You’ve done it! Your child has successfully completed middle school intact and ready to face the high school years (well, somewhat ready). While you’re learning the ropes of parenting a teenager, you also need to consider how to best homeschool a high school student. The stakes for high school are high, especially if your child is college bound. The good news is, unlike parenting a teen, homeschooling high school is easier than you may think.
4 Steps to Homeschooling High School
Step 1: Get Your Student. Each child is a unique individual, and that is certainly most true when you’re dealing with teenagers! To homeschool high school well, you need to understand your student where they are right now. What are his or her interests? How does he/she learn best? What courses does he/she really want to take? To avoid? Spend some time talking with your high schooler to really get to know what they want, don’t want, dream of, hope for, and envision for their high school career. Not only will this time bring you closer together and help you open the doors of communication, it will give you valuable insight into how to plan your high schooler’s academic, social, and extracurricular career for the next 4 years.
Step 2: Understand the Requirements. Homeschooling high school students aren’t like elementary or middle school. While you may have gotten away with a simple evaluation or no paperwork at all in the past, a high school has more requirements. Each state has a list of the required courses that each student must take to graduate, regardless of where or how they do school. From the four main courses to PE to electives, each state varies but they all have grad requirements. This means your high schooler will be required to take and pass specific courses each year for credits AND have a certain number of credits to graduate. Not understanding the planning process for these requirements can leave your child behind and in you hot water with your already hot-headed teen. Find out exactly what’s required for graduation in your state is the first step in homeschooling high school students well.
Step 3: Set Clear Goals. Once you know your child’s mind and what your state requires, you’re ready to set some goals and start course planning. As you select courses and curriculum, ask yourself these questions to help you make the right choices.
- Where does your student want to end up at the end of their high school career?
- What courses does he/she need to take to get there?
- What extra-curricular activities will help him/her shine and prepare?
- What social activities can he/she do to find joy and calm during the high school years?
- How does your student want to learn? Online, textbook, etc.
- How can your student challenge him/herself to grow in responsibility and organization?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll need to get your hands on a homeschool high school planning worksheet or find yourself support from an accredited homeschool partner that can guide your high schooler all the way through the next 4 years.
Step 4: Allow Room to Shine. This is perhaps the hardest but most critical part of homeschooling high school students well. Your child needs to acquire independence, responsibility, and a better understanding of who they are. This means you need to step back and allow your child to shine, and to stutter. Don’t rescue. Don’t step in and over help. Don’t push your goals or ideas onto your high schooler. Rather, give your high schooler room to find their passion, to discover what they are good at, and to fail at what they are not. Wait to offer help until it’s asked for, because know how and asking for help is a critical key to succeeding in life. These are the years where our children grow into adults. Be there, ever present as a safety net and navigator, but not in the driver’s seat. This will allow your high schooler the freedom mingled with the security he/she needs to develop into a capable adult.
Homeschooling high school may be new territory for you, but you’re not alone and without support. Find the help you need to homeschool high school well, to navigate your high schoolers towards their dreams. Visit bridgewayacademy.com for more information and to find the help you need today!