Even if your kids are still quite young, chances are that someone has asked you if you plan to homeschool all the way through high school. You’ve probably asked yourself that question! The prospect of homeschooling through the high school years can cause a bit of worry and stress to most parents, and is downright frightening to some. Let me share some very good news with you – it’s not that different from homeschooling during those early years, and it certainly doesn’t have to be scary. If you do a bit of planning ahead, you can feel confident and prepared for homeschooling success – all the way through high school!
Planning to Homeschool through High School
A Four-year Plan – In Pencil
It’s a good idea to start planning high school courses during the Grade 8 year, and some students will be doing high school credit work already. Start with a four-year plan for high school. Many homeschool planners include forms to work on, and they can be found online as well. The HSLDA website has this form and tons of other information! A four-year plan form gives you a big picture so you can spread out the workload of the courses required for graduation in your state or for your umbrella group. Pencil in the courses you know, and general course titles for things you’re not sure of just yet. I always say to use pencil, because things will change! The plan will likely be revised and rewritten several times before graduation day, but getting started early will help avoid an unpleasant surprise like realizing partway through the senior year that your student still needs another full credit in Fine Arts or Math.
A Plan for Required Courses and Credits
Graduation requirements vary depending on your state and your umbrella group, so check with your local group or the HSLDA website for accurate information. Common minimum requirements are four English credits, three Social Studies credits, three Math credits, and two or three Science credits. It may also be specified that at least one of the Science credits is Biology, and that one of the Social Studies credits is US History. The total number of credits needed is generally somewhere around twenty. College bound students can find out what courses may be required for their chosen field of study, or by the colleges they are considering. For example, some colleges require foreign language study.
A Plan for Keeping Records
Some of us are naturally good at keeping records, and others are not. I am not. But I recognize that fairly accurate records are very helpful during high school, so when my oldest was nearing high school, I got serious about keeping track of grades and time spent. For some courses, the credit will be based on time spent, and I recommend giving your student the responsibility for logging those hours. You (or your umbrella group) will need to provide a transcript, and the easiest way to keep track of the information for that is to do semester report cards of some kind. I use Homeschool Tracker to keep all assignment and test grades, and all kinds of other records.
A Plan for Choosing Curriculum that Works
Generally speaking, whatever homeschool method has been working will still work during high school, although you may need to adjust how you keep records if you use a lot of Unit Studies or develop your own courses of study. When choosing curriculum, get input from your student and look for something that covers the coursework in a style that works for your student. Your student’s interests and future plans will impact the elective courses they choose and the depth of some of the academics. The student that wants to be an engineer or a nurse will choose courses that apply to those fields of study. Remember that internships and other hands-on activities may be worth high school credit as well as a fast track into a chosen career, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the traditional textbook approach!
Homeschooling through high school is a big job, but having graduated three students already and with my fourth a junior this year, I can also assure you that it’s very doable, even if the planning and record-keeping aspects don’t come easily to you. And since it’s one of the most rewarding and worthwhile things I’ve ever done, let me encourage you to plan to homeschool all the way through high school too!
Are you planning to homeschool through high school?