We are often asked if Homeschooling Torah includes high school subjects. When looking at the website, it can appear that teaching most of your students together means that advanced students will not be challenged or might even be left out.
We have carefully checked the high-school graduation requirements in several states, so that college-bound students will be adequately prepared. After you boil down all the subjects generally studied, you see that the following skills are needed:
- How to read quickly
- How to read with comprehension, even with difficult vocabulary and complex arguments
- How to read primary sources (such as ancient writings)
- How to research
- How to write, from short essays to long reports (more than 20 pages)
- How to take notes
- How to use those notes to study for a test
- How to memorize
- How to use time wisely, plan a schedule, and keep yourself organized
The following subjects are typically required if a student wants to attend college:
- English (includes grammar, spelling, vocabulary, writing, and literature)
- Advanced math (Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry, at a minimum)
- World Geography, American History, and Civics. Sociology and psychology are often recommended.
- Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
- Physical Education and Health
- Document Processing and Computer Skills
- Foreign Language (usually 2 years)
- Music and Art
A lot of teens aren’t adequately prepared for school. They might know basic skills, but they don’t know how to think deeply and to apply what they learn to life. Doesn’t this sound familiar? A lot of people read their Bibles but have never learned to think critically.
“A significant proportion of incoming college students have difficulty understanding the gist of academic writing at the college level. It’s a challenge for them to see writing from the inside out,” says John Briggs, Associate Professor of English at UC Riverside and a member of the College Board SAT Reading Development Committee. “Students know about topic sentences and main ideas, but they don’t understand the questions the writer is addressing and they don’t have enough experience participating in academic conversations.” (Source)
So let’s break apart each of these subjects to see how Homeschooling Torah addresses them:
- Be sure that your teenager is reading every single day, including fiction, biographies, and non-fiction. Reading is emphasized in our entire curriculum, but in addition, help your student figure out what topics interest him, and then make a plan to read deeply and broadly. Contact us if you need help making a specific plan for your student.
- Read the Bible daily. The student should read it independently all the way through at least once per year, discussing topics with his parents and also completing some of the high school Bible reading assignments here.
- Read the extra high-school history and science assignments. Instead of reading MacBeth or the Illiad and the Odyssey, which are not godly or edifying, have your students read Ussher, the anti-Nicene fathers, Josephus, Edward Gibbon, Isaac Newton, the King James Bible, and much more. (These are all scheduled in our curriculum.) These will increase his vocabulary and give him lots of advanced subjects to wrestle with.
- Spend time discussing things with your high-school student. If your family is large and your time is stretched, allow your teenage student to stay up later so he has your undivided attention. Discuss deep topics! Show him how to prove his beliefs with Scripture verses. (Our Nakh and Apostolic Scriptures curriculum are both well suited to deep discussions, as well as our history, science, and writing.)
- Be sure to have your student do assigned notebooking pages, essays, research, and writing assignments, especially in history and science. Our writing curriculum will teach him how to write.
- When your student watches a required video or reads an assignment, have him take notes. Our writing curriculum teaches how to take notes. Our grammar curriculum is also helpful in learning to organize information from writing.
- Require your student to memorize. From memory verses to vocabulary words to timeline dates, be sure to help him learn the technique of memorization. The basic memorization skills used during Torah portion time will also serve college students who need to prepare for tests.
- Our site does not currently offer advanced math. See this page for suggestions, and contact us if you need specific guidance in choosing curriculum for your student.
- We do not offer foreign language yet. See this post for suggestions on how to teach foreign language, and see our video on how to teach Hebrew.
- See our bonus information from Lee Binz for help on making a transcript, taking the ACT and SAT, and applying to college. Practice test-taking skills by taking free tests online.
Here is the bottom line:
- Read, read, read.
- Write, write, write (with plenty of research and reading before you do).
- Discuss, discuss, discuss.
- Plan ahead, to be sure you have time to complete all subjects needed. Write to us if you’d like individualized help!
We are confident that when learning is based on God’s Word, our children will grow up to be approved workmen who do not need to be ashamed, because they can rightly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).