High School at Home

So, you're thinking about home schooling a high school student. Maybe you?ve been home schooling since the beginning—maybe you're pulling a teen out of school to start the home education adventure for the first time.

Relax! The area around Ann Arbor is a wonderful place to home school. Many families in our area home educate their children; many have been doing so for twenty-five years or more, and have graduated stellar students who have gone on to succeed in colleges and in their careers. The educational climate here is open, exciting, and even groundbreaking.

Before you take a look at the various ways people get from “A” to “D” (diploma), we want to assure you that home schooling is entirely legal in Michigan. Families operating under the “home school statute” in our state are not required to register with the state or district, pass any particular tests, or have their curricula approved by an education official. You don?t even need to follow Michigan?s graduation requirements! (Go to http://www.hslda.org to check out HSLDA – an organization dedicated to protecting the legal rights of home schoolers in all fifty states of the US. You can find state-specific information on their website, as well as a wealth of information and resources for your home school; of particular note is their transcript and record-keeping information. We highly recommend membership in this organization.)

Even though Michigan takes a hands-off approach to homeschoolers, if your plan is to move your teens on to a four-year university, you will want to structure your course of study to reflect the courses and credits that most universities expect to find on a transcript. You can get information on the graduation requirements in Michigan on the State of Michigan website.

Our organization, The Home School Connection, is a cooperative organization with a mission to support families choosing to home educate their children through high school. We are the largest group serving high school students in the Washtenaw County area, drawing families from more than an hour away in all directions. As such, we receive requests every year from people like you, people considering high school at home for the first time. To assist you and your friends, we've created the following resource outlining the various ways people “home school” in our area: everything from the stereotypical family schoolhouse to programs that are actually alternative high schools rather than “home schools.” Although not exhaustive, each entry on the chart gives you essential vital statistics. If you would like contact info for people who have actually “been there and done that,” you can contact us via info@washtenawhsc.org. We hope that this will help you launch out in the right direction. Bon voyage!

Home-Centered Edcucation

Note: the chart progresses from the most home-centered education to the least

School StyleAdvantagesDisadvantagesResources/ProgramsTranscript TypeCost
High School at HomeParents have total control over environment; strong opportunity to create a family culture, impart values

Can flex or change curriculum as needed, any time
Hard work!

Parents may have limited knowledge or expertise in some areas that the student needs for future studies
General Overview/Why Homeschool
The Big Book of Home Schooling, Vol. IV (High School)

Some Complete Curricula
Sonlight Curriculum

Pick and Choose Materials
Rainbow Resource
HSLDA transcript information

Although usually not an issue, some universities will ask for extra validation for your home school transcript, like extra standardized tests
Can really vary based on where you buy curriculum and how much you supplement with other options (see the next three)
Home School Cooperative GroupsStrong home school community of like minded people

Can pick and choose classes to complement home curriculum

Parents as teachers are usually very invested and enthusiastic

“One-stop shopping” allows you to get a variety of enrichment and academic classes for students of all ages in one place on one day
Parents have to work and contribute to the co-op

No central coordination of curriculum can lead to inconsistency in quality of classes

Classes not accredited

Lose a day or two of home schooling – can be hard to coordinate with full curriculum

Cannot guarantee that the coop will offer all the classes you need or want every year; you may have to supplement with at-home, online, or other courses from other co-ops
Visit www.washtenawhsc.org and go to “Support Groups/Resources” to find cooperative groups in our areaHome transcript (see above).- Parents must transfer grades from outside teachers or give a grade when the teacher does notCo-op Membership lowers cost of classes
Professional classes / TutorsCan pick and choose classes to complement home curriculum

Ann Arbor area has a huge selection of resources!
Can be expensive

You don't get the same support from a community of learners that you get by joining a stable cooperative
Did you know that Ann Arbor residents can take electives for free at public schools? Contact your local school to find out how.

Visit www.washtenawhsc.org and go to “Support Groups/Resources” to find drop-off programs and tutors in our area

Don't forget community rec and ed classes!
Home transcript (see above).- Parents must transfer grades from outside teachersCost varies depending on program or tutor

An average tutoring cost is $35/hour
Online classesCan pick and choose classes to complement home curriculum

Students network with home schoolers nationally and even internationally
Some students do not keep up well with the independent learning requirements

Need someone who is technically minded to troubleshoot computer issues with the virtual classroom

Pennysylvania Homeschoolers offers AP classes online
The Potters School offers classes
K12offers online classes for student of all ages—can buy a whole grade or pick and choose; self-paced elementary through high school
Mizzouk k12 Online University of Missouri online classes
Home transcript (see above)-parents must transfer grades from outside teachers

Exception: AP test scores can be sent directly to universities for college credit
Price varies– check websites for examples
Umbrella Schools (Distance Learning)Parents get the support of teachers accredited in their subjects

Parents don't have to come up with curriculum, or figure out what is normally required at each grade level

Can be difficult to keep up with the outside school's deadlines

Hard to fit in other classes from your local community-these are pretty full-time; so can be isolating

Catholic classical education
Mother of Divine Grace
Transcript is “official” but watch out—some universities do not recognize these institutions as ?schools' and will still view your transcript as a “home school” transcriptPrice varies– check websites for examples Price varies with organization – check websites for examples
HighSchool-to-College programsTwo programs in our area, WTMC and ECA give you the opportunity to earn a high school diploma at the same time as you earn an associates degree and/or transferrable college credit.

One advantage of the program that many people appreciate is the guided transition from high school level work to college level work, with a complete course in “soft skills”
This is not really ?home school' – it's an alternative high school. Parents do not have control over curriculum and teachers.

Secular teachers teach from a non-Christian perspective and sometimes are hostile towards Christian views.

Students will need maturity to handle advanced level courses and college-type schedules

Blended environment with collegeage students can present social and moral challenges

Hard to switch back to traditional high school if it doesn't work out
Early College Alliance (EMU)
Washtenaw Technical Middle College
Official diploma accepted by universities without questionFree (public school)-application process includes alottery and some testing
Dual Enrollment (community college blend)Many students take classes at their local community colleges, earning college credit while fulfilling high school graduation requirementsRestrictions on the number of credits a minor student can take limit your options.

Most colleges have rules about ?double-dipping' and will not give you college credit for a course that earned you high school credit.

More bureaucratic hoops to jump through for minors and home schoolers can mean hassles– e.g proving you've met prerequisties
For Washtenaw County: Washtenaw Community College
Concordia University, Ann Arbor
You earn college credits for these classes, sometimes excepting those used for high school graduation requirements – send official transcript to transfer office of universityCost is per credit hour