Making your own High School English Course -


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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 add in grammar review and vocabulary, too, if that is needed for your student.  

 Six Important Components to High School English 

1.  Read A lot

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.  If your student is going into the trades or right into a vocation, then the reading does not need to be in typical high school literature selections, it can be nonfiction oriented to their probable trade or future job.

2. Write alot

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!

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.  But the topic was always teen-led, in our house. If you want a guide, there is a listing of writing standards for 11th and 12th grades on this link. 

3. Practice 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 it step by step, as above, helps to make essay writing or report writing less daunting. Having the goal of making an outline, or sketching out a draft was doable, as opposed to trying to do the whole thing at one time! 

My daughter disliked making an outline, but learning to outline has really paid off or her, and helped her to create meaningful essays that were well constructed and made sense!

4. Try Some Literary Analysis  

Why do literary analysis?  ...I do it because it is a great way to teach critical thinking skills, 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.

Oak Meadow helped us with literary analysis by asking lots of questions to ponder.....about plot, setting, character development, etc. Ambleside Online also has a great sample list of narration questions as well.  

We had great discussions together!  

Join your teens in pondering the why's and how come's of the story, the plotline, how the setting impacted the plot, etc.  

5. Do Research Reports

Writing research reports is probably something your kids have learned to do through the years.  Knowing how to research and write up one's findings can be important in many future career opportunities.

6.  Take a Break

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

One day, we stopped by a farmer's market, and got a bunch of apples.  That got me busy cooking, and making applesauce.  Nothing like homemade applesauce.  We had it with latkes, potato pancakes, for dinner.    

...Recipe writing is a very good skill, too!  Learning to write the procedures needed in a recipe, is good practice for later writing the steps to a plumbing problem, or how to proceed when repairing an air conditioner.

What are your favorite ways to teach English?  Please share in the comments.

My book is a do-it-yourself guide to high school, with lots of help for getting your teen into college, if that is where they are headed.

 Homeschooling High School with College in Mind 

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What's included in the book?  

Check out this review by Tricia Hodges.

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The iHomeschool Network is doing a blog hop this week on how to creatively homeschool.  To reach all the other creative posts 
click here.

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now rising college senior, whom she homeschooled from preK through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

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