Sunday, January 18, 2009

Homeschool High School History Curriculum

Olivia will be a freshman in high school next year, and it is not too soon for me to be planning her course of study. I know which curriculum I will be using for science (Apologia biology), math (Teaching Textbooks algebra), English (IEW and Easy Grammar), Spanish (Rosetta Stone), P.E. (running) and electives (home economics, piano). However, I do not have a plan for history. I want to explain what type of curriculum that I am looking for, and then I would love for you experienced homeschoolers of high school-aged children to leave me comments with your suggestions. Please leave the name of the curriculum and website if possible. Over the next four years, these are the subjects that I want to cover:

American history (1 year)
World history (1 year)
Geography (1 semester)
Mississippi History (1 semester)
American government (1 semester)
Economics (1 semester)

This is my "wish list" when choosing the curriculum:

1. Literature based rather than textbook based. I would love to find some sort of guide that told which "real books" (biographies, factual/informational type books, even historical fiction--as long as it is pretty accurate and realistic) to read for each period of history.

2. Something that will adequately prepare her for any type of college admission requirement or standardized test. Unless something really drastic happens, Olivia plans to attend college right here in our great state of Mississippi, most likely at a local community college at first. Therefore, she will only be taking the ACT. I can't even remember if there is a history section on that test.

3. I am not looking for a curriculum that has the student reading sections of material and then regurgitating the material by answering questions, then taking a weekly test of memorized facts. If she reads the material, understands it, and talks about it with our family, that is all the "testing' I need.

4. I am also not looking for a curriculum that has all kinds of "hands-on" projects and activities---just for the sake of having them. If it teaches a real-life lesson, great, but Olivia is not interested in building a pyramid out of toothpicks...just to build it! So far, my children are very creative. They tend to make, build, act out, cook, etc., things that interest them when they are reading. I really don't like to force those types of activities on the older children.

5. I want the program to be completed independently by the student. I certainly don't mind spending any amount of time preparing the supplies, notebooks, handouts, etc. needed for the course. I will spend time teaching Olivia how to do the course. But once school begins, I would like for her to be able to take the course notebook, guide book, whatever, and just "do" the history. She likes daily plans and checklists, which I will gladly make, but I don't want to have to give a daily history lecture.

Ok! Please give me all of your great advice!


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  2. I tweek history studies for my highschooler because he has a learning disability so I have to find things that he can comprehend without difficulty. We currently use our own literature history program but I already have a scope and sequence for my younger ones which consists of My Father's World high school curriculum. We use My Father's World curriculum now but I love that the high school program uses Notgrass as a spine. It looks like a great program and I have read many great reviews. The site is

  3. I forgot to mention that we use Switched On Schoolhouse's State History and my son is not complaining about it so that's good. :)

  4. Oh, and which is Uncle Eric Series books has a great Economics package.

    Now, I will try to go to sleep so you won't think I'm a crazy stalker lady. LOL My little one is WIDE awake because she took a late nap so she wants to play.

  5. Hi, Roan.
    I'm not suppose to be on the puter but I wanted to just answer your question.

    The normal course of history study for high school would be just as you listed so you would do Ancients or World History in 9th grade followed by Modern History (if you did Ancients) or US History (if you did World). Then you would do US Government and Economics which are usually 1/2 semester courses.

    Don't forget your World Geography. I think Notgrass has it included.


    I'm logging off now. Hee Hee

  6. Here's a helpful site that I use as a guide:

  7. You could study State History during the year you would study US History.

    Ok. I'm reaaally gone now. I just keep forgetting to add things. LOL

    I'm no expert but I hope that helps. I'm sure others can chime in.

  8. History is not on the ACT. The ACT has reading, math, science, English, and writing is optional. has free high school curriculum

    There are many free history videos on the internet too.

  9. Roan, Did you get my email about the Notgrass curriculum? It sounds a lot like what you are looking for. We've really learned a lot with the government and economics (Blue Stocking Press) that we've used this year.

  10. Hi Roan,
    Just happened about your blog this evening. Beautiful. I graduated my daughter this past June. She really enjoyed learning History with the Truthquest History guides ( If you haven't heard of them, they do have all the living books references with a small commentary like you are looking for. I agree with the Bluestocking books for economics and government.

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  13. I love high school electives! Having graduated one son with two still in high school, I am a firm believer in maintaining an interest-led homeschool environment through the high school years as much as possible. I opted online high school for them so that I can customize my sons education, tailoring it to fit their interests and aptitudes.