I know, summer’s not quite over… so… why are we talking about planning already? Yuck… I’m thinking I want summer to last a bit longer. But, as most veteran home schoolers know, it’s time to face the music. If you want your books and supplies here in time to start schooling, this month’s for you!
So, to get everyone motivated and in the spirit of things, we’re gonna answer home school’s top 10 planning questions. Let’s get started…
Simply put – How do you get started?
Well, that’s a different answer for each of the 50 states. Your first step as a self-declared homeschooler is to check out your state’s regulations and make sure that you comply. Second, explore your kids. Make sure you know how they learn, what makes them tick, and their favorite way to learn. Third, explore your options. Find out the various methods and ways other people homeschool and decide what would fit your needs. Fourth, explore your philosophy. What is it that you want from homeschooling? Write it all down, then when you’re wondering why your doing this… pull it out! Finally, explore your resources. There are so many absolutely awesome tools for homeschoolers now. Find resources that line up with your kids, methods, and philosophy.
2) CAN I even teach my highschooler if I’m not qualified in the subject matter?
I can honestly answer a resounding, YES! Like I mentioned before, there are so many amazing resources for homeschoolers that make it possible for anyone to homeschool. If you are worried about teaching the class yourself, you can find a tutor, join a homeschool co-op, use an online course, online resources, online teacher directed course, or video based course. In each of these methods, your student is getting the information from a different source and doing the work at home.
3) Am I alone in this? How can I find support?
This is an amazing question, there are many places that the homeschool family can find camaraderie in their endeavor. A few places to start would be your local home school group, a local co-op, an online home school parent forum, or even state homeschooling conventions.
4) How do I plan a high school course of study?
I would sit down with my highschooler and talk about what their interests, strengths, and passions are. Once you’ve got an idea of those you can help guide them into exploring career choices that will support those. All the high school electives and courses can be brought into alignment with their future career. You can even explore apprenticeships and dual credit programs to enrich their high school studies, and fully prepare them for the future.
5) How do I know which courses are needed to meet graduation requirements?
Once again, you’ll need to check out your state’s department of education website. They will have a detailed list of what courses are acceptable and how many credits of each subject your student will need to complete. If you are wondering about how to calculate these, LHSHS has a great article on highschool credits.
6) Will my high school student be able to go to college?
This question used to scare everyone… but to be honest… it’s a whole nother world now. Many colleges are actively recruiting home schoolers because they have seen more mature and independent learners. LHSHS also has a great list of homeschool friendly colleges that you might want to explore. I would also contact the college that my student is interested in attending to make sure that you are doing everything that they require for admission.
7) What is typically expected for each high school subject?
Again, I would check with my state first… but here’s a quick idea of the most common requirements.
2-4 years of math
4 years of English
2-4 years of Science
2-4 years of History
2 years of Foreign Language
Plus several electives – most states require aprox. 21-24 credits
You would definitely want to err on the higher end of that if you plan on attending college.
8) Are there any types of extracurricular activities for a home schooler?
Yes, definitely! Let’s see, there are sports, volunteering, summer camps, ROTC, missions training, and community leadership opportunities. As your student completes extracurricular activities, make sure to title and describe what they have done in detail and add it to your transcript records.
9) How do you create home school transcripts?
Oh, that’s easy! LHSHS has really worked hard to make this simple for you and has created a great resource to download a free highschool transcript template. As an independent home schooler you create your own transcripts (records of homeschooling), report cards, and diploma. Most often, the sky is the limit. You can create these records in any format, but again, I would check with the college or career that your student is interested in and make sure that your records align with their requirements. A good rule of thumb- keep detailed records.
10) Does homeschooling cost a lot of money?
That’s a little tricky to answer, because homeschool can cost alot if you choose expensive curriculum or online homeschool options. On the other hand, there are alot of homeschoolers who homeschool for free. Again, the resources that are available on the internet and from our local library are amazing and will produce a high quality high school education. Check out our LHSHS curriculum directory to get started. The directory contains a mix of both free and fee based courses.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been an education professor for over 17 years. She is also a pastor’s wife, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 9-15) in a sweet tea sippin’, wrap around porch sittin’, sweet southern Georgia town. Jamie is also a contributing author at Online Education for Kids and MomSCHOOL