What You Need to Know Before Homeschooling High School
Congratulations on your decision to homeschool – or continue to homeschool – your high school student! We all know it’s a life-changing journey, but it’s also a decision that can be fraught with insecurities. Those of us who have chosen to homeschool through high school have realized that attending a public or private school isn’t the best choice for our kids, and we’re willing to make it happen at home!
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re ready to embark on the path toward educational freedom for your teenager. Here’s what you need to know going into this high school year.
You’re Not in this Alone!
As with any aspect of parenting, there will be plenty of ups and downs. It’s important to keep the big picture in mind when you feel overwhelmed. We’re not homeschooling because we’re a perfect teacher or a perfect parent — we’re homeschooling because it’s the best solution for our family. Sometimes, in the course of a hectic day or week we will forget this, which is why it’s important to find support within our community.
Regional and state-wide homeschooling support groups can be found all over the United States. You can also find homeschooling parents within your church or local community. If you’re still feeling isolated, online homeschooling support groups can be found on Facebook or websites like The Homeschool Lounge.
Planning is Key
Homeschooling through the high school years is totally different from the elementary and middle school years. Most high school students are ready to be challenged academically and are even able to complete college course work to get ahead. Teens are also able to work independently and have more say in their educational path.
How you get started with homeschooling in high school will depend a lot on whether you’ve homeschooled before or if you’re just starting out. If you’re brand new to homeschooling, check out this amazing list of resources from The Homeschool Mom.
For the rest of you, here are some great tips for beginning to homeschool high school:
Determine your homeschool requirements for your teen. Your personal homeschooling style, state regulations, and the individual needs and interests of your student will help determine what subjects you need to teach and when. If your student is college bound, we also recommend that they earn dual credits in core academic subjects each year.
Make a homeschool plan. Once you’ve determined what subjects your teen will be studying, you’ll need a plan to make sure it happens. Chart out what you hope to accomplish in your first year of homeschooling, as well as the following years. Be sure to make note of what types of records you need to keep, how you will track your teen’s progress, and how you plan to meet your educational goals. We’ve created a free four-year homeschool plan template that you can download to help you get started.
Research curricula and resources to accomplish your educational goals. Just because you’re homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to teach every subject yourself. Don’t be afraid to outsource. Depending on where you live, you’ll find a variety of resources, activities, classes, and homeschool co-ops nearby. Your teen can also take advantage of online resources from anywhere in the country.
You Have Options
When it comes to homeschooling through the high school years, you’ve got a lot of options. Homeschooling in high school is an acceptable and respected alternative to a traditional education.
Here are some ideas for developing your homeschool plan.
Write your own lesson plans. Some parents love writing lesson plans, especially in subjects they excel in. If you have a passion for planning lessons, or you’re excited about teaching a certain subject, you’ll probably have a lot of fun ordering books, creating assignments, and planning field trips and projects.
Homeschooling with a packaged curriculum. There’s a huge variety of curricula available for every subject under the sun. You can choose from programs that provide books and lesson plans in every subject, or you can mix and match curricula to meet your student’s needs. Because there are so many choices available, it might be helpful to read curriculum reviews before deciding what to buy.
Using online classes or a virtual high school. Virtual high schools and online classes are available in every state. Some are funded through the public school system, while others have been developed specifically for homeschoolers. Virtual high schools are a good choice for students who work well independently.
Take advantage of community resources. As a homeschooling parent, you will become an expert at finding opportunities within your community. From conversational Spanish at the local college, to sports, music, and volunteer opportunities, there are academic and extracurricular activities available in every town and city across America. Your homeschool support group is a great place to start when looking for resources.
Earn Dual Credit at Home. Dual Credit at Home is a unique program, providing a complete set of Study Plans for teens who want to earn college credits for subjects they’re studying in high school. Students prepare for 13 college-level exams in core subjects, enabling them to earn both high school and college credits for their efforts. This program is used by students pursuing traditional college degrees after high school and also students that are earning their degrees during high school. You can learn more by downloading our free e-book, The Dual Credit Secret: How Dual Credit at Home can Help Your Teen Earn an Accredited Bachelor’s Degree during High School.
The benefit of homeschooling through the high school years is that we can completely customize our teen’s educational plans to fit their unique interests, personality, and schedule. We can mix and match resources, classes, and activities to develop an individualized learning plan that is perfect for our family.
The high school years are a beautiful time of growth and discovery for our teens. By choosing to homeschool through high school, we’re helping our teenagers take charge of their own education and journey toward success, independence, and happiness. Let’s take advantage of these four years to provide not just a high school education for our teenagers, but an intentional and prepared start to the rest of their lives.