I love a good buffet, don’t you? Give me lotsa variety and the chance to take a little of everything, and I’m a happy camper! (And I can chow it DOWN, y’all. Just sayin’.)
Today is gonna be like a buffet! We’re going to discuss a little of everything about homeschooling high school. It’s a Q & A with information about lotsa different things you might be wondering about. So grab your plate and start filling it up! 🙂
Q1: What’s the best way to homeschool high school?
There is no “best” way! However you’ve been successfully homeschooling up to now is how you can continue. In other words, whatever works best for YOUR family is what is “best.” There are so many different ways to homeschool for elementary and middle school, and high school is really no different. If you’re worried about losing all the fun, rest assured that you don’t have to! In fact, I have found homeschooling high school to be my favorite part of our homeschool experience!
I mean, yes, some things will change; that is inevitable. I do recommend starting your child on learning independently, if that hasn’t already been part of what you do. But you can still unschool, or do unit studies, or be a Charlotte Mason or classical family — nowadays there is curriculum out there for all of those and more. Or you can make up your own curriculum, if you like (see Q6 for a little more about that).
Q2: What about difficult high school coursework, like chemistry and calculus?
OK, first of all, not many students even get to the point of taking calculus in high school (or even pre-calculus). But for some reason that’s the one everyone is afraid of, lol. Chemistry is another, but it IS one that most high school students will take. So what to do about it or any other course that you don’t know enough to teach?
One way is to outsource it. Yep, this can totally be a thing. Either find an online course, or maybe a tutor, or do dual enrollment at the local community college, or join a co-op… Then you aren’t doing any teaching, and your teen has outside accountability. This can be a good thing, lol.
But if you’re like me and the budget is ALWAYS a consideration, then get a curriculum that works for them to learn it on their own. This is why independent learning is such an important thing (see Q1). There are A LOT of high school courses that you won’t know enough about to be a resource for, but your kid will have to learn the material and do well on tests or papers or whatever. You CAN teach them HOW to learn, and then they can do the learning! It’s a win-win!
Q3: How do I do homeschool my teen when I have umpteen younger children (or even just one)?
When my oldest began high school, I had four younger than her, ranging in age from 12 down to 6. So I feel ya. But actually, again, there doesn’t need to be a huge difference in how you proceed. If your family has been learning together, you can still do that for many subjects. Just add in some meatier assignments or extra reading that your high schooler must complete.
This whole process is helped immeasurably because your teen is now in fact old enough to start taking some ownership for their studies. That means they can start scheduling their own time and grading their own work. The mom is actually responsible for less work herself, not more, when you start homeschooling high school. You are often FREED UP to spend more time with the youngers or clean or even — gasp! — read for pleasure! It’s an amazing thing. 🙂
Q4: How do we keep the teen as part of the family if they are having to do school by themselves?
As I mentioned above, if you are used to doing school as a family, it can still happen for at least a portion of the day. If you do Morning Time, the teen can still be there! They might leave early to go get started on their harder stuff, but for read-alouds, recitation, prayer, etc., there is no need to do those things without them.
And don’t forget there is still breakfast, lunch, and dinner when the family will gather together. Also, a really neat aspect of having the teen still in the home is that they can help the youngers with their school, or they can keep a baby or toddler entertained for awhile, or do a quick pick-up while mom is putting someone down for a nap… the list is endless. Trust me, they will still be an INTEGRAL part of the family.
On the other hand, teens do enjoy some time away from the younger kids, too. It’s all part of the growing up process. It’s ok if they aren’t quite as involved with family life as they used to be. Giving them a little space will not harm the overall family dynamic.
Q5: What about socialization?
Why do we feel like teens “need” more socialization than the younger kids? Why do we get concerned that homechooling a teen will keep them from meeting and spending time with peers? There is no factual basis to these thoughts. There are umpteen activities outside the home for teens to get involved in. In fact, I made a list right here: Socialization, Take Two: For High School, that is.
The wonderful thing about homeschooling high school is that socialization doesn’t have to take place ONLY with peers. Your teen could volunteer at a nursing home or work at a daycare. The opportunity to interact with ALL ages is a good thing!
Q6: How much time does homeschooling high school take each day?
It varies GREATLY. This depends on many factors, including the individual kid, the curriculum, the subject matter, the time of day, whether there is new reading material in the house, etc. etc.
Some people say to plan on an hour per day per subject. That’s a good round number. But again, sometimes it will be more, sometimes it will be less.
Q7: What are credits?
This is a great question, because you need to understand credits — and you also need to understand that your kid doesn’t NEED a ton of them. LOL. (More on that last part in Q8.)
OK, first things first: one high school credit is given for about 120-180 hours of work. The lower end is for electives, and the upper end is for core courses. 180 hours means one hour per day for a 180-day school year (see Q6).
If you are creating your own curriculum, you will need to estimate how long it will take for your teen to accomplish each day and add enough work so that it will take the appropriate amount of time for the amount of credits you want to give. (A half credit would be anywhere from 60-90 hours; again electives are on the lower end of that scale, and core courses are on the upper.)
One credit can also be given for completing a curriculum that is generally accepted to take a full year — even if your child does it in less time (or more time). For instance, Algebra 1 generally takes a year, so completing an Algebra 1 curriculum (or getting through most of it — did we EVER finish our textbooks when we were in public school? I think not) will earn one credit, whether it takes 3 months or two years.
Q8: How many credits does my kid need to graduate?
Q9: What do we do about transcripts? Where can I get one?
Q10: What about a diploma? Where do I get one?
Q11: Can my kid still get scholarships if we homeschool high school?
Q12: How do I know what to do? How to start? What my kid needs? Etc? Etc?
Q13: How will homeschooling high school benefit my teen?
Q14: Where can I find support for this? There’s no one around here that is doing it.
“UM, WAIT A MINUTE — did you forget to put the answers for those last few questions??? I really want to know this stuff!!” (probly what is going through your head at this moment)
Well, as my kids would say, “Psyche!!” No, but seriously, this post is NOT an all-you-can-eat buffet, lol. It’s more like a “progressive dinner” buffet. To get the answers to the rest of the questions, click on over to my blog, It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool (formerly Annie & Everything), where I have PART 2 of our Homeschooling High School Q&A! (People who start there first will have to jump over here, too; so don’t be upset. Everyone is being treated the same, lol.)
I’ll see you over there! (I am nothing if not fun, y’all. You have to admit that.) 🙂