Homeschooling High School
WHAT ARE YOUR TEEN’S EXPECTATIONS?
What are yours? Take some time to thoughtfully discuss this important decision and how it would work in family. Consider together the pros and cons of homeschooling through high school. Share the reasons you believe homeschooling is the best choice for him or her right now and together write down your vision and goals for the high school years.
CAN I REALLY TEACH HIGH SCHOOL–LEVEL COURSES?
Yes, you can! Depending on the curriculum you choose, most of the preparation may have been done for you. Teacher guides, CDs, DVDs and videos, lesson plans, unit studies, tests, and quizzes are available from most publishers. As alternatives to teaching high school courses yourself, you can hire a tutor, enlist the aid of another family member or a friend, use an online or video course, enroll in a distance learning course, sign up for a high school co-op class, or take advantage of dual enrollment.
No one is an expert in everything! In the subjects you feel shaky on, you can learn right along with your student. By providing an example of what it means to be an independent learner, you are teaching your teen lessons that will last the rest of his or her life.
IS THERE HELP AND SUPPORT AVAILABLE?
Absolutely! Many local and state homeschool organizations lend support to those teaching high schoolers. Classes and activities for homeschooled high school students are offered in many areas. On the Homeschooling Thru High School website (hslda.org/highschool), HSLDA has gathered a wide variety of resources to help you prepare for navigating the high school years. And be sure to read HSLDA’s Home School Court Report column, “Getting There,” which provides information and encouragement for those just beginning as well as those finishing the high school journey.
WHERE DO I FIND CURRICULUM?
Talk to veteran homeschooling parents in your area for tips. You can find many resources at state homeschool conferences, at curriculum fairs, in catalogs, in homeschooling magazines, and on the internet.
HOW DO I DEVELOP A 4-YEAR HIGH SCHOOL PLAN?
Your teen’s post–high school goals are the primary consideration when planning out a high school program—he may need your help in discovering his interests, skills, and possible future vocational goals. Most students fall into one of three main categories: college bound, not planning to attend college, or interested in applying to selective colleges.
To help you develop a four-year plan for high school, check out college entrance requirements and state high school graduation requirements.
WHAT ABOUT TRANSCRIPTS AND A DIPLOMA?
A transcript is a concise record of your student’s high school courses. Begin creating a transcript for your teen in 9th grade (or whenever he or she completes the first high school–level courses) and then simply add to the transcript upon completion of each high school year.
Simplify your recordkeeping by using software or a handbook such as The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield or Homeschooling High School by Jeanne Gowen Dennis.
A diploma is a document that bears record of the completion of a prescribed course of study. In most states, the homeschooling parent can award a diploma. HSLDA’s legal department has answered the most frequently asked questions regarding homeschool diplomas at hslda.org/highschool/diploma.asp.
HOW DO I TEACH HIGH SCHOOLERS ALONG WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN?
There are many ways to address this challenge. Try focusing on your younger students while your high schoolers are completing assignments, taking online courses, or attending classes outside the home. If your younger children take naps, use this time to give attention to older students. As time permits, enlist older students as teaching assistants for the younger children. Writing out assignments for each child the night before will give a smooth beginning to the day.
Depending on the maturity and academic level of your high schoolers, some subjects can be combined and taught to students in different grade levels at the same time. However, careful attention should be paid to maintaining high school–level work for the older students. As your high schooler progresses, one of your goals will be to inculcate ownership of his education. Under your guidance, and with prompting as necessary, he should grow in his ability to learn independently and handle researching, studying, and writing.
WHAT ABOUT COLLEGE?
The first wave of homeschool graduates has already proven itself in community colleges and universities across the nation. Many admissions officers are familiar with homeschooling, and some institutions even post their homeschool admission policies on their websites. Colleges want focused and motivated students who love learning.
With accurate transcripts, proper documentation of their high school experiences, and the appropriate college entrance test scores, homeschooled applicants are welcome at most post-secondary schools. A great way to maximize your student’s chances of acceptance is to visit college websites and check out their minimum high school credit requirements. Take these into consideration as you plan out your student’s high school program.
Homeschooled students also have many opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school through dual enrollment, distance learning, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests.