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Engaging English Activities For Homeschooling High School: A Quick Guide

Every subject has its stereotypes, from the explosions in chemistry classrooms to the English teacher’s droning monologue. But there is no reason to stay stuck in boring made-for-tv versions of school and learning. Even if you truly did have a boring English class growing up, your children don’t have to. These English activities for homeschooling high school are amazing resources available to us today! 

Teaching High School English In Your Homeschool

Create a learning environment in your homeschool that visually encapsulates the wonder of the written word and the magic of storytelling.  High School English in your homeschool can come to life by infusing your studies with imagination, hands-on activities, and student-led learning. 

The Value Of Adding Art To English For High School Learning

I have long been a fan of interdisciplinary learning (AKA, unit studies!). When I taught in a traditional classroom, my students would write creative newsletters for history class, design advertisements for the school play using persuasive language, or create poems about math!

As a homeschool mom, I’ve loved adding art to all our subjects with the help of Nana’s wide range of video art lessons. We have used chalk pastel art to study birds, outer space, ancient history, and more. 

English is no exception! When students enter high school, there may be a tendency to isolate the academic subjects from each other. Yet art remains a wonderful way to explore and express knowledge and learning in the English classroom.

Through art, you can prove multi-sensory learning for your older student. Not only will they read a story, hear a story, and/or write a story, but they can also visualize the story through their drawings! 

by Erin, Hobbit Art Lesson

What better way to make the setting of the Shire come to life than by painting a Hobbit hole?

Or how can you show the poignant moment of the March family longing for their father to return from the war than by drawing Mrs. March reading one of her husband’s letters and imagining scenes of war? 

Literary concepts and storylines truly come alive when visualized. Students who may struggle to explain themselves in words, can share their understanding of a piece of literature through art! 

Engaging English Activities For Homeschooling High School

All aspects of storytelling can be expressed using the art lessons from You Are An Artist. Here are just a few ideas: 

Character Analysis: 

Explore characterization by drawing main characters. You can have a fine discussion of protagonist and antagonist while you draw. Or, compare main characters and secondary characters. Discuss character traits, flaws, and what makes a character a hero or a villain in the story. 

Read Little Women and draw Jo March. Discuss how the description of Jo in the novel is reflected in your drawing. How is Jo’s appearance similar to her personality? 

Draw Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Discuss how the author and the character are similar and different. I especially love how Nana draws Elizabeth alone by the cliff, instead of in a drawing room. Perhaps discuss how setting and character work together in this scene. 

English activities for homeschooling high school
Study the Excellent Literary Works of Jane Austen

Description and Setting: 

So many iconic settings of literature can be brought to mind with a single image. Like the lamppost of Narnia. Or the Hobbit door of The Shire. 

High schoolers can start with one of Nana’s lessons depicting story setting, like: 

Encourage students to find examples of setting description in the novel they’re reading to quote as captions below their drawings. This helps students learn to provide text evidence from their reading for what they just drew. 

As an extension, students could draw other scenes from their reading using what they’ve learned fro Nana’s lessons. 

Storyline, Plots, and Conflict: 

I especially love Nana’s Letter to Home Little Women lesson for discussing storyline. Not only does it depict setting (the March house), but it also captures the issues facing the March family in this novel. The conflict of living in genteel poverty during wartime is shown in the simple hearth setting. Enduring years without a father/husband because of war and all the politics of war is also revealed in the painting. We see so many touches of home life here to discuss how the plot of this story centered around home life in the March family. 

Homeschooling high school English comes to life with imagination, hands-on activities, and student-led learning. 

Going an An Adventure  with J. R. R. Tolkien is another lesson where plot is portrayed. The concept of “the journey” is illustrated in this scene. Young readers can discuss how the plot and conflict of this story centers around the Fellowship and their journey. You could also have a conversation about how each character shown adds to the conflict or plot. and the role of friendship in coming to a resolution. 

In addition to using these literature-based chalk pastel lessons to illustrate story elements and spark discussions, student can use their artwork in other ways: 

  • Cover art for reports and research papers. 
  • Storyboards to outline the narratives. 
  • Illustrations with favorite quotes as captions. 
  • Visual aid for oral presentations of their reading. 
English activities for homeschooling high school
by Erin, A Lord of the Rings Study to Rule Them All

Additional Resources For High School Homeschooling

Literature can quickly become boring if students don’t have creative outlets to express and share their learning. Students crave being actively engaged in the learning process. Small children show us this easily, because they uninhibitedly touch and grab and play with things while we try to teach them. But older students have learned to sit quietly. Quiet listening is a good skill but it can also mask a disengaged learner. 

Other subjects also benefit from an art connection.

History can be dry as dust unless you draw Presidents with Nana and hear various tidbits about each famous person. Or study ancient architecture like the pyramids, the Coliseum or medieval castlesCheck out these additional Chalk Pastel Ancient History ideas.

English activities for homeschooling high school

Nana has a long list of American History lessons. High schoolers might enjoy learning more about the Three Branches of Government or the Constitution with art! Check out 7 American History Homeschool Lessons.

Or create brilliantly illustrated scientific diagrams of cells and bacteria in Science class. Find loads of cell activity ideas with chalk pastels here.

Create an eye-catching deep dive study into Moon Missions complete with illustrations of each of the space shuttles. 

Geography becomes hands on with video art lessons on landmarks like Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal. These would pair wonderfully with some current event learning and mappingFor more Chalk Pastel Geography ideas, look here.

Discuss social movements like Suffrage and Civil Rights with Nana’s lessons. 

Truly, every academic subject can be enhanced by an art connection. Nana has given homeschool families nearly 800 different lessons in the You Are An Artist collection that can touch every subject imaginable!

Providing opportunities to engage all the senses via art expression creates a multi-sensory approach to studying English literature, and other subjects. These chalk pastel art lessons make time-honored stories come alive in fresh ways for your teen student. 

I highly recommend adding these English activities for homeschooling high school and for your other subjects. Your children will be delighted, and you will find yourself just wanting to add more and more chalk pastel to your week! 

English activities for homeschooling high school

Julie is a teacher, writer and homeschool mom. Her blog Happy Strong Home shares encouragement for cherishing children, enjoying motherhood, and growing strong families. Discover homeschool resources, natural living tips, and family activity ideas. Julie has been featured on Million Praying Moms, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and the Melissa and Doug blog. She offers writing workshops and a “homeschool neighborhood” community to support parents in their homeschool adventures. Find Julie on Instagram to be the first to know when new workshops and community events are available. 

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Study the Excellent Literary Works of Jane Austen for High School

Jane Austen for High School

If the title of this post excites you, you are my people! I absolutely love quality literature, and studying the great works of authoress Jane Austen can be a thrilling journey. Most importantly, we hope the voyage is just as compelling for our high school students. For that reason, we want to share with you resources and ideas that will help you and your children dive headfirst into the world of Jane Austen. 

Here are plenty of resources and ideas that will help your family dive headfirst into the world of Jane Austen for high school literature. #janeausten #homeschoolart #highschoolliterature #highschoolenglish

Why Study Jane Austen in High School 

Often, we choose literature about heroes, historical figures, and fantasy tales to study. But interestingly, Jane Austen wrote about ordinary people and everyday life, which can be a refreshing change to explore the beauty of regular people. Jane Austen conveys that there is beauty in the imperfection of people. That is definitely something worth discussing with our teens. Not everyone is destined for greatness, fame, and fortune; what we do in the everyday ordinariness of it all is what matters. This is also fundamental to helping our teens understand that good habits, being responsible, and daily life choices matter.

Jane Austen wrote the first draft of Sense and Sensibility at 19 years old and completed Pride and Prejudice in 1813 at just 21 years old. When I read that, I thought, “What am I doing with my life?” Ok, kidding! But seriously, what a remarkable feat to have written one of the most beloved romances of all time that young. But, actually, this is a wonderful tidbit of information to get your student excited about studying Jane Austen. I know it certainly piqued my daughter’s interest a bit more when she learned that fact. 

Here are plenty of resources and ideas that will help your family dive headfirst into the world of Jane Austen for high school literature. #janeausten #homeschoolart #highschoolliterature

Jane was also dedicated to her craft; our teens are at an age when they are honing in on their own talents and unique gifts. So studying a young person who was dedicated to an art can be inspiring for many high school teens. They should see examples of young people pursuing a craft and failing and continuing to pursue despite all else. That is precisely what Jane did. When you begin to learn more about her, you will see that she was not an overnight success. But more of a pursuer of her passion, and becoming a female novelist at that time was no easy task. 

Jane Austen for High School

Create Your Own Jane Austen Literature-Based Study 

Studying Jane Austen has multiple facets and lessons that you and your student can explore together. And here is a sample of topics that you can cover at the high school level. In addition to all that you can learn from studying Jane Austen, as a parent, you can appreciate that Jane Austen’s novels are wholesome reads. 

  • Explore Neoclassicism and Romanticism through Fine Arts: Another fantastic way to make your Jane Austen study well-rounded is to incorporate the fine arts of her novel’s time. Jane loved balls and dancing, that was a big part of her life, and she wrote about it frequently. Learning about the music and art that influenced so many of these novels and Austen’s movie adaptations is a great way to keep your study fun! We have a full-year high school level fine arts curriculum worth one credit and would parallel perfectly with her novels. You could also tour some art museums virtually; this is perfect if you are working towards a fine arts or visual arts credit in high school. 
  • Novelist Jane Austen: When you study Jane Austen, you explore one of the greatest writers in English history. You can research her life, history, and writing style as extensively as you like. However, it’s hard not to get lost in exploring the various avenues. To learn more about her style of writing, study her novel structure. Discuss with your teen what makes Jane Austen’s Novels timeless. Compare Austen to other authors of her time; what made her unique?
  • Literature Studies: Jane Austen completed six novels, so you have some great literature to choose from. Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. There is also Sanditon; it was unfinished at the time of her death. Many literature guides (and teacher guides) for high school can help you cover everything thoroughly if you are unsure about putting together your own literary study. Memoria Press, The Good and the Beautiful, and Progeny Press for Pride and Prejudice, to name a few. 
  • Extensive Vocabulary: The vocabulary in Pride and Prejudice is vast. Have your student go through and do a word study on particular words, make definition cards to practice, or create a vocab notebook. Every time your student comes across a new word, have them jot it down in their vocabulary notebook and write out the definition. 
  • Rank and Social Class: Learning more about the social ladder from previous time periods can be fascinating. Jane Austen’s novels concentrate on many characters’ social class and rank. You can dive into learning a lot about nineteenth-century English families and lifestyles in the Georgian period. The book What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool has so much information about daily life in ninetieth century England. (There may be a chapter or two that you will want to review ahead of your teen.)
  • Etiquette and Manners: This is another topic I find fascinating, and what a great topic to cover in the teen years. Our current culture has no emphasis on general manners and etiquette. It is ever so important to revisit basic things like dinner table manners, opening doors, and pulling out chairs. Many of our children are experiencing organized dances for the first time, such as prom. Learning to dance with a partner, practice dining together at a nice restaurant, or role-playing polite conversation would all be wonderful ways to help prepare them. 
  • Geography: Learn all about the United Kingdom, England, and the settings from Jane Austen’s novels. Sussex, Oxford, London, and Bath might be places to note.
  • Proper Tea: Have tea time at home and incorporate some proper tea etiquette or a few items from a traditional English tea menu. 
  • Additional Books: There is a Jane Austen Memoir you may want to include that was written by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh. You may also want to read the collection of Jane Austen’s left behind letters, hand-written by Jane herself. 
  • Writing Prompts or Essay Assignments: You can suggest many creative writing prompts or research-based essay assignments to accompany Jane Austen’s Novels. The options are endless! We include a few ideas to help you inside our I Drew It Then I Knew It Companion Guides, along with 5 Fast Facts about Jane Austen. Make sure you download your Companion Guide inside the Clubhouse! A membership will allow you access to all the I Drew It Then I Knew It Companion Guides and art lessons. (This is a fantastic investment for your homeschool!)
  • Movie Adaptations: The perfect study of anything has elements of fun! One way to keep this study fun and exciting is to pepper it with fine arts, art lessons, and movies! When my daughter and I complete a book, we enjoy watching various film adaptations and rate them together. It’s quite fun and requires more than a couple of movie nights. Another ideal option may be to host a Jane Austen book club or Jane Austen movie night for homeschool moms! We can’t let the kids have all the fun, can we? With so many Jane Austen books and movie adaptations, you can have fun with this for a while. 
  • Art: Yes, I have saved the best part for last! I highly recommend it! Adding art to your Jane Austen study for high school is another aspect that can perfectly round it out. The hands-on art projects will be enjoyable for your high school student and you, if you choose to join in. Below you can see these two Jane Austen art lessons that you won’t want to pass up!

Nana’s New Jane Austen Art Lessons Pair Perfectly 

Nana has done it again by capturing the simplicity of Jane Austen alongside the beauty! These two new lessons are perfect for tying into your studies, and we always enjoy quality literature and art together with tea time. 

Jane Austen for High School

Nana has created two Jane Austen art lessons that you and your students will love! One is this stunning Elizabeth Bennet art lesson; Lizzy is on a cliff contemplating her future. This scene also makes me think of my teen daughter or any teen for that matter. Their whole life is before them, and what shall they pursue?

Jane Austen for High School

Another splendid hands-on activity to incorporate into your study of Jane Austen for high school is this Pride and Prejudice art lesson. I am obsessed with the way Nana has approached drawing faces recently. I think the blank face style is so elegant. Plus, my daughter used to obsess about getting the faces just so. It looks very classic this way, and I don’t have to hear my daughter fuss about the perfection of the face. 

Don’t Be Intimidated to Teach Literature in High School 

The most important advice that I could give is to be teachable, relax, and enjoy it! You don’t have to know all the answers or have a degree in literature to teach Jane Austen. You can learn right alongside your teen! Sure, you will need to guide them, but everything can be learned, researched, and looked up. You and your teen can have a memorable time reading great literature together and studying all the exciting topics that stand out to you—this freedom in what you are learning and how is homeschooling at its finest. 

Jane Austen for High School

More English and Literature-Based Activities for High School 

Courtney is a Jesus-pursuing, native Texan, homeschool mom of three, and she believes homeschooling can be a peaceful and productive rhythm. At Grace, Grow & Edify she helps families create peaceful homeschooling atmospheres through faith, organizational strategies, and cultivating strong roots at home. She is also the founder of Homeschool Mastery Academy.

Courtney