Senior Year Homeschooling 2019-2020

I can hardly believe it. But my son Jackson is a senior this year. They say the years fly by, and they do. I can hardly believe we are at this point though!

I realized the other day that we’re in the last week of September, and I haven’t had a moment to share with you what we’re working on this year. So, here’s the rundown of what we’re doing during the 2019-2020 school year!



I worked off and on all summer on preparing Jackson’s high school transcript (more on that later, it was definitely a large undertaking!). Much of what he’s taking this year is standard senior class material; others, we cobbled together to give him some fun and interesting electives.


American Government

We’re using Notgrass History’s Exploring Government and We Hold These Truths for Jackson’s American government credit. I wasn’t familiar with Notgrass at all but I really liked what I saw when I researched their curricula. The government book spends time on history of law, Athenian origins of democracy, the Magna Carta, and other historical movements and texts that helped form the basis for what became the American system of checks and balances, democracy, and the Constitution. We Hold These Truths is a book of documents from primary sources, which is fascinating. For example, this week Jackson will read the Magna Carta and a table of 12 laws that upheld Roman society and citizenship. In this curriculum, there are reading assignments, quizzes, projects and papers and essays.



We’ve been fans of Apologia sciences for years, and this year Jackson is studying Exploring Creation with Physics as a lab science course. This is a hard, rigorous curriculum. It includes experiments, reading, texts….and LOTS and LOTS of math. (For me, myself, I say, “Ugh!” Physics is just science disguised as math. And unlike some of my math genius friends, I am just not a math girl. Fortunately we have hubs as a tutor. He IS a math genius!)

This is probably the most challenging course Jackson has taken during his homeschool years; for us, even more challenging than chemistry was. It is fantastic college prep, though.

In addition to the textbook, CD, and lab kit, we’ve also subscribed to author Dr. Jay Wile’s teaching videos. He has a Vimeo series that includes two teaching videos per module (chapter). That helps a lot.



Over the years, we’ve used a variety of math curricula; everything from Saxon to Teaching Textbooks with a few in between. Last year, on the recommendation of a friend, we used Math-U-See, and we chose to go with that again this year.

Math-U-See’s format works well for our family. The student watches a teaching video the first day of the week, which introduces the formulas and equations for the lesson. Next, each day he works on practice lessons on those topics. At the end of the week is a test. Once the student can pass that, he moves on to the next topics. This format ensures good practice and ultimate learning, which any math student can benefit from!


Foreign Language

Jackson chose Spanish for the two years of foreign language study in high school. He is using several curricula for this; one, that focuses on vocabulary, writing, and grammar; another that provides speaking and listening/interpreting practice. Later in the year he’ll read literature set in Spain or Mexico. I’m deliberating between several books on that, which range from historical fiction to magical realism. We’ll see!


Health and Nutrition

As one of his electives, Jackson selected Apologia’s Health and Nutrition course. So far, we’ve been very pleased with it. It covers not only physical health, but mental and emotional health as well. The reading is interesting and the assignments, creative and thought-provoking.



Art, Drama, Creativity

Jackson is also working on an art course this year. It includes a Veritas Press book, History of Art: Creation to Contemporary that I love. It starts early on with the Lausanne Cave Paintings, moves to Mesopotamian art (Sumerian, Babylonian), then Egyptian art, then continues to move through history focusing a bit on each era and movement of art. I use this as a jumping-off point; we move further by exploring online art images related to each age, and filling in more historical data than a survey book is able to include. For each movement we also create artwork in a variety of media.

For the drama portion, we’re focusing on screenplays, famous plays in movie form, and Shakespearean plays and sonnets.


Film as Literature (Film Analysis)

This is a fantastic course I happened on at the end of the summer, when I was looking for an additional elective course. It’s very interesting! Each week, we view a film (classic, historical, foreign, sci-fi, and other genres). Then, Jackson writes about his experiences, assesses the films, considers the original books or novels. As we continue, we’ll study more about various parts of the movie-making experience like screenplays, setting, character development, storyline, camera work, and so on. Our primary curricula for this are the student and teacher versions of Movies as Literature, plus Movie Nights and Reading in the Dark.



English IV

As we have many other years, we purchased curricula from Sonlight for Jackson’s senior year. They have some fantastic collections of literature for high school; but we couldn’t make up our minds between British Literature, Classical Literature, American Literature, and 20th Century Literature. So, we cobbled together a hodgepodge of them. In the classical category, we have books like The Odyssey. In British Lit, we’ll study several Shakespearean plays, Dickens, C.S. Lewis. From World Lit we selected One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Red Scarf Girl. American lit? F. Scott Fitzgerald, a book about Albert Einstein’s relativity discovery, The Green Glass Sea, and more. Plus a couple of poetry books.

For the writing and vocab studies, we’ve been working on PowerHouse Writing’s essay course. I just ordered Word Power Made Easy (took a while to make up my mind on that one) for Latin and Greek Roots. In the spring, we’ll do more essay work via IEW’s The Elegant Essay.



Now that everything’s organized and we’re in the swing of the schedule, it’s wonderful. But that pic above? That’s what everything looked like on Box Day, a.k.a. the day I unpacked everything. I was a little overwhelmed! But, it’s all good. It just needed a good lesson planner—-and a plan!


Hope your school years have started out wonderfully!


Enjoy!  –Wren

6 thoughts on “Senior Year Homeschooling 2019-2020

  1. Can hardly believe how guickly the years have gone. Can still picture your laying in my sofa pregnant. Love and blessings Phyllis 💕

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Wow, John! Thanks so much for commenting, it was a fun thing to see when I logged in today. Your American Government is fascinating, and so much more interesting than the government course I took during my own senior year!

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