Many homeschoolers begin to panic as they approach the high school years. They fear that they can’t continue homeschooling because it will be too difficult. They’re often afraid they don’t know enough to teach their children in the higher grades and think that they have to send their teen to a school somewhere to get them a better education. This is usually NOT true! Home education can still provide an excellent education in the high school years!
I believe there are many good reasons to continue homeschooling through high school or to start homeschooling students that are in high school. We have four children, two of them were homeschooled all the way through high school. Because of some health issues I was having, we ended up sending our middle two children to a charter school in 10th grade where they finished their schooling. Although the two that went to the charter school did well there, one of them sadly lost his love for learning while he was there. In hindsight, I wish we had continued with homeschooling for both of them.
I’d like to encourage those who are afraid of homeschooling through high school that it is do-able! With God all things are possible, and He will give you the ability to do whatever He calls you to do! If you’re feeling the nudge to keep homeschooling all the way through high school, let me give you some good reasons to do so.
Homeschooling is one of the best learning environments
One-on-one teaching is still the ideal way to learn. Students are usually less distracted in the home environment. Also, as a parent, we are usually aware if our student doesn’t understanding a subject and can let them slow down so they can grasp the concepts better. In other cases, the student is ready to move faster, and they have the freedom to go move ahead more quickly through their educational material. You can accelerate academic learning with homeschooling. Many homeschool teens are ready for college level courses between the ages of 14-16! They can complete high school requirements in less time and move on to college level courses. You have the opportunity to customize your teen’s education to provide opportunities to develop gifts and abilities as well. There is more flexibility with homeschooling, and this gives your teen more hours for creative endeavors, volunteering, or getting a job. Teens can pursue their interests and skills, which is great preparation for a career. Colleges like to see students that are passionate about something and pursuing their interests.
The homeschool environment is also a great learning environment because it most closely resembles the real world – all ages are mixed together rather than segregating according to age. Another benefit is that you have more time with your student to teach them real life skills that they’ll need when they go out into the world of adulthood.
According to research statistics provided by the Home School Legal Defense Association, using national averages, homeschoolers are achieving 30% higher scores academically (in all subjects) than their public school counterparts in testing. Colleges are seeking out homeschool students because of their excellent academic standing and because they do so well in college.
Homeschooling builds stronger family relationships and gives parents more opportunity to continue teaching godly values
The teen years are a strategic time to cement family relationships that will last a lifetime. With parents as the teen’s primary role model, parents can continue teaching godly values and morals. Most homeschool teens develop mature manners and can interact well with people of all ages. Homeschooled teens are less peer dependent than students who are surrounded by their peers eight hours a day at school.
Homeschooling provides a more positive socialization experience
In the public school, teens are exposed to drugs, violence and bad language and more! There is a lot of peer pressure to conform to whatever the larger group thinks is “cool”. With homeschooling, teens are able to think for themselves and be who they really are, without that pressure to conform. Parents can help their teens develop important life skills such as evaluating and choosing friends, conflict resolution, and handling romantic relationships. There are lots of opportunities for socialization in the high school years: church youth groups, boy scouts, girl scouts, 4-H, community orchestra or band, homeschool co-ops, high school sports teams, volunteering, book discussion groups or just getting together with friends.
Many resources available
Homeschooling through high school might seem like it’s a bit overwhelming, but there are many resources out there to help. There are seminars available to help with the logistics of record-keeping, grading, planning out the four years of high school, and making a transcript. (Attend your state’s homeschool conference!). There are co-ops specifically for teens, there are tutors, there are video teaching tools, and there’s always the possibility that you and a friend can trade off teaching in areas that you are more comfortable in. For example, I know of two families that did a teaching exchange where one mom taught both families’ children Creative Writing, and the other mom taught both families’ children piano.
Some strategies for success in homeschooling through high school:
1) Give your child a college preparatory high school education, then no matter what they pursue, they have the high school education they need. (You can find guidelines for a college preparatory education on HSLDA’s website or at your local high
2) Invest in yourself! Find a place to get some training. Go to your state’s homeschool conference and look for seminars that will help you.
3) Invest in your weaknesses- what is the subject area you are most afraid to teach? Invest in good curriculum to help you, or invest in a class for your student for that area of study.
4) Take advantage of the Post-Secondary Education Options (PSEO- Taking college classes for both high school and college credit), if your student is academically ready. Or consider using the CLEP testing program to get college credits while in high school.
5) Encourage your teen to grow spiritually and take advantage of opportunities for leadership, volunteering and helping others. Serve together in a ministry of some kind, or go on a short term mission trip together. These things will build great character.
6) Seek God’s help in all your decisions and in your daily life with homeschooling your teen. He will give you wisdom and direction when you seek Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” Proverbs 3:4-5
Homeschooling through high school is a very rewarding and exciting
opportunity to see God do great things in your life and in your teen’s life! Step out in faith and give it a try!