Homeschool High School English - How to Prepare Your Teen for College Writing

How to prepare your homeschooled teen for college writing is really not that hard. I share how to prepare a homeschooled high schooler for college, and what was important in homeschool high school English.   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.

We had homeschooled our daughter through high school and this was her first quarter in college.

My teen had an opinion paper to write, a research paper to finish, and a bibliography to create.  

She was also asked to annotate and summarize in the margins, while reading a research paper for her business class. We are finding that there is lots of writing at college. 

She is doing well with her college writing assignments. 

What did we do in our homeschool to make that happen?

I thought back to her high school days and how we did her high school English at home. 

So today, I'd like to share 8 important things that we did for high school English, that prepared her for college writing. 

1.  First thing - Write a Lot

I encouraged her to write. A lot!  

In whatever way that she felt motivated to do....  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.  

It is also helpful to introduce your teen to different types of essays, such as narratives, expository essays, persuasive essays, etc. Time for Learning has a great resource for that here.  But the topic is always teen-led.

2.  Literature and Composition 

Whatever homeschool curriculum that you choose, such as: 

Oak Meadow
7 Sisters Homeschool English

Preparing your student for college writing is really not that hard.

Oak Meadow Lit and Comp
Doing literature and composition in homeschooling high school is vital for later college writing.  Many colleges ask for both of literature and composition on transcripts for high school English.  

That just means that your high school English courses should include both novels and some essay writing assignments.

We used both Oak Meadow and 7 Sister English ourselves.  Both have solid homeschool high school English courses.  Both have good question to discuss and for your teen to answer regarding the novels that they are asked to read.

7 Sisters is the more frugal option, with most courses costing less than $30.00.  

If you don't want to use a prepared curriculum, your English courses can be done as homemade courses as well.

Making Your Own Homemade English Courses

Doing it yourself with your own homemade course, can work well, too, by choosing good literature and assigning essays to go with it.  

There are Literature Guides from 7 Sisters Homeschool, for more than 40 different novels, that you can choose from for your own homemade English course, if you like.  These are very frugal.  Also Rainbow Resource has Literature Guides.

Time for Learning has a helpful resource for do-it-yourselfers.
It is a listing of writing standards for 11th and 12th grades.  

3. Literary Analysis

7 Sisters American 
Doing literary analysis was key for my daughter, too.  

What is literary analysis?

Literary analysis just means learning how to analyze what they have read, including:

- character development
- what is the setting of the story
- the plot of the story

- point of view

It taught her critical thinking skills, preparing her for more complicated essay writing in college.  The prepared English programs, mentioned above, will guide you in teaching this important skill. 

All of the Oak Meadow English courses and all of the ones offered by 7 Sisters Homeschool English do this by asking lots of questions to ponder about plot, setting, character development, etc. 

I found these questions helpful in getting my daughter to really dive into literary analysis.  

4.  Discuss Literature with your Teen

When discussing literature with your teen and having them do their essays, ponder the why's and how come's of the story, the plotline, how the setting impacted the plot, etc. 

Talking about the books that they have read for English is so important.  

That is why I liked both Oak Meadow and 7 Sisters Homeschool English, as they give you great questions to discuss together. (Links above for both of these resources.)

To the left is a full year English course in the Chronicles of Narnia.

5.  Creative Writing

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 and literary analysis - setting, point of view, characters, plot, etc.  

But doing creative writing is not necessary for homeschool high school English.  To the left is IEW Creative Writing for high schoolers.

7 Sisters Homeschool has creative writing resources below:

6.  Do Research Reports

Writing research reports gave my daughter practice in the all the components of researching, such as note taking, compiling data, drafting, revising, and the all important bibliography.

She was hit with doing lots of research reports in her first year of college.  So it is a great thing to practice during high school.  

Oak Meadow includes research reports in their courses, and 7 Sisters Homeschool has a course Research Writing here.  They also have a Senior Writing course.

Their Senior Writing Course includes research writing plus how to write the college essay. 

7.  And of course, practice the steps of writing, from brainstorming to publishing.

The steps of writing just include:  

-Prewriting - Brainstorming, making an outline
Drafting - First draft, putting some words on paper
Revising - Setting it aside, than coming back to it and writing/revising
Editing - checking for spelling and grammar
- and Publishing. - finishing up and typing the final draft.

My daughter disliked making an outline.

But learning to outline in high school at home has really paid off in college.

Time for Learning has a simple outline for the steps of writing here.  Oak Meadow also has this British Lit course, too.

8.  Writing the College Admissions Essay

Writing the college essay for admissions is, of course, probably the most stressful assignment there is for college bound teens.

But it doesn't have to be.  Here is how we went about doing that, how I encouraged my teen to write an essay that got her into each of the colleges that she applied to.

To read my article on that, click below. 

And here are some more resources for the college essay for high school homeschoolers:

A.  From IEW: 

Writing an Eye-Catching College Application Essay
---Posted by Genevieve in College Prep 

B. From 7 Sisters Homeschool: 

Guide to Writing a College Application Essaywritten by a homeschool college counselor, Vicki Tillman.

This guide is very frugal and simple-to-use guide to the college essay, which I wish I had had when my daughter was applying to college.

 Using this frugal college essay guide can really help build up your teen's confidence....and help get them writing their own winning college application essay.

 What is your favorite resource to encourage writing for your teen?

Do you want a step by step guide to high school planning?

Paperback is on Amazon 

This book is an easy-to-read guide ,  including:

- My own homeschoolers guide to the Common Application
- How to write the Counselor Recommendation Letter
- Where to find college scholarships
- SAT/ACT Prep
- How to make your own homemade courses
 Included are also 12 homeschool high school planning printables to make your record-keeping easier.

Recommended by: Lessa Scherrer, Certified College Counselor
                               from College Inside Track

And help for record keeping!  With my exclusive high school and college planning printables.

For more information, click here - Frugal College Prep for Homeschoolers 

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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