Friends, one of the things we’ve been able to do is invite writers from all walks of like to join our team. In this post, I invite you to give a warm welcome to my friend and homeschooling mentor, Tina Jobe.
At just the right time, in just the right way, God gifted her to our family. She has not only encouraged me in more ways than I can count, but she has also encouraged my boys as she has been one of their favorite homeschooling teachers – They truly love her classes!
As Tina was helping me work through some of my questions (and fears) about homeschooling high school in the coming years, I found her words more comforting than I can even say.
So I invited her to share them with you here, and I hope you walk away feeling just as encouraged as I did!
Homeschooling High School by Tina Jobe
When I began homeschooling, I felt fairly confident.
Get our THIS LITTLE HOME OF MINE nEWSLETTER
Delivered directly to your inbox!
After all, I was an elementary-school teacher with experience teaching grades k-3 in the public schools.
Younger kids were my forte’, and I knew my children were on or above grade level.
I had no need to worry about older kids’ issues such as AP tests or college requirements.
We attended homeschool co-ops and enjoyed fellowship with other homeschool families. We lived the good life, free of academic stress!
I simply made a plan and let life happen.
Eventually, my oldest child became a high schooler. With her in 9th grade, the weight of responsibility felt like a ball and chain.
Getting Started with Homeschooling High School
I did what I always had done before:
- prayed for guidance
- made a plan
- carefully selected my daughter’s courses
- purchased curriculum.
While not AP courses or college credit classes, I felt confident that her 9th-grade curriculum was equivalent to a private school in content.
Somehow I thought that being “serious” about having a high schooler would naturally mean that our little home school academy would check every box that year.
I was mistaken.
My dad needed a heart transplant, so my parents moved in with our family.
Instead of becoming the best high school homeschool mom ever, I became a dietician for a special heart diet.
Weekly, I took my dad to appointments.
Our homeschool faced interruptions daily.
At the end of the year, my 9th-grade daughter’s biology book sat unopened. She completed only half of her algebra. While she finished her English and history, I grieved that her high school courses were not off to the start I had imagined.
I felt like a failure, but 14 years later, I can look back and see that “life happening” was more important than completed science experiments.
Since then, I have graduated five homeschooled high school students. As of May 2023, these five students all have college degrees as well.
So, how do homeschooling parents “do” high school homeschool?
You only need to get started which is fairly simple. So first –
When Homeschooling High School, Make a Plan.
Like every homeschool year, you need an academic plan.
Here is the good news: It is not hard.
You are the principal of your school. This means you get to decide what your homeschool’s graduation requirements are.
You do not have to require the same classes as your local school district or local high school.
Look instead at a few potential colleges your child may attend. On college websites, you can view “minimum requirements” for entry. For example, most schools require high school credits as follows:
- 4 maths
- 4 English language arts
- 4 sciences
- 3 histories
- 2 social studies 2 PEs
- a number of electives
You, however, have much freedom in deciding the course material within those classes.
Involve your high schooler in making homeschooling goals.
Ask their opinion.
- Does your child enjoy independent learning or online learning?
- What electives are interesting?
- Does your child want dual credit classes taken as community college courses?
- What foreign language do they want to study?
Make a general plan that will ensure over four years, your student can meet “minimum course requirements” for a university they may attend.
This is the season when homeschooling can be the most beneficial method of schooling.
Why? Because your child has the freedom to choose what elective courses they want to study.
Electives can be tailored to your child’s individual interests.
Extracurricular activities can be counted as physical education.
Online courses can give your child the flexibility to do school while traveling.
Your child can choose specific areas of interest and make a plan of study that will, undoubtedly, build their skillset.
Colleges want to see students who have taken the time to serve and know their strengths.
Homeschooling allows students flexibility to develop their talents.
Inevitably, however, life will happen, so –
When Homeschooling High School, Let Life Happen.
My one tip about this step is to write down your child’s experiences.
It’s a good idea to record mission trips, hours of work in part-time jobs, and even outings to speak with nurses at a hospital as “additional experiences” on your child’s homeschool transcript.
Life skills matter!
“Wait a minute,” you may ask. “Make a plan and let life happen?”
That’s how I’ve done things all along.
Additionally, you likely have spent hours around your kitchen table actively teaching. You do not have to do that for your teens.
You can find tutors or enroll them in online classes. Some students study independently quite well, The high school years are quite freeing for moms!
My high school freshman daughter who did not finish her biology book is now in her second year studying to be a nurse anesthetist.
She went on to work in critical care as a registered nurse.
Her passion as a nurse was helping patients with heart issues.
This all began the year her grandfather needed a heart transplant.
The best college preparation she could have had was what I did not plan.
And how did she recover from not completing the specific requirements of her 9th-grade plan?
She simply did a little extra work over the summer and had an excellent Algebra 2 teacher her sophomore year who tutored her in the areas she needed help.
A bad semester will not ruin your student’s transcript. It may even help it.
Just as you do not need to worry about your young child’s education, you also do not need to worry about your high schooler’s either.
The college application process can wait until your child’s junior year.
High school transcripts can be created quite easily. And yes, the senior year will be here before you know it.
But a good place to begin homeschooling high school is simply to make a high school plan and let life happen.
Together, the classes your child takes \and the life experiences they live will dovetail beautifully; all will fall into place.
With God’s help, you can homeschool high school!
For access to $20 to use toward Outschool classes, use our Friends and Family Link here.