Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

English Curriculum, 2013-2014

Highhill Education has started a new Lesson-Planning Linkup and this week's topic is Writing Curriculum. I always make up my own lesson plans, integrating a wide variety of resources. Writing Curriculum, in particular, spans all subjects, for all subjects require writing. I see no reason to separate out writing assignments for English, unless for literature topics, but instead I assign writing topics for a variety of subjects, with history and science being the most common, and focus on a different skills in writing for each one. Likewise, I also look at English as an integrated program, making it difficult for me to separate out writing from grammar, spelling and the other pieces of the English program. For that reason, I have listed all my English resources, not just writing.
With all that being said, Sam, my high school student, will use a more traditional textbook approach. Angelicscaliwags recently asked me why I went on to a more textbook approach as the students got older. Jimmy from Jimmy's Collage and I have been having an interesting conversation lately on just that same subject, spurred on my her most recent post, The Pain of Making Curriculum Choices for Homeschool High School. In the post, Jimmy talks about how difficult it is to maintain a more naturalistic, free-flowing and Charlotte Mason-style homeschool when there are the pressures of requirements from umbrella schools and the like, to produce a list of books used. 
I also find that my teenagers want more control over their curriculum, and to be able to know the course of their studies. They want to be able to look ahead and see where they are going. I am not able to write a high school curriculum myself at this time that could satisfy these requirements. 
In high school, too, I try to prepare my children for going to college, and I have found that using textbooks for the four years of high school really helps with that. They had never before taken tests or answered essay questions and it is a skill that seems to take them about four years to perfect. I also find that my teens like having a different teacher every so often. Classes outside the home can be used to accomplish this, or the teacher can be computer or video programs, and these all require specific texts.
Lastly, I find the study of foreign languages, particularly Ancient Greek and Latin, to be an importance piece of our English program. We learn how words came into our language and they learn and review important grammar skills. To that end, I will use Basic Language Principles with Latin Background and English from the Roots Up with the younger boys. They will also begin learning the Greek alphabet. Sam will continue with his current Greek and Latin studies, as well as adding a modern language but I will list all of this when I discuss Foreign Languages.

Now, in order to deal with words rightly, this is the habit you must form. Nearly every word in your language has been first a word of some other language - of Saxon, German, French, Latin, or Greek; (not to speak of eastern and primitive dialects). And many words have been all these - that is to say, have been Greek first, Latin next, French or German next, and English last: undergoing a certain change of sense and use on the lips of each nation; but retaining a deep vital meaning, which all good scholars feel in employing them, even at this day. If you do not know the Greek alphabet, learn it; young or old - girl or boy - whoever you may be, if you think of reading seriously (which, of course, implies that you have some leisure at command), learn your Greek alphabet; then get good dictionaries of all these languages, and whenever you are in doubt about a word, hunt it down patiently. Read Max Muller's lectures thoroughly, to begin with; and, after that, never let a word escape you that looks suspicious. It is severe work; but you will find it, even at first, interesting, and at last endlessly amusing. And the general gain to your character, in power and precision, will be quite incalculable.
Mind, this does not imply knowing, or trying to know, Greek or Latin, or French. It takes a whole life to learn any language perfectly. But you can easily ascertain the meanings through which the English word has passed; and those which in a good writer's work it must still bear.-
John Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies, a YR10 AmblesideOnline Book via Living Charlotte Mason in California

English Curriculum for 2013-2014

Next post will be about our Math Curriculum.
Highhill's Link-Up Schedule
July 11 - Writing
July 18 - Math
July 25 - Science
August 1 - History
August 8 - Music
August 15 - Art & Handicrafts
August 22 - Geography
August 29 - Foreign Language
September 5 - Reading
September 12 - Organization your Classroom/Schedule


  1. I do agree with you about high schoolers needing to learn from teachers other than mom. I plan on using several online classes such as those from CurrClick, Founders Academy, and 7 Sisters Homeschool.
    I find it interesting that you think it takes 4 years to learn to use a textbook well! I am surprised at that, but I trust you since you are ahead of me on this journey. I enjoyed reading this, Phyllis.

    1. Well, I have to admit, that I get a bit of opposition to textbook work because they find it dreadfully boring and a lot of busy work. They find it hard to memorize material for a test. My kids all have Learning Disabilities, too, so it is hard to know how much that impacts it.

  2. Very interesting points. I am glad that I won't have to teach English - as a non-native speaker, I would have struggled with it. My daughter is already correcting some of my use of articles :)

  3. It's interesting what you say about high school and preparing for college. Planning resources and assignments definitely takes a lot of time. My oldest is in 7th grade so this gives me food for thought. Thanks for linking-up.

  4. I'm going to be using English from the Roots Up this year too!

    I agree when they get to high school using more traditional textbooks can help prepare them for college and learning in ways that don't necessarily appeal to them. I look forward to reading how things go for you too.

  5. Anonymous16.7.13

    This is so interesting! I think I was under the misapprehension that you did not use any curriculum at all, yet you actually utilise a variety! I learn something everyday! I hope next year is all you dream it to be and more.

    1. The fact is that I use so much curriculum that it becomes my own thing. A bit from here, a tad from there and some of my own ideas equals are daily school work. I hope that your next year is all you dream it to be as well. I know it will be wonderful.


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