7 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make When Homeschooling a High School Student

Don't get caught making any of these mistakes with your homeschooled high schooler!

Experiencing long-term burnout? Did you know that 13% of parents report that they are experiencing “burnout” on a regular basis? If you’re feeling it, it may be because you’re now homeschooling high school students. Homeschooling teens takes a certain level of patience because of all that’s involved. From keeping up with transcripts to planning a graduation party, those four years take a lot out of a homeschooling parent. Still, the last thing you want to do is fall into a trap of mistakes. What mistakes do you need to avoid while homeschooling high school students?

Slacking Off

It may have been fun to take a much more relaxed approach to homeschooling when your children were younger but as they enter high school, you’ll have to tighten the reins. High school is such an important time in your homeschooler’s life! It’s a time to buckle down and, over the years, get serious about homeschooling. If you haven’t taken things seriously before now, consider implementing programs that target specific skills, such as WritingCity which specifically covers Writing. WritingCity is a K-5 writing program and grammar curriculum. It offers daily offline and online writing lessons through a user-friendly digital platform.  Additionally, be on the lookout for slacking off from your student, especially once he or she has been accepted into college. While your student may feel as though there’s no need to keep trying once he or she has been accepted, remind your student that the high school transcript still needs to look good, especially that final quarter’s report card.

Overdoing It

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find parents who overdo things to the extreme. Parents who overdo it tend to want to start AP courses in 10th grade or push students to take all CLEP tests along with dual-enrollment. This is a huge mistake as college-level work is tough on students. Try not to let your students take more than two AP or CLEP courses in one year. Highly motivated students may be able to handle three AP classes and/or dual-enrollment in all the core classes, but most students will find that to be overkill. Make choices based on what your child plans to do upon graduation. If your child would like to enter a trade school, taking AP courses may not even be on the list. Do your best to stick to a course of action that aligns with what your child wants to do in life – not what you hear other students are doing.  

Forgetting Transcripts

High school transcripts are of the utmost importance for homeschooling students. It is critical that these records be kept in an organized fashion that tracks all coursework your student did from 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. You really only need to update the transcripts at the end of each school year, though some parents find it helpful to update them every quarter. In either case, just make sure you’re keeping them updated at all times. When your child does apply to college, these – along with SAT and/or ACT scores – will be crucial!

If you need help putting together transcripts for your students, consider using a template for high school transcripts.

Overlooking Important Skills

Many of the skills your students learned in elementary and middle school will pop up during the high school years. The skills learned before and during high school are very important for college – especially the skills that continue to emerge.

For instance, it is very important that students learn to diagram sentences. Some parents find this task to be tedious or complicated and often seek advice on social media asking if they “really need to do this.” The answer? Yes, you do. Students who can identify the various parts of a sentence are often able to put those parts in the proper order and construct beautiful sentences. The same goes for higher-level math. Parents who choose to ignore higher-level math for their homeschooled students put the students at a disadvantage. When colleges are in a position of comparing one student to the next, they will often select the student who took challenging coursework or who went above and beyond the requirements for a diploma.

Postponing the SAT or ACT

At some point during the junior and/or senior year, students will be expected to take a standardized test. Of course, they’ll also be expected to score high on such tests. To do so, students must prepare! Whether your student takes the SAT or the ACT, both tests require spending an ample amount of time preparing. Students should have access to quality SAT or ACT test prep materials and should spend some spare time in these materials. These days, there are also apps available for students to use. Online SAT and ACT practice tests also make it easy to practice because they’ll usually give an estimated score. Have your students practice vocabulary, writing, and higher level math in preparation.

Giving Too Much Independence

Teenagers are at an age where they feel they should be more independent in many aspects of life. For the most part, this is generally normal and doesn’t border on anything problematic. However, giving too much independence can often result in students slacking off on their studies. Be sure your student doesn’t get too relaxed. Try to keep your student on a regular schedule to prevent this. Also, check in on any independent study lessons your student has. Just because the student is meant to complete the subject independently doesn’t mean parents don’t still need to at least pop in now and again.

Not Applying for Scholarships

Sometimes with the frenzy of completing high school in a timely manner, students forget all about scholarship opportunities for homeschoolers! Generally speaking, scholarships opportunities for homeschoolers are abundant. You just have to know where to look! Once you’ve settled on a good resource, have your student check in on a regular basis. For instance, LetsHomeschoolHighSchool.com publishes new scholarship opportunities every quarter. Be sure to keep an eye on these opportunities; students can seek out scholarships for homeschoolers on a monthly basis. Any money they receive will, of course, help pay for college.

Comparing Your Students

With everything your students have going on and all the preparations they need to make, the last thing they need is for you to compare them to other students (or to each other if you have multiple homeschooled high school students). This is a huge mistake some parents make, often by accident. Your homeschooler needs to feel special and know he or she is doing well in your eyes. Making comparisons puts a damper on feelings of success and causes your student to feel as though he or she has let you down. As hard as your student is working in these precious years, it’s very discouraging for your student to hear how he or she isn’t measuring up to your standards.

Homeschooling high school students is quite different from homeschooling young children and even middle school children. The four years devoted to high school will undoubtedly fly by faster than you’d probably like. These are important years for your student, however, and it’s imperative that you do your best to keep your student focused without adding unneeded pressure. As a result, your students will graduate with feelings of accomplishment knowing they did their absolute best. Avoid mistakes that can get in the way of students’ success and these will be some of the best years of your students’ lives.


Tasha has been writing for over a decade now and enjoys blogging about various topics, from kids crafts to homeschooling in general. She’s been homeschooling for over 14 years and has used every style of homeschooling out there, from unschooling to traditional textbooks and everything in between. She serves as a mentor to other homeschooling moms and works hard to juggle working from home, homeschooling, and part-time work outside the home. She’s a mom to 5 and feels like she’s got this multitasking thing down pat.

April 4, 2018


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