To those parents who are considering homeschooling their children through high school, I can only encourage and applaud them for their heroic sacrifices. Teaching high school is not easy, but it is rewarding. My mother did not use a traditional "canned" curriculum to homeschool me and my twin sister. Instead, she compiled her own program using textbooks that she found at homeschool conferences. Here are a few of the best resources that we found:
English - All from the Institute for Excellence in Writing
The Institute for Excellence in Writing has put together these wonderful DVD lecture/classes taught by Mr. Andrew Pudewa. Out of all of my subjects, these classes were my favorite.
My mother decided to use Abeka math (a protestant math program) because Saxon just wasn't working for us. Some of the Abeka books are anti-Catholic, but the mathmetics program is not - and we don't object to having Bible verses in our textbooks. For geometry, my mother chose another geometry textbook for me and my twin sister because Abeka geometry had not worked for my older brother.
Again, my mother decided to use a non-Catholic textbook for science because there is no Catholic equivalent. The Apologia Educational Ministries teaches science in an easy to learn format, with experiments that can be done at home. We completed: Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry and Anatomy and Physiology. For Chemistry, a couple of homeschool dads - my father included - volunteered to teach the experiments and help us with homework. We met every week and had a great class experience.
We used the Abeka American Government program because it is, I believe, the only decent American Government course available to homeschoolers.
Fine Arts/Home Economics
My mother, who is also a proficient seamstress, taught my sister and I to sew, knit, embroider and crochet. She also taught us cooking, baking, meal planning and a myriad of other skills. As for fine arts, I took piano and harp lessons for many years, and, as a musician, I cannot express how valuable the study of music is to the development of a student's character and virtue. It teaches them humility, patience, perseverance and self-discipline. During our last two years of high school, my sister and I joined a symphony orchestra at a local college, which was an invaluable experience. Homeschoolers have a slight advantage over public schooled children, because they can be allowed extra practice time during the day. My sister and I scheduled two hours for practicing both instruments during the school day. If the two hours were not enough, we had extra flex time in the late afternoon and evening. Just recently,we had the opportunity to play for a musical with a local drama guild.
In addition to those courses listed above, I also studied History, Civics, Geography, Logic, Music History/Appreciation and Art History/watercolor. I have also been involved in Irish Dancing, 4-H, The Little Flowers Dance and Theatre Troupe and various other clubs and youth groups.
I am now enrolled in college, pursuing a degree in English with a writing emphasis - perhaps with a music or print journalism minor. In the near future, I hope to become a published author - which I don't think could have been remotely possible without the valuable instruction from the Institute for Excellence in Writing.