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What About High School?

Homeschool 101: What About High School?

Thousands of young people throughout the United States are graduating from home schools each year across the country. Many are going on to college, some are going straight to the work force, some are joining the military, and some are starting their own businesses.  What the statistics have shown is that the majority of home educated graduates are successfully moving into adulthood.

We now have generations of families who have gone before us, who have successfully graduated young men and women from homeschooling. If God has placed this desire in your heart to homeschool through high school, may you move forward in confidence and graduate sons and daughters prepared for adulthood.

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What is your best advice for high school?

We asked our homeschool veterans in our Facebook Group for their best advice for new homeschool families approaching 9th grade.

Make a 4-year plan while your child is still in 7th/8th grade. That plan will provide you with the map you can follow and use. You can tailor your subjects to meet their interests even at the high school level. We’ve done science differently for each of my 4 daughters because each had a different desire. For example, 3 of them did biology in 9th grade. In 10th grade, one did Marine Biology; one did Advanced Human Biology, and one is doing Kitchen Chemistry this year. One child was a special needs child and she did General Science and Physical Science. You can do the same easily with literature, history, and of course, all of your electives. Each year, I sit down with my student and together we plan the specifics, like the electives and the options for some of the other subjects. Having them participate in the year to year plans helps them to “own it” too. Rebecca Barnes

Region 13 Representative, IAHE

Pay attention to your child’s wishes, talents, and interests. I know it sounds like a natural thing to do, but some get so focused on getting into a good college for a specific degree area that they miss that their child might have aptitudes elsewhere, such as the kid being pushed into creative writing who would make a fine creative engineer or a creative farmer. There are some good programs out there for the non-college bound, like Praxis and Apprentice U.

IF your child is college-bound, and could possibly be admitted to a highly selective college, you will need the types of classes that the government-schooled kids are required to take (but we aren’t). But instead of the same old physics, biology, chemistry (with a second year of one), plus algebra, geometry, algebra 2 and precalculus, you can change it up: if your child feels the pull of the ocean, then do Marine Biology. A math nut can do astronomy and astrophysics.

Speech/debate are something every kid in government school must take, but it’s hard to do at home (unless they really love talking to themselves in the mirror). For this reason, a co-op or debate club is a need.

Start scholarship-hunting early. With diligence, they can greatly reduce their future debt burden. Tracey R

If your student is college-bound, she should take as rigorous classes as she is capable of (and that you can afford). This really helped us with significant merit scholarship offers. At least a few AP or college-level courses on her favorite subjects if that is appropriate for her goals. And regardless of academic achievement, being a well-rounded, active student (sports, community service, clubs, whatever) not only makes an excellent citizen but can also help with scholarships or even entrance for the college-bound.

Also, National Merit Scholarships are based on only their Junior year PSAT (October); so if your student is academically inclined and is a solid test-taker, keep track of deadlines for that.

If suddenly a few years go by, and you didn’t start or maintain a Course Description for each class (many universities request that of homeschoolers to accompany their transcript), don’t worry — it can be completed with a few days of eating and breathing mostly that.  Whew! Jennifer E

Keep good records.  
It’s a whole lot easier and less stressful to pull together college applications when you have records and don’t have to rely on memory.

Rigorous is good, but that’s going to look different for each student depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Give them time/space/resources to develop their strengths but don’t let them neglect shoring up their weaknesses either.

Your son/daughter will have a period of time when their brain seems to have fallen out. It will make you insane and worried and despair for their futures. But about 17-17.5  years old they somehow pull it together and surprise the heck out of you how much they can accomplish. Jenni H

Don’t be frightened by “high school.” We have loads of resources and curriculum options. The important thing is to know if your kiddo is on a college path or not. And definitely, keep records up-to-date. You will thank yourself later!!! Amy Canaday

Region 7 Representative, IAHE