Many homeschoolers find themselves surprised and perplexed when their children reach high school. For some it’s a time to send their children back to a traditional school setting. For others, homeschooling feels like such a normal part of life it’s impossible to imagine putting your child back into a traditional school.
Like all things homeschool, you have to decide what works for your family. If you choose to homeschool through high school, know that you are not alone. The biggest question with homeschooling high school is, “What do I do about the subjects I am absolutely unable to teach?” Never fear, there are multiple ways for you to help your homeschooled high schooler through Geometry, Chemistry and Spanish II or whatever baffles or bores you.
High school is a time where kids start to hone in on what interests them. If you have a particularly focused kid, this specialization can be downright intimidating. The thing about homeschooling, though, is you’re free to help your child learn in the best way that suits him. For the sake of argument, let’s say you have a child that wants to study engineering. If you check out any school known for its engineering program, you’ll find that they want students with advanced math and a solid science foundation. Voila! You know where to focus. (This is not to say you should neglect literature, writing or a foreign language. Engineers who can write well are in HIGH demand.)
- Virtual School The internet is an amazing way to waste time but, more importantly, it’s an increasingly magical way to learn! If you are unsure about math beyond Pre-Algebra check to see if your state has a virtual school. Your teen can get the instruction he needs and the support of a certified math/any subject teacher at no charge. You’ll be kept in the loop but, your teen is accountable to a “real” teacher.
- Online Classes There are countless free and paid online classes available to homeschooled teens. For starters, check out Khan Academy – an excellent resource for motivated learners. It’s free and the material is incredibly solid. If your high schooler is not so motivated, and many of them aren’t, look into a smaller online option. You will pay for online lectures, homework help and test grading but, if it’s a subject you do not know well, it’s worth the investment. One example (out of a sea of thousands) is Derek Owens. Mr. Owens teaches higher level math and physics. He offers a number of options that make his services affordable to just about everyone.
- Local Options Depending on where you live, you might have a number of resources for high school students right next door. Look into co-ops where parents split the teaching duties depending on their skills. You’d be surprised at what the other parents have to share, not to mention what skills you have that will be just as appreciated! If there’s not a co-op in your area, start one. Create a Facebook and a Yahoo Group online. Post some fliers at your library and local coffee shops. Be as specific as possible when you do this so you are connecting with like-minded homeschoolers.
- Dual Enrollment In ever increasing numbers, states are opening up community colleges to high school juniors and seniors. For little or no cost (beyond books – which you can rent! Check Chegg or Amazon), your high-schooler can take advanced science and math classes at a college level. Not only does it give your teen some freedom, it gives them a taste of college-level work. It’s up to you to decide if your child is mature enough to handle this option. If they enroll in a community college, calls and notes from mom are out-of-bounds.
High school does not have to be all about filling in the blanks on the “ultimate student” transcript and getting your child into college. Go ahead and give your child some freedom and let them participate in choosing what they study. Remind yourself that your child’s high school experience will be vastly different than your own. Focus on teaching them how to find good information rather that rote memorization. We live in a world where nearly everyone carries a powerful little computer in their pockets, commonly known as a smart phone. Knowing how to find information is far more important than having a head stuffed full of random factoids.
Like the rest of homeschooling, it takes a bit of time to find your high school rhythm. Don’t despair. You will find it. Relax. Get your child involved with his own education and see where it leads you. When you find yourself banging your head on the counter in despair over your teen’s lack of motivation, interest or sleep habits, keep in mind that today’s high schoolers will most likely live long, healthy lives well into their 90’s. If your child doesn’t know what he wants to do when he’s 16, there is time.