Homeschool High School Ocean Study

Last week I talked about how we do homeschool planning in this relaxed but Leadership Education-influenced homeschool. Now I’m sharing specifics about what we’ll be studying and the resources we plan to use.

homeschool oceanography curriculum

Before I start: Yes, Kathryn was 7th grade last year. But I’m considering this year high school because she’s capable of learning at that level. I’m not rushing her through and we haven’t decided when she’ll graduate — but if she’s doing the work, it doesn’t matter “grade” what we call it.

High school curriculum plans:

(or Transition to Scholar in Leadership Education terminology)

Kathryn’s biggest expressed interest was ocean study. Anything related to the sea, animals that live in it, identifying shells, and so on. At this point in her education, we discuss what she wants to study, then based on those topics I choose curricula with her input. I expect this topic to give us all kinds of science, of course, but also plenty of geography, history, and even literature.

“Oceanology” is my working title for this year because marine biology isn’t exactly an accurate description of it all. And because oceanology is fun to say.


I decided to use Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Marine Biology as our spine, but we’ll be relaxing it, not doing everything it calls for. Apologia’s high school level curriculum tends to be more structured than we like but it has great info and will be wonderful to use and build upon. {Expect a full review once we’re well into the homeschool year.}

ocean focused homeschool year

Seaside Naturalist is a lovely book that seems very Charlotte Mason in it’s approach. This is not hard-core marine biology but covers so many of the questions I’ve had about the sea.

I’ll have a number of other resources at the ready when she wants/needs them. A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore (there’s another one for the more southern Atlantic shore that I’d like to get, too); National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashells, and 101 Questions About the Seashore. Plus two lovely DK Eyewitness books: Seashore and Ocean.

Each year I create a literature list for Kathryn. I won’t be assigning these books at particular times but we have one dedicated bookshelf where they reside (and a different spot for any I borrow from the library as available) so Kathryn can read them whenever she likes, as long as she completes the stack before next summer. I keep a running list of these and any other books she reads as we go through the year so I can include them in my year-end summary.

This year’s booklist includes anything good I can find related in one way or another to the sea but of course she’ll be reading plenty of non-ocean books, too.

Ocean-themed literature:

We’ve already planned a field trip to the Georgia Aquarium to kick off the homeschool year, and a beach vacation later this year will give us other fun seaside field trips, including another aquarium we’ve never before visited. And I’ve been bookmarking relevant shows/movies to watch on Netflix throughout the year.

Follow my “oceanography” Pinterest board for marine biology and ocean study resources for all ages.

Follow Jamie Worley’s board oceanography on Pinterest.

Other subjects and resources:

Although Kathryn doesn’t love math, Teaching Textbooks is the program that seems to work best for her so we’re sticking with that. She’ll be doing Pre-Algebra this year. {Read my review of TT Math 5.}

We’ve watched enough How The States Got Their Shapes shows to know we like them, and now they’re on Amazon Instant Video (free for Amazon Prime members: yay!) so we’re planning to watch these for additional geography study.

For now, I’m simply requiring Kathryn to write something each week: a poem, a blog post, personal journaling, letters to her pen pal, or anything else. Later, either after the first of the year or possibly next homeschool year, I plan to have her do Fortuigence Essay Rock Star program for composition. {Read my full review.}

Once again we’ll use God’s World News magazine for current events.


Kathryn will continue Choi Kwang Do and may work on becoming certified as an assistant instructor. She has a number of other hobbies she plans to pursue (like knitting and crochet, of course, but others, too); I try to ensure she has the flexibility to change those up as time and interest allow.

Also read how I’m tying in plans for the younger two with Kathryn’s studies.


Visit the “not back-to-school” curriculum blog hop for more ideas!

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Your plan sounds awesome! Right now we are reading Island of the Blue Dolphins. We read Treasure Island and did not like it, I will be curious to see what you think. Perfect idea to plan a beach vacation in the middle of your studies, she will learn so much just by hanging out by and in the water. A couple of weeks ago, Jonah found a huge starfish – amazing creatures. Enjoy!


Oh my goodness, that literature list has some of my favorites from middle school and high school! That alone is going to make her year awesome.

Dawn @ The Momma Knows

That sounds like a GREAT plan for the year Jamie! I love the lit list! I have a book for you to add to her list, though. The Cay. I read it in 6th grade and my daughter read it in 7th. It’s a great book, about a boy who is blinded when he gets shipwrecked on an island in the Caribbean along with a man he doesn’t know, and a cat. Excellent book!


We’re going to start reading, “Island of the Blue Dolphins” next week. Penny loves sea animals and going to the Aquarium in Denver. Have fun!


Awesome, my 12y/o wants to be a marine bio. and I’m always on the lookout for ocean related learning. Have you seen this?

It uses this as a backbone for the lessons:


Wow! What a fantastic ocean study! I’m definitely going to check out the resources you listed above. We are reading Island of the Blue Dolphins this year, too. Last year we read a great book called Plastic Ahoy: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. OK, not the most uplifting topic, but very interesting and full of great photos. I also have a 7th grader who is doing high school work, so I’ll be really interested to keep up with your ideas and activities this year! Great post!


Wow – super exciting!


Be sure you check out the GA aquarium homeschool classes! We did these (repeatedly) last year and my child loved them. It’s an exceptional deal! They haven’t released this year’s schedule but sell-out is fast so I’m checking the site daily. 🙂


HI Jamie! I’ve always loved reading your blog. It really is a place that one can come and feel comfortable…literally like we’re sitting down and sharing in a cup of tea with you. 🙂 It’s been awhile since I’ve visited or blogged myself b/c I started back to school as well. Anyhow, your plans for Kathryn this year sound great, and I actually got some insight on how to structure my 8 and 6 year olds by reading today.

Have a great year!


Oops…also, we’re using Moving Beyond the Page this year! So excited!


Where do you go to get ideas for what books to use for literature? My kids range in ages , twins 5, girl 2nd grade, 5th grade boy, 14 yr old girl ..