I’m revisiting this post because there are currently some questions about high school English curriculum on the AHE email group. When this post was first written, my oldest was a high school sophmore. Since then I have graduated two high schoolers. I was curious- Have I changed my mind about what I’ve written? No, my thoughts/advice remain the same. It is especially important to choose curriculum in light of your student’s strengths and weakness.
Thinking about high school English/Language Arts (ELA) curriculum? Things to consider as you make your choices: What are your student’s future educational goals? Is your student planning to pursue vocational training or attend a college/university? What are your student’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to reading and written communication skills.
Vocational training programs will require basic technical reading comprehension skills as well as basic writing abilities. Your student will also need to be able to communicate effectively on written tests. It might be a good idea to compare your student’s abilities with the minimum high school competencies for ELA in your local area. Many high school competency ELA tests mirror the level of essential skills needed for success in vocational studies.
If your student is planning to complete a degree program at a college or university, then your focus will be different. Acquiring strong composition skills, especially in the areas of report of information, persuasive and analytical writing will be a priority. A college-bound student will also want to develop an outlining/note-taking strategy to help with keeping track of lecture information.
What to do for literature studies? The answer is one of personal family preference. Many SDA families choose to exclude fiction from literature study. It is important to note that literature study can be accomplished without fiction: essays, biographies, journals and other non-fictions works can provide the foundation for analytical writing, one of the main purposes for literature study.
Continued grammar or vocabulary lessons and the study of Greek/Latin roots can be helpful for students preparing to take the SAT or ACT.
Online Grammar Handbook– from the University of Minnesota. Helpful for high school level students to see what type of writing and competency is required at the college level.
Elements of Style : classic writing handbook
Merriam-Webster – online dictionary with a Word-of-the-Day
SAT Question of the Day – get an idea of what type of grammar/writing is on the test.