There are so many articles out there about homeschooling high school. Homeschooling high school with college in mind, homeschooling high school with AP courses, homeschooling high school without curriculum, etc. As I reflect on having just graduated my first child and preparing for homeschooling high school with my second, one thing stands out – they are two very different people with two very different needs.
Homeschooling High School with YOUR CHILD in Mind
I have three children in my home, and each is very different from the others. Throughout our years of homeschooling (since 2006), I have found that I have needed to shift and change with each one of them. Not only have their needs changed individually, but the needs from child to child are different. This means we have tried numerous homeschooling methods, curriculum, reward systems, schedules, etc.
When it is time for homeschooling high school, things get a little more serious as you are creating an exit plan for your child. An exit plan out of homeschooling, an exit plan into college, an exit plan into the workforce, but really an exit plan into that child’s future, whatever that may be. This means what you choose in the high school years becomes ever more important.
The 4 Year High School Plan
When I was planning to homeschool high school for the first time I created a 4 Year High School Plan. This plan is in the form of an editable spreadsheet so that I can adjust and use it over and over again as needed. (So can you as it is a FREE download!) The base of the plan took into consideration both what our state (New York State) required and what basics a college would be looking for in a high school transcript.
For example, colleges like to see 2 years of a foreign language. Because my daughter was thinking something medical, we chose Latin. Latin is also great for helping with vocabulary for the SAT since English is based in Latin roots.
Since we have access to a great local community college, our plan assumes she will be attending there and then transferring to a 4-year school if that is her choice. While college is not a required step for our kids, I am trying to build plans for each of them that leave the door open if that is the path they would like to take in the future. This means including lab sciences and math beyond basic algebra, as well as high school electives that not only interest them but will serve them in the future.
Choosing Specific Curriculum
While my base plan is still the same, as I plan for number 2 to enter high school next year, the method in which he will fulfill the requirements in the plan are different than hers. My daughter was more reliable in terms of keeping on task and didn’t mind writing or assignments that were a little bit ambiguous. My son, on the other hand, needs everything laid out. He needs check-the-box types of curriculum and tasks. This helps him to stay on task and allows me to more easily check in with him. My daughter also likes video-based learning where my son prefers to read assignments himself.
For this reason, his American History is different than hers. Not only is it not video-based, but it also incorporates his American Literature & Writing for the year so he does not need to use a separate curriculum for those.
- For her I created an American History program around America The Story of Us, and she used Lightning Literature and Composition – American Literature.
- For his American History we are using Pandia Press American History Odyssey Level 3.
The Pandia Press American History includes detailed lesson plans for him to follow and incorporates American Literature & Writing into his history studies. This will streamline the process for him, making it easier for him to follow and complete.
High School Electives
Planning for high school electives is a big part of homeschooling high school. High school electives allow our children to not only branch out and try new things, but to did deeper into things they love, and even to beef up their transcripts with college-friendly items.
- As I stated earlier, our daughter chose Latin as her language (which can double as an elective). Our son will be pursing Spanish, as we feel that is the most useful option for him.
- Our daughter pursued photography as a passion of hers. Our son will most likely pursue some sort of computer programming/gaming as his passion elective.
- Our daughter took both psychology (after which she took a CLEP Exam and earned college credit), and sociology. We are only planning psychology for our son because he is not as task-oriented and would be overwhelmed with the extensive amount of electives our daughter pursued.
Each child is different, and high school electives are an important place to take that into consideration.
Beyond academics, our high schoolers can spread their wings into the world of jobs, volunteer work, and sports endeavors.
- My daughter had the opportunity to begin working at a young age by coaching at the gym where she trained for gymnastics. Her day was crammed packed from start to finish with a rigorous academic schedule, long training hours, and working.
- My son, on the other hand is a swimmer, and to begin life guarding he has to be at least 16, preferably 18 (in NYS). Therefore his job status at 14 is still limited to local options like caring for a neighbor’s dog and lawn mowing.
In the end, homeschooling allows us so much freedom in the education of our children. We can tailor their high school experiences to meet their learning needs and set them up to reach their future goals.