Planning the High School Years – Part 1

Homeschooling through the high school years scares a lot of families. In fact, I know a lot of people who home school their children until high school, then put them in public school. But it doesn’t have to be scary! I, too, have a new high school student as of this fall, so I am going to walk through the 4 year high school curriculum planning process with you.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

First Steps

First thing we need to do is get the course requirements for graduation from your state. You can easily get these from the U.S. Department of Education website. Go to the site and click on the state you live in. Then select the “State Board of Education” link on the page that comes up. When I clicked on that, it brought me to a list of Texas state departments, and I had to select the Board of Education. Or, you can take advantage of the work I’ve done and click on your state below. 🙂


Michigan Hawaii Alaska West Virginia Delaware District of Columbia Maryland Maryland New York New Hampshire Maine Hawaii New Jersey Massachusetts Massachusetts Rhode Island Rhode Island Connecticut Connecticut New Hampshire Vermont Vermont Pennsylvania New Jersey Delaware Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Florida Louisiana Georgia Mississippi Alabama Kentucky Ohio Minnesota Wisconsin Indiana Tennessee Illinois Missouri Iowa Arkansas Texas Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota Montana Wyoming Colorado New Mexico Utah Arizona California Idaho Oregon Washington North Dakota Nevada

Some states have separate requirements, such as a “standard” diploma and a “college-prep” diploma. Be sure to check.

Now you know how many classes in each subject your child needs; write these down, and split them up into each of the 4 years. For example, I believe all states require 4 years of English; this equals out to 1 per year. 120 hours of coursework are generally required per credit; this equals out to 40 minutes each day for 180 days. Of course, when homeschooling, it probably won’t take as long as it would in a public school, but that’s the general requirement.

Using this High School course schedule worksheet, list out the courses you would like to use for the required classes. Here are some suggestions for each topic:

Much of what you and your new high schooler decide for the classes will depend on what he or she enjoys and is interested in. If I could offer one hint or piece of advice, it would be to include courses that allow him to explore career fields that he may be considering. For example, if he wants to be an astronaut, include classes on astronomy. Learn what subjects are crucial to that field. When I was in high school, I wanted to be an accountant; I was awesome at it, and loved it, but then I found out I had to take law & tax classes…I lost interest really quickly.

Next Steps

Once you have your list of desired courses for high school, it’s time to start planning what you want to use for curriculum, right? Almost. First, you have to figure out how you’re going to track your student’s progress, and how you will create the dreaded high school portfolio. Transcripts & the student portfolio are both vital to high school success for the college bound student.

But remember, don’t be nervous! I, too, have a high schooler starting this fall, so I’m doing all of this planning business right along with you. We now have the first part out of the way; my next article will be on how to plan and create a transcript, necessary records, and a nice portfolio to show to prospective colleges.

So stay tuned, subscribe to my blog, and we will be successful high school homeschoolers before you know it!


  • English Composition
  • American Literature
  • World Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Journalism
  • Public Speaking


  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Algebra II (Trigonometry)
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Business Finances


  • Earth Science
  • Biology
  • Archaeology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Social Studies

  • U.S. History
  • Government & Civics
  • World History
  • Archaeology
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • Economics

Foreign Language

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Sign Language

Health & Physical Education

  • Fitness/Weight Control
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Drug Abuse & Prevention
  • Team Sports (participation, not really a class)
  • Horseback riding
  • Golf
  • Archery/Shooting Sports

Fine Arts

  • Instrument lessons
  • Theater
  • Music Appreciation
  • Photography
  • Sewing
  • Cooking
  • Home Budgeting
  • Wood crafting


  • Bible Studies
  • Computer Programming
  • Web Design
  • extra Fine Arts courses
  • extra Sports activities
  • study based on planned college major

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One comment on “Planning the High School Years – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Planning the High School Years – Part 2 | Homeschooling for Free