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Designing High School Classes II: Basics of Putting a Class Together

Posted Feb 19 2009 5:28pm

Homeschooling Highschool copy

What fun it has been to design my childrens high school classes!  It has been one of the greatest joys of homeschooling for me because I love planning, learning, and planning to learn. Now, you may not feel the Julianna in graduation cap and gown April 2007 same way I do. I can understand that. So, we will keep everything simple.

We have an overall plan.  We understand the concept of credits. If not, review our previous articles in our homeschooling high school column Now we are going to talk about designing individual classes! You can design classes that are 0.5 credits or 1.0 credits. 

The various aspects of designing a high school class are:  textbook or main living book (or DVD teaching series), supplemental books and materials, written and oral assignments, other assignments, and requirements for final grade.

Classes can be simple or complex, depending on what you want your child to learn and what he wants to study. The best way to explain how to design a class is to show you! Let's start with something simple.

A math class is pretty simple to design.  A math textbook, math tests, and sometimes lectures or videos comprise a simple math class. Let's look at Algebra II.

Algebra II (1.0 credit)

Textbook:   Saxon Algebra II

Supplemental books and materials:   The Algebra 2 Tutor Video course

Assignments:   Complete one lesson a day.  Take corresponding test once a week.  Watch one video segment a week.

Grading:   For an C grade, complete all work, watch all videos, and test grades above 70%.  For a B grade, complete all work neatly, showing how you did the problem, watch all video segments, and test grades above 80%.  For a C grade, complete all work neatly, show all problem solving work, watch all video segments, and test grades above 90%.  

Now let's get a little more complicated.  You are going to teach a literature class and you're not sure what to cover.  You want him to read the classics, but your son wants to read mysteries.  What should you do.  One of your options would be to design a class based on classic mysteries.  Your son could read a classic mystery and another book by the same author each month. You also want him to do some writing, but he hates writing and reading.  You are trying to think of some way to make this class more fun, but don't want to compromise.  You notice that your son spends hours on My Space blogging.  Ah, you will have him write book review to post on his My Space page.  You will call it blogging, but require correct grammar and spelling.

Mystery Literature Class (0.5 credit)

Books to read:

A Father Brown Mystery & Orthodoxy & The Man Who Was Thursday:  A Nightmare by  GK Chesterton  

The Tell-Tale Heart (short story) by  Edgar Allan Poe  

The Hound of Baskervilles & The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (collection of short stories) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Whose Body?   (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery) & The Lost Tools of Learning (an essay) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Mysterious Affair at Styles & And Then There Were None by  Agatha Christie   

A Man Lay Dead & Hand in Glove  by  Ngaio Marsh   

The Roman Hat Mystery & Halfway House by "Ellery Queen"

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (this is a stretch, but it is a good way to get this classic read!)

The Red House Mystery by  A. A. Milne   (author of Winnie the Pooh)

Blogging Assignments:   Book Review on each book read (post on blog); three part blog on history of the mystery novel, discuss each book with mom at Starbucks (Monday nights)

Grading:   For a C grade, read ten books, discuss books with mom, and do adequate job on blogging.  For a B grade, read twelve books, discuss books with mom, and do a great job blogging.  For an A grade, read fifteen books, discuss books with Mom, and do an excellent job blogging so that your blogs are re-posted on other sites.

How about a writing class now. 

Freshman Writing:  The Essay (0.5 credit)

Textbook:   The Write Stuff Adventure by  Dean Rae  

Writing Assignments:   Complete Section Three:  The Essay Made Easy by completing one lesson a week and write the project (an essay with concessions three times, once a week).  This will take fourteen weeks (September through December).   For the rest of the year, write one essay a week on the following topics:  xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, yyyyyyyyyy, and zzzzzzzzzzzzz.  You will write sixteen essays from January to April.

Grading:   For a C grade, average grade equals 70% or above.  For a B grade, average grade equals 80% or above.  For a C grade, average grade equals 90% or above.  Grades are based on content, word usage, grammar, and punctuation, which heavy emphasis on applying what you have learned.  The lowest paper grade can be dropped.

Are you ready for something a little more complicated?  How about an Economics class?

Economics, Business, & Personal Financial Management (1.0 credit)

Textbook/Main book:Economics in One Easy Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Supplemental Books:  

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard J Maybury

The Money Mystery by Richard J Maybury

The Clipper Ship Strategy by Richard J Maybury

Uncle Eric Talks about Personal, Career, and Financial Security by Richard J Maybury

Business by the Book by Larry Burkett

How to Manage your Money Workbook by Larry Burkett

Money Life Basics Series by Crown Ministries

Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx


Read all books and fill out a book review sheet

Participate in weekly group discussions about books read and course itself with mom and older sister

Complete money workbook, including making a budget.  Compare budget with family's real budget

Make a complete business plan and operate own business for at least three months.

Present your business plan as a formal presentation to family and a group of friends.

Make a Scripture book for little children about money and Biblical principles.

Write a paper defining capitalism (free market), socialism, and mixed economy.  What is America's market?

After reading Communist Manifesto, write a paper explaining how and why socialism requires atheism to work.  How could socialism creep into a capitalistic nation?

Grading:   For a C grade, complete all work adequately.  For a B grade, complete all work with excellence.  For an A grade, complete all work with excellence and show initiative in applying the things you are learning to your own life!

Well, what do you think?  Are you ready to try this on your own? 

Just one final word about teaching our children in high school.  The public school system is indoctrinating America's children in humanism, socialism, and evolution.  Make sure that you do not fall into the trap of teaching your teenagers what the public school system is teaching.  Look for Christian, or at least conservative, books and materials that teach from a biblical worldview.  Teach the Word of God with every subject and let His truth be the standard of what is good and bad.  Do not be swayed by the world and protect you teenagers from the evil one.  These words that Paul said to Timothy apply to us homeschooling parents today in 2009!  

 "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.  Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith"  (I Timothy 6:20-21 NIV).

Meredith Sig Joy copy

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