It is of utmost importance that the high school curriculum prepare your student for college. Based on college admission requirements, a rigorous course load is recommended. If you have not already read the high school discussion, start there.
English for the college-bound high schooler must include composition and college-prep literature for three of the four years. The fourth year can include public speaking, speech, debate, or business English.
For freshman composition, one option is Jump In. For other options, view Teaching Writing. If your student is already an excellent writer, consider skipping freshman composition. Sonlight has some excellent high school literature packages which also include creative writing. SL’s 200 level includes Treasure Island, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, Robinson Crusoe, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and many other excellent titles. (The history pairing for SL200 is church history, not acceptable for college entrance requirements, so perhaps consider adding a geography course to fulfill the social science requirement the year that SL200 is used.) SL300 (paired with 20th Century World History) includes such titles as Brave New World; Cry, the Beloved Country; For Whom the Bell Tolls; The Great Gatsby; Murder on the Orient Express; The Old Man and the Sea; All Quiet on the Western Front; and others. Sonlight’s 400 level literature offering is American Lit (paired with a civics course) and includes such titles as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Day They Came to Arrest the Book, Julie of the Wolves, Moby-Dick, Our Town, The Scarlet Letter, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Walden & Civil Disobedience… It would be possible to simply use the Sonlight catalog as a reading list without purchasing the schedule/teacher’s manual, however the manual contains a reading schedule, plus numerous helpful hints and discussion notes.
Depending on the child’s interests and future plans, it would be possible to teach only two years of high school literature, then use the Running Start program to pay for one quarter of composition and one quarter of speech at a local community college.
Essentially, students need four years of high school math. It would be possible, however, for students to fulfill the requirement by taking only three years of math, then chemistry or physics their senior year. Math for the college-bound high school student must include algebra, geometry, and second-year algebra. Not accepted in the first three credits are arithmetic, pre-algebra, business math, and statistics.
An additional senior-year math-based quantitative course is also required. Statistics does not count toward the first three math credits that colleges require, but it does qualify for the senior year math-based quantitative course. Other options for the senior year include applied math, chemistry, or physics.
Therefore, students contemplating college should study geometry and two years of algebra during high school, plus a class that qualifies for the senior-math credit. Curriculum recommendations are either Math-U-See or Life of Fred for the algebra series and geometry. For the senior-year math credit, consider Life of Fred’s statistics, or Apologia’s chemistry or physics. Life of Fred includes a calculus course, and Math-U-See has plans to add one.
Social science for the college-bound student includes history, anthropology, contemporary world problems, economics, geography, government, political science, psychology, and sociology. Not accepted are community service, consumer economics, and religion courses.
The curriculum that you use will depend largely on what you have used in the past. It would be appropriate for a transcript to include things such as United States History, World History, Washington State History, Civics, and Geography. If you use the Sonlight literature courses, you might want to use their corresponding history. Other good history options are Greenleaf and Beautiful Feet. For geography, consider Mapping The World By Heart. For world history and cultures, consider Around the World In 180 Days.
If your child enjoys these subjects, some of them can be completed through the Running Start program. College economics is required in many engineering programs. Cultural anthropology and psychology are required in many nursing programs. Any of these would be excellent Running Start classes. Or you could visit a college bookstore (3D or online) and purchase textbooks for your desired subject.
High School Science
Science for college-bound students must be a minimum of two years of lab science (or more, depending on probable major). Lab science includes: biology, chemistry, and physics. Other science courses that are not typically considered lab-based at the high school level include astronomy, atmospheric science, botany, environmental science, genetics, geology, oceanography, physical anthropology, and zoology.
4-H has a good Vet Science course.
Apologia carries excellent science curricula. Even if you prefer a secular approach, you might wish to consider this curriculum. The texts contain clear explanations (but not dumbed-down), and cover the material in a better manner than any other curriculum on the market.
Exploring Creation With Biology would be appropriate for freshman. Cost depends on whether or not you purchase a microscope (recommended but not required), and on whether or not you purchase supplies to do the dissection labs. ($15 for MP3 audio cd would be the budget version; $400 for the most expensive version with textbook, tests & answers, microscope with slides, dissection kit & dissection specimens, and multi-media companion cd)
Exploring Creation With Chemistry can be taken after the student has mastered one year of algebra, so would be appropriate for most sophomores. Cost of the course depends on whether the optional secondary lab set is purchased. $15-$213
Exploring Creation With Physics can be taken after the student has mastered algebra and geometry, and has a grasp of basic trig functions, so is usually recommended for high school juniors. $15-$94
Advanced Chemistry in Creation is an AP chemistry course. Chemistry and Algebra II are prerequisites for this senior-level course. $55-120
Advanced Physics In Creation is an AP physics course. Physics and trigonometry are prerequisites for this senior-level course. $55-75
The Human Body – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made is an AP biology course, recommended for students interested in medical school or nursing. Since biology and chemistry are prerequisites for this course, it is probably most appropriate for juniors or seniors. $15-$207
Marine Biology is another science course offered by Apologia. See Apologia’s website for details.
Fine, Visual, or Performing Arts
Some sort of fine arts is another requirement for college-bound students. This includes music such as band, orchestra, music appreciation, music theory; art such as art appreciation, ceramics, fiber arts, graphic arts, metal design, painting, photography, print making, and sculpture; and performance such as dance and drama.
It would be possible for students to take music theory through Running Start as an easy way for them to simultaneously fulfill the homeschool art/music appreciate requirement and the college-entrance fine arts requirement. A basic art appreciation course would also be appropriate.
Foreign language is required for admission to most universities. Some will not accept foreign language on a homeschool transcript; they require the student to pass a competency test – fine if the student takes the test immediately after completing the language study, but difficult if foreign language was studied the freshman and sophomore year but not tested until nearing college application time.
A simple option is to take one year of foreign language through Running Start. One year of college-level foreign language at a community college can be substituted for the required two years of high-school foreign language.
A few options for foreign language at home include Visual Link Spanish, or Latin from Memoria Press – either their First Form Latin or their study guides to be used in conjunction with Henle. Memoria Press also has a French curriculum now, which we have not yet tried be anticipate being excellent.
Health is not a requirement for college-bound students, but is required under my state’s law; some states require physical education. Credit for this subject could include homeschool PE through the YMCA, golf lessons through The First Tee, or any number of other options. Anyone who uses Apologia’s AP biology could count it as a health course. I am currently considering writing a consumer health curriculum for my kids. If we’re happy with it, I’ll post information here.
Occupational education is not a requirement for college entrance, but is required under my state’s law. It should include a basic typing course. Other options are home ec, accounting, auto shop, or any well-documented introduction to occupations in which your child might be interested.