Creating a 4-year plan.
One of the most important things you can do when your teen is ready to start high school is to sit down and create a 4-year plan. Not only does creating a plan to make things less intimidating, but it also gives you and your teen a visual of their goals and a way to stay on track.
Entering high school as a homeschooler can be scary both for the teen and the parent. It can seem as if you are entering the “this has to count” phase of homeschool and that can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Enter this period with an open mind, set goals, and encourage your teen to start thinking about post-high school goals. This will help to determine what requirements will be needed in order to receive a high school diploma.
What to do first.
Know your state’s requirements, you can find an interactive map of state requirements on our website. Once you have determined what is required by your state you can also decide what is required for your homeschool in order for your teen to graduate. For example, my teens are required to take a year of a foreign language, and finance. These are not required by the state we live in but it is required by us in order for our teens to receive their diploma from our homeschool. This is where the flexibility of the curriculum and subjects comes into play as a homeschooler.
College or Career?
It is important to discuss with your teen what their post-high school plan is this will determine how they choose their elective course (most states require a set number of elective credits). This decision should be made sooner rather than later, but don’t panic if your teen is entering high school and hasn’t made a decision yet, remain encouraging that they start thinking about it.
College Bound: If your student is leaning towards continuing their education now is a good time to start researching a few colleges. Admission requirements vary by college and it is easier to plan education requirements in high school knowing ahead of time what is required by the colleges that your teen is interested in attending.
Career Bound: College isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. If your child is thinking about skipping the college experience and headed straight to a career this can also affect their choices in high school education. Encourage them to research their career field of choice to know if there are certificates, or experience they will need prior to entering their career field. Being able to choose electives around their career choice can ensure they are ahead of the game, come graduation.
What is your teen’s learning style?
Knowing your teen’s learning style is an important part of the process and recognizing that we all learn differently is a key part of success as a homeschooler especially in high school. To better understand your teens learning style have them take this quiz. The results will be able to help you and your teen make a plan better suited for their individual learning style and ensure success over the next 4 years.
Creating a visual.
Part of the process is to make a visual plan. We offer two free printable 4-year High School Plans. Your High School Plan Printable (Horizontal) or Your High School Plan Printable (Vertical). Print out the plan that best fits your needs and has your teen layout their plan. Research shows that writing a plan on paper helps us to better follow through.
What about curriculum?
Depending on your child’s learning style there are several ways that your teen can meet the requirements for graduation whether that be a prepackaged curriculum, online courses, local workshops, documentaries, youtube, resources from your local library, personal experiences and more. Our family uses several different resources from online, prepacked, local coop classes, and internships. This decision will be entirely based on your teens learning style, their long-term goals, and their overall plan.
The benefits of having a plan.
Mapping out a plan with your teen gets everyone on the same page and helps with accountability. It allows your teen the chance to provide input into their education and helps tame the scary thoughts that come with homeschooling a high school. We encourage the involvement of your teen in this process. Remember that education can be fun and that it is okay to tailor your teen’s education to meet their needs and long-term goals.
UnchoolHighSchool.com offers several tools to help you navigate through your teen’s high school years. Once you and your teen have decided on a plan it is important to decide how you will maintain records and transcripts. We offer resources and credit tracking as well as transcript services for those that are interested in streamlining the high school process for their family.