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.
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. 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 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 homeschool your high school student.
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.
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 doesn’t have to be scary when you have a road map. I give you a road map on all 3 steps of our Read-Write-Discuss strategy in Teach Your Children “How to Think” with Mentoring.
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