It’s hard to believe that we are now putting together our High School journey. Our son is going into the high school years–some days faster than others–and we need to start getting ourselves prepared so that we keep him on track for the end.

We have been reading scores of information from other sites and other parents who have gone through this many times. I wish I could say that we have total peace about the “right” direction or the “right” methods to employ, but I can’t say that. Mostly because each family, each child is unique and no two families will do things the same way. So, at the risk of those that would differ, please note that our methods and our ways are going to be different from yours. Please refrain from poor character in your comments.

We are sticking with a Notebooking/Blogbooking approach. In Texas, we are only required to have 3 years of history credits–World History (or Geography); American History; Government & Economics.  So, since our son starts with his most challenging science courses so far, we decided to take an easier year of History and we are continuing our notebooking journey.

$_35While still using the notebooking methods, we have revised our plans to use the full year text in Geography from BJU. IT is a very robust text and we are adding the Activity Guide to use that in our notebooking methods as well. We had previously thought we were going to use “Around the World in 180 Days” as our guide, and then use the A Beka: Geography in Christian Perspective, but our ds took at look at both programs and really enjoyed the way the BJU text was formatted and how it was laid out and all. We do involve him a bit more in curricular decisions: he’s in high school now, so it is HIS education not ours.

Take your students on a grand tour of creation–one continent at a time! Payne’s back to basics guide uses a notebook approach that’s ideal for multilevel learning. Drawing information from a wide variety of resources, young explorers will dive into the geography, history, religion, current events, and culture of all seven continents and consider how to share the gospel to people from each. 

Using an atlas, encyclopedia, textbooks, or the recommended list of literature and library books, students will find geographical elements, define new terms, describe the geography of a certain area, and write down their own thoughts, answer essay questions, create projects, respond to literature, and answers other questions about the people and places they’re studying around the world! 

We were going to be doing the BJU Fundamentals of Literature textbook and add a few readers along the way however; we now believe we will stick to a living literature program adding the writing methods below. We are reviewing the literature approach, one book we are considering, “Understanding the Classics” seems to get some high praise around the Charlotte Mason High School blogs. The book provides the parent/teacher and student with a wide feast of discussion questions and short narratives on each of several major classic literary works. The parent can then engage the student in healthy discussion and guided focus of writing assignments. We’ll advise once we solidly choose a program.


Our writing course is Jump In writing. You might think a student doing notebooking and Charlotte Mason approach for the last few years might have a bit more writing and grammar under his belt….and you would be wrong in this case.

The copywork and dictation really did not help. He can write a little, and he knows some basic parts of speech but he does not have concrete information needed for the advanced high school years. We were going to be using the Grammar 5/6 programs from Sonlight–a more Mason style approach–but we have decided to stick with Christian Light Education’s Language Arts books. We do not do diagramming. We have talked to a former public school teacher who actually trains teachers in our state and she said that diagramming really does not teach the child anything concretely about writing sentences. So, we do all but the diagramming. CLE is very thorough in what it teaches, and it is more student directed. We hope this will help with his Writing and grammar mechanics as they have that built in to the 10 light units.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 9.33.26 AMJump In is a GREAT book that helps kids who have had little writing or burned out on writing.  It is an excellent detour and he seems to be enjoying it. We can use it over 2 years… we are using it this semester right now, and will finish in 9th Grade fall.



Science is a big decision for us for some reason. We have been doing and were approaching the mixing of New Leaf Press’ science schedule of books including: Exploring the World of Physics and Exploring the World of Chemistry and Exploring the world of Math – and adding Science Jim physics labs. However, because of our desire to use a living books approach while still helping our ds to get ready for the rigors of college years, we have decided to go to Apologia for high school. Our current thought, he is going to go pick today at the homeschool store, is General Science II, Biology, Physical Science and then Chemistry. His future goals do not include a heavy need for science, and since we have done mainly living books to this point, a good structured approach to General Science is actually necessary to get him ready for the upper level sciences.

We have thoroughly enjoyed his studies in New Leaf Press Science series over at MasterBooks.com, we just need to move to a more structured approach for the high school years–with a living books approach. See more information about this choice with charlottemasonhelp.com.

We enjoy what he enjoys, because we know he is REALLY learning when he enjoys it and is not frustrated because of the style of the program. We know he won’t like it every day or every subject in science, but if he is at least enjoying the approach of the books, then it is all worth while.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 9.46.56 AM On the computer side of life, he is working with Cocoa and Objective C for Apple Programming. This is exploratory and we’ll see how it goes. We also have hopes of having him apprentice with the local apple-mac store to learn how to repair and diagnose Apple computers. This will give him an edge in the real world and in college if he already knows some of the tools of the trade.

So, I think we have just about everything for 9th Grade ironed out. A few tweaks before next term begins. Some of the studies he will start this summer, while

some of them he will begin in the Fall. We have a revolving semester around here. Summer, Spring and Fall semesters. Summer semester is lScreen Shot 2015-03-07 at 9.46.11 AMearning for fun and enjoyment, sometimes the 1/2 credit electives and such go on during the summer. This frees normal school year time for the more rigorous studies.

What are you planning for your 9th grade year? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below.


2 thoughts on “Notebooking in High School

  1. My oldest girl is heading into high school this year. For her freshman year we are going to be covering Grammar & Composition, Algebra I, Ancient History, Biology, Piano & Guitar, programming, Spanish I, and Film (using Motion and Final Cut). In addition, she has her own blog which she uses for writing and sharing her favorite reads.

    This should be tons of fun!


  2. We had purchased Spanish 1 and 2 from BJU with all the discs, we have the backup copy of all the discs… from a friend. Now we are not doing that. He takes conversational mandarin Chinese from local PhD student here where we live. 5 hours per week of conversation skills in both writing ancient and modern mandarin and speaking full languages that would be common to start. (if you haven’t purchased your Spanish yet, we have the whole kit & caboodle from BJU, which really is nice). He comes along and helps me create videos for the church I work…but we don’t really count that as a class… Piano & Guitar… she could get hired to be in our Youth praise band… our ds is taking bass lessons, but I only count handbells & choir as music for him every 2 years counts as 1 full credit. What do you sue for Ancient History & biology? Curious about your choice for Grammar & Composition (that’s where we’ve always had slight concerns). Blogs are great for young people. I think they enjoy writing more when they feel they are contributing to community at large than just an idle family notebook.


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