When you first start thinking about homeschooling through high school, your reaction is often one of fear and confusion. The entire idea seems simply overwhelming and impossible. I know. I’ve been there. Let me assure you that it is possible to homeschool through high school without going crazy, filing bankruptcy, or alienating your children. Just take it one step at a time.
Five Steps for Success in Homeschooling High School
- Start with a plan – Before your child’s freshman year, you need to make a basic plan of what subjects you will cover over their four years of high school. How will you fit in the requirements and what electives will your child be interested in pursuing? Will you use a co-op, an umbrella school, online courses, traditional textbooks, or a tutor? What resources are available to you? I recently wrote about Planning for High School on my blog, as part of the new Homeschool High School Monthly Blog Hop. You can read not only what I had to say about planning, but also what other homeschool moms had to say.
- Be flexible – Plans sometimes have to change. Your child’s interests may change or their goals may become more clearly defined. A new class option may become available to you that’s a perfect fit for your child. Your child may decide after taking Chemistry 1 that they have no interest in Chemistry 2 after all. You may decide to do dual-credit courses at the community college. For our high school students, I start a transcript template on my computer in 9th grade, with a tentative plan for their course of study over the next four years. Every single year, we end up making changes to that plan. It’s your homeschool, and you can do that!
- Remember your reasons – Homeschooling through high school is hard. There will be times that you doubt your abilities, your resources, and possibly even your sanity. Always hold your doubts and struggles up against your vision. Why did you start homeschooling? Why is it important to you? Has any of that changed? In our home, we were met with opposition from our oldest two daughters who wanted to switch to public school. We considered their request, but we continued to homeschool because we felt our reasons for homeschooling were very important.
- Find your support system – Whether you have an active homeschool group or are homeschooling alone in the middle of nowhere, it’s important to have a support system when you’re homeschooling through high school. If you’re homeschooling in a rural area, try to find an online support system. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and sounding board for struggles, but there are also a few local moms who are either in the trenches with me, or have already been through it. I love going to coffee with one of them and just being able to share about the good and the bad. They encourage me and pray for me – and even if they don’t have answers to my struggles, it helps to know I’m not alone.
- Keep the goal in mind – Taking on the role of both parent of a teenager, and teacher of that same teen, can be challenging at times. But it is also a blessing! The discussions you can have with your teenager as they study the Civil War or read Fahrenheit 451 are amazing. It’s a treasure to get to be their sounding board as they explore their dreams for the future, and their career options. It’s not as easy when they want to discuss their beliefs, especially if they’re taking a critical look at your beliefs, but it’s still very important to be there for them as they work through that. Remember what your goals are in homeschooling your child. It’s not just the diploma at the end of four years. For me, I am trying to raise responsible and caring adults with a solid work ethic and a strong faith in God. I want to know that they’ve each done their best and that they’re ready to pursue God’s plan for their life. That will look different for each child!
It seems overwhelming to think about homeschooling through high school, but it’s possible! Stay calm and start asking around, look at the options online and in your area, find out how others are doing it, and PRAY!
Remember, homeschooling through high school is both a challenge and a blessing!
April is a Christian homeschooling mom of nine in Kansas. April has been homeschooling since 2000, preschool through high school, and has graduated two students. She doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but she’s willing to share what she’s learning! Come visit her at ElCloud Homeschool Blog.