Top 10 Curriculum Choices for a Purposeful Junior Year


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Junior year.

You know what they say,

it’s the most difficult in high school.

Two years in and next steps on the horizon.

This is my third junior year as a homeschooling mom.

And we’ll be taking it slow and steady.

It’s going to be a purposeful junior year.

Curriculum for a Purposeful Junior Year

In order to hit important areas for this particular junior,

we’ve made some new choices.

During junior year, it’s time to look ahead and see what is next for your teen.


Gap year?

Community College?

Four year university?

How will your curriculum choices reflect your junior’s plans?

Curriculum can help your high schooler to explore next steps.

Remember that not all curriculum comes from a box,

or a bookshelf,

and it doesn’t have to look conventional.

You’ll notice at least one thing conspicuously missing from this junior’s docket and that is test prep. Junior year includes college admission testing and college visits.

Next steps for Isaac include community college before a four year school.

We are taking this year to deliberately slow down.

And to focus on this junior and his goals.

(after launching his older siblings and working with our first juniors and seniors for the last 5 years)

We can hardly wait!

Math Curriculum for a Purposeful Junior Year

Get Rid of Math Anxiety Once & for All

CTC Math– CTC Math provides a nice partner for Life of Fred for teens who need more support such as a different way to explain a concept and extra practice. This junior enjoys the interface and considers it a partner in his math journey.

Life of Fred– We use Life of Fred in our homeschool and it is the hallmark of our high school math. We have two college kids who thrived with Fred. This post tells why we use this program and you might enjoy Learning High School Math with Life of Fred as well.

English Curriculum for a Purposeful Junior Year

How to Study American Literature with U.S. History

We always keep several programs going for English.

One is chosen for our primary program and we weave in other experiences along the way.

Byline– from the publishers of the One Year Adventure Novel, this program is for high school essay writing through the context of “chronojournalism”. It is a perfect fit for a history loving teen. The video lessons are well done and highly instructional. The writing my teen produces is excellent quality and the accompanying podcast is a treat.

Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings– This is one we add in every year. We take time throughout the year to pause other programs and enjoy this literary work of Tolkien’s and discuss life through the lens of Middle Earth. Worth every moment.

American Literature– Of course any high school English program needs to include literature selections. If you click on the picture above, you can read our experience with this anthology from Apologia. It’s a lovely compilation of significant American lit selections and the format is easy to use.

History for a Purposeful Junior Year

History is this junior’s jam.

He adores all things history.

His area of expertise is World War II,

especially aviation.

Isaac follows a curriculum spine

and then takes in history in every way possible beyond

book curriculum.

This year he is taking United States History II.

All American History– having done many Winter Promise themed units on world history, we’ve chosen All American History to go with the many living books this junior will take in.

Other history outlets for this junior include:

Memoir 44– This board game plays out historical battles of World War II with strategy and historical advantage accuracy. We’ve got pretty much all the expansions which allows us to play out any scenario during the war. I am becoming an expert on the topic and I’m getting to the point where I’m a formidable foe!

Air & Space Magazine– from the Smithsonian which is the gift that keeps on giving. The aviation history is worth it alone.

You Tube– specifically, The Great War but many others who share their expertise and interest with an audience.

History Center– plans later this year include volunteering at our local history center working with historical data.

Foreign Language for a Purposeful Junior Year

The foreign language requirement for graduation and college admission varies across states,

school systems,

and universities.

If I had to pick one suggestion it would be two years.

However, your best bet is to check with four year schools to see what they require.

We both would have preferred to skip a foreign language this year having met the requirement for graduation

and most four year schools.

However, a look at where he wants to go in the future dictates more foreign language in high school.

Our programs of choice:

Breaking the Spanish Barrier– This is a good fit for a teen who doesn’t mind working in workbooks and doing more book work with less conversation. With a history of severe apraxia, voice recognition programs for foreign language are not a good choice for this particular teen. The workbook provides a nice written component to any apps we use for foreign language instruction.

DuoLingo– Less voice operated and involves more listening skills and vocabulary. It also progress as you get better.

Science for a Purposeful Junior Year

CK-12 Chemistry– High school science at our house is done with this free online text book from CK-12. There are advantages and disadvantages to this curriculum, but for the most part it works well with the way we like to insert our own brand of science instruction.

It provides a workable scope and sequence for the concepts for a high school course and you can vary the level at which you teach a particular course.

Any time you can combine history with science,

do it.

My kids especially like to learn about scientists and their original science.

The following books are a few of our favorite chemistry selections.

The Mystery of Matter– a PBS series available through Amazon Prime all about the search for elements.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, I have a post in the works with a list of videos for homeschooling subjects.

In my experience, Prime has the best selection of documentaries- or at the very least a much better search option to find them!

Videos work well with kids who experience chronic illness.

This kid has joined his older brother with a nasty case of Lyme Disease.

Electives for a Purposeful Junior Year

Our high schoolers always have just the right electives each year.

They are designed based on interest,


and opportunities for growth.

This year Isaac will continue with his flight and rocketry work, driver’s ed, and a course we call World Geography and Cultures.

Two resources we’re using for the World Geography and Cultures course:

Mapping the World with Art– This program has been an amazing addition to our homeschool. I really need to write a full review of the course (which is coming soon), but for now just know that we’ve learned the world together more than ever before and it is a very low key, beautiful way to spend time learning geography. We actually used it as a fine art credit for this teen.

This year, we are finishing the program as we learn about World Cultures.

Around the World in 180 Days– the spine for the course I’m writing in world cultures. It was not a hit with our oldest two teens, but I think it will work well as the foundation for our survey of world cultures.

By the way, if you need help designing custom courses for project based learning in high school, check out Homeschooling High School for Design below. It includes lessons on how to develop the courses including a planning form for evaluating and preparing the course.

Other High School Help from Blog, She Wrote

If you are new to teaching high school at home or you need help in putting together a renewed effort for high school, consider taking my new course, Homeschooling High School by Design which is written to help homeschool parents navigate high school with their teens.

The companion course is Homeschooling for College by Design which is focused on the second half of high school and preparing for the next steps.

The feedback on both of these courses is positive and I’m delighted to help families plan and prepare for the high school years!

Choosing High School Curriculum– How to know what to choose for your teen’s high school years.

Junior year is a big deal.

It’s often the time in high school when your teen will turn a corner.

New levels of maturity begin to click into place.

Your teen will begin to look toward the horizon which is the end of his formal learning with you.

Choose the curriculum that best fits your high schooler’s goals.

Above all, enjoy it together because time is short!

Other bloggers with iHomeschool Network are sharing curriculum choices. Stop by and learn more!

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One Comment

  1. Great Article!! Thanks for sharing such an informative blog!! It would be very helpful for all the parents who are planning or who are homeschooling their children.

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