Tips for making homeschooling your high schooler a breeze.
Whether you are a seasoned homeschooler or you have a high schooler that you are considering removing from a mainstream school the high school process can feel overwhelming. There are a few steps that we recommend in order to help make this transition successful for both you and your child.
Know the law and state requirements for where you live.
Each state in the U.S. has its own set laws and standards that a student needs to meet in order to receive a high school diploma. Before you begin homeschooling your high schooler it is highly recommended to know the requirements. Checking on requirements and knowing the law will help you avoid hurdles in the future.
Have a plan.
Set aside some time to sit with your student and make a plan. This is the single most important step you can take to ensure that your child is successful throughout high school. Making a plan allows you and your child to set attainable goals. It also allows you both to see the actions that need to be taken over the next 4 years (or the remainder of your high schooler education). We recommend printing out the Unschool High School Graduation Plan this will help to organize core classes and electives in a realistic way and give you and your child a visual plan to work with.
Something to keep in mind when making a plan with your child is to incorporate experiences and activities that are focused on their post-high school plan. Doing so allows your child to learn in areas that will not only meet requirements but in most cases give them experience in something they can use after high school.
Choose your homeschool method.
There are several ways that your child can study in order to meet all the requirements for a diploma.
- Prepackaged Curriculum: This type of curriculum is designed as an all in one approach and includes all necessary materials and study plans for each grade and subject.
- Online Course Curriculum: There are several online courses available for free and for purchase that meet state requirements. This type of curriculum is similar to the prepackaged curriculum with the only difference being that an online course curriculum is typically all online.
- An Array of Resources: Some students choose to meet requirements by using a variety of resources. We call this “hacking your education”, this is done by using your child’s interests to guide their learning by participating in several different online activities, local activities, community projects and many other things in order to meet requirements. In other words, a child is not required to use a specific curriculum or course study to meet state requirements. This can be accomplished simply by participating in activities and using online and local resources. This method allows for more flexibility and personalization of your child’s education.
Look for opportunities.
Choose activities that are outside of the box. One of the best things about homeschooling is that you get to tailor your child’s learning experience to meet individual interests and learning styles.
We recommend looking for opportunities in areas that your child is passionate about. This not only helps them check off those requirements it also gives them the opportunity to fall in love with learning and helps them stay positive for the duration of the high school experience. For instance, if your child loves books, volunteering at the local library can count toward their education requirements. Another example is a child that likes computers can take an online computer repair or coding class. The possibilities for learning are unlimited and most if not all experiences can fit into their requirements.
All states require high school students to obtain a specific number of credits in a variety of subject matter in order to receive their diploma. Credit hours or credit units are defined by the Carnegie Unit, in short, this means a student must spend a minimum of 135 hours participating in activities, reading and watching related material or coursework for each credit needed.
Have a form of recordkeeping in place.
Recordkeeping is by far one of the most important things to do when homeschooling your high schooler. With hours, credits, activities, curriculum, and experiences to keep track of you will need a way to stay organized so that your child will have an organized transcript and record of their high school education to receive a diploma and present to colleges.
There are several ways to accomplish this, you can keep a binder and track time and lessons, you can keep a spreadsheet on your computer or you can use an online service that will do all the calculating and organizing for you as well as generate an official transcript upon your child’s completion of high school.
Help your student stay organized.
Studies show that writing down your schedule and goals can help you stay on track. Time management and organization throughout this journey is important. Consider having your child use a homeschool student planner to help them stay focused and organize their time.
Making the decision to homeschool your high schooler can be nerve-wracking but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow the steps listed above you will be on the right track to helping your child succeed through the next four years of high school. Mentor your child along this journey but remember that it is their journey. Allowing them some freedom and choice in this process will not only prove to lessen your stress but it will make this time in you and your child’s life more rewarding. Most importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy watching your child learn and excel in their learning.