But What About High School?

Can my homeschooler get a diploma?
Do I need to teach calculus?
Can my homeschooler go to college?

Tune in this week while we discuss these topics and more!

High School Homeschool

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High School Planning Sheet (pdf)
Extracurricular Planning Sheet (pdf)

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Show Notes

There is so much to cover on the topic of homeschooling high school that we’ve decided to create an entire High School Series walking you through the entire process. This series will guide you and contain freebies to keep you organized and on track. We won’t be doing them back to back, but will be releasing an episode once a month.

Our High School Series covers these topics plus many Free Resources to help you on your journey:

  •  Core Subjects/Electives
  • Transcripts/Resume/Counselor Letter/School Report
  • Applying to colleges/scholarships
  • SAT/ACT/TSI/Accuplacer/CLT
  • Extracurricular / Volunteering
  • Socialization/building friendships/dating 
  • First job/earning money/entrepreneurship
  • Driving/driver’s ed
  • Technology
  • Dual Credit/AP/CLEP
  • Dealing with stress
  • Time management/organization/study skills

It’s going to be a great resource to help you get through those high school years!

Some of you may feel a little confused and lost venturing into the unknown when you start homeschooling high schoolers, but the good news is you can do this.  Try not to get overwhelmed by the newness of it all (and the fears of failure) and trust the process! You will be learning how to homeschool high school right along with your teens and the homeschooling parent we are now is not the homeschooling parent we will be at the end of this process. Be patient with yourself. The longer you homeschool high schoolers, the more you will notice your imperfections! But, remember: Perfection is NOT required! Remember, homeschooling is about teaching your child how to LEARN and to foster that love of learning. 

We, as parents, are not going to be the best at everything.  Rather, we want them to learn that as adults, they can look for resources to keep learning things they need to know.

Take time to enjoy your teens

While your teens are in high school, academics will be high priority. However, try not to get so focused on those academics that you do not have time to enjoy your child. Your teen does not need to work on academics intensely all day, every day. Use the flexibility of homeschooling to your best advantage.

SNL Skit – Back Home Ballers
(Funny skit when the kids come home for the holidays)

Prepare Teens for Life and Career

To truly be prepared for life and career, homeschool high schoolers need to believe in themselves. We need to help teens find their self-knowledge and self-confidence. We can do this by:

  • Many teens are figuring out who they are by experimenting with various ideas and behaviors.
  • Teens will have struggles with friends or personal situations that will affect them deeply and stress them out.   Sometimes this causes them to butt heads with safe people while they are figuring things out. And that safe person is probably you. Try to give them some grace and not take it personally.
  • Do what works for your family.
  • It’s important to keep yourself in check and avoid feeling pressure of comparing yourself to others that may have a more high-achieving teen. Some homeschool high schoolers want to own everything about their education and assignments and others want daily engagement with you. And, sometimes what they want is not what they need. Maybe they think they want to do everything on their own, but then get bogged down. They’re still trying to figure it out.  This is where you can step in to help and guide them. You may choose to handle this by finding common goals with honest, regular check-ins, maybe daily or weekly. 
  • If you are struggling and butting heads-especially in a certain subject, it might be a good time to outsource a class. You want to try to avoid bringing on additional stress to your relationship. 
  • There will also be bad days when no schooling gets done. Some days are rotten, and schoolwork needs to be set aside. Tomorrow is a new day. You can model resilience for your teens- it is a GREAT life skill.

Can my homeschooler get a diploma?

Many people think homeschoolers cannot get a high school diploma or have to go through the state or get a GED to graduate.  Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states.  In many, like here in Texas, a homeschool diploma carries the same weight as a public or private school diploma.  There are some states where this differs- NY and there are some places that don’t take a homeschool diploma- beauty school, overseas colleges. But at the end of the day, a diploma is also just a piece of paper.  Very rarely are you ever asked to produce this document.  You can make one yourself or order a professional quality one from sources. What is really important, especially if your student is college bound, is a transcript.

A transcript is a record of classes, grades, and GPA.  A transcript should contain grades and class names for all levels of high school and any college coursework completed before high school. There are numerous transcript templates available online and you can choose to make a transcript by year or by subject. A subject transcript is a great option if you are including classes from 8th grade, or doing a Super Senior year, or perhaps, taking a lot of classes in a semester- like shortened semester classes (a lot of dual credit courses are offered this way, but it can look weird to have so many credit hours in one semester).  You also may want to include a resume or second sheet that lists all your child’s accomplishments, awards, any volunteer work, clubs and other activities.  This is typically called a resume, and is also detailed out in a college application or Common App.

We will include a high school planning template in our future high school series show notes.  

Many homeschool groups host graduation ceremonies or you can host your own.  It is also completely fine not to do one at all. You can order your own graduation gear and supplies without going through a pricey graduation company. We ordered our beautiful high school diplomas from here:

HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAYou can also make your own!

 Do I need to teach calculus?

You do not need to know upper level math and science to teach it.  There are several options for teaching these subjects.  You can outsource- we use an upper level math and science school that we are lucky to have locally.  It’s a brick and mortar homeschool school, run and taught by a man with his PhD in Chemistry.  The kids love the class, it allows for labs not to be done in your kitchen, and they get to hang out with friends, study together, etc.  If you are in the Dallas area, here’s a plug for Thinking Reeds Math and Science in Plano.  We love Dr. Reid! Thinking Reeds

You also can opt to do dual credit classes through colleges.  Dual credit courses are nice because they satisfy high school credits while knocking out college credits at the same time.  We both did this through a local community college but there are tons of options for dual credit online, as well, if you don’t have a local option.  Arizona State has a Universal Learner program that is awesome- you can take a course for free and then only pay if you want to keep the grade.  

There are also several online single class curricula for different courses or al carte classes available from sources like Outschool, or Well Trained Mind Academy, and several others.

Arizona State Universal Learner:  https://ea.asu.edu

Outschool has options from core classes to extracurricular for all ages. 

Learn more about

Most homeschool curricula is scripted and/or you can learn right alongside your student. 

A lot of homeschool curricula is organized so that parents present the information as written, students then do the work, and then parents’ grade or assess from there.  You absolutely do not need to be an expert in any of these subjects.

Can my homeschooler go to college?

There are so many different pathways that homeschoolers can choose to take after completing high school.  While many are college bound, several also choose military, trade, certification programs, or community college.  

Determining what path your child will want to go can help you to craft your homeschool high school experience.  I do see a lot of people struggle with trying to figure this out early and I want to stress that it is totally normal for a 14-year-old not to know what they want to do for the rest of their life.  A lot of kids might think they want to do one thing and then change their mind later, again, that is ok.  It is our job to give them the ultimate schooling experience that will prepare them for *any* of the pathways they may choose along the way.  For many, that means a full high school academic plan with college in mind, along with a variety of extracurricular activities and community service.  These can be volunteer work, scouting, clubs and other activities, theater, musical instruments, etc.

If you are looking to do a college prep type approach to your homeschool high school education, I’d recommend looking at a variety of colleges and looking to see what they require for admissions from students.  Many have a section for homeschooled students specifically, but many review homeschool/private/public applications in the same way.  Either way, this is a good source for seeing what colleges want in terms of classes (a lot are looking for traditional 4 years of Math, English, Social Sciences, 4 years of science with 3 lab, 2-3 years foreign language, etc).  They will also talk about what they require as far as test scores go and so you may then want to incorporate test prep into your coursework as well and figure out the schedules for taking those.

A big concern for many homeschoolers is testing.  For those of us in states that do not require any kind of testing or have kids that have never been in a school environment, testing can be an overwhelming idea because it is possible the ACT/SAT or TSI/Accuplacer may be the very first test your students take.  It can also seem confusing taking in information regarding PSAT and all the other different testing option. CLT is another test some people opt for, as well (it is more of a classical style test, so often recommended for homeschoolers who have come up through a traditional classics trivium style of learning).  Get test booklets, take practice tests online, see where any weaknesses are that may need improvement.  Invest in a test prep course of some sort if you want.  

Some schools are now labeled as “test optional”.  Test optional sometimes does not apply to homeschoolers, however.  Also, sometimes scholarships are tied to test scores, so it is usually recommended to at least attempt tests.  You may surprise yourself, and testing, whether we like it or not, is going to be part of their college experience regardless.  

Another route to college to avoid testing and/or to save money, is to go to community college first and then transfer.  This can be done as dual credit or after high school graduation.  Do keep in mind that most colleges do not consider classes earned while still in high school as transfer credits.  Even when students graduate with associates degrees in high school, they are typically still encouraged to apply to all colleges as freshman students and remain freshman level until those credit eventually hit (sometime after first semester).  Some schools may still require a 4-year program, but they may reap the benefit of priority registration and 1st choice in housing, due to upper-classman status.  Most community colleges require some sort of placement test.  These are more informational for the college than they are a test of what students know. Many people want to avoid these, but they really are not a stressful type of test at all.

Must Reads for Dual Credit:

Kathe Lee’s “College Planning Using Dual Enrollment: Optimizing High School for College Admissions
Jennifer Cook-DeRosa “Homeschooling for College Credit” Homeschooling for College Credit

Jennifer Cook-DeRosa also has several facebook pages- one main and then several state-based.  This is her main page:

Not everyone is socially prepared for college, regardless of whether they were homeschooled, public schooled, or private schooled.  College involves a lot of big changes for kids.  Living on your own for the first time, experiencing all kinds of different freedoms and ideas, and learning to manage your own time is a big change. Not all students adjust. Many homeschooled students feel like they were better prepared than a lot of their counterparts- they had been exposed to a lot of different people and social settings in their lives, as well as taken a lot of different style classes, and were used to managing their time.  So again, you may be surprised at how your student adjusts, but it really will not be because of the way they were schooled.  It will be a lot more about personality and perseverance.

It’s also totally fine for kids to choose military, trade school, or a certification program, too, or other things like go into family business, or become an entrepreneur, which we will talk more about in another episode. The options are endless for these kids, and because they have been given freedom to learn in a more flexible and creative environment, don’t be surprised when they want to choose that for their future too.  

You determine the credit hours required, but if you have a child planning to attend college be sure to check their admission guidelines so you meet the minimum requirement for admission.

Most states require 19 or more credit hours for graduation with 24 or more needed for college prep.

General High School Graduation Guidlines:

  • English – 4 credits
  • Math – 4 credits
  • Science – 3-4 credits (at least 2 with labs for college prep)
  • History – 3-4 credits
  • PE – 1 credit
  • Health – .5 credit
  • Foreign language – 2 credits (of the same language)
  • Electives

Be sure to check out our High School Series for details guiding you through the high school years.

This Week’s Freebies:

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