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3 Tips for Easily Combining Classes for High School Teens


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Written by Sara Dennis of Classically Homeschooling.

This year I’m teaching 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 12th grades. Talk about an age spread! In an effort to keep my sanity, I decided to combine as many classes as possible for my high school teenagers. In doing so, I discovered that combining high school teenagers is different from combining young elementary kids!

Combining Classes for High School Teens

Combining High School Teenagers

Combine Content Subjects Not Skill Subjects

Combining content subjects but not skill subjects is the same advice you get when you’re combining elementary kids – except what’s content and what’s skill has changed.

Little elementary kids are learning how to read. Then they’re reading to learn. You no longer have to worry about whether or not a high school teen can read a book. (Whether they want to or not is a different question!)

But science has turned into a skill subject. Your teen can’t begin chemistry until they’ve finished Algebra 1. They can’t begin physics until they’ve learned Algebra 2.

Combining science can be tricky! Make certain your teenagers have the needed math skills before tossing them into a science course.

In my homeschool, my teenagers are combining English (literature and writing), history, and science. Math and foreign languages are completed independently.

Plan the Easy Way

For me, it’s always easier to adjust a course up than it is to adjust a course down. It’s a fancy way of saying I’d rather plan extra activities into a well-written course than give myself a headache choosing what to cut.

Your high school teenagers are not going to be carbon copies of each other. One will be better at math, another stronger at writing. Use one plan, but personalize the fit for each child. Sometimes this will mean adding a few extra literature selections or changing the writing assignment.

Other times it may mean one child will do research while the other reads a series of assigned books.

Even though you’re adapting the course to meet the needs of each child, it’s still easier than trying to adapt two courses. You’re dealing with the same topics, the same books, and the same assignments.

Remember to watch maturity level as well. Some 14-year-olds entering 9th grade are sensitive. Your 12th grader will likely be ready for concepts your 9th grader may not be prepared for.

You know your kids. Adjust their courses as needed!

Combining Classes for High School Teens

Take Advantage of Combining

Combining teenagers in high school gives you several advantages. It’s cheaper. You don’t need to purchase all the books and supplies for two courses. So use the savings to pick up the supplements that make homeschooling awesome. Purchase the art supplies, take that field trip, and go to the movie.

In my house, this means my husband and I are planning on taking our teenagers to see Churchill later this fall after we’ve covered WW2.

Combining isn’t just cheaper, but it makes it easier to have delightful discussions. You’re not sitting there having a running Q&A session between you and one teenager. Instead, you can pull out the cookies, brew the tea, and enjoy a long discussion between you and both teenagers this year.

Ask a leading question, and listen to the answer your child gives. Now ask your other teen what they think! Encourage them to debate the concepts and ideas you’re studying.

Combining allows you to have great discussions!

It’s also easier to maintain quality control when you combine. I’ve always found it difficult to stay on top of 20 different courses and make certain the kids were staying on track. That was the year I had 4 kids taking different history, English, science, math, and foreign languages.

It was insane!

But this year I have the teenagers sit down for an hour with me. We discuss their writing, and then they create the outline right there at the table. Science lab notebooks have been set up to my liking.  I’m available to answer questions instantly.

Combining high school teenagers wisely allows you to maintain quality control, invest in extras that make your homeschool exceptional, and hold delightful discussions. And the change is awesome!

Are you combining your high school teenagers?

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