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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Getting Ready to Homeschool High School

Preparing to Homeschool High School
A Timeline from 7th to 12th Grade
Maureen Wittmann



I am a firm believer in "taking homeschooling one year at a time". If I embarked on this homeschool journey knowing I'd homeschool seven children from birth through high school graduation, it would've been too overwhelming to even consider. Yet, here I am, twenty-something years later, still homeschooling. I committed to just one year at a time and that helped me stay focused on the task at hand. And you can too.

Think of The Little Engine That Could. Little by little you can accomplish great things -- including taking on your child's k-12 education. Including homeschooling high school.

With all that said, it is good to do some legwork in advance before embarking on the high school years. If you're considering putting your children into a site-based school for high school, the following steps will help you make that transition as well. However, I encourage you to pray and consider homeschooling high school. It's not as hard as it sounds and it's incredibly rewarding (more on that in an upcoming blog post).

Prep Work in Middle School
First, relax. Enjoy these middle years and observe how your child's intellect and spiritual life grows and changes during this period.

Start talking with your child about special interests. What are his favorite subjects? Make sure you're getting out of the house, getting involved in your local community, and using the real world as your classroom in addition to your book work.

In the summer between sixth and seventh grade, use this Scope & Sequence form to help you put together your curriculum for the seventh and eighth grades. If your child is behind in any of his subjects, middle school is a good time to address the issue.

Here are some simple, concrete steps to take during eighth grade to prepare for high school:
  • Research the laws in your state regarding graduation requirements for homeschool students. Laws vary greatly from state to state. 
  • Make a list of your child's strengths and weaknesses
  • Use this High School Scope & Sequence to determine your curriculum for high school.
  • Between 8th and 9th grade finalize curriculum choices for 9th grade (repeat this every year until graduation).
  • Make plans for extra-curricular activities and field trips.
  • Relax and remember that plans can change.
  • Review financial plans for post-secondary education in case student attends college or trade school after graduation.
High School
Make sure you're keeping good records throughout the next four years. It doesn't need to be complicated. Spend a few hours each quarter updating your student's transcript (click here: High School Homeschool Transcript)  You can also use this form to keep a record of specific courses or learning outcomes: High School: List of Courses.

All four years should include extracurricular activities and community work (record them on your student's transcript).

Ninth Grade
  • Begin the discussion of where your child sees himself after high school graduation. There should be no pressure - now is simply the time to explore the many options available.
  • Do some career studies. Have your student pick three or four careers that she finds intriguing. She should then research the careers and present a report to you that includes information such as 
    • education needed
    • skills required
    • earning potential
    • job satisfaction
    • interviews with people who work in the selected careers
    • a list of high school courses that will provide a solid foundation for future studies.
  • Start a good homeschool writing program that is incremental and will have you ready for advanced writing by your student's senior year.
Tenth Grade
  • Revise/adjust curriculum.
  • Begin investigating possible colleges or trade schools. 
    • What are the entrance requirements?
    • What high school courses must be completed?
    • What kind of recordkeeping do they require from homeschoolers?
    • Do they accept dual-enrollment, AP, and/or CLEP credits?
    • What is their timetable for acceptance and scholarships?
  • Research dual-enrollment programs and requirements. You may be required to take college-entrance exams early.
  • Start researching scholarship possibilities.
Eleventh Grade
  • Revise/adjust curriculum.
  • Take the PSAT.
  • Begin CLT, ACT, and/or SAT test prep. Take the college-entrance exam of your choice in the spring.
  • Start dual-enrollment, AP, or CLEP courses if they are in your plan.
    • Set yourself up for success and do not take on too much college-level work.
    • Courses can be local or online.
  • Schedule visits to tour prospective post-secondary schools. 
Twelfth Grade
  • Revise/adjust curriculum.
  • Retake the CLT, ACT, and/or SAT in the fall. 
  • Finalize post-secondary applications early in the school year, if not already done.
  • Some students, once accepted into a post-secondary school will slack off on studies. Keep on top of your student and make sure grades don't slide.
  • Finalize scholarships and speak with the financial counselor at the post-secondary school if applicable.
  • Finalize apprenticeships.
  • Continue dual-enrollment, AP, or CLEP courses if they are in your plan.
  • Complete the FAFSA (if attending college) in January.
  • This is the year of deadlines -- pay attention to deadlines and mark your calendar.
Of course, include your student in all these steps. Get him a planner and have him mark important dates, including deadlines, testing dates, course completion dates, test prep dates, etc.

Let us know in the comments what you would add to this checklist, or what you would do differently.


2 comments:

LaRee B said...

The college my 9th graders are planning to take dual enrollment classes at, requires psat (or SAT or ACT) scores prior to registering for dual enrollment, so they will need to take the PSAT in 10th grade to start dual enrollment classes fall semester of their 11th grade year.

Homeschool Connections said...

Thank you for the tip LaRee! We'll add that students need to check into that. For Franciscan University, you do not have to take the SAT or others. In fact, if a student's dual enrollment grades are high enough, they do not have to take the SAT or ACT at all -- they are automatically accepted into the university since the student has already proven they are capable of college-level work.