High School Planning for James

My son officially starts high school this fall, and I’ve been developing a curriculum plan of sorts. He and I agreed we will need a lot more structure since he plans to attend a university. Since we’re a family of nerds, For Freshman English I proposed overlapping units on Science Fiction and Fantasy and Dystopian Literature/Film, complemented by Ancient/Medieval History for a social studies credit. My tentative plan, which James has agreed to …


Freshman Year

1. Computer — His career goal is to be a video game creator, and he has set a goal for himself to learn Java and create an indie game. My role is just to offer encouragement and support, including books or a tutor if he decides he needs it.

2. Math — Resource: Khan Academy —

3. Science: Biology — Resource: Khan Academy Biology

4. English: To include books, movies, and other media and weekly writing assignments.

First Semester: Science Fiction/Fantasy — Possible Resources:

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  3. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  4. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  5. “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury
  6. “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov and its film adaptation directed by Alex Proyas
  7. something by Robert Heinlein
  8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (and movie adaptations, as they’re released)
  9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  10. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jone
  11. The “Earthsea” Trilogy by Ursula LeGuin
  12. The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemison — and other fantasy based on non-European cultures???
  13. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  14. “The Game of Thrones” HBO Series

Second Semester: Dystopian Literature and Film — Possible Resources:

  1. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  2. 1984 by George Orwell
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  4. The Hunger Games and sequels by Suzanne Collins
  5. “The Minority Report” by Philip K. Dick and film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg
  6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and its “neo noir” film adaptation, Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott
  7. “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut
  8. The Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; would the film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick be too brutal for a 15-year-old?
  9. The Last Book in the Universe (2000) by Rodman Philbrick (cyberpunk dystopia)
  10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  11. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  12. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and its movie adaptation directed by Mark Romanek
  13. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Social Studies:

First Semester: Ancient and Medieval History (c 6000 A.D. – 1492) — Resources: TBD

Second Semester: Early American History (1492 – 1849) — Resource: The Great Courses — Early American History

6. German: Resource: Rosetta Stone

7. Art: TBD

Which of the books, movies, and other resources above do you like best? Any other suggestions?

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