Reading is a healthy activity for any age, but when it comes to teens, it might take some convincing to get them to read outside of their required class readings. One nice aspect of homeschooling your children is the chance you have to help them learn in a variety of ways: reading is one of those amazing avenues for learning! Reading is a great way for teens to experience life and learn hard lessons through the eyes of a character rather than having to go through life-altering circumstances themselves. Here is Northgate Academy’s list of five books every homeschool high school students should read. We’ve indicated with an asterisk* all books that are faith-based to help you gauge whether the book is appropriate for your teen.
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Date of original publication: 1971
Central Theme: God’s love is always there no matter how dark the shadows that fall over us.
Synopsis: Written by the author, this is the true story of the Ten Boom family and their journey of faith working on the Dutch Underground during World War II. Corrie retells her experiences watching God perform miracles and bolster her with strength to continue on from the invasion to her eventual release from a concentration camp. This book is full of heartwarming tales of family bonding, loyalty, and unconditional love; at the same time, your teen will be taken on a nail biting adventure of the Underground and life-threatening thrills and challenges.
Genre: Fiction; Satire
Date of original publication: 1942
Central Theme: Every person on earth is a soul for which Heven and Hell are constantly struggling.
Synopsis: Throughout this book, told from the point of view of the demon Screwtape, Lewis emphasizes that God uses our pain and suffering to bring us closer to Himself in an act of love for us. Through 31 letters written by Screwtape to his trainee Wormwood, the reader gets to see how human beings are tempted down a path of damnation. Because it is an inverted form of what you might expect (with God as the “enemy” and evil being represented as the ultimate goal), this book does a good job engaging the reader and helping your teen really think about the world they live in and the choices make.
Genre: Nonfiction; Inspirational self-help
Date of original publication: 2008
Central Theme: By resisting the cultural lies that limit your potential, you can “do had things.”
Synopsis: Written when the authors were only 18, this is a book written by teens for teens. It includes anecdotes, both serious and humorous; personal practical examples that teens can immediately apply to their lives; and the stories of other teens who have done “hard things.” The goal of this book is to show teens that they don’t have to wait until they are older to rise above mediocrity and live their lives at 100% both looking toward their future on earth as well as in Heaven.
Genre: Southern Gothic Fiction (dark and comedic elements)
Date of original publication: 1960
Central Theme: All people are composed of a mix of good and evil, and their choices determine which wins out over the other.
Synopsis: The plot of To Kill a Mockingbird has a lot going on. Set in a small town in Alabama, at it’s base the story is about the childhood life experiences and observations of the young girl Scout. Included in each event are tales of racism and prejudice alongside grace and kindness. Scout’s view of the world gives an innocent spin on difficult issues, while her father Atticus’s character shows the harder lines of the world they’re living in as he defends a black man accused of (but not guilty of) rape. The story includes unconventional friendships and the adventures of a young girl growing up in a small town from 1933 to 1935; the story is not at all graphic and focuses on some important lessons about human nature and the choices we have to treat others with love and kindness or let the hardness of the world turn us cold.
Genre: Fiction; Dystopian Society
Date of original publication: 1953
Central Theme: In a world where ignorance and conformity are the easy path, choose knowledge and individuality.
Synopsis: As a means of controlling the population, books are illegal. Guy Montag works as a book burning fireman in this oppressive society. He begins to question the government’s ideas about dangerous ideas, unhappy with the life he is living full of screens, sleeping pills, and an overmedicated population. These questions lead him on a journey of rebellion and adventure that will get your teen thinking about the world we live in now despite the fact that this book was written 70 years ago!
About Northgate Academy
If you’re not already a student at Northgate Academy but are interested in using our faith-based online high school program as an accredited choice for your Christian student or as a resource for homeschool coursework, you can check out our programs online. Every full time student at NGA is assigned an Academic Success Coach, can email their instructors with questions, reach out to staff through online chat and text, and has access to one-on-one tutoring through Train The Brain.
Still have questions? Feel free to send us a text at 763-412-4701 or call us at 800-339-7132. Our academic support team will be happy to answer your questions or help guide you to the best program for you or your child.