My Daughter’s Choice- Our Approach to Unschooling High School

Devin has chosen to continue learning in a more schoolish way.


     Up until now, I really haven’t mentioned my daughter, Devin, much in my unschooling posts. This is because her approach to unschooling is very different from the free-form learning of her siblings.
     While my other children are free to pursue their interests in whatever manner they choose, Devin has chosen to continue learning in a more schoolish way. Despite, this fact, I still feel confident calling her an unschooler because this is completely her choice. In all honesty, though, how much are labels actually worth anyway?


     There are two reasons she’s opted to learn this way.

– She was in public school longer than any of her other siblings, with exception to Brendan(20). Because of this, she’s just grown accustomed to the routine and is more comfortable this way.

– She plans to go to college, so she has chosen to go through an accredited diploma program, which is extremely vigorous. We’ve researched the other options for high school diplomas. She’s not interested in a GED and the stories about parent-issued diplomas often needing lawyer backing have scared us off that route.

     So what does she do? I’ll break it down into subjects, as the state will.

English- lots of reading- she’s quite the bookworm
             – Grammar and writing through BJU Press- she only does this twice a week since the diploma program only requires that 1/4 of the book is completed
            – Composition and Speech- another requirement is to write four compositions, one being 2500 words long, and she has to write and present a speech

Algebra- she’s using Lifepac this year, completing two pages per day; she doesn’t like this curriculum, but I don’t think she’d like any algebra curriculum

History- Streams of Civilization– I don’t follow the lesson plan. She reads this pretty much as a story and completes a project for each chapter. She usually chooses projects with an accent on art, one of her loves.

Life Science- again, Lifepac, which isn’t very exciting. She wants to continue on with this until next year, when we’ll use something different

Greek Mythology- D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths– she really enjoys the stories and artwork in this. She also completes the accompanying workbook. She’s always been interested in this subject.

Flash Animation- she takes a class for this at the local art school

Photography- she’s using a homeschool photography course in which she will email photos from shooting assignments to a photography teacher who will grade them.



     Subjects such as consumer science, health, art, music, and physical education are all subjects that just happen naturally.

– Household duties are completed daily.
– Health issues often come up in normal conversation, along with the health issues addressed in doctor visits and everyday personal hygiene.
– She loves to draw, is teaching herself how to play the guitar, researches her favorite bands daily, and she loves to go for walks. She also plays games in the gym during youth group, although this isn’t her favorite thing.

     So this is what her typical day looks like. Structured, but flexible, which is what she wants and needs.

How do you homeschool high school?

Linking up with
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Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

10 thoughts on “My Daughter’s Choice- Our Approach to Unschooling High School”

  1. Thank you for linking up with us at Finishing Strong! I love how you include your daughter’s more book style learning as unschooling because that was her choice. I often find the definition of unschooling to trip people up and I agree that the child’s choice and direction is the most important in that definition.


    1. I find that the definition of unschooling has evolved since it was originally used by John Holt, who came up with the term. I found this on “Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it.” Sums it up beautifully, I think.


  2. I found this by typing in ‘unschooling high school’. My daughter is only in 8th but she has a very similar approach to school. We unschool but she is very focused and what she needs to graduate. She loves everything except Algebra but she knows she needs it. I laughed at the ‘researches her favorite bands daily’. Keilee does the same thing. And then tells me every fact and asks me to listen to every song. Great post. 🙂


  3. Hi. What diploma program did your daughter use? Thanks, I love this article. Looking into unschooling for my 10th grade daughter.


    1. We do not use a diploma program because PA recently passed a law giving equal weight to parent-issued diplomas that are signed by our homeschool evaluator, so that’s the route we’ve decided to take. 🙂


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