This post is for those of you who have a child in middle school. High school is looming on the horizon and you want to look ahead to to know how to prepare for homeschooling high school. When our oldest child was in 6th grade, our co-op had a few moms of homeschool graduates come share with us how to homeschool high school. The information they shared was so valuable to me. I saved all their notes and still refer to them as needed.
In this post I will share many of the tips I learned from those moms as well as some things I have learned about homeschooling our own kids through high school. In our family, we have ten children. Seven are school age. We had two in high school this year, one of them is our first graduate.
Video: How to Prepare for Homeschooling High School
In this video I share a little more personally about what homeschooling high school looks like in our home as well as some of the mistakes I have made and what I will be doing differently with our other kids in the future.
#1 Become familiar with the law in your state
The first place to start is to become familiar with the law in your state, specifically regarding homeschooling high school. HSLDA has a wealth of information on this topic. You can find the details on this listed by state.
Here are questions you want to ask.
- Does my state require certain subjects be taught? (HSLDA answers this here.)
- What makes up a credit?
- What courses are required for graduation? (For example, 4 English, 3 Math, 3 Social Studies, 3 Science, etc.)
- How does my state handle diplomas?
One of the best things I think you can do is to find a homeschool parent who lives in your area who has graduated children. Ask specific questions about how to handle diplomas, credits, transcripts, etc.
- Here are some questions to ask.
- What curriculums did you use?
- What co-ops are available in this area?
- What did you outsource?
#2 Choosing Areas of Study
Think outside the box. Other than the specific subjects that may be required in your state, discuss with your spouse what is important to both of you for your child to learn or do in high school. Some examples might be these.
- Money management
- Christian Worldview
- Business Skills
- Service/ Missions Trip
- Home Economics
Ask your child what they want to learn! This is a time for them to start taking initiative with the decisions for which classes they take. Challenge them to experiment with different trades or opportunities to find things that they enjoy. Look at what they spend their time doing and see if you can turn it into a credit.
Make a Rough Transcript
After learning what courses are required for graduation in your state, make a general transcript to map out which classes your child will take and when. Pencil in your ideas. Take required courses on the front end so that they have room in the later years for areas of special interest or dual enrollment. You can find a sample blank transcript to print out here.
#3 One Portfolio for High School
One of the mistakes I made with my oldest son in high school was that I did not keep records as well as I should have. I kept beautiful (although simple) portfolios for each year of my kids in the elementary years. Cute little projects and art work are more fun to compile and show to grandparents than pages of Algebra I homework. It seems obvious that you should be even more vigilant in high school to keep samples of their work, but it wasn’t for me.
Rather than making a portfolio for each year of high school, it is more practical to make one portfolio for all of high school. Think of high school as one big project. The goal is to get those 15 credits (or more!) but it doesn’t need to happen necessarily within defined grade levels. For some credits, you may begin them in one year and finish them in the next.
What I suggest and what I will be doing for the rest of our kids is to keep one portfolio for high school. This is what I will keep in a high school portfolio.
- A cover page which shows each subject on the transcript and a short description of the class (curriculum, asignments, etc.)
- A few samples of work (preferably from beginning, middle, and and of study) for EACH item on the transcript.
*Sample Cover Page*
#4 Change Your Thinking
As our kids transition from elementary years to upper grades, so many changes are happening in their bodies as well as in their relationships to their peers and to us as parents. As your child approaches adolescence, change your thinking about homeschooling. Focus a little less on the academics and more on your relationship. Develop the kind of friendship with them that can extend into adulthood. This does not mean that you pamper them or excuse wrong behavior. There is a time and place for constructive criticism and hard conversations, but choose those moments wisely. What it does mean is that you consistently have your relationship with them at the forefront of your focus during this new stage of life.
Speaking personally, when our kids were in the elementary years, I focused a lot of my energy on the academic part of homeschooling: talking about curriculum, worrying if they were behind in math, making sure I was reading to them enough. I don’t mean to say that these things aren’t important, but as my oldest son started growing into adulthood, I realized that those things weren’t as important as I thought they were.
I started seeing the clock ticking on his remaining time at home. Very quickly, I became aware that my time with him was dwindling. Rather than worrying about him “keeping up”, I became so much more concerned that he develop a lifelong love of learning and that we have a close relationship.
These high school years are the time for doing all the things you’ve dreamed about doing with your kids. It’s a time for late night movies together with your favorite snacks. It’s a time for inviting friends over for game nights. This is a season for making home a welcoming place, a haven that they want to come home to, with lots of food and easy conversations.
Leave a Comment!
If you have homeschooled a child through high school, leave a comment! Share your experiences and some suggestions of how others can prepare for these exciting final years with their kids.
Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!