The Best Homeschool Curriculum for High School
It can be difficult to find the best homeschool curriculum for high school, but these were some of our family’s favorites.
The number of credits needed to graduate public high school varies by state. For homeschoolers, the amount required depends on factors such as state homeschooling laws and umbrella school requirements. Often, homeschooling parents set their own graduation requirements.
Assuming a student takes six classes each semester, 20-24 credit hours is a good guide. Following is some of the best homeschool curriculum for high school that we’ve found to help your student earn those credits.
High School English Curriculum
Four credit hours are typical for English. During all four years of high school, English credit usually includes literature and composition. It may also include grammar, vocabulary, speech, and writing research papers. We like to incorporate literature with history. We’ll read American literature while studying U.S. history or British and world literature with world history.
I’ve yet to find an all-encompassing curriculum that covers all of the subjects typically associated with English credit. Following are some of my favorite options for piecing the course together:
- Apologia’s American Literature
- Beautiful Feet (This is a good option for those who want to combine literature and history)
- Lightning Literature
- Word Up! Vocabulary
Check with your local Toast Masters club for speech. If you have an active homeschool community, you may find someone willing to teach a class for a group of homeschoolers.
Homeschool Science Curriculum
Three credit hours (including two lab sciences) are standard for science unless the student is going into a science-related field.
- Focus on High School Chemistry
- Science Shepherd Biology
- Apologia high school science or Physical Science (My youngest recommends Marine Biology.)
- My Fun Science courses
- Experiencing Astronomy
Also, be sure to check out Home Science Tools. Having quality lab equipment really makes a difference, and they have kits for many popular homeschool science courses.
Homeschooling High School Math
Four credit hours of high school math are the standard graduation requirements for most public school students. Most of the time, the courses include Algebra I and II and geometry. Pre-Algebra can work for a student who struggles. After geometry, consider options such as pre-calculus, calculus, statistics, business math, or trigonometry.
In addition to the well-known math curriculum by publishers such as Saxon, Alpha Omega, and A Beka, there are some fantastic online options for high school math, such as:
- Teaching Textbooks
- Mr. D Math
- My Fun Science (Yes, they offer math courses, too.)
- Khan Academy
History and Social Studies for High School
In most cases, students need three credits of social studies for graduation. These credits usually include world and U.S. history. They may also include classes for a four-year history cycle, special interests such as European history, World War I and II, or psychology.
- Dave Raymond’s American History
- Constitutional Literacy
- Geography Matters’ High School Bundle
- History Revealed
We also love adding Pin-It Maps to our history and geography studies whenever we can.
High School Electives
It’s typical for a student to have six or more elective credits. Those credits usually include two years of the same foreign language. Beyond that, you can assign elective credit to nearly any interest that your teen would like to explore.
In addition to local classes and interest-led studies such as photography or computer coding, some of the electives my kids have really enjoyed include:
- Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance
- Flip Flop Spanish
- Typesy Typing Lessons
Homeschool Health and P.E.
Finally, you’ll want to include at least one credit for P.E. and a half credit for health. For P.E., I just followed my teens’ interests. They enjoyed activities such as hiking, gymnastics, volleyball, and weightlifting. If you’re stumped for P.E. and your teen isn’t into sports, check with your local Y.M.C.A. Often, they offer homeschooling classes.
For health, I hands-down recommend Apologia’s Health and Nutrition. Megan loved it! She says it’s her favorite class ever, and I’m impressed with the depth and breadth of topics it covers.
If you’ve homeschooled high school, what were some of your favorite curriculum options?
It’s always fun to see others’ plans for high school. I only get two shots at it and I’m sure I’ve ‘messed up’ along the way. But they’ll survive lol. Your’s looks like a good plan. I really like your choices for curriculum.
For Astronomy we used Jason Lisle’s The Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky. I see there is a curriculum set offered by MasterBooks now but we just went through the main book and supplemented with keeping a notebook and visited websites with more information. We don’t have a telescope; only binoculars. I’m interested to see what you choose. For my ds, I’m thinking an archaeology course will be one of his physical sciences. Do you have a suggestion for that? 🙂
We have Nutrition 101 but also in the ebook format. We’ve used it off and on for our Health requirement. It was interesting to see a psychology course for high school here. I didn’t have psych until college. The first link you have doesn’t work correctly. I’ve not heard of either but am having a look-see now.
Thanks for sharing your tentative plan for high school. It’ll be a help, I’m sure, for others contemplating choices for high school.
Thanks for the heads-up on the broken link. It’s fixed now. I’ll have to check out the astronomy choices you mentioned and see if either might be a good fit.
I love your blog and I especially love this one! I’m relatively new to homeschooling in comparison to some, lol. I think we will use The One Year Adventure Novel for 9th grade writing. I’m not sure about history though…he has been going to a private pay history teacher with many years of experience and she has taught him up to the Civil War . Now I get to take over! Wow! Where should I even look to begin from this point? Thanks !
We’ve been using Supercharged Science for the last year and plan to continue. I like that we can take historical aspects and surf around to find experiments that tie in with what we’re studying. (For high school, we may go through the classes in order so that we can be sure not to miss anything.)
HomeschoolAstronomy.com just sent us their course to try out and it’s looking really interesting. You might find it to be good for your kids too.
Thanks for sharing your plans, Kris! It’s great to see what other people with kids the same age as my upcoming high school student are using.
Thanks for mentioning the astronomy course, Erin. I haven’t heard of that one. I’ll add it to my list of possibilities.
We have been using the JumpCourse Psychology course — the material is all online (videos, reading, practice questions). At the end of the course the kids can take the psych CLEP test. My kids have been asking to take a psych course. I could teach it (I have a taught college level psych classes) but I didn’t have time to pull it all together. Have to say that I have been very impressed with the material covered with JumpCourse. I think my kids understand the material better than I did as a college freshman! It’s straightforward and comprehensive but not overwhelming.
That’s a great idea! I didn’t realize they offered psychology. I’ll add that to my list of things to check out. Thanks!
I’m always interested in your choices. My daughter will be in 10th grade next year, so I’m going to take a look at the chemistry you linked to. I’ve been considering taking a year off from science and letting her take chemistry and physics at the community college so I don’t have to deal with it! 😉 We are going through the Uncle Eric WWI and WWII books and have been through the Penny Candy book. I’m a little uncomfortable with some of his libertarian leanings, but we have good discussions because of it!
He is definitely not shy in his opinions, but, you’re right, they make for great discussion.
Reading your plan is so inspiring! I now see the gaps I have left for my current 10th grader more clearly (yikes!).
I have been seriously thinking of sending my current 7th grade son to public school almost full-time for 8th grade so he will be ready to join in with others for full time high school. This is for several reasons, one of the biggies being that we really need for me to start earning some $$, another big reason is that my son is just becoming more and more reclusive and with my 2 oldest leaving home for college next year, he needs more than just me all day long. There really is next to nothing I can get him interested in here…no coops, no youth groups etc. SO my long-winded question for you (sorry!) is this: I am concerned that he is really lacking in writing skills and to some extent, reading comprehension as well. If we were to start Write Shop and work at it over the summer, do you think it provides enough practice to “beef him up” in those areas? I have heard you speak so highly of it, and I just really need to bring him up to beginning 8th grade level. If he were an entering 7th grader, he would be fine, but 8th grade, not so much. I can’t put him in 7th because he knows several kids from baseball etc. and that would just be humiliating for him.
I’m sorry, I know this isn’t a high school curriculum suggestion comment!
I do actually have one suggestion for you for science, though. My 10th grader has been on a homeschool Science Olympiad team for two years, and she has learned SO much! She now really loves science and told me that being on the team has changed her life (gotta love that endorsement!). Her little team of 12 kids nearly qualified for the state competition this year (competing with the top schools in the state to qualify), so they clearly are learning a LOT. And a lot of it is partner/independent learning. I hope this helps!
And thanks for any insight you can provide!
I’m not sure about using WS over the summer as it’s intended to take at least a school year or two to complete. I’m sure it would be great if you had more time, but trying to push through it in a summer would probably overwhelm and burn out both of you.
This is our second year homeschooling high school. My advise to all whose children want to go on to college, check out collegeboard.org. Many colleges have specific requirements to enter. We supplement Reilly’s high school experience with community college classes. Rigor is the main concern, from what I understand, to get into college. CLEP subject tests are a good alternative to college classes in proving rigor. I’m always interested in what is working other households.
Thank you for suggesting that. I’ve noticed that the bloggers never really point to one specific thing and As a parent who’s trying to homeschool my 10th grader (haven’t Started yet I just withdrew her from public school yesterday ) I go to the blogs and these people think I actually know what they’re talking about haha I’m so so so lost 🙁
My daughter loves supplementing with Education-Portal.com free videos. They are funny and thorough in all the subjects above.
This is our first year homeschooling and I have 2 in high school, one graduating next month and another next year. Your blog has been extremely informational and helpful in our homeschool this past year. Our biggest struggle has been choosing a good health curriculum so I’m exited to check out Nutrition 101. Thanks for sharing!
We started using Diana Waring’s History Revealed during 8th grade and we LOVE it! Making history relevant to kids by allowing them to pursue activities that interest them (organized by Multiple Intelligences) is fantastic. One of my kid’s favorite are making maps and dioramas. We’ll continue through the series into high school, but hopefully pick up the pace.
GREAT article! I plan on sharing this on my blog this week.
We have not yet used Psychology: A Christian Perspective, but I have bought it. I showed it to a friend that has a BA in Christian Counseling and he said it looked like a really solid book for high school students and would prepare them for a college course.
Thanks. That helps.
We are starting homeschooling as soon as this school year is over so I am trying to pick a curriculum as we speak and would appreciate any advice. I will have 2 freshman that are polar opposites academically. One has always been in advanced classes where available and the other is classified special ed although he is mainstream. I would like to find a curriculum that mixes book work with online and videos although with his difficulties he may do better with just online or videos. Any suggestions on the best way to go?
My oldest will be in the 8th grade in the fall. I have spent many, many hours researching and planning his high school coursework. He is interested in engineering and I want to make sure he is ready for college. We are Catholic and I will be using mostly Catholic/Christian resources. I won’t list it, but he will study religion every year.
History- Connecting with History, Early Medieval Literature based, includes geography
Composition-IEW – Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course
Latin-Henle Latin following Mother of Divine Grace syllabus
Grammar-Fix-It by Institute of Excellence in Writing book 3
Science-Exploring Creation with Biology
Math-Saxon Algebra 2 w/DIVE DVDs (only doing a limited amount of work and extra work as needed)
-Life of Fred Advanced Algebra
Spelling-Phonetic Zoo C (his spelling is terrible, so this is what we really need to work on)
History- Connecting with History, High Medieval includes geography
Added emphasis on Shakespeare literature
Composition-IEW -Speech Boot Camp (semester 1) and The Elegant Essay (semester 2)
Latin II-Henle Latin following Mother of Divine Grace syllabus
Grammar-Fix-It by Institute of Excellence in Writing book 4
Science-Exploring Creation with Chemistry
Math-Saxon Advanced Algebra w/DIVE DVDs (only doing a limited amount of work and extra work as needed)
-Life of Fred Geometry
Spelling-Advanced Spelling and Vocabulary from IEW
History- Connecting with History, American includes geography
Government-Constitutional Literacy with Michael Farris (semester 1)
Economics- Whatever Happened to Penny Candy w/Bluestocking Guide & Dave Ramsey’s personal finance & Economics in One
Lesson (semester 2)
Composition-IEW -Windows to the World (semester 1) and High School Essay Intensive (semester 2)
Latin III-Henle Latin following Mother of Divine Grace syllabus
Grammar-Fix-It by Institute of Excellence in Writing book 5
Science-Exploring Creation with Physics
Math-Saxon Algebra 2 w/DIVE DVDs (only doing a limited amount of work and extra work as needed)
-Life of Fred Trigonometry (semester 1) Calculus (semester 2)
History- Connecting with History, Modern World History
Emphasis on literature of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton
Geography-Drawing the World with Art
Composition-IEW -Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course-C
Latin IV-Henle Latin following Mother of Divine Grace syllabus
Grammar-Fix-It by Institute of Excellence in Writing book 6
Science-??? Possibly Advanced Physics
Math-Saxon Calculus w/DIVE DVDs (only doing a limited amount of work and extra work as needed)
-Life of Fred Calculus
That’s the frame. I plan on adding in some more Uncle Eric books and Politically Incorrect Guides just to keep it interesting and fun.
Guest Hollow has a great conceptual physics program for students who don’t plan on pursuing higher level science in college.
I love The Academy of Education from Bob Jones University. Most of their curriculum is BJU Press, but there is freedom in choosing electives. My 9th grader is doing an online Sign Language class, for example. I like it because I don’t have to keep up with transcripts and GPA. It’s also great because every dollar I spend, $.50 goes toward going to Bob Jones University if that’s where my child wants to go to college. It’s like homeschooling for half price. It’s called “cash for college”. We have saved thousands of dollars with 3 kids. So far my success rate has been 2 very successful college college students with GPAs over 3.5.
Thanks for pointing out that chemistry, biology, and astronomy are important focuses in science classes for high school programs. I will keep that in mind when looking for an online alternative high school program for my son soon. I think he should still continue getting an online education in the next few years just to make sure that he will be safe during the latter parts of the pandemic.