How to Homeschool High School: Curriculum Options, Transcripts, and Tips
You’re determined to homeschool high school. But do you feel like you’re not qualified to help your child with a more demanding curriculum? Do you feel lost with the legal requirements? Are you unsure of what courses to choose for your kids to give them a head start in college?
While rewarding, homeschooling your kids is never easy peasy. And especially when your kids reach high school, this is when you start feeling a bigger burden.
I’m sure you have even more doubts and questions, such as:
- Where do I start?
- How does homeschooling work in high school?
- Are there any ready-to-take online homeschooling programs?
Don’t worry. You’re in the right place. I will address all your doubts and answer any questions you might have about how to homeschool through high school.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Benefits of Homeschooling High School
- Legal Homeschooling Requirements (U.S.)
- Start to Homeschool High School in 5 Steps
- Homeschool Programs and Curriculum Options for High School
- Learn More About Homeschool Spanish Academy
- How to Tackle Homeschool Transcripts for High School
- How to Add Fun Life Experience to Your Higher Schooler’s Homeschool
- Choose What’s Right for You and Your High Schooler
Benefits of Homeschooling High School
First, congratulations on your decision! Homeschooling high school has many benefits, and your children will surely flourish and enjoy their time.
Homeschooling high school lets the student go deeply into the subject of their interest—whether these are core subjects or electives. This is beneficial in part due to the flexibility in subject choice, pace, and intensity.
Here are some other benefits:
- Homeschooling in high school equals time efficiency since no time is lost commuting or waiting for others to finish
- It makes your teenager more responsible and independent
- Homeschool graduates make great students
- Homeschooling high school lets you save on college tuition by earning college credits through dual enrollment courses or AP classes
Legal Homeschooling Requirements (in the U.S.)
You must know that homeschooling is legal in all 50 U.S. states. However, no two states approach homeschooling in the same way. Most studies agree that some states, such as Alaska, Oklahoma, and Kansas are the easiest for homeschooling—meanwhile, Ohio, Maryland, and Massachusetts have the strictest rules.
States like California encourage homeschooled students to take final standardized tests. In Texas, on the other hand, tests are not obligatory for enrollment in higher education.
Some states have no graduation requirements. Other states apply the same regulations it applies to private schools.
The same thing happens with the curriculum. Some states give parents leeway, but others are highly regulated.
I recommend checking the DOE website of the state where you want to homeschool high school to get more information about specific homeschool laws. You can also see the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website. You’ll find detailed state laws descriptions with links to help you meet the requirements.
You should check the attendance and testing requirements, required subjects, hours of instruction, and if a Declaration (or Notice) of Intent is needed yearly.
There are only 11 states that ask homeschooling parents for some form of educational qualification, generally a high school diploma or GED.
Why? Because some states consider that parents cannot be expected to teach at a grade level that they haven’t completed themselves.
You can click the state link in the table below for more information about homeschool laws and parent qualifications.
States That Require Parent Qualifications
|State||Parent Qualification Requirements|
|Georgia||High school diploma or GED|
|New Mexico||High school diploma or equivalent|
|North Carolina||High school diploma or equivalent|
|North Dakota||High school diploma or GED, or homeschool under the supervision of a certified teacher for the first two years of homeschooling, to be extended if the children score under the 50th percentile|
|Ohio||High school diploma or equivalent, or homeschool under the direction of an individual with a bachelor’s degree until the child’s test scores show reasonable proficiency or they earn a GED|
|Pennsylvania||High school diploma or equivalent|
|South Carolina||High school diploma or GED|
|Tennessee||High school diploma or GED when homeschooling children grades 9-12; parents homeschooling through umbrella schools are exempted from this requirement|
|Virginia||Homeschool parents must have a high school diploma or a teaching certificate, or homeschool through a correspondence program, or provide evidence of their ability to provide an adequate education; parents homeschooling through a religious exemption are exempt from this requirement|
|Washington||Homeschool parents must be supervised by a certified person, have a required number of college credits, complete a course in home-based study, or be deemed sufficiently qualified by the local superintendent|
|West Virginia||High school diploma or equivalent, or be deemed qualified by the county superintendent or school board and homeschool under direct supervision|
Start to Homeschool High School in 5 Steps
Now that you know the legal requirements of home school in your state, it’s time to start.
1. Define Your High Schooler’s Learning Needs
First, you need to define the academic needs and see if any areas should be corrected or challenged above standards.
You can also determine your child’s level by taking a placement test. There are some you can find with some research. There are free and paid options.
Setontesting, for example, provides an Algebra Placement test. You can check other subjects as well on the Internet4Classrooms site.
2. Decide Which Courses to Take
To plan your homeschool high school path, you should look at a few colleges and universities that your kid might want to consider.
To select your courses, you need to know their admissions requirements. These vary depending on if your kid wants to be an engineer, doctor, or teacher. Ivy League Schools may also have different requirements and expect their candidates to have completed more rigorous courses of study.
Together with your teen, you can define their objectives.
Go subject by subject: Math, Science, Social Studies, English, etc. Then you can decide on four full-credit courses within the area and determine their difficulty. Remember, one credit may equal:
- Completion of a one-year high school course
- Completion of a one-semester college online course
- Completion of a one-year unit study with projects on a given subject
- Completion of at least 75% of a high school textbook
- 120-180 hours of work on a specific subject
Then, choose your electives for each year. (I will tell you more about electives further on). After that, you must add specific requirements for the university of your interest.
Don’t forget about community service. Universities consider it very important.
3. Organize Your Daily Schedule
Organizing your daily timetable is critical in high school homeschooling. This will depend on your course selection and the number of hours required.
You may keep your homeschooling day organized by choosing one of the four types of schedules:
- Block Schedule
- Relaxed schedule
- Loop Homeschool Schedule
Check out 10 Sample Homeschool Schedules You Can Copy to see the difference between them. Then you can choose the one that best adapts to your kid’s learning style and your family’s specific needs. You might realize that a simple checklist is enough.
You should also check out Our Top 10 Favorite Homeschool Planners for 2022.
4. Buy The Basics To Start Homeschooling High School
Homeschooling kids at any age requires some materials.
Though your list will be different from a shopping list of a mom homeschooling kindergarten, there are some things you must always put on your list.
These are things you mustn’t forget:
- Writing utensils (pens, no.2 pencils, pencil sharpeners, rubbers, highlighters, etc.)
- Organization supplies (folders, binders, etc.)
- A curriculum planner
- Math supplies (geometry set, scientific calculator)
- Science supplies (lab classes may require some specific materials)
Your kid will also need a desktop computer or laptop. I recommend a laptop, as they can take it to a library or use it while traveling. A printer is also a must.
Maybe you don’t need a whiteboard, a globe, or a world map, as your kid will get most of these resources online. But consider buying them. If your child is taking electives, remember that there might be specific material requirements, such as a good camera.
Check out The Ultimate Homeschool Classroom Supplies List for Beginners for a more extensive supplies list.
5. Organize Your Homeschool Space At Home
If you can, set up a homeschooling space for your high schooler in a separate room to avoid distractions.
The room should have lots of natural light, a big, functional desk, and enough storage space to organize your kid’s supplies and eliminate visual clutter. Avoid rooms with windows on busy streets.
You’ll need bookshelves for textbooks, library books, and any other materials that should be visible and easily accessible. You might also consider a sofa or an armchair for comfortable reading time.
Although aesthetics is not a priority, and maybe you don’t have much to say with a teenage kid, remember that a choice of colors may affect how a person feels.
Get inspired by 17 Beautifully Organized Homeschool Room Ideas on a Budget.
Homeschool Programs and Curriculum Options
When you start homeschooling high school, you are not alone. There are exciting options that might help your teenager broaden their knowledge.
Some options provide a group learning environment or increase the chances of securing the best college education. It would be helpful to consider a mixture of curriculum options and programs to give your child the desired variety.
Elements to Consider:
Controlling the Curriculum At Home
A parent-led model can be challenging in high school. But if you feel comfortable in some areas, you can present the lesson, assign work, and grade.
You can also hire a tutor or use Khan Academy (or any other free, reliable resources) to introduce new topics. However, you’re still responsible for grading and keeping a record of hours.
Using Online High School Homeschool Programs
Homeschool programs for high school take the pressure off the parents. You can choose individual courses to supplement your child’s studies or buy a program.
Online programs sometimes offer live classes, pre-recorded lectures, online and printed materials, tutors, and aid and assistance. Some benefits are that you don’t have to design the curriculum yourself, and another person keeps the records and grades.
Some of these high school homeschool programs are widely accredited and can give your child high school and even college credits if you take dual enrollment courses.
You will have to record the grade on the student’s transcript.
Some of the options to consider:
Check out 8 Best Online Homeschool Programs for High School for a detailed description of the above programs, along with their pro and cons, and pricing.
Participating in Homeschool Co-ops
Homeschool co-ops give group support and help with academics, socialization, electives, or field trips. They are groups of homeschooling parents who meet regularly to provide better educational options for their children.
Parents can teach the classes themselves. Another option is to hire teachers or tutors to lower the costs.
To learn more about the benefits of homeschool co-ops, check out The Simple Way to Start a Homeschool Co-Op You Love.
Attending Classes at Your Local High School or College
As a taxpayer, you’re contributing to your local school, even if your child does not attend it, and you could consider signing up your child for some specific classes.
For sure, your home science lab is not as equipped as the one in your local school. Or you might want your kid to do sports activities with other students. Maybe the school provides interesting electives or Advanced Placement classes. I’m here to tell you, “You should consider those!”
Attending classes at your local high school can save money, provide more socialization options, and guarantee physical resources and facilities you lack at home.
You may also enroll your child at a local community or private college for dual or concurrent enrollment. This way, they can get some high school and college credits.
Choosing Elective Classes in Homeschool High School
As I said, while designing your curriculum, you must choose the electives that will benefit your children in the long run. A great curriculum will set them on a path to a great college.
You’ll discover that this is the most fun part of creating your homeschool curriculum! Remember that not all the electives must give you credit. You can also choose some just for pure enjoyment.
You can do electives in your local school, a local sports club, or wherever you want. Also, don’t forget about online classes—your online possibilities are endless.
Your kids might want to learn Spanish! If so, I urge you to consider HSA’s Spanish high school program as an elective. You can consider an online course from the BYU catalog if you want your kids to learn how to play an instrument.
All you need to do is define your kid’s interests and needs, and look for programs in your community, courses online, or buy some textbooks and apps.
Learn more about Homeschool Spanish Academy and Our K-12 Spanish Programs!
Join one of the 40,000 classes that we teach each month and you can experience results like these
“It’s a great way to learn Spanish, from native Spanish speakers in a 1-on-1 environment. It’s been fairly easy to schedule classes around my daughter’s other classes. The best value for us has been ordering multiple classes at a time. All the instructors have been great!”
– Cindy D, Parent of 3
“HSA offers very affordable, quality, one on one classes with a native speaker. My son has greatly benefited from taking classes. We have seen his confidence increase as well as his pronunciation improve, because he learns from a native Spanish speaker. HSA has quick, personal customer service. I have appreciated the one on one interaction and teaching that my son gets from his teachers. He has gotten to know his teachers, which has increased his confidence in speaking Spanish. Our family has been very pleased with our experience so far!”
– Maple, Parent of 3
“My Son, Heath, is taking the classes. He’s been with Luisa the entire time and we absolutely love her. She is always patient and is a great teacher. Heath’s dad speaks Spanish so they get to have little conversations.”
– William R, Parent of 3
How to Tackle Homeschool Transcripts for High School
Having a homeschool transcript at the end of high school is a must. Just don’t be scared, it’s easier than you think.
A transcript is a written record of the student’s academic journey. It’s like a summary of the achievements and progress. It states the subjects your child took, the number of credits, grades, GPA, and schools attended.
The secret to preparing a homeschool transcript is to add information to the transcript each year. As it covers a four-year period it can be simply impossible to remember or find records last minute. But if you do it regularly, it’s easy peasy.
- First, download the transcript template example
- Enter information about the students and Homeschool’s name (if you have one) and address
- Fill in the information for each subject. Use your child’s final grades for each subject, each year of high school. Course descriptions should be based on your scope and sequence
- Fill in the credit information—if you’re the one assigning them, check again this same article what are the requirements.
- Fill in information about any schools your child went to during high school
- Enter academic achievement
At the end of grade 12th, you’ll add:
- Total of the credits for each subject
- Total of the student’s cumulative GPA
- Total of the cumulative number of credits
- Add your signature and date
It’s that easy!
How to Add Fun Life Experience to Your High Schooler’s Homeschool
And last but not least, remember to make the whole experience fun!
Students learn much better if they enjoy the experience.
Some activities are extremely limited within traditional school settings. However, through homeschooling, children can have an unlimited amount of experiences related to learning. Make sure you plan plenty of these!
Organize trips to the museum, parks, exhibitions, and libraries. If your budget allows it, you can even plan a language immersion in another country.
Choose What’s Right for You and Your High Schooler
Now that you know the benefits of homeschooling high school, and the requirements, you can make the right choice for your child. Remember to check the legal requirements for your state, define your needs and objectives and smartly organize the curriculum.
Choose the best way of homeschooling for your child and plan your calendar accordingly!
Most importantly, enjoy this time with your teenager! This will be an enriching experience for them and the whole family.
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