Aren’t we all afraid of the unknown… what will it entail? How will we handle the challenges? Yes, it can be intimidating, but just like anything else once we understand the process- the fear dissipates.
When I first started homeschooling, it was pretty simple and straightforward. I thought, “If I can teach an elementary class of 20, I can homeschool my children.” Even though there were some bumps in the road, that turned out pretty much true and life rocked on until my oldest reached eighth grade. It was then, with the prospect of ninth grade around the corner that I began to fear homeschooling high school. I started researching the records that needed to be kept, the tests that needed to be taken, and the courses that needed studied in order to reach her goal of attending university. All of it brought a thunder cloud that began to rain on my homeschool parade. However, about the time we were entering the homeschool highschool phase one of my colleagues approached me about working with her on creating and building this site. The wealth of information that began swirling around these pages enabled me to see the process, and that’s exactly what it is – a process. Sure, it isn’t a walk in the park, but it isn’t rocket science either. It’s a step by step process that if done in its entirety will help you crush the fear that keeps so many from homeschooling highschool. It doesn’t require anything special, no degree, no education, just a willingness to make the most of this time, and give your highschooler the best education from the person that knows them best.
So, take that walk with us… and clear up those fears swirling around in that muddy water of the unknown!
Do your homework. Yes, take the time to research homeschooling. If this is your first time, make sure you understand what it entails. If you’re already a pro at homeschooling, just research high school and the state requirements for graduation. Check your state guidelines and make sure that you understand what is required of you and your student. Each state has varying guidelines and requirements, determining what you must do to fulfill the state legal requirements should be your first step.
If you’ve been homeschooling you probably already know how your student learns. However, if you are new to homeschooling you’ll need to figure out how your student learns, what makes them tick, and how they respond to various methods of teaching. Finding their “key” is what will make homeschooling a success for you and your student. If you are unsure how to discover your students learning styles, there is a simple learning styles quiz that might help along with these descriptions of learning styles.
Decide on the best method of homeschooling for you and your family. There are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers. Take some time to research the different methods of homeschooling and then decide which fits your needs best. LHSHS has a great article describing the various types of homeschooling methods that would prove helpful in your research. A few that are most common are: classical homeschooling, unit study approach, unschooling, online learning, montessori, Charlotte Mason, literature based, Waldorf, and Eclectic homeschooling. Once you’ve determined your method, other aspects of homeschooling will be able to fall into place.
Now that you understand the “how” of homeschooling, research the different curriculum options that support the method of homeschooling that you’ve decided upon.But first, sit down with your highschooler and determine which courses they want to take. For each method of homeschooling there are always several different types of curriculum that you can use. For the beginner homeschooler, an all in one curriculum (online, video, or text based ) that does most of the planning and record keeping is usually the best bet. The “all in one” types allow the parent to get their feet wet and get a better understanding of how homeschooling works without getting stressed out in the first year. In addition, for those who’ve been homeschooling and have discovered their student does better with a different method for different school subjects – eclectic might work for you. It’s then simply a matter of finding the curriculum that fits your student’s learning style within each subject. For some invaluable input on what curriculum will work for you visit the LHSHS curriculum directory. It’s loaded with great high school curriculum and reviews from parents who’ve “been there, done that!” Some online curriculum will give you access to free demos… make sure to ask
Go ahead and take the plunge! Purchase that curriculum, try it out or read through it. Get an idea of what it requires of you and of your student.
Sit down with your high schooler and plan out how their course schedule needs to look for the year. Discuss how and when they would like to take their courses, and develop goals for the year together.
Create an actual daily schedule, loose or formal, but have some type of plan for each day. You’ll need to divide up the lessons that need completed and determine due dates and deadlines. I often do this quarterly. If I see something that needs changed or adjusted, then I don’t have a whole year to change.
Work with your student to determine where they will study. Create an environment that helps them focus and encourages learning. Make sure that they have all the tools that they need to complete their studies well. Pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, folders, compass, protractors, scientific calculators, and – of course – books are all necessary components to a successful high school career.
You’ve got it now… get learning!