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This list of "100 Resources to Craft a Rich Homeschooled High School Experience" has been a true labor of love for me.
It's the result of reviewing the tools and resources I've used over the years with four of our five children (the last one is still in middle school). Three things to keep in mind as you go through this list.
- I did not use all these tools with all our kiddos (except where noted).
- The focus is not on curricula here. It is on the tools you will need as a homeschooling parent that will allow you to build on whatever materials you decide upon for the basics. While I do list specific subjects as part of this list, my emphasis is on finding unique and inspiring tools that will add a special spark to your homeschool and your student's high school experience.
- While I include many tools here, I also have links to articles that either discuss a particular topic, present other tools (as in a review post), or further explain a particular tool, method, or idea. So by the end of the list, you'll actually find more than 100 resources here!
Remember, educating our teens is all about preparing them for their adult life and setting them up for success. No matter HOW you define "prepare" or "success", you'll find that if you keep these concepts in mind over the course of your homeschooling journey, you will have done an outstanding job, mom (and dad, too, but it's usually mom who's in the trenches).
Homeschooling affords us the opportunity to exercise our creative muscles as parents and teachers. And before you say "But I'm not really the creative-type!", note this: tailoring your efforts to your child's learning style, interests and abilities automatically puts you in the "creative" camp. And that creativity extends into the high school years, too! You'll still be seeking out tools that work best with your teen's skills, interests, and abilities...only now the focus will be on launching them into the world.
I realize that, while this list is not exhaustive, it does contain a ton of information! But please don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Feel free to book mark this or even better, Pin it, and refer to it as you need.
And accept my best wishes for continued success in your homeschool!
1 - Planning, record-keeping methods
I'm listing this section first to emphasize just how important it is. The high school years are definitely the time to "step up" your own organizational skills as a teacher. It really doesn't have to be hard, tho, even if you're "not that type." But in order to make your child's Senior year a breeze, and facilitate college admission (or whatever becomes the plan), it's best to get your ducks in order early!
1) Article - What's the Best Homeschool Planner for Your Homeschool? A good foundational discussion about planners and a review of 7 tools.
2 - Teacher Helps
4) This may be obvious, but don't forget - the library is/should be/can be a foundation for EVERY homeschool! As an early homeschooler, I knew families who taught all their children thru high school using only the library and other free materials.
5) The iHN search engine - If you're looking for anything homeschool related, this search engine is composed solely of trusted homeschool bloggers who are members of the iHomeschoolNetwork. Members are accepted only once or twice a year, and from my 3 years of experience with them, I can comfortably recommend these bloggers. Give it a try - just click on the link above. It will open up a new tab and a blank search box. Type in what you're looking for and get ready to find what you need!
6) If at all possible, find and enroll in a co-op near you. This can be especially helpful while you have high schoolers who can take advantage of the many valuable opportunities being in a co-op provide. If that's not possible, at least find some support of your own, mom (see #7).
7) And if you can't find local support, try out this list of Self-care Ideas for Homeschool Moms and 100 Places to find Homeschool Support Online (two options from our "100 Things" collection. See bottom left image.)
8) Review - The ABCs of How We Learn - Get to know your child's learning style ASAP, and much of the journey will go smoother 🙂
9) Article - Great Books for Homeschool Teachers
10) Check out one of the signature courses I've put together: Homeschool Prep - Getting it in Gear, or Crafting a Thriving High School Experience for Your Teen.
11) Sign up for my newsletter - Available resources include, but are not limited to, my personal transcript template and how to determine a GPA...
12) Article - 5 "Old School" Subjects for Today's Homeschool
13) I would highly recommend joining the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They provide free legal support to homeschooling families who need representation regarding home education (and yes, it does still happen in this day and age!). Even if you never use their legal services, however, your annual dues help those who are in need. They also have funds available for homeschoolers who may need temporary financial help for various reasons. Plus, they have some terrific resources in general. While you're there, check out...
14) ...this excellent article on their blog on evaluating high school credits.
15) As long as you're not using it to just kill time, there are lots of ways to use Netflix and Amazon streaming videos in your homeschool. If you're not quite feeling up to figuring it all out, check out these great Facebook pages: Homeschooling with Netflix and Christian Homeschooling with Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Roku and more.
16) At the end of the year, you may need some of the suggestions in this article: 10 Effective Strategies for Motivating Homeschooled Teens
17) High School GPA Calculator - Makes keeping up with your student's GPA each semester a breeze!
18) PrintWhatYouLike - Enter a URL of a page you've found online, whether it's a resource, study guide, or article, and print out whatever part you'd like as a PDF. Omit images, ads, and whathaveyou that eat up valuable ink! (Available as a Chrome browser extension.)
19) QuickGrade - When you have to score your own tests and determine the grade, this is a quick-and-easy way to get the answer. Yeah, you could probably figure this out on your own, but why do it if you don't need to?
20) 10 Stumbling Blocks of Writing - This parent resource, with bonus mp3, offers solutions to homeschooling moms for overcoming the 10 most common stumbling blocks of writing.
21) Article - How to Keep Track of Digital Homeschool Files - Includes an explanation of a free tool you can use, as well as a template to get started.
22) Join Amazon Prime - Seriously, this is a super resource for science and school supplies in general, but also gives you access to video streaming, (free) books on Kindle and lots more. When you send your kiddos off to college, you can get them a Student Account, which is half-price, and/or you can gift them an Amazon Allowance: you set the amount and the frequency they receive it. Lots of possibilities here!
3 - Subject resources
24) Article - 100 Online Courses for Kids (Don't let the title fool you. Many of these courses are high school level and above!)
26) Also from HSLDA, here are some of their recommended resources for helping teach your teen to use his or her time effectively.
28) Teaching Textbooks -
31) Math-U-See - Even if you don't use this particular program, Steve Demme has quite a few online tools free for anyone's use. (Scroll down to the "E-Learning" section.)
33) Coolmath.com - Free online Math games.
38) Apologia - This is the only standard science curriculum I've ever used with my kiddos. Some years, however, we used it primarily as a reference. Most of the time I used hands-on, experiential materials (see #39). (Pssst! I just discovered that The Homeschool Buyer's Co-op will be arranging a group sale for their materials soon. Check them out here.)
39) Article - "Teaching Homeschool Science Without A Curriculum"
40) Article - "How to Teach Science Out-of-the-Box"
41) Article - How to Teach Classical High School Science
42) Article - Gumdrop Structures Engineering Challenge (a STEM activity)
43) Science Scope - A scope and sequence of science studies from grades 1-12.
44) Check out this Pinterest board with loads of STEAM (they add "Art")-related activities!
American History -
46) Exploring Government - This is a one-semester course from Notgrass History. A classic, Christian program...
47) The American Vision - This site offers all chapters of The American Vision in PDF form, along with tests, study guides, and review materials.
49) Article - How to do a two-year project-based American History course
50) Article - Teaching history thru Fashion
Western Culture -
51) Old Western Culture - from Compass Classroom
World History -
52) Excellent Ancient History course with complete instructions
53) Check out this list of 13 Printable Board Games that cover World and US history topics...
Social Studies -
55) Geography - You can use the maps available from Bright Ideas Press for geography and history and literature studies, and/or writing assignments. Really, you're only limited by your imagination!
56) Economics - Economics-for-Everybody from Compass Classroom
57) Civics - Constitutional Literacy - This course, taught by Michael Farris (of HSLDA), explores the origins and present state of our nation's founding document. I purchased this for use with our youngest daughter next year, but after watching only the trailer, I'm tempted to start on it this summer!
Current Events - These sites will help you and your teen stay up on the news and discuss what's happening in the world.
59) CNN10 - Daily news and commentary in language teens (and the rest of us!) can understand.
60) ProCon.org - Their motto is "Disagree without being disagreeable" and you'll find both sides of the story on many current controversial topics
Language Arts/Writing -
61) Hemingway Editor (free) (Available as a Chrome browser extension)
62) WriteShop I and II - High school level writing program inspires confidence in teen writers
63) Use these language-related games for fun review with another family or in a co-op class.
64) Bravewriter's Help for High School writing program - This resource also includes wonderful materials to enable mom-as-a-writing-teacher.
65) Learn to Write the Novel Way - I used this with my older daughter who is now a published author and blogger!
66) Article - Let your teen learn to write product reviews. A side benefit is the possibility to start making money online...
67) Explore the "Coaching Writers" concept here...
68) Another free writing resource, the WritewellApp provides a myriad of online templates and tips. In high school, for example, your student will learn how to write essays, short stories, lab proposals, cover letters, and more.
69) I taught three of our kids to write using the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) materials because they not only provide excellent instruction but also concrete tools for the parent/teacher to grade/assess assignments. What a relief! The Homeschool Buyer's Co-op now has lesson plans for this product that you can purchase separately. They plug into Lesson Planet with one easy click!
Foreign language -
The only language we've taught at home during high school was Latin. During the elementary years, we did quite a bit of Spanish study, mostly interest-led because half my family is Hispanic. But in high school, we turned to Latin to help with vocabulary building and in preparation for tests. Actually, we all enjoy/ed it! My youngest daughter and I still study it in Classical Conversations ( CC) this year.
70) Laugh through Latin and master English, through Compass Classroom's Visual Latin program.
71) Henle Latin - A classic textbook approach that provides a rock-solid foundation in the language.
72) Latin with Andy - A very reasonably-priced membership site, with video classes taught by a teen! This year I'm using it in conjunction with the Henle materials that CC uses.
*Bonus Idea - use Pinterest as a search tool to find more reviews and/or ways to use subject resources creatively!
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4 - High school Electives/the Arts
74) Article - How to Spark Creativity with Homeschool Art Lessons
75) Nutrition - These activities are presented for classroom use, but could easily be adapted to home/family/co-op use.
76) This page on Speech Techniques would be great to pop into PrintWhatYouLike (see #18) and hand out as a reference either as part of a Speech class, or when your student needs to make a public presentation in any situation.
77) DIY Home Budgeting lesson (free)
78) Article - Are you teaching life skills with a creative flair?
79) SkillTrek - This is a wonderful, new program created by a homeschooling family, that ensures your teen is adequately prepared for life on their own. Think you don't need it? Neither did I (and I guess you can guess where that one ended...). Great program, with much flexibility.
80) All my teens have taken the Driver's Ed course available through The Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, at a 40% savings. It is approved by both the Road Safety Educators Association and the Driving School Association of the Americas, and could save you money on your auto insurance!
80) Article - Creative Electives for Your High School Student - This post has additional ideas for electives along with further resources for including them into a high school transcript.
Try one of Craftsy's free classes to see how it can add some flair to your homeschool!
5- Preparing for college
81) Article: 10 TED Talks Your Teen Needs to Watch Before Graduation - THIS is the stuff you don't get from books during the high school years and will make your teen stand out among his or her peers.
82) These vocabulary activities are good to use year-round to help build and strengthen skills.
84) Bravewriter's Help for High School - Teach your teen to think, argue, and develop their own writing style at the same time: great prep for test essay-writing.
6 - Alternatives to college
86) Gap year resources on Pinterest - College isn't for everyone, and if that may be the case for your teen, take the time to go through these together...
87) Praxis - This is an apprenticeship program that combines a bootcamp with personal development and prepares your son or daughter to be "job-worthy" at the end of the program.
7 - Student (and teacher) tech tools
88) Grade calculator - Free tool to help with the "admin side" of homeschooling 😉
89) Mathway - plug in a specific math problem and this will walk you through it!
90) Grammarly - Online grammar-correcting tool.
91) EasyBib - Online citation creator for bibliographies for papers, resorts, and projects.
92) Dictionary.com - I have this on my phone and enjoy getting their "Word of the Day" and some of their other learning-on-the-go features. When I write I always have a tab opened with it, too, as it helps me find synonyms as well.
93) Quizlet - Think of these as online flashcards! Search for and use a set that's pre-made...or make your own!
94) Timetoast - I've made lots of timelines over the years...in various subjects and using varying curricula. Create these online.
Pin this post for future reading and sharing!
95) Educaplay - Create word searches, matching columns, crosswords, slide shows, quizzes...for subject review or student projects.
97) Google Sheets - Works with Excel, and it's part of the Google toolkit! Start from scratch or use some of their wonderful templates to get started. A great tool to teach your high schooler to use!
98) Piktochart - Helps you create eye-catching infographics for projects or presentations. No graphic experience or training required!
99) Canva - I love and use Canva all the time! You can make online graphics as well as flyers, posters, brochures, posters, and more. * A new feature they've just added is the ability to create Venn Diagrams - great for math and language arts projects! And here are some ideas to inspire you from the Techie Homeschool Mom.
100) Airtable - Organize (almost) anything digitally: turns a spreadsheet into a database.
101) EdSmart has published a lengthy overview of the Homeschool to College process. Some info is rather basic (misconceptions of homeschooling), but there are good sections with tips for both students and parents, and a section on college admission testing.