5 Tips for Homeschooling High School

Homeschooling through high school: the very words used to make my knees knock. I knew that I wanted to homeschool through high school. I believed we were called to continue homeschooling through high school. But there were all those scary ideas that swirled in my mind as the actuality of homeschooling in high school loomed closer: “SAT,” “college,” “transcripts,” “credits.” I was so afraid that I would irrevocably mess up my children and cause them to not be able to get into college which would mean they could never have a career which would set them up to be failures in life and they’d probably hate me and always wish I had let them just go to school and, and…

As we actually headed into the high school years, however, I stepped back and took a breath. I took some time to do some research, and I spent time with other homeschool families who had successfully crossed the high school hurdle. As parents we prayed, and we also thought about the whole “why” of homeschooling again. I now find myself as the mother of a high school junior. I can see the home stretch. And many of those things I was afraid of have, of course, been proven pretty senseless. Instead, we see over and over the benefit and blessings of homeschooling through the high school years.

Homeschool high school
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It’s my hope that you will be able to lay your fears of homeschooling in high school to rest and that you’ll enjoy the blessings of it. Here are five tips for homeschooling through high school.

Tip #1 Plan, plan, plan.

Yes, there could be such a thing as over planning. But, often, I think we go into something new with less fear when we take time to research it and plan it out. Don’t wait until your middle schooler is almost through with 8th grade and headed into high school. Start making your high school plans when your children head into middle school.
As I started thinking about middle school and then high school, I kept ideas in a notebook. (You could also keep them digitally in a Google Drive file or in Trello.) Then in my oldest child’s 8th grade year, I pulled out the notebook and began actually laying out our high school plans- with lots of feedback from her. This post is all about planning out your high school and a step-by-step guide to creating your high school transcript– a word that seems to strike fear into the moms of soon-to-be high schoolers.

Tip #2 Just read.

You can’t go wrong when you fill your high schoolers with good books. You can’t possibly teach your student everything he might possibly need to know about science or history or about any subject he may need to know for a job some day. But, you can raise a reader who can read and understand for himself what he needs to learn. This post has a good reading list for your high school students
Reading aloud is still important for high schoolers as well. Homeschool moms often think that they should have given it up long before this, but there are some definite benefits to reading aloud to your older kids.

Tip #3 Manage your time well.

Homeschooling high school students can be a big job- especially if you have other students in the mix as well. We aren’t strict schedule people, but we’ve always done much better if we stick to routines. Having a set routine will provide you with opportunities to teach your younger kids, while still overseeing your high schooler. Having a set routine will also model for your kids how to make their own routines. As my older two kids moved into doing high school work, they were able to create their own schedules fairly easily because they had seen over the years how I created the whole family schedule.
In our home, I’ve slowly transitioned my children to work independently so that, by the time they were in high school, they were primarily responsible for their own work, and I am just an overseer. This can be different for different children, however. I know that my third child- who will be a high schooler this year- will need a little more hands-on guidance from me in order to stay focused and on top of things. Homeschooling high school can often be a balancing act between helping kids feel confidant and backing off to let them succeed- or fail- on their own.

Tip #4 Choose electives well.

Electives can give your high school student the opportunity to try out a variety of interests so that she can more easily determine a lifetime path. I believe that God will direct our kids in the direction that He wants them to go. And I think that trying a variety of electives while in high school can give kids the opportunity for those “Aha” moments when they find a perfect fit.
This post is all about different electives your high school kids can try. It’s good to think outside the box when it comes to electives. Do you have a child who wants to be a teacher? Create an elective that gives her the opportunity to teach preschoolers or kindergartners and develop a schedule and plan lessons for them. Do you have a child interested in auto repair? Find a mechanic that would be willing to have your child on board as an apprentice for a time and count this as an elective.

Tip #5 Don’t be afraid.

There can be many reasons people don’t decide to continue to homeschool through high school. And if that’s you and this isn’t the direction God is leading you, that’s okay. But don’t let fear of “getting it right” keep you from homeschooling in high school. God’s got this, my friend. This post is about taking that deep breath and facing those fears.

Bonus tip Great resources for homeschooling through high school:

  • HSLDA has an awesome page of free resources for homeschooling in high school. From finding out the laws in your state to researching college requirements, you can find help here.
  • Embark: Homeschooling Through High School is an audio course from Bright Ideas Press. This course has audio instruction as well as a handbook of resources and more to help you navigate the waters of homeschooling through high school. I haven’t taken the course, but I’ve come to love and trust the materials I’ve used from Bright Ideas.
  • High School Prep Genius is a book that I reviewed when Kathryne was entering 9th grade. It’s an awesome resource for knowing exactly what kinds of things you’re going to need in high school in order to prepare your student for college. It helped us set up a high school notebook to keep all our information in one place. The book has some great information!
I would love to know what you think. Are you homeschooling a high school student? Do you have any tips of your own? I’d love to hear them.
Homeschool high school
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