Grade Levels High School Homeschool

Homeschooling High School – Shouldn’t I Be More Nervous?


I know you all read that title with the expectation that I would have some sort of epiphany and clear cut answer for you, with lots to back it up….but I don’t! Instead I have a thought process, lots of talking and researching, and some possible resources.

In all the talk you hear around your homeschool groups, or online at the blogs and websites that you frequent, I am sure you have heard, seen, and felt the buzz around the sheer thought of homeschooling during the high school years. Seven years ago when I started homeschooling my then 1st grader (with a 3 year old and a newborn behind her), the high school years seemed so far off. But alas, this year we started 8th grade with our oldest, which means the ever looming high school years are less than ONE YEAR away!

Over the summer I was with a group of homeschooling mothers and our topic of conversation rolled to high school. One mother, one I see as more of a homeschool veteran than myself, was preparing to send her oldest to a private high school. The decision was one the child made, with the support of her parents. The only problem…two weeks before school the child decided maybe homeschooling was still the better option! Now Mom is in a pinch as she wasn’t preparing to homeschool high school. I was surprised to hear even she was concerned about the upcoming high school years. As we talked she expressed her concerns over making the transition from a more unschooling style to a more concrete record keeping style. She pointed out that the reason for my lack of serious anxiety over this topic may be because of the extensive record keeping I already do. Two years ago I started using Homeschool Tracker and have felt a sense of organization and order come over our homeschooling days.

Another reason I feel my anxiety over homeschooling high school is unusually low is because I find a sense of calm from seeing that there isn’t just one means to the end. People often question how our children will graduate from high school and how they will get into college. I tell them it is likely my 3 will never really graduate from high school as at least here in NYS they won’t be issued an official diploma. Having come from a path of public school, top of your class, immediately to college path, that is all I initially saw as the way to go. In stark contrast to that is my husband who never graduated from high school, ended up getting his GED, dabbling in a few college courses, but ultimately took Microsoft Courses and became MCSE Certified. We have seen with our own eyes where homeschool kids have taken courses at our local community college and then gone on to other four year schools to finish their degrees. Some kids choose to take their GED, and some don’t. Some sit for all the exams like Regents exams, ACT, SAT, etc, and some don’t. I guess what I am trying to point out is that if you didn’t dot an “i” or cross a “t” somewhere along the way, the doors aren’t shut forever. There are many paths and many options to get from homeschooling high school to college or life beyond.

So now you are wondering, how am I planning our 9th grade year? I think 9th grade will look pretty similar to 8th grade. We have set math and English/language arts courses that will take us through high school. We choose our history on a yearly basis based on where our interest might be or what opportunities present themselves. My biggest and only real concern is science. I can give them a base, but not all they will need in the science department. For that, I plan to look outside our home, for an online course, or a local course being offered for homeschoolers. For example, our 8th grader is currently taking an astronomy class being offered at the local planetarium, as well as working through human anatomy at home.

As our 8th grade year continues I spend time asking questions, doing research, and keeping a list of possible options. As we speak I have a “draft” of a blog post where I keep adding links to things I have found that I believe will help us along our journey through high school. I encourage you to take a deep breath, ask questions, be diligent on your path, and know that in the end you will find the path that works for you, and each one of your children.

NOTE:  The photo above is from

About the author


Heidi lives in upstate New York where the winters are long & cold, but where she truly appreciates the lack of extreme weather such as tsunamis and hurricanes! Her house is filled up with her loving husband of 17 years, 3 busy children, & 2 dogs (Muffin & Oscar). Homeschooling started out as a trial run with a child beginning 2nd grade, & almost 9 years later has become a lifestyle which brings great joy. You can often find her behind her camera, or working something out in Photoshop. With 3 children homeschooling multiple ages is the norm in their house. You can find her writing at on her own blog, Starts At Eight where she often focuses on homeschooling high school, elementary unit studies, and books/reading.


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  • I started homeschooling my oldest in 9th grade this year. I did have to change from a more relaxed record keeping style to an attendance and grade book. There have been a few bumps in the road- she can’t understand why she has to do so many writing assignments or read so much ‘boring’ classic literature, but I am very happy with our decision.

    • I think there are so many benefits to having them home, even in high school. The task is more daunting for us as their parents, but I think the end result is worth it. I have been working my daughter up to a more rigorous and in-depth schedule since she started 7th grade. Each year we talk extensively about what the coming year will bring as far as exact course work and the overall expectation of more.

  • We started homeschooling 9th grade with our oldest this year. While I am not doing attendance or keeping record of each assignment, she does take tests/quizzes in each subject and I will assign her overall grades based on both those grades and the effort she’s put into her assignments. Since my husband teaches at one of the local 4 year colleges in our town and I used to teach there we have a pretty good idea of what she will need for college. She can also get her feet wet taking a few low level classes before she officially starts college. High school should not be a stressful time but it is an important time for them to learn how to study well and work hard so they can succeed in College if they choose to go. May God bless you and guide you along this path. It will be worth it in the end!