Preview: Nervous about homeschooling high school? These two principles will help you relax, enjoy this new stage, and homeschool high school with confidence.
High school…it’s a word that strikes fear and anxiety in many homeschool parents. Most find themselves asking questions such as:
- How will I teach my high schooler advanced math and science?
- How do I prepare a transcript?
- How do I teach my child to write an essay?
- Will my child be able to get into college with a homeschool diploma?
I asked these questions too! I was nervous about moving into the high school years of my daughter’s educational journey.
I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. As I read books and talked with other homeschool moms, I discovered two principles that helped me relax, enjoy this new stage, and homeschool high school with confidence. This post will provide a behind-the-scenes look into our homeschool high school and discuss the two principles that can help you homeschool high school confidence.
- Why We Decided to Homeschool High School
- How We Prepared To Homeschool High School
- How My Role Changed In Our Homeschool During High School
- Know Your Homeschool Purpose
- Books And Online Courses About How To Homeschool High School
- Do you need an online course to homeschool high school?
- The Best Homeschool Planners For Homeschooling High School
Why We Decided To Homeschool High School
When we initially started homeschooling, we did not know where our homeschool journey would take us. We focused on establishing a positive learning environment and creating a love for learning during elementary school.
During those years, we met many homeschool families who had graduated teens from their homeschool. We were impressed by how the teens presented themselves and interacted with adults and the breadth and depth of their understanding of a wide array of subjects.
We were sold. We decided we were in this for the long haul and planned to homeschool through high school.
Fast forward a few years…my oldest daughter started middle school, and I realized I should start thinking about high school.
I choose not to be overwhelmed. I knew that each stage of child development has its highs and lows, and high school would be no different. If I took it one step at a time, we would navigate our way through the high school years. I was confident that if other homeschool families successfully navigated high school, we could too.
How We Prepared To Homeschool High School
That didn’t mean I wasn’t apprehensive. I was. But I was not afraid. I refused to give in to fear. Instead, I did what I usually do when confronted with a new problem or situation—I researched.
I talked with other homeschool moms who had already walked this journey. Some had graduated their children fifteen years prior, while others had a recent graduate.
Hearing their different perspectives was helpful. The veterans provided perspective about what they were glad they did and what they wished they had done. The moms with new graduates provided advice for navigating dual enrollment options and college admissions. And I read a lot of books (see the list below).
How My Role Changed In Our Homeschool During High School
I quickly realized that my role in our homeschool needed to change. I would no longer be my daughter’s primary teacher. I didn’t need to be her primary instructor for every subject. Instead, I needed to be her mentor and guide. What a relief!
My new role as homeschool facilitator includes:
- Helping my daughter set academic and personal goals
- Finding resources to help my daughter achieve her goals
- Providing guidance and accountability as needed
The main difference is who has the responsibility for learning. When I was a teacher, I had primary responsibility. Now, my daughter is responsible for her education.
We began transferring responsibility for school lessons, behavior, time management, money management, and other life skills in elementary school. Using Responsibilities and Privileges Lists, my daughter learned many life skills and assumed responsibility for many aspects of her life. During her high school years, she will complete the transition from childhood to adulthood and assume full responsibility for herself.
My daughter isn’t the only one who faced changes with the transition into high school. I had to embrace my new role as her mentor instead of her teacher.
Even though I knew I needed to transition to being her mentor, it is a skill I need to develop. That’s one of the aspects of the Homeschooling High School by Design eCourse that I appreciated so much.
Multiple lessons provided reminders and practical suggestions of how to transfer responsibility to our teenagers as well as how to be their mentor. I especially appreciated the lessons that focused on how to do this with teens who are reluctant to assume responsibility!
Transitioning to high school hasn’t always been a smooth and easy process for us, but it has been rewarding. It is a privilege to watch my daughters grow and mature into responsible and capable young ladies.
On this bonus episode of the All in a Homeschool Day podcast, I answer the question of how to change your homeschool mindset as your children get older. It does take a different mindset to homeschool middle school and high school, but it’s not the mindset shift that you might think.
Know Your Homeschool Purpose
The first principle that will help you homeschool high school with confidence is to know your homeschool purpose.
When you know your destination, you can determine the best route to get there. When you don’t know where you want to go, you wander aimlessly.
The same is true of our homeschool journey. To make decisions about curricula and activities, I need to know the goals and objectives I want my teenager to achieve.
My husband and I brainstormed the goals for our homeschool our very first year. Those goals continue to guide our decisions as we homeschool high school. Our homeschool goals are for our children to
- become devoted Christ-followers.
- develop well-grounded Christian beliefs and articulately defend them.
- develop disciplined habits of lifelong learning.
- be involved in meaningful ministry.
- achieve academic excellence by acquiring and applying knowledge and thinking critically.
- develop and practice a healthy lifestyle.
- develop practical life skills.
- develop an appreciation of fine arts.
- develop a passion.
Do Your Research
The first principle that will help you homeschool high school with confidence is to do your research.
I talked to homeschool moms who had graduated children from homeschool, read books, and completed an online course about planning high school.
Doing research helped me feel confident, prepared, and excited to walk alongside my daughter through her high school years. The following resources were particularly helpful.
Books And Online Courses About How To Homeschool High School
Homeschool High School Made Easy by Lea Ann Garfias
Lea Ann provides many concrete examples of how to structure various high school subjects. She shares how she encouraged her children to learn independently and how she tailored her children’s high school experiences to their own interests and learning abilities. I do not agree with everything she suggests and recommends but I did appreciate the many tips included throughout the book and will be incorporating many of these in our homeschool high school.
Homeschooling for College Credit by Jennifer Cook-DeRosa
This book was full of options of how to accumulate college credit while still in high school. What I appreciated most, though, was that Jennifer did not put earning college credit (or a college degree) above the high school experience. Above all else, you should ensure your teen’s high school experience lines up with your reasons for homeschooling.
Transcripts Made Easy by Janice Campbell
I appreciate how simple and straight forward this book is. She provides advice for creating a four-year plan, what colleges expect to see, and options for different situations. The book also has multiple examples of what to include on a transcript and how to format one. This is not the only resource you will need to plan your student’s high school years, but it is one you will want to have on your shelf for quick reference!
Homeschooling High School by Design Online Course by Heather Woodie
I was stuck planning my daughter’s high school journey. I didn’t know where to begin. This course demystified the process by laying out a step-by-step plan to attack creating her four-year plan for high school. Once I had the four-year plan ready, planning each year was much simpler.
Do you need an online course to homeschool high school?
No, you don’t. If you feel confident planning your homeschool student’s high school plan, you don’t need an online course to help you through the steps.
I found the Homeschooling High School by Design and Homeschooling College by Design courses helpful in several ways. Primarily, they demystified the process and helped me move past the sense of overwhelm I felt so I could homeschool high school with confidence.
Wondering if you need an online course to help you plan your student’s homeschool high school experience? In this video, I share why I joined this course and how it benefited our homeschool.
The Best Homeschool Planners For Homeschooling High School
Time management and assuming responsibility are important life skills to teach your child. Using a homeschool planner is a great way to help your child develop and practice both of these skills. These are my top three recommendations for homeschool planners.
Homeschool Planet is a robust online homeschool planner. I love that it is easy and flexible. You can include as much or as little detail as you want or need. You can access from a desktop/laptop or a mobile device. And it’s a bonus that it builds student responsibility and independence since they can work on assignments and mark them as complete through their own login. To learn more about this robust planner, check out my review including a video walkthrough of the program.
Asana provides a little more flexibility than Homeschool Planet but does require more effort to set up. Depending on what you need from a homeschool planner, this free option may provide the structure and freedom you need.
The Practical Planner by Susan Chrisman
The Practical Planner is a simple planner for Charlotte Mason homeschool moms who prefer to plan on paper. It is large enough to hold lesson plans for three high school students at once and includes a section to record books read and community service. Your child will have one central location to find his lesson assignments each week.