and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges. 

There are 12 downloadable high school homeschool planning printables plus a transcript form for you to just fill in.

The kind of transcript form that the colleges are used to seeing.

For more info: 

- 2nd Edition

Have you seen the facebook group that I administer on high school?  You are invited to join us there, to get answers to your questions, and join in our supportive community.

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition,   She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had some of her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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Copyright, 2014 
Updated 2019, All Rights Reserved


  1. Thanks for sharing at Finishing Strong!

  2. Thank you, Susan F. Williams, for stopping by! And thanks for hosting the best middle and high schoolers blog hop at Finishing Strong!

  3. Interesting choices. Most are ones I'm not at all familiar with. Really enjoying your posts!

  4. Thanks, Trena Balakrishman, so nice to get your comment! I enjoy writing about our homeschooling adventures, and I wish you the best with yours! I am so glad that we homeschooled. It has also been fun to watch my teen take on college....and see her discover new things that she is interested in.


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