How to Make Your OWN Homeschool High School English Course - and Follow Your Teen's Interests

Summary: Making your own homeschool high school English course is not hard to do.. Then you can craft it to your teen's interests! Affiliate links to products that we used or would use in our homeschool may be included in this article.  Please see my disclosure policy. #homeschoolhighschool #homeschoolhighschoolEnglish #choosinghighschoolcurriculum

There are many ways to homeschool high school English.  Many families use established courses by homeschool publishers like IEW  or Apologia. 

Another way is to make your own course.  I like how you can use whatever books your teen is interested in reading when you make your own homeschool high school English course.

That can be so wonderful, instead of having to use whatever the prepared curriculum says they need to read.

Talk about following your teen's interests.  That way, they will likely be much more motivated to read and then analyze what they have read. 

But what is needed in a homeschool high school English course?  

Today, I'd like to share seven things that we included in our homemade English course.  

We focused on literature and composition, but you could add in grammar review and vocabulary, if you like. Some teens do well to also have spelling in their courses.

Most colleges tend to look for literature and composition in an applicant's high school English courses, but don't specify what type of lit to include.  That gives us homeschoolers lots of leeway.  

Our homemade English course was accepted by each of the colleges that our daughter had on her list.  And she was well prepared for college writing.  (Even though I worried about that during high school, lol)

Making your own Homeschool High School English Course

1.  Choosing Literature or Books

Choosing your own literature, ie books to read can really be fun, and that can include some free reading books, too. It all depends on what your teen needs and where you think they are heading.  The reading does not need to be only typical high school literature selections. 

We focused on what my teen was interested in reading.

2.  Include lots of Writing Opportunities

I encouraged my teen to write..a lot.  

First, I assigned essays to write, related to her reading.  But we did a variety of other writing, too, when she wanted to do something else.  The important thing is to help your teen get comfortable with the written word.

Sometimes I gave her the choice to write in whatever way that she felt motivated to do....such as:  Write about a newspaper article, write some dialog to a short story, write how to's - such as a recipe, or how to find a good deal on cell phones, etc.  You

If your teen is interested in writing fiction, I would encourage that. 

Writing fiction is a great way for kids to learn the components of literature - setting, point of view, characters, plot, etc.  That is the basis for literary analysis, discussed below! Resources for creative writing are here.

It is also helpful to introduce your teen to different types of essays, if they are college bound, eg, narratives, expository essays, persuasive essays, etc.  Time for Learning has a great resource for that here

The topics were always teen-led in our house. If you want a guide for what is involved in high school writing, there is a listing of writing standards for 11th and 12th grades here.  Oak Meadow and 7 Sisters Homeschool also offer lots of resources for writing, if you are looking for some guidance on that.

3Practice the Steps of Writing

Time for Learning has a simple outline of these steps here, which include:

1.  Prewriting/Making an Outline 
2.  Drafting 
3.  Revising 
4.  Editing 
5.  Publishing 

Taking writing projects step by step gives your student a structure to follow, from start to finish.

4.  Do Literary Analysis

Why do literary analysis?  

..Because it is a great way to teach critical thinking skills which will be needed for whatever your teen will be doing.  And that is especially important for our college bound teens.

 But what exactly is it?  

"Literary Analysis is the practice of looking closely at small parts to see how they affect the whole. Literary analysis focuses on how plot/structure, character, setting, and many other techniques are used by the author to create meaning....." from Arrowhead High School.  Click on this title for more info on literary analysis.

Below are some homeschool high school resources that can help you teach literary analysis, if you like.  These are not needed if you feel comfortable with literary analysis.

-- 7 Sisters Homeschool English and Writing Courses

If you want to use a prepared course for help with teaching literary analysis, I invite you to check out 7 Sisters Homeschool, as they have lots of literature courses using a variety of literature.  They offer both complete year long English courses and also separate Literature Guides for over 40 novels as well.

 We loved using 7 Sisters Homeschool for American Lit. 

This American Literature course is a full year long course which included both literature study and composition. They offers a number of other year English courses including:
-  Chronicles of Narnia
-  British Lit
-  Great Christian Writers
-  Lit and Composition I and II
-  British Poetry

 -- Rainbow Resource English Resources

Rainbow Resource
 Rainbow Resource also offers tons of literature guides for specific literature and books as well.

 Ambleside Online also has a great sample list of narration questions as well.   

The best thing about our homeschool high school English courses was the time we spent together, discussing literature.  That is how my kiddo learned the critical thinking skills that she later needed in college.  Join your teens in pondering the why's and how come's of the story, the plot line, how the setting impacted the plot, etc. 

5.  Write Research Reports

Knowing how to research and write up one's findings is of course, important to most careers.  

Research reports are just an extension of book reports, using more than 1 source.  One year my daughter was very interested in airplanes, so we made her research report all about that.  It doesn't matter what the report is about.  It is just the experience in researching and putting the report together that matters.

If you are looking for help in doing that, I recently looked at and loved how Vicki Tillman, MA, put together her course on research writing.  

Click here- 7 Sisters Research Writing to read about it.

Two other options for report writing help that we liked are at Oak Meadow, and an online option is at Time4Learning.

6.  Take Inspiration Breaks

Taking a break not only helps with writer's block, it also can give your teen something new to write about.

Recipe writing is good practice for writing, too.  One day we made applesauce together.  Learning to write the procedures needed in a recipe is good practice for other "how to" writing assignments, such as writing out the steps for a plumbing problem, or how to repair an air conditioner, or a business email at work.

7.  Add in the Fun with Movies

Would you like to add movies into your Literature course?  

7 Sisters has a super easy way to do just that. Making movies as part of high school Language Arts credits not only add in the fun, but can add depth to your teen's studies.

More Resources for Homeschool High School English:

Here are 4 fun high school writing projects that you could show your teen, and let them pick their favorites to do:  

4 Yearly Writing Projects, by our friend, Vicki

The homeschool moms and curriculum writers at 7 Sisters Homeschool have a great practical guide to high school English called - An Authoritative Guide to Literature for Homeschool High School English.   

Are you not yet feeling confident about making your own English course?  

If not, there are a lot of well done complete English programs out there.  You already know about 7 Sisters Homeschool English courses above.  There one year high school English courses are less than $30.00, and avoid any busywork.

Would your teen prefer an online course with a teacher?

Meryl, a veteran homeschool mom of 4 from Funda Funda Academy has 3 online English courses that she talks about in her article here: How to Create Your Own High School English Credit.   

Are you homeschooling high school and wondering about transcripts, assigning high school credit, and all those other important details for high school?

After helping my teen get into each of the colleges she applied to, I wrote the book below - and it guides you through planning high school at home and helping with college application process as well.

If your teen is college bound like mine was, the thought of hiring a college counselor to help was not ever a thought, as not frugal at all. 

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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  1. Great blog :) Good tips and fantastic images!


  2. Thanks Claire C, from! So nice to get your comments! Have a great Labor Day with your family,

  3. Your blog is a treasure! Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much, Kim M, and have a wonderful day,

  5. Thank you so much, Kim M, and have a wonderful day,

  6. It's always better when the teens can choose their own literature to study for English class. I love it!


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