How Should Non-Traditional Homeschoolers Navigate the High School Years?

Non-Traditional Homeschoolers and High School

Reprinted with permission from the blog: Magic and Mayhem

We’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming about how to log Victoria’s high school years now that she’s in 9th grade. There’s so much conflicting information out there about high school, homeschool and transcripts, especially when it comes to eclectic homeschoolers and unschoolers.


  • It’s absolutely important for homeschoolers to reproduce typical transcripts.
  • It’s absolutely unimportant for homeschoolers to reproduce typical transcripts.

You could go nuts trying to follow all of the advice out there. Ultimately, I decided that it has always worked so well for us to homeschool in our own way that it made sense to handle the teen years and transcripts in our own way too.

I have compiled all sorts of links and quotes here that helped me solidify our goals.  I’m also sharing how we’re handling transcripts in case it helps others. I’ve written about the various ways of compiling transcripts (such as traditional and narrative styles) and have compiled lots of links to free transcript templates and information from colleges here.

The first conclusion I’ve come to is that it is not necessary to try to suddenly pretend we’re traditional schoolers.


What are we doing?  Well, we’re doing a mixture of everything.

My goals and considerations include:

  • Victoria is considering medical school and Harvard, and I don’t want to find out at the 11th hour that her particular high school path got in the way of whatever college path she decides on.
  • We have never been traditional school-at-home homeschoolers and none of us have any desire to change our lives now.
  • Eclectic, interest-led HSing in our family has led to kids who love to learn, have rich lives full of unique experiences, and consistently score miles higher on standardized tests in almost every subject.
  • Victoria will need some rigorous classes in order to get into med school or a school like Harvard.  That doesn’t mean they have to be taken in a boring, traditional way, though.

So what we’re doing, together, as a team:

  1. Victoria is continuing to read through the American Lit list of books, authors and short stories that we developed at the beginning of the year.
  2. She’s logging those books that she reads, in addition to logging the many fiction and non-fiction books she’s reading on her own for pleasure.
  3. I have started a google document where I am compiling lists of reading and activities she’s doing in various subjects.
  4. We are aiming for the basic subjects covered per year of: 4 years of assorted sciences (including chemistry, biology and a combination of half credits for others), 4 years of assorted math (starting with algebra), 4 years of foreign language (not all colleges require this much), 4 years of English, 4 years of social studies (world history, American history and the others will probably be half credits such as women’s studies and government).
  5. We are logging her many extracurricular activities like acting in the Wilder Pageant, volunteering at historic sites with the family, entering photography exhibits, etc.
  6. She is allowed to use whatever means she enjoys in order to fulfill the requirements.  For instance, she can use Khan Academy, CK-12 flexbooks, library books and iPod apps to cover the learning in Algebra.  Any combination of textbooks, living books, you-tube videos, games, apps, magazines, solid Wikipedia articles, etc. can be used.  Good mastery and enough hours of study are the only things that matter.
  7. She is planning on taking PSEO classes in her junior and senior years of high school at local colleges, which will provide additional transcript credits from an outside source.
  8. She is planning on taking some free college level classes through organizations like Coursera (see links below).
  9. She tends to test very well, so her SAT scores should also be very helpful on her applications.
  10. We are researching the specific requirements for each of the colleges that she is most interested in, to be sure we are on track for meeting their requirements.  I cannot recommend this step enough.

For the purpose of our records, I am assigning one credit for 150 hours of study on that subject and a thorough understanding of the topic. One half credit is assigned for 75 hours of study.

It is not enough to spend 150 hours reading about black holes (one of Toria’s fascinations) and then count it as a credit in basic astronomy, for instance.  If she rounds that out with reading through a basic astronomy textbook or reads a good assortment of general astronomy books so she has really mastered astronomy in general and then supplements that with lots of reading about black holes, that definitely counts.

I feel pretty confident that we can easily satisfy both her need for a rigorous high school education with her desire to continue being in charge of her own education.

To read this blog post in it’s entirety, please visit Magic and Mayhem.  The author, Alicia, and her husband homeschool their five kids, ages 1, 5, 9, 13 and 14, in Southwest Minnesota.  She blogs at Magic and Mayhem and also writes a homeschooling column at, where she focuses on great resources, freebies and ways to keep homeschooling fun for everybody.


February 16, 2013


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