Our Program

We serve homeschool students ages 4 to 16 through five divisions:

  • Explorers (ages 4/5)
  • Elementary (ages 5 to 11)
  • Junior Division Prep (ages 11/12)
  • Junior Division (ages 12 to 14)
  • High School (ages 14 and up).

Parents have the option of enrolling children in morning classes for one, two, or three days per week.  Students must reach the minimum age for the class on or before August 31.

Morning Courses:  The Big Picture

Explorers:  4/5 Year Olds

Inspired by Charlotte Mason, the British educator and philosopher, this class emphasizes Mason’s two main goals for early education:  good habits and good ideas.  Our young Deerstreamers learn and practice the good habits of students:  following classroom procedures, showing consideration for classmates and teachers, listening and contributing, helping take care of the classroom, and taking turns—all this in a warm environment where these skills are modeled and taught.  They are presented with a feast of good ideas:  Scripture, prayer, and poetry, the enjoyment of living books, nature study, open-ended materials, art and music, and plenty of free play.   It’s an atmosphere of joyous learning and discovery and connection with one another, while quietly laying the groundwork for academic skills to come. Explorers meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings.  Students can sign up for one or two mornings.

Elementary Program:  5-11 Year Olds

On Monday mornings, our elementary students have the opportunity to experience “Hands-on History”  History, culture, and geography will come alive as students engage in activities and projects incorporating art, music, dramatizations, literature, Scripture, and mapwork, too!

Offered on Wednesday and Thursday mornings (choose one), Elementary Division science classes are built around a thoughtfully sequenced science curriculum with a rich sampling of Life, Earth, and Physical science topics. Our approach to learning is both hands-on and interdisciplinary. Science is examined and taught through a range of activities and projects featuring art, music, poetry, nature studies, Scripture, and literature―all of which reinforce key scientific concepts.

On Monday and Thursday mornings (choose one), we offer an Elementary Writing class to 9-11-year-olds. In this lively and interactive course, students will engage in the writing process with their peers.  They’ll strengthen their writing mechanics, learn some helpful organizational strategies, and become good editors.   Through writing creative and nonfiction pieces, students will practice expressing their ideas with confidence through writing.

Junior Division Prep :  11/12 Year Olds

For our Junior Division Prep students, Monday morning classes feature instruction in English. Building upon writing fundamentals, students are taught to organize and express their thoughts in well-developed paragraphs with introductions and conclusions. Literature with an Eastern Cultures focus, beginning literary analysis, and lively class discussions round out the Junior Division Prep language arts course.

On Wednesday mornings,  Junior Division Prep students study Life Science.  Through labs and activities in class and independent study at home, 11/12 year olds embark on a more focused academic approach to science while still retaining the joy and hands-on nature of Deerstream’s courses.

Junior Division:  12-14 year olds

Junior Division students also study English on Monday mornings.  Featuring literature set in the Ancient and Medieval world, this course encourages students to continue their growth as astute readers of great literature.  They also take the next step as thoughtful writers, focusing on developing a clear writer’s voice and writing for a variety of purposes.

On Wednesday and Thursday mornings in 2024-25, Junior Division students will study Physical Science.  This course is offered in alternate years with Earth Science.  Students will gain an excellent foundation in chemistry and physics, and they will grow as curious and responsible students.

Math Courses:  11 and up

PreAlgebra  (ages 11 and up), Thursdays, 9:15-12:15; Optional mid-week Zoom 

 The aim ofPreAlgebra is to solidify the math skills gained in the elementary years and provide students with an excellent foundation for upper-level math.  Through teaching, practice, challenge, and creative math application, students will grow in basic skills and develop a growth-oriented mindset about math.  The Art of Problem Solving  PreAlgebra curriculum deviates from traditional approaches to math in that emphasizes the development of math concepts over just getting the right answer.  Students who are accustomed to lots of repetition of exercises will be challenged by the problem-based approach, but the joy of the “Aha!” moments and a deeper understanding of math are well worth the effort.

Algebra 1 (ages 12 and up), Thursdays, 9:15-12:15;  Optional mid-week Zoom 

Algebra is the foundation of higher-level math.  From the Saxon Algebra curriculum, “Students will develop the understanding they need to resolve more complex problems and functions with this step-by-step course. Covers topics including signed numbers, exponents, and roots; absolute value; equations and inequalities; scientific notation; unit conversions; polynomials; graphs; factoring; quadratic equations; direct and inverse variations; exponential growth; statistics; and probability.”  Algebra 1 is a high school-level course.  Students will be expected to complete homework throughout the week and will be graded.

Geometry (ages 13 and up), Wednesday AND Thursday afternoons, 1-2:15;  optional early week Zoom

Geometry will be offered on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 1-2:15.  Students must attend both days.  Geometry is a building block of higher-level mathematics and it is also a prerequisite for entry to the Durham Tech Middle College program.  From the Saxon Geometry curriculum, which is used in this course, “Geometry includes all topics in a high school geometry course, including perspective, space, and dimension associated with practical and axiomatic geometry. Students learn how to apply and calculate measurements of lengths, heights, circumference, areas, and volumes. Geometry introduces trigonometry and allows students to work with transformations. Students will use logic to create proofs and constructions and will work with key geometry theorems and proofs.”  Geometry is a high school level course.  Students will be expected to complete homework throughout the week and take initiative to ask questions and seek help as needed.  Grades will be assigned, and parents will be provided with a course description for the child’s transcript.

High School:  14 and up, 9th and 10th graders

On Mondays, Deerstream offers English  for 9th and 10th grade students.  The aim of this course is to help students learn to read great literature with insight and to write about it with clarity, organization, and style.  Students will spend significant time outside of class on reading and writing assignments and will come together for excellent instruction and stimulating conversation.

On Wednesday mornings, we offer high school science geared for 9th and 10th graders (and the occasional 11th grader) alternating years between biology and chemistry.  In 2024-25, we are offering Biology giving students an excellent foundation through this rigorous, college-preparatory course.  Class sessions will be devoted to lectures and labs, while weekly assignments will guide students through the study of chemistry.  Tests, quizzes, and lab reports will be assigned.

On Thursday mornings in 2024-25, we will offer World History for high schoolers. This course is a study of the origins, development, structure, and functions of the American national government. Topics include the purpose of government; the foundations of American government; federalism; the three branches of government, including the bureaucracy; the tradition of civil rights and liberties; political participation and behavior; policy formation; and foreign relations. Upon completion, students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts and participatory processes of the American political system. Basic concepts of North Carolina state and local governments and their relationships with the federal government are also examined.  For text, this course will emphasize the use of primary sources and historical case studies.   Students will also use a traditional high school civics text, Magruder’s American Government, for background information and reference.

The course will not be partisan in nature; rather, students will be encouraged to employ historical study, critical thinking, and political analysis to become more educated and thoughtful citizens.  They’ll begin the journey of considering how their faith impacts their participation in the public square. As with all our upper-level classes, students in this for-credit high school course are responsible to read, study, and write between class sessions.  In class, they’ll synthesize information through lecture, interactive group projects and class discussions.

Afternoon Programs

Our program also features an array of afternoon class options: Café and Play gives students an opportunity to socialize as they enjoy lunch with other Deerstream friends while afternoon enrichment classes offer students myriad hands-on learning opportunities. Our afternoon course listing changes each semester; learn more about our current afternoon enrichment classes.

Engaging minds, connecting hearts

We’d love to share with you what makes our program so special.