Homeschooling high school does take some planning, but can be a leg up on starting college or a career earlier than most teens.
Can I homeschool just part of high school, but not all 4 years?
I don’t recommend doing a few years of homeschooling in high school, and then jumping back in for, say, Junior or Senior years. Some high schools will graciously allow a homeschooled student into their program, but give them no credits for their earlier work, unless documented through an accredited home school program, and then not allow them to graduate with their class, even if they did fine academically. If you start homeschooling high school, stick with it until college or career! Decide while in 8th grade if homeschooling high school is for you.
Then I also get asked the opposite. Some seniors get fed up with high school about March of their senior year, and want to homeschool for just a few months and still get a high school diploma. If there is a dire health problem, I can see doing this. A life or death matter might make homeschooling a good decision. What many teens do not understand is that “Senioritis” is a type of Spring Fever that hits most older teens ready to take flight into adulthood. Finish the last 3-4 months of high school. If you need a break after your senior year, and have already been accepted to college, ask about taking a gap year to work or travel. The break may give you more focus when it is over.
My parents are really worried about homeschooling high school. Are there some books we could all read?
Homeschooling : The Teen Years
by Cafi Cohen
This book reveals the adventure and rewards as well as the special challenges of working with this age group.
by Sue Patterson
75 Young People Speak About Their Lives Without School. These 75 young people are going to show you exactly what their lives looked like as homeschooled teenagers. Their lives were (and are!) full, rich, and happy.
The Teenage Liberation Handbook:
How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education
by Grace Llewellyn
This book tells teens how to take control of their lives and get a “real life.” Young people can reclaim their natural ability to teach themselves and design a personalized education program.
What if my parents can’t teach me all the things I want to learn?
So you’ve finally figured out your parents are human and limited in their knowledge? It is time for you to learn that there are plenty of other people and resources out there to help you learn and stretch your mind. Some teens sign up for home school programs to help them stay on track. Others either buy or rent textbooks from Amazon to read through and learn on their own. Some find a mentor in their community willing to guide their studies in a way their parents cannot. Did you know you can take classes at a community college before you’ve finished high school? You’ll need to meet the course requirements, and have the skills to do well. The college will give you placement tests to guide you. There are free and inexpensive courses online, too.
Will I be ready for college life if I homeschool?
Can I even get in if I homeschool high school? All students have to learn to adapt to college life, but because you have taken your education on yourself, you’ll already have that independent spirit that colleges expect. Homeschoolers who study as if they were in college when they are younger transition easy.
Some problems I’ve heard of were these: One student took his first essay exam and was so used to being able to write as long as he needed that he only got the first question done before time ran out. He had to learn to write more quickly and concisely than he’d dome while homeschooling.
Another student didn’t know how to write college research papers at all when he started, so he signed up for a non-graded, no credit course with a title something like “How to Write College Papers” during his first semester. He learned in about 4 months all he needed to learn to get the rest of the way through college.
Another homeschooler didn’t understand dorm boundaries. At his home family members just walked into each others’ rooms unannounced. He soon found out that his dorm mates didn’t like that.
What courses to I need to take?
That depends on what your goals are! You and your parents get to decide what you need to do to be prepared for your next stage in life. Your local high school requirements go out the window! Those who want to go to college should examine college websites and see what they want to see you’ve accomplished. Some colleges are more homeschooler friendly than others. Fortunately, these are the more elite universities. A student wanting to go to MIT would prepare differently than a student wanting to go to a performing arts academy, for example. Think of homeschooling high school as starting your college major sooner than most.
How do I earn high school credits while homeschooling?
Traditionally, high school credit hours use Carnegie Units. In a school year (9 months), you would earn 1 unit for about a 120 hours of contact with an instructor in that field of study. Because many schools and homeschools are getting away from this method, it is also acceptable to document proficiency-based learning. This would included any learning on your own as well as with an instructor. This way you can accumulate all the important skills and knowledge you need to lead the contented life you desire.
Will I get a diploma?
Realize that a diploma is just a document to frame and put on a wall…for awhile. You can earn a diploma without ever getting the paper document. Your parents can issue you one made on a home computer and printer.
What about a transcript?
If you took courses, say, through a home school program, then they will issue you a transcript. If you take some community college course, they, too, will give you a transcript. If your parents homeschooled you on their own, as a private school, they will help you create a transcript for college. If you take a handful of community college courses, a transcript from that college may be all you will need for going to a university or getting some jobs. No one will ask you for a high school transcript after you have one from a college.
Do I need a portfolio?
These are mostly useful for students in the Fine Arts. They would have a portfolio showing their accomplishments and skills in their art. A young writer might have samples of works that have been published. A young scientist might have scientific proofs showing his experiments and contest entries and winnings.
I’m not going to college, and want to get a union job out of high school.
Unions are more particular about wanting proof of high school competencies. Ask early on what the Union that most interests you will accept so you have time to plan. Most want to see a passed GED diploma, and won’t accept a transcipt made by mom.
What about college entrance tests?
Fewer and fewer universities are asking for such test results, but you need to check if the colleges that you are interested in want one or the other. Homeschool students tend to do far better than average on college entrance tests. These are tests for college readiness. If you have already proven you can succeed in college courses at a community college, you may not even need to show such scores. You will need to check the test websites for the dates and locations for taking the tests. There is no counselor at your beck and call to remind you to submit your enrollment in one of these.
What about the Prom?
Most public and private schools allow their students to bring one guest to a prom. Neighborhood homeschoolers generally can’t attend those on their own. Homeschool support groups often throw proms. Keep an eye on those announced on A2Z Home’s Cool. Many homeschoolers could care less, not buying into all the hype. To find proms promoted on A2Z, in the winter and spring go to my Events page and sort by “Proms and Dances.”
What about sports?
Because of the problems with “ringers” often homeschoolers are excluded from highly organized sports programs at public and private schools. The athletic associations demand that participants live in the same district, are in the same age range, and have a good grade point average as others on their team. If football is that important to you, you may want to reconsider homeschooling. If homeschooling is more important to you, then consider any of the Olympic sports, winter or summer. I have known of homeschoolers in ski competitions and a friend won bronze for Saber in the Beijing Olympics. While there are homeschool athletic leagues, often they are Christian and exclude others from participation.