By TMoM Team Member Suzy Fielders
Homeschooling high school isn’t always for the faint of heart. It requires a bit more planning and research than the elementary or even middle school. My daughter is over halfway through her sophomore year, and it’s been an ‘adventure’ the entire way. I’ve learned a lot over this last year and a half. For those that are or about to homeschool during the high school years I wanted to share a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.
First, and foremost, organization is a must! Luckily, I already wrote a blog on “Organizational Tips for Homeschooling”. From setting up a calendar to the write homeschool planner, there is an abundance of information and resources in that blog. I highly recommend you check it out first.
Set Your Schedule
Next, part of each year’s organization is selecting your teen’s class work and schedule. This is something I let my daughter actively be a part of. Some ways I let her do that are:
- Selecting all electives. The beauty of homeschooling is they can learn about whatever interests them, unlike public school where only a handful of electives are options. The sky really is the limit!
- Deciding her daily schedule. The only rule I set is she must do the core classes (English, Math, Science, and History) first. All the rest of the classes she can do in whatever order she wants. Plus, the core classes she can complete in any order she wants as well.
- Encourage flexibility. Again, the best part of homeschooling is there is flexibility. On days she just feels ‘blah’ I let her decide if she wants to do her schoolwork later that day or evening or use one of the week’s days off now.
Finding the Right Resources
In today’s digital world, there are no shortage of resources for homeschooling high school. Therefore, that means everything you need is at your fingertips. You just need to know where to look.
Be sure to check out our TMoM Homeschooling Resources directory. It is full of information that you will find helpful. For example, it shares tons of great lists, such as, local co-ops and homeschool conferences. We even list some places that offer homeschool discounts, which are very helpful for high school!
When I homeschooled my daughter in middle school, I tried the more complete homeschool curriculums and programs. But we found those weren’t a good fit for us. In eighth grade, I started planning each subject separately and put together each classes’ syllabus myself. This allowed us the flexibility to decide what we wanted to accomplish each year.
Believe it or not, the best resource I found for books was Amazon. You can find pretty much everything on there. Bonus, if you have a Kindle Membership many of the classic and modern books you might want to use for English are part of the subscription.
Consider Your Teen’s Long-Term Plan
When I say long-term plan, that means discuss with your teen what they want to do after high school. That typically means one of three choices – college, take a gap year, or go directly into the work force.
My daughter wants to go to college, so we are:
- Taking courses that help prepare her for college.
- Doing PSAT & SAT Prep.
- Preparing and updating a transcript.
However, if your child is going directly into the work force consider having them take dual enrollment classes that align with their goals. For instance, if they want to go into a trade then start taking some of those classes now.
Whereas, if your child wants to take a gap year, encourage them to stay focused on what their goals will be when that year is complete.
Just like raising a teenager takes patience, homeschooling high school takes quite a bit of patience as well. If you begin feeling overwhelmed, take some deep breaths and remember why you choose homeschooling for your family.
Plus, don’t forget to give you and your teen a little grace. Part of remaining patient is creating a schedule that truly works for your family. Build in days off but be flexible on if you need to adjust those. Another good thing to build into your schedule are field trip days. Even if you don’t know which trips, you’ll take create days for them in advance. Then you don’t feel like you are cramming in so much and are less stressed.
Share your tips for homeschooling high school in the comments below!