2019-2020 Ninth Grade Curriculum Choices

One of my kids is starting high school this year. This post is about the 9th grade materials we are using this year. We are covering math, science, social studies, English, music, German, PE and health this year. The school district with which we review allows high-school-aged homeschoolers to choose either art or music, in case you are also a Maryland homeschooler and are wondering what happened to art. Foreign language is not a state requirement, but most colleges require it for admission. 

The links are for readers to easily check out what I am discussing if they are interested. There are no affiliate links and I am not paid for my reviews. 


Our math does not line up with the school year. We are in the middle of Introduction to Geometry from Art of Problem Solving. It is a carry-over from last year. We started it in the winter, after finishing Introduction to Algebra, which took us about a year and a half. Whenever we finish the geometry, I already have the Intermediate Algebra book sitting on the shelf.

I love, love, love Art of Problem Solving. As a former math teacher, I use the textbooks instead of the online classes. I actually work out all of the problems myself and I appreciate the different spin the authors put on concepts. The topics do not follow the same order as in most standard sequences of high school math texts, so the books do not neatly line up with Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, etc. However, that factor caused me to make peace with the fact that our courses are not going to line up with school years. I’ll just award the credit when the book is finished (or when I decide we have done enough of it.)


It took awhile for me to make a decision for this subject. Unfortunately, the secular science curriculum gold-standard Real Science Odyssey does not have a high school set of curriculum. We had already done its Biology 2 in 7th grade. I ended up deciding we would do Chemistry this year, also hoping that the high school science course that our community college offers would like up with our choice. I got lucky on that front. However, that course does not start until October and only runs for 8 weeks. There is a second part offered in the spring, which presumably would also be 8 weeks. Even though the class is 3 hours long (1 hour lecture and 2 hour lab) and probably has homework in between classes, I would hardly consider that a complete chemistry course. Therefore, I also bought Holt Modern Chemistry to use during the months before each course. I also got the online resource subscription offered through Rainbow Resources, so that I have the correct answers without having to relearn chemistry myself. The lab portion of our chemistry credit is being covered by the community college class in an actual chemistry lab with a trained professional, so I don’t need to try to buy and store chemicals. 

Social Studies

We did Pandia Press’ History Odyssey curriculum for the last two years. So, it was a natural progression to do one of their level 3 courses this year. We decided on American History. I bought the curriculum back in November during Pandia Press’ Black Friday sale. However, since then, that curriculum has been pulled off the market and is being revised due to out-dated content about pre-Columbian civilizations. The revised version has not come out yet.

We are still going ahead with the curriculum and looking to get the updated version whenever it comes out. However, knowing the deficiencies in the material, I was happy to stumble upon the video series 1491, that offered a free week of their content during the summer. So, we were able to learn about more updated historical findings about the peoples of the Americas and we are able to look at the bias expressed in the history curriculum.

Overall, I like the History Odyssey series because it weaves together history and literature, which make the history less dry and the literature more relevant. Therefore, this curriculum also functions as a large part of our English class covering both a variety of literature and writing assignments.


To round out the parts not covered by the history curriculum, I added Vocabulary Virtuoso and Editor in Chief Level 3 from The Critical Thinking Company. I consider expanding and working with vocabulary is important leading up to the college entrance exams. Vocabulary Virtuoso gives a list of around 10 words followed by 5-6 sets of exercises manipulating those terms in sentences. We had used the previous level of Editor in Chief which was in a computer program format. The level 3 is only available in a workbook, which I find better because the answer key is more accessible than it was in the program.

I may also add in an online writing class but I haven’t settled on one yet. I am considering the Songwriting class offered by Brave Writer if they offer it in other sessions. My son’s passion is music, so that class may offer another take on writing.


As just mentioned, this subject is my son’s focus. I only play a supporting role by driving him to piano lessons and losing sleep over what career options he has with music. He pretty much does his own thing by tinkering on the piano, drums, and various music apps. We may be adding drum lessons but I haven’t worked that out yet aside from looking up a local drumming school.


While foreign language is not required of homeschoolers in Maryland, it is often a college admissions requirement. We are using Ausblick 2 this year, which is a German as a Second Language curriculum used in German schools. As such, it is at a higher proficiency level than typical American high school German courses.

PE and Health

We have a Ninja Warrior/Parkour gym close by where my son has taken a homeschool class for the last two years. However, now he has aged out of that class. So, we are going to get him a membership and he can do evening classes and open gyms.

Our health class is always a hodge-podge of topics that come up in other subjects and issues I decide need to be learned about. A large part of the health curriculum this year will be Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths from The Great Courses. Other than that, there are some biochemistry topics in from the Chemistry book that are going to be thrown in.

I’ll update at the end of the year to offer reviews on how the year went with these materials.