Homeschooling High School is NOT that Scary

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Lots of moms make it through homeschooling elementary grades and even junior high, but then they hit high school. And they sort of freak out! There’s really no reason to worry about homeschooling high school, if you take it one step at a time.

homeschooling high school

One of our family goals in high school was to be sure our children could think critically. For that reason, I adopted a different approach to Literature and History. An approach that shows kids how to develop independent learning.

I used the “Read – Write – Discuss” approach that can be used in any subject. When you use this approach to homeschooling high school, your children will read their book, write about their book and finally discuss their book with you.

No workbooks.
No multiple choice tests.
No pre-made curriculum.

All you need are books, journals and questions. Here’s how it works:


Choose a classic book that you and your child will read individually.  I recommend classic books because they have endured over time and have ideas you can write about and discuss.  If you are getting started with this approach, choose a book you know your child will enjoy.

With my girls, we started with a Jane Austen book. Since they both enjoyed her books, it was an easy place to start. If you need help finding classic books, you can use this reading book list.

You can get more information about using books to help


I took my kids to the store and let them choose a special journal they liked. Each day, we wrote one page about our reading.  Notice, I said we wrote “about” our reading. This is not a retelling, or narration of what happened. It is writing about what happened.

Writing “about” their reading encourages your child to think about their reading at a higher level of thinking.  If your children struggle in moving from retelling to writing about their reading, give them a journal prompt for a month or two.

Journal prompts can simply be a question that starts with how or why. In Pride and Prejudice, you might ask, “Why do you think Elizabeth acted that way at the dance?” This allows your kids to give their opinion and think at a deeper level.

Remember, the reading journal is not intended to be a graded essay. It is simply letting your students put their ideas on paper. If you need help using reading journals, check out Teach Your Children “How to Think” with Mentoring.

homeschooling high school


Once a week, you should have a discussion about the book you are reading.  It does not need to be long, ten to fifteen minutes is fine.  As the discussion leader, you should have 2-3 questions prepared beforehand.  The first question might be literal to get the discussion started.  Then move into a question that provokes thought.

In Pride and Prejudice, you might ask the following questions.

  • Who is Elizabeth in our story?
  • Who is Jane in our story?
  • How are Elizabeth and Jane similar?
  • What differences do you see in Elizabeth and Jane?

My questions began with literal thinking and moved to a higher level of thinking.  When you move to a higher level of thinking, you begin to teach your children to think critically and think for themselves.

Using the “Read-Write-Discuss” method of homeschooling high school allowed us to read books we enjoyed or ones important to our family. We were not tied down to a specific curriculum.

This method can be used in any subject matter, which makes it quite flexible. Homeschooling high school does not need to be difficult when you have a method like “Read-Write-Discuss”.

Homeschooling High School

Homeschooling high school doesn’t have to be scary when you have a road map. Try our Read-Write-Discuss strategy when you use our 3-Step Critical Thinking Process Chart.

All you need is a classic book, blank reading journal and our chart. Follow the steps and you’ll start preparing your kids to think for themselves and make wise decisions, in the process.

Get your FREE 3-Step Critical Thinking Chart below.

Part 1: How to Start Homeschooling Right Each Year
Part 2: Homeschool for the Love of Learning
Part 3: Homeschooling High School is NOT that Scary
Part 4: How to Organize Recipes as a Homeschool Mom

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  1. Thank you for this tip. It is a great way to teach and prepare kids for their futures. I have one suggestion: you may want to revise to finish a couple of unfinished sentences (“If you need help finding classic books, you can use this reading book list.

    For more information about using books in homeschooling high school,”). It would be nice to have the link to the book list mentioned and to know what the rest of the next sentence is. Thank you!

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