Homeschooling High School: Freshman Year

First. A few thoughts:

My daughter is not trying to earn a public high school diploma. She is trying to earn one a diploma from The Wilson Academy.

Therefore, I am in charge of her graduation requirements. I looked at the typical coursework for the local high school and a few private schools to consider their ideas, but I don’t have to follow their plans.

My daughter has expressed a desire to attend college, so we did print the UNC minimum college requirements. These will serve as our minimum guidelines as we move forward. We will add her own areas of interests and strengths to the minimum requirements.

Finally, it recently occurred to me that one credit doesn’t have to be completed in one year. We can work on a topic over the course of 2, 3, or even 4 years and then assign her a credit.

Of course, this means that I am keeping records of the books we are reading, her hours in training and work, and other topics that spark her interest over time.

In the end, I want her transcript to reflect her uniqueness. I don’t want it to be a duplicate of everyone else’s checklist.

And now…for my daughter’s freshman year.

Our plan for homeschooling high school for my daughter's freshman year.

 (This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure.)


First, a note on how I organize my daughter’s weekly assignments. Because the key to a good week, is good organization. Because she and I are Type A.

Using a weekly planner to Homeschool High School

Pam Barnhill’s Independent Student Planners have several planning pages to help middle and high school students (and their parents) get organized.

Right now, we are simply using the weekly planning sheet to keep track of her weekly assignments.

This has been working well to keep us on track, and we can make adjustments as needed.

Homeschooling High School: Freshman Year

My goal is to help my daughter find a healthy balance between her school work and her extracurriculars. We have a lovely mix of textbooks and self-designed curriculum as well as outside, online, and “in the living room” classes.


My daughter decided to continue with Teaching Textbooks this year. It does the job and works for her.


History is not my daughter’s favorite subject so she just wants to “check the box”. We bought a textbook that a friend recommended and she is going to read it. {The friend is a former high school History teacher and this particular textbook was her favorite.}

She and her father (or I) will discuss the information. Each section has questions and assessments that I can pick and choose from. We’ll come up with some research projects and some other readings.


She is completing Marine Biology in a class outside of our home.


For literature, we will use a combination of short stories, essays, and Brave Writer Boomerang guides. In addition, she participates in monthly book club using books from the Brave Writer Boomerang list.

I am creating some of my own English assignments by using the following books:

For composition, we will use a combination of Brave Writer online classes, my own assignments (created using some of the above resources), and writing from the Brave Boomerang Guides.

My daughter is also publishing her own fan fiction about James and Lily Potter on WattPad. She might take a Brave Writer Fan Fiction online class in the spring. As a result, she could earn a half credit for Creative Writing: Fan Fiction. We will see how the year plays out.

For grammar, we are considering Winston Grammar advanced and Editor in Chief Level 3 for some formal instruction. Our Brave Writer Boomerang Guides include Grammar instruction as well.

Sign Language

A little background first – my mother and uncle were both sign language interpreters. As a result, I know basic (very basic) sign language.

Fast forward to this summer. My daughter started watching the television show, Switched at Birth. There is a deaf character on the show.

This show (and I suspect our family background) inspired her to learn sign language. She is working her way through the lessons on this site, which was created by a deaf man. In addition, she will read, “Deaf Like Me,” a suggestion from my mother.

The site offers a syllabus for a homeschool course, including quizzes, tests, and a checklist for a research paper.

Fine Arts

We are working through Alicia Gratehouse’s Fall Mixed Media Workshop. There are so many wonderful ideas in this course. We already created our Mixed Media Owls.

We are using Alisha Greathouses Fall Mixed Media Workshop for part of our High School Fine Arts.

I have a feeling we will get through about one-third of them before we are ready for the Winter Wonderland Mixed Media course.

I am sure we will use several of the Mixed Media courses. Each course includes fantastic project ideas. I’ll keep track of what we accomplish as I suspect she will complete a half credit for Fine Arts. We’ll add Art Appreciation or some other art course later in her high school career to complete the other half of the credit.


(Not sure what we’ll call this in the end)

I plan to assign her a few books a year in the area of Christian Theology and Worldview.We will read these and have some Big, Juicy Conversations. By the end of four years, she will have accumulated a full credit.

On the table for consideration this year:



My daughter coaches gymnastics for three hours a week. In order to do this, she completed an online coaches training course and a mentorship program at work.

She also works and volunteers at a local camp during the summer and the during the school year. During the school year, she will assist with administrative duties and classroom teaching for six hours a week for 20 weeks.

NOTE: During my senior year, I assisted in a classroom for 6 hours a week and received a full credit for a mentorship. I consider this experience to be part of her coursework (even though she loves it – ha) and we’ll find a course title.

I am keeping track of all of her training hours, hoping that there will be enough for a full or half credit in Youth Leadership.

Woot. That’s it. Freshman Year in a Nutshell.

That sums up our plan of attack for this year. Admittedly, I was concerned that she wasn’t taking her foreign language yet, but I am over it. There is plenty of time. After all, she only has to take two years of foreign language for college entrance.

On a side note, I look forward to our last four years together.

There was a time that homeschooling high school scared me. Afterall, so many homeschooling families send their children to high school.

And I get why they do it.

But I know we got this. And I am really glad that it is still very much WE.


Mary Wilson

Mary is a writer and mother to four kids ranging from elementary to high school.

She believes that creativity, laughter, and fun are the backbone for engaging and inspiring homeschools. You can find her encouragement and tips on this blog, Mary Hanna Wilson.

She is an enneagram 7 and an extrovert. She enjoys traveling, tea (iced or hot), good conversations, and books. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
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  • Reply Dana Hanna September 16, 2017 at

    Have you checked to see if Sign Language can count for college entry requirement in a foreign language?

  • Reply Sandra September 16, 2017 at

    Looks like a great plan – because it is a plan for her, not a plan for some generic freshman. We’ve often spread credits over more than one year and in some cases have ‘reorganised’ credits after I thought they were finished. For example one year’s English included some Shakespeare. A year later we did a Shakespeare MOOC (just for fun initially – I hadn’t planned on counting ir for anything) and then saw another that looked good so we took it too. Then I thought “What about a credit for Shakespeare”. So I borrowed the Shakespeare already included in a general English credit (found something to replace it with later) , remembered some Shakespeare stuff like attneding plays that we’d done just for fun,added a couple of bits and pieces I thought we were missing and – vìola – a Shakespeare credit we hadn’t planned on having.

    • Reply Lynna Sutherland September 20, 2017 at

      Sandra, I LOVE this approach. Just another reason to be thankful (excited) for the flexibility of homeschooling!

    • Reply September 21, 2017 at

      Brilliant! Thanks for sharing that. I love knowing how it worked for others.

  • Reply Jim September 17, 2017 at

    I can’t believe she’s already a freshman . I love what all you are covering . I am in agreement with Kayleigh about History YUCK LoL

  • Reply Kelli September 20, 2017 at

    In high school, the class TAs earned a credit as Independent Study. It was treated as a vo-tech credit, some people worked afterschool jobs (retail or fastfood), some read/worked in elementary schools. The final requirement was a paper about what they learned and how it will useful post-high school, and a portfolio of recommendations or evaluations by their mentor/supervisor. Just a thought for her gymnastics teaching, especially because she had to have documented training.

    • Reply September 21, 2017 at

      Thanks Kelli! I love hearing ideas, especially based on how things are working in similar situations. I am going to grab the idea for her to write a final paper. Thanks!

  • Reply Jill September 21, 2017 at

    You’re amazing & inspiring – thanks for sharing! This is useful & straightforward info. I hadn’t plannned on homeschooling high school, and suddenly I had a freshman on my hands a day before he was scheduled to start PS. I’m coming up with a plan on the fly and it helps to “spy” on others like you who share their plans ?

    • Reply September 21, 2017 at

      WOW. Homeschooling high school “on the fly” is a brave move. Go, Momma! You are welcome to spy anytime. I love to do the same.

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