What do you learn in high school

What the High School Curriculum Covers

by All Star Staff

As a prospective secondary education teacher, you may be wondering exactly what classes you can expect to teach once you start your career-and what the course content of those classes will be. The answer is contained in your middle and high school curriculum.

While schools, districts and states all have varying standards, there are some general principles you can expect to find in virtually every secondary school curriculum. Read on to find out what kids are learning in secondary schools today.

Middle School Curriculum

With the relative youth of their students and the integrated approach they take toward education, middle schools have the flexibility to create effective teaching units that cross subject-matter barriers and help students learn across educational disciplines.

When they use this collaborative freedom to its fullest extent, teachers can carry out a middle school curriculum that engages young minds to explore subjects beyond the common terms of math, science, social studies, and English.

For example, an integrated middle school curriculum unit might explore both the students’ awareness of self-identity and the different types and levels of cultural awareness in different countries.

Elements of history, politics, religion and diversity could be discussed in social studies. Aspects of human development can be covered in both science and creative writing, and for additional perspective, art or drama could be studied and physical education could explore and test the new capabilities their growing bodies gain at that age.

If you are interested in working in a collaborative, team-focused environment and enjoy thinking outside the box of conventional subject-matter blocks, you might enjoy working within a middle school curriculum.

High School Curriculum

High schools in the U.S. serve our oldest secondary students in grades 9 through 12. Since high schools are rated based on test results (which can affect funding) and college admissions become critical as graduation approaches, high schools place a great deal of emphasis on academic performance.

Therefore, teachers have the opportunity to teach challenging, high level courses for college-bound students who take their studies seriously. At the same time, high schools also offer a wide variety of classes for students of all abilities and interests.

Because of this course variety, your high school curriculum can vary widely as well. As a teacher with a math endorsement, you might teach a class on consumer mathematics for those who struggle with the subject and follow it up with an advanced class in calculus, statistics or trigonometry.

If you have a history or social studies endorsement, you might be asked to teach world history, U.S. history, civics, or even sociology or economics.

Some of the most common required high school curriculum classes in the U.S. include the following:

  • Math: Four years – often includes algebra, geometry and trigonometry
  • English: Four years – covers classic and period literature, drama, research, and writing
  • Science: Three classes – often involves biology, chemistry and physics
  • History: Three classes – U. S. history, world history and civics are common requirements
  • Foreign Language: Two years (sometimes optional) – Spanish, French and German are long-standing offerings, but Japanese, Chinese and Russian are increasingly popular
  • Physical Education: Two years – can often be replaced by approved after-school activities
  • Computers: Two classes – typing, office programs and web standards are just a start
  • Health: One class – nutrition, disease, sexuality and first aid are often covered

Of course, these core classes just scratch the surface of high school offerings. Art, theater, public speaking and academic electives such as marine biology, geology, astronomy, statistics, poetry and psychology, as well as hands-on classes like driver’s training and wood shop all contribute to the wealth of classes you can teach as part of a comprehensive high school curriculum.

Preparation is Crucial

As any conscientious teacher knows, preparation is crucial to a good lesson plan. And the product of a year’s lesson plans is the high school curriculum that you teach.

So research different curricular variations and use all of your secondary curriculum knowledge to plan out which subjects and age-levels you would like to focus on in your career. Many schools offer specific degree programs that lead to specialized teacher certification that can help you get the job you want. For example, you can specialize in teaching science in high school or English in middle school.

Ready to Get Started?

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What Your Child Is Expected to Learn in High School | Learning and Thinking Differences

High school is a time of increasing independence — not just socially and emotionally, but academically too. High-schoolers have more choices about which classes they take and when. The goal is for them to graduate with the skills they need to be ready for college or a career.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which 45 states have adopted, are a set of defined expectations in reading, writing, language, listening and mathematics. They apply to kids grades K–12. The standards lay out the skills students need to learn each year in grade school and middle school.

High school skills are grouped together by topic or in two-year chunks. This allows for flexibility in class design. For example, in high school students might take a class that spans two school years, such as Global History 1 and Global History 2. By grouping the expected skills, teachers can be strategic about when they work on those skills throughout a course.

Learning to apply knowledge to real-life situations and becoming an independent thinker are important high school skills. To keep your child on track for graduation and beyond, here are some of the highlights of what your child is expected to learn in high school, according to the CCSS.

High school skills: English language arts and literacy

In high school, kids are expected to be critical readers and writers. They read classic works of literature like The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, and The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. They also read modern pieces like The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. They compare, contrast, and examine the different types of writing and look for common themes. They also focus more on historical texts like George Washington’s Farewell Address.

High school students’ writing focuses less on summarizing and more on providing thoughts and opinions about what they’ve read and learned. High-schoolers also work on editing and writing multiple drafts of reports and papers. The following activities are used to strengthen language and literacy in high school:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of figurative language and how it’s used in writing to give a text more than one meaning
  • Talk or write about what they read; support ideas and opinions using specific examples about the text (what’s explicitly stated in it and what’s implied)
  • Analyze the reasoning used in historical documents
  • Take a side or point of view on an issue; support it using reasoning, facts, and other evidence
  • Do short- and long-term research projects; present the information not only in writing, but also orally, with graphics or as a video presentation
  • Participate in group discussions by listening, presenting ideas, and responding to other people’s thoughts

High school skills: Mathematics

In high school, kids build on the skills they learned in middle school to gain a more in-depth understanding of algebra and geometry. They use math to solve real-world problems and start seeing how mathematical ideas connect to one another. Activities like these support high school math skills:

  • Create and solve math problems that have two or more unknown variables (such as 20 = + 5y) or that have multiple terms (such as 5xy + 2xy ‒ 7), using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • Understand the difference between correlation and causation
  • Recognize that math problems can be solved in more than one way
  • Use mathematical functions and formulas to describe the relationship between two numbers
  • Use probability to predict what will happen and to make sense of data
  • Prove mathematical statements (theorems) using formulas and statements that are known to be true

Keep in mind that all students struggle with learning from time to time. But if your child has been struggling for a while, it’s a good idea to consider speaking with the teachers. It’s never too early — or too late — to ask for extra help for your child. Classroom accommodations, apps, and other tools could make a big difference.

Key takeaways

  • High-schoolers learn math skills that help make sense of data.

  • Focusing on figurative language helps high-schoolers grasp more than one meaning in a text.

  • If your child is struggling, it’s never too early — or too late — to start asking for extra help.

    how to choose a profile of study in high school - Ucheba.ru

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    Home schooling in high school

    There are two ways to get secondary education in Russia:

    • in schools and other educational institutions,
    • outside of schools.

    Outside educational institutions The law provides for two forms: from grades 1 to 9 - family education, in grades 10-11 - self-education. This is sometimes referred to as homeschooling, as the learning process is transferred from the school walls to the home. However, it is important not to confuse home (or family) education with home schooling. The latter is a forced measure in diseases, and not a voluntary choice. School teachers come to the homeworker, while family members are free to choose their own program and tutors. nine0005

    How to switch schools in high school

    From the first to the ninth grade, the parents submit the notice to switch to family education. You can do this even in the middle of the school year. The decision to switch to home schooling in high school is largely based on the opinion of the child. But parental consent is required.

    Procedure for transition to self-education


    Collect family council

    Everyone involved in the decision should come together and weigh the pros and cons. If a teenager is the initiator, he or she needs to explain to adults why self-education is a good idea. Below we list the most common reasons for the transition, perhaps someone will recognize themselves in them.


    Solve legal issues

    Did the family council end with a positive verdict? Get down to business. To switch to self-education, you need to perform several actions:

    1. Notify education authorities . To do this, parents need to write an application.
    2. Drop out of your current school. Be prepared for possible pressure from teachers or administration. Unfortunately, self-education is still surrounded by myths and stereotypes. But the law is on your side.
    3. Select an educational institution for assessments. A homeschooler needs to enroll in an accredited school that has a license for educational activities in order to regularly take assessments. Choose a school with a comfortable certification schedule and send an application there. nine0088
    4. Sign the contract for their delivery. The agreement on the procedure for conducting attestations will determine the rights and obligations of the parties, the frequency and form of examinations for self-education. It is signed by the parents and the director of the educational organization. You can make your own contract.


    Organize study at home

    Self-education gives freedom of choice. You can take a ready-made program or develop your own. You can read textbooks and study with tutors, or you can connect an online school. You can go through the program of several classes at once in a year, or you can move forward slowly, sequentially. nine0005

    Criteria for choosing an online school for self-education:

    • Interests of a teenager. If a high school student already knows what he is going to take for the Unified State Examination and what direction to enter, it is important to find an online school that will provide high-quality training in order to study your favorite disciplines in depth and prepare for the Olympiads.
    • Teaching staff. It is better if the teachers are experts and specialists in their field. Thus, teachers from Moscow State University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Higher School of Economics, members of the jury of the All-Russian Olympiad, current experts of the OGE and the Unified State Examination teach at the Foxford External School. nine0088
    • Reviews. Find out what your friends and acquaintances say about the organization.

    Reasons for switching to self-education

    Children change the form of education in grades 10 and 11 for various reasons. Let's try to highlight the most common.


    If a student is too easy on the school curriculum, he begins to get bored in regular lessons. Decreased motivation and lost interest in learning. Family education will allow you to study your favorite subjects in depth, solve complex and interesting problems, and prepare for the Olympiads. If school is a burden and a teenager needs an individual approach, self-education is the ideal solution. nine0005

    Out-of-school hobbies

    Sometimes children become professional athletes at a young age or discover musical talents. At some point, it is already difficult for them to combine education in a public school, where on average they take 6-7 lessons a day, and competitions, rehearsals or concerts.

    Life abroad

    The family often moves or emigrates, but parents want their teenager to have a Russian certificate.

    Self-education or evening education - what to choose

    If a teenager does not like being in the 10th or 11th grade, in search of an alternative format, families often think about evening schools. They are intended for those who do not have time to study during the day. For example, a teenager earns extra money or devotes a lot of time to self-study in specialized subjects in order to enter a top university. Evening schools accept children over 15 years old, most often they teach a program of 10-11 grades.

    Differences between evening schools and self-education:

    • Evening school is not an independent form of education. Adolescents are in the contingent of the school, full-time, part-time or part-time.
    • The possibility of choosing a program, schedule, teachers is not implied - all this is set by the educational institution.
    • In fact, the main difference between such a school and a regular school is that the lessons take place in the afternoon.

    If a high school student needs more freedom, it is worth thinking about self-education. When a teenager switches to home schooling in grades 10-11, the responsibility for obtaining knowledge falls on him, while you can connect tutors or online schools. nine0005

    Benefits of home schooling in grades 10-11

    Here are some of the great benefits of home schooling in high school.

    Profile education

    Most high school students are already thinking about what profession to connect the future with, what subjects to take at the Unified State Examination and where to enter. Despite the fact that many mass schools have introduced specialized education and children are divided into classes depending on the direction (humanitarian, biochemical, physical and mathematical are the most popular), the effectiveness leaves much to be desired. Irina Fomicheva, the mother of a Foxford graduate, notes that even profile education in a regular school involves a lot of unnecessary subjects. I had to learn and pass useless disciplines, or vice versa - to sacrifice my loved ones. nine0005

    “At school, the opportunities for building an individual trajectory are extremely limited. Do you like physics and biology? Sorry, I'll have to choose: fizmat or chembio. Do you spend three hours a day at the gym and swimming pool? And no one canceled physical education lessons. Do you want to devote more time to scientific projects? Please, but every year you have to spend 35 hours on life safety and 35 more on studying your native land, technology, drawing (underline as necessary).

    Foxford Externat has developed six individual educational routes. A child can acquire knowledge precisely in those areas where he has the inclinations and interest. And if preferences have not yet been formed, a test and consultation with a specialist will help you choose a training profile. nine0005

    At the moment, there are six routes in the Foxford home online school:

    • mathematical,
    • natural science,
    • technological,
    • physics and mathematics,
    • social and humanitarian.

    Saving time

    Who better than high school students who want to have time to prepare brilliantly for the Unified State Examination and enter a top university, knows the value of time. In a public school, time is taken away not only by useless subjects, but also by bureaucratic formalities. For example, obligatory events and rulers in the assembly hall or disciplinary notations addressed to someone. nine0005

    Flexible schedule

    A teenager can set a convenient schedule and choose when to devote time to self-education. Perhaps it is difficult for him to get up before ten in the morning, or part of the day is taken up by part-time work.

    Freedom of choice

    In an ordinary school, children are accustomed to follow the lead and study exclusively according to the model that sets the format of traditional education. In self-education, parents and the child are free to choose everything on their own - not only the schedule, but also the curriculum, manuals, additional resources, courses. The main thing is to successfully pass certification. nine0005


    If a teenager is ambitious, wants to enter a top university, score enough points for the budget or write an Olympiad, self-education will provide the necessary tools. For example, individual routes in the Foxford Externat include preparation for prestigious Olympiads (Vseros, Lomonosov, the Mendeleev Competition, Phystech and others).

    Many students who study the school curriculum at home plan to enter or have already entered the leading Russian universities - Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow State Technical University. N. E. Bauman, Moscow State University, Higher School of Economics. Children who choose to study on their own are most often focused on the result. They understand that everything depends on their contribution and efforts. nine0005



    Self-education in the 10th grade

    The peculiarity of the transition to home schooling in the 10th grade is that it is a pre-examination class.

    In high school, it is recommended to immediately start preparing for the exam. It is advisable to decide on the items for delivery in the fall in order to focus on them. You can carry out basic training at home schooling in the 10th grade. All that remains at 11 is to learn new topics, which are usually few, and repeat all the previous materials. This practice is used in the "Foxford External": the 10th grade programs are often more voluminous. This allows you to unload the graduation year. nine0005

    Self-education in grade 11

    If a high school student wants to switch to home schooling, this must be done before applying for the exam. If a teenager has already signed up for the USE as a school student, there may be difficulties with the transition to family education in the 11th grade: in order to write the USE, those who are self-educated must first attach to the school, and then apply for passing the exam as an external student.

    Learn more