Homeschooling High School: Freshman Year Planning

I thought it might be helpful to write up some of the materials I have been looking at and researching for our rising high schooler for the 2021-2022 school year in order to share various available options.

I’ll write the courses we’re considering, with the full information from the particular curriculum providers.


Oak Meadow: The Hero’s Journey: Literature and Composition Course 

Course Description: “This course explores the question, “What does it mean to be a hero?” It looks at literature featuring ordinary people who find themselves in circumstances that require extraordinary acts, and examines these acts in relation to the archetypal hero’s journey. Lessons provide historical background on the setting and author while offering discussion points students can use to explore literary topics with family and peers. The course includes the use of a main lesson book as a reader’s journal to keep track of key passages, new vocabulary, observations about characters, settings, and literary technique, etc. Students develop a wide range of composition skills throughout the course by exploring techniques and formats such as comparative essays, first person writing, figurative language, summarizing, poetry, persuasive writing, inferential reading and contextual clues, and observational writing.”

Materials included:

  • Literature and Composition: The Hero’s Journey Coursebook
  • The House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer
  • Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
  • Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
  • Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw (included with Coursebook)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
  • House of Light, by Mary Oliver
  • A Pocket Style Manual, by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers
  • Write It Right: A Handbook for Student Writers (Oak Meadow Books)


Memoria Press: Poetry, Prose, & Drama Book One: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set

“The Poetry Prose and Drama Book One: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set includes poems from the Anglo-Saxon Invasion to the Tudor Accession (449-1485). This Set includes Poetry, Prose, & Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods, the Student Guide, and the Teacher Guide. The anthology contains introductory readings that provide background information and historical context for the works as well as short introductions for each poem. The student book contains notes and instructions to the student, definitions of basic features, and an explanation of how to mark a book  as well as pre-reading questions, reading notes, words to be defined, comprehension questions, Socratic discussion questions, and essay prompts. The Teacher Guide features notes and instructions to the teacher, and contains the answers to the questions found in the Student Guide as well as the Tests and Test Key.”

Materials included:

  • Poetry, Prose, & Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods
  • Student Guide
  • Teacher Guide


Essay classes, and possibly other curriculum from Brave Writer.


I’m not completely certain, but these are some of the things I’m considering:

Memoria Press: The Book of the Middle Ages Set (I haven’t had enough time to look through this and ascertain whether it’s too religious. One of the other books by this author was particularly focused on Christianity, so I’ll need to look into that further.)

Description: “Dorothy Mills wrote some wonderful history books in the 1920s for use by middle school students, and Memoria Press is proud to bring these books back into publication—with added illustrations! Mills’ books include quotes from great classical historians such as Herodotus and Cicero, making them a great preparation for reading these authors in high school. We also wrote study guides so that you can have a total classical history curriculum in the middle school years. Our study guides contain reading notes, vocabulary, comprehension questions, enrichment activities, maps, and tests.”

Materials included:

  • The Book of the Middle Ages Text
  •  Student Guide
  • Teacher Guide

The Book of the Ancient Romans Set — same not as above

pile of books
Photo by Pixabay on

Beautiful Feet Books: Medieval History Senior High Pack— This looks interesting, but it does caution that it’s meant for 10th-12th, so I’m not sure. Also uncertain about whether we would use the book about Columbus, or sub something else in instead.

I would love to find something from Oak Meadow, but I haven’t seen anything that makes me super excited, for Freshman year. A few of the applicable titles I’ve seen require an additional text or other materials, and I’d prefer to have something that doesn’t rely on a traditional public school style textbook. That being said, of their offerings, I am the most interested in World Geography and World History.

(No decisions will be made, on any subject, without first consulting my actual child, just wanted to throw that out there to be perfectly clear. Thus far, however, she has told me to help her decide, and she is interested in a traditional college path after high school, so I am keeping that target front and center.)


I am loving the look of the Modern Biology Set from Memoria Press.

It is completely secular (unlike all of the other Science MP offers) includes the following:

  • Modern Biology (Text), 
  • Modern Biology Student Guide
  • Modern Biology Teacher Guide
  • Modern Biology Tests,
  • The Biology Coloring Workbook, and
  • The Modern Biology Streaming Instructional Videos.

It is the most exciting, yet rigorous, high school Biology that I have seen so far.

Oak Meadow’s Environmental Science also looks interesting. Their other Science courses seem very likely for subsequent years.

I have also seen several really cool looking classes from online providers, but we are trying to keep the amount of online instruction to a minimum.


We are sticking with UC Scout for all of the traditional math offerings, and will consider other classes they offer, such as AP courses if our kid wishes to do so. However, all of their classes are online, and we are trying to keep online time to one class if possible. (There are in person options in our area as well.)


Integrated Drawing— our child requested a drawing class, and Oak Meadows various art classes look very promising. We are hoping to have her take art classes all 4 years, if she wishes.

(You can find a complete list of Oak Meadow’s 9th Grade courses here. )

Waldorfish is now offering art classes as well for high school, so will update with a link when I can find one. A strong contender!

Driver’s Education (online)– due to a late birthday, our Freshman will turn 15 her Freshman year! So we will sign her up for Driver’s Ed through the local parks & rec department.

Laptop is dying, so that’s all for now! Let me know if you have any other thoughts on high school homeschool curriculum. You can find my previous post on general thoughts here.

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