8 Best Tips to Homeschool in High School

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Have you decided to homeschool in high school? I have homeschooled my own high schoolers for the past two years, and I’m sharing my 8 best tips to help you navigate the process.

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I want to start by saying that I do not consider myself a professional homeschool parent. It was never my plan to homeschool in high school. Sure, I homeschooled my kids for several years in elementary school. But that’s when teaching at home is fun!

So why did I decide to homeschool in high school? It was out of pure necessity. My two oldest kids started out in traditional high school. But, during my daughter’s sophomore year and my son’s freshman year, they both struggled with anxiety, depression, and overwhelm. My daughter was being bullied by her former friends. She struggled with loneliness and depression. My son was overloaded with homework, which he worked on until the wee hours of the morning. Every. Single. Day. The negative impact public school was having on my teens was seeping into our family life as well. We were all feeling stressed, tired and anxious.

Watch Video: 8 Best Tips to Homeschool in High School

Tip #1 Focus on the Why

Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where homeschooling feels like the only option. But we doubt ourselves and our ability to provide a proper education to our children. I want you to know that you can provide your teenagers with something that they won’t receive with a public school education. LOVE. You are invested in your child 100%. You care more than anyone else about their happiness and success. Whether you’re considering homeschool in high school because you’re worried for your child’s physical and/or mental well-being or because of another reason, let that reason drive you towards taking the next step.

Tip # 2 The How Will Come

You’ve made the decision, and you’re going to homeschool in high school! Now comes one of the most difficult parts. Gathering information and selecting a curriculum(s). There are numerous curriculums and so many helps! You can even find free online curriculums, such as K12, that your high schooler will receive credit for. Don’t be afraid to mix and match curriculum to come up with the perfect fit fo your teen.

Would a co-op where your student can interact with other homeschoolers once a week or once a month be a good fit? Talk with your teen, and find out what style of learning they prefer. Do they want to work independently, online, or be more teacher-led?

You will also need to check out your state laws regarding homeschooling. Some may require periodic testing, keeping a transcript of classes your child completes, or checking in with a qualified teacher. Please don’t let this deter you.

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Tip # 3 Create a Haven

Your teen will now be home for most, if not all, of the day. You need to create a safe, nurturing environment that inspires them to learn. If they’re not completely excited about the decision to homeschool in high school, make sure to accentuate the positive. Remind them that they won’t have any homework! If they would like their own area to work on school work, carve out a spot for them in their bedroom. Be open and respectful of their questions and ideas.

Hiccups will happen. Your high schooler may get overwhelmed or confused when working on an assignment. There may be days when you need a break from each other or from the schedule. You can turn these moments into learning experiences. You can give yourself and your child grace. It’s much better than the alternative. The way you interact with your teen regarding homeschooling can either bring you closer together or pull you apart. Let your child know you are there to support them and will work through problems together.

Tip # 4 Don’t Try to Replicate

You may have made the choice to homeschool in high school very quickly. Your home isn’t set up for homeschooling. You’re not sure what you need to do to prepare. Honestly, there isn’t one right way to set up homeschool in your home. I just want you to realize that you don’t have to do things how they’ve been done in your child’s public school.

You don’t have to have a desk for your child or a designated school room. I have done homeschool with a designated school room, as well as just using the kitchen table. I like using the kitchen table better because my kids are working on school in the center of the home. While they’re working, I can be nearby staying busy with things in the home.

You don’t have to stand up in front of your kids and give them a lesson for each subject. There are a couple of subjects we do together, such as science and history, but they work independently on their other subjects.

Tip # 5 Embrace the Freedom

If you are doing homeschool in high school, you’re not subject to the school calendar. This means you can be flexible in what days you do school and when you take vacation days. When my kids were younger, we did homeschool four days a week and left the other day for attending a co-op with other homeschoolers.

Last year, my teens and I experimented with doing a class schedule similar to what is done in some universities. We scheduled some of their classes for Monday, Wednesday, Friday (math, language arts, history) and their other classes were on Tuesday and Thursday (ACT Prep, world language, science). They enjoyed focusing on only a few classes each day and having a break from the others.

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Tip # 6 Get Organized

Getting organized for homeschool in high school is going to look a bit different for each family and each teenager, but there are some things that everyone needs to do to get ready for the school year.

  • Gather curriculum & supplies, such as art supplies, science lab supplies, binders, etc.
  • Sign up for any online classes or co-ops your teen may be participating in.
  • Designate an area(s) for school books, notebooks, notebook paper, pencils, glue sticks, and all other supplies.
  • Make a plan for the coming year. Example: “My child will complete a Geometry course this year.” Now, break that down into monthly, weekly and daily goals. I plan our months out so I can schedule in holidays and other activities we may have. Then I figure out how we can finish a unit during that month by assigning weekly or daily lessons. Your teen can either mark things off on the monthly planner, or you can have them copy the assignments into a weekly planner.
  • On a side note, I am going to schedule one “Makeup Day” every month. This is so that if my kids have a sick day or something comes up one day that prevents them from completing their school work, they will have a day already worked into the monthly schedule to compensate for that missed day.

I have some homeschool FREE PRINTABLES for you!

Tip # 7 Work Towards Independence

Some teens are great at working independently on their school work. Others…well, they need a lot of direction and hand-holding as you teach them to be more independent.

During my first year of homeschooling my high schoolers, I scheduled out my kids’ assignments for each day of the week. I presented them with a weekly schedule of their assignments to complete. They were very successful at completing their assignments on time.

The next year, I decided my teens needed to learn how to do their own scheduling. Instead of giving them a weekly schedule, I gave them monthly due dates and their own individual planners so that they could figure out how much work they needed to do each day in order to meet their deadlines. That idea BACKFIRED! Unfortunately, they weren’t quite ready for me to completely let go of their hands. I kept moving the deadlines back because they weren’t finished, and it was just a big mess.

This year, I have a freshman and a senior. My plan is to make monthly goals & then break those down into weekly assignments that must be completed. My kids will then schedule into their individual planners how they plan to complete those assignments over the week. I’m hoping this will be better middle ground between hand-holding and complete freedom.

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Tip # 8 Look to the Future

Is your teenager planning on attending college? Do they know where they want to attend? My teens have their sights on a couple of different universities, so we looked into what the application process is like for homeschoolers. The universities they are interested in focus mainly on a homeschool student’s ACT/SAT scores, while also asking if the student has met all requirements for high school in their state. I have been careful to ensure my kids are taking the required number of years of math, language arts, science, history/geography, and world language. I have also purchased ACT preparation and practice books for my teens and scheduled that into their school day. My daughter, who graduated from homeschool recently, was accepted to the university of her choice.

Does your teen already know what kind of job they want after high school? If possible, have your child take some kind of vocational training during their senior year of homeschool. This gives your child the opportunity to see what the job is really like and if it’s something they want to pursue further.

Your Decision to Homeschool in High School

I’m so proud of you for making the decision to homeschool your child in high school! I have just given you my Best 8 Tips to get you started as you get your feet wet. I would love to answer any questions you have as you take the full plunge into the homeschool life. Please comment below, or you can find me on Instagram and Facebook.

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