Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling High School Students
As the pandemic COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, thousands of schools have announced temporary school closures, leaving over 1.6 billion children and young people not able to attend school in person, according to UNICEF.
While waiting for the coronavirus to plummet, parents are looking for ways to continue their children’s education. And so, thousands of parents have decided to transition their kids to homeschooling.
Until the pandemic closed schools, only a minority of young people were homeschooled. The end of this pandemic is yet unknown. Until there are vaccines to end this pandemic, millions of students must look for alternative ways to continue their education.
If you’re thinking about homeschooling your high school teen, then we’re here to help. Much like other parents, you might be wondering about the benefits of homeschooling high school students, as well as the challenges that may surface.
In this blog post, we will talk about the strong points of homeschooling, the problems that might occur, their solutions, and how you can support your children.
- 1 Benefits of Homeschooling High School Students
- 2 Challenges of Homeschooling High School Students
- 3 How to Homeschool High School Students
- 3.1 Creating a high school homeschool program
- 3.2 Understanding the state requirements
- 3.3 Provide a “standard” high school program
- 3.4 Finding high school level courses
- 3.5 Keeping records and transcripts
- 4 Get help and learn more about homeschooling high school students
Benefits of Homeschooling High School Students
Homeschooling refers to parents who teach their children and teens at home. It is often compared with school-based education.
It offers a lot of advantages. Let’s talk about the obvious: it allows students to continue their studies during the lockdown period. School closure does not mean vacation. The purpose of the schools being temporarily closed is to flatten the curve; that is to reduce the amount of infection.
Homeschooling high school students also allows academic flexibility. It works for everybody, whether your kid is ahead, behind, creative, strong-willed, quiet, active, or gifted. It will enable you, as a parent, to try different teaching approaches, curricula, or workbooks.
Plus, homeschooling allows your teen to be less impacted by distractions in life. For example, if your teen has to go to the doctor for a check-up, he can still take his exam at night rather than fall behind.
Another great thing about homeschooling is that it allows your teen to study at their own pace. Learning won’t be as effective if students are forced to work at an unnatural pace. When your teen finds a subject easy, he can quickly move on to the next topic. On the other hand, he can go slowly on subjects that he finds difficult.
Yet, that doesn’t always mean that your teen can work at any pace they want. When you tell your kid to go as slow as he wants, you might find him not working at all. Instead, you can set a minimum pace in a particular subject, then progress occasionally according to his abilities.
Attainment in physical, emotional, and mental needs
Through homeschooling, you can meet your teen’s needs now. Many believe that homeschooling is “hard,” maybe because there is more workload involved in it, and stress can be very damaging to your teen.
When you homeschool your high school teen, you can immediately prioritize your teen’s mental, physical, and emotional needs.
Socialization and faith-centered educational approach
Homeschooling high school students offers a warm family environment and enables a faith-centered educational approach. With homeschooling, you can teach your teens faith, respect, love, prayer, faith, repentance, and religious doctrines along with math, science, grammar, and health.
But what about socialization?
Many people believe that the only place young people can learn socialization skills is the school, but we beg to differ. This belief is centered on the idea that homeschooling is basically having the students hit the books at 9 AM, work all day at their study rooms until 3 PM or later, and spend the rest of their day isolated and alone.
This might surprise you, but many homeschoolers enjoy going to museums, beaches, tours, and shows. They take art, drama, music, and dance classes, to name a few.
A homeschooling teen who interacts with siblings and parents more than with peers display self-respect, self-worth, and self-confidence. As cliche as this sounds: family is the best foundation for social development.
High school homeschoolers can also spend more time to engage in community activities, such as volunteering and entrepreneurship. The more time your teen spends in learning and community involvement, the less likely they will get exposed to sexual immorality, drug abuse, and violence.
Peer pressure can be hard to deal with. A teen surrounded by 30 people of his/her age might feel the need to be like everyone else, at the risk of compromising their beliefs and moral standards.
Homeschooling is — and always has been — efficient. It is more than just academics. Families can reap a lot of homeschooling benefits.
Did you know that homeschooled teens can complete just as much schoolwork as those in an institutionalized school but in much less time?
This is because homeschooled high school students spend less time on transportation, and more time doing schoolwork.
Challenges of Homeschooling High School Students
Homeschooling, while it packs a stockpile of benefits, also comes with its downsides.
The feeling of isolation
It’s true, homeschoolers, generally speaking, do have more time to socialize with peers and give more time to pursue passions, but they too can, at times, feel isolated.
This may not be the case during this lockdown period as millions of other students are homeschooling, but when schools open back up again, homeschoolers will be hyper-aware that other students are getting on the school bus every morning, reminding them of their separateness.
Another reason why homeschooling can be isolating is that other homeschooled teens may not live in your immediate area, which may make it difficult for your teens to get together with their peers on a regular basis.
You can take your teen to go on field trips, beaches, museum tours, and other attractions, but without peers, it can be sometimes difficult for your teen to not feel separated.
Still, the feeling of isolation doesn’t have to be a reason to unhand homeschooling high school students.
Solution: Find community activities that your high school student can help out with. Allow him or her to spend time with good friends to fill the craving for socialization.
Remember, true socialization does not always mean a person can only spend time with people of the same age, but when a person interacts with people of different races, ages, and gender.
Volunteering to community activities exposes your teen to various interactions in a supervised setting where he can learn and develop his interpersonal skills and make friends that will last a lifetime.
During the quarantine period, homeschoolers can still interact with their friends online using videoconferencing tools like Zoom.
For many families, sports is one of the reasons to enroll their high school students in public school. The reason behind this is the misconception that homeschoolers lack access to quality sports opportunities.
Solution: Contrary to popular misconception, homeschoolers have enormous options for sports.
Do you know Tim Tebow? He’s an American professional baseball player for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball. He’s also a former professional football quarterback.
He (and his siblings) were homeschooled by their parents. He is the first homeschooler athlete to be nominated for the Heisman Trophy.
Tebow’s sports achievements break the stereotype of homeschoolers as not very athletic and that they lack sports opportunities.
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for colleges to scout homeschooled athletes. To find sports that your student can take part in, you may visit the website called Homeschool Sports Network.
College applications demand high-quality high school transcripts, and as homeschool parents, it’s your responsibility to create one on your own from scratch.
Solution: As intimidating as it sounds, there are actually platforms that can help in creating a transcript. Transcript Maker is an app that assists homeschool parents to make a high school transcript.
Mobile phones, TV, game consoles, music — these can all prove distracting to your teen’s homeschooling. Boredom is inevitable. Isolated teens tend to get easily bored and look for anything that can hype them up.
They may tend to turn to their phones and scroll through their social media. Or they may also feel the temptation to watch movies or TV series, play video games, or curl up on the couch and listen to music.
Solution: A big-time help would be a dedicated learning space. Your student can focus better if he or she is in a quiet and well-lit room exclusive for his/her home schoolwork.
Not everyone, however, has the luxury of having extra rooms. You can still create a learning space for your high school student by clearing up a corner in your living room or kitchen.
You may set ground rules as to when they can use their mobile phones for entertainment.
But what about music? Is it a help or hindrance?
That is a question that many parents are grappling with. It depends on the autonomy you will give your teen.
Some parents observed that music can help their teens focus on their learning. A study from Stanford University found that music can help students focus. Music that creates a positive mood indirectly boosts memory formation, which results in better memorization.
Most students find it easier to concentrate in a quiet place. Silence is necessary for cognitive tasks, like learning new skills or language. Other students enjoy listening to ambient music while studying, as long as the music won’t impact their focus.
How to Homeschool High School Students
Homeschooling isn’t a walk to the park. It comes with big responsibilities both to the parents and students. And it can be extra challenging, especially if you are homeschooling high school students for the first time.
Here in All Digital School, it is our primary goal to help parents and students determine the nuts and bolts of coursework, transcripts, as well as diplomas. Having a high school homeschool program plan on hand is the first step.
Creating a high school homeschool program
We recommend beginning in 7th grade and then primarily in 8th grade by considering these:
- Preparing career goals.
Identify your teen’s interests and passions. You can incorporate them into the program. Plus, it sparks the interest of your student.
- Plan your goal with them.
Sit down and have a chat with your teen. Ask him about his post-high school plans and use them to tailor his coursework.
- Research college admission requirement.
This is important, especially if your teen plans to go to college after high school. Research not only the admission requirements but also the set of standardized tests that must be completed to qualify. More about this later.
- Consider taking AP and college courses.
The purpose of AP exams is to demonstrate mastery of intense college-level material. Your teen can earn college credit at the majority of colleges and universities if he passes the exam.
- Learn about college and university admission policies.
The number of homeschoolers is growing exponentially year after year, and because of that, universities and colleges have set admission policies specific to homeschoolers.
- Understand your options.
Identifying whether homeschooling is the right path for your student is a crucial step in this journey. Homeschooling high school students brings a unique set of challenges. It doesn’t hurt to consider other options, such as distance learning with an accredited school.
Remember, with homeschooling, it is you, the parent, that records as the school and teacher. You will be taking full responsibility for supervising your student, as well as structuring the high school program.
Understanding the state requirements
Homeschooling is legal throughout the United States. Take note, however, that not all states have the same jurisdiction. You should follow the law of the state in which you’re physically present.
For example, California has three homeschooling options available: (1) homeschooling as a home-based private school, (2) homeschooling with a private school satellite program or PSP, and (3) homeschooling via instruction by a private tutor.
Should you choose option 1, you need to:
- File an annual private school affidavit,
- Maintain an attendance register,
- Provide instruction in the courses commonly taught in public schools,
- Maintain a list of courses of study, along with other requirements.
Homeschooling is a bit more forgiving in Utah. Under Utah’s homeschool statute, you will only need to file an affidavit and provide instruction to your children.
There are no required days of instruction nor required subjects to be taken. The parent is solely responsible for handpicking a selection of instructional textbooks and materials.
You can homeschool teens with special needs, too, given that you comply with your state’s homeschool law.
To know your state’s homeschool laws, check out the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
Provide a “standard” high school program
High school is the most important time in your teen’s life. It is when young people prepare themselves to go out into the real world.
In the academic perspective, high school is when students open or close doors to much bigger life experiences. It practically plays a significant role in determining your teen’s post-high school life.
High school is tremendously important — it’s what will give students beautiful chances, such as getting a diploma that can make their dreams possible. We’re talking about getting into college and leaning towards an excellent career in the future.
With these in mind, it’s critical that you provide a standard high school program to your student. And this can be tricky, as the concept of a standard program is somewhat elusive.
Consider these questions if you’re considering homeschooling high school students:
- If your teen is eyeing a college or university with competitive and stringent admissions policies, what does it take in terms of credits and activities to be a competitive candidate?
- Is your teen hoping to receive a high school diploma that’s equivalent to a high school diploma being given by the public schools in your state? If so, what are your state’s requirements for graduation?
- As a homeschool parent, what do you think high school education should cover?
- What are your teen’s goals in life?
- If your teen wishes to attend a community or state college of higher learning, what are their recommended requirements for acceptance?
Finding high school level courses
Before you even consider homeschooling your high school teen, you must know beforehand where you can get high school level courses that guarantee quality home learning.
The number of homeschool curriculum has grown significantly as more and more families switch to homeschooling their children all the way through high school graduation.
We in All Digital School has a team working eagerly to provide all the resources you need using our comprehensive directly. You may search for videos, guides, apps, platforms, books, references, and tools that you can use for homeschooling high school students.
You may use the filters to narrow your search and find the resources you need.
The available materials for homeschooling are far from being limited. Homeschool parents may get materials from:
Several homeschool publishing companies offer a packaged curriculum that can be used for high school students. They usually consisted of workbooks, quizzes, tests, as well as a teacher’s guide.
Online courses have grown tremendously popular during this time of the pandemic. But even after this health crisis we are in, online classes still prove to be an effective alternative to traditional school.
The online classes that homeschoolers can take vary from real-time classes with live instructors to simple, self-paced online lessons where the students can send in their work via email.
Homeschoolers can pick which courses they would like to take. Some cost a low fee, and some courses are offered for free.
Dual enrollment means taking a college class, so you will receive college and high school credits at the same time. For homeschooled students, it is the homeschool parents who will determine what counts as high school credit.
Also called dual credits, dual enrollment is often priced at a low cost or even free, depending on your state. The student can apply the coursework toward their high school transcript. Should the student choose to continue, it will count as either a four-year degree or an associate’s degree.
Advanced placement courses
Another option is what is called Advanced Placement Courses. These are courses aimed to prepare your high schooler for higher education. The classes are as tough as college-level classes.
If your student is able to complete them, he or she will be eligible to take the AP exams, which will be administered by the College Board. Students who score high on the exams can count the AP courses as college credit.
Keeping records and transcripts
Accurate record-keeping is essential throughout the high years of your student. Keeping your teen’s records can be done by making a formal transcript. A simple portfolio of your teen’s accomplishments will also do.
The portfolio may include samples of the homeschooler’s work, accomplishments (with details), standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation.
On the other hand, a transcript is geared toward traditional high school coursework. You, the homeschool parent, can list your teen’s courses, their descriptions, and grades on the document.
Most universities and colleges will accept a homeschool transcript, considering that it is prepared well.
Alternatively, you can use programs or software that can help in preparing the homeschool transcripts.
If you think homeschooling high school students is the best way to go for your teens, then preparing them for the transition is a key step to consider.
Here are things you can do:
Talk about their responsibilities.
Homeschooling and high school have one thing in common — they’re both intimidating. You must prepare your teen to assume full responsibility for his own education.
It is also during this time that you must transition your role. You’re not just a parent — not anymore. In homeschool, you carry the role of a teacher and facilitator.
You may allow your homeschooled child to take charge of his school day. That does not mean they can manage their schoolwork independently. They still need guidance.
Hence, in your end, you must remain active and involved.
Help your teen improve their study skills.
Encourage your child to hone his independent study skills. Encourage him to start by identifying his strengths and weaknesses. After assessing himself, he can work on improving his weak areas.
You may also motivate your teen to create a student planner, so he can keep track of his assignments and achievements.
Explore your teen’s interests.
What does your teen enjoy doing the most? Is he into drama, debate, or community activities? By assessing your student’s passions, you can tailor his high school years and create activities that can improve his skills and natural aptitudes.
Get help and learn more about homeschooling high school students
Transitioning your child to homeschooling is a big step. It comes with a whole lot of heavy responsibilities both for you and your teen.
We’re sure that you’d be glad to hear from other parents who have had success in homeschooling high school students.
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