2013-2014 High School {9th Grade}

I usually do this post for all of our students, but I decided to break it down this year. I like to have these posts for reference if nothing else. I have fretted more over this plan than any other. This one COUNTS. Every homeschooling parent out there knows what I’m talking about.

It is not that the other years don’t count, but this one goes on the high school transcript. For the record: whether your child is in homeschool, private school or public school, grades K-8 do NOT go on their records for college consideration. So, when I say, this one counts, that is what I really mean. I do realize that those other grades certainly count and are very important and their performances go on teacher records and school records … but for the purpose of this post, this one counts means this one counts on our son’s record!

So, here is the basic overlay of what I have planned for our son, who will be 15 in about a month, and will be entering 9th grade officially on Monday. Where has the time gone?!

Before I get started, here are our state’s high school graduation requirements for those on a college prep course:

Total Credits: 22

  • Math: 4 credits – Including Algebra I, II, Geometry and a fourth higher level math course (Students must be enrolled in a mathematics course each school year.)
  • English: 4 credits
  • Science: 3 credits – Including Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and a third lab course
  • Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 credits
  • Personal Finance: 0.5 credits
  • Foreign Language: 2 credits
  • Fine Arts: 1 credit – May be waived for students not going to a University to expand and enhance the elective focus
  • Elective Focus: 3 credits – Math and Science, Career and Technical Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)


History: Simply Charlotte Mason History Guide 6 (Modern Times) {1 Social Studies Credit/3}

• This is unusual I realize b/c it covers both World History and American History. He studied early American History last year, and so he will officially finish it in 9th grade. He is actually finishing a few books that were assigned from last year. He is an avid reader, but I do assign a lot of living history books, and he loves to read some of his own choosing as well.

• This guide basically gives you tons of ideas for books to read that will give a student a LIVING history. The books are divided by grade level (with his books coming from both the 7th-9th grade list and 10th-12th grade list). He will not be using the Bible portion as he will have a full load with Community Bible Study and Youth Bible Drill (see below).

• My official plan is that he’ll be able to take the CLEP exam for US history and/or possibly take history classes at our nearby state community college while a junior and/or senior. Both of these options would give him college credit before he ever enters college, assuming he chooses a state university and/or a university that accepts CLEP credit.

• So, we will continue with SCM suggested r and a LONG list of reading material. And I quote him last night when I said, “Now I realize you have already read a lot on your own about World War I and that time period, so we may be able to mark off a couple of these books as already read” (with substitute books he has already read), but he says, “Mom, I think I’ll read them anyway. You know how I like to read about history.” Ahem. Yeah, I’m not worried about his history education.


• The LONG List of Living History Books he has been assigned (and I’m almost certain there will be some late additions of my choosing and his own as well):


Mao Tse-Tung (Marrin)
Stalin: Russia’s Man of Steel (Marrin)
Hitler (Marrin)
The War to End All Wars: WWI (Freedman)
The Hiding Place (Ten Boom)
Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics
Animal Farm (Orwell)
The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia (Hautzig)
World War I: From the Lusitania to Versailles (Kent) **May substitute**


The Red Badge of Courage (Crane)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Taylor)
America: The Last Best Hope (VOL. II)
America: The Last Best Hope (VOL. III)
Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Coycott (Freedman)
Victory in the Pacific (Marrin)
The Yanks Are Coming: The US in the First World War (Marrin)
The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane (Freedman)
Lincoln: A Photobiography (Freedman)
Across Five Aprils (Hunt)


Math: Completing Algebra I (begin Geometry in 2014) {1 Math Credit/4}

• The rush to go higher and higher in math in middle school quite frankly perplexes me. There I said it. I feel like I should add the word disclaimer at the beginning of this bullet point. Seriously, though, wasn’t pre-algebra in 8th grade good enough for my husband, who obtained a Civil Engineering degree (and a math minor in the process) with HONORS, back in 1996? Why the push now? I have done some research and colleges are NOT requiring algebra in 7th grade, yet it seems that is the push. Even one homeschool Mom acquaintance tries to get my feathers all ruffled nearly every time we talk asking, “Is he STILL not done with algebra? You know, I have this or that or … ” NO, he is not and NO THANKS. I’m not worried!

• OK, moving on. 😀


• Resources:

The Great Courses Algebra I DVD and Practice Book

An Algebra I Textbook (with answers to the odd practice problems) *I found it for $5! at the used book sale and DH said it looks just fine: “Algebra is algebra.” It also gets high marks on ama•zon.

IXL for extra problems and drills (yes, they have algebra now as well as geometry)


Finance {.5 Personal Finance Credit/.5}

• The Prez is very much leading the way on this. It was his idea, and he plans to discuss with Curly as he goes through this course. I am proud that both my son and DH think personal finance responsibility is important.

• Resources:

Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance


Science {1 Lab Science Credit/3}

• Curly doesn’t love science, BUT he came back from the National Boy Scout Jamboree telling me he had earned 3/4s of the Chemistry merit badge. WHAT?!?

• This class will be handled by someone other than moi, and I (and probably Curly) could NOT be happier. He will take a one-hour class plus a one-hour lab one day a week at our new tutorial. He will complete reading, lab reports, and other assignments at home throughout the week. I’m figuring one hour a day plus the two hours of class and lab for this.


• Resources:

Apologia Exploring Creation with Chemistry

Knowledge Box Central Vocab set (probably)


Language Arts {1 English Credit/4}

• We are trying some different things for language this year, including a literary analysis class through our tutorial (translation: someone else will critique his writing among other literary pursuits). He will be using IEW Windows to the World along with reading seven literary works:

Fahrenheit 451 by Rad Bradbury

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

{Plus one more still to be determined}


• In addition, he will continue with Word Roots, finishing up A2 and completing Word Roots B1 CD-Rom this year as well.

• He will also use the Critical Thinking Company’s Editor-in-Chief C1 workbook for grammar review.


Foreign Language {1 Foreign Language Credit/2}

• He has already begun studying Danish and would like to continue. After evaluation, I decided to allow this because of his reasoning. He would really like to land a job at LEGO corporation in the near future, and he feels like a command of Danish would set him apart from other foreign applicants.

• I figure in further regards to Danish as a foreign language that any university would welcome a student with Danish as their foreign language AFTER hearing his reasoning. If that is not drive, I don’t know what is!

• Resources: On-line resources at the moment, though I’d love to find a textbook. If anyone reading has any ideas, I’m open!


Bible/Personal Growth {1 Elective Credit/3}

• We’ll put this under their “Career and Technical Growth” category. 😀

• He will continue in the Community Bible Study group I’m a part of, but he’ll be in the Senior High homeschool class this year. We will all be studying the Gospel of John this year.

• He will also continue with Youth Bible Drill, which he loves, and we love that he loves it. He still aspires to win the State Meet, but no matter the placement he knows the time and effort spent here has eternal value.

• He is now a Life Scout, though he hasn’t been awarded it yet. That will happen once the summer is over as his troop doesn’t give awards during the summer.

• He will continue with scouting. He LOVES IT! He hopes to begin working on his Eagle project maybe this spring or next fall. I have heard 15 is a great age to achieve it before one gets their license, but I don’t see this being an issue for our oldest as he loves his family and is very driven to achieve this goal.

• He will also continue in our 4H Club this year, and hopefully maybe he’ll try for a leadership role? I won’t force it though. This is just a little tidbit I found interesting on the 4H website (and one I don’t doubt based on the group of young leaders in our local program):

Youth engaged with 4-H are:

  • Nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school;
  • Nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college;
  • 41 percent less likely to engage in risky behaviors; and
  • 25 percent more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.

Total Credits: 6.5 Credits/22

At this rate by the way, he will finish in 3.5 years rather than 4 or possibly in 3 years with additional coursework next year and the following. We are not pushing for an abbreviated high school term, but we are hopeful he can pursue college-level courses at the local community college by his senior year. We are also planning for at least some CLEP tests later in his high school career.

That about sums up the plan for 9th grade, though we *may* add in his Fine Arts requirement later in the year. He will most likely take Photography for this 1 Credit requirement as he loves it anyway, and this would also be useful I believe for the career path he is hoping to take. I hope to share more in a later post about each of our older three boys’ career aspirations. I think it would be worthwhile to have it recorded from time to time.


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