Our 9th grade year is underway finished. This year we didn’t start full days until September. We homeschool year round, not just the 186 days required by our state. Learning is always happening. We have a pretty loose daily schedule now that we are down to just the Underling on most days. As I compiled this list from our different notebooks (I have a notebook addiction) I became overwhelmed. It’s kind of funny, since this is what we are doing this year, but when I see it all in one place I feel like there is no way it can possibly be done in one year. This actually may explain how the notebook addiction was born. So let us be clear here. We don’t do every assignment from the text books. We don’t do most tests, I don’t find them relevant to our goals. Sometimes we skip whole chapters or only use bits and pieces of a book. Since it is high school, each subject needs to have 120-180 hours of instruction and learning to be considered one credit. At first glance this seems overwhelming, but given there are 365 days in a year, it is manageable.

The Underling has a heavy hand in picking most of the curriculum, book lists, outside classes, clubs, and projects. By this I mean that we printed the state requirements for high school and came up with ideas to meet the requirements. We belong to a homeschool co-op. This year the Underling is taking drama and ancient world history. We started Swedish earlier this fall, but it seems to have fallen into ‘hobby’ category more than something that will count for a full or half credit. For P.E. he sword fights (not fencing, it’s medieval sword fighting) and swims. Below is our course of study for 2016-2017–the Underling’s first year of high school. We continue to have morning readings each morning to start our day with reading and discussion (UPDATE: the Underling became a night owl this year, so we conducted morning reading when he woke up in the afternoons). Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Language Arts

    • Cover Story for writing and grammar.  We are loving this program. My only regret is that I didn’t start it last year. We use the online videos versus the DVD format; they are the same except the online version allows us to take it school on the road easier. We continue to use Story of English as a reference for spelling and grammar rules.
    •  The Underling is definitely interested in exploring more creative writing so we will mix in 50 Creative Writing Prompts throughout the year. I can’t say that we will complete this book or do more than a handful of exercises. We were looking for something that had very open story starters and this book fit that bill. UPDATE: We did three of these. Cover Story was pretty writing intensive on it’s own.
    • The Iliad of Homer (Richmond Lattimore’s translation is my favorite) will be read for both language arts and history this year.
    • We will read at least two plays by Euripides. Most likely they will be Heracles and Medea, but ultimately I will let the Underling decide which two. It is most likely that in the spring we will add another Greek playwright as well. We read Sophocles’ Oedipus RexUnrestrained Homeschooling
    • The Myths of Greece and Rome (Anthropology & Folklore S) by H.A. Guerber. Like the Iliad, the Underling will read this for both language arts and history. UPDATE: He also decided to take the National Mythology Exam this year.
    • Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw The Underling found this exceptionally boring, so it got dropped quickly.
    • Shakespeare’s Hamlet (No Fear Shakespeare). Sparknotes has a free version of this online, along with summaries and analysis. The thing I love about No Fear Shakespeare is it has the original Shakespeare and a modern translation side by side. The Underlings is taking a drama class at our homeschool co-op. They are performing Hamlet in the spring, so this seemed like an easy choice.
    • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was chosen from a book list I provided the Underling this year.
    • He will read Inherit the Wind: The Powerful Drama of the Greatest Courtroom Clash of the Century by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee for language arts and science this year. This has moved to another year. We will most likely read it when studying biology.
    • In the spring the Underling will choose a genre of literature to explore. Our goal is to read two to four books in that genre and discuss the books and their contribution to the overall genre. UPDATE: He picked nonfiction. He is interested in real estate and the stock market now, so the first book was Ninja Selling by Larry Kendall.


    • UPDATE: We ditched this book in chapter 3. We switched to engineering and STEAM projects I cobbled together a program based on his interests. We managed to put together 150 hours of course work and experiments. I left portions of this section uncrossed out because Abe Books is a great resource for used books and if you are looking for science textbooks, Prentice Hall is a thorough choice. This year we are studying Earth Science. (The Underling chose Prentice Hall’s Earth Science textbook. I bought the student textbook, teachers book, lab book, and workbook with the corresponding teacher workbook from Abe Books for under $100. Abe Books is my favorite place to purchase science curriculum; I always get great discounts. The books are used (the description details the condition of each book). The key is to make sure all your student editions match the teachers editions (let’s not discuss why I know this is important). Though I’m not a fan for textbooks overall, I do like most of Prentice Hall’s science books for upper middle school and high school science. We are pairing this set with Introductory Earth Science Classroom Rocks and Minerals Collection for some lab experiments).  Unrestrained Homeschooling
    • The Underling will also make a geology cake (as a science project and his culinary skills elective). To see the details on how to make and assemble the geology cake, check out The Scientific Mom Blog.
    • We are huge fans of the NASA app. They make apps for every device. There are articles, pictures, and videos galore, so we will easily find things to fold into our study.
    • We will use the SkyView app to explore the night sky.
    • In February we will participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count UPDATE: we moved the country and live on a handful of acres now. This once easy and enjoyable activity became a bit overwhelming early on.
    • In the spring we will participate in the EarthEcho Water Challenge. UPDATE: I fell in a small pond trying to get a water sample for a friend’s science class in early spring.This unfortunate event led to this activity effectively being cancelled before it even got started. No way was I getting near that pond again. Maybe ever.


    • This year our main spine is Math U See Algebra. I continue to love this curriculum. We use the online videos instead of the DVDs. They have the same content, but the online videos allow us to travel easily.
    • Math for Love Prime Climb game.
    • I’ve written a separate post about our math studies this year. You can find it here.

Geography and HistoryUnrestrained Homeschooling

        • The first two items are about cultural geography in general because the Underling enjoys the subject and I think it is important enough to include in our schedule regardless of what time period we are studying. I am hoping to add Passport To Culture® Game into our regular rotation. The Underling will continue to play the Stack the Countries app.
        • We use Knowledge Quest Map Trek for the Ancient World this year for geography. I love Knowledge Quest maps and timeline apps. Wonders of Old Ancient Timeline is only for ios I believe.
        • I don’t know of any ancient history board games that play in twenty minutes or less. UPDATE: I found this game Thebes (pictured below). We adapted the rules for quick play choices. We play 7 Wonders, which has a ancient history feel, but doesn’t really teach specific facts. We will play Timeline Historical Events Card Game. It involves history from the beginning of time to modern history, so it isn’t specifically just ancient history either (but it does hit the world history marker). Thebes | Unrestrained Homeschooling
        • The main spine for history this year is The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer. UPDATE: We hated this book. I do not recommend it at all. There are so many better ways to explore ancient history. We both found some of the content a little too explicit.
        • We’ll read the entire most of the Iliad and a few select chapters in The Odyssey and the Aeneid
        • The Chi’lin Purse: A Collection of Ancient Chinese Stories by Linda Fang is a children’s book, but I find you are never to old for a good children’s book. I think this is especially true when the reading list involves a lot of difficult primary source reading. UPDATE: This book is awesome. Most of the stories were really interesting.
        • The Book of Esther, Maccabees I and II from the Bible (ok, we skimmed these)
        • Lives From Plutarch. This is the Modern American Edition of Twelve Lives. We will most likely read all of this book, but we’ll see. UPDATE: Read it all.
        • We will read sections of The Histories by Herodotus. This book is free online and there is a free version on Kindle. There is also an audible free version online that I highly recommend.
        • The Art of War by Sun Tzu is fairly short, so we will read it in its entirety. There is a free version online through the Literature Project.
        • We will read sections of Livy’s Early History of Rome. There is a free version online here.
        • The Nature of Things (Penguin Classics)Unrestrained Homeschooling  by Lucretius plays such a significant role in the Middle Ages that we will read it in its entirety. selections.
        • We will also read excerpts of Gilgamesh, the Rig Veda, and Plato as well as any relevant archaeology articles we come across.


  • Intro Logic and Reasoning. We will use The Art of the Argument curriculum. The set can be found here. I suspect this will amount to about 60 to 70 hours of coursework, so this will be a 1/2 credit class.  We moved this to the 10th grade plan.
  • Drama through co-op for a full credit hour. This year’s performance is Hamlet.
  • Culinary Skills. He is taking The Great Course’s Everyday Gourmet: Discovering the Lost Art of Cooking online class. We are adding some meal planning and preparing as a lab practical for this class. This should round it out to a 1/2 credit class. In the spring he will take a health and nutrition class for another 1/2 credit.  We turned this into a full credit class. The Underling now cooks all the lunches and over half of the dinners each week. He has read three different cook books and two books on cooking techniques. He has watched hours of YouTube videos on different cooking skills and recipes. He loves to cook!
  • Digital Media. The Underling loves all things video games and YouTube. This year he is taking an online class from JAM. Combined with a digital media arts class offered by the local art museum and a video editing workshop, this elective will round out to a full credit hour.

UPDATE: Relaxed homeschooling (quasi-unschooling) can be difficult to do when you have state standards, but it isn’t impossible. We had a lot of fun exploring the ancient Greeks and Hamlet this year. Algebra is not the Underling’s favorite it turns out. However, he stuck with it because he wants to get to Calculus. We hit some bumps in the road this year. It was my first year relaxed homeschooling high school and I traveled considerably more for work than I thought I would. The good news is that we both learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t. We are eagerly planning next year.

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