In high school English every subject can have an English lesson component. Encourage your child to use good writing techniques in all their work. Expose them to different genres using different subject matter and writing styles.
The high school years are when you can begin to consolidate many of your child’s English skills.
Here are 10 things you can work on that will help you pull your own English curriculum together.
High School English Grammar Lessons
If you haven’t done much grammar now is the time to do a more intensive grammar program. Their English skills should be at a level where they can understand these concepts. We loved Winston Grammar.
|Basic Winston Grammar Set
By Precious Memories Ed.Understanding traditional grammar is a necessary skill for any person in any age! The Winston Grammar Program doesn’t follow the traditional approach, but instead has created an innovative course that focuses on using color-coded
cards and workbook exercises, through which students learn nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, coordinating conjunctions, interjections, nouns of direct address, subjects, direct and indirect objects, and appositives
through moving, seeing, hearing, and speaking!The teacher’s guide accompanies each page in the included student workbook with a list and picture of the cards used; the concepts under discussion; directions for using the cards; a possible script; model lesson; important information;
quiz options; suggested problems; and concepts students should make sure they know. Worksheet instructions and answers are also provided in the teacher’s guide. The student workbook features the practice sentences students will
use to identify the parts of speech, as well as a pre-test and post-test. The color-coded cards help instruct students on the parts of speech, what they do, and how to identify them as they work their way through a sentence.This Basic-Level Winston Grammar Program Kit Includes:1 Teacher’s Manual, 69 pages, plus worksheet answers, softcover. Student’s Workbook, 30 worksheets plus post and pre tests, perforated, non-reproducible pages. 8 big
noun function cards and 42 smaller cue cards, all color-coded. All elements come in a Velcro-closure, clear vinyl case.
Encourage independent reading and allocate books in their homeschool day. Don’t be afraid to use living books as your textbook. Encourage notebooking to record what they have learnt. Increase the difficulty of their reading materials, include classics, poetry and academic essays. Check their comprehension through discussion and narration. Novel study guides and book reports can also be used sparingly.
Don’t be afraid to continue reading aloud.
High School English Poetry
Poetry is an acquired taste for some children but it also helps a child understand the delicacies and versatility of the English language. In our home they read a poem a day from some of the many poetry books we have acquired. We also encourage our kids to participate in our local homeschool poetry recital once a year.
The Grammar of Poetry was another good course for teaching your child all the technical aspects of poetry. We used the DVDs that goes with the set and found it good.
|The Grammar of Poetry Teacher’s Edition (2nd Edition)
By Canon PressGuide your students into a better understanding of the fundamentals of poetry, from scansion and rhyme to simile and synecdoche. Lesson-content and assignments are followed by answers to the student book that have the corrected answers overlaid. A final exam, suggested schedule, instructions on using the text & grading, and ideas for additional assignments are also included. 193 pages, softcover.This teacher’s edition is part of the Grammar of Poetry curriculum series, which also includes a sold-separately student-text and DVD.Grades 6-9, but may be used for older students or adults who wish to better understand how poetry works.
Continue with dictation lessons of more difficult texts. If your child seems to be having spelling problems consider using a spelling program for the revision of spelling rules.
Sometimes we find that our highschoolers prefer to do most of their work on the computer and avoid handwriting. If you think they still need some handwriting practice why not try some calligraphy? We did some Latin Copywork. It wasn’t babyish but still required careful strokes and concentration.
Shakespeare & Drama
Essential to any high school English course is the study of at least one Shakespeare play. When you use a Charlotte Mason style education you’ll study many.
Shakespeare is difficult but it adds to your child’s cultural literacy and challenges them as the Elizabethan language is decoded. I don’t want my kids to be scared of Shakespeare. We don’t study all the Shakespeare plays but we do try to put one in each high school year. Each year we studied at least one play. We often read aloud the plays together and had friends around to read as well. Each year we saw a play professionally acted out.
I think when we are planning our children’s school lessons it’s not always about what we like, we are also trying to stretch their minds and expose them to different genres. I wouldn’t encourage homeschoolers to cut Shakespeare out of their high school English because they just didn’t like it.
I wouldn’t say we love all Shakespeare per se but we do love working out the clever language usage, the twists and conquering the plays. In some way it has the satisfaction of solving a complex math puzzle.
Much Ado About Nothing is funny. The Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson movie version, with some Keanu Reeves, and we like it a lot, especially since we read it as well.
Success with Shakespeare usually requires some effort on the part of the teacher to help the child understand the play. If you start with a good prose version of the play like the Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb then your child (and you) will understand the plot and it will help you decipher the more difficult language. Another resource that is very helpful, if you are looking for a Christian guide,Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays is a good option.
The more you read Shakespeare the more enjoyable it gets!
High School English Writing Exercises
In high school my kids are writing for many of the lessons but I want to start adding some style to their writing. We found IEW helped enormously with that. In this high school English resource they also practise in note taking, writing techniques and some creative writing tools.
|Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level B Basic Plus (Forever Streaming)
By Andrew Pudewa / Institute for Excellence in Writing
I move from narrations only and begin extending our children’s writing skills, and this usually requires some extra teaching.
We have also used these writing and literature appreciation resources.
- Wordsmith by Janice B Cheaney (Year 7-9) Giving your children tools for being a better writer. It will take you a year to work through this resource. You don’t need the teacher’s manual.
Wordsmith, New Edition, Grades 6-9
By Janie B. Cheaney / Common Sense PressKids coming into college and even high school often struggle with their writing skills and ability. Stand against the current with targeted writing exercises that are enjoyable and effective! Wordsmith‘s creative writing course gives students solid instruction in writing-techniques, emphasizing building strong sentences, description, narrative, dialogue, and revising/proofreading. Humorous examples and integrated practices help kids to remember what they’ve just leaned and figure out how to apply it. This new Edition of Wordsmith includes more exercises, examples, and explanations, as well as review and practice quizzes. Grades 7-9. Some exercises may be completed in the book, but for others a notebook or additional paper will be necessary. 100 pages, softcover.
- Wordsmith Craftsman by Janice B Cheaney (Year 9-10) Teaches essay writing skills.
Wordsmith Craftsman (3rd Edition)
By Common Sense PressWordsmith: Craftsman is the third and final level in the Wordsmith series and is designed to help high school students integrate and polish their writing skills. Students will learn about practical, every day writing (notes, outlines, correspondence, business letters), the power of language (paragraph organization, writing techniques, a personal writing style), and essay writing (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive). This course is designed for independent learners and students are expected to monitor their assignments and get them done within the time limits.This third edition contains updated information that reflects newer technology, more information on note-taking, and more detailed instructions about avoiding plagiarism.Grades 9-12
112 pages, softcover.
- Bob Jones University Fundamentals and Elements of Literature. They are fantastic. Highly recommended for the literary child. The discussions are thoughtful and meaty. The assignments require good thinking and writing skills. I found that I could just let my daughter work through the book and use the teacher’s manual as needed. We did the some of the tests and I read through and “graded” her assignments. The links below are the best place to buy this for shipping to Australia.
- BJU Fundamentals of Literature Grade 9 Homeschool Kit (Second Edition)
- BJU Elements of Literature Grade 10 Homeschool Kit (Second Edition)
- The Year 11- 12 British Literature was more of a theological study of literature from Britain and was a bit boring according to my daughter.
Finding opportunities for public speaking is often hard to do when you homeschool. However it is a good skill and even preparing a timed speech or reading speeches can help prepare your child. If a suitable occasion presents itself encourage your child to try.
Notebooks and Journals
It seems to me that Charlotte Mason had children keep a notebook for just about everything. One notebook that I think will be a keepsake for your child is having a personal journal. Another literary treasure that she encourages is a Book of Common place for writing quotes and memorable literary works and ideas. I keep one of these myself and I love to re-read it.
Writing For Real Life
When your children need to write emails or fill in forms teach them how to do it and help them to do it themselves. Turn emails in to lesson opportunities. Help them prepare essays and teach them how to lay out their work.
Putting Together Your High School English Timetable
I’ll share with you how I pull my high school English lessons together.
I start by splitting the year into four terms. Then:
- I allocate three books each term for them to read on their own each school day. It usually includes a historical fiction, a poetry anthology, a non-fiction living book on a relevant subject they are studying.
- I also read aloud from a few books about one hour per day. We usually read our history together mostly because I really like this topic as well.
- The kids do some calligraphy while I read the fiction story.
- They notebook their science, geography and history lessons.
- They read from a poetry anthology daily. Once a year we have a poetry recital with our homeschool group.
- I only attempt Shakespeare one term and I coordinate this with a play we will see.
- We alternate grammar and dictation lessons and do two of these each a week.
- Once a week I make a writing assignment based on person we are studying in history and I expect them to use the skills that they have learnt through IEW. I mark it using the IEW checklist.
- Once a fortnight I get together with a friend and we do one or two IEW lessons together.
My Homeschool Curriculum
If you are looking for a curriculum that has already worked out all the planning for you then My Homeschool Graded Courses might be for you!
In short, it follows follows state and territory syllabus requirements while using a literature rich approach inspired by Charlotte Mason.