How to Get the Most Out of High School Homeschooling: Part I

Gasp! High school looms over you like a tiger waiting to pounce. The classes are harder, the tests more rigorous, and you’re figuring out who you are, all at the same time. But high school homeschooling isn’t complicated. Your parents are cheering you on, every step of the way and this time in your life is one of growth and opportunity.

Where do you start? How can you possibly figure out how to juggle The Catcher in the Rye reading assignments, acute angles, and complex chemistry equations? High school homeschooling is a challenging journey, and you need a good road map. Read on to learn our top five questions that will help you identify how to get the most out of high school homeschooling. Ready? Let’s go!

What are my interests? High school opens up a whole new world (yes, you now have the lyrics from Disney’s Aladdin stuck in your head) of extracurriculars. From art classes to the track team, you have more options than ever to pursue your dreams and find out what interests you.

The myth that homeschoolers don’t socialize is untrue. Find a soccer league to join, a dance studio, or a book club . Extracurriculars look great on the college application. You can never start too soon! Plus, the activities gets you out of the house for a little while, and who wouldn’t want that? You never know – there could be a local baseball or softball league right down the street!

What do I want to learn? I remember the absurd amount of classes and extracurriculars to choose from when I was in high school. What you need to do is focus on what interests you outside of the core curriculum.

  • Live Online Classes: The experience of a classroom without leaving your living room! Over 60 classes are offered, called Learning Labs. There are plenty of options to find out-of-the-box topics.
  • Find a job/internship tailored to your college major interest: Many local businesses would love the extra hands on deck. Interested in social media marketing? Intern at a non-profit managing their social media accounts. What about law? There are plenty of law firms happy to show you how the process works. What about a trade? Trade jobs are in short supply, so why don’t you check out your local community college for classes? Many offer mechanics, carpentry, and more.

Should I take college-level courses during high school? Expand your learning and tackle new challenges with college-level courses! Yes, we know it sounds daunting. The experience and knowledge you will gain from these classes will be worth its salt for your college years.

There are three types of classes we are thinking of: dual enrollment, AP, and Honors courses.

Dual enrollment. Dual enrollment is when you take a high school and college course in the same subject and receive credit for both. Can you do that even as a high school homeschooler? Absolutely! Dual enrollment allows you to free up time for other college courses you wish to take. For example, if you want to sign up for chemistry, you can take the class that is certified, and receive credit for an equivalent college course. It’s definitely something to think about. You could have a college degree while in high school and make your friends jealous.

Honors or AP classes? It can be difficult to determine the difference between honors and AP courses. Here’s a breakdown guide on which one would best suit you.

  • AP (Advanced Placement) Classes. AP classes challenge your mind in ways you never thought possible. You can take advantage of a weighted GPA (meaning your GPA could be higher, depending on how well you do) and how it looks on a transcript. At the completion of the course, you will take the AP Exam. If you score higher than a 3 (on a scale from 1-5), you will earn college credit at select colleges. Strive to achieve a 4 or 5 though – most universities or colleges will not award credit to a score lower than a 4.
  • Honors Classes. Honors classes don’t have the ability to earn college credit, but you still can show off your skills to college admission officers. These classes prepare you for what a college class would be like and that’s a good thing. Looking to step up to the academic challenge? Talk to your homeschool advisor! Make sure you ask about if the particular honors course is weighted. Some aren’t, so make sure you check.

Making the most out of high school homeschooling doesn’t have to be scary. Preparing yourself for college early is the best way to be two steps ahead of your peers. Your interests, learning experiences, and class choices, all make up your high school homeschooling years. Get ready, get set, go!

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