Maybe you feel like you could never homeschool high school because your oldest is in elementary school and you just can’t imagine it. But like with parenting, you’ll grow into the role.
And even if you’ve never homeschooled before and you’re just starting with a high schooler, there are key tips that will help you. Because you CAN do it.
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I remember babysitting a friend’s three-year-old when my oldest was only three months old. I couldn’t imagine having “older kids” because I wasn’t to that stage yet.
But I grew in my parenting abilities as my kids grew. I became more confident in each stage as we naturally progressed. This is why most people don’t start out with a twelve-year-old. They start out with a baby.
And so it is with homeschooling.
The problem is that homeschooling at any stage is a lot of hard work and you imagine that the older the kids are, the harder the academics will be.
How will you ever do it?
You’re not alone.
Part of the solution is actually a major mindset shift for you.
Here are the four points that you need to consider:
- role of mom
- responsibilities of teen
- key tips
The key to homeschooling high school is recognizing that your role will change. It has to.
When your kids are young, homeschooling is by nature very mom-intensive as you teach them the foundations of each subject.
Once your kids are independent readers, you can afford to be less hands-on.
Your role will change from primary instructor to mentor and cheerleader. Your job is to craft an educational experience and communicate goals and expectations. You are their mentor and guide.
But if you’re not to the high school years yet, then you need to plan the steps you need to take to make this transition happen smoothly. In what ways can you start to transition your role?
If you know that your role as the homeschool mom will naturally become more hands-off, does that give you hope as you look to homeschooling high school?
Because it should. By the time kids reach high school, the whole educational responsibility shouldn’t be on your shoulders. This is where the next point comes in.
As our teens get older, they should take more responsibility for their day-to-day education.
This is where active learning is key.
Many teens in the traditional school system are allowed to be passive learners.
I know this (and you do too!) from being in the traditional system for years.
I was a classroom teacher in the system, and I know how much time and energy I put into crafting interesting lessons, only to be discouraged by the passivity of many kids.
Kids slink into class, get into passive learner mode, allowing their teacher to be the most active as they teach lessons, and the teens are passive learners, merely taking notes (if that).
Homeschooling high school successfully requires that your teens take on an active learner role.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What steps can you take to encourage your teen to a more active role in their education?
- Are your curriculum choices encouraging independence from your teen?
- How can you keep your teen accountable for their work, yet encourage independence?
Once your mindset shifts as to your changing role, and your teen embraces an independent and active role, then here are some key tips to keep in mind as you plan for the high school years.
Choose curriculum written directly to the teen
If the curriculum you pick requires you to teach your teen each day, then homeschooling high school will be a chore.
Find curriculum that is written to your student and clearly tells them what to do each day.
Find open and go curriculum where you work on the next part or next lesson each day.
Some of our favorite curriculum that encourages independent learning:
- Apologia Science (with the Student Notebook!)
- Writing With Skill
- Notgrass History
- CTC Math or Thinkwell Math
- Compass Classroom
Set up Systems
When your kids get to high school, there are a lot of required courses and tasks to keep track of. That’s why you need good systems.
Set them up once and let them work.
Our favorite it Trello. It’s a free online app that takes a few minutes to set up for the year, and about five minutes every weekend to reset for the new school week.
Check out Trello for High School Homeschool Schedules.
Create basic homeschool high school plan
Before your kids are even in high school, you should create a basic high school plan with specific courses and curriculum ideas.
This doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone, but having a general plan before you get there will take some of the apprehension away.
You can download a blank planning chart HERE.
Start a transcript and keep records
When my kids start 9th grade, I keep a high school binder with these items:
- transcript in-progress
- grade sheets for each class
- key tests or projects from those courses
- book lists
- standardized test results
- other key items related to hobbies, jobs, internships, or school
You can download a transcript template HERE.
Task your teens with recording keeping in high school. Each time they take a test or have an assignment with a grade, have them record points earned and points possible onto the grade sheet for that course. You can download a printable grade sheet HERE.
At any point, you should be able to divide points earned by points possible and find a percentage grade for a course.
By requiring your teens to keep track of scores, you are initiating that active learner status and putting yourself in the mentor role. It’s good for both of you!
So, why should you consider homeschooling high school? There are so many benefits, and each family will have their unique perspective. But here are a few keys ones to think about.
- Teens miss out on negative school experiences, such as bullying
- Opportunity for stronger family bonds
- Ability to create customized high school experience
- Tailor education to teen’s passions & goals for the future
- Flexibility to pursue employment, apprenticeship, internship, dual enrollment
- Real life opportunities for community interaction
So to wrap this all up, you need to know the bottom line: You CAN homeschool high school!
Find your tribe, get in a groove that fits your unique family, and go for it! It’s a lot of work (like anything else worth doing), but the rewards are amazing.