This year will mark my third child doing high school work. High school! The years fly by, that’s for sure.
Many folks are scared of homeschooling during the high school years. While there is an increase in the reporting and making sure you are hitting all the marks, the high school years are actually some of the easiest years of your homeschool journey.
Here are my tips-
Planning the Homeschool High School Years:
By this point, your child should be working independently. If not, that is one area you should really work on. Being an independent learner is important whether your child plans to go on to college or not. Once they are out in the “real world”, they will have to be self-motivated. They won’t have you with them on the job or in the college classroom reminding them of their work or what comes next. These next four years will have a huge impact on how well they perform in the next phase of life.
Don’t let that scare you. You have four years to work on this. 🙂
The first task you have for teaching high school is to check with your cover school, local school, or governing body that oversees your homeschooling to determine what the graduation requirements are for your child. Try not to be overwhelmed, you do have four years to complete all of those requirements. Here in Tennessee, students are required to have 22 total credits:
- Math: 4 credits – Including Algebra I, II, Geometry and a fourth higher level math course (Students must be enrolled in a mathematics course each school year.)
- English: 4 credits
- Science: 3 credits – Including Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, and a third lab course
- Social Studies: 3 credits
- Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 credits
- Personal Finance: 0.5 credits
- Foreign Language: 2 credits
- Fine Arts: 1 credit – May be waived for students not going to a University to expand and enhance the elective focus
- Elective Focus: 3 credits – Math and Science, Career and Technical Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)
Now that you have a total number of credits, it’s easier to break down each year. At this point, you don’t need to determine the method of teaching each subject, you just need to know which credits your child will be working on during each of the four years. Once you have that broken down, you can decide how you want to teach to each credit.
The best way to determine how to teach each subject is to talk with your child. You know their bent and learning style. Maybe you want to continue with the Charlotte Mason style , or maybe you want to go to a computer-based learning method, or maybe you want to be eclectic while you pick and choose for each subject (this is my style!). Lee Binz offers some great resources to help you navigate the high school waters, such as Keys to High School Success: Get Your Homeschool High School Started Right! and Planning High School Courses: Charting the Course Toward High School Graduation. I highly recommend her books!
Planning pages are abundant online. My favorite source of planning pages is DonnaYoung.org. Her site is filled with organizational and planning tools. Her high school planning section includes a 4 year checklist, planning forms, lesson planners, and assignment forms.
In talking with your child, I recommend them writing down all of the potential careers that interests them. From this list, narrow down the choices to those requiring college courses and those that do not. You will most likely see a pattern within their interest lists. It is my belief that shadowing a person working in the fields they are interested in would be most beneficial. I say this from experience as our Rebecca went to cosmetology school at Paul Mitchell. Had she had the opportunity to shadow a cosmetologist all day, or even longer, I don’t think she would have made that choice.
Know that you don’t have to make decisions now on what your child will do after high school. There is plenty of time for that. Just work towards getting those credits earned so that he/she is ready for whichever direction they decide to take after graduation. I try to use the 9th and 10th grade years for heavy academics. This way, they are more free in the 11th and 12th grade years to pursue a job, dual enrollment courses, and any outside activities they desire. Once a child reaches 15 and 16, there is a whole new world opened up to them with driving. If you have a good portion of their electives already taken care of, they can be a little freer in those years. OR, they can focus the last two years of their high school education and work harder on certain subjects. Having the “piddly” stuff out of the way makes this easier.
There is certainly more to planning high school than what I’ve covered here. Just know that it can be done, and it doesn’t have to be scary. 🙂
Do you have any high schoolers this year? What is your biggest concern about homeschooling the high school years?
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