What Academic Subjects Should My High School Student Study? 

Most schools follow a scope and sequence to determine what subjects will be taught when. A scope and sequence lists the subjects generally taught at each grade level and the amount of time spent on each. Subjects can be further broken down into topics. 

Scope and sequences are determined by educational organizations (both federal and state), textbook publishers, and local schools. Educators often depend on state standards or No Child Left Behind to help them determine what subjects to teach and when. As a homeschool parent, you can refer to your state standards, your curriculum provider, resources such as World Book's Typical Course of Study, or create your own. Check your state homeschool laws for clarification as to what you can and cannot do.

You may have heard people talk about "holes" in a student's education. They usually mean that the child is missing some topic or subject that normally would have been taught by the student's current grade level. There is a lot of unnecessary fear in homeschoolers that their children will have "holes" in their education. What you need to keep in mind is that no one can study every subject and learn it well. Even in schools, they have to pick and choose from many possible subjects the ones on which they will focus. Sometimes they try to cover so many topics in one year that the child does not finish the course with an adequate understanding of the subject.

In homeschooling, most of us provide our students with a good basic education and then allow our students to pursue subjects in a particular field of interest or skill level of the child. We don't expect our children to learn every subject. We encourage our children to master the subjects most important for him or her. Therefore, rather than follow a predetermined scope and sequence, we create one of our own that is customized for the child. You can read more about this in the free Homeschooling - How to Get Started eBook.

Course Descriptions

In addition to typical classes in high school such as History, Science, and Math, there are plenty of other subjects your high school student might want to pursue. Some of these can be pursued as activities or extracurricular activities; other can be studied as elective credit courses. Here is a list of elective subjects your student might enjoy, along with a description.

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities are fun, but did you know that you can turn these credits into elective credit courses


Once you have created a plan of study (including required subjects, electives, and activities) for the year, it's time to start looking for curriculum and other resources to teach those subjects. Read through Choosing Curriculum for help.