5 Down to Earth Tips For Homeschooling High SchoolLisa Trombley
Most homeschool parents feel qualified to teach the younger ages but when it comes to high school they start to worry. They worry about tougher classes, counting credits, making transcripts, and college acceptance. You can successfully homeschool your child all the way through high school, and I promise it’s not as hard as you think!
Know the Laws
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you know the homeschool laws and requirements for graduation for your state.
The HSLDA website is a good place to start. I live in a state that has no specific requirements for homeschool graduation, so we align our requirements with the local high schools. Our high school requires 22 credits to graduate and 18 of them have to be academic. The recommendations for a college bound student look like this:
- English — 4 credits
- math — 4 credits
- history — 3-4 credits
- science — 3-4 credits
- foreign language — 2-4 credits
- physical education — 1-2 credits
- fine arts — 1-2 credits
- electives — 5 credits
What is a credit? How do you count them? Some curriculum companies list what kinds of credits the student earns after completing their course. For example, North Star Geography is worth a high school credit according to the author Tyler Hogan. Most courses which take a whole year to complete, like math, English, history, etc., count for one credit hour. Elective courses that only take half a year to complete count for ½ a credit.
Another way to figure out credit hours would be to add up how much time your child spends in a particular subject area. If your child spends 120-180 hours it counts as one credit while 60-90 hours would count as a half.
Plan the High School Years
Once you know the requirements, you can sit down with your child some time in their eighth grade year, talk about the classes they are required to take and the ones they are interested in, and develop a tentative plan. This probably will change but it gives you and your child a direction to follow.
Children have an opportunity to explore their interests and take some challenging courses in the high school years. If they are interested in taking classes in areas where you are not knowledgeable, consider DVD or online courses. You may also look into concurrent classes (also called dual credit) that would allow your child to take college courses while still in high school and earn both high school and college credits.
In the high school years, it is very important to keep good records of every course your child takes. Record the name of the class, the curriculum name, a description of the course, credits earned, and each semester grade. Keeping good records is so important because when your child is in the senior year and it is time to make their transcript, you will not remember what the name of their first semester English class was or what grade they earned.
The transcript needs all of that information because that piece of paper, along with ACT or SAT scores, will be what colleges are looking at. The transcript needs to be complete and look professional. There are many places that can make a transcript for you, you need to make sure you have the proper information to put in it.
Most colleges are not only very welcoming of homeschoolers, they will go out of their way to recruit them. They have discovered that homeschoolers have a higher ability to work independently, demonstrate better study habits, and achieve higher test scores.
Colleges list their entrance requirements on their websites. Most schools require either the ACT or the SAT along with a transcript for acceptance. Some schools waive any other requirements if the test scores are high enough. Make appointments to visit the colleges your child is interested in, and they will explain how the admission process works.
Do not let the high school years intimidate you! Make sure you know your state’s requirements, keep good records, and find out the admission process for the colleges he is interested in attending. You can successfully homeschool your child all the way through high school and prepare them for college.