Homeschooling high school students often presents new challenges to homeschoolers. There are a number of reasons for that:
- Adolescents sorting out their hormones can have some difficult days. And when those difficult days come along, there’s usually no one besides you in the line of fire if you’re homeschooling. The day-to-day reality of being with an adolescent not only as parent, but also as teacher can be a challenge.
- Records count more. Because getting into college is highly dependent on the high school transcript, records count more. This either means increased work for you, or employing a record keeping service.
- High school courses, of course, advance in difficulty from their elementary counterparts. And not only that, there are, probably for the first time, some courses that your child may be taking that are unfamiliar subject matter because they are not courses you’ve taken.
If your child wants to take (or his or her program includes) German, Latin, Astronomy, Advanced Chemistry, British Literature, or any other challenging course that is outside your comfort zone, you have three choices. One is to alter what you’re comfortable with by learning the material. Two is to figure out a way for your child to have support from someone other than you. Third is to have your child do something else, which may not serve him or her as well.
- Extracurricular activities can become a greater challenge, as your children’s ability grow and their involvement in whatever activity – sports, ballet, music, art, theatre, etc. – requires more time and dedication. There’s the time spent in practice or rehearsal, the time spent in performances and games, and sometimes not insignificant travel time.
- You may have started homeschooling with one child, but by the time you have a highschool student, you may have other children whose education you are also responsible for.
- Planning for college means that homeschoolers need to face in two directions: they need to keep track of their home state department of education requirements so that their child successfully completes high school. But at the same time, they also need to consider the child’s next step, whether career, military, or college admissions requirements.
Sources of Assistance
Here are some resources that can help with some of these situations.
- Online academies can (for a price) provide the necessary record-keeping, transcripts, and high school graduation information (like high school GPA and class rank). If you consider one of these, make sure that they’re accredited and/or meet the approval of your state department of education.
- There are a number of colleges that offer summer classes for high school students. This both gives high school students an advance taste of what a college and college campus are like, as well as offering some courses that might be difficult to find elsewhere.
- Colleges may also offer online courses for high school completion, as well as college courses that qualified high school students may take. Make sure that any institution from which your child takes courses is accredited and/or meets your state department of education requirements.
- Consider whether your child might benefit from attending a public or private school part-time in addition to homeschooling. This can be particularly useful if your student is at a very high academic level, if a course requires a number of students to work well (like music performance groups), or if specialized equipment is involved (like laboratory equipment, a kiln, etc.).
- Consider whether you child would be well-served if able to participate in extracurricular activities with public or private high school agemates.
- Check out homeschool associations, like HSLDA (hslda.org/highschool), for homeschool resources.
- Consider a cooperative homeschool highschool (depending on your state’s laws) in which several parents teach in their areas of expertise or experience, thereby sharing the work and helping all their children have the most qualified instructor available.
- Consider private tutoring or lessons in whatever areas your child excels in, has a particular interest in, needs special assistance in, and/or is out of your league.