-- Making your own Homeschool High School English Course - -

There are many ways to homeschool high school English.  One way is to make your own course.  One year, we did just that.  

So today, I'd like to share six things that we included in our homemade English course.  You can, of course, add in grammar review and vocabulary, too, if that is needed for your student. 

We focused on literature and composition in our homemade course.  You can, of course, add in grammar review and vocabulary, too, if that is needed for your student.  

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.

Six Components to a Homeschool High School English Course

1.  Literature 

Choosing your own literature 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. 

2.  Writing Essays & Creative Writing

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 also offer lots of resources for writing, if you are looking for some guidance on that.

3Practicing 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.  Doing 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. 

 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:

-- 7 Sisters Homeschool High School 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.

Each of their courses are adaptable, with a no busy work approach.  They are written by veteran homeschool moms, with solid educational backgrounds and over 20 years of homeschooling experience.  We loved using 7 Sisters for American Lit. 

This American Literature course is a full year long course which included both literature study and composition.  7 Sisters Homeschool 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.  Writing Research Reports

If you are looking for help in teaching research writing, 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.

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

Oak Meadow also has English courses that teaches research writing as does an online option called Time4Learning.

6.  Taking an Inspiration Break

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.

Kindle - Amazon 
Also in print - Amazon  

Create your own homeschooling high school program  and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges. 13 High School to College Planning Forms included.

Also on the blog:

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 yearshighschoolcollegegifted/2e and
wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   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. This was great for me. I have been struggling with choosing a curriculum and this came right up when I searched! God always puts the answer right in your face. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Katrina, for stopping by to share your comment. I hope it is a help and that you and your family enjoy your English studies in your homeschool this coming year!


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