Whether you have homeschooled your kids since the beginning, have entered the journey midway, or have just started, we can all to some extent say that homeschooling for high school can be intimidating. This is when you most certainly need answer keys for some subjects, keep track of a transcript, and guide your child through the last leg of their school years. It may take a little more pre-planning and effort, but it doesn’t have to be too daunting or “break the bank”. In addition, with some creativity, students won’t “miss out” on regular high school milestones or events. It can be provided in the homeschool world.
There are so many options these days for homeschoolers. No matter what your child’s interests are, there are ways to tap into real life experiences for them. The first thing is to determine what kind of a learner they are; whether it be, visual/spatial, auditory, verbal/linguistic, kinaesthetic/hands-on, logical, solitary, social/interpersonal, or some combination. There are a lot of charts and information that you can research pertaining to learning styles. Once you understand that, then you want to tap into their particular interests. Lastly, try to pair their learning styles with their interests and see them take off from there.
Make every opportunity for the interests they have to come to life. You will have more cooperation if they are pursuing what they like. Take advantage of the freedom to customize your child’s education. Now some people are thinking, “wait, hold-up, don’t they have to do things like Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Algebra, Geometry, World History and such?” My answer is, “Well, it depends”. If your child wants to be a doctor of sciences, it’s not a huge deal if they skip out on British Literature or if you have a child that wants to be an author of nonfiction, then not getting higher math down is not a factor. Depending on what they want to pursue there will be some classes required and ones that will look good on a transcript. There are certain requirements that are expected from colleges. Furthermore, there are many ways for these “boring” subjects to be approached in a captivating way. Ultimately, contact your local board of education to see if there are any requirements to be completed.
Once you get to know your child’s learning style(s) and interests, you are ready to hunt down options. Starting with a more traditional approach is taking a class either in person or online. Depending on your area, students can enroll in a class or two at the local high school or private school and still be considered homeschooled. Taking online classes through these or other institutions are also loosely considered to be homeschooled. In addition there are several local community colleges and universities that offer dual enrollment. This is when the student is earning credit for both high school and college at the same time. One class is credit towards college and also a credit on their high school transcript. It can save an enormous amount of money because usually you are charged only a fraction of the normal tuition price when registered as a high school student. There is also the option of taking classes at a technical or trade school as a homeschooler. This gives your child a more specific area to study if they have decided what trade they want to pursue.
There are several types of co-ops that meet in different areas for homeschool students to join and participate. Be sure to contact co-ops in early spring to ensure that you are included for the following school year, as many fill up fast and enrollment/registration is usually completely done by April or May. If you can, contact the teacher for each co-op class of interest and ask questions about their approach or teaching style. Make sure it is a good fit for your child. I know people (including my kids) that have experienced a mismatch. Usually the flexibility of co-ops can be tailored to your child’s education to fit them unlike other school institutions.
In all cases I would encourage you to keep in person or online classes to more of the student’s interest when you can because it is already a fascinating subject to them. The classes they have difficulty in or may not like could be more accepted or tolerated (maybe even come to like it) by your child if it was approached in an “out of the box” way.
An untraditional approach can be simply tapping into people you know in a certain career and arrange for your child to apprentice under them for a specific amount of time. Being mentored is so valuable. This gives your child real life experience as opposed to being at home or in a classroom most of the time. In some cases, your child can be compensated for working like a normal job as an internship. It is always a benefit when teenagers can earn their own cash!
Interest-based learning is taking a particular interest that your child has and then preparing all subjects through that lens. For example if the interest is cars, you can incorporate finance lessons into math by going through the steps of buying a car. A budgeting lesson can include percentages, interest rates, and insurance costs which will prepare them for adulthood. For science, students can study the physics of driving by learning the relationship between natural forces, friction, and traction. For history they can explore how certain car brands started, creating a timeline with other important historical events. For language arts, students can read about Henry Ford or Ferrari, then write a narrative paper. Helpful resources like www.teacherspayteachers.com have inexpensive lessons and unit studies at your disposal.
Personally, I was so intimidated by the thought of homeschooling my first child throughout high school, that it didn’t even happen. By the time my second child was ready, I was still intimidated, but took the leap of faith to homeschool for high school and I am so glad I did. For my daughter’s journey throughout high school we have been involved in co-ops where she has taken classes she is interested in and enrolled in a few online live classes. She has also been mentored, has little side jobs, traveled for field trips, has done traditional curriculum, and is now doing dual enrollment at the local community college. She is unsure of what she wants to do after high school, but we will continue to guide her through the transition after graduation and encourage her in all her interests and pursuits to hone in on a career field. Finally, I believe homeschooling for high school hasn’t been too intimidating or daunting after all, in fact, it has been very rewarding, much more so than I ever thought.
Overall, keep the method of homeschooling your teen varied and interesting for them, while facilitating their growth. Most of all, there have been many other parents, thankfully, that have successfully homeschooled their teen for high school. Lean on the shoulder of another that has gone before you. It will certainly help you navigate through this exciting time. Keep searching through social media, websites, Youtube or wherever you can find resources and opportunities for your homeschooling journey and take full advantage of them. Make the most of this important time in your child’s life.
Stay tuned, in part two of Homeschooling for High School……I will share more amazing options on how to make learning fun and engaging for your highschooler. In addition, I will help you sift through the record-keeping of your child’s transcript and give you information on how to make an academic plan.
I have compiled a few helpful resources for you to take a look at. They incorporate West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out and contact me.
Amy is a homeschooling mom of two for 10 years in West Virginia. She has been a part of various co-ops, has designed class content, and taught for three years. She is an enthusiastic advocate and supporter of homeschooling, offering consultations and resource recommendations to homeschool families. The most loved aspect of homeschooling is the flexibility and freedom it provides. She thoroughly enjoys the homeschool journey and all the creative ways to learn.