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[Book Excerpt] Planning High School Courses

~ A word from our founder, The HomeScholar Emeritus, Lee Binz ~

This is a chapter from my book, Planning High School Courses: Charting the Course Toward High School Graduation. You can purchase a copy in print or Kindle version on Amazon.

Chapter 1


If you're giving your student a college prep education in high school, the English requirement is four years of reading and writing at their level. You can use a pre-measured curriculum such as Right Start or Institute for Excellence in Writing, or you can count the number of hours spent on the subject in a day. Your student should do a combination of reading and writing for at least an hour a day. There are some kids who always have their noses in a book, reading for two hours a day, then writing for half an hour a day, and this still counts as one credit.

An English course can include a huge variety of topics: spelling, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, penmanship, reading for fun, reading for class, public speaking, reports, poetry, prose, research writing, short reports, and book reports. Combining these topics can result in one English credit. The only time you would award more than one credit is if you use two complete, pre-measured programs or curriculum, which I do not recommend!

I once had a horrible year when my children used Learn to Write the Novel Way at the same time they worked through the Sonlight Literature and Composition program. It was a nightmare to do more than one complete English curriculum at the same time, and it's not something I recommend. Sometimes a child has a passionate interest in English, and it is possible for them to do Learn to Write the Novel Way while going through the Institute for Excellence in Writing program. If that's the case, you can give them two credits, but in general, give them one credit.

Be careful not to overwork your child or duplicate subjects. It's not uncommon for parents to say, "My child is struggling in English; I need to get him up to this level," and they pile on the work, using an entire curriculum for everything. If you're supplementing in your child's weak areas, there's a real possibility of overwork, which can sometimes burn out a kid. If you do have a child who is struggling, then sometimes having them work too hard on one subject can make it more hated and more difficult to learn; rather than bringing them up to grade level more quickly, it slows down the process.

English is a great opportunity to create a delight directed course (which is something your child learns because they love a subject), such as novel writing. My brother in-law teaches at a public high school, and he taught a class called "Sports Communication." His daughter was in the class, and she said they spent most of their time listening to baseball play-by-plays, because her dad is a big baseball fan.

This shows that any delight directed learning can be turned into a fabulous class; as a homeschooler, you have the option of choosing anything. In a public school, courses are limited by the teachers' interests, but in your homeschool, courses are only limited by your child's interests. Delight directed learning can go anywhere, such as the sonnets of Shakespeare or the works of Jane Austen. What a great homeschool advantage!

Planning High School Courses is one of my Coffee Break Books. What are Coffee Break Books? These are books designed for YOU - a busy homeschool parent feeling frustrated by something, and needing information NOW - all put together in an easy-to-read, short, simple format. Coffee Break Books are perfect for overwhelmed, sleep-deprived moms with a baby on their hip. Simple, large font makes them easy to read even when distracted or pulled in a million directions. They are designed to help parents tackle just ONE issue of homeschooling during just ONE coffee break! Each book combines a practical and friendly approach with detailed, easy-to-digest information. Never overwhelming, always accessible and manageable, each book in the series will give you the tools you need to tackle the tasks of homeschooling high school, one warm sip at a time.

Learn more about Planning High School Courses in my video review below!

This is a chapter from my book, Planning High School Courses: Charting the Course Toward High School Graduation. You can purchase a copy in print or Kindle version on Amazon.

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