This year, I am homeschooling a 9th grader with ADHD and dyslexia. Here are our curriculum choices for high school.
We’ve gone from homeschooling a houseful of struggling learners while juggling toddlers and babies, to homeschooling just two kids this year.
This year I’m homeschooling a profoundly dyslexic, dysgraphic, and ADHD 9th grader and a gifted, traditional learner who is a high school senior. We also have a college kid at home, a college graduate starting her own business, and our 7th grader is going to school! More on that later.
We’ve come a long way and I’m here to tell you that you can do this! I lacked so much knowledge in my early days of homeschooling but here we are – kids reading, pursuing interests, confidence intact, and bright futures ahead.
Today I’m sharing our homeschool curriculum choices. I say ‘our’ because as my kids get older, I get their feedback as much as possible.
12th Grade: Dual Enrollment
First, the gifted child. My one non-dyslexic child will be a senior and is mainly taking classes at our local community college. She is an eager learner thanks to years of homeschooling and adapting her learning to her interests which increases motivation.
For the most part, I help her choose her classes (she’s working on knocking out some general ed requirements), research the professors at ratemyprofessors.com, and sign up. After that, she is good to go. She is my only kid to ever be this easy! Don’t worry, my next child more than makes up for this carefree homeschool experience!
9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices
My profoundly everything 15-year-old will be in 9th grade this year. Here’s what we have planned for him.
Math: While he does not have dyscalculia, his working memory weaknesses, and ADHD make completing math lessons difficult. While I like to work on increasing his focus and memory, I also accommodate his need for shorter lessons, so we are not as far along in math as many kids his age.
Note: this is 100% normal and teaching him at his level (as opposed to putting him in whatever math class ‘most’ kids are doing in his grade) is the better choice educationally, in my opinion. I don’t pressure myself (or him) to ‘get through the curriculum’ or catch up to ‘grade level’. We work at his level for as long as he is able and that is good for us.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know of my deep love and appreciation for Teaching Textbooks. It has been like having the good math teacher every year. However, for this kid, the spiral approach to review (reviewing 7-8 different types of previously learned problems in every lesson) was too taxing on his weak working memory and focus.
That, plus a need for a more hands-on approach to fractions, caused us to switch back to Math U See last year. He is completing the fractions level right now and doing great!
For those of you who will ask how this counts for high school math credit, I am counting this year as General Math. Hopefully, he’ll be ready for Pre-Algebra next year and then Algebra in 11th grade.
I love that we have the freedom to teach him at his level. If he was in school, he would be hopelessly lost because in most traditional schools there is no place for a 9th grader who’s not ready for at least Pre-Algebra.
Note: You are a tutor.
The way that I saw a need for a change with my son’s math and was able to pivot, is an example of a concept I often share in my coaching groups. As a homeschool parent or after-school parent, you are a tutor to your child. A good tutor uses good tools (ie. a curriculum that works) and tweaks and changes things as needed. You know your kids better than anyone else and can make decisions on what and how to teach your kids – just like a tutor.
English is a big credit in high school and often a tricky one for families homeschooling kids with dyslexia. Aside from choosing a good curriculum, using appropriate accommodations and modifications is key.
Composition: Essentials in Writing: 9th grade
I’ve used a lot of different programs to teach composition in high school. This will be our first time using Essentials in Writing in high school. There are rave reviews of the program for struggling writers. The short lessons are doable and seem to build a lot of confidence in the kids who use it.
If you’re still looking for a good composition program, I recommend you check them out. They offer a free 7-day trial of any level as well as access to their super informative Facebook support group. After trying out several levels, combing their Facebook group (search for dyslexia in the group), and talking to their customer service, I decided on the 9th-grade level.
Some recommended starting with 7th grade and then switching to 9th or 10th grade next year but my son is sensitive to doing as much on grade level as possible. It is motivating for him. Other parents said that their dyslexic kids did well with the 9th-grade level despite not having a ton of writing experience.
Grammar: Daily Grams
We’re still working through Daily Grams for daily, practical grammar review. There are lots of grammar programs available but this one is able to be done independently and the daily review is really showing up in his writing! For years, my kids struggled to remember and apply rules of punctuation and grammar to their writing. After several years of daily grammar review, they are remembering and doing well!
Reading Detective RX: This is a reading comprehension program that teaches kids to analyze and understand passages by making inferences, drawing conclusions, determining cause and effect, using context clues to define vocabulary, and making predictions and generalizations. Sort of an advanced reading comprehension program. He does this a few times a week.
All About Spelling: My all-time favorite resource for teaching spelling. We use this for about 10-15 minutes a day. It uses the Orton-Gillingham approach (multi-sensory, explicit) with LOTS of review. I love how I can teach and review spelling rules in short and powerful lessons. My son doesn’t complain either. I also love All About Reading (reading a spelling instruction are separated) but he is reading well now so we don’t need that.
Selected literature with guides
Essentials in Writing has a Literature element but knowing my son, I decided to go more independent with lit for this year. My favorite way to build in literature study is to choose books from the period of History we’re studying as read-alouds and then find a literature guide to provide practice in understanding literary terms, vocabulary, and other smaller writing assignments.
First up we’re reading King Arthur with the Memoria Press Literature Guide.
Here are a few companies I like for their literature guides:
Progeny Press– This is an entire curriculum of literature study guides written from a Christian perspective. The featured books range in reading levels/genres from illustrated chapter books to literary classics.
Memoria Press– These are literature guides for all ages that are specifically geared to the classical method of education.
Total Language Plus Study Guides– These are guides for both classic and contemporary novels that range in reading levels from middle-grade to YA.
Thankfully, my son is reading well. After many years of OG reading instruction and a few years of educational therapy via NILD.org, he reads just about anything with ease.
If he was still struggling, I would either hire a tutor or use Reading Horizons Elevate, an excellent, online OG-based reading program that is super effective for older (10+) struggling readers.
Read my review of RH Elevate and how helpful it is for older struggling readers here.
History: World History
I searched around over the summer for a good world history program that covered Medieval History in depth. I came across and settled on The Good and the Beautiful Year 1.
Their website says the program can be adapted for up to 12th grade and includes ‘student pages’ with extra activities that correspond to the older age groups. So far the jury is out on this program as it seems a little too light (and somewhat juvenile) for high school.
Fortunately, we are tying in literature and reading through Roger Lancelyn Green’s King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table using the Memoria Press literature guide which is helping to cover more of the history of that time.
Physical Science: Oceanography
In our state, high school science requirements are 1 year of physical science and 1 year of life science.
For physical science this year, I chose to cover Oceanography. My son will likely go into the family boating business in some way or another and so this seemed like a more practical branch of physical science to cover.
I don’t have a one-and-done curriculum for oceanography. I pieced together this course over the summer by finding resources to create a course of study and then supplementing it with a variety of resources.
Homeschool Oceanography Resources
Oceanography Workbook Teaching guide that covers many of the physical aspects of Oceanography that includes study guides, maps, and practical worksheets.
Wondrium: Formerly The Great Courses. This has tons of video-based courses on a huge variety of subjects. Definitely a bit challenging but we are listening to/watching one video from their Oceanography Course per week. I make quizzes, study guides, and tests based on the printable guidebook that comes with each course.
Ocean Notebook from Daily Skill Building This is for younger kids but gave me a lot of ideas for what topics to cover and other resources to look at.
Marine Biology Science Unit from the Good and the Beautiful
This is a free download that has some good resources for teaching about the anatomy of the oceans, tides, and ocean exploration.
Ocean Unit Study from The Waldock Way Another study guide for younger kids that I am using as a spine.
Oceans for Every Kid by Janice Van Cleeve
Full of hands-on lessons and experiments that I have used for years with my kids.
Since we don’t have a set curriculum for Oceanography, I am counting hours of learning to give high school credit. HSLDA recommends counting 120-150 hours for a yearlong course.
High School Electives
This is where the fun happens in high school. I love electives because they are usually things my kids are already interested in. This year our electives are:
Several years ago we stumbled across World Watch News which we watch during lunch every day. It’s a short video-based news program that covers a trending current event as well as a few lesser-known stories about technology, culture, etc.
I love how watching this inspires conversations about politics, war, geography, technology, etc. In addition to watching one episode per day, I am having my son choose one topic per month to research and present to the family either via Keynote presentation or speech or whatever way he chooses.
Cooking: Cooking was offered as a course at our homeschool group but we decided to create our own. This course is going to cover kitchen management (ie. how to clean up after yourself and manage food) as well as planning, nutrition, etc.
Boating 1: Since he spends a lot of time helping his dad with his yachting business, we are giving him a credit for this. All of our kids had multiple Boating types of electives. This is the beauty of homeschooling!
PE: Martial Arts
Traditional martial arts emphasize self-control, discipline, and character development. One study showed that children who practice taekwondo saw greater gains in all dimensions of Executive Functions studied compared to children who took standard physical education classes.
Hey, what happened to your other kid?
You may have wondered what happened to my 7th grader. He’s headed to a small, private school that can accommodate his mild learning struggles. More on that later!
Other posts on choosing homeschool curriculum:
Three Things to Think About When Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
Our High School Curriculum Choices from a Few Years Ago
Other curriculum lists:
Homeschooling Kids With Dyslexia: Preschool
Homeschooling Kids With Dyslexia: Kindergarten
Homeschooling Kids With Dyslexia: 1-3 Grades
Homeschooling Kids With Dyslexia: 4th Grade (reader picks)
How to Homeschool Your Dyslexic 7th Grader
Download my free guide to choosing homeschool curriculum below: