What? No College?: When your Homeschooled High School Student is not College-Bound

Homeschooling a high school student brings up lots of emotions in parents including inadequacies, fears, frustration, as well as celebratory, determined, and excited.  When my oldest son reached 7th grade, I started to do some simple research to try to prepare myself for the years to come.  I have the personality that thrives on checklists, preparation, and organization so I was glad to find that there were others who had gone before me that had shared what worked for them.

Everything I read said to have your student take college preparation courses even if they are not sure of they will be attending college.  I did the same thing myself when I was in high school.  I was not sure when I entered high school if college would be in my future but I took the college preparation courses anyway just in case.  So for my son’s 9th grade year we did just that. Then his sophomore year came and we continued down that same path just in case.

What No College

Since beginning high school, we would always try to have a weekly meeting to discuss how things were going with him, check assignments, etc.  I cannot stress enough how great these meetings are when your children enter this stage.  He completed at least 95% of his work independently and these meetings were really the only way I would know what was going on with him.

About midway through his sophomore year, he told me that he was absolutely sure that he did not want to attend a college anywhere not even a community college.  This really did not shock me at all and our philosophy has always been for our children to try to find what they love.  He’s still searching that one out.  College has never been our main goal for homeschooling.  Our main goal was to provide the time our children that they needed to grow in their relationship with Christ.

With this new information, our next step was to reevaluate his schedule.  He was struggling with the course load so we lightened the load tremendously.  The first thing we dropped was Algebra.  He had started this course over three times so as you can imagine that felt like taking an anchor off his neck as well as mine.  We replaced that with a Business Math course.  Ironically, now in his senior year with the pressure off he has picked back up an interest in learning Algebra!  Science courses were now interest led.  He wanted to learn more about Astronomy so we dropped Biology and added Astronomy instead.  He began a job and started out working 35 hours per week so he gets a credit for that too.

My personal thoughts are transcripts are really more for college bound students but I wanted to keep a record of what we were accomplishing.  So, I told him we would keep a simple one and his goal was to complete 20 credits.  When he reaches that, he will graduate from our homeschool.  A lot of those credits are figured out using the number of hours that it takes to complete a course.  We use the standard formula of 60-90 hours = 1/2 credit and 120-180 hours = 1 credit.

With our new schedule in progress, it allows him to choose simple courses that he is interested in the most.  These changes have been so freeing for him and I’m really starting to see a little spark of motivation for him to keep on keeping on.  I cannot tell you that he loves school or even learning but I do think he will become a high school graduate now.  At one point in this journey, I wasn’t sure that was going to happen.  College is not for everyone and that’s okay!  You can find a few articles on HSLDA about vocations and helping lead your child in the right direction.  

I wanted to see a completed transcript for a child without college in their future.  I never did find that either.  That goes back to my thoughts on transcripts being mainly for college bound students.  So, just in case someone is in the same boat as us I’m going to share our transcript.


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Please share with us any ideas you have for children that are not college bound!
Melissa is wife to her high school sweetheart and mom to 3.  This is her 8th year homeschooling.  You can follow along on Melissa’s homeschool days over at Grace Christian Homeschool. One day at a time is definitely out motto.

4 thoughts on “What? No College?: When your Homeschooled High School Student is not College-Bound”

  1. Our second graduate was not headed for college either, but we did have him complete a high school course of study that would qualify for college entrance anyway. His transcript meets all the requirements, so that if he changes his mind at some point, he’ll be prepared. But we didn’t have him (or our oldest, for that matter!) do ACTs or SATs.

    Some employers and intern/apprenticeship programs want to see high school transcripts, so it’s a good idea to have a professional looking one, even if your student isn’t college-bound.

  2. I don’t think it matters whether your child is headed for college or not – make the very best transcript you can. Teens/young adults change their minds (!) and the last thing you want to do is try to recreate a transcript 2 or 5 years after they graduated from high school. My daughter was convinced she did not want to go to college. She was delighted to be done with school when she finished high school. Two years later, she had a better idea of what type of work she wanted to do, and went back to school to get the training she needed. No matter what your teen thinks they want now – make a transcript!


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