7 Steps to Create High School Classes with Living Books

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #107, 7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books

In “7 Steps to Create Your Own High School Classes with Living Books” episode #107, Meredith Curtis shares how she created all of her children’s high school classes. She began the process by listing all the books she wanted her daughter to read. From there, she went on to think about life skills, academic skills, and virtues she longed to see in her son and daughters. Finally, she packaged everything in an easy way where teens could keep their own records.




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Show Notes

It was time for high school and up to that point we had enjoyed a lot of freedom and creativity in our home school. Living books were at the center of our curriculum. When we used textbooks, we read them aloud together.

Could we carry on to high school?


Here’s what I did starting when my oldest daughter was in 7th grade. I thought ahead.

Step #1: Creating High School Classes Begins with Prayer

Surrender my children and their high school education to the Lord.

Ask for wisdom and His plan in course creation.

Step #2: Creating High School Classes Requires Book Lists

I made a list of all the books I wanted my teens to write in high school

Classic Literature: Tale of Two Cities, Count of Monte Cristo 

Great Works: Mere Christianity, Wealth of the Nations

Inspirational: God’s Smuggler, Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life

Step#3: Crossing the Finish Line Lists

I also took time to prayerfully consider what virtues, values, habits, academic skills, workforce skills, and spiritual disciplines I wanted to see in their lives

Virtues/Habits/Values: hard work, kindness, servant’s heart,

Academic Skills: essays, research, reading at college level, analysis, advanced mathematics,

Practical/Work/Community/Church Skills: leadership, interview, resume, work with a team

Spiritual Disciplines: Quiet Times, serving at church, evangelize, defend the faith

Relational Wisdom: Purpose dating or courtship, honoring parents, building wholesome friendships.

Step #4: Dividing up Books

I divided my books into different categories which became classes.

Wealth of the Nations, Larry Burkett’s economic books, and Communist Manifesto went into the economics class.

Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, and The Mysterious Affair at Styles went into British Literature.

Bondage Breaker, Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, and From Prison to Praise became part of a Christianity Basics course (God’s Girls 101: Grow in Christ and Real Men 101: Godly Manhood).

The Hidden Art of Homemaking became the foundation of my homemaking course.

Understanding the Times was the main book in our worldview class.

Soon all my books were divided up.

Step #5: Creating High School Classes Requires Creating Assignments

Next, I created assignments that were practical and cultivating academic and life skills.

  • Essays
  • Life Prep e.g. Apartment Project, Mother’s Helper, Change the Oil
  • Interviews to Articles
  • Book Club
  • Speeches

Step #6: Laying It Out for Quick Read & Check Off

Then I laid out the course for over a year and produced handy-dandy check-off sheets.

Step #7: EZ Folder Method

Overview of class, hours chart, and check-off /syllabus went into color-coded folders. Kids now could keep their own records for me. All work went into pockets.

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Examples: Classes I’ve Created

Create a High School Class like Economics, Finances, and Business by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like Who Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Class by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like American Literature & Research by Meredith Curtis Create a High School Class like Old Testament Survey Class by Meredith Curtis
Communications 101:Essays and Speeches High School Class Worldview Understanding the Times by Meredith Curtis God's Girls 101: Grow in Christ Real Men 101: Godly Manhood
God's Girls 104: Motherhood by Meredith Curtis Real Men 102: Freedom, Courtship, Marriage, & Family God's Girls 105: Homemaking by Meredith Curtis Real Men 103: Leadership

More Podcasts about Classes

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #106, 7 Reasons I Teach Newspaper Reporting In Middle School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #096, How I Teach English in High School with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #090, Book Clubs Instead of Book Reports, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Finish Well Radio Badge, Podcast #060, 7 Benefits of Reading Classics

Living Books and Lifeschooling – Michelle Miller Howard

Living books and lifeschoolingToday we are talking to Michelle Miller Howard, author of TruthQuest History.

For over 20 years, Michelle has been a librarian, home-education consultant, author, columnist, and speaker, specializing in top-quality living books, educational vision, and history instruction.  It began in 1985, when she pioneered, funded, and acquired a library of such rare children’s literature, which has been thriving ever since; her Children’s Preservation Library (in Michigan) now houses over 20,000 valuable volumes, serving patrons in several counties.  A second library, Living Learning Libraries, is underway in Florida, with plans for additional libraries, and thousands more rare books already acquired.

Michelle is considered a national leader/expert on living books libraries and literature, and helps others around the nation found and operate such libraries as well. She has also developed a massive database on specialized youth literature.  She is a regular contributing columnist to various national magazines and educational websites, as well as a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Michelle wrote the multiple award-winning TruthQuest History curriculum, which steers families through American and world history with deep, engaging, spiritually-probing commentary, and which embeds her vast knowledge of topic-specific living book recommendations throughout.

Here is what I asked Michelle on this episode:

  • So, you and I have never met personally, but we’ve interacted online as part of Rhea Perry’s Educating for Success group. I love all the books you recommend and you have so much knowledge in this area! Have you always loved books? Tell us why good books are so foundational to education.
  • What are some of your favorite books and how did you incorporate them into your homeschooling?
  • Tell us more about your homeschooling journey and how did you come to write TruthQuest History?
  • Is there anything in particular that helped shape your educational philosophy?
  • The definition of lifeschooling is “the individualized process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents primarily through real life experiences that happen within the context of your family’s unique situations and missions.” Is there a part of that definition that particularly speaks to you and share with us a bit more about how your family lifeschooled?
  • How did homeschooling strengthen your relationships with your children?
  • How did you fit homeschooling with your family’s unique situation and responsibilities?
  • Was your family ever tempted to quit homeschooling and how did you navigate through that time?
  • What are some of the gifts that you saw in your children and how did you tailor their education around the development of those gifts?

And that’s Life as a Lifeschooler! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode. Hope you’ll join us next time!

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!


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On the Importance of Reading Aloud to Your Children

Join Lindsey as she discusses the importance of reading aloud and gives some encouragement and ideas for the mom who may not be delighted at the idea of reading aloud to her children.Reading aloud to your children has a multitude of benefits for your family. Join Lindsey as she discusses the importance of reading aloud and gives some encouragement and ideas for the mom who may not be delighted at the idea of reading aloud to her children.












Helpful Links:

Making Narration FUN! A Free Printable Download: https://www.talkingmom2mom.com/2017/03/making-narration-fun.html

How to Read Slowly, by James Sire: http://amzn.to/2wcmCTb

Read Aloud Revival: Reading Aloud to Older Kids:  https://amongstlovelythings.com/1/

Nurturing Competent Communicators by Andrew Pudewa: http://iew.com/help-support/resources/mp3-resources/nurturing-competent-communicators

Logic of English: https://www.logicofenglish.com/


Talking Mom2Mom Links:

Talking Mom2Mom

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