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.  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 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.

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 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 by clicking here

High School Giveaway

If you’re homeschooling high school, be sure to sign up for our current giveaway. All you need to do is sign up for the giveaway below.

Are you homeschooling a middle or high school student? Looking for some great resources to help make your year great? Then you’re going to love the Upper Grades giveaway!

Thanks to these amazing bloggers and brands that love supporting the homeschool community, we’re able to give back to homeschool families in the best way!

Check out this AMAZING Prize package!

Autumn & Winter Poetry Copywork from In All You Do – These Seasonal Poetry Copywork packs are perfect for Middle and High Schoolers. The Autumn pack includes 18 different poems with plain lines for copywork. And the Winter pack includes 18 different poems with both manuscript lines and plain lines for copywork.
Teach Your Children How to Think with Mentoring from How to Homeschool My Child – Can your kids think for themselves? Can they use their thinking skills to influence the world? How well can they discuss what they are learning? How well can your kids make wise, Biblical decisions? How well can your kids solve problems… not just Math problems but real life problems? Are your kids inspired to learn more? If you need help in any of these areas, Teach Your Children How to Think is for you!
James Inductive Bible Study Course from Homeschool with Moxie – Would you like to use the Bible as your Bible “textbook” instead of having your kids complete worksheets about the Bible? The James Inductive Bible Study Course will teach your teens how to dive into the actual text of Scripture and learn what it says. The James Self Study Workbook and Video Lessons are open and go and will take your teens through a verse-by-verse deep dive into the book of James.
Guitar Time with Ben online course from Music in Our Homeschool – Guitar Time with Ben is a self-paced online beginning guitar course for ages 10 and up. Your teacher Ben has been playing the guitar since he was 9. Join him through 10 pre-recorded lessons as he teaches you the basics about the guitar, and you’ll end the course playing a few songs!
DIY Printable High School Planner from With the Huddlestons – This DIY Printable High School Planner was made with high school homeschoolers in mind. It features 23 grayscale pages (helps you save printer ink) that your high schooler can use to put together their very own planner. There are several templates that will help them learn how to plan their months, weeks, days, and keep track of other important things in life.

Learn more about each of the 2023 Upper Grades Giveaway Sponsors

This giveaway wouldn’t be possible without our amazing sponsors! We encourage you to visit their site and take a look around at all their wonderful products perfect for homeschoolers! Thanks to these amazing bloggers and brands that love supporting the homeschool community, we’re giving away more than $124 in Upper Grades products!  

Want to enter to win? Simply enter by following as many sponsors and partners on the form below, and you’re in it to win it! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You are responsible for reading the Terms and Conditions before entering. Entering this giveaway confirms that you have read and understand the terms.

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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