Did you feel comfortable with the idea of homeschooling your child until you heard the words “high school”? I have several friends who thought they should abandon their journey to the “professionals” so that they didn’t “ruin” their child.
Relax (you’ll hear that word a LOT in homeschool circles)! High School does add another layer, but you went to high school, right? So you CAN do this! Here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up through the years.
- An accredited diploma is not a must-have. Colleges love homeschoolers. Employers just want to know if you’ve graduated high school, they don’t need to know the history of the school.
- Start early. This is a tip I cannot emphasize enough. Start thinking about high school when your student is still in middle school. Decide what credits they need to graduate, and where you’ll get them.
- Don’t be afraid of the subjects you struggled with in high school. I was never a math whiz. Hated it, in fact. I can honestly say, now that I’ve been through high school 3 times (once myself and twice more with the kids) that I finally get algebra! And that’s very satisfying!
- You don’t have to do it all yourself. This isn’t supposed to be torture for you or your teen. If your last Spanish class was 25 years ago, you might want to hire a tutor or use FLVS.
- Don’t do something just because your friends do (gee, I really sound like a mom now)! Dual enrollment isn’t for everyone. Your teen has to be able to keep up with the work load and deal with the bureaucracy of the community college. The math program that your friend raves over may not be the best choice for your student. Just do what you’ve always done. You’ve done well so far, right?
- Begin with the end in mind. Certain universities and even the military want to see your teen “packaged” in a way that they can understand. This may mean extra foreign language or taking the SATs early (or often). If your child has been wearing blue and orange since birth or practicing to be a Navy SEAL since he was 5; find out what he or she needs to attain that goal by their freshman year. I made this mistake myself—my son needed two semesters of college level foreign language to major in English. If I had done the research earlier (he took the 1st semester as a dual enrolled student his sophomore year in high school) we could have done the second semester right away. Instead the poor kid had to take 2 semesters of college Spanish five years apart; talk about a learning curve!
And finally, use the support available to you! The FPEA has wonderful info in their Guide to Homeschooling. Attend the Convention, there are many vendors with products for high schoolers. There are many lecture sessions that cater to high school. You are on a well traveled path, take advantage of those who have gone before you!
And, last but not least, relax!
by Linda Wooldridge, FPEA Relationship Ambassador. Linda has been homeschooling since 1998. She facilitates orientations for new homeschoolers in Pinellas County as well as coordinating high school activities for her support group.