Homeschooling High School

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,931
    Homeschool expert Celeste Land discusses how to choose from an amazing variety of resources and opportunities available to homeschool teens.

    Celeste Land: Hi! I am Celeste Land with the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers and I am showing you how to begin homeschooling your child. Right now, we are going to take a look at homeschooling high school. Now, that you've set your goals for the high school years, you'll be able to choose from an amazing variety of resources and opportunities available to homeschool teens.

    A typical homeschooling family uses a mix and match combination of different curriculum options and resources for the high school years. Each option has its pros and cons and there is no one single approach that works equally well for all families or all academic subjects. Research each option carefully and discuss them with your student, then choose the curriculum options and resources that work best for your family and your situation.

    First of all, everyone is familiar with textbooks, workbooks, and other traditional classroom materials. In addition to books, today you can also find instructional materials on video, DVD, and CD-ROMs as well as the Internet. You can buy these new or used from homeschool textbook companies, curriculum providers, homeschool conferences, use bookstores, other families, on eBay or over the Internet. You do not need to use the exact same textbooks as the ones used at your local high school.

    Many private individuals and companies offer courses for homeschoolers through correspondence schools or distant learning programs. The student works for the teacher who assigns reading in homework, grades his work, and answers his questions. Some of these programs only offer one or two classes in a particular subject like math or anatomy, while others offer dozens of different subjects.

    Some distance learning programs are run by accredited schools which award official high school diplomas. Usually, you'll have to be enrolled in a school for at least a year before you can receive a diploma. There are lots of diploma mills out there, so do a little independent research and make sure your correspondence school is accredited and has a good reputation before you enroll your student.

    Some public high schools in Virginia and elsewhere are beginning to offer online courses to homeschool students. Some schools are offering the courses free of charge while others are charging tuition. Check with your State Homeschool Organization or local support group to learn more about the status of these programs.

    Learning by doing or experiential learning is very popular with many homeschool teens who finally learn better through hands-on activities and projects than through textbooks or book learning. This might involve learning from paid employment, community service, travel, clubs or youth groups, personal hobbies, and so on.

    For instance, homeschool teens have studied biology by monitoring streams and helping with wildlife counts, studied language arts by writing their own novels or creating their own websites, honed their math skills through running their own businesses, and learned about Civics firsthand by working on political campaigns.

    Another popular approach is unit studies where a homeschool teen explores a particular subject or area in depth, anything from the civil war to fly fishing or Japanese language and culture.

    Unit studies maybe organized by the parent, but often at this age, the student is the one who takes the lead, reading every book in the library on the subject, getting involved with relevant activities in their community, finding mentors who can help them learn more and so on.

    Now, what if you feel uncomfortable teaching a particularly tough or unusual high school subject? You may have the option of hiring a tutor to teach a particular subject or provide special one-on-one assistance for the problem area or skill. Many families have access to academic and recreational classes in their community. Sometimes these are run by other homeschooling families and other times they are available through local schools, community centers, or private businesses.

    Many homeschool teens also participate in homeschool cooperatives or coops where the parents take turns teaching different academic or enrichment subjects. Students in some states and communities have the option of enrolling part-time in classes at a local, public, or private high school. Some of these students also have the opportunity to participate in high school clubs, team sports or other extracurriculars.

    Laws and Policies on part-time enrollment vary greatly from state-to-state. So contact your State Homeschool Organization to learn more about what is available in your community. It's not unusual for a homeschool teen to earn a semester or more in college credits before graduating from high school. Some students choose to earn college credits by examination, taking advance placement exams or AP exams through their local high school or by taking club exams through a local college or university.

    Others choose to enroll part-time in classes at the local community college. This provides a chance for students to experience a classroom environment while getting a jump start on college or vocational training. Check with your State Homeschool Organization and your local community college to learn more.

    Most communities today offer formal and informal opportunities for homeschool teens to get together and socialize. Homeschool organizations and the support groups often organize homeschool graduation ceremonies and year-books as well as homeschool dances and proms.

    After watching this, you probably will have some additional questions like how can I teach foreign languages, or what's the best way to prepare my homeschool teen for admission to the college down the road? Your local library and the Virginia Homeschoolers Bookstore have resources which can help you answer these and other questions.

    Your State Homeschool Organization or local support group can put you in touch with homeschooling families in your community, who can share ideas and resources with you and your teens. So that's how you can homeschool during the high school years. Now we are ready to take a look at the needs of another age group, homeschooling with very young children.