Research papers, classic literature, critiques, essay writing, grammar, and college prep vocabulary are all part of a high school language arts course of study. At its core, it’s very similar to the language arts you’ve taught your students all along. Ultimately, though, there will be some important changes. Keep reading to find out what those changes are and where you can find free language arts curriculum!
What’s Included in High School Language Arts?
Though it’s a commonly taught subject, you may be wondering exactly what comprises “language arts.” According to the American National Council of Teachers of English, language arts consists of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. In early elementary school, these skills are achieved by teaching phonics, decoding, comprehension, printing letters, and so much more. By the time students reach high school, students are expected to put analytical skills to use. Usually, this means students are assigned a novel to read and must then procure an analytical essay that addresses a specified writing prompt. Students must also dissect and interpret the novels they’re required to read so they can compare and contrast elements such as theme, mood, and tone. Furthermore, high school students engage in research, practice advanced vocabulary, and perfect their grammar usage.
Planning Your High School Language Arts Curriculum
By the time students reach high school, you may feel uneasy about teaching language arts at that level. If you feel you would benefit from some sort of “framework,” enjoy what we’ve pulled together for you!
- Listening and Speaking: In high school, this means having your students participate in discussions and group work. This can be with siblings or with parents. High school students also need to be able to put together an oral presentation. Whether it’s in front of parents and family or something your student does at co-op, look for opportunities for him or her to speak in public.
- Language Study: This means teaching your students the structure and composition of the written word. You’ll also want to teach your students vocabulary both in and out of context. Most high school students are also exposed to informal and formal English as well as modern and old English (think Shakespeare).
- Reading and Literature: Students need to understand the foundations of reading and spelling as well as fiction and nonfiction. By high school, most students are reading fluently but if your student isn’t, teaching decoding skills will be beneficial. Try to expose your students to a variety of nonfiction texts such as newspapers and news articles (both on and offline). In this way, students can begin to identify structures and expository aspects of nonfiction. As a result, they’ll be ready to tackle harder pieces of nonfiction. Fiction is just as important for students. Being able to identify elements of fiction (plot, setting, conflict, etc.) enables students to think more critically about the texts they’re reading. In addition, you’ll want to expose your students to poetry, drama, and classical works of literature.
- Research and Composition: This may be the pinnacle of high school language arts programs. As students’ level of knowledge increases, so should their level of writing and research skills. This requires reading deeper than at the surface level. Instead, they’ll be learning to “read between the lines.” By high school, the majority of their writing assignments should also include heavy research. Finally, students will learn to write persuasive and personal pieces of writing.
Teaching High School Language Arts for Free
With so many areas to cover for homeschool language arts, where does that leave you if you need to save money? Browse through these high school language arts resources, all of which are FREE of charge!
- Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus: This homeschooling blogger has put together a list of free language arts resources and pieces of curriculum. The resources she has are suitable for middle and high school students. Also, the resources cover grammar, spelling, and language.
- HippoCampus: HippoCampus offers more than just free high school language arts; they have a variety of subjects.
- English Banana: This site has the motherload of language arts worksheets – and they’re all freely available! When you complete a topic with your student, simply have him or her fill out an accompanying worksheet.
- The Easy Essay: This 5-minute program promises to teach students how to construct an essay in just FIVE minutes!
- English for Everyone: This is another great resource for finding accompanying worksheets. Once you teach a topic to your student, he or she can complete the coordinating worksheet.
- Daily Writing Prompt: At this site, students have access to several writing prompts and story starters. This is wonderful for students who are reluctant to write or who lament they can’t think of anything to write.
- VocabularySpellingCity: This website teaches vocabulary words students will need to know for standardized tests such as the SAT or the ACT.
- LearningGamesForKids.com: Check out their SAT section for your high school students!
Homeschooling high school language arts allows you to immerse yourself and your students in classic pieces of literature while you help your students analyze what you’ve read. While your students may not always enjoy such an approach to novels, it’s certainly good preparation for college.