For many homeschooling parents, teaching high school is a terrifying consideration. Often it is determined long in advance that home education will stop when the children reach high school age. We have been asked many questions along these lines. I learned a great deal about the process – after months of being completely intimidated and paralyzed first! *laugh* Sometimes the panic sets in when the realization arrives with the planning for the next year and it sinks in that next year in ninth grade. Anything worthwhile can be difficult and an opportunity to be fearful but it doesn’t need to be.

I knew we were going to continue into high school and I also knew that once I understood how to document everything correctly so that our children would have all their doors open to them, and what resources were available to me, then I’d be fine. Which I was of course. *smile* And you will be, too.

Many of you will be asking yourself, “Wait, I thought they stopped homes schooling?” Without going into the why we had to make changes, we are not homeschooling all of the children but we are completing high school at home with our older children. This post is an encouragement for you to continue on past primary education at home, because you can do high school at home, too. Let’s look at,

  • Some popular curriculum
  • Resources
  • Creating transcripts
  • Dual enrollment
  • Graduation Supplies

 

Some popular curriculum

Online and computer-based courses are greatly in favor currently for homeschooling high school. Not only is the curriculum of great quality, but it enables the students to be very self-guided and paced. This can be a valuable introduction to working independently and becoming responsible, while still having parental supervision and guidance. After the curriculum gives the parents the answers, parents still do some of the correction work for papers, projects, and essay answers, but the majority is graded by the computer. And another benefit is that students are not kept waiting on parents to have time to correct book work so that they can move into the next quiz or test; they can move ahead at their own pace.

Switched on School House (S.O.S., produced by Alpha Omega Press) is a very popular Christian curriculum for high schoolers (and grades 3-12). It is comparably priced, but also a huge relief for parents who desire to help their students become more independent in their schooling while not compromising quality. It’s also very adaptable by the parents to fit their own calendar, and dozens of other choices; while remaining easy to manage. And with excellent technical help online whenever it’s needed. There are also great electives available for purchase.

Teaching Textbooks has been our favorite for math by far, especially for the more advanced math classes. The computer-based lectures and demonstrations make the learning so easy! I was skeptical for many years, thinking that math really ought to be done on paper, right? But I was beyond impressed when we tried it after a couple of our students were really struggling with advanced math. With this curriculum and it’s supreme reputation for quality and even enjoyment – it is so worth the extra money to us! Our students would actually do math on their free time! *laugh* Hallelujah! The website is excellent, and has great reviews available on it as well.

Rosetta Stone also has the best reputation for teaching language. It’s not inexpensive, but this wasn’t a subject we wanted to waste time and money on, either, only to discover that something we purchased turned out to be inferior or such poor quality that our students would dread 2 years of it. So we went with Rosetta Stone – highest quality – and we never regretted it.

We have also found that we have excellent resources at our finger tips if a student enrolled in the public school system needs some supplemental teaching to help them master a subject. This is easiest with Rosetta Stone language curriculum since there are a variety of languages available, and the curriculum is geared to be used easily by adults as well who desire to learn at their own pace.

Resources

A very valuable resource to know about is Lee Binz’s website, books and DVD’s, and services at HomeHighSchoolHelp.com (formerly TheHomescholar.com). She tells you everything you need to know about getting high schoolers through school with very accurate and full documentation in transcripts. And even if a parent finds themselves in the middle of or nearing the end of high school for their student without any transcripts, she offers her personal, professional services to help them go back and draw out all that should be on paper for them! *whew*

Another very simple and readily available resource for supplementary learning are YouTube videos. If a student has trouble understanding chemistry for example, there are excellent videos such as Crash Course (on many subjects).

 

CLEP tests are an excellent way to begin receiving college credit while still living at home. And for a fraction of the price of college. Students self-guide themselves through studying the text book and then test to demonstrate mastery of a course. Simple, straight forward, self-paced, any time night or day.

 

Creating transcripts

Lee Binz of HomeHighSchoolHelp.com does a great job walking parents through this process. And she explains how you can know how many hours of an activity would be equal to how may credits on a transcript.

A great tip to help parents expand their child’s transcript by making sure they receive credit for the life experiences, extracurricular work, volunteer work, and self-study is by printing their school district’s course catalog from online. You can read through the described courses and determine which ones your student has already completed from home, and which levels, and add those same course titles to your child’s transcript. Making sure that the student has completed the required number of hours to equal a whole credit or even a half credit. I was able to double our student’s transcripts simply by learning how to get them credit for what they had already completed but which I hadn’t purchased curriculum for and so did not know how to document it! Things like culinary arts, early childhood education, cosmetology, coaching speech or debate, teaching an instrument, physical education, civil air patrol, etc.

This will also help local colleges to easily recognize the same terms used on your child’s transcripts as are used in the local high schools. And you will be less likely to have college personal asking you for clarification as to what this course listed here is exactly; they already know what that course is, or could easily reference a course catalog for a full description.

Another recommendation for homeschooling high school is to hold your student to both your state’s requirements and school district’s requirements for graduation, for number of credits completed in certain subjects, and certain types of courses required. Both standards can be found online. By doing this your student will have all of their doors open to them for career paths or colleges to attend.

 

Dual enrollment

We have been asked about whether or not we support dual enrollment, and the answer is yes – either way it can be looked at. Some dual enroll by having their child attend Running Start at the local community college, simultaneously with completing high school courses at home. This can be a great way to use time to the fullest, and many students are able to graduate with their AA degree simultaneously with their high school diploma. However a friend recently told me that this only applies within the same state the student is from, and that not all universities accept the whole AA degree but only portions of it. The University of Washington, for example, does not accept a Running Start AA degree as a whole, but only in part. So it may not necessarily guarantee a full transfer, enabling a student to step in to the university then as a junior; but it can help to get the student some college credit early.

Something to consider also is whether or not your student will be emotionally mature enough or ready to step in to college courses with students that are a couple years their senior. This is not always  beneficial. Just something to think about. However is your student is pursuing a BA or BS degree where they can complete the rest of it online or from home anyway then it won’t matter.  *smile*

Another way to dual enroll students is to have them taking classes at the local high school which they do not have offered to them at home. Parents or students might desire this for electives such as photography, or for more advanced sciences or math. Homeschool students are also permitted to join public school sports teams. This can be great ways to expand a students experiences.

There is one point that is important to understand if parents choose to utilize government run “homeschool co-op’s”. When participating in these co-ops parents are given a financial stypen to help pay for that student’s education. But legally that homeschooled students is no longer considered a homeschooler, but actually part of the public school system (even though they’re still completing their education from home). This being the case, that family would not be allowed to become or remain members of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

 

Graduation supplies

I was very excited to learn about websites such as HomeschoolDiploma.com where parents can purchase all kinds of online graduation supplies: gown and cap, tassel, announcements, diplomas, even class rings!

 

We are still helping our high schoolers complete their degrees from home – so we’re here with you. *smile* And I hope to bring you vision, hope, and encouragement as you begin or continue your own journey.

Blessings on your efforts,

Erika Shupe