Our 4-Year High School Plan

NOTE: This plan was set up prior to Jaden's freshman year. I update the plan toward the end of his freshman year. You can read the updated 4-year high school plan here.

I still can't believe it, but Jaden will be starting high school next year. That unfortunately means I can no longer avoid planning!

So a few weeks ago I spent some time trying to figure out exactly what we are going to do course-wise for him for the next four years. I re-read the high school section of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens, then I visited the website of our local public college and downloaded their high school course requirements for admissions.

Using those two resources to figure out how many and which type of credits he needs, and integrating input from Jaden on his elective choices, I mapped out a tentative plan for the next four year. Emphasis is on the word tentative since I'm sure we'll be changing things up.

The following is the list of minimum required credits I used to base my planning on.

  • Language Arts, 4 credits
  • Math, 4 credits
  • Science, 4 credits
  • Social Studies, 4 credits
  • P.E., 1 credit
  • Fine Arts, 1 credit
  • Foreign Language, 2-4 credits
  • Speech, 1/2 credit
  • Electives, 6 credits
  • TOTAL CREDITS: 26 1/2 — 28 1/2

One thing that is new for us next year is that Jaden will be taking several courses online through The Potter's School. I think Jaden will greatly benefit from having the outside influence of a non-parental instructor (and I'm expecting I will appreciate it as well). I've heard nothing but good things about The Potter's School, so I'm really hoping that it will work for us. If it doesn't, I know we'll have to do some major revisions to this plan.

Here's Jaden's tentative 4-year plan. Courses marked with an asterisk(*) will be taken through The Potter's School.

Freshman Year

***Jaden is actually taking Algebra 1 this year, but we're going to do a major review of the entire curriculum at the beginning of 9th grade, rewatching all the videos, retaking all the quizzes and tests, and completing an additional Algebra 1 study guide curriculum. He'll be starting Geometry, which is listed under Sophomore year, sometime his Freshman year.

Sophomore Year

  • Geometry, 1 credit, using Chalk Dust Geometry
  • *Chemistry w/ Lab, 1 credit, using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry
  • *English, 1 credit
  • *World Geography, 1 credit
  • *Latin, 1 credit, using Lingua Latina.
  • *Programming, 1 credit
  • Health & Nutrition (1st semester), 1/2 credit, no idea what curriculum we'll use.
  • Home Economics (2nd semester), 1/2 credit, this will probably be mostly a cooking class. Jaden has already taken individual sewing lessons this year.
  • P.E. (Judo Classes & Competitions), 1/2 credit
  • Private Guitar Lessons & Performance, 1/2 credit
  • PSAT/SAT preparation (This will probably be done during the summer in preparation for testing Junior year.)

Junior Year

  • Algebra 2, 1 credit, using Chalk Dust Algebra 2
  • SAT Math Review (I'm not sure how this works credit-wise.)
  • *English, 1 credit
  • *Marine Biology, 1 credit
  • *U.S. History, 1 credit
  • *Spanish 1, 1 credit
  • *Programming, 1 credit (We might move this to Senior year if necessary.)
  • P.E. (Judo Classes & Competitions), 1/2 credit
  • Private Guitar Lessons & Performance, 1/2 credit
  • Possibly attempt U.S. History 1 & 2 CLEP tests.
  • Take PSAT in October of Junior year. Take SAT in May or June. Possibly take ACT in April/June.
  • TOTAL CREDITS: 7 (plus SAT Math Review if it counts for anything)

Senior Year

  • Precalculus, 1 credit, using Chalk Dust Precalculus
  • *Physics w/ Lab, 1 credit, using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Physics
  • *English, 1 credit
  • *World History, 1 credit
  • Economics, 1/2 credit, using Exploring Economics by Notgrass.
  • *Spanish 2, 1 credit
  • Speech/Communications, 1/2 credit, no idea what curriculum we'll use or how we'll meet this requirement.
  • P.E. (Judo Classes & Competitions), 1/2 credit
  • Private Guitar Lessons & Performance, 1/2 credit
  • Possibly attempt College Math CLEP test.

If you have any suggestions for curriculum, or other pointers for high school, I'd love to hear them!

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  1. Cheryl Burnham says

    Just wanted to say that we are doing http://www.driversed.com It is a lot cheaper than Drivers Ed in a box and so far it has worked fine. It is all on the computer except of course his actual driving. You do have to register with the state to get all of the proper paperwork but David has his learners permit and hopefully will get his license in September or close to that. I think we ended up paying around a $100 for the program and there is a fee you have to send in with the paperwork but it is small. You can try the program out for free for a few times and if you do that then a day or so after you try it out the first time you will get an e-mail that is a discount cost from the original cost which I think was $149.


    Joy Reply:

    @Cheryl Burnham, Um, yeah, that's a LOT cheaper than Driver Ed in a Box. Thanks, Cheryl!


  2. says

    Good luck! My two oldest kids (going into 6th and 8th) are now in a 2 day a week independent studies program. They use the Apologia curriculum there and I'm pleased with it. I was not sure if I would be for the older grades (as a former science teacher) but so far I am.

    I am trying so hard to get my own head around HTML/CSS/Javascript so I can teach this to my kids once they hit high school. My oldest has a blog she is starting this summer (she will be emailing you at some point this summer for a header :) My son has a huge interest in game programming. I am going to have to find some outside/online help to get him started on the basics.


    Joy Reply:

    @Reesa, Try the Head First books by O'Reilly for the HTML, CSS, and such. They come highly recommended by a homeschool-dad, computer-programmer friend of mine.


  3. says

    How do you like Chalk Dust Algebra 1? We are using a different Algebra program, but I am not sure my daughter is grasping it as well as I would like. Was it a hard decision for you to have him do it again for next school year? Thanks!


    Joy Reply:

    @Jacquelin, We really like it. The instructor, Dana Moseley, is the math teacher I wish I had when I was in school. I think he does a superb job of explaining concepts. However, a friend told me before we did Algebra 1 with Chalk Dust that it's a really tough course, and she was right. It's challenging.

    As for having him redo Algebra 1 this next year, no, it wasn't really a hard decision. We need to record grades (which we didn't this year), plus I want him to have a REALLY good grasp of algebra, so doing another review at the beginning of the year of all the concepts will do him a world of good. Also we're not starting Potter School until mid-September, so he's got a very light work load the first 6 weeks we do school which will be ideal for doing an intensive review.


  4. Robin says

    I don't have any kids in high school yet (my oldest will be in 6th next year) but our local community college allows kids age 16 to take classes. I remember taking a speech class at community college. Maybe there is something close to you that Jaden can get into.


  5. Karen Robuck says

    I don't know what you've considered for Personal Finance, but Dave Ramsey's materials are supposed to be good. Can't vouch for them myself, since my oldest is finishing first grade, but we love his children's books around here.


  6. Dana Carlton says

    Thanks for posting your High School outline. This was our first year of homeschooling and next year my oldest will be starting high school at home. I have been busy trying to put together a 4 year plan. I am also considering some classes at the potters school. May I ask which classes you are considering, we are looking at history. My daughter wants to eventually major in English and History. Would you consider chalkdust more appropriate for someone going into the math and sciences? Thank you.


  7. Heather says

    I know Math-U-See has a personal finance curriculum that you can take any time during high school. We're not there yet. But just passing on!


  8. says

    What are you using for high school English? Princess is going into 7th grade next year but I just outlined a rough draft of what we'll do for science, history and math the next few years so that it all lines up correctly for high school. I have NO idea what I'm going to use for high school English. Thoughts??


    Joy Reply:

    @Amber @ClassicHousewife, Jaden's taking English 3 at the Potter's School. Here's the link to the description. There's a more complete description of the class linked in the description. http://www.pottersschool.org/w/701.jsp


  9. says

    Robin has a good idea for class regarding speech, as speech is much more effective with a group of people. However, as an English (and speech teacher), I think it should be fairly easy for you to put together your own curriculum (do you need to use some sort of packaged curriculum to prove your son adequately met the requirements? I'm not sure what the requirements are for homeschoolers when entering college). In a typical speech class you give a variety of different types of speeches (informative, persuasive, extemporaneous, impromptu, demonstrative, etc.), usually do a self-critique or two, and analyze a couple of speeches (Martin Luther King, Jr., a presidential speech, someone speaking locally, etc.) for effectiveness. The smaller speeches can be given to you (impromptu, extemporaneous), the demonstrative could be teaching a younger sibling or a group of kids how to do something (perhaps judo?), and you could find opportunities in the community for bigger speeches (persuasive and informative). This could be at church, at a local organization's meeting (Kiwanis and other similar programs are often open to this), or somewhere else. This would provide him with plenty of opportunity to speak in a variety of settings, and would meet the requirements of any basic speech class.


  10. Leslie says

    Hi Joy,
    I am right there with you!! I'm sitting with a cup of coffee and procrasting when it comes to formally making the plan for my son heading into 9th this year. I have piles of scribbles on notebook paper all around me, but needed inspiration to actually get it into the computer. Your plan is that inspiration!

    We also used Chalk Dust last year for Algebra 1. I have to say, we loved it for Basic Math & Pre-Algebra… not so much for Algebra 1. We really got bogged down and it went so slooooow. I ditched it a while back and moved to Lial's Introductory Algebra which moved faster. I just enrolled him in the Art of Problem Solving for next year, though. Math is not my thing and Luke needs a challenge at a faster pace. I will enjoy focusing on writing, history and science a LOT more. (I do have to say I loved "Uncle Buck" – he's a cutie. I can't believe I just said that…I do believe I've been homeschooling too long.)

    In my area (Colorado), we have a very good "public school for homeschoolers" program that meets one day a week. We use it mainly for enrichment and foreign languages (French & Latin). Luke will be taking Speech and Debate from them, but I am supplementing this course with two "Teaching Company" courses – "The Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History" (this looks really good) and "Effective Communication Skills" (This last one may be geared a bit toward business, but several of the lectures look pretty good for understanding communication which is critical in speech and debate.)

    Driver's Ed – EEkkk! I was looking at classes at the local high school (within walking distance) and they cost almost $500 with 6 days of "road training". I am stunned! When I was in school, my driver's ed class was included in our school day and we got to drive brand new donated Monte Carlo's! Where is the money going now in the public schools?

    Well, thank you for the motivation to get my plan down on paper. My son is interested in Dartmouth (do you hear me hyperventilating) and I looked to see what their minimun requirements are for admission. Your plan looks good even for Dartmouth! They also had an entire page dedicated to homeschoolers and stated that they get a lot of homeschoolers that apply. That was nice to see. I guess if I cover the bases for admission to Dartmouth, hopefully that will also cover the bases for our state university which is more in line with our budget. :)

    Off to get another cup of coffee!!


  11. Leslie says

    One more idea.. I saw that you weren't sure about Health and Nutrition. I just received the Heath and Fitness curriculum set from Oak Meadow. I had searched everywhere and this is a brand new course for them this year. It looks like it is just what I was looking for. I am implimenting it myself but they give a teacher's syllabus, student workbook, the Glencoe "Making Life Choices" textbook, the Human Anatomy Coloring Book, "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain", and "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto". The course looks incredible. The woman I spoke to stated that this is a full credit/full year course. For us, it will coordinate nicely with the PE and Biology courses this year.

    I struggled over whether to go with a Christian based health but decided I would go with a secular health curriculum and discuss our views on subjects as they come up. I don't want my children heading out into the world with an overly sheltered view. Unfortunately, these topics need to be addressed, but at least we get to discuss them with the kids and not some public government employee or even worse – other peers.


  12. Kitsel B says

    I stumbled across your website and have really enjoyed looking it over. My daughter will also be a 9th grader this year. I need to do some additional planning! Thank you so much for sharing.


  13. says

    You might want to consider adding an Art course or 2. There are a variety of fun and interesting art / photography programs out there. They could even be done as a summer project.


  14. Trisha says

    I would suggest taking the ACT more than one time. You can also take it really early, around freshman year, to get practice. They do consider your age when you take the ACT and basically round up because you shouldn't know as much as a Senior. I took the ACT three times and raised my comprehesive score five points-you are not supposed to be able to improve that much. I think doing it more than once helped me to better prepare, I feel I did better because I wasn't a novice.


  15. says

    Hello! Well, I have wandered back to your fabulous blog to see if you have any thoughts on how the Study Skills course went at TPS. My oldest (9th grader) started this class on Monday afternoons and I hope it ROCKS HIS WORLD!!! Actually, it just needs to ROCK HIS DAYS into something more focused and fruitful. Ha! How is Chalkdust going? We are also in Algebra I with Uncle Buck and it was a bit rocky at first. I think it is getting better since Jake realized it is 'HIS' math course and it isn't coming off his schedule. Ever. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!!
    Teresa in VA


    Joy Reply:

    @Teresa Burger, Jaden wasn't too hot about taking the class at first, but now that he finished it, he's actually glad he took it. He did learn a lot that he's already applied to his studies and it's helped. As for Chalkdust, it's going fabulously. Jaden is slowly making it through Geometry and understanding it pretty well, and Jerah is doing PreAlgebra and doing well too. Alg 1 was a really tough course, yes. Hang in there! We used Algebra Survival Guide at the beginning of this year to do another once-over on Algebra (to get it all in a neat box in his mind).


  16. Delana says

    We are in our 2nd year of homeschooling High School. I have a daughter who has dyslexia. We are enjoying the Math – U See Program. I highly support this for kids who need visual learning. My daughter went from F's to A's in a manner of days….. Also, a great English program is Easy Grammar and with Daily Grams used daily with it as it gets back to basics. It also breaks it down to where kids understand it. I wished they would have taught me this way as I would have not struggled as much in English when I was in school.
    I am looking for a good History, Science, and Bible course for a child with learning disabilities if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear from you…. Does anyone know anything about Time – 4 Learning Online Course?


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