Monday, November 12, 2012

High School for 2012-2013

This is for my 16 year old Kieron.    It may look like a lot.   I have a core textbook for each subject, then I photoed a few "real" books for each course, just so I could remember what I have in my closet shelves. 

In some cases, I may have him select just one or two books of the lot; in other cases, I may have him read more than is listed.    It kind of depends on how heavy going the books are, and also on how his interests develop, how much time we have, etc. 


Our Goal and Our Guides


Through Christ Our Lord

from the Our Quest for Happiness series

The older kids used Fr Laux's series, but this one seemed more suitable for Kieron.  I also looked at the Didache series,  which are very solid, but have more of that modern-school-textbook look to them, with lots of photos of teenagers looking thoughtfully off to the middle distance.    My judgment call was to go with Quest. ... we are trying to get through two books per year.   Kieron is enjoying the reading.

I totally forgot I had made this blog study guide of the book a year or so ago.   It is incomplete.   Blogging lesson plans was a really fun experiment, but I am not sure how effective a use of my time it turned out to be.

Here are a few of the books I want him to read for religion.   He has read a couple of the Louis Wohl books, too, and I want him to read some more. 

St Francis of Assisi by GK Chesterton
The Family that Overtook Christ (about Bernard of Clairvaux)

Language Arts

I wanted a basic reference/exercise book and of several I looked at in a thrift store, this looked the most in tune with what I wanted.    The stories and poems that introduce the chapters seem to be good quality and the exercises are interesting.      We are just reading and discussing, since we have a "learning essay-writing through creating fiction" composition course in place. 

I will probably supplement with classes from Homeschool Connection.    There are several literature and composition courses on there that make my little Catholic convert/English Literature heart beat faster.    Teaching Company is also a good resource.  They seem to hit my mailbox every day with discounted resources.

In addition, there are lots of books I want him to read for Language Arts/Literature.   Here are a few:

two books by Chaim Potok
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
(these are relatively light reading; all contain material I want to get the chance to discuss with my student)

 (for literature, and word/grammar study)

(he's also going to read a couple of Shakespeare plays)

Great Short Stories of the World
(I don't remember what edition I have, but you can find lots of short fiction online)

World History

Patterns of Interaction

I got this one because it's visual and there are various support  resources online.

Various Belloc books; I will probably have him read two.  He's reading The Great Heresies right now.

Science:  Physics

I am listing it, but not sure if this will go over.  This is a very old edition ; Liam used it almost ten years ago.

I want to do physics before chemistry.   See, biology is based on chemistry, which in turn is based on physics, and physics is simplest in itself, though US secondary schools put physics last because they can eliminate math from biology better than from chemistry and physics.   However, I did not learn science in this order.  I went to a European secondary school where they taught physics, chemistry, and biology concurrently.     That is another subject for another time. 
Historically my kids have not liked the Exploring Creation series, and I admit to sharing their prejudice.  For one thing, I haven't found young earth models either scientifically convincing, or doctrinally necessary, or even careful of respecting traditional philosophical boundaries.  But that is another subject for another time.

Another subject for another time is my gripes about high school science texts in general.   Sigh.  Moving on...

 If I find I can't deal with Apologia, I am also looking at an open-source physics textbook:  Light and Matter.  The author, Benjamin Crowell, a prof at Fullerton College, has several other open-source texts online as well.    Check out his site!  

I've fallen a bit in love with this open source physics text:  Motion Mountain.  It is by a German professor, and quite elegantly written so far (I've just been browsing through it). He quotes Zeno and Goethe and Wittgenstein!  How thrilling!   Right away he starts talking about the Greek philosophers, and he doesn't "diss" them as is standard; he takes the time to describe the real questions they were trying to solve, rather than simply pointing out how stupid everyone before the 17th century was as most science textbooks do, and shows how some of their thoughts/queries on motion are actually more in line with modern thought than  Renaissance mechanical physics theories are.  But I can't figure out how to make this book doable for a high school course because it is so long.  The first volume is already over 500 pages, and there are six volumes!  And I don't know enough about science to pick and choose the chapters to match a standard US introductory physics course.  I may have to just read it for myself. 

Science-related books I'd like him to read (subject to previewing --
 I read them a long time ago, except for the cartoon guide, which I have only skimmed so far)

The Language of God ( Francis Collins)


This is a college text reviewing high school math.  He was using it during the summer. It's for review.  Then Kieron will finish the second half of Jacob's Geometry, hopefully along with some Euclid

Still More Books on Various Subjects

Geography/Natural History

The Brendan Voyage (Severin)
The Path to Rome (Belloc)
My First Summer in the Sierras (Muir)
Kon-Tiki (Heyerdahl)

Thinking Skills/Worldview

Being Logical
(Kieron took logic courses earlier in high school and I thought he might enjoy reading about informal fallacies this year)
The Best Things in Life (Kreeft)
Meno (not pictured)

The World's Great Catholic Literature (selections) (there's a free pdf study guide here)


Economics in One Lesson (Henry Hazlitt)


I'm probably going to use Homeschool Connections for Latin.


 (various resources from the library).  

Physical Exercise

running, plus various (yard work, shoveling, martial arts)


  1. This post has me so excited!:)
    I'm also using OGOG with my 15.6yr old:) he preferred it to didache 1. and he has also read the same faith books:) how amazing!
    Eats,Shoots and Leaves was popular with my boys last year, and thanks for reminding me of World's Greatest Cath Lit, taking off shelf now.
    oh we're going to try Visual Latin this year.

    1. Haha, Erin, you sound like me, getting thrilled by a planning post with lists of books included : ). I would love to see what you are doing with yours boys of this age. You are probably getting close to summer break if not there already? I forgot that this type of planning/brainstorming post is timely for you in the other hemisphere!


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