Teaching Language Arts In High School: Curriculum and Activity Choices (Homeschool High School Blog Hop)

In this month’s edition of the Homeschool High School Blog Hop, we’re sharing language arts choices for high school. Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the hop for more choices.

English/Language Arts happens to be my favorite subject of all. I love literature. I’m a grammar nerd. In high school, I was the one who always loved to diagram the long sentences. I’ve never been a particularly great speller, but now I have spell check as my ever ready helper. Language arts has always been the subject I most looked forward to and enjoyed teaching. But, I’ve learned in homeschooling that not every one of my children will share my enthusiasm for a subject. They each have their own likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. So I currently have one high schooler who enjoys language arts and one who just…doesn’t. Because of this choosing materials for language arts has been a little more challenging. I want something meaty with a strong focus on reading good books. But I still have to consider the strengths and weaknesses of my children. We’ve come to a place where I’ve found language arts curricula that are working, but, as with everything in homeschooling, it’s an ever-changing, ever- adapting process.

Language arts resources for high school

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Analytical Grammar– I stumbled upon this course at a homeschool convention some years ago. I didn’t teach much formal grammar in the elementary years, as we used a Charlotte Mason approach to schooling. I had read about Analytical Grammar on the Simply Charlotte Mason website but hadn’t had the opportunity to see it in person. At this particular homeschool convention, Jason and I came across an Analytical Grammar table in the vendor hall. We listened as the process was explained, and then I went to a workshop to learn more. We bought the curriculum for both Kathryne and Charles that year as they were both in middle school. The course lasts three seasons- or years- with review in between. It’s very succinct. It teaches grammar rules in context and builds as you go. It was much more effective than the way I had learned grammar with rules in isolation and often moving on from one concept learned and not covering it again for quite some time. They began the seasons in middle school and finished them up in high school.

Fix-It Grammar- Charles (grade 9) is using Fix-It Grammar from IEW. He did fairly well with Analytical Grammar, but I found that, although he learned the rules well enough in the course, he doesn’t consistently edit his own writing with correct grammar. We reviewed Fix-It Grammar for the Crew, and it was a very good fit. It involves editing sentences each day, using rules learned each week. The editing gives an opportunity for using correct grammar in writing and correcting mistakes.


My Father’s World-This is one of those curricula choices that I wish I had made from the beginning of schooling. We began using it two years ago. At the time, Charles was an 8th grader and worked with Ashlyne and Rachel in the 2nd-8th-grade curricula cycle. Kathryne began high school with My Father’s World. The curriculum covers Bible, history, and literature comprehensively. She’s an avid reader, so it was perfect for her. The high school curriculum is made so that students work completely independently with check-ins with a parent each week. It’s been so good for having her develop independence. The quality of the literature is excellent. She reads good literature and reads much of it. This year she’s using the American history and literature.

Notgrass- Charles isn’t the reader that Kathryne is. Although he did well with our combined My Father’s World curriculum, he was not at all thrilled about the possibility of using it for high school because of the amount of reading involved. Last year- which turned out to be an 8th/9th-grade year for him, we tried several different things for literature with no real success. I ended up just creating a literature list for him and having him use a few different prepared literature units. For this year, I took a look at Notgrass. I had reviewed the elementary Notgrass history curriculum and really liked it. Kathryne used the high school world history from Notgrass as one of her sources for My Father’s World, so I took a look at it. Notgrass is another curriculum that combines Bible, history, and literature. It is textbook based, but there is also additional literature. It’s been a better fit for Charles. The textbook reading for each day isn’t too long and is more manageable for him, and I can adapt which additional books he is required read.


My Father’s World and Notgrass both incorporate writing assignments into the program. Kathryne loves to write and does all of the assigned writing. Charles does some of the assigned writing for Notgrass, but he also working through the IEW writing curriculum.

IEW Student Writing Intensive– I had heard the buzz about IEW’s well-known writing program for some time. I had even attended a workshop about it at a homeschool convention. But I admit that I had doubts about how effective it could really be. And then I had the opportunity to review it this year. Earlier in the year I reviewed the entire teacher workshop course as well as the Student Writing Intensive set, using the program with Charles. Because he’s not an avid reader, it comes as no surprise that he struggles with writing as well. I began the program with him for the review and was amazed. He still doesn’t love writing, but it isn’t as challenging for him. And I’ve noticed that the improvement has carried over. Not only is he doing well in the Student Writing Intensive, the writing in his history/literature course comes easier for him as well. For us, the IEW program has been truly worthy of all the hype surrounding it.

And there we are. As with all things homeschool, our language arts are constantly changing and adapting. What I want to accomplish with high school language arts is to teach my children to appreciate good literature, to build reading comprehension, and to help them become confident writers. This will prepare them for college if they choose to go that route and for real life. If you can read and understand, you can learn anything you wish.

Don’t forget to visit the other bloggers on the hop and see what other homeschool high school families are using for language arts.

Carol from Home Sweet life shares Homeschooling High School- Language Arts (&History!)
Leah from As We Walk Along the Road shares Teaching Language Arts in High School: Curriculum and Activity Choices
Tess from Circling Through This Life shares Teaching High School Language Arts: Resources
Michele from Family, Faith and Fridays shares Language Arts
Wendy from Life at Rossmont shares Highschool Language Arts
Erica from Be the One shares Language Arts Resources
Kym s from Homeschool Coffee Break shares History in the Form of Stories
Debbie from Debbie’s Homeschool Corner shares Teaching High School English
Gena from I Choose Joy shares Homeschool High School: Using Socratic Discussion for Literature Studies
Laura from Day by Day in Our World shares How to Teach High School Language Arts Without Tears

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