Like any big decision, planning your son or daughter’s high school path can be overwhelming. Parents are scared they will make mistakes and the results will be disastrous. We want well-prepared children who can enter college and adulthood with success and skills. And while it can be tempting to procrastinate, wing it, or take the ostrich approach by burying our heads in the sand, planning ahead will help you and your child relax. Here are a few steps to follow as you lay out that plan.
6 Steps for Planning to Homeschool High School
- Check with your state and prospective colleges for graduation guidelines. Different states have different graduation recommendations, depending upon how much regulation your state has over homeschooling. Here in Michigan we don’t have to report to anyone. Our graduation guidelines are just that- guidelines. Other states have stricter rules for what classes a student must complete in high school before graduating. Knowing what your state requires is the first step in planning. Likely you will see a breakdown of core classes needed for each main subject (math, science, English and social studies) and recommended electives. You’ll also see how many total credits your student needs to graduate and then you can begin planning. You can also check with any college your student might consider attending. Colleges have recommendations for admission and again, this is a good place to begin. Just searching guidelines online will give you a feel for what colleges are looking for, regardless of whether or not your student chooses one of those specific colleges.
- Assess your student’s interests and abilities. One of the reasons our family homeschools is for the flexibility in choosing our classes, based on where our kids excel, where they need extra work, or what field of study they plan to pursue. While one daughter might be proficient at math, our son might need extra attention in this area. One child might be interested in veterinary science while one wants to pursue graphic design. Choosing a course based upon your student’s skill level or interest is a great decision as they are much more likely to succeed based on their needs and abilities. Sit down together with your student and take note of their own insight.
- Make a list of what classes are necessary and divide them into years. For example, if your state requires four high school science classes, your might plug in physical science for 9th grade, biology for 10th, chemistry for 11th and anatomy and physiology for 12th. Choose what you’d like your student to take for each high school year in each of the four subject areas: math, science, English and social studies. You can even download our High School Course Planner to help you plan.
- Consider what classes you feel comfortable teaching and which classes you don’t. This can vary from student to student. I know many parents who hate to give writing critique for their student’s work, because it feels so personal. I have also spoken to parents who don’t have a strong math background or wouldn’t want to teach a lab science. Look around and find other options for those classes- online classes, co-op groups, etc. Use your own resources and then find other resources if necessary.
- Evaluate what has worked in the past or what you’ve seen others do. There are many families in our area group who homeschool their students AND have students take classes at the local high school. This works well for them and could be an option for you. CLEP testing, dual enrollment, and taking an enrichment class are also options that expose students to different teachers and their expectations, preparing them for college teachers or future bosses.
- Lastly, remain flexible. You have a plan but that plan is set in butter, not concrete. It’s movable, changeable and flexible based upon what you and your children need. If you start down one path and see a hurdle to avoid, turn back. Part of successful homeschooling is the ability to assess and reassess.
Above all else, pray for your children. Pray that God works in them to mature them, prepare them for adulthood, and equip them to live Christ-centered lives in a secular world. Pray that God works through you and in spite of you. And remember that God loves your children even more than you do.
HIS plan is perfect even if yours isn’t.
Join The Academy Family
The Academy at Bright Ideas Press is a virtual school, offering both live and self-paced classes for middle school and high school students, taught from a Christian perspective. With an array of course offerings and 30 plus teachers. The Academy is perfect for homeschoolers as part of their regular course load or for others who wish to supplement their learning with our vast array of course offerings.