How to Home School a High Schooler
If you are contemplating home schooling your high schooler, here are a few things to think through. Being informed helps to navigate this path more efficiently. Jumping in without having the answer to key questions could be frustrating. Never hesitate to ask someone who can point you in the right direction. You can call 1-800-525-4419 for advice and to converse with someone who can help, or set up a FREE Zoom Meeting to ask your questions.
Enroll them in a school or program which supports home schooling (public or private) and provides you with the necessary guidance and administration.
Partnering with an organization whose sole purpose is to assist you in home schooling can save you unnecessary challenges in the process. Going it on your own is a fine approach for parents who are already versed in the ins and outs of the schooling process.
Enrolling in a school or program which has successfully graduated high schoolers, who have gone on to college, university or into adult life, can cut through a large learning curve. Sunland – The Home School Program has served over 6,000 families throughout the United States and in foreign countries, helping students navigate into Harvard, USC, Stanford, community college, the working world, music and acting careers and adult life.
Sunland requests student records from their previous school helping to determine proper grade and course placement, along with getting to know the student and their future educational or career goals.
Determine their course of study for this year and towards graduation (evaluating completed courses and credit).
Knowing what grade a student is in, or going into, along with knowing which courses they have completed and earned credits, plays a role in determining which courses they should take this year and the following years, in order to graduate and receive a recognized high school diploma. Sunland has a high
, reflecting the average state requirements for earning a high school deploma, and is an accredited private school based in California, serving families in all fifty states.
Purchase curriculum or enrolling them in courses (curriculum, online courses, group courses, college classes, etc.)
Once a course of study (which classes they should be taking this year) is determined, picking the means to accomplish these courses could include; buying curriculum from one of the many publishers which provide content for home schooling families, enrolling in an online course, community college, a local group course or other creative means. Usually a first time family uses a simple, easy to administrate curriculum, while learning about the different options and what works for their family and student. Changes can be made along the way or for the next years. Our staff can inform you of the options available to you and assist you in these areas
Lesson planning and daily schedule. Supervise them according to their level of responsibility and academic mastery.
Planning weekly the school work a student must accomplish, based on the curriculum or courses they are taking, can be a way to help the family and student be organized in completing their work in a timely manner. Schooling does not have to be based around “seat time,” but on work accomplished. There are students who complete a year’s worth of work (usually 10 months) in less time, and begin the next year early.
The more responsible a student is, the less “helicopter supervision” a parent may need to exercise. However, one should never stop inspecting on an irregular
basis. Student’s don’t always do what you expect, but they will pay attention to the things you inspect.” The less responsible a student shows themselves to be, the more engaged and supervisory the parent may need to be.
Having some sort of daily schedule which can be created through a family discussion, keeps everyone on task. There can be variations due to doctor’s appointments, family travel, or other events. These can be worked into a schedule as they surface. If a family (or student) gets distracted from a needed routine, one simply goes back to working the daily schedule!
Helping them grow in character, study skills, commitment, loyalty, etc.
One of the advantages to home schooling is the ability to turn things into life lessons. Parents need to hold conversations with their children about the character issues of life; patience, honesty, dedication, commitment, loyalty, etc. Talk about why these things are important now and into one’s adult life. Talk about relationships and the things that make them work; generosity, caring for others, caring about yourself, loving God, thinking and planning for the future. Talk about inspiration, creativity, spontaneity, compulsion, etc. Talk about everything and anything!
It is through conversations that we learn about life and can think through the challenges we each face. While having a career, getting married, having children, owning a home, etc. are goals most people have, who we are as individuals is actually most important to life’s foundation, before having anything else.
Grading their work for recording on a transcript.
Some schools or programs directly grade the work your student will complete. But in most home school
settings, the parents grade the work and turn in grades to the school to be recorded (high school students should receive a transcript, while elementary through junior high usually receive a report card). Sometimes parents grade in a hard manner, while others may be more relaxed. The true impact for grading is to help motivate your student
in honest, empathetic and constructive ways to work hard and learn, by giving them an accurate measurement of how they are doing and identifying which areas need help.
We have seen great academic students struggle with adult life, and average students excel in the work force. Grades are not the only factor in your child’s future success. Finding out (through grading their work) your student’s strengths and weaknesses can help families make the needed adjustments to assisting their children in their schooling.
Many times low grades reflect poor study skills. Helping students understand the value of actually reading the material, taking their time to come up with the answer, asking for help and discovering resources, is an important skill for the “real world” as well as improving their academic scores. Good grades aren’t just about being smart, it also requires study skills.
One of the many advantages of home schooling is the immediate ability to know how your student is doing in their studies. Do they understand the school work? Are they successfully completing their lessons and learning? Are they communicating with you when they need help? Sometimes these answers are difficult to know when your child is in a public or private school setting.
Helping them find part time work.
Home schooled high school students can work part time jobs, even during the school day; as long as they are completing their school work (evening study is allowed). Many employers like being able to schedule teenagers during a regular work day (see state employment rules for minors). This also provides teens with great work opportunities over their peers who might only be available to work in the evening.
Some home school students participate in the acting and music industry, as well as other introductions to professional careers (modeling, rally car racing, sports competition, etc.). The home school setting allows both the student and the industry with accomplishing the student’s studies while getting to use and nurture their developing skills.
A job can also count as work experience credit on a transcript, along with giving them work experience and money in their pocket. This can provide an opportunity for a family to help a teen navigate a budget, how to save for a desired purchase, and learn money management skills.
Graduation (official transcripts, diploma and beyond). Preparing for college, university, trade tech or the working world.
Graduating from high school is a wonderful goal! Receiving a diploma as the reward for completing high school is fulfilling, both to a
student and their parents. Is can be the ticket to higher education, better jobs, and part of the passage into adulthood!
The preparation for moving on to a career, college, university or learning a trade should begin during the high school years. A student desiring to go directly to a university should begin that journey by the tenth grade or earlier. Contacting counselors from a handful of universities reflecting the student’s desired major, can begin the needed communication for accomplishing all the things needed for making the “leap.”
Many students do find that accomplishing prerequisite courses through a local community college during the high school years can set them up for an easier transition to a university. Taking community college courses (such as English 101) can also be a cost factor. English 101 at a community college as a high school student may cost just a little more than the price of the books, as an adult, maybe an additional $200-$300 for tuition. But taking the same course as a university student might cost $4000+, depending on the university and available scholarships.
Contemplating in advance, the paths available and the cost to get there can be valuable steps as a learning process for your student. These steps are also important to learn for life’s journey!