Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homeschooling High School for Free - 11th Grade

This year my soon to be 14 year old will be in the 11th grade. I am grateful to God for the years that I have been able to homeschool him. And I am a little sad that he is almost done. These years teaching him have been both challenging and extremely rewarding. But my intention with this post isn't to reminisce. I want to share the free resources that we will use this school year for my son's core classes. 

An Invaluable Website
Once my son started middle school I began purchasing textbooks for him because I had a hard time finding free resources for the classes he was taking. But in recent years, I have seen a plethora of great material become available online. My favorite place to use for finding upper grade courses is It is not the prettiest looking site but don't let that stop you from finding some wonderful resources there.

Here are the classes and materials that my son will use for 11th grade this year. 

I can't believe my son will be learning Calculus this year. It seems like only yesterday that I taught him how to skip count and made homemade flashcards for him so that he could memorize his addition and subtraction tables. But I digress... Last year we used MIT's open courseware for the first time for Calculus; so, we will continue on with a Calculus II  course taught by the same professor. The used book we bought last year for just a few dollars covers both courses, so no need to be buy another one.

In our homeschool, history and geography have always gone hand in hand. I taught my son to learn the geography of the locations that he is studying in history by using maps and atlases. But my husband feels that it is best that my son takes a separate, in depth geography course. Originally, I was going to use the Geography for the 21st Century video course along with the textbook which I was going to purchase from Amazon for under $10, including shipping.

But for the time being we are only able to access the Internet from my iPad. Apple doesn't support flash so we are unable to access any of's videos. So we will use the course outline and reading lists from one of MIT's geography classes. If we can't get the titles from the library then we'll make appropriate substitutions. 

Physics! Need I say more? Well actually, I probably should. The number one question I get when I share some of the high school classes that my son is taking or has taken is, how do you teach that subject? My answer is that thanks to the internet  I don't have to teach it. And I couldn't even if I wanted to because I never went above Earth Science or Algebra II/Trigonometry in high school. So once again, I am turning to a more-than-qualified MIT professor to teach physics in our homeschool. And I'll buy the least expensive used textbook from Amazon.

English/Language Arts
There is a McGuffey reader to cover every year of school. So, no worries there. And our Englsih classes are always heavily based on classic literature. So, my son will read several, quality works of fiction from the library, of his choosing. And he will be required to write a few book reports. Also, we will focus on quite a bit of essay writing.

Foreign Language
This year D is taking Spanish III. he will have a lot of conversations with fluent Spanish speakers and we will utilize the college text Poco a Poco.